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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default PF - What's the CR modifier for simply adding the Swarm or Troop subtype?

    Just like it says on the tin, am going to add the Swarm Subtype or Troop Subtype to appropriately sized, randomly rolled sharks for a Skull & Shackles game and I am unsure how much this should adjust their CR on average.

    Basically I have a list of all the aquatic sharklike predators I could find and a list of templates that I plan to generate random templated sharks from and I want to incorporate these subtypes as though they were templates.
    My guess is it's just a +1 or +2 CR increase and that it's comparable from one subtype to the other. Though for my purposes the Swarm Subtype might be the stronger of the two at lower levels since whacking a swarm of Miniature sharks with a torch underwater might not work too well.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: PF - What's the CR modifier for simply adding the Swarm or Troop subtype?

    I believe the Troop subtype is a complete rebuild.

    Only thing I've seen was people choosing to try to set a convention of increasing the CR from the base creature they had in mind, but I believe you could technically make a CR 3 Troop out of CR 3 creatures.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: PF - What's the CR modifier for simply adding the Swarm or Troop subtype?

    Unfortunately Coidzor is correct. Troop and Swarm subtypes aren't templates and can't just be applied for a direct increase in CR (although I've never really been convinced CR is reliable anyway).

    The following are my thoughts on creating a Troop, as it is one of the things that I really like to do in mass combat (particularly "PCs vs an Army" style combat)

    I will be making reference to a troop which may be a spoiler for two particular APs. When I talk about this troop I will put it under a spoiler tag, for anybody who wishes to read what I have without it.

    Spoiler: The APs in question
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    Pathfinder #108: Hell Comes to Westcrown pg. 91
    Pathfinder #100: A Song of Silver pg. 122


    Firstly:

    Decide how powerful you wish your troop to be. Because you are creating your own creature you have a bit of leeway in determining their power, though you probably don't want to strain the limits of reason too much as they are a group of 12 - 30 creatures. We can always come back and change this later.

    Remember that Troops largely disregard the PCs AC, which can render certain defensive strategies essentially moot. This also means that frequent use of Troops may prove frustrating to a character that thinks their plate armour should maybe do something... (which I feel is a fair complaint about Troops, although compared to their HD the damage numbers are fairly low, so this may be the sum of damage done by those who got a nat20)

    The core of a troop is it's hit die which determines most of the usual things, such as saves, HP, BAB, etc. but it also determines their base damage output. (Though two of the four troops I've found break that guideline immediately)

    Spoiler: AP Monster References
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    The Hound Archon troop (guideline 5d6, actual 8d6) and the Golden Reclamation troop (guideline 4d6, actual 6d6). Both are high level monsters with a number of additional abilities, so this may simply be necessary scaling.

    We can also compare the CR of the Hound Archon troop (CR 16) to the single Hound Archon (CR 4). More on this later


    Secondly:
    Determine the Troop's Ability Scores, using the base creature's abilities as a guideline, but probably not identical. Unfortunately we don't have much to work off here, as only one of the troops I have access to also has stats for a single creature, that I know of (though some of the creatures in the swarm could theoretically have class levels, further complicating the issue). However, I will try to discuss this below.

    Spoiler: AP Monster Details
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    The Hound Archon
    Str 15, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12

    The Hound Archon Troop
    Str 23, Dex 20, Con 23, Int 18, Wis 21, Cha 18

    As you can see, the stats have been increased by 8, 10, 10, 8, 8 and 6.


    The above example features an adjustment of all physical and mental attributes by +8 (+ or - 2). This probably represents the advantage of coordinated tactics. You are more likely to survive if your buddy can trade in, more likely to spot something or win initiative if there's 20 of you active and so on, the effect of being aided another on most checks. Twelve people pushing on a boulder should have more effect than one.

    I would use discretion when choosing these ability scores, which things are supported by a group of these creatures, and which don't really change. For example, a shark swarm likely wouldn't have a noticeable increase in it's intelligence. Likewise a unit without much military cohesion (such as a Horde of Dretches) might not gain nearly as significant bonuses.

    Thirdly:
    Build the basic stat block of the creature, using it's ability scores and hit die you have everything you need to get a basic build together.

    Fourth:
    Determine the monster's special abilities. The first place to start here is, naturally, the base creature. Ask yourself how these scale when there are 15 or so of them. If they have a 1/day spell like ability, suddenly there are 15 of those available, and only one of the creatures would need to spend an action on it. It doesn't make sense to have your troop stop for a round to cast Cure Light Wounds for example, instead perhaps give the group minor fast healing, to represent one of your forces using their ability each turn. Can the outsiders teleport at will, and if so, are they coordinated enough to actually do that and maintain cohesion?

    Spoiler: AP Monster Citations
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    The Hound Archon Troop has the "Coordinated Teleport" ability, which is essentially just their regular teleport for the Horde. They've lost their other spell like abilities, probably because they weren't really relevant at that level (although their magic circles are still in their stats, despite not being listed).

    Likewise, the Cure Light Wounds suggestion comes from the troop of inquisitors.


    If the creatures have offensive spell like abilities, you could let them be cast as a free action, as only one among the group has to use it at any one time, but that quickly throws balance out the window. Instead, I feel a good balance is to quicken them, allowing the troop to use their ability as a swift action so that it can still fight, but only letting it cast one spell each round. Remember, with modified ability scores comes higher DCs anyway, so the troop has quite an advantage over a single caster. If you are feeling adventurous, you could also add the ability to cast multiple copies of the spell at the original DC as a standard action (though probably less than 12 of them, or you're just fishing for a natural 1).

    Some spell like abilities become moot when you have so many creatures, or could only have a noticeable effect if all of the group used them at once. These you can abandon to keep things simple and make standard actions respectively.

    One example of the latter came when my level 18 PCs decided they wanted to show a Balor who's boss (He did try to have them assassinated, and they wished to discourage others from trying the same). As they fought their way into his fortress, I had them facing Hordes of Dretch.

    The Dretch have the usual evil outsider's summoning ability: 1/day summon (level 1, 1 dretch 35%). The law of large numbers makes this ability interesting. About 1/3 castings should summon a whole new dretch.

    There are three general ways I can see to handle this ability.
    1. As a "1 round" action the Dretch Horde can summon a second Dretch Horde with 35% health (which cannot then summon more)
    2. As a "1 round" action the Dretch Horde can replenish 35% of it's total HP, replacing the missing members
    3. As a swift action the Dretch Horde gains Fast Healing equal to 1/30th of it's total HP for up to 10 rounds


    Myself I like options, so I'd keep all three, but I also understand the need to keep it simple, so you might pick one.

    Next you need to consider if one or two of the creatures might have unique abilities. If the group has a single cleric among them, then as a swift action they might be able to channel, healing every member of the troop at once (I would treat this as a single target, empowered or possibly maximised channel). They might have a crowd controlling wizard or druid hidden in amongst them that can launch Entangle or Black Tentacles at foes before the troop moves in.

    Spoiler: AP Monster Reference again
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    The Glorious Reclamation troop has a large number of variants which do a good job of illustrating the different sorts of abilities your Troop can have. My favourite turns them into a cavalry unit with lances. Because cavalry charges should be scary, and they certainly can be here.


    This is also a good time to consider what equipment your creatures have. If everybody has the same armour, just add that to their AC. If they're a troop of Monks, remember to add their monk and wisdom bonuses, for example. Maybe they're a bandit troop with a hodge podge of armour. Try to decide on an average and use that.

    This can feed back to abilities. If everybody in the troop carries a single Alchemist's Fire, then they could bombard a foe before their first charge, or they could occasionally launch one as a swift action.

    My feeling is that it's these sorts of abilities that really set a Troop apart, so I suggest putting some thought into them.

    Fifth:
    Choose Feats: Remember, you're making a much higher HD creature, that means more feats. Try to keep them appropriate, which i suggest means avoiding feat chains, as this is more the quality of the group, than an expert within it.

    Sixth:
    Determine CR (if that's important to you) or compare what it can do directly to your party's offensive, defensive and control abilities and modify as appropriate. This is mostly done the same way as any other creature. Check the rules for Monster Creation. Just remember to account for the fact that your monster has a guaranteed hit, which makes it more powerful than something else that deals the same damage.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Spoiler: Example: Shark Swarm
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    Step 1:
    I'll start experimentally and say this will be a 12 HD swarm (3x a common shark's HD)

    Step 2:
    Common Shark's stats:
    Str 17, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2

    I'll keep Intelligence and charisma the same as no shark is likely much more of either than any other, but add a +8 to the other stats

    Shark Swarm's stats:
    Str 25, Dex 20, Con 21, Int 1, Wis 20, Cha 2

    Step 3:
    Spoiler: Stat Block
    Show
    SHARK SWARM CR ?
    XP ????
    N Large animal (aquatic, Troop)
    Init +9; Senses blindsense 30 ft., keen scent; Perception +17

    DEFENSE
    AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+5 Dex, +4 natural, –1 size)
    hp 114 (12d8+60)
    Fort +15, Ref +13, Will +9

    OFFENSE
    Speed swim 60 ft.
    Melee Troop (3d6+7)
    Space 30 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

    STATISTICS
    Str 25, Dex 20, Con 21, Int 1, Wis 20, Cha 2
    Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 32
    Feats Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, X, X, X, X
    Skills ????

    ECOLOGY
    Environment any ocean
    Treasure none

    SPECIAL ABILITIES
    Keen Scent (Ex) A shark can notice creatures by scent in a 180-foot radius underwater and can detect blood in the water at ranges of up to a mile.


    Step 4:
    What do you picture when you have a pack of sharks? For me it is blood in the water as the sharks turn into a roiling mass that shreds anything within it. (though as I understand it, this is more cinematic than realistic, so take it or leave it).

    Feeding Frenzy (Ex) When a shark notices blood in the water it is driven into a frenzy. When any creature (including the swarm itself) takes damage that causes them to bleed the sharks enter a feeding frenzy. In a feeding frenzy a shark swarm is treated as Confused, except that a roll of 26 - 50 counts as "Attacks nearest creature (for this purpose, a familiar counts as part of the subject’s self)" as well as gaining the benefits of Rage (+4 STR, +4 CON, -2 AC, +2 Will). Negating either of these effects negates both.

    Step 5:
    Keeping the feats simple here by looking at the feats an animal companion can take. Starting with the two the shark already possesses, "Great Fortitude" and "Improved Initiative."

    As the Shark has Blindsense I feel that it's appropriate to give them the "Blind-Fight" feat, so that somebody they can't see in the middle of a swarm is more likely to get hit.

    Combat Reflexes will make it more difficult to get away from the swarm, or into range, given it's reach.

    Skill Focus in the skill the Shark starts with, combined with it's new HD make it unlikely to fail perception checks.

    Toughness, because I'm too lazy to pick a 4th thing, honestly.

    Step 6:
    Spoiler: Stat Block
    Show
    SHARK SWARM CR ?
    XP ????
    N Large animal (aquatic, Troop)
    Init +9; Senses blindsense 30 ft., keen scent; Perception +17

    DEFENSE
    AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+5 Dex, +4 natural, –1 size)
    hp 126 (12d8+72)
    Fort +15, Ref +13, Will +9

    OFFENSE
    Speed swim 60 ft.
    Melee Troop (3d6+7)
    Space 30 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

    STATISTICS
    Str 25, Dex 20, Con 21, Int 1, Wis 20, Cha 2
    Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 32
    Feats Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness
    Skills Perception +18, Swim +15

    ECOLOGY
    Environment any ocean
    Treasure none

    SPECIAL ABILITIES
    Keen Scent (Ex) A shark can notice creatures by scent in a 180-foot radius underwater and can detect blood in the water at ranges of up to a mile.

    Feeding Frenzy (Ex) When a shark notices blood in the water it is driven into a frenzy. When any creature (including the swarm itself) takes damage that causes them to bleed the sharks enter a feeding frenzy. In a feeding frenzy a shark swarm is treated as Confused, except that a roll of 26 - 50 counts as "Attacks nearest creature (for this purpose, a familiar counts as part of the subject’s self)" as well as gaining the benefits of Rage (+4 STR, +4 CON, -2 AC, +2 Will). Negating either of these effects negates both.


    So now we have our monster, what's it's CR?

    Well. In combat it's probably under the effects of Feeding Frenzy most of the time, so it's HP is 150 (CR 11 - 12), it's AC is 17 (CR 4), it's attack is automatic (CR ???), it's average damage is 19.5 (CR 5), it's good save is 15 (CR 12) and it's bad save is 9 (CR 10). Finally, it has a 1/4 chance of attacking itself each turn.

    I'd say this is a ballpark CR 9 - 10 creature, but I'd compare it to other monsters of that level to see if I could get a better idea.
    I'd also note that the CR could be notably higher if the PCs don't have access to swim speeds, freedom of movement, water breathing and similar tools.


    Hope this all helped.

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    Default Re: PF - What's the CR modifier for simply adding the Swarm or Troop subtype?

    Additional Variant trait for the shark swarm for light hearted campaigns

    Fly Speed: 60 and the Whirlwind universal monster ability.

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    Default Re: PF - What's the CR modifier for simply adding the Swarm or Troop subtype?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mystic View Post
    The following are my thoughts on creating a Troop, as it is one of the things that I really like to do in mass combat (particularly "PCs vs an Army" style combat)
    Points for brevity - my Generals of Prime is 50+ pages. (But only the first two pages really matter.)

    My guidelines stick much more closely to the rules for individual combatants. I made use of the Aid Another action, so a troop of men get +4 attack/+4 AC but only one out of 5 of them attack at a time. This puts in the same RNG as the players, without overwhelming them with attacks but also not being helpless against higher level foes.

    The only special powers I gave them were immunity to Critical Hits and a Damage Cap: that is, any single attack can only kill one member of the troop at a time (except for area attacks, of course).

    Cavalry charges should be scary! And they are: 25 knights charge you; 20 of them use Aid Another so 5 can attack at +8. Add in the +2 for the charge and +3 for their STR and you are looking at an attack at +13 for 10d8+30. From a bunch of 0th level guys!

    I did not care for the Pathfinder system at all; it seemed entirely too hand-wavy, and I can't figure out how much the troop costs to hire (or even how many were in the troop). My system works for units from 5 to 200 men.

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