A dire piranha swarm, for obvious reasons, has only a swim speed and no other available movement modes. The warden in our party, while standing next to a lake, used Warden's Lure, which pulled all enemies within 3 squares adjacent to him.

What would happen to a creature such as a piranha swarm? Would it be possible to pull it out of the water and onto land? Would it survive? Could it move at all without a proper ground speed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as I know, piranhas can survive for an hour or so out of the water. Some fish species can survive for days, weeks or even months, and others die in a matter of minutes. As for movement, most fish immediately start to flap around desperately, trying to aim for the water, but usually to no avail. I don't know the rules mechanics for this. You should probably look the first 10 secs of this video for a representation (youtube.com/watch?v=kgCm3UzkDN0). Some species, like eels for example, are quite agile on the ground and can easily move several miles in a matter of hours. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xabei
    Apr 17 '13 at 15:45

1) First to answer your specific case, Swarms are not affected by forced movement from ranged or melee attacks. If your warden's attack was a close burst or blast then I believe that RAW the swarm could be affected.

A swarm is composed of multiple creatures but functions as a single creature. A swarm can occupy the same space as another creature, and an enemy can enter a swarm’s space, which is difficult terrain. A swarm cannot be pulled, pushed, or slid by melee or ranged attacks. -Rules Compendium p. 316

2) To answer your more general question there's nothing rules as written covering aquatic creatures out of water in a general sense, so you could assume that if they only have a swim speed then they can't move once beached. Beyond that there's nothing that the rules cover so its up to the GM/DM. The only thing the aquatic keyword effects is in the quote below.

"Aquatic creatures can breathe underwater. In aquatic combat, an aquatic creature gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls against nonaquatic creatures." -Rules Compendium p.308

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also key to note is the fact that 4e shys away from simulation and tends towards a more gamist approach. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 17 '13 at 13:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Depending on how the DM/GM wants to roll with it then you could try to apply the drowning rules to the swarm, basically have them be rendered combat ineffective, or they could just flop around and bite anyone that gets near. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 17 '13 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ravn regardless of the ruling, I'd take the answer below to heart, aquatic creature with no land speed pulled onto land is hindering terrain, they should get a save against it. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Apr 18 '13 at 12:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ultimately since the aquatic creature rules are so light in 4e its going to have to be a house-rule of some kind to make things make sense. Discuss it with your players so you can come to a consensus (especially if you plan to have more aquatic creatures in the future). Whatever you decide, stick with it for all aquatic creatures so that its your own unofficial errata for the aquatic keyword. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 18 '13 at 12:45

The DM may rule that forced movement onto dry land counts as crossing a precipice or entering hindering terrain, in which case the aquatic creature can use the rule for Catching Oneself (Rules Compendium, p. 212). If it makes a saving throw, it remains prone at the edge of the water.

Some aquatic creatures, like the shark (Monster Manual 2, p. 182) have a speed of 1 (clumsy). The DM can use this as a guide for other creatures in the unusual case where they are forced onto land without a movement speed.


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