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A mage has cast a 'Beast Friend' spell on a swarm of creatures -- say, a swarm of Razor Wings. The swarm then takes a wound and splits into two swarms. Does the mage now have control of all of the new swarms, or only one of the new swarms?

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3 Answers 3

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Only one of them. They are treated as two separate creatures. Remember, "Beast Friend" doesn't have you "control" a creature. It has the spellcaster "guide" the creature.

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Agreed - I would make the player decide which of the two smaller swarms they wanted to continue controlling. –  Phil Apr 12 '12 at 9:15
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Why? Without giving a rationale this just seems arbitrary. –  SevenSidedDie May 25 '12 at 1:12
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The "spell" only targets a single creature. They are now two separate creatures with two separate initiatives, set of actions, wounds, etc. There is no reason why your single target spell should now be affecting multiple targets. –  Xphile May 25 '12 at 2:12

Or you could have it that the two smaller swarms can only act as one. They both attack the same targets and go to the same location etc. There are still the same swarm of creatures just now there are for mechanic reason treated as two smaller swarms.

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None of the above. When a swarm takes a Wound, it is Incapacitated (generally meaning that it disperses), just like any other Extra. Wounding a swarm doesn't split it. The description of swarms' "Split" ability reads:

Split: Some swarms are clever enough to split into two smaller swarms (Small Burst Templates) should their foes split up.

It says nothing about them splitting in response to damage.

If the player suggests to the swarm that it should split, then I would allow him to maintain control of both sub-swarms, under the following conditions:

  • He spends an action coordinating the split and makes an arcane skill roll as if casting a spell normally.
  • He pays 1 PP to make up the difference in cost between controlling a medium swarm (5 PP) and controlling two small swarms (3 PP x 2 = 6 PP total).
  • Beast Control is thereafter counted as two maintained spells for purposes of penalties to arcane rolls, etc.

The end result is then identical regardless of whether he used Beast Friend once on a medium swarm and split it or used it twice on two separate small swarms - it costs 6 PP, takes up two actions, and counts as two maintained spells either way.

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