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My gut feeling is that wildshaping into a swarm is not RAI, but I've had such feelings at times and been wrong, so it feels worth asking.

When it comes to RAW, so far I cannot find anything that says you could not.

At 4th level, a druid gains the ability to turn herself into any Small or Medium animal and back again once per day. Her options for new forms include all creatures with the animal type.

Wild Shape includes any and all creatures of the Animal type, and while swarms are their own subtype, they are a subtype of Animal, which should be inclusive of the "parent type", right? Or is my programmer's thinking messing this up?

One could say that a swarm is many creatures, but...

Swarm Subtype: A swarm is a collection of Fine, Diminutive, or Tiny creatures that acts as a single creature.

The best I can come up with to counter this is that it says "acts as" and not "is a".

Finally, there's the issue of size for lower level druids, but my question is not restricted to early levels. So, if the druid can turn into fine or tiny creatures, are swarms okay?

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KRyan posted a pretty nice-looking homebrew Swarm Druid variant class for 3.5e, complete with a "Swarm Shape" ability, in a related thread; maybe it could be adapted for Pathfinder. – Ilmari Karonen May 13 '14 at 22:21
To editors: "subtype" partly bolded was not an error but my, possibly mistaken, way of putting emphasis on the "sub" part. Oh well! – leokhorn May 14 '14 at 18:34
up vote 10 down vote accepted

No, they can't.

Emphasis mine:

Swarm Subtype: A swarm is a collection of Fine, Diminutive, or Tiny creatures that acts as a single creature.

First, while a swarm may act as a single creature, it isn't one. Second, you wouldn't Wild Shape into either a Small or Medium creature.

So, per , you cannot Wild Shape into a swarm.

However, like you said, it can be a bit open to interpretation. You should consult your GM to see if they'd allow this. I probably would, depending on what kind of swarm.

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Also, most swarms are not composed of animals but of vermin. You can't change into a Medium ant either, it's not an animal. – mxyzplk May 13 '14 at 22:17
"At 6th level, a druid can also use wild shape to change into a Large or Tiny animal", so size shouldn't be the counter-argument, unless I'm missing something? I otherwise agree with the other bit (acts as / is), as shown in my question. – leokhorn May 14 '14 at 18:39
@mxyzplk: Still leaves a few fun ones, like monkey swarm ;) – leokhorn May 14 '14 at 18:48

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