The subject for today is “Favorite Animal / Vermin.”
I think I’ll go with one that never fails to bring me a secret smile when the PCs encounter it.
The Crab Spider.
The Crab Spider is the weakest of the giant spiders in Basic / Expert D&D. It is a hunting spider, so does not spin a web. It can easily clamber across walls and ceilings. Crab Spiders can alter their coloration to blend in with their surroundings, so they get to surprise on 1 to 4 on a d6. They are poisonous, but the venom is weak and grants a bonus on the Saving Throw.
It is the perfect ambush monster to use for a Level 1 party, especially if the players are new as well.
I don’t remember where I first came across this, probably in one of the old “B” series modules, or maybe the “Monster & Treasure Assortment” book, but the image is of the PCS coming across a room where they can see some treasure or something else worth investigating just sitting in the open.
And when they come close to investigate, the Crab Spider on the ceiling jumps down and pounces on one of the PCs.
It is a fact that the last direction a person looks when entering a room is UP. This has been borne out in scientific studies. It is why ninja in movies & TV are able to get away with wedging themselves in a high corner against a ceiling and nobody spots them.
I have included that room in every single dungeon I have ever made for a Level 1 party. Probably around a half-dozen times over the years.
So I guess the Crab Spider would be my Favorite Animal / Vermin type monster.