Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I am baffled. Here's a question for the hive mind (ha!).

How would you do this?


I have a character who was killed by bees. His ghost manifests by possessing large groups of nearby insects (preferably but not necessarily bees).

Now, there are rules for an insect swarm in the Bestiary. BUT, it's not good enough. Because it does not account for the ability of a swarm to change size and shape. 

Do I need Shape Change to change the contours of the swarm (say, into a humanoid form)? Or will Stretching alone do this, since the swarm is still obviously a swarm no matter its general contours? If the swarm wants to extend anywhere that is not on a surface, at least part of it will have to fly. So, is this Shape Shift or Stretching, linked to Flight, at some kind of reduced version of Linked because he can do it across a surface without using flight?

There are numerous such questions, but that's the main one.

Then, say that he wants to leave his bees behind and possess a bunch of ants instead. I guess that there are two ways to do this -- Possession (insect swarms only) and some sort of Multiform (OIF: Large Numbers of Bugs of Opportunity). BUT the former depends on the presence of actual swarms and not just a bunch of insects who aren't connected in a swarm stat block.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: The Whisper Behind the Walls Build it as an AI. Like so.


Whisper Behind the Walls

Val Char Cost Roll Notes

13 DEX 6 12- OCV: 4/DCV: 3

18 INT 8 13- PER Roll 13-

10 EGO 0 11- ECV: 6 - 7

4 OCV 5

3 DCV 0

6 OMCV 9

7 DMCV 12

4 SPD 20 Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12

Total Characteristic Cost: 60



Flight: 3m/6m MEGAscale


Cost Powers END

Sensorium, all slots Clairsentience Only (-½) 53 1) All "Normal" Senses: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch (80 Active Points); Clairsentience Only (-½) 0 3 2) Infrared Perception (Sight Group) (5 Active Points); Clairsentience Only (-½) 0 3 3) Ultraviolet Perception (Sight Group) (5 Active Points); Clairsentience Only (-½) 0 2 4) Ultrasonic Perception (Hearing Group) (3 Active Points); Clairsentience Only (-½) 0 0 5) Mental Awareness; Clairsentience Only (-½) 0 5 6) Detect A Class Of Things: Minds 13- (Mental Group), Sense (7 Active Points); Clairsentience Only (-½) 0 2 7) Bump Of Direction (3 Active Points); Clairsentience Only (-½)

165 Clairsentience (Sight, Mental, Touch, Smell/Taste And Hearing Groups), 16 Perception Points, Adjacent, Discriminatory, Increased Arc Of Perception (360 Degrees), Microscopic: x1,000, Mobile Perception Point (can move up to 12m per Phase), Targeting, Tracking, Transmit, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½), No Range Modifier (+½) (248 Active Points); Perceivable (Obvious to Mental Awareness (although the mentally aware may not understand WHAT they're percieving) and perception points are all insects or similar creatures who may be percieved ; -¼), Vulnerable Perception Points Something like an Area Effect attack that would destroy all insects in a given area creates a "dead spot" at least until more insects can be brought in (-¼) 0


20 Unique Nature: Power Defense (20 points) 0


13 Mind Screen: Mental Defense (20 points total) (20 Active Points); Costs Endurance (-½) 2


15 Hive Mind: Damage Negation (-3 DCs Mental) 0


12 Attunable Mind: Shape Shift ( Group, any class of mind) 1


22 Mental Illusions (percieve the world as the hive mind does) 4d6, Area Of Effect (1m Surface; +¼), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½), Attack Versus Alternate Defense (Resistant Mental Defense; +½), Constant (+½), Cumulative (+½) (65 Active Points); No Conscious Control (Only Effects cannot be controlled; -1), No Range (-½), Limited Power Mental Contact Only (-½) 0


10 Make Contact: Mind Scan 2d6, Penetrating (+½), Cumulative (48 points; +1) (25 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Turn (Post-Segment 12), Only to Activate, -¾), Limited Power Same range as Clairsentience (-½), Perceivable (Anything with a mind in the vicinity hears "whispers"; -¼) 2


12 Mindworm: Telepathy 2d6, Penetrating (+½), Cumulative (48 points; +1) (25 Active Points); Skin Contact Required (Subject gets a touch perception roll to notice whatever insect acts as the conduit; -1) 2


18 Endurance Reserve (40 END, 12 REC) (18 Active Points) 0


13 Hive Off: Duplication (creates 550-point form), Cannot Recombine (-0) (110 Active Points); 1 Charge which Recovers every >1 Season (-4), Extra Time (1 Day, Only to Activate, -2), Concentration, Must Concentrate throughout 24 hr period (½ DMCV; -½), Increased Endurance Cost (x2 END; -½), Costs Endurance (Only Costs END to Activate; -¼), Limited Power Requires a "critical mass" of insects (-¼) 22

1 Hive Relocation: Flight 3m, MegaScale (1m = 1 km; +1) (6 Active Points); 1 Continuing Fuel Charge lasting 1 Week which Recovers every >1 Season (-1 ¼), Extra Time (1 Turn (Post-Segment 12), Max speed 15 km/minute; -1 ¼), Perceivable (-¼), Restrainable (Only by means other than Grabs and Entangles; Wind and weather, or wind and weather powers; -¼) [1 cc]


100 Hive Powers: Variable Power Pool, 50 base + 100 control cost 0


1) Change Environment (-3 to Sight Group PER Rolls(cloud of insects) -2 to Hearing Group PER Rolls (buzzing) Long-Lasting 5 Minutes, Varying Combat Effects), Personal Immunity (+¼), Indirect (Source Point can vary from use to use, path is from Source Point to target; +½), Area Of Effect (8 2m Areas; +1 ¼), Mobile (1m per Phase; +½) (93 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Turn (Post-Segment 12), Only to Activate, -¾), Restrainable (Only by means other than Grabs and Entangles - insect repellant or insecticide; -¼) Real Cost: 46 9 0


2) Stinging Swarm: Killing Attack - Ranged 1d6-1, Area Of Effect (4m Radius; +¼), Damage Over Time, Lock out (cannot be applied multiple times) (2 damage increments, damage occurs every Minute, can be negated by First Aid for stings/bites; +¼), +2 Increased STUN Multiplier (+½), Constant (+½), Attack Versus Alternate Defense (Life Support: Immune to insect/spider venom, impermeable defenses, alien physiologies; All Or Nothing; +1), Does BODY (+1), Indirect (Source Point can vary from use to use, path can change with every use; +1) (55 Active Points); 3 Continuing Fuel Charges lasting 1 Minute each (stingers run out of poison, mosquitoes too full to bite, etc; -¼) Real Cost: 44 [3 cc]


Perks 15 Research Facility: Vehicles & Bases



12 +4/+4d6 Striking Appearance (vs. all characters)


Skills 3


Whisper: Language: English (fluent conversation; literate)


9 Self Aware: "Computer Programming" 18-, Persistent (+¼), Inherent (+¼) (19 Active Points); Limited Power Self Only (-1)


3 Animal Handler (Insects & Arthropods, Rodents) 9-


3 Bugging (with real bugs) 13-


9 Hive Powers: Power 16-


16 +10 with Power (20 Active Points); Limited Power Only to offset Active Point penalty (-¼)


Total Powers & Skill Cost: 539

Total Cost: 599


600+ Matching Complications

500 Base Points

25 Distinctive Features: To sight: If visible at all, will be some such manifestation as a swarm of insects. To hearing: a voice made of modulated buzzing or rustling. To mental senses: a hive mind that seems to inhabit the entire facility. I think it's safe to say it's going to freak people out. (Not Concealable; Extreme Reaction; Detectable By Commonly-Used Senses)

25 Physical Complication: Extremely limited understanding of any other sentient being's point of view (Very Frequently; Greatly Impairing)

5 Psychological Complication: Protective of the facility's rats, mice, etc (They feed fleas while alive, ants and flies when dead) (Uncommon; Moderate)

25 Susceptibility: Mental Powers (Note: Being a Susceptibility, this bypasses Mental Defense, Damage Negation and Class of Mind. i.e. any attempt to use Mental Powers will get at least 3d6 of Telepathy against the hive mind) 3d6 Telepathy per Phase (Uncommon)

10 Psychological Complication: Animalistic: mainly concerned with food, survival, and primal insectile urges (Common; Moderate)

10 Vulnerability: 2 x Effect Mind Scan (unique mental signature) (Uncommon)

Total Complications Points: 599


Background/History: When the Institute for the Study of Insect Behavior was closed down, not all of the specimens were destroyed or relocated. Funding had run out at a very bad time, as it turns out - the

anomalous behavior that had so fascinated the entomologists was about to make a quantum leap. Starting with the most social insects, and expanding to include all insects, spiders, and their kin, these creatures had achieved a collective consciousness - a true "hive mind." Before the departure of the last scientists, the psionic hive had picked enough knowledge from their minds to understand a little English, and even attempt to reproduce words using the sounds it could make with insect bodies - attempts that were laughed off as an imaginary "Whisper Behind the Walls."


Personality/Motivation: Although self aware and capable of reasoning and learning, the Whisper Behind the Walls remains insectile in its concerns. The reaction to Humans appearing in the facility again will be a passive watching and waiting at first; the hive remembers Humans as a source of food and sometimes of interesting stimulus or challenging problems. If fed (not necessarily deliberately; if food is left where the insects can get to it, the hive considers itself fed) the hive may try to do something (it thinks) the characters would want or like (it absorbed a crude version of the principles of operant conditioning from the behaviorists) or to make contact. If not fed, it will try tomake its needs known via "whispering," telepathy, or even spelling out words with the bodies of insects or with small objects or some substance it can manipulate (for example, carpenter ants may spell out FEED US with the frass, or sawdust, they produce boring through wood.) If frustrated, it may try to kill one or more of the characters to use their bodies as food. If threatened or harmed (poison put out, or large numbers of insects killed - it doesn't care about a few individuals getting stomped or swatted) it will most certainly strike out, trying to kill or drive off the intruders.


Quote: ffffhhheeed uszzzz


Powers/Tactics: What the Whisper Behind the Walls can do depends on such factors as how many insects of what kinds are available. It will certainly be difficult to destroy; even burning down the entire complex will not guarantee that some parts of the hive will not escape. Destroying enough insects will probably at least render it powerless or near powerless for a time. Whatever equipment or systems remain in the facility may actually be operable by the Whisper; inside the machinery or walls could lurk large beetles, large numbers of ants working together, or rodents the Whisper has trained (former lab animals) to operate switches or manipulate wiring. It knows Humans don't see well in the dark. Along the same lines, a suicide squad of ants or flies could contaminate food supplies with poison. Termites could turn a sound floor into a pit trap overnight. Poisonous spiders, or even scorpions, intelligently directed, could prove lethal. The most terrifying power of the Whisper Behind the Walls could be the ability to "hive off" - to split into two seperate hive minds, one of which will move away to establish itself elsewhere. The Whisper Behind the Walls is capable of "tuning" its mind (Shapeshift, Mental Group) into and out of vaguely Human-like phase states. When it is "tuned in" it is possible for a mentalist to effect it as Human Class of Mind, although it is well defended and has a Mental Illusions Damage Shield (overwhelming the contacting mind with the sensory input of a variety of insects. This is not a deliberate defense, merely an effect of its nature.) Note that it must tune in to be able to use its own Mental Powers.


Campaign Use: The Whisper Behind the Walls could be a terrifying and mysterious opponent; played right, it could easily seem like a haunting or demonic manifestation at first. It could be an ally of an insect themed villain. If it suits the tone of the campaign, it could even BE a demonic manifestation, an expression of Beelzebub Lord of the Flies. On the other claw, if it can be convinced that if it were to reproduce uncontrollably and thus become a threat, Humans will destroy it, it may be possible to reason with it: "The scientists will return and feed you every day again, but you must remain within the building." But it will always be difficult to deal with due to its alien nature.


Appearance: The exact varieties of insect making up the Whisper Behind the Walls should be determined based on the needs of the scenario, but suggestions include; fruit flies (favorite of biologists everywhere,) assorted social insects such as ants, termites, wasps, and bees, spiders, centipedes, beetles, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, lightning bugs, crickets, butterflies, and strange mutant arthropods not yet identified to entomology.


Lucius Alexander


Copyright Palindromedary Enterprises

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Alcibiades said:

Now, there are rules for an insect swarm in the Bestiary. BUT, it's not good enough. Because it does not account for the ability of a swarm to change size and shape. 

Do I need Shape Change to change the contours of the swarm (say, into a humanoid form)? Or will Stretching alone do this, since the swarm is still obviously a swarm no matter its general contours? If the swarm wants to extend anywhere that is not on a surface, at least part of it will have to fly. So, is this Shape Shift or Stretching, linked to Flight, at some kind of reduced version of Linked because he can do it across a surface without using flight?

There are numerous such questions, but that's the main one.



You can simplify this a bit by asking the question "do I want a specific mechanic related to this?"


Remember that you _can_ have a mechanic-- an "in-game effect"-- attached to anything you want.  But you are _never_ required to have one attached to _anything_.  If you just want something to "be this way" but have no actual gain from it, then you declare it as a special effect but don't assign a mechanic to it.  For example, let's say you are making a PC with heterochromia (his eyes are two different colors).  It's different from any PC you've made before (maybe), but you don't have to buy any special mechanic to do it.  You don't even have to buy a disadvantage to represent it.


[this break conveniently left to make quoting and arguing this point easier]









Here's the thing with the heterochromia example:


You _can_ do it.  You _can_ declare that this is Unstinctive Fealooks or whatever Disadplication you want, and suffer all the negatives associated with it.  Even then, you don't have to.  Heterochromia isn't exactly common, but you have most likely met someone who has it, or seen a cat with it (not sure why: it's more common in cats than in people, but not by much).  I have met three people with it.  Given the number of people I have met in sixty years-- well, it's not common.  :lol:   Just as an example, I remember _two_ of those people by name, and I could only give you a really accurate description of the girl I dated who had it.  The other one I could name I can describe as "light-skinned African American, Jehova's Witness (because he made a big deal out of it), I had a microbiology class with him." I can tell you his first name (because it was the same name as one of my uncles, otherwise I probably couldn't do that)  i couldn't even tell you what colors his eyes actually _were_.  In fact, the only reason I know I've met three is because when I met the Jehova's Witness, I recall thinking "Wow!  Now I've seen _two_ people with heterochromia!  Neat!"  I might have been able to describe the first back then; I don't remember.  I doubt it.  I certainly can't do it now.


Given that when we talk to someone, we tend to look into _one_ eye when we look "in their eyes," I may have met more than three without actually realizing it.


Anyway, you can take a Disad for it or not.  If you don't have "complications" from it, then don't.  Just because you can conceive of something being a problem does _not_ mean that it is a problem, always, for everyone, forever and ever, period.  it just doesn't.


It's the same thing with positives, too.


So your swarm can change sizes and shapes.


You have to decide if doing so gives the swarm any positives-- any unique in-game effects that must be purchased.  Perhaps it's stretching, allowing them to grab, move, or attack things way far away.  Perhaps they can't actually do that for whatever reason strikes your fancy-- when stretched too thin, there are not enough of them to exert any strength, maybe.  Maybe it's a Flash Attack-- the droning and buzzing makes it difficult to hear or see.  Or maybe they can't do that, either, when stretched too thin.


Perhaps it's a couple of dice of Presence Attack-- like when a goose spreads its wings or an elephant straightens its ears: it's meant to make the swarm look larger and more dangerous.


Maybe it's not even that.


Maybe there is absolutely no mechanical effect at all; the swarm just _does_ that-- like the murmuration of starlings.  


If that's the case, it's just Special Effects of being that particular swarm, and you don't have to pay for it.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah some limited shapeshift and stretching, and damage reduction seems to serve well to represent something made up of a lot of creatures.  Also, consider cannot be stunned and does not bleed automaton powers to represent that you really will have a hard time stunning all of them (or even a large number).

Link to post
Share on other sites

This sounds like the old 70's Marvel Comics villain "Swarm", only he had his old skeleton inside his bee-swarm body, and wore a cape for some reason.

As I recall he had
- Damage reduction to reflect that punches and bullets didn't do much to him.

- Damage Shield to reflect all the stings you would get if you touched him (nnd, not vs rigid armor or poison immunity)

- Stretching to reflect him putting out pseudo-pods of bees out of his body to sting people with his damage shield

- Flight, because he was made of bees

- Variable Area of Effect NND (vs rigid armor or immunity to poison) blasts to reflect him sending clouds of bees after people.

In some versions he had giant bees he could command or had swarms of bees as followers

Someone armored like Iron Man could have made short work of him, but he mostly fought Spiderman or The Champions of LA (a *very* minor superteam that included Hercules, Black Widow and HellRider (whose flames helped out quite a bit vs Swarm)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...