Im working up a dungeon run for my 1st level players. Im including a possible spider swarm as a nuisance encounter but reading through it a bit closer, it looks like more than a nuisance.
They are immune to most physical damage and half any area effects so considering the capabilities of a 1st level group, these things look deadly!
I would have thought a flaming torch would have served as a weapon but it appears not. Splash items are a consideration but that means splashing the enveloped character as well with your burning oil or acid of what have you.
Surely these little pests arent this bad-a$$. Am I missing something?
Yes, they actually are quite dangerous.
For a group well-prepared to meet them, a CR 1 encounter with only 9 HP is not very challenging. But for a group with no AE items or spells, they might find that they have NO way to hurt this monster and they have no way to defend themselves against this monster, so are forced to flee.
The good news is that a mindless swarm is not likely to have any interest in pursuit, so they should be easy to escape, which turns them into an obstacle (more like a trap) - maybe the swarm happens to live in a room that has a key to that one door with the super good lock nobody can pick. Or whatever.
For real fun, put them in an enclosed area with flammable explosives and watch the lolz when the PCs toss flaming oil on the swarm...
|Paladin of Baha-who?|
Area effects are half again (150%), not half, on a swarm.Something like Burning Hands would work on them OK.
Good catch, I missed the fact that the OP seems to have misread the swarm traits.
Swarms are not resistant to AE effects. Instead, they are vulnerable to them. When you use any AE effect, you add +50% to the damage being dealt to the swarm. Which makes all those flasks of acid or fire even more deadly to a swarm, as well as AE spells like the afore-mentioned Burning Hands.
Which takes me back to, if the group is prepared with the right items or spells, a swarm is a surprisingly weak challenge for the CR, but if the group is not prepared, then they might have no way to hurt it and no way to avoid damage from it, making it surprisingly dangerous for its CR.
Creative solutions are good to. I had a party that only survived because they had a member that was a bit of a drunk. She carried around 6 bottles of high proof whiskey they managed to turn into malatovs (I treated it as standard oil flasks) after they climbed up on some stuff. She was pretty angry about it, but it saved their asses. You will find though, after dealing with a swarm once, they will forever be prepared in the future :) I think putting in a single small swarm is a good warning for players.
At low levels, we end up using greek fire or burning hands on a swarm, AFTER it is swarming all over one of the PCs. Last time I was lucky and it was my dwarf cleric, so with my high saves I said "burn me!"
But before that I was playing a human rogue, and was attacked by a swarm, and one fire-happy player threw greek fire at my square. Swarm died but so did my character :)
Yeah the swarms are a pain.
I am DMing this time around, and I make sure to put needed items in the dungeon, or hint that the players should do more research in town to gather info on what they'll need.
You could also use larger creatures like a rat swarm, so they still take half damage from weapons.