View Full Version : Mechanus Swarm [Monster]

2007-08-19, 06:07 AM
Well, after making my last monster, I decided I'd try again, but this time I thought I'd try something more serious. The Original name seemed too sci-fi for me, so if anyone would like to give me their thoughts on a better one, I'd appreciate it.

Mechanus Swarm
Fine Construct (Swarm)
Hit Dice: 10d10+12 (74 hp)
Speed: 20ft (4 squares), Climb 20ft (4 squares)
Initiative: +5
Armor Class: 23 (+8 Size, +5 Dex); Touch 23, Flat-Footed 18
Base Attack: +7 Grapple: -
Attack: Swarm (2d6+1 Fire, +1 Electricity)
Full Attack: Swarm (2d6+1 Fire, +1 Electricity)
Space: 10ft Reach: 0ft
Special Attacks: Distraction
Special Qualities: A House Divided, Construct Traits, Darkvision 60ft, Diverse Construction, Evasion, Hive Unity, Immune to Electricity, Low Light Vision, Mechanical Affinity, Perfect Order, Programming, Resistance to Fire 10, Resistance to Sonic 10, Split Mind, Swarm Traits, Vulnerability to Cold
Saves: Fortitude +3, Reflex +8, Will +8
Abilities: Strength 10, Dexterity 20, Constitution -, Intelligence 20, Wisdom 20, Charisma 10
Skills: Balance +22, Climb +17, See Text (Programming)
Feats: Toughness (3), Improved Toughness
Environment: Mechanus (Wild)
Organization: Solitary, or Hive (2-10)
Challenge Rating: 7
Treasure: -
Alignment: Always Lawful Neutral
Advancement: 11-20 Hit Dice
Level Adjustment: -

Ahead of you you can see the ground shift, and slide, and move towards you, like a landslide you can see a thousand individual pieces sliding towards you, but in perfect rank and file.

A Mechanus Swarm is hundreds or thousands of tiny constructs, a group called a collective, working together to achieve the goal of whomsoever controls them. Each individual is like a single brain cell, or a single cell in any other organ, and all of them working together can do almost any task any normal, living creature could do.
A Mechanus Swarm is controlled by some intelligent individual, usually their creator. An owner of a collective can pass ownership to another individual through use of a ritual taking 10 minutes of uninterrupted time from the owner and the new recipient. If the owner of a collective dies, or leaves for another plane of existence, the collective immediately becomes inert, but if he returns, either by becoming resurrected, or returning to that plane, the collective will reactivate, and continue on its task before it became intert, if any. Any character meeting the prerequisites to make a collective (aside from material/XP costs, and the craft construct feat), can forcibly take ownership of the collective with a ritual similar to that of changing ownership, the initiator must stay still, and the Collective must be non-hostile towards him, and stay within 100ft of him at all times during the 10 minute ritual. If the Current owner is within 1 mile of his collective, the attempt automatically fails upon completion of the ritual.
“Wild” Mechanus Swarms are collectives whose owner is obscure and nigh untraceable, and are usually roaming because of vague, open ended objectives such as “Patrol the city” or “Follow that human”. The owner of a collective can be ascertained through a scrying spell cast on the collective, and a DC 20 spellcraft check to change the target.

A Collective has 100 individuals for each HD it has, the average being 1,000 for a 10HD collective.


Mechanus Swarms are mostly used as support, or aid, not necessarily fighting. If caught alone, they can use their ability to hide and climb to ambush a party, perhaps changing their environment to better suit them, singling out the fighters for example. If they are traveling in a hive, they would try their best to cover as many opponents as possible in every round, to try limit their options through distraction, and crowding. Keep in mind, when a collective is reduced to 0 HP, it should still have roughly ¼ of its original individuals, unless it was dealt a particularly devastating finishing blow, which will automatically assimilate to another collective, healing them. If alone, they realize spellcasters are their biggest threat, usually, and so they will try and follow them around, to limit their ability to cast.

A Mechanus Swarm's weapons are considered Magical, Adamantine, Cold Iron and Silver for the purposes of overcoming Damage Reduction

A House Divided (Su): An individual in a Mechanus Swarm requires the other individuals in their collective to function properly. If a collective is damaged, if enough individuals are no longer connected to the Hive Unity, the entire collective suffers. For every 150 individuals removed from the collective, the collective suffers a cumulative -2 to strength, wisdom, intelligence and charisma, to a minimum of 1, -2 to listen, spot and search, they lose 1 programmed skill (see below) (chosen randomly) and the collective’s effective HD is reduced by 1. Every 1 point of damage dealt to a collective renders 15 individuals inert, and likewise, every 15 individuals who are cut off from the colony for any reason deals 1 point of damage to the collective, and every 15 gained heals 1 point. Any collective that comes across an inert individual, or group of individuals will assimilate it to itself when it comes within 100ft. Assimilating individuals adds that individual(s) to their collective, and the individual(s) lose all programming/ability/tie to its old collective, as if it had always been a part of its new collective. A collective that loses a significant amount of members for more than 24 hours permanently loses 2 HD per 150 members, and any collective that assimilates a large amount of members instantly gains 2 HD per 150 members, or removing penalties due to lack of members. Any skills lost due to loss of members is permanently lost, but if more members are gained later to reduce the penalty or gain HD, the controller of the collective can reprogram the lost, or granted skills.

Distraction (Ex): Any living creature vulnerable to the Mechanus Swarm's swarm damage is nauseated for 1 round when they start their turn in the Swarm's square, Fortitude save, DC 15 negates. Concentrating in a squre occupied by a collective requires a concentration check, DC 20+spell level, and concentrating on some other task that requires deliberate concetration is a DC 20

Diverse Construction (Ex): A Mechanus Swarm is created with several different materials, including adamantine, silver, mithril, and Cold Iron. This diversity in its construction allows the Swarm to overcome the damage reduction corresponding to its components, and magic, due to the magic imbued in them, and provides them with sonic and fire resistance 10, but also gives them cold vulnerability. Due to their construction as well, A Mechanus Swarm is considered a large quadruped creature when it comes to loads and carrying capacity.

Hive Unity (Su): All individuals in a single collective are linked to eachother. They function perfectly as a single unit, each individual bot retaining some bit of information or skill, and any other can call upon that information at any time. Their unerring, unwavering Hive mind also gives them the ability of not having to make concentration checks for any reason. Their unity provides them with their ability scores, and any lone Individual has 1 Str, 20 Dex, - Con, - Int, 1 Wis, 1 Cha. Any individual not in Perfect Order loses the Hive Unity ability until it returns (see below).

Mechanical Affinity (Ex): All Mechanus Swarms are constructed with the ability to destroy or repair objects, by using a combination of fire, electricity, and their own mechanics and magic. With a full round action, a collective can repair minor damages with an object, such as tears and breaks. If supplied with the right, and right amount of materials, a collective can repair larger damages with an object, such as holes in the material, taking 1 round per 1 hp, or 1 sq. inch for very small or fragile objects, twice as long if the raw material is the wrong shape, form, or otherwise needs to be worked before it can be used. Likewise, A collective can deal 15 points of damage to any object as a full-round action (hardness applies), and does 15 points of damage to every 5 ft. square it occupies to a large object (hp and hardness applies separately for each square). Also, a collective can repair constructs, as if it had the craft construct feat. A collective can heal its own wounds by repairing and reactivating lost members. As long as there are inert individuals in a square occupied by any active individual, and the collective is not undertaking any active action, the collective regains 1 inert individual per active member in that square per round. A collective is intelligent enough to realize when it can, and how it can regain lost members, and as long as it has the time to do it, and will not be put in danger for doing so, a collective will spend its time recovering lost members unless instructed not to. Any individual can deal 1 point of damage to an object per minute of work (All damage in one session of work is added together before hardness is taken into account, but cannot do any damage to anything with 15 Hardness or more), but otherwise, any individual not in Perfect Order loses Mechanical Affinity until it returns (see below).

Perfect Order (Su): Mechanus Swarms are increadibly ordered and precise. They must always remain a certain distance from another individual in the collective, any less and they spread out, any more and they move closer. For the magic linking them together to work, they must all be linked at this distance, which is roughly the maximum space allowed to fit all individuals within a 10ft square. Any individual not at this distance becomes mindless, and does not benefit from any powers granted from other Individuals, and vice versa, they are cut off. As long as the individual is within 100ft of another individual in its collective, it can magically sense it, and will mindlessly return to be at its fixed distance. An individual or loose group of individuals returning to its collective is considered to have 1 HD, 1 HP, is denied its dexterity modifier to AC, has 0 ranks in every skill, and will not respond to any attack. Any individual that is not within 100ft of at least 1/4 it’s collective’s maximum becomes inert. A collective that has a significant portion (1/4 of it’s maximum or more individuals) cut off, but not disabled, or has no other task to complete, will seek out its other members to the best of its ability, even if they are farther than 100ft away, unless commanded otherwise.

Programming (Su): All collectives have full ranks in Balance and Climb. Other skills are assigned by the Owner programming the Swarm. Anyone crafting a collective automatically programs it during the process of crafting. The process of programming is complex and difficult, and so instead of distributing skill points however the owner wishes, he can assign full ranks in up to the collective’s Intelligence modifier number of skills, or half ranks, rounded down, to twice that many. The process of programming a collective takes 1 hour of uninterrupted work by the owner for each full rank skill to be programmed, or half an hour for each half rank skill and the collective must have some portion of its mass within 5 ft. of the owner during the entire ritual. An owner may program any mixture of full and half rank skills he wishes, each full-rank skill can be replaced by 2 half-rank skills in other words. The programming is distributed throughout the entire collective, and individual skills may be lost if enough individuals are lost (see A House Divided, above). Any individual not in Perfect Order loses the benefits of Programming until it returns.
The skills which can be programmed into a collective are as follows: Appraise, Craft (Any), Disable Device, Forgery, Gather Information, Heal, Hide, Knowledge (Any), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Search, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Spot, Tumble, and Use Rope.
Forgery: You can teach a collective to reproduce anything it has seen. A collective can remember a number of things to copy equal to its intelligence modifier.
Gather information: Shows how adept the collective is at finding information to accomplish its task, for example, listening in on conversations to find a target it has been ordered to kill.
Knowledge: Any knowledge skill programmed into a collective cannot exceed its owner’s own modifier, but still takes full or half-full ranks. Help from other sources or aid from another character that improves a knowledge check can improve this maximum, as long as it was used during the programming.
Speak Language: A collective normally only understands one language that it’s creator knows, and can be reprogrammed to know a different language, as long as at least one person present and helping during the programming ritual knows it’s currently understood language, and the one to be reprogrammed to. If ranks are programmed into speak language, the Collective can understand 1 more language its owner understands per rank invested. Just as with Knowledge, any characters helping the owner, and sharing at least one language known with the collective can imbue understanding as well. Even if the collective understands a language, it cannot speak, and so must convey anything it wishes to “say” by some other means.
Spellcraft: Same as Knowledge

Skills: A Mechanus Swarm gets a +4 bonus to Appraise, Balance, Climb, Craft, Forgery, Heal, Move Silently, Open Lock, Spellcraft, Tumble, and Use Rope checks. They also get a +10 bonus to Listen, Search, and Spot checks

Split Mind (Su): A Mechanus Swarm are connected together in a precise, cold, calculating, highly intelligent hive mind. They function perfectly as individuals and as a collective. All experiences, information, skills, sights, senses, etc. are assigned to individuals, and can be magically called from that one to any others as needed at any time. Due to their individuality, coupled with their perfect unity, A Swarm can split their forces, assigning some individuals to do one task while others accomplish another, but at a lack of efficiency, and speed that’s proportional to the numbers working, rounded down. For example, if a collective needed to watch both sides of a closed door, their spot and listen modifiers would be cut in half, or if they were required to repair a door, and a sword simultaneously, both actions would take twice as long, and be at half the craft modifier.
A DM may adjucate that certain tasks would not be penalized in one or both ways if it would not merit, for example, if the Collective were required to fix a broken ring, all individuals couldn’t work on the task at the same time anyway, and so splitting the force would not hamper that action. A collective can split their Mind to do a number of simultaneous tasks equal to their Hit Dice. If an individual leaves Perfect Order, it loses Split Mind until it returns (see above).

The bodies of the individuals in a collective are made from Iron, Silver, Cold Iron, and Adamantine, 12,000gp worth, and 500gp worth of lodestones and copper, strung into wire.
CL 9th; Craft Construct, Mending, Burning Hands, Shocking Grasp, Spider Climb, Fabricate, Price 25,000gp, Cost 12,500gp + 1,000 XP

So there it is, very long and complicated, but I got a little carried away, and I personally like complicated monsters, I think it gives a more interesting experience for both players and DMs.

Changed name from Nanobots to Mechanus Swarm, tell me if I forgot to change it somewhere in the text

So yeah, give me feedback on whatever you think, good or bad

2007-08-19, 06:49 AM
Not bad

I've always seen some potential in using mechanical monsters to scare the be-jeebees out of my players (the movie 'Screamers' comes to mind)

But your right about the name...
Nano... first of all... refers to very very small... so small that they don't have a size category for in in D&D

I would've called is it: Clockwork-*something*

Like "Clockwork Parasites" or "Clockwork Swarm" or "Clockwork Ants" est.

But anyway, nice going... :P

2007-08-19, 03:51 PM
I would've called is it: Clockwork-*something*

Like "Clockwork Parasites" or "Clockwork Swarm" or "Clockwork Ants" est.

Yeah, that is a little better, but "clockwork" makes me think of Magic the Gathering Cards, so I'm thinking maybe "Mechanus Swarm", what do you think?

2007-08-19, 04:26 PM
Yeah... that's better! :smallbiggrin:

Nano just sounded waaay too futuristic :smalltongue: