Personalities of Glorantha – Cragspider the Firewitch (1999)

portions of this write-up originally published in The Broken Council.

Mistress of the Spider Mountains, Weaver of Fate


Cragspider is an ancient being who resides in Kerofinela with her uzfollowers. Her exact origins, nature, and name remain a mystery, for she does not often speak of them. The information here, which is true, is known in Glorantha only to her closest intimates, and initiates of her cult.

Her Biography

Cragspider began as a darkness entity first recognized as an individual when the original fled from the dead Sun God. Her first act was to wrestle with a monstrous spider which blocked a tunnel through which Gore and Gash sought to escape. Cragspider changed her form to duplicate the spider, but altered her poison so it was paralyzed and let the twins and their followers escape.

Upon the surface, a pact was sealed between Gore and Gash and their followers, who promised to sacrifice to her regularly; and Cragspider, who would come to their aid when summoned.

Cragspider was strengthened by this sacrifice, so that she traveled far upon the surface world. At first she was just another darkness entity, shapeless and hungry but at first without a clear identity. Her deeds, though, made her an individual. In the Darkness she swept the Gangarvi into the sea, pulverized the Bartoli Rocks, crushed the Herandarvi, betrayed Urthakal, and was one of those who blinded Asrelia. These deeds would have been impossible without the power that she got from the trolls’ worship.

But the demands of the uz had a greater impact upon her than her own deeds in determining her shape. They called her eight times and each time she was a great spider which came to their aid. When she lied to Urthakal she appeared as a spider for a while, and she could not change from that form when she opposed Asrelia.

She once tried to make her form more mutable, as it had been, by returning to the Underworld, but became ensnared in the webs of Arachne Solara. Those webs are not of spider silk, nor indeed of any material at all, but instead are the subtle stuff of myth and power. The mystic goddess had caught Cragspider, and she was offered the Dragon’s Choice. She freed it, the Night Dragon, though it offered itself to her. Then Cragspider witnessed cosmic deeds, such as the seduction of Larnste to make Dragon Pass, or the weaving of the sun and earth to make the world. Through this she knew herself well enough to survive that kind of merger with the cosmic entity. She learned the secrets and mysteries of the Great Web, and the art of patience, and returned to the surface to take her place in the Web of the World. She revealed her powers of fire and light at this time, a terrible power much feared by her uz. She protected them from it.

She settled amidst the Rockwood Mountains, surrounded by trolls who needed her very much. Those were the days called the Great Darkness. Her webs trapped many monsters of chaos, so she and her worshippers could devour them. She grew stronger, and in her association and worship of Arachne Solara Cragspider was present when Wakboth was devoured. Cragspider then helped to reweave the Web of the World at the time of the Dawning.

Cragspider was known in the First Age to be a great and powerful entity who ruled over a large tribe of uz. As such she was invited to assist in the God Project that created Osentalka. She withdrew from the project with the uz. Unlike the uz, she did not actively resist the Broken Council but withdrew into her mountains, thereby ensuring that the web of her own long range plans was not broken. She brooded, trying to learn how she had been fooled into helping on the God Project.

In the Second Age Cragspider performed a great deed. She sought to break theTrollkin Curse of the uz, and she achieved tremendous results. Her rites, performed by worshippers before mating and before birth, resulted in the birth of the uzdo, who are called great trolls by humans. As these rites spread among the trolls Cragspider received a huge surge of worship. She leveled a few mountains and isolated her own mountain, then redug all its tunnels. At the end of the age she confronted one of the true dragons that came to destroy the humans who had invaded Kerofinela. This Black Dragon has been her ally since.

In the Third Age Cragspider has remained personally isolated from the world, only rarely interacting with the humans of Kerofinela. She has entertained emissaries in the last several decades. All have been afraid of her, and most agree that she will have an important role to play in the Hero Wars.

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