An army can be compared to a craftsmen. Both produce for gain. A craftsmen produces a product, a good, for monetary gain. An army, however, produces corpses for resource acquisition. Be it on the battlefield or in the medical tent with the severely wounded being put out of their misery, the fillers of graves are being produced.
Any mind of the modern age has thought about putting those bodies to work. Necromancy has long been socially inacceptable. Besides, no one enjoys seeing a former comrade, a former brother-in-arms, walking around fighting and killing with a spear hole in his gut and a couple arrows hanging from the arms. And the only other way was to throw the dead body into a catapult and throw it at the enemy, in the hopes of giving them plague.
It was Obstarian military who first unleashed the Raveten on their foes during the World War. No one was prepared for it. And so people died.
Stone peckers, foul-tempered beasts, better suited for cooking and mattresses than being allowed to breed
Anjet of Cenn Caerwaith
Beware the lords of the sky, in the wastelands even the would-be dragons give them a wide berth
Anjet of Cenn Caerwaith
Behold, the Harbinger of ill-tidings, the blizzard rider, the thief of winter, the Stamagast.
These rare, fist-sized spiders do not make webs, but rather excrete secretions which harden upon contact with air. These "droppings" resemble barley-sized spider eggs, or even lustrous pearls, once the slime coating them, dries up. In fact, dried Pearl Spider "drops" are indistinguishable from the marine varieties produced by mollusks, and hence of identical value on the open market!
Several centuries ago, they were studied by naturalists, and several observations were made. Firstly, was that these spiders "lay" these pearls for no apparent or discernible "natural" reason, and secondly, the naturalists had discovered that the more these spiders ate or were fed--and they were true omnivores--the larger the spider pearls came out.
A cottage industry began. Enterprising merchants hunted and collected these creatures across the lands, erecting spider-farms for the manufacture of Spider Pearls. It wasn't long before someone got the idea to force-feed the spiders, ala foie gras geese, and soon, the fattened spiders began pooping out pearls of great size! (relatively speaking). The regular pearl market came to disarray, and prices and value fluctuated wildly.
[b]Plothook[/b] The Mermen Mercantile Alliance hires the party to eradicate all terrestrial Pearl Spider Farms!