Archives of Nethys

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Building the Swarm


Source Starfinder #43: Icebound pg. 52
A Swarm component is almost never encountered alone. The PCs might get into a fight with only a single Swarm creature— such as when they want to eliminate a forward scout or overcome a tough guardian—but there are always other Swarm creatures nearby. The Swarm shares a hive mind, giving components a unity of purpose. This hive mind controls every aspect of a Swarm component’s existence, and thinks nothing of sacrificing numerous components to achieve a goal. The Swarm components themselves think nothing of being expended, as their individual will is subsumed with the hive mind.
This hive mind is strongest when Swarm components are within 30 feet of each other; at this proximity, they instantly share threat assessments and bolster each other’s mental fortitude. Swarm creatures this close to one another should always display an eerie uniformity—they walk in lockstep, turn their gaze in unison, and so on.
Swarm components work naturally as a team, and their tactics should reflect this. They typically seek to flank their foes to make them flat-footed, while those with natural ranged weaponry might provide covering fire or harrying fire to support melee fighters. Smarter components might direct weaker creatures to provoke attacks of opportunity during a retreat, to better ensure the survival of stronger Swarm.
Some Swarm components, and particularly those suitable as foes for mid-level or high-level PCs, hone their telepathic sensitivity into spell-like abilities. The spells Swarm creatures cast should vary, but they nearly always resemble psychic powers in their manifestations and effects.