I just started thumbing through Bestiary 6 and I was quickly interested in the troop entry since it seems like a quick and dirty way to handle large groups of weaker enemies. However, I couldn't seem to find an exact answer of how to handle "Studying" against troops such as with the Slayer and Investigator (particularly the slayer). It says the troops are immune to abilities that target a single creature but are susceptible to critical attacks and sneak attacks which I take to mean that if someone scores a critical or sneak attack against a troop, they simply take down several creatures at once as one can assume that the single higher level character can deal enough damage to an individual in the troop to kill it one blow. So, while something like magic missle would be so ineffective as barely hinder the group, could a slayer use his Study target ability on a troop? The study ability says the slayer has to be able pick out a weak spot and the studied strike is treated like sneak attack damage but only affects one target per use but slayers can use the ability multiple times eventually.
So, can a Slayer study a troop and use his studied strike on it, effectively studying the entire group and assessing them for weaknesses he can exploit? Would he have to take a feat or Slayer talent to do this?
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The best middleground I can think is by default, a slayer can apply his studied target bonuses on a regular troop (not a modified elite troop or phalanx) as his the coordination and homogeneity of the group (everyone being the same race and wearing the exact same armor) means that if the slayer understands one target's weakness, he can extend it to each member of the squad. More trained troops, like elite troops or a troop that has say, Teamwork Feat: Back to Back, can't be studied (at least by default) as the group works together to prevent small weaknesses from being exploited like that.
But, that's just my initial theory and probably how I'll choose to run it since it means if you have a troop heavy campaign, troops can avoid being torn apart by one slayer/investigator/rouge but if you just need put a troop together for like a one off encounter, the slayer doesn't lose one of his iconic skills...or I guess just make sure to throw in some heroic individuals for the bad guys too so the assassin types have a target.
But as for swarms, considering they are comprised of hundreds or thousands of creatures that arent necessarily actually working together but all just doing the same thing at once(a swarm of mosquitoes all attacking one person because they all individually register that creature as a source of blood and are actually in competition with each other over that creature's nutrients not working together to kill it since that destroys a future food source) and are typically immune to normal ranged and melee attacks (trying to swat or slice the swarm of mosquitoes to death would be impossible, even for a heroic figure) a slayer would not be able to study because study specifically requires him to be able to see the creature well enough to identify a weak/vital area and a swarm is simply too chaotic to understand the individual motions of the hundreds of creatures in it.