Monday, January 3, 2011

General Rules: Monsters - Centipede Swarm

Centipede Swarm (adapted from the Monster Manual and Dragon Magazine #329)
Diminutive Vermin (Swarm)

Hit Dice: 9d8-9 (31 hit points)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 20 feet, climb 20 feet
Armor Class: 18 (+4 size, +4 Dexterity); touch 18, flat-footed 14
BAB/Grapple: +6/-
Attack: Swarm (2d6 plus poison)
Full Attack: Swarm (2d6 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 10 feet by 10 feet/0 feet
Special Attacks: Distraction, poison
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 feet, immune to weapon damage, swarm traits, tremorsense 30 feet, vermin
Saves: Fortitude +5, Reflex +7, Will +3
Abilities: Str 1, Int -, Wis 10, Dex 19, Con 8, Cha 2
Skills: Climb +12, Spot +4
Feats: Weapon Finesse
Environment: Underground
Organization: Solitary, tangle (2 - 4 swarms), or colony (7 - 12 swarms)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: None
Level Adjustment: -

A centipede swarm is a crawling mass of voracious centipedes that can climb over obstacles to get at prey.

A centipede swarm seeks to surround and attack any living prey it encounters. A swarm deals 2d6 points of damage to any creature whose space it occupies at the end of its move.

In order to attack, a centipede swarm moves into opponents' spaces, which provokes attacks of opportunity. It can occupy the same space as a creature of any size, since it crawls all around its prey, but remains a creature with a 10 foot by 10 foot space. Centipede swarms never make attacks of opportunity, but they can provoke attacks of opportunity. A centipede swarm’s attacks are nonmagical. Damage reduction sufficient to reduce the swarm attack’s damage to 0, being incorporeal, and other special abilities usually give a creature immunity (or at least resistance) to damage from a swarm.

Unlike other creatures with a 10 foot by 10 foot space, a centipede swarm is shapeable. It can occupy any four contiguous space and it can squeeze through any space large enough to contain one of its component creatures.

Distraction (Ex): Any living creature that begins its turn with a centipede swarm in its space must succeed at a DC 13 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 13; initial and secondary damage 1d4 Dexterity. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Swarm: A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernible anatomy, so it is not subject to critical hits or flanking. A bat swarm is immune to all weapon damage. Reducing a swarm to 0 hit points or lower causes it to break up, though damage taken until that point does not degrade its ability to attack or resist attack. Swarms are never staggered or reduced to a dying state by damage. Also, they cannot be tripped, grappled, or bull rushed, and they cannot grapple an opponent. A swarm is immune to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures (including single-target spells such as disintegrate), with the exception of mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects) if the swarm has an Intelligence score and a hive mind. A swarm takes half again as much damage (+50%) from spells or effects that affect an area, such as splash weapons and many evocation spells. A bat swarm is susceptible to high winds such as that created by a gust of wind spell. For purposes of determining the effects of wind on a bat swarm, treat the swarm as a creature of Diminutive size. A swarm rendered unconscious by means of nonlethal damage becomes disorganized and dispersed, and does not reform until its hit points exceed its nonlethal damage.

Vermin: No Intelligence score, and immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).

Skills: A centipede swarm has a +4 racial bonus on Spot checks and a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks, and uses its Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength modifier for Climb checks. A centipede swarm can always choose to Take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

Centipede swarms are extremely difficult to fight with physical attacks. They have a few special vulnerabilities as follows.

A lit torch swung as an improvised weapon deals 1d3 points of fire damage per hit.

A weapon with a special ability such as flaming or frost deals its full energy damage with each hit, even if the weapon's normal damage can't affect the swarm.

A lit lantern can be used as a thrown weapon, dealing 1d4 points of fire damage to all creatures in squares adjacent to where it breaks.

Centipede Swarms as Familiars
Bat swarms can serve as familiars for characters eligible to obtain familiars including arcane engineers, hexblades, mind weavers, shadowsworn, sorcerers, and wizards. To do so, the character must take the Improved Familiar feat and be at least a 9th-level caster. Goblinoids and goblinoid-blooded spellcasters often have centipede swarm familiars.

The centipede swarm becomes a magical beast swarm familiar. Swarm familiars do not gain the ability to speak with others of their kind, and neither the swarm nor its master gains the Skill Augmentation (Listen and Spot) feat. Instead, the following special qualities are substituted for those standard familiar abilities.

Granted Abilities: In addition to special abilities gained as a result of standard familiar progression, swarm familiars also bestow the following abilities upon their masters. The centipede swarm's master gains immunity to her swarm's nauseating effect and its wounding attack and can occupy the same space as her familiar without suffering penalties. Swarm familiar granted abilities replace the granted abilities listed for improved familiars.

Hive Mind (Ex): Centipede swarm familiars gain a hive mind that connects them to each other by the arcane power of their master. The master gains an empathic link and the ability to share spells with the hive mind of the swarm familiar.

Nonhealing (Ex): When a swarm takes damage, part of it is physically destroyed. Therefore, swarm familiars cannot be healed in the normal manner. Instead, new creatures much be summoned to the swam to replace those that have died. A summon swarm spell "cures" a swarm familiar by replacing dead creatures in the swarm at a rate of 1d6 hit points per caster level. The number of hit points healed in this manner cannot exceed the swarm's maximum hit point total. Only a druid or the wizard to whom the swarm familiar belongs can cure a swarm familiar in this fashion. Summon swarm spells used to heal a familiar create no other effect.

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