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This article is about the spider-men of Dungeons & Dragons. For the software tool, see Ettercap (software).
Alignment Usually neutral evil
Type Aberration
Image image
Stats Open Game License stats

An ettercap is a race of bestial spider-men aberrations in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game.


Their name is a derived from northern English dialects.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition[edit]

Ettercaps first appeared in White Dwarf magazine[citation needed] and was then collected in the original first edition AD&D Fiend Folio.[2] These original ettercaps had human-like faces, mouths, hands and feet. These ettercaps were also covered by a layer of short hair and had large noses.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition[edit]

The ettercap appeared first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[3] and was reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[4] The ettercaps of second edition retained the hairy bodies and human mouths/hands and feet of their predecessors. These ettercaps were described as having reptilian eyes that were usually of a reddish hue. They were colored of a splotchy brown-grey mix, with an orange furred underbelly.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition[edit]

The ettercap appeared in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[5] The ettercap of the third edition Monster Manual was universally white colored, except for the brown tips of the fur that bristled from its shoulders. These ettercaps were also drastically less muscular than all the other versions of ettercaps.[original research?]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition[edit]

The ettercap appeared in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The ettercap was detailed in Dragon #343 (November 2006), in the "Ecology of the Ettercap",[6] which also included the ettecap matriarch and the ettercap brood swarm.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition[edit]

The ettercap appeared in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), including the ettercap fang guard and the ettercap webspinner.[7] Fourth edition ettercaps have four arms and legs and a carapace. In addition, they now wield basic weaponry and wear armor or clothing.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition[edit]

The Ettercap appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2014), reverting to their depiction before 4th Edition, though including optional rules for using "web garrotes."[8]

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game[edit]

The ettercap appeared in the Pathfinder Bestiary (2009). A hideous purple creature that walks upright like a man with a face like that of a spider. It has two arms and its hands are sickle-shaped claws. They are also known for being particularly skilled in trap making and delivering venomous bites.


Ettercaps resemble hunched, grey-purplish humanoids with distended white bellies, spider-like faces (fangs and eyes and such), long skinny arms, short stubby legs, and two sharp, black chitinous claws instead of hands and feet. They are not particularly intelligent, yet they possess the capability to shoot sticky webs, can inject a paralyzing venom from their fangs, and have an affinity for spiders. Ettercaps are cowardly and vicious, and prefer to set traps to ensnare their enemies.


Ettercaps are very fond of spiders and other arachnids and often keep them as others keep bees. From time to time, however, an ettercap has a number of monstrous spiders as pets, which are as loyal to it as a dog to a human master. Aside from their spiders, ettercaps generally live alone (with the exception being an ettercap's mate). Female ettercaps are more intelligent than the males of the species, and may sometimes gain class levels.

Ettercaps most commonly live in temperate forests, near trails and paths where prey commonly passes. They construct cocoon-like structures high in the treetrops of the forest and obscured by the surrounding foliage. From the entrance to these lairs, ettercaps send long strands of web that connect the ettercap's home to the traps it has placed in the area and to the lairs of other arachnid creatures.

It has been suggested that ettercaps are the descendants of a group of mad druids[citation needed], tainted and transmogrified by their association with a powerful demon into a form resembling the predatory arachnids their cult once revered. While the vast majority have completely reverted to pure animal instinct, a rare few are claimed to demonstrate the intellect and capacities of an insane human.