What are some good ways to attack swarms?


Advice

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So I have a DM that pretty much has been doing dick moves to counter our characters. I won't go into details since I have before.

Long story short, I thought this was just going to be a phase, but its effectiveness against the party shows that he shouldn't stop. He keeps throwing swarms at us. I tend not to want to carry around 50 pints of oil, alchemist fire/acid flasks, but he just keeps using swarms on us every fight, and at this point 1d6 fire/acid damage ain't gonna cut it at level 11+. On top of the other crazy things he gives these swarms.

Basically I'm a hybrid melee/range ranger with high AC. So of course swarms ignore my magical mithril full plate armor and +5 shield.

A full spec archer ranger, and a Cleric who has tons of spells to burn at this point "but not earlier" but this is less about the cleric being able to get the swarm and more about not having the time to take care of them.

Most of the monsters we have been fighting tend to burst into "swarms" or can puke them out and make them attack us. Completely negating my character's AC.

Suggestions? Thank you.


Lockgo wrote:
So I have a DM that pretty much has been doing dick moves you counter our characters.

If this is your honest feeling, then find a new DM.

Done and easy.

That said, have something like gust of wind.. delight in the fact that a 'useless' spell is so effective..

If the motives are as you describe it should end.. likewise most swarms are mindless.. use summons to draw them away.. again chortling that you are using a mount spell to defeat enemies at 11th level.

-James


A big can of Raid.

Maybe a butterfly net?

Get a wand or something or a bag of devouring!

Dark Archive

Starfinder Superscriber

Vermin Repellant
Hire an Alchemist follower
Take leadership and get an Alchemist Cohort
Use Area Effect spells on swarms, via wands or scrolls if necessary

Get a new DM

Silver Crusade

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If your cleric can cast it (or even your ranger), repel vermin basically stops swarms cold.

Otherwise, buy a swarmbane clasp from Ultimate Combat. 3000gp, and all your weapons do full damage to swarms, regardless of their immunity to weapon damage.

And if swarms are still giving you grief then, it might be time to switch to an easier game...


Depends what kind of swarms he throws at you.

My usual GM doesn't like us doing anything out of the norm and says most good ideas "aren't allowed", but because we would have been killed by a swarm of spiders as we had no "REAL" way of finishing them off, I had my Cleric use Create Water 20 feet above their head, so they all took 2d6 fall damage.

The GM later ruled he was no longer allowing that to work, but I don't see why it couldn't when it worked the first few times. >:D


Wand of Burning Hands: 3750gp for 5d4*1.5damage against swarms.

Summon a counter swarm. Let the two swarms battle it out while you walk away.

- Gauss


The cleric could use Wind Wall and Calm Emotions to keep them at bay. He can also summon fire elementals.


Wear a swarm suit from APG or use a weapon with elemental damage like a +1 flaming XX. You do only 1d6 damage per attack but it is an automatic hit at higher levels so you can use two weapons regardless the penalties.

At last you can use wands with elemental spells. Burning hands is a good choice, produce flame too. Counter summons are a very good idea.


Swarm suit to prevent them from messing with you from the APG.

Ultimate Equipment has the Swarmbane Clasp. It's 3,000gp and says that weapons can hurt swarms normally, even if the swarm would usually be immune to weapon damage. Additionally, you auto-succeed on distraction saves. It's your neck slot, so you'd have to give up any amulet of natural armor, but if you see swarms a lot it could be really useful.

Gust of wind works. Air-school wizards can pull up a whirlwind with a pretty high Strength check to break through, which prevents swarms from, well, swarming you while you deal with them.

Of course wizards, sorcerers, alchemists, and high-level clerics all have good AoE spells to deal with swarms. A few flame strikes and the swarms are all very dead. Fire shield should work too, seeing as it effects every creature that attacks the caster.

Flaming weapons wouldn't help, sadly. The elemental damage isn't area damage, so it's as ineffective as any weapon damage would be. You killed 1 spider and it's not only cut in half, it's crispy! Now kill the other 10,000 spiders ...


Eridan wrote:

Wear a swarm suit from APG or use a weapon with elemental damage like a +1 flaming XX. You do only 1d6 damage per attack but it is an automatic hit at higher levels so you can use two weapons regardless the penalties.

This won't work. Swarms are inmune to anything that does not do area damage, and Flaming Swords don't do area damage. The fact it is energy means little, as swarms are inmune to Scorching Ray as well.

EDIT: Melisa said it before. I should read the whole thread before I reply... :P


Melissa Litwin wrote:
Swarm suit to prevent them from messing with you from the APG.Flaming weapons wouldn't help, sadly. The elemental damage isn't area damage, so it's as ineffective as any weapon damage would be. You killed 1 spider and it's not only cut in half, it's crispy! Now kill the other 10,000 spiders ...

mh damn we are doing this wrong since 3.5 but I think it is something different to cut a spider in half with a blade or to burn down many spiders with a blade covered with flames.


Eridan wrote:
mh damn we are doing this wrong since 3.5 but I think it is something different to cut a spider in half with a blade or to burn down many spiders with a blade covered with flames.

Well, with a sword, you kill one, and there are 9999 left. With a flaming sword (or a torch), you burn five, and there are 9995 left. So it is "more effective", but pointless regardless :P.

A shocking sword, by default, deals no more damage to a swarm than a "shocking grasp". Which is none...

Same goes with a frost weapon, a unholy weapon, and yes, also a flaming weapon.

Silver Crusade

Casting gorums armor and rolling arround on the ground could work. Rangers have stone call as a level 2 spell.


At low levels snapdragon fireworks is nice vs swarms.
Not a big zone of collateral damage.

By the way the rules are unclear if swarms can damage swarms as far as I remember.

At higher level (unless they have the stuff from UE) all the martials can do is try to survive while the magic users kill the swarms.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lockgo wrote:

So I have a DM that pretty much has been doing dick moves to counter our characters. I won't go into details since I have before.

Long story short, I thought this was just going to be a phase, but its effectiveness against the party shows that he shouldn't stop. He keeps throwing swarms at us. I tend not to want to carry around 50 pints of oil, alchemist fire/acid flasks, but he just keeps using swarms on us every fight, and at this point 1d6 fire/acid damage ain't gonna cut it at level 11+. On top of the other crazy things he gives these swarms.

In Pathfinder Society, swarms are an expected tradition in PFS scenarios, even so we generally only see one per module at most. Basically swarms are the encounters for your blasty casters to shine in. Burning hands, burst, spells, etc.Because aside from fire bombs or just running away,there really isn't that much option for noncasty types to deal with this sort of encounter.

If you're GM is really actually using swarms in every single encounter as opposed to you just exaggerating things a mite, perhaps you and your players should have a bit of time where you engage in some mutual feedback about the campaign. There can't be that many GM's who enjoy using the same schtick over and over again. If for some reason your GM IS that kind of person, perhaps the only cure is to leave that campaign and look elsewhere for your fun.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I need this as a signature obviously:

Talk to your GM in a calm, rational manner voicing your concerns about the level of fun you're having in the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Get damage reduction 10+

Employ Fire Shield, or get good fire resistance and stand in your own Flaming Sphere

Defensive Shock would be nice, but a higher level wand would be needed. Same for Fire Breath.

Wand with "Cloak of Winds" forces Fort Save and prone/knockback, plus damage. And lasts app. 5 minutes (and is also on the Ranger list).

Higher level swarms will safe too well against those spells, though.

best concept I have heard so far... turn into a lycanthrope and rely on your damage resistance^^

Sczarni

Everytime the GM throws a swarm at you just turn and leave the area. His game will quickly go no where and will be forced to have an open conversation about his Tom Douchery.


In one of the golarion sourcebooks there is the a trait called something like honey harvester or such. It gives you a DR vs swarms. like 2 or 3 I think it was. If you don't have any DR from another source and you often combat swarms get that trait (via additional traits).


The Ranger's spell list is probably better at dealing with this then the clerics. If it is a swarm of animals Hide from animals will make it so they can't perceive you. Entangle should also work against a swarm that are not flying. Stone call also does 2d6 points of damage to a large area and creates difficult terrain. Repel Vermin should also be effective vs. against swarms of Vermin.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is a swarmbane clasp in UE, cheap and very useful if needed. I might have the name wrong.

Silver Crusade

As someone said, just leave the swarms. If your current quest involves lots of swarms, get a new quest. That one has lots of swarms? Get another new quest. After enough sessions of his prepared game being ignored and having to run off-the-cuff, your GM should figure out that you refuse to fight all swarms all the time.

Of course your first step should be to talk to your GM out of game along with the other players and express your concerns. If he refuses to do his best to make sure everyone is having fun, he fails at being GM (it's GM's job #1), and you should find a new GM.


Umbranus:

* It doesn't matter if swarms can or cannot damage each other.
* They will move to attack the closest creature. Swarms count as a creature.
* They will not move to attack another creature while engaged with first creature.
* You can summon a swarm in the space of another swarm (specific exception to summoning in another creatures space is provided in the summon swarm spell)
* For the duration (concentration until you are past the swarm) it will occupy the swarm.

- Gauss


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You may hate to hear this, but start adapting your character to the encounters. Maybe a level or 2 of Alchemist could be of assistance. The party make-up is, honestly, missing the arcane caster slot.


Gauss wrote:

Umbranus:

* It doesn't matter if swarms can or cannot damage each other.
* They will move to attack the closest creature. Swarms count as a creature.
* They will not move to attack another creature while engaged with first creature.
* You can summon a swarm in the space of another swarm (specific exception to summoning in another creatures space is provided in the summon swarm spell)
* For the duration (concentration until you are past the swarm) it will occupy the swarm.

- Gauss

You are right for sure.

And by any logic swarms should be able to hurt each other.
I just would like to know if they can RAW.


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Pile driving them with a tower shield.

Silver Crusade

Umbranus wrote:
Gauss wrote:

Umbranus:

* It doesn't matter if swarms can or cannot damage each other.
* They will move to attack the closest creature. Swarms count as a creature.
* They will not move to attack another creature while engaged with first creature.
* You can summon a swarm in the space of another swarm (specific exception to summoning in another creatures space is provided in the summon swarm spell)
* For the duration (concentration until you are past the swarm) it will occupy the swarm.

- Gauss

You are right for sure.

And by any logic swarms should be able to hurt each other.
I just would like to know if they can RAW.

Swarms deal area damage, right? Sounds like you're good to go for some good ole fashioned swarm-on-swarm action.


But if a swarm is on top of a swarm of the same type...how do the constituent critters know which swarm to follow?!?!!?


Pheromone traces or in other words smell.

Silver Crusade

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Cheapy wrote:
But if a swarm is on top of a swarm of the same type...how do the constituent critters know which swarm to follow?!?!!?

It's swarm-ception!


if these swarms are natural spiders not magical in terms easy thing to do is light up a paper or something to that extend that can create smoke and the smoke will naturally paraylze them for a brief period.this is only if your dm sees these as regular spiders.if magical just like "Cheapy" said start piledriving them with tower shields.lol

Silver Crusade

Maybe the various create pit spells could work.


Fire, and lots of it!


If the DM gives you swarms then find a new DM!


gustavo iglesias wrote:


This won't work. Swarms are inmune to anything that does not do area damage, and Flaming Swords don't do area damage.

Curious, is this a change from 3.5?

-James


Bad Voice Acting wrote:
If the DM gives you swarms then find a new DM!

I see wisdom in these words.

Jokes aside, area effects seem to be the way to go.
Wind-related spells work well against the smaller ones that are actually vulnerable to such.


james maissen wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:


This won't work. Swarms are inmune to anything that does not do area damage, and Flaming Swords don't do area damage.

Curious, is this a change from 3.5?

-James

Not really, in 3.5 "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." This includes effects that do +1d6 fire damage.


D&D 3E had some obscure rule that bonus energy damage from a weapon (as well as holy, for those hellwasp swarms) applied to swarms even if the weapon itself could not damage them.

No idea where at the moment, just recall a playerpointing it out in one of my games several months ago. If PF retained that rule, there's something at least.

I hate swarms, though. As if noncasters weren't gimped enough...

Grand Lodge

Swarmsuits are a 20gp mundane item weighing 10 pounds from the APG that provides DR 5/- Against swarms of Diminutive Creatures and DR 10/- against swarms of Fine Creatures. They are un-slotted so per RAW could be worn in conjunction with armor(lil' cheesy but so is your DM) like a Cold Weather Outfit can.

"Buy Swarmsuits!"


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I've never found it in any game book -- but there is a simple tool used in apiary (that's honey farms for the lexicanically challenged) called a BEE-SMOKER... it's basically a small bellows hooked up to a slow-burning substance in a relatively oxygen-starved chamber. (look up a picture on google images -- it's a simple enough tool that I'd be surprised fantasy level tech didn't allow for it)

Basically it works like this: Pumping the bellows feeds air to the burning material in the chamber -- the smoke is poured out of a spout in the same "puff" from the bellows. Smoke is well known to paralyze small bugs, and pacify even the angriest swarms of insects and arachnids and the like.

So what I would do is get some swarm suits, and get your GM to permit you to start using bee-smokers. If he won't, start buying smoke-bombs, or just start hanging censers of smoky incense off of everybody's armor. Once you guys are all perpetually moving in a cloud of smoke, it will be hard to argue that the swarms could do anything but lazily walk on the floor while you stepped on them.

But for such a tool to be introduced, your GM would likely have to not be a dick.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

D&D 3E had some obscure rule that bonus energy damage from a weapon (as well as holy, for those hellwasp swarms) applied to swarms even if the weapon itself could not damage them.

No idea where at the moment, just recall a playerpointing it out in one of my games several months ago. If PF retained that rule, there's something at least.

I hate swarms, though. As if noncasters weren't gimped enough...

Enterely possible. 3.5 was full of obscure rules :P.

By default, my idea is that, RAW, it doesn't work. However, using a torch and similar stuff should give you the chance to try to intimidate normal, mundane swarms, at the very least. Some swarms (such as bees) should be intimidated by smoke as well.


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D20 SHAPED SWARM FALLS ON YUR HEAD!


Vicon wrote:

I've never found it in any game book -- but there is a simple tool used in apiary (that's honey farms for the lexicanically challenged) called a BEE-SMOKER... it's basically a small bellows hooked up to a slow-burning substance in a relatively oxygen-starved chamber. (look up a picture on google images -- it's a simple enough tool that I'd be surprised fantasy level tech didn't allow for it)

Basically it works like this: Pumping the bellows feeds air to the burning material in the chamber -- the smoke is poured out of a spout in the same "puff" from the bellows. Smoke is well known to paralyze small bugs, and pacify even the angriest swarms of insects and arachnids and the like.

So what I would do is get some swarm suits, and get your GM to permit you to start using bee-smokers. If he won't, start buying smoke-bombs, or just start hanging censers of smoky incense off of everybody's armor. Once you guys are all perpetually moving in a cloud of smoke, it will be hard to argue that the swarms could do anything but lazily walk on the floor while you stepped on them.

But for such a tool to be introduced, your GM would likely have to not be a dick.

That's a great theory, but in rules land it would most likely work along the lines of "So you want to walk around in a cloud of poison, eh?". Difference being that the SWARM is the creature in pathfinder with a +7 fort save, whereas in reality, the creature is a group of a couple of thousand individual < 1hp bees with a fort save in the negs.

However I am intrigued by the concept. I THINK in the dark sun days there used to be an ability that bards could get that allowed them to apply poison to things like smoke sticks to generate clouds of poisonous smoke. Potentially, poisons that are flagged as 'Ingested' could be amusing as well as (most likely) said swarms are biting you. Anything that targets strength and isn't injury here is what your after. Tiny animals aren't known for their bulging biceps.

I am however most amused by the idea of hitting a swarm with (say) azure lilly pollen and watching what happens when a few thousand bees are nauseated for a minute. Do bees vomit? Am I the only one who wants to know? And most importantly, should it disturb me that I am curious?


Swams are okay - expect them - at low level you buy alchemist potions - at higher level your party should have AoA spells - it's like inv. creatures you know it gonna come up - so you prepare - just in case...

But lvl 1-3 alchemist potions tend to be expensive compared to all the other nice things you want - like a fullplate - so as a Gm either prepare yout players (give them hints) or just wait a level or two before you start making swam encounters.


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See also: Master-crafted bee-smoker.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8

I once encountered a swarm of shape-changed Pit Fiends.

An Epic Bee-Smoker would have come in handy.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've encountered two omgwtf swarms. One had fire resistance, the other drained your con with no save and stuck to you when you left, if you failed the high dc distraction save you could not escape since it had a decent move speed and you were sickened.

Here is one
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/vermin/tick-swarm

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I removed a post. I'm getting really sick of these 'your GM must be incompetent/evil/whatever because they don't run the game the same as me' posts.

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