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I'm looking for a way to become a subtype, specifically the swarm subtype.

How can I become a swarm?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related—not really the same question, but several answers answer it by answering this question. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 8 '16 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you have a “more specifically”, I changed the question to actually be about that. (The alternative likely being that the question was too broad.) I've also added the [character-creation] tag, on the assumption that this question is about achieving this during character creation. If that is not the case, please edit the question to indicate more about the circumstances that answers need to work with. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 8 '16 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Eh, the original question could have been “is there anything that lets me get just get any subtype I want?” which is answerable—the answer is “No,” at least if you bar Pun-pun—but I agree that this question is far more likely to resulting in information that is actually useful to Avenger \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 8 '16 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Yeah, it's debatable whether it would have been too broad (and I hedged that statement ;), but yes, no need for it to be any broader than the actual problem included in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 8 '16 at 20:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Avenger You have two things you want to know then. That means you have two questions. Post the other as a separate question. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 8 '16 at 20:40
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Find a swarm that has a hive mind, and true mind switch into it.

From swarm traits:

A swarm is immune to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures (including single-target spells such as disintegrate), with the exception of mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects) if the swarm has an Intelligence score and a hive mind.

... which makes it a valid target for mind switch.

Species that have Int and a hive mind include: Hellwasp Swarm (MM1), Shimmerling Swarm (MM3), Abyssal Ant Swarm (Fiend Folio), Cranium Rat Swarm (Fiend Folio), Viper Swarm (Fiend Folio), Silthilar (Lords of Madness), Death Scarab Swarm (Sandstorm), Feral Spirit (Sharn: City of Towers).

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A sarrukh from Serpent Kingdoms can give you anything it wants to, provided you are a “scaled one,” though it’s easy enough to qualify as a scaled one with magic (e.g. alter self into a kobold). You can also cut the actual sarrukh out of the equation by turning into one yourself (they are scaled) and sharing that spell with your familiar (sarrukhs cannot target themselves with this ability, so your familiar has to use it on you rather than you doing it yourself). Note that for this to work, you need to be able to get supernatural abilities, e.g. by using shapechange or the Assume Supernatural Ability feat, because the manipulate form ability is supernatural. Also note that you should never do this because this is literally the Pun-pun trick.

Aside from that silliness, various polymorph effects, from polymorph to shapechange, can let you temporarily transform into swarms. Alter self if you get particularly creative. The warlock’s dark discorporation likewise lets you turn into a swarm, and that one is at-will/lasts as long as you want it to, but it also prevents you from doing anything while in that form.

The only way, to my knowledge, to be a swarm as much as you want without resorting to manipulate form is to be a were-murder-of-crows. The murder of crows is an Animal (swarm) from Tome of Magic, and it’s a valid choice of base animal for the lycanthrope template. When in animal form, you would have the swarm subtype of the murder of crows. Your humanoid and hybrid forms would not get the subtype, however.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why does the murder of crows get all the attention when there's the ubiquitous equally Tiny and predatory rat swarm? (I must also mention the hilarious piranha swarm (Sto 162) and the terrifying needletooth swarm (MM3 109).) (It might be worth mentioning, too, that without shenanigans were-swarms are pretty much exclusively Small humanoids and, of course, Small giants.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 8 '16 at 20:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan No idea. The were-murder-of-crows is more absurd? Actually almost-kinda-sorta-but-not-really good for something? \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 8 '16 at 20:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I suspect that most people incorrectly assume (as I did until I just looked it up) that a rat swarm is a Vermin swarm, not Animal. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Dec 8 '16 at 22:16
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Cough There's a soulmeld for that Cough It's the broodkeeper's heart from Dragon Magazine #350. It grants you the swarm subtype when you bind it to the heart chakra. I believe this does exactly what you want to do so long as you have access to Dragon Magazine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a little late (level 16 for an incarnate, 17 for a totemist, and 21 for everyone else) and often expensive (except for a totemist it costs 2 feats or 1 for an incarnate), but the soulmeld broodkeeper's heart delivers. (And consider seeing a doctor about that cough.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 9 '16 at 19:46
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Savage Species Route:

Interestingly enough, Savage species actually does indeed allow you to do it via the rituals listed Chapter 11 - Becoming a Monster. They even address this very case and purpose:

If you are a DM, chances are your players will want to build new characters when they see this book. Some, however, will want to transform their existing characters into monsters. This chapter provides information to use when that happens.

First the minor ritual in SS Pg. 147 states:

Some characters may wish to gain the benefits of a particular type or subtype of monster, without actually becoming a specific kind of monster. For instance, a character may wish to gain the goblinoid subtype in order to use goblinoid specific magic items. Another character may want a specific subtype in order to qualify for a prestige class. Minor rituals allow these sorts of transformations.

You can then follow the rules listed on the same page to gain the subtype or modify one of the example rituals provided to so the same.

If you are looking for more impact in the change, a major ritual will allow you to take on a monster class through LA or class levels at the cost of the experience points you already have, SS Pg. 149.

Doing that, or may I suggest even re-imagining, your character will require you to figure out the LA or class structure as a swarm monster; as such I have done so below as an example.

This is what the entire chapters two and three are all about. You have two choices, to do it as a level adjustment or as a class. Both chapters give recommendations on Monsters to use, though they have wording that suggest you can use their templates for other creatures. Though they do warn of the challenges of doing such and suggest working closely with your DM.

You said you wanted to be a Master of Flies with the swarm subtype, for my example let’s use Hellwasp Swarm (MM Pg. 238) as it has the best intelligence (6).

Please note: I made a few assumptions as I am not your DM and I do not know the power level of his campaign. The beauty of this game is you can make easy adjustments.

Chapter 2 - has the rules for the LA version.

This falls under the category of “Difficult Monsters”.

Starting Skill Points would be: Magical beast (2 + Int mod) × (HD + 3) SS. Pg.13

HD: 12d10+27

Level Adjustments:

  • Fly Speed 40ft. gives your first +1 LA
  • The Hellwasps Swarms do not meet the requirements of the Abilities Score Equivalencies in the DMG Pg. 173. +1 LA
  • The Swarm attack nets you another +1 LA
  • Poison +1 LA
  • Reach of 10ft. another +1 LA
  • 3+ Skills +1 LA
  • DR 10/Magic +1 LA
  • Hivemind +1 LA
  • Resistance fire 10 + 1LA
  • Immune to Weapon Damage +1 LA
  • 3+ Feats +1 LA
  • First true hurdle: Swarm Tactics & Darkvision/Low-light Vision. This is really between you and your DM but I would go with +½ LA each for a total of +1 LA.

That is a total of LA of +12 and the subtype swarm, yay! Also, considering the creature has 12HD this lines up perfectly. All following the rules of Chapter Two!

Chapter 3 has the rules for the Class version. - A monster character gains the benefits and drawbacks of its type and subtype at first level. SS Pg. 26

This option is more open ended and thus requires more involvement and permission from your DM.

Mainly because it requires his approval for the progression to balance. It also has a more home-brewed feel. Though to gain the subtype you would only need one level; that is if you could convince your DM to let you multiclass before completing your racial class; this would be against RAW though - just so you know.

Here is a very rough version of using the rules as shows in Chapter 3 of SS, Pg 22 PHB, and Chapter 6/Pg. 173 DMG.

Hellspawn Swarm has no LA listed in the MM, so it is a 12th level class and would look something like this:

Level; Hit Dice; BAB; Fort; Ref; Will; Skill Points; Cr; Special

1st 1d8 +0 +2 +3 +1 (2+Int Mod)x4 1 Poison; Ability Focus (Poison); low-light vision; hive mind; swarm traits

2nd 2d8 +1 +3 +3 +2 2+Int Mod 1 DR 2/Magic

3rd 3d8 +1 +3 +3 +2 2+Int Mod 1 Alertness

4th 4d8 +2 +4 +4 +3 2+Int Mod 1 DR 4/Magic

5th 5d8 +2 +4 +4 +3 2+Int Mod 2 Dark Vision 60ft

6th 6d8 +3 +5 +6 +4 2+Int Mod 2 Distraction; Improved Init; DR 6/Magic

7th 7d8 +3 +5 +6 +4 2+Int Mod 2 Resist to fire 10

8th 8d8 +4 +6 +7 +5 2+Int Mod 2 DR 8/Magic

9th 9d8 +4 +6 +7 +5 2+Int Mod 3 Iron Will

10th 10d8 +5 +7 +8 +6 2+Int Mod 3 DR 10/Magic

11th 11d8 +5 +7 +8 +6 2+Int Mod 3 Immune to weapon dmg

12th 12d8 +6 +8 +9 +7 2+Int Mod 4 Inhabit; Toughness

Lastly, the rules in the books are meant to be applied to creative situations like this; otherwise they would not have given us the tables and guidelines used above to do so. We are encouraged to so come up with something new using the framework provided in conjunction with other players and DMs.

Book of Vile Darkness Look at the rules for Hivemind as shown in the Book of Vile Darkness Pg. 34 it fits well with this concept. Have fun!

Otherwise:

I would say home-brewed mechanics can get you there, I am sure something is floating around somewhere. If not create your own.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Im creating a master of flies character but it was based in 3.0 where the wild shape had different rules for gaining special qualities but with the updates rules on that i don't get any special qualities when i shapeshift so that makes the class basicly shit \$\endgroup\$ – Avenger Dec 8 '16 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ First place I looked; the Savage Species ritual lets you count as any subtype, but there is none for actually gaining the subtype. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 8 '16 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough.... \$\endgroup\$ – makadus Dec 8 '16 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude done :) \$\endgroup\$ – makadus Dec 9 '16 at 2:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ As I can't comment on the other answers yet, but I can here: Mind switch and/or True Mind Switch can be dispelled via dispel psionics sending your mind back to you "last" body, implying you would have to guard it and assumes upkeep. \$\endgroup\$ – makadus Dec 9 '16 at 4:31
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Resurrection! Just wanted to add this to the other suggestions. A changeling with the Assume Supernatural Ability feat assumes Swarm Form (SU) of the Swarm Shifter from the Forgotten Realms would be a very easy way to get swarm for a character.

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