Swarm - StarfinderWiki (2024)

Swarm

(Creature)

Type

Monstrous humanoid

CR

Varies

Environment

Any

Alignment

LG NG CG
LN N CN
LE NE CE

Images of the Swarm

Source: Alien Archive, pg(s).110–111

The Swarm is a vast locust swarm that is driven by an innate need to consume all things and absorb their best qualities into itself. Piloting living starships and capable of slowly twisting their own biology into formidable weapons, the threat of the Swarm forced peace between the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium in order to stave off mutual destruction. Though it was repelled, the Swarm yet exists and will remain a threat until the day it is purged from the universe.1

Appearance

Because of its constant genetic upgrading and experimentation, the Swarm's members boast a wide variety of shapes, sizes and capabilities, depending on each individual component's role in the hive. Most have chitinous exoskeletons, segmented bodies and jointed digitigrade limbs.2

History

The Swarm began its existence as the kucharns, a species of low-tech insects native to the fourth and only inhabited planet in a nameless solar system in the Vast. The ancient kucharns followed a goddess named Hylax, believed to be the first of their species, a kucharn queen who ascended to godhood to watch over her progeny for eternity, before evolving into series of hive minds whose drones had no agency of their own. Kucharn hives, each with its own consciousness, culture and hierarchy, competed constantly with each other, but no hive managed to exterminate another.345

When their growing population neared the limit that their homeworld could sustain, one kucharn hive learned the trick of subsuming another colony's intelligence into its own. It is unknown from where this ability came from, whether through natural evolution, genetic manipulation or demonic intervention. Nonetheless, this proto-Swarm quickly overwhelmed the other hives and inherited new abilities from its prey to optimise its own members. In short order, the proto-Swarm had exterminated all rival hives and stripped bare its homeworld with its hunger, causing Hylax to turn away from them out of disappointment. With a unified focus, it quickly mastered biotechnology, learnt the principles of space travel, and began consuming other planets in its home system, but had difficulty spreading to the rest of the galaxy. When Triune revealed the Drift to the universe, the proto-Swarm engineered some of its members as symbiotic Drift engines that could be incorporated into their starships. During this time, the name 'Swarm' was coined by those who ran afoul of them.356

During the Gap, a mutation caused an entire subcolony to learn to think for themselves and break from the Swarm's hive mind, with each of its members gaining a sense of self. Addicted to the new drug of individualism, these renegades rejected the Swarm's mindless consumption, forming a new race called shirrens. After the Gap ended, the shirrens took advantage of the Swarm's confusion to escape.76

In 291 AG, the Swarm launched simultaneous attacks on both the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium, who have been at war for more than 200 years. In order to survive, the two governments agree to end their hostilities, working together to successfully chase out the Swarm from their territory, marking the Swarm's only defeat in recorded history. The Swarm learnt of the shirrens' presence in the Pact Worlds, remembered their ancient connection to Hylax, and started to feel resentment ather abandonment. In 318 AR, the Swarm consumed the shirren colony of Ilemchuuva, in the process learning of the path taken by the shirrens after their exodus.16

Ecology

A Swarm corrovox.

The Swarm moves from planet to planet in living ships, reducing each so-called feeder world to a barren, lifeless husk. Once it has consumed everything of use on a planet, the Swarm moves on, not bothering to hold territory. Nothing useful or animate is left behind.2

The Swarm has the ability to isolate its prey's DNA and integrate their aspects into the its genome. When a Swarm component subsumes DNA from prey and brings it to the hive, programmers access and isolate the DNA's aspects, learn to activate or deactivate sections as needed, then edit larvae's genomes so they would mature into forms with useful characteristics, leading to the variety of Swarm components. The Swarm also maintains genetic rcords to allow recombination into new forms if needed.5

Swarm components reproduce through various ways, including parthenogenesis, cloning and sexual reproduction. Some can change sex to fertilise their own eggs. In any case, most components exhibit no sex. Once a Swarm larva's genome is edited, it then becomes a pupa and liquefies inside its cocoon, reorganising into its mature form and emerging after 60 hours. Sometimes, larvae lose their individuality and turn into parts of a living device upon maturation. Those whose genomes are unedited grow into programmers.5

The Swarm has a spoken language, but components rarely use it, preferring pheromones (for simple concepts), body language (for complex ones) or telepathy (for multifaceted communication). Through the hive mind, thousands of components can operate in perfect synchronicity.5

While individual components of the Swarm have some form of intelligence, their decisions are more akin to complex programmed reflexes than true thought, constantly overridden by the directives of the overarching Swarm consciousness. While capable of operating independently when sent out on scouting missions, entire subcolonies are subsumed into the gestalt when they return within telepathic range of the hive. The Swarm is capable of nigh-unimaginable data processing and leaps of induction, which it uses to inform its needs in upcoming conflicts.325

Swarm components never communicate with other creatures, as they see every alien entity as either a food source or a threat that must be destroyed. Only massive force can deter the Swarm from descending on a world and stripping it of biological material before moving on. While individual components might tactically retreat, fear is utterly unknown to the Swarm. Components feel neither affinity with each other nor hatred or anger toward enemies. Those few whose goals align closely with the Swarm's might see cooperation, but can reliably expect betrayal as soon as they are no longer needed. The Swarm only does what is best for it, with no morality or concern for anyone or anything else.35

The Swarm's weapons are not manufactured, instead being grown or grafted onto component creatures.2

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Paizo Inc., et al. Core Rulebook, 428. Paizo Inc., 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Paizo Inc., et al. Alien Archive, 110–111. Paizo Inc., 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Paizo Inc., et al. Core Rulebook, 497. Paizo Inc., 2017
  4. Paizo Inc., et al. Core Rulebook, 486. Paizo Inc., 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Patrick Brennan, et al. “A Plague of Locusts” in Fate of the Fifth, 47–51. Paizo Inc., 2019
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Patrick Brennan, et al. “Fate of the Fifth” in Fate of the Fifth, 5. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. Paizo Inc., et al. Core Rulebook, 50–51. Paizo Inc., 2017

Components of the Swarm

  • Altipheron
  • Antecursor
  • Bolaji
  • Ceretoram
  • Convecyte
  • Corrovox
  • Dissolver
  • Dramovire
  • Dreadlancer
  • Dredger
  • Effigene
  • Escutchide
  • Fleetfury
  • Gnawbore
  • Horaspa
  • Klendat
  • Mindreaper
  • Molitera
  • Nauphage
  • Programmer
  • Psychovox
  • Rematern
  • Revulsor
  • Teracta
  • Thresher lord
  • Toxicyte
  • Vorphoma
  • Xersk
Swarm - StarfinderWiki (2024)

References

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