Aracht is located in the Hallowed Lands, a large clearing between Harrowoods and the Ecclesiarchy. The area is often incorrectly called the Hollow Lands, because the huge caverns of the Spider city are located just underneath it. Seen from above, Hallowed Lands look almost porous, as they are covered by entrances into various parts of the Arachten tunnels. The ground is very uneven and hilly, with the occasional thorny bush sprouting here and there in the summer.
The city's weather is rather eratic , because of the steam of icy air that descends from the mountains and sweeps across the clearing, seeping inside the tunnels. The Spiders don't really mind it, though some of the underground caverns have hot srpings in them, and these places are considered most desireable to live in. Since the clearing is surrounded by mountains on all sides and half submerged, it is not very windy. The winters and autumns could be snowy, and the entrances have been designed so that unwelcome streams of water do not reach down into the city itself.
Aracht is populated almost totally by Spider tribe. Outsiders are seen as food by default, although exceptions are made for certain kinds of visitors, such as merchants or scholars. Even those who are allowed inside would rarely find the city a pleasant place to stay for an extended period of time.
The city used to be much larger, but has rapidly declined in population over the last century. Because of its proximity to Obsidian, the area is being exposed to lethal radiation levels, which has a catastrophical effect on the Spiders' child mortality rate. Because the level of contamination just keeps rising as time passes, the future of the city does not look promising. The government is not yet making plans to move the tribe elsewhere, but that might soon become necessary.
Aracht is a feudal society, divided into multiple Webs. Each Web is a large family, or collection of several smaller families, and owns a portion of the city, that they have total control over. Each Web is governed by a Widow, typically the oldest female Spider. The Widow has unlimited political power within her Web, and rules it how she sees fit. Some take their duties seriously and arrange a miniature cabinet of ministers to help develop the Web and keep track of the Web's affairs; others let things take care of themselves.
One of the Webs is governed by a Queen. Every other Web is expected to pay annual tribute to her Web, the Queen's Lair, in the form of one Anansi, or specially appointed male Spiders who have been deemed by the Widow to be desirable mating partners. The Anansis' primary use is to be married off to the Widows of other Webs. These "princes" are used by their leaders as political chesspieces in order to establish relations with other Webs.
The Queens can trace their heritage to the semi-legendary founder of the city, and have been the subject of worship for many generations. The Queen's Lair has, however, lost its political status over the ages, and is now largely equal with other Webs, albeit it is somewhat larger in population. The title of Queen has been kept mainly for traditional and cultural reasons.
Law & Crime Edit
Every Web has its own internal peacekeeping system, organised by the Widow. It usually consists of nothing more than several guards who patrol the Web's territories and the perimeter. Crime within the Webs is uncommon; family members are generally very loyal to one another.
The situation between Webs, however, is quite lawless. There has been nobody to regulate it since the Queen's Lair has lost its influence, and it has become natural for members of rival Webs to try to sabotage and steal from eachother, although murder is rare.
Aracht is on amicable terms with nearby efferus tribes, including Verdeluz and Svanteberg. The political goodwill doesn't mean you won't get eaten, however.
Aracht has strained relations with Caelin and the Ecclesiarchy, whose administrations keep careful track of how many of their citizens are being eaten by the Spiders every year, and are not amused by those numbers.
Aracht has no diplomatical relations with any other state.
Aracht is at peace.
Aracht has no organised military. It has never been part of a war and has no military culture. Most spiders are formidable fighters in their animal form, and would have a notable terrain advantage over any invaders of their territory. However, while a spider horde might be able to fight on an equal footing with another primitive army, it is highly unlikely that the tribe would be able to repel an enemy equipped with modern weapons and tactics.
Aracht is a pre-industrial, moneyless society. Although looted gadgets of various origins have become rather common, the great powers' technological progress has made little impact on the Spiders' way of life. Each Web has its own internal economy, with no common currency in use. Commodities are generally divided into two categories: things that you can eat, and things that you cannot. Food is considered to be most important, while the value of other objects is highly subjective. Inedible things of all sorts are used as lair decorations. The majority of the market consists of the trading of trophies that the spiders have obtained on their topside excursions.
Aracht has thin trade links to Verdeluz, Svanteberg and Lux, through which spidersilk is being exported. These businesses are not officially sanctioned and are kept up by private merchants who travel between the cities. Besides spidersilk, the city does not produce anything noteworthy. Anything that anyone else would want to buy, anyway.