Swarm Conversion for Units

Oldtimer

Great Old One
Publisher
As Ravenheart says, you level it up from the base creature according to the normal rules, and give it swarm characteristics such as half damage from ranged & melee attacks. It will have aura & standard attacks based on the original creature's attack, levelled up, or the standard damage expression for the new level (I recommend elite swarms do x1.5 standard damage).
Fair enough. So I increase attack bonus, defences, et al according to the level-up. Hit points and damage expressions I recalculate according to a standard or elite monster of that level. Then add swarm traits.

What I don't understand is why you feel that the same-sized swarm should be four levels higher if based on a standard monster rather than a minion?

If I create a platoon of 32 Orc Savages (4th level minion), that's a 16th level swarm, but if I create a platoon of 32 Orc Berserkers (4th level standard), that's a 20th level swarm. I don't see a mechanical reason for that.
 

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S'mon

Legend
What I don't understand is why you feel that the same-sized swarm should be four levels higher if based on a standard monster rather than a minion?

If I create a platoon of 32 Orc Savages (4th level minion), that's a 16th level swarm, but if I create a platoon of 32 Orc Berserkers (4th level standard), that's a 20th level swarm. I don't see a mechanical reason for that.

To preserve the XP value per creature, 32 minion-4s are worth the same XP as 1 16th level standard monster. 32 standard-4s are worth the same XP as 1 20th level elite monster.
 

Oldtimer

Great Old One
Publisher
To preserve the XP value per creature, 32 minion-4s are worth the same XP as 1 16th level standard monster. 32 standard-4s are worth the same XP as 1 20th level elite monster.
OK, I see. Personally I wouldn't let that bother me at all, but I understand your reasoning now.
 

ravenheart

Explorer
Here are som more ideas on effects on swarm units upon becoming bloodied. Think of these as part of the unit breaking up, disbanding or plain and simple being killed. I have options here that are suitable for each monster role (except for Leader, which isn't a proper role anyway).

[D]-[/D]
(Brute) Berserk Formation - Decrease the space of the swarm two steps if Gargantuan and one step if not - e.g. 6x6 becomes 3x3, 3x3 becomes 2x2. The swarm gains an aura 2 (or 3 if it started put as Gargantuan), creatures that enter the aura or start their turn there take X damage.

(Soldier) Phalanx Formation - Decrease the space of the swarm two steps if Gargantuan or one step if not - e.g. 6x6 becomes 3x3, 3x3 becomes 2x2. The swarm splits into two identical swarms (overlapping each others spaces after the split, if necessary). The swarms share hit points but have separate actions.

(Skirmisher) Guerilla Formation - Decrease the space of the swarm two steps if Gargantuan or one step if not - e.g. 6x6 becomes 3x3, 3x3 becomes 2x2. The swarm gains a +4 bonus to (all its) speed(s). Also, the swarm can shift 2 squares as a move action (or an additional square if a power already grants them a similar ability).

(Artillery) Orb Formation - Decrease the space of the swarm two steps if Gargantuan or one step if not - e.g. 6x6 becomes 3x3, 3x3 becomes 2x2. The swarm cannot be subject to unvoluntary forced movement. Also, the swarm no longer provoke opportunity attacks when using ranged or area powers.

(Lurker) Scattered Formation
- The swarm splits into a number of minions. The number is twice the amount of single creatures capable of fitting along a single side of the swarm (e.g. 2x2 swarm becomes 4 1x1 swarms of medium creatures, 4x4 swarms becomes 8 1x1 swarms of medium creatures or 4 2x2 swarms of large creatures). The minions are placed anywhere within the space formerly occupied by the swarm, and can shift (or teleport, if it is appropriate) their speed as a free action upon being placed.

(Controller) Controlled Formation
- Decrease the space of the swarm two steps if Gargantuan or one step if not - e.g. 6x6 becomes 3x3, 3x3 becomes 2x2. The swarm can alter the space it occupies by one step once per round as a free action, reverting to its real space at the start of its next turn. Also, the size of its bursts and blasts are increased by 1.
[D]-[/D]

Opinions? Would you use these? If not, why?
 
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I really like this idea, and since I am running the War of the Burning Sky, I plan on using these units in upcoming battles.

I really like the Lurker and brute options above, not sure if I would use the others. To me the Unit would not be the key NPC on the battle-field, but represent the heroes slicing through swaths of less challenging foes... so I don't want them to be too ultra-cool, special, or {most importantly} hard to run.
 

S'mon

Legend
I really like this idea, and since I am running the War of the Burning Sky, I plan on using these units in upcoming battles.

I really like the Lurker and brute options above, not sure if I would use the others. To me the Unit would not be the key NPC on the battle-field, but represent the heroes slicing through swaths of less challenging foes... so I don't want them to be too ultra-cool, special, or {most importantly} hard to run.

I think there's space for having both swarm units that are little more than difficult terrain, and swarm units that are a significant or even critical challenge - what if your PCs are Persian heroes at Thermopylae? :cool: Or I remember 2000 AD's 'Slaine' battling against Roman Imperial maniples, I would make those pretty 'cool' swarms.
 

Badwe

First Post
I think there's space for having both swarm units that are little more than difficult terrain, and swarm units that are a significant or even critical challenge - what if your PCs are Persian heroes at Thermopylae? :cool: Or I remember 2000 AD's 'Slaine' battling against Roman Imperial maniples, I would make those pretty 'cool' swarms.

there's definitely some merit to having a giant legion be almost an impossible to remove hazard: a giant swath of difficult, damaging terrain. this would essentially represent the mighty, epic heroes wading through waves of troops. Even if it weren't a hazard I think if your mass of troops is big enough they can and should have heroes moving into them. Another possibility is to have the swarm use a trample move to envelop the players. Since the swarm is composed of so many toops, it most likely should (in addition to a swam aura) attack several creatures in and adjacent to its spaces during a melee basic. This would represent different troops attacking each front.

I had thought about this concept of swarm armies on my own, though in not as many words as this thread. One idea I imagined is with respect to marking. It seems a bit odd that a mark which normally affects only one troops would potentially grab the attention of an entire platoon (especially with the ensnaring swordmage's teleport gimmicks). Therefore I imagine a power that, as a trigger to the army being marked, would have them shed the mark and some amount of HP to summoning a "champion" adjacent to them with equal hit points and the mark. This would be a particularly useful move for "skirmisher" or ranged "artillery" swarms.
 
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I like the idea of a mark shedding spin off, moving a Minion out of the formation to take on the threat... or other conditions.

But I didn't read that before I worked on this... in the campaign I have ran Ragesian Archers against the group since level 1 (3.5 monsters) and upgraded them as the group continued leveling up.
So at 4th level they ran into a Master Archer Solo, at 8th two Master Archer Elites, at 12th 4 Master Archers, then at 20th they ran into 20 Master Archer Minions... and I was at the end of the line.
But now these cool rules come into play!

Now I have a level 26 Archer Squad to put the beat down on the group with.. and basically these are the same guys that the group faced back at 1st level! Loving it!

[sblock]
Ragesian Archer Squad
Level 26 Elite Artillery (SWARM)
HP 370 Bloodied 185
Space 3x3
AC = 38, Fort = 36, Ref = 38, Will = 38
Saving Throw = +2
Speed = 6
Resist: Half damage from melee and ranged attacks
Vulnerable: 10 from close or area attacks
Traits
> Swarm
- Swarm Attack Aura 3
Any enemy within the aura takes 5 damage plus 5 additional damage for each adjacent square occupied by the swarm
> Ranged Sneak Attack
When the target grants combat advantage or is flanked, the archer deals 2d6 extra damage to that enemy with its attacks.
Standard Actions
Standard Actions
M Pummel (weapon) * At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature) +26 vs. AC, and
the archer shifts 1 square.
Hit: 3d8+12 damage
R Mass Snipe (weapon)_ * At-Will
Attack: Ranged 20 (4 attacks, or 2 if split)
+30 vs. AC
Hit: 3d10+12 damage, and the target grants
combat advantage until the end of the archer’s
next turn.
r Mass Fire_ (weapon) * Recharge 456
Attack: Ranged 20 burst 5, or ranged burst 3 if split
All creatures in burst
+30 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10+12 damage and the target grants
combat advantage until the end of the archer’s
next turn.

Triggered Actions:
Disband:
Immediate Reaction: When first bloodied.
Split into two new swarms of Large size, each with 90 hit points. Conditions remain on one swarm, and that swarm gets an immediate save against all conditions even if they do not normally end on a save {marks included}.

Skills Nature +20, Stealth +19
Str 15 (+10) Dex 22 (+14) Wis 11 (+8)
Con 21 (+13) Int 18 (+12) Cha 8 (+7)
Alignment Unaligned; Languages Common, Orc
[/sblock]

I added the swarm traits, damaging aura, tweaked the Snipe ability, and added the Mass Fire option and bloodied split. For a first stab, I think this could work out pretty solidly. Did I miss anything?

The other niceity of this is that I can de-type back to a standard Monster at level 30 and have these guys in the battle royale at the end of the campaign arc.

Kudo's to S'mon for coming up with a mechanic that keeps critters viable through all tiers of play!
 

S'mon

Legend
But I didn't read that before I worked on this... in the campaign I have ran Ragesian Archers against the group since level 1 (3.5 monsters) and upgraded them as the group continued leveling up.
So at 4th level they ran into a Master Archer Solo, at 8th two Master Archer Elites, at 12th 4 Master Archers, then at 20th they ran into 20 Master Archer Minions... and I was at the end of the line.
But now these cool rules come into play!

Now I have a level 26 Archer Squad to put the beat down on the group with.. and basically these are the same guys that the group faced back at 1st level! Loving it!...

...The other niceity of this is that I can de-type back to a standard Monster at level 30 and have these guys in the battle royale at the end of the campaign arc.

Kudo's to S'mon for coming up with a mechanic that keeps critters viable through all tiers of play!

Looks awesome, great stuff! :D
 

S'mon

Legend
BTW it occurs to me that since Solos are worth 20 times a minion of the same level, you could use a Solo swarm for a squadron of 20 minions without changing the level. This might be a good approach for eg Hobgoblin Grunts; if your 3rd level PCs are finding them unimpressive then statting them as a 3x3 Huge Solo swarm would certainly get their attention! This could also be done with say Savage Orcs. It might make sense to stat groups of 20 Soldiers as a 3x3, but Skirmishers etc as a 4x4 to reflect the looser formation. And you could use minions in addition.
 

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