Deities show their wrath in many ways—storms, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, disease—but few means are as viscerally terrifying as a plague. Locusts that devour a nation’s crops, clouds of flies that clog people’s mouths, hordes of rats that spread—these are the so-called apocalypse swarms, the deadly messengers of angry gods.
An apocalypse swarm looks like a normal swarm of creatures until it engages in combat. Other creatures watching such a battle obtain a better understanding of what apocalypse really means—in the death of another being, they clearly see their own nearness to oblivion. Few can witness another creature’s death by such a means and not find it chilling. Even creatures that were initially willing to stand firm and fight the swarm soon regret their bravery, for damaging such swarms only makes more of them. Th us, an apocalypse swarm grows in destructive capability even as foes succeed in diminishing its strength.
“Apocalypse swarm” is an inherited template that can be added to any swarm (referred to hereafter as the base creature). An apocalypse swarm uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +3.
Hit Dice: An apocalypse swarm gains 5 Hit Dice beyond the base creature’s total. Recalculate the swarm’s base saves, hit points, feat slots, and skill points (if applicable), plus the save DCs for its special attacks.
Speed: Each of an apocalypse swarm’s speeds is double the corresponding speed of the base creature.
Damage: If an apocalypse swarm has fewer than 26 HD, the damage dealt by its swarm attack increases by +1d6 over that of the base creature.
Special Attacks: An apocalypse swarm retains all the base creature’s special attacks and gains those described here.
Each creature within 100 feet of an apocalypse swarm that witnesses it bringing down another creature must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 apocalypse swarm’s racial HD + apocalypse swarm’s Cha modifier) or be frightened for 1 minute. Success leaves the creature shaken for 1 minute but does not negate the need to make a new saving throw for each such incident. Fear is a mind-affecting fear effect.
A creature that fails its save against an apocalypse swarm’s distraction special attack is nauseated for 1d4 rounds.
Special Qualities: An apocalypse swarm retains all the base creature’s special qualities and gains those described here.
The base creature gains fast healing 10.
The base creature gains spell resistance equal to 11 + 1/2 the base creature’s racial HD.
When an apocalypse swarm takes more than 10 points of damage from a single attack, it splits into two identical apocalypse swarms, each with one-half the hit points that the original swarm had when it split (rounded down). An apocalypse swarm with 1 hit point cannot be split, and one with 0 hit points is dispersed as normal. Each piece of a split apocalypse swarm can heal damage normally, up to the number of hit points it had upon formation. Healing damage does not allow the swarms to recombine. For example, an apocalypse swarm with 50 hit points that takes 15 points of damage would split into two apocalypse swarms with 17 hit points each (one-half of the original swarm’s remaining 35 hp, rounded down). Each of these two apocalypse swarms can heal 10 points of damage per round with fast healing, but it cannot exceed 17 hit points.
Skills If the base creature has an Intelligence score, it gains skill points for its 5 new HD as appropriate for its type. Assign these skill points as desired, treating skills on the base creature’s list as class skills and all others as cross-class skills.
Feat: An apocalypse swarm gains Ability Focus (distraction) as a bonus feat. In addition, it gains additional feat slots according to its new Hit Dice. Alertness, Lightning Reflexes, Toughness, and Dodge are good choices for an apocalypse swarm.