The Reign of Winter Adventure Path continues with the upcoming release of Pathfinder Adventure Path #71: Rasputin Must Die!, where the PCs find themselves in Russia in 1918 facing off against animated tanks, headless Cossacks, and the "Mad Monk" himself, Rasputin! The adventure contains several encounters with large numbers of World War I-era Russian soldiers. Rather than treating each soldier as an individual foe, they're combined into units with a single stat block and new subtype: troop. Encounters with troops aren't meant as studies or simulations of modern tactical warfare; rather, by condensing many individual soldiers into a single stat block, you can concentrate on the atmosphere of the adventure without bogging down every combat round with dozens of die rolls. To whet your appetite for early twentieth century adventure, here's a preview of the new troop subtype that appears in Rasputin Must Die!
The troop subtype represents an organized group of trained soldiers that act as a unit, rather than as individuals. A troop is something of an abstraction, in that the component creatures that make up the troop are mostly irrelevant; only the troop as a whole matters for the purposes of combat. A troop is similar to a swarm, but is normally composed of Small or Medium creatures. Large groups of Tiny or smaller creatures should use the normal swarm rules.
Troop Subtype: A troop is a collection of creatures that acts as a single creature, similar to a swarm, but typically as part of a military unit. A troop has the characteristics of its type, except as noted here. A troop has a single pool of Hit Dice and hit points, a single initiative modifier, a single speed, and a single Armor Class. A troop makes saving throws as a single creature.
A single troop occupies a 20-foot-by-20-foot square, equal in size to a Gargantuan creature, though the actual size category of the troop is the same as that of the component creatures. The area occupied by a troop is completely shapeable, though the troop must remain in contiguous squares to accurately reflect the teamwork of trained military units. A troop has a reach equal to that of the component creatures based on size or armament. A troop can move through squares occupied by enemies and vice versa without impediment, although the troop provokes an attack of opportunity if it does so. A troop can move through any area large enough for its component creatures.
The exact number of a troop's component creatures varies, but in general, a troop of Small or Medium creatures consists of approximately 12 to 30 creatures. Larger creatures can form troops, but the area occupied by such a troop should increase proportionally according to the size of the component creatures.
Troop Traits: A troop is not subject to flanking, but it is subject to critical hits and sneak attacks if its component creatures are subject to such attacks. Reducing a troop to 0 hit points or fewer causes it to break up, effectively destroying the troop, though the damage taken until that point does not degrade its ability to attack or resist attack. A troop is never staggered or reduced to a dying state by damage. Also, a troop cannot be tripped, grappled, or bull rushed, except by area effects that include such effects. A troop can grapple an opponent.
A troop is immune to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures (including single-target spells such as disintegrate and multiple target spells such as haste), though it is affected by spells or effects that target an area or a nonspecific number of creatures (such as fireball or mass hold monster). A troop takes half again as much damage (+50%) from spells or effects that affect an area. If a troop is rendered unconscious by means of nonlethal damage, it disperses and does not reform until its hit points exceed its nonlethal damage.
Troop Attack: Creatures with the troop subtype don't make standard melee attacks. Instead, they deal automatic damage to any creature within reach or whose space they occupy at the end of their move, with no attack roll needed. A troop's stat block has "troop" in its Melee entry with no attack bonus given. The amount of damage a troop deals is based on its Hit Dice, as shown in the table on page 313 of the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary.
Unless stated otherwise, a troop's attacks are nonmagical. Damage reduction sufficient to reduce a troop attack's damage to 0 or other special abilities can give a creature immunity (or at least resistance) to the troop's attacks. Some troops also have other special attacks in addition to normal damage. Troops threaten all creatures within their reach or within their area, and attempt attacks of opportunity as normal with their troop attack.
Because of the chaos of combat, spellcasting or concentrating on spells within the area of a troop or within its reach requires a caster level check (DC 20 + spell level). Using skills that involve patience and concentration requires a successful DC 20 Will save.
Russian Rifle Troop
The following stat block represents an average troop of Russian soldiers encountered in Rasputin Must Die! A Russian rifle troop's troop attack is a combination of small arms fire, bayonets, trench shovels, and other close-combat attacks. In addition, Rasputin Must Die! presents some variant troops equipped with additional weapons and special attacks, such as chemical warfare troops, flamethrower troops, machine gun troops, and mortar troops.
Russian Rifle Troop CR 11
LN Medium humanoid (human, troop)
Init +3; Senses Perception +23
AC 24, touch 14, flat-footed 20 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 natural)
hp 152 (16d8+80)
Fort +11, Ref +13, Will +8
Defensive Abilities gas masks, troop traits
Speed 30 ft.
Melee troop (4d6+8)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks fusillade (DC 23), grenade volley (DC 21)
STATISTICSStr 26, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 11
Base Atk +12; CMB +20; CMD 34
Feats Ability Focus (fusillade), Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perception), Skill Focus (Stealth), Toughness
Skills Climb +15, Craft (firearms) +4, Knowledge (engineering) +1, Perception +23, Profession (soldier) +6, Stealth +10, Survival +8
Fusillade (Ex) Rifle troops can fire a fusillade of rifle bullets as a standard action. This attack takes the form of up to four lines with a range of 200 feet. These lines can start from the corner of any square in the troop's space. All creatures in one of these lines' areas of effect take 6d10+6 points of bludgeoning and piercing damage (Reflex DC 23 for half). The save DC is Dexterity-based, and includes the bonus from the troop's Ability Focus feat.
Gas Masks (Ex) The soldiers of a rifle troop are all equipped with gas masks. This makes the troop immune to inhaled poisons and other nonmagical airborne attacks that require breathing, and grants it a +2 bonus on saving throws against magical cloud or gas attacks.
Grenade Volley (Ex) Rifle troops are equipped with grenades. As a move action, a rifle troop can target a single square up to 60 feet away with a volley of fragmentation grenades. A volley deals 12d6 points of piercing and slashing damage in a 30-foot-radius burst (Reflex DC 21 for half). The save DC is Dexterity-based.