Note From the Writer:
Arachnia is only directly found in the gw.dat file – and as such, may not even be able to be considered canon lore. Even so, this concept has interested me ever since I searched for the Realm of Torment landmarks that are mentioned in the gw.dat, and even if Arachnia is not canon, I want to explore the possibility of it being canon.
Now, since Arachnia is most likely a tossed concept, at the very least, this could have been their plans before they switched to the whole “Elder Dragons” thing – and of my hypotheses, none of this is really canceled out by known lore.
Arachnia and the Realm of Torment "Landmarks."
There is only one source of Arachnia’s name, the Realm of Torment landmarks. The landmarks that relate to Arachnia are: Arachnia Plateau, Harvestman's Lair, The Spider's Heart, and Vale of Shadows. These four landmarks all either have a reference to Arachnia directly, or to spider-like things.
Aside from that, the Gate of Fear and the Domain of Fear are riddled with spider legs and spider webs. Also, I have noted that all four aforementioned landmarks are in the Domain of Fear. Two of which are rather close to the Gate of Secrets exit in the area. It seems to me, that when/if Arachnia existed, the now Domain of Fear *and possibly the Domain of Secrets* was its main home/realm – not as it is now for the Domain of Secrets though.
Originally Posted by Arachnia PlateauSpoiler
The image is only a portion of the Arachnia Plateau. The whole of it all looks like all 8 legs of a spider, and the exit to the Gate of Secrets looks a lot like a mouth – though in the wrong position if it were a spider. Although I will not say this is Arachnia, this location could have been made in her image during the domain’s creation.
Originally Posted by The Spider’s HeartSpoiler
Right next to the Arachnia Plateau is the Heart of Arachnia – or the best guess of the location. The location is believed to be the Heart of Arachnia due to an unusual glow on the map and the ground being lighter in a near-circular area. The glowing of the location fits with the “Glowing radiance” of the description. This is also the singular mention of Arachnia as a god.
Originally Posted by Harvestman’s LairSpoiler
The Harvestman’s Lair easily continues the spider theme of the Domain of Fear and Arachnia. Along with that, it is a cavern “filled with remains of the gods of insectoid beings” – this imples there were more than just Arachnia as a insectoid god long ago. But more on this later.
A repository (a place where things are deposited) of human fears from over a thousand years ago – most of which is spider-like. Having spider-like things in an area of fear is not uncommon due to a common fear of spiders (arachnophobia) which was created through fearing deadly spiders and their venom. But the second part is interesting. The area may indicate ancient power of a spider or dryder-like race. It is possibly just ancestors of Spiders of Dryders (or both), but also possibly Arachnia and her original creations. Or perhaps it is all of the above.Originally Posted by Domain of Fear
Arachnia’s link to Abaddon
With knowing that Arachnia is a dead god, and that the Domain of Fear is at least based off of it, we can assume some more things about it. In addition to how the Gate/Domain of Fear look, and with the landmarks in there being mostly related to Arachnia (possibly all the Arachnia landmarks are in the Domain of Fear, and I have yet to spot the rest), as I said, it is highly possible that the Domain of Fear was Arachnia’s home. Now, another thing to look at is the Apostate. Everyone who has looked into Abaddon and lore should know the quest reward dialogue from The Apostate. For fast reference, here it is (and I bolded the important part, and underlined the very important part):
This quote gives us two things. First, there were gods before him. Plural, implying generations or at least a whole pantheon of gods before his pantheon (Dwayna, Melandru, Grenth, Balthazar, Lyssa, and Abaddon). Second, knowing that Abaddon supplanted a god before him, and the Domain of Fear is based on Arachnia, and not to mention that Arachnia is dead, one can assume that Abaddon’s predecessor was Arachnia. Other then the given evidence, it should also be pointed out that the Apostate works in the Gate/Domain of Fear (he can be found in the Gate of Fear, and the quest by him deals within the Domain of Fear). So there are several supports for Arachnia being Abaddon’s predecessor.Originally Posted by Apostate
“Insectoid Gods” – Former Pantheon, or a new(old) one?
Returning to the Harvestman’s Lair description, the area is filled with “remains of the gods of insectoid beings”. Now, this does not mean the gods are insectoid, but just that they were worshiped by insectoid beings. However, looking at the area, they can only be limbs of insectoid beings, and since those remains are of gods, the gods must have been insectoid as well. What connection do these have to the Six Gods – if any – is still unknown. However, due to Arachnia being a spider god, one can easily link him/her/it to being one of these gods.
Now, there are a good number of theories link Dhuum to be an insectoid god (seen here). This landmark states that there were gods – plural. Meaning there was a pantheon (or part of a pantheon) of insectoid gods. This means these gods were connected to Arachnia, and if Dhuum truly is insectoid like some theories believe, then it could be that these insectoid gods were a previous pantheon of the True Gods. Add in the Apostate's words of gods before Abaddon, there is now even more support for a set of predecessors before the known true gods - and now their generic looks. Which further supports Arachnia being Abaddon’s unnamed predecessor – with Dhuum being Grenth’s predecessor (and now we have reason enough to believe that there may be no more than four unnamed insectoid predecessors of the other gods).
If, however, Dhuum is not insectoid in nature, then this could in fact be leading to a second pantheon of gods.
Arachnia as the God(dess) of Knowledge
This is probably the hardest bit to think about. We don’t know about Arachnia so we cannot say if there was any personality trait that led to the idea of a god(dess) of knowledge. However, there is an idea that was stated to me by draxynnic:
"A great plane inhabited by the primal fears of early man" – Being a god(dess) of knowledge, one knows the various kinds of fears there can be. It could be that Arachia wasn’t so much the God(dess) of Knowledge, but instead a “God(dess) of Fear” – through knowledge, Arachnia controlled fear. Eventually, the knowledge of fear would go to Abaddon and would be spread out to encompass general knowledge (though the darker side of knowledge, at least in his later millennium of existence).Originally Posted by Gate of Fear
Arachnia as a City
Although the main thought is that Arachnia was the God of Knowledge before Abaddon, there was a thought brought to my attention (i.e., not my own) that Arachnia was a city. This thought was given by the description of The Spider’s Heart – which to that person sounds like a "heart of a city." I personally disagree as the same description calls Arachnia a dead spider god. I only included this for vanity's sake.
Every god seems to have their own individual race. Dwayna had the harpies (if the legends are to be believed), Abaddon has Margonites, etc. etc. What did Arachnia have? Well, if there were a group of insectoid gods, then I don’t believe them all to be from her. However, based on the Domain of Fear’s description, and the area pertaining mostly to Arachnia, I’d have to say the Dryders were her own personal creation - possibly the Torment Claws as well. Now, they are under the control of Dhuum it seems (with a few in the Domain of Fear – possibly unaligned, possibly controlled by Abaddon). Why is this the case? My thoughts would be that they decided to follow the last insectoid god, as those gods where “theirs”, which would be Dhuum.
Giant Spider in Nightfall Jahai
This giant spider like being can be found in the southwest corner of Nightfall Jahai (a quest leads to this spot). When staring at a part of it which seems to have burst open (the pink inner portion), one can see that it moves back and forth – thus, is living. As it is living, clearly not Arachnia itself. But possibly another insectoid god imprisoned? Or perhaps it is just a powerful creation of one of those gods. What connection, if any, this living but seemingly trapped creature has to Arachnia or even to Abaddon is completely unknown.
For all we know, this could easily be Dhuum himself (again, assuming he is indeed an insectoid god).
Generations of the Gods
Based on the above information, I believe that the Six Gods have had their power passed down from “generation” to “generation” – that is, from predecessor to usurper. Whether willingly or not on the whole pantheon’s part - for instance, Grenth’s and Kormir’s Ascension into godhood may have been a plan by the other gods, however, the other 5 gods we know of (excluding Dhuum)? It may not have been volunteeringly accepted by the other gods – but if what we know of Dhuum and Arachnia is true and the past generation included the two and more gods like themselves, then they wouldn’t care of the fall of their godly brothers and sisters.
I believe that the current Six Gods (not including Kormir – instead including Abaddon) are the most recent full generation (Kormir being the first of her own generation) of gods, and at least the third generation (meaning there are four generations total). I only say this because I don’t believe that the world could have been created by evil beings. So in terms of generations, of what we know, the gods could have been “good” overtaken by “evil” overtaken by "neutral" (I won’t call the current gods good by what we know of them…).