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Old 05-16-2022, 02:43 PM   #1
Shuckster
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Near Chicago
Default Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

So under "Swarm Attacks" on p. B461 of the basic set its explained that swarms automatically deal damage to anyone within their C reach every second.

On p. TT2:43 its explained that swarms of tiny creatures with the Infiltration modifier on their Injury Tolerance (Diffuse) can crawl under clothing in 2 seconds and through chinks in armor in five. This is affirmed on p. PY80:33 where the ordinary clothing protects against the brain worm swarm for only 2 turns even though no full traits list is given.

On p. DF5:9 The insect swarm allies innate attack gets listed with the following modifiers:
(Area Effect, 1 yard, +25%; Contact Agent, +150%; Cosmic,
No die roll required, No active defense allowed, +400%;
Melee Attack, C, No Parry, -35%) for +540% total.

This insect swarm are tiny creatures but their Injury tolerance does not have infiltration, so I think the contact agent is added to make up for that since the insects are still tiny? Although this is much, much more powerful than needing to wait up to 5 rounds before the swarm can start hurting a target.

However this innate attack also lacks Selective Area meaning that any allies in the swarm's range are also automatically being attacked (not ideal for an ally).

Couldn't the same effect be represented for far less points with
(Aura +80%; Area Effect, 1 Yard +25%; Melee Attack, Reach C -30%) for only +75%, since auras cannot parry anyway and the aura automatically hits anybody in range without any need to roll to hit or any active defenses?

If a player character wanted to be a swarm themselves which way should they represent their approximation of the NPC swarm's attacks?
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Old 05-16-2022, 09:15 PM   #2
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

Aura seems like the way to go, provided it's legal to toss Area Effect on there. Swarms simply automatically attack anything they come in contact with (unless they choose not to; if they can make such a choice, you'll want to add Selective Area), and I believe Auras are basically just toggled on and off as free actions - my initial thought was Emanation, but that calls for an attack.

No Roll Required and No Active Defense are, I feel, inappropriate modifiers. For the first, the attack can only hit the hex the swarm is in (it's got only 1 yard of effect, and no range/reach), so there's no roll required anyway. For the second, an area effect can only be Dodged if you can get out of the area... and I see no reason why you couldn't do that against a swarm (granted, if the swarm still has movement left, it can just move to wherever you ended up after the Dodge and Drop).

If you want the swarm to be able to get past armor/clothing... I'm honestly not certain if Contact Agent is needed, if it has Infiltration. The former means the target suffers full effect immediately, while the latter has a built-in delay, during which time the foe could escape from the swarm, or another foe could take advantage of the fact the swarm is currently immobile to blast it with an area effect.
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Old 05-16-2022, 10:48 PM   #3
Shuckster
 
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Default Re: Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

that makes a lot of sense, basically the swarm needs to be on someone for 2-5 seconds before the automatic attack of the aura can start taking effect, now the only real hurdle is how to deal with the swarms lack of any and all active defenses...
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Old 05-16-2022, 11:03 PM   #4
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuckster View Post
that makes a lot of sense, basically the swarm needs to be on someone for 2-5 seconds before the automatic attack of the aura can start taking effect, now the only real hurdle is how to deal with the swarms lack of any and all active defenses...
There's a 'swarm' trait in GURPS horror that was the target of a long discussion and in fact does all this, but that thread was extremely unconvinced by its point value.
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Old 05-17-2022, 08:54 AM   #5
naloth
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Default Re: Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuckster View Post
On p. DF5:9 The insect swarm allies innate attack gets listed with the following modifiers:
(Area Effect, 1 yard, +25%; Contact Agent, +150%; Cosmic,
No die roll required, No active defense allowed, +400%;
Melee Attack, C, No Parry, -35%) for +540% total.
They don't really need Cosmic NDD. Area attacks can only deviate up to half the distance to the target (B414), so a 0 distance attack can't deviate at all.

Emanation is more appropriate than Melee (which would allows AoA for attacking twice) which isn't usually legal for Area attacks.

I'd also drop No Active Defense as Area attacks usually can't be blocked (area means surrounded where as cone and explosion are directional) and certainly can't be parried. Really you're just eliminating the ability to dodge out of the area (arguable) and any "Power" defenses (warping away, putting up a personal force field, etc) which again arguably should work.

If you don't take Contact Agent, Area makes this a large injury attack that treats effective DR as the avg of the highest and lowest DR. I find that large area injury avg highly unrealistic so I'd require some sort of DR mitigating modifier.

I'd add Selective Area (swarms can attack who they want). This leaves you with:
Area, 1 yd +25%; Contact Agent +150%; Emanation -20%; Selective Area +20% = +175%, where the area was whichever hex it inhabits. I'd play contact agent like normal rather than using "DR protects for 2/5 sec" since exposed flesh should be fair game.

I wouldn't use Aura because you don't get hurt by hitting a swarm or by it just a casual touch. That's more appropriate for fire, electricity, or acid. Swarms actively chooses to attack, and you only get hurt when it attacks.
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Old 05-17-2022, 08:58 AM   #6
naloth
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Default Re: Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuckster View Post
that makes a lot of sense, basically the swarm needs to be on someone for 2-5 seconds before the automatic attack of the aura can start taking effect, now the only real hurdle is how to deal with the swarms lack of any and all active defenses...
I don't use active defenses for mooks or anything with a sub-animal IQ anyway. Aggressive animals generally prefer grappling or AoA. Other animals will generally be more focused on intimidating or fleeing.

Besides if it's an NPC, it doesn't really matter. The GM gets to choose how it plays.
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:14 AM   #7
KarlKost
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Brazil
Default Re: Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

It's important to understand that many times the "visual effects" of something can be just fluff. This could just as easily be done with an Innate Attack with several modifiers - Follow Up, etc, with the "Swarm Insects" being simply how the visual effect of the Advantage is manifested
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Old 05-17-2022, 12:15 PM   #8
Shuckster
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Near Chicago
Default Re: Approximating Swarm NPC attacks for players

Quote:
Originally Posted by naloth View Post
I wouldn't use Aura because you don't get hurt by hitting a swarm or by it just a casual touch. That's more appropriate for fire, electricity, or acid. Swarms actively chooses to attack, and you only get hurt when it attacks.
I overlooked this but it totally explains why the DF swarm didn't use aura, also basically this could all be bundled into a new attack modifier for swarm attacks that could add things like follow-up for venoms or blood-sucking like with the swarm of Striges on p. F212
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