Monday, January 3, 2011

General Rules: Monsters - Hellwasp Swarm

Hellwasp Swarm (adapted from the Monster Manual and Dragon Magazine #329)
Diminutive Magical Beast (Evil, Extraplanar, Swarm)

Hit Dice: 12d10+36 (102 hit points)
Initiative: +10
Speed: 5 feet, fly 40 feet
Armor Class: 20 (+4 size, +6 Dexterity); touch 20, flat-footed 14
BAB/Grapple: +12/-
Attack: Swarm (3d6 plus poison)
Full Attack: Swarm (3d6 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 10 feet by 10 feet/0 feet
Special Attacks: Distraction, inhabit, poison
Special Qualities: Damage Reduction 10/+1, Darkvision 60 feet, hive mind, immune to weapon damage, low-light vision, resistance to fire 10, swarm traits
Saves: Fortitude +10, Reflex +14, Will +7
Abilities: Str 1, Int 6, Wis 13, Dex 22, Con 14, Cha 9
Skills: Hide +19, Listen +10, Spot +10
Feats: Ability Focus (Poison), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Augmentation (Listen and Spot), Toughness
Environment: Infernal Hells
Organization: Solitary, fright (2 - 4 swarms), or terror (5 - 8 swarms)
Challenge Rating: 8
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always lawful evil
Advancement: None
Level Adjustment: -

Hellwasps are vicious, foul-tempered magical insects from the infernal planes. A single hellwasp resembles a thumb-sized normal wasp, except its carapace is gleaming black with ruby red stripes, and its compound eyes are an iridescent green. In swarms, hellwasps form a collective hive mind intelligence with infernal cunning and bloodlust.

Like any swarm, a hellwasp swarm seeks to surround and attack any living prey it encounters. A swarm deals 3d6 points of damage to any creature whose space it occupies at the end of its move. The swarm can take over the bodies of its prey and infest both the living and the dead, using them as horrible living (or unloving) puppets to accomplish acts of wickedness that a swarm of insects could never attempt.

A hellwasp swarm's attack is treated as an evil-aligned weapon and a magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

In order to attack, a hellwasp 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 and flies all around its prey, but remains a creature with a 10 foot by 10 foot space. Hellwasp swarms never make attacks of opportunity, but they can provoke attacks of opportunity. A hellwasp swarm’s attacks are evil-aligned and magical. 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 hellwasp 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 hellwasp swarm in its space must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Hive Mind (Ex): Any hellwasp swarm with at least 1 hit point per Hit Die (12 hit points for a standard swarm) forms a hive mind, giving it an Intelligence of 6. When a hellwasp swarm is reduced below this hit point threshold, it becomes mindless.

Inhabit (Ex): A hellwasp swarm can enter the body of a helpless or dead creature by crawling into its mouth and other orifices. Inhabiting requires 1 minute and the victim must be Small, Medium, or Large, although four swarms working together can inhabit a Huge creature. The swarm can abandon the body at any time, although doing this takes 1 full round. Amy attack against the host deals half damage to the hellwasp swarm as well, although the swarm's resistances and immunities may negate some or all of this damage.

If a hellwasp swarm inhabits a dead body, it can restore animation to the creature and control its movements, effective transforming it into a zombie of the appropriate size for so long as the swarm remains inside. if a hellwasp swarm inhabits a living victim, it can neutralize its own poison and control the victim's movement and actions as if using dominate monster on the victim. The hellwasps quickly consume a living victim, dealing 2d4 points of Constitution damage per hour they inhabit a body. A body reduced to 0 Constitution is dead.

A hellwasp-inhabited creature is relatively easy to spot, since its skin crawls with the forms of insects inside. The swarm is intelligent enough to attempt to hide beneath loose clothing or a large cloak to keep its presence from being detected. The swarm can attempt a Disguise check to conceal its inhabitation of a host, with a -4 penalty if currently inhabiting a Small host.

A remove disease or heal spell cast on an inhabited victim forces the hellwasp swarm to abandon the host.

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.

Hellwasp 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.

Hellwasp 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, be within alignment one step of lawful evil, and be at least a 16th-level caster. Powerful goblinoid and goblinoid-blooded spellcasters have been known to have hellwasp swarm familiars.

The hellwasp swarm is 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 hellwasp 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): Hellwasp 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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