”There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.”
Because they call the sky their domain, birds and bats are closest to the Heavens and enjoy some favour from Manwë and Varda (the King and Queen of the Valar). Indeed, the Great Eagles are considered the most noble of all the Kelvar. They serve the Valar as messengers, scouts, and warriors. There are over 10,000 species of Endorian avians. Ranging in size from tiny Dwarf Hummingbirds that weigh no more than a gram to Great Eagles who are capable of carrying a large rider and all his equipment, they fill a distinct niche in virtually every ecosystem. Their bright colours, remarkable songs, and stunning aerial skills generate pleasure, wonder, awe, and envy among Eru's Children.
Warm-blooded vertebrates with extremely active metabolisms and four limbs, birds are the only animals with feathers. Their forward limbs are modified to form wings, enabling most birds to fly. Their tail feathers provide added flight surfaces and are attached to the "false tail" in their rump.
Bats are also warm-blooded avians who are capable of sustained flight (as opposed to gliding). Unlike birds, though, they are mammals whose wings are membranes that are supported on the four elongated fingers of each forelimb and are attached to their ankles and/or tail.
Watchers in the Water are freshwater Kraken that normally reside in the pools of the Underdeeps. Sometimes, however, they swim into above ground meres. Such was the case with the Watcher at the West Gate. This creature remained unknown to any of the Free Peoples until near the end of the Third Age, when it emerged from the depths of Moria into the Sirannon ("Gate Stream") by the West Gate of Moria, damming the Sirannon to form a gloomy lake in what had been a little valley. Driven by Sauron's evil will, it waited for prey there by the West Gate, catching at least one Dwarf and a number of foolhardy beasts and Orcs before encountering the Fellowship of the Ring in early T.A. 3019. Then, it nearly captured Frodo, the Ringbearer, as the party entered Moria. It is not known what happened to the Watcher after the War of the Ring. Without Sauron's hatred guiding its movements, it may have returned to the Underdeeps. Alternatively, it may still be in the Gate Pool, waiting for victims to puzzle over the inscription on the West Gate.
Dragons, or Drakes, are the most famous and feared monsters in Middle-earth. No race of creatures instils so much awe, or is cause for so much wonder and story-telling. They are Morgoth's supreme conception. Physically, these so-called Giant Worms vary in size and appearance. Some slither or crawl; others run, jump, or fly. Most have vision that surpasses that of the most keen-sighted of birds, while others can perceive smells better than a North Bear. All share a common heritage, though, and have scaly hides, two to four horns, and long, serpentine bodies. Those with limbs have four appendages, although two may be modified to support wings.Razor-like talons crown their nimble digits.
Morgoth produced the Giant races in an attempt mock Eru's handiwork and combat the powerful Onodrim (Ents). The Black Enemy failed to refine these creatures, so generally the older and larger breeds are the least intelligent. While not particularly numerous, Giants inhabit the alpine regions of virtually every mountain range in Middle-earth. They are wild, playful, and dim-witted creatures who favour cool, desolate areas little frequented by the Free Peoples. Giants eat large quantities of meat and they hunt their prey in a number of different ways. A Norsa can run his victims down and strangle them, or (in the case of a skilful Giant) he can fell the beast by throwing large rocks and crush the creature's skull, leg, or spine. Giants have little use for conventional items of treasure. They do not use money and are much too large to use most weapons (although many of them can grasp the idea of what a weapon is). Norsar don't bother with personal adornments, except (in some
cases) for trophies. Some Giants, for instance, make necklaces of skulls strung on hide cords. Like Trolls, though, a few Giants, fascinated by the glitter of armour and such objects, may accumulate a hoard of miscellaneous shiny objects. There are always exceptions. The Red Giants of the Orocarni, for instance, even know how use and make weapons.
Giant Spiders are massive in size and appear mostly in the forests of Mirkwood. They are descended from the spider-creatures of the Ered Gorgoroth, and/or the evil spider-like being known as Ungoliant. Like all arachnids, they have eight legs, many eyes, and are known for constructing large webs to trap their prey. After mating, the female often devours the male. The female will lay thousands of eggs, and the offspring will often devour her, and/or vice-versa. Giant Spiders were once found in Mirkwood, as well as originating from the Ered Gorgoroth (Mountains of Terror) and Nan Dungortheb. Ungoliant and her descendants, the Spiders of Mirkwood, could speak, though it is unknown if all spiders could.
There are many more strange and wonderful creatures that inhabit Middle-earth.
Sometimes the simplest conversion can have fantastic results. During the Fall of the Necromancer release Games Workshop made some spider models, whilst the sculpting was great on them the poses were a little flat, literally. Luckily being metal this can be remedied by repositioning the limbs. This simple article provides ideas on how to make the spiders more interesting.