A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    This doesn't seem too far off from Mulhorandi divine minion, which is +1 or +2, basically the same as the CR adjustment here. Swarm forms are more powerful than animal forms, but they don't count as wild shape for synergy purposes, so there's a legitimate tradeoff.

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    First comment, the Sand form does give you immunity to weapon damage.

    From a player point of view I am not seeing a much of a difference between having a single swarm form, two swarm forms, or all swarm forms. Sure each has their own specialty and some give you versatility like flying swimming burrowing blindsense or tremor sense but you have to switch between forms to access each different thing. Like Troacctid said this doesn't get treated as wild shape and it doesn't get treated as werewolf shifting which both of some support so its not super dramatic. In the end I think +1 LA for the ability to shift into a swarm at will regardless of which form or however many you choose to have access to.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Loses the ability to make melee attacks (actually, "normal" attacks period for a Swarm Shifter) and to threaten (even its own space) while in swarm form, and also take bonus damage from AOEs. In exchange, they're resistant or immune to most physical attacks, immune to any spell or effect that isn't an AOE or able to bypass their undead immunity to mind-affecting, can't be tripped/grappled/bull-rushed, and in most cases get an additional movement/sense option. Swarm immunities are freaking good, much better than anything Wild Shape is giving you... except for the fact that while in swarm form you also lose all the special attacks of the base creature, which is going to include spells, SLAs, psionics... basically everything that isn't better defined as a Special Quality.

    Swarm Shifter gives you a fantastic defensive trick, and some neat utility options in most cases, but you lose almost all offensive ability while using them. I'm going to say +2 for the first application, and +1 for each subsequent application another +1 (that's +3 total) if you have more than one (you're not getting nearly as much, but it's still significantly more than nothing, and there are no downsides, so I think +0 is inappropriate). Some of the forms could be worth less, but I'm not feeling like breaking down each of them individually at the moment.

    EDIT: I've been convinced that there is not a levels worth of power between having two swarm forms and having all of them. The second form can give you a missing movement mode and/or special sense, but after that you're not getting anything worth an additional +1.
    Last edited by PoeticallyPsyco; 2021-06-17 at 08:34 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    I'm thinking +1 for the first application, but it's on the high end of +1. Strong. Not strong enough for +2.

    I'd also put the second application at +1 for a total of +2. However, I think there are enough diminishing returns that it's safe to put the third and subsequent applications at +0. So: +1 for just one swarm form, +2 for all the swarm forms.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Hey, can you still manifest powers as a swarm? Casting seems like it’d be a pain but psionic powers don’t need material or somatic components.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Hey, can you still manifest powers as a swarm? Casting seems like it’d be a pain but psionic powers don’t need material or somatic components.
    Infinite (really fast, at that, since it only takes 7 rounds to heal yourself to full, whatever your level) out-of-combat healing, perfect flying, immunity to weapon damage, and you can still cast if you have silent spell or if you're a psionic or a warlock. Also you just can't be grappled, since you can just shift out whenever someone tries to grapple you. And you get various senses/movement modes according to your form. Plus you can litterally basically go through walls with the sand swarm. Even flies can be stopped by a normal door, but dust will just go under, or through any venting holes. Being able to change type can also lead to a whole lot of shenanigans. Also, it doesn't say what action it takes to shift. That is strong, really, really strong and versatile. I will say LA +2 if this is a standard action shifting, and LA+3 if it is a free action or no action (note that that would make no sense since it would mean you heal to full at each of your turn). Oh, and an additional LA+1 if you have more than one form. I don't think these add so much versatility that they need an LA for each one.
    Last edited by Beni-Kujaku; 2021-06-17 at 02:59 AM.
    Trying to resurrect the Negative LA thread, any comment and discussion are very welcome!


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  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    I'm with Troacctid on that one. The first application of the template is worth LA + 1. The defensive and mobility-related benefits are huge, but the fact you lose pretty much all offensive abilities will severly deter you from remaining in that form all day long - plus, you still gain added vulnerability to AoE attacks. Yeah, and shifting is a standard action, so that costs a turn too. Silent and/or Still spell (that's a non-insignificant cost, mind you), will allow spellcasters to continue just fine, as well as psionic classes, but Warlocks and Dragonfire Adepts are hosed. Classes that rely on normal attacks become essentially nonfunctional, though maybe swarm damage can apply Sneak Attack somehow?

    Adding a second time the template (most likely sand for the mobility it offers) might bring you up to LA+2, but yeah there's not much point in carrying up below that stage.


    So put me down for LA+1 the first time, LA+2 the second and subsequent times.
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  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    I'll agree with the version Beni-Kujaku posted before he changed his mind. +2 for the first application, +1 for each other subsequent application. Or in other words: First +2, second +3 (total), third +3 (total), fourth +4 (total), fifth +4 (total), and so on.
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by Beni-Kujaku View Post
    Infinite (really fast, at that, since it only takes 7 rounds to heal yourself to full, whatever your level) out-of-combat healing, perfect flying, immunity to weapon damage, and you can still cast if you have silent spell or if you're a psionic or a warlock. Also you just can't be grappled, since you can just shift out whenever someone tries to grapple you. And you get various senses/movement modes according to your form. Plus you can litterally basically go through walls with the sand swarm. Even flies can be stopped by a normal door, but dust will just go under, or through any venting holes. Being able to change type can also lead to a whole lot of shenanigans. Also, it doesn't say what action it takes to shift. That is strong, really, really strong and versatile. I will say LA +2 if this is a standard action shifting, and LA+3 if it is a free action or no action (note that that would make no sense since it would mean you heal to full at each of your turn). Oh, and an additional LA+1 if you have more than one form. I don't think these add so much versatility that they need an LA for each one.
    Uh… I think most swarms can’t use somatic components? Also it does make you a bit weaker to AoE damage and undead with LA kinda suck in the hit points department.

    Still, a swarm-shifter necropolitan psion does sound pretty neat. How do preexisting buffs work with this thing? I guess AC won’t really matter much as a swarm, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need buffs.
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  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    I think +2 for the first, +1 for the second, then +0 for each subsequent form. As a monster its not huge, but as a PC you can with no down side take out a huge portion of foes who just have no way to interact with you.
    Dust/sand is amazing for infiltration, and any of the bleeding swarms can wait out a LOT of living opposition.

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Hmm. Should there be different LAs depending on type? Are any particularly stronger than the alternatives?
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzardok View Post
    I'll agree with the version Beni-Kujaku posted before he changed his mind. +2 for the first application, +1 for each other subsequent application. Or in other words: First +2, second +3 (total), third +3 (total), fourth +4 (total), fifth +4 (total), and so on.
    Can someone tell what I am missing here?

    Everyone is saying having a second form is worth at least another +1 and for the life of me I can't see it at all. Granting the ability to swarm shape is very strong and it is a high +1 but I am not seeing how adding all the swarm forms much less just one extra is giving you enough for an extra +1. Its not like I can be multiple forms at the same time, there isn't enough versatility added from any form for any of them to be dramatically better than any other, each has pluses and minuses with some just sucking. Finally, like has already been said swarm shifting has some major down sides, it pretty much forces you into either being psionic or needing to do some pretty major meta magic investment to be capable of casting while in swarm form; Silent Spell, Still Spell, and Eschew Materials are all required to be able to cast spells, or you need to be cherry picking your spell list. So what am I missing here, I don't see anything granted from getting access to additional forms that gives you enough versatility and power to justify further LA, heck even WotC are pretty much with me on this just look at the CR for this thing.

    Its also worth noting that we can get similar abilities from Master of Flies and City Shape, so a good comparison point here is wild shape ranger/ Master of Flies (note because swarm shape is treated as wild shape we only need a 2 level dip to get 80% of the versatility of swarm shaping) or city shape druid which gets swarm shape at level 12. Both examples highlight that at early levels Swarm Shifter is definitely worth a +1, however, somewhere between Level 7 to 12 the template becomes +0 regardless of how many forms the template grants you access to.

    So is there something here I am missing or are people just way over valuing this? I can get very comparable abilities around level 7-12 without loosing any levels, that doesn't seem like a template worth more than +1 LA to me.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Oh, and if your argument for the LA is "oh this one is super OP so the whole template needs a +2" then give that option a +2 rather than give it a blanket rating.

    I would presume your swarm doesn't have the needs of a normal one(such as breathing for live creatures)? Still, if we consider aquatic creatures to be used in aquatic campaigns then the leech swarm should probably be judged by that(because with 5 ft. and 30 ft. speed you're not really going to be using it outside water), and the rest probably shouldn't be used in such a campaign.

    Also wait, do you keep your gear? Wild Shape doesn't unless you use Wilding Clasps or something like that, same for Polymorph.
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  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Rereading, I think I am okay with a flat +2. That is assuming mostly sand shape. It looks at a quick glance to be the best and I do not think for reasons of power you would choose anything else.

    60 ft. perfect fly speed, immunity to single target spells which is all rays or ranged touch attacks plus anything mental thay you were not already immune to, infinite out of combat healing, immunity to weapon damage, bypaasing of most doors and anything else that is not air tight, and invulnerability to most encounters.
    Last edited by Efrate; 2021-06-17 at 09:46 AM. Reason: details

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Yeah, but if the others are that much weaker, what's wrong with only giving Sand Shape a +2 and the rest +1, for example?
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Here is my guess at ranking, granted I don't think there is much difference between them Rat<Body Part<Centipede<Maggot<Scorpion=Spider=Beetle=Leech =Fly=Bat<Sand

    Scorpion, spider, Beetle, Leech, Fly, and Bat all seem pretty comparable with each having slight advantages in one way or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Yeah, but if the others are that much weaker, what's wrong with only giving Sand Shape a +2 and the rest +1, for example?
    Personally, while sand is good to best that is mostly because of perfect maneuverability with 60' fly speed, anything beyond that is up to DM fiat. No where is it explicitly called out that sand/dust/dirt can get through unopened doors and so forth and if you have a DM that isn't agreeing with that inflation in power the Fly, Bat, and Beetle all offer some extra options that are helpful and you don't get in sand shape...
    Last edited by liquidformat; 2021-06-17 at 09:56 AM. Reason: new post

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    The leech swarm option is pretty bad on land, though quite good in aquatic campaigns. Flight speeds don't work underwater right?
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  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    The leech swarm option is pretty bad on land, though quite good in aquatic campaigns. Flight speeds don't work underwater right?
    No, they don't. Unless you are incorporal.
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  19. - Top - End - #199
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Hmm. Should there be different LAs depending on type? Are any particularly stronger than the alternatives?
    At first glance, the extra senses stand out a bit. Then I remember that you only get those senses in Swarm form and most of them also make you slower than 30' per round. The bat swarm being the sole exception, as it gives you Fly 40' (Good) and 20' Blindsense. That said, I'm not sure I would give Bats a higher rating than any of the others based on that.

    The swarm of body parts though? No clause on the fear effect that makes victims immune for a while. You could keep an enemy Frightened as long as you can reach them. 20' speed though.

    In my opinion at least; it would seem none of them are that far and away better than the others, so we can safely just rate the template as a whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    note because swarm shape is treated as wild shape
    Maybe I missed something. Where does it say that?

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Oh, and if your argument for the LA is "oh this one is super OP so the whole template needs a +2" then give that option a +2 rather than give it a blanket rating.

    I would presume your swarm doesn't have the needs of a normal one(such as breathing for live creatures)? Still, if we consider aquatic creatures to be used in aquatic campaigns then the leech swarm should probably be judged by that(because with 5 ft. and 30 ft. speed you're not really going to be using it outside water), and the rest probably shouldn't be used in such a campaign.

    Also wait, do you keep your gear? Wild Shape doesn't unless you use Wilding Clasps or something like that, same for Polymorph.
    I will mention that all of the swarm forms maintain your Undead creature type. You don't need to worry about the aquatic subtype (aside from how slow you are on land).

    Your gear melds into your form, and the text actually references Alter Self to note that, not Wild Shape. (It only mentions Alter Self to describe the gear melding, not the entire ability.)
    Last edited by Debatra; 2021-06-17 at 10:14 AM.
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by Debatra View Post
    Maybe I missed something. Where does it say that?
    Sorry for the confusion I was specifically talking about Master of Flies and City Shape with that comment, they both are expressly treated as wild shape with some exceptions in the case of MoF. The point was Master of Flies and City Shape both giving 'swarm shape' that counts as wild shape partially makes up for the fact that it isn't unlimited uses nor automatically giving you special qualities like swarm shaper template. It was getting a bit confusing since all three give you 'Swarm shape' but each is functionally slightly different.

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Hmm. Should there be different LAs depending on type? Are any particularly stronger than the alternatives?
    I don't think so. As mentioned, bat and dust are probably the strongest, but the differences are not that massive to warrant a different LA in my opinion. You will almost always find holes to infiltrate what you want big enough even for rats, and even if they don't have much for them, even the weakest swarms have a bit to sell, the rats have scent and a climb speed, the parts have a weird fear ability, even the leeches have tremorsense which can be good in some situation, and is definitely the best in an aquatic campaign. But the major point is that the gist of the template (infinite healing, nigh-immunity to weapon damage, immunity to any single target effect) remains the same, and you become quite invincible with just evasion on top of that. I don't think we should make several LA when "you can become a swarm" remains the same.
    Trying to resurrect the Negative LA thread, any comment and discussion are very welcome!


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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by Beni-Kujaku View Post
    I don't think so. As mentioned, bat and dust are probably the strongest, but the differences are not that massive to warrant a different LA in my opinion. You will almost always find holes to infiltrate what you want big enough even for rats, and even if they don't have much for them, even the weakest swarms have a bit to sell, the rats have scent and a climb speed, the parts have a weird fear ability, even the leeches have tremorsense which can be good in some situation, and is definitely the best in an aquatic campaign. But the major point is that the gist of the template (infinite healing, nigh-immunity to weapon damage, immunity to any single target effect) remains the same, and you become quite invincible with just evasion on top of that. I don't think we should make several LA when "you can become a swarm" remains the same.
    Yeah seems reasonable to me, you really aren't getting anything beyond the first form.

    Also random thought question, can the parts swarm open doors? Also can parts swarm wear equipment? Seems like at the least rings, boots, gloves, crown, and bracers are all on the table for a parts swarm

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by Beni-Kujaku View Post
    I don't think so. As mentioned, bat and dust are probably the strongest, but the differences are not that massive to warrant a different LA in my opinion. You will almost always find holes to infiltrate what you want big enough even for rats, and even if they don't have much for them, even the weakest swarms have a bit to sell, the rats have scent and a climb speed, the parts have a weird fear ability, even the leeches have tremorsense which can be good in some situation, and is definitely the best in an aquatic campaign. But the major point is that the gist of the template (infinite healing, nigh-immunity to weapon damage, immunity to any single target effect) remains the same, and you become quite invincible with just evasion on top of that. I don't think we should make several LA when "you can become a swarm" remains the same.
    Yes but I don't think the highest should be the automatic guideline for that, especially since the other options aren't horrible. Maybe aim for somewhere in the middle or average.
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Yes but I don't think the highest should be the automatic guideline for that, especially since the other options aren't horrible. Maybe aim for somewhere in the middle or average.
    Hard disagree here. If somone chooses to get this template, or if their DM gives it to them, then they are going to choose what they think is the strongest option. Level adjustment should reflect the fact that people can take the dust form on a necropolitan psion, not that they may take the rat form on a fighter. Especially if we're to use these in an optimization challenge, we should aim for at least a medium level of optimization.
    Trying to resurrect the Negative LA thread, any comment and discussion are very welcome!


    Quote Originally Posted by H_H_F_F View Post
    3.5 allows you to optimize into godhood, yes, but far more importantly, it lets you optimize weak, weird, and niche options into relevance.

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by Beni-Kujaku View Post
    If somone chooses to get this template, or if their DM gives it to them, then they are going to choose what they think is the strongest option.
    Or what fits the theme best. Or what fulfills the fantasy best. Or what qualifies you for the thing you actually want further down the road. If these are of different power levels, they should get individual ratings.

    Regardless: When I skimmed the main post, I thought the idea of taking multiples came from the nonchange in type or some other technicality. Looking at the book I was suprised that is an explicit option... I was expecting a corpse filled with a swarm of whatevers, not a corpse that can change shape into one from a repertoire of swarms.

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    I mean like, kobolds aren't +20 because Pun-Pun is a thing.
    Cool elan (no not that kind) Illithid Slayer by linkele.

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  27. - Top - End - #207
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    A bunch of people are missing that being in swarm form costs you all Special Attacks of the base form.

    That means no spells, no psionics, no Eldritch Blasts, maybe no incarnum (but you've probably lost all your chakras except Totem and Soul anyway1)... on top of the "no normal attacks" rule you already had.

    Technically, this wouldn't apply to class features you got after acquiring the template, though.


    1. Unless you're a body part swarm, I guess. Which is kind of hilarious.
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  28. - Top - End - #208
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    danielxcutter's Avatar

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    ...Manifesting counts as special attacks?
    Cool elan (no not that kind) Illithid Slayer by linkele.

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  29. - Top - End - #209
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    ...Manifesting counts as special attacks?
    Yes.

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  30. - Top - End - #210
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: The LA Assignment Thread XI: Better LA'd Than Never

    Technically yes. If you, for example, look into the EPH under mind flayer, you'll see that its native manifesting is counted among its Special Attacks, just like a creature with innate spell casting has their spells under Special Attacks.
    I still think there should be room for interpretation. The character is an undead swarm with a hive mind. What is preventing it from manifesting (or casting silent, still spells)?
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