Swarm Rules


Swarms are a way of representing a group of enemies acting in a single, organised manner. Apart from being a dangerous threat, it also adds a greater scale and intensity to combats whilst keeping combat streamlined.

Base Mechanics of a Swarms


  • All Swarms possess two elements: the Overseer, and the Underlings. The Overseer is the leader of the Swarm, and possesses the Overseer trait. The Underlings, however, are the basic minions that make up the Swarm's ranks.
  • The Overseer is an Independent Character. The Swarm acts on the Overseer's initiative. The Overseer directs the Swarm's actions through Commands. Furthermore, whilst in formation, the Overseer is granted a degree of protection from enemy attack.
  • The Underlings are a number of minor characters. All Underlings possess the exact same profile with the exact same equipment. Underlings must remain 'in rank' with the Swarm by remaining within 10m of the Overseer and are not separated by some physical barrier. If an Underling moves out of rank, it is no longer part of the Swarm, but must spend all its time attempting to move back into rank.
  • Whenever the Overseer makes a Command, all of the Underlings are treated as though they'd made that action simultaneously, thus ensuring the unit acts in a coherent single entity.
  • The basic ranged weapon the standard Underlings possess is called their Primary Ranged, whilst the basic melee weapon is called their Primary Melee.
  • Swarms may sometimes have a special Underling known as a Specialist, who replaces one of the weapons with a special one. The Specialist acts in a usual manner for an Underling, except that they have a different weapon, and make a separate attack test when firing that weapon.

Unit Strength

  • All Swarms possess a Unit Strength (US), which is equal to the number of Underlings it contains. US dictates the strength of Swarm attack commands, modifiers to certain tests and skills and plays a role in the Swarm's psychology. US depletes as the Swarm loses Underlings.
  • Many options add a "Unit Strength Modifier" (USM) to a test either as a bonus or a penalty. In these situations, the USM is equal to US*5, so a Swarm with US10 has a USM of 50 (it increases or reduces some tests by 50). The USM caps at either +60 or -60.

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The Overseer, as noted, is the leader of the Swarm. Should the Overseer die, the swarm dissolves. PCs and NPCs can be Overseers as well, a situation in which they both benefit the Swarm as well as themselves. Characters may all decide which of the following 'Overseer Types' they will take: they gain a special Command related to that type (see Special Commands for details).

  • Bomardier. Uses the Swarm as primarily a method to augment the heavy weapons wielded by themselves or the Specialist with the Weapons Team passive command. Good for artillery-type characters.
  • Champions. Augments the Swarm's abilities in close combat with the Stand and Fight passive command. Good for close-combat oriented Swarms.
  • Pathfinder. Helps the Swarm traverse difficult terrain and evade enemies with the Cover Ground active command. Good for quick, light Swarms who also tend to stick to cover.
  • Sergeant. Increases survivability of a Swarm with the Hold Fast passive command. Good for people who like to lead tough units, or tend to end up leading average units in need of a boost.
  • Spotter. Vastly improves its Swarm's accuracy, as well as lethality with sniper weapons, with the Marked Attack active command. Good for line units with basic high-volume weapons or single shot Accuracy weapons.
  • Technician. Turns the Swarm into a support team that benefits the Technician's skills with the Special Team passive command. Good as an all-rounder.

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Swarms in Combat

Attacking Swarms

  • When attacking a Swarm, a character applies bonuses and penalties as though they were attacking the most favourable target in the Swarm.
    • Most of the time, a Swarm will be represented as a single whole token, but there may be times when they're divided up, which is where this rule applies. For example, if the nearest member of the Swarm is 3m away but the farthest is 6m, and you get short range bonuses at +10, then you count as targeting the closest member and so get that bonus.
  • On attacking a Swarm, any hits may be allocated against the Underlings as normal, although they may not attack the Overseer or any special Underlings unless there are no normal Underlings left. So long as you can attack one Underling, all Underlings of the Swarm are considered to be valid targets even if, normally, you could not reach them, such as due to them being out of melee range.
  • However, if the character rolled doubles on their roll (eg. A 22 or 33), then they may choose to allocate attacks however they wish, including against the Overseer.
  • Alternatively, characters may target the Overseer or any special Underlings by using the Called Shot action. This suffers USM as a penalty (which doesn't stack with the usual Called Shot penalty; take whichever is higher), but on a hit allows you to choose which target you strike and also applies the usual benefit of a called shot.

Damaging Swarms

  • Underlings in a Swarm do not take damage as normal. Instead, whenever they take a hit that deals damage in excess of any damage reduction (eg. AP, TB etc), then they instantly die- they effectively count as having one wound each. All attacks on Underlings in a Swarm count as hitting the body.
  • Overseers, of course, possess their usual complement of wounds and suffers damage in the usual manner.
  • Swarms count as being in cover so long as a majority of the Underlings are in cover. If the Overseer is in cover, then the Overseer counts as being in cover even if the majority of the Underlings are not.
  • Some special weapon types are better at dealing with Swarms than others:
    • Attacks with the Spray Quality, if they deal damage, kill one Underling per range bracket- 1 at assault, 2 at Close, 3 at Medium etc. If the attack furies, then this becomes two Underlings per bracket.
    • Attacks with the Blast Quality, if they kill an Underling, kill 2 extra Underlings. If the weapon furies, then it kills an extra number of Underlings equal to the Blast quality, to a minimum of 2.
    • Attacks with the Devastating Quality, if they kill an Underling, kill extra Underlings equal to the Devastating Quality.

Attacking with Swarms

  • When Swarms attack, they are able to spread their attacks amongst any targets within range and line of sight.
  • When making attacks, Underlings only roll damage once and apply that result to all hits. If multiple hits are assigned to a single target, then every hit past the first just adds +1 damage to the first hit.
  • Underlings otherwise only attack when given Commands by the Overseer.
  • If a Swarm Attack would have multiple conflicting bonuses or penalties for an attack, for example shooting between two targets, one of whom is farther away, always take the lowest bonus or the harshest penalty.
  • Evading Swarm attacks works just like evading a Burst or Flurry attack, with each DoS negating another hit.

Fear, Pinning and Break tests

  • Whenever a Swarm is in a situation that it must make a Fear or Pinning, then the Overseer makes a Willpower test; on a success, the Swarm stands firm.
    • If the Overseer fails a Fear test, however, the Swarm dissolves; all Underlings instantly flee as though they'd rolled an 81-100 on the Shock Table, whilst the Overseer rolls fear as normal.
    • If the Overseer fails a Pinning test, then the Swarm will fall back or move to cover as normal, may only benefit from Half Action or Reaction Commands and may not advance toward an enemy until the Overseer overcomes Pinning.
  • Break tests are Swarm-unique tests that trigger if the Swarm takes more US damage before its turn than its WP Bonus. The Overseer makes a +20 Command test with a -5 penalty per US lost before its turn. If the Overseer fails, then the Swarm collapses, with the Underlings fleeing as though they had rolled an 81-100 on the Shock Table; the Overseer is unaffected.
    • Overseers who are not currently part of a Swarm may make a Command-20 test to try to force some unattached Underlings back into formation. On a success, the Overseer coerces a number of Underlings equal to their FB, plus 1 per DoS, into creating a new Swarm around themselves.

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Traits, Talents

Traits and Talents

  • Swarms who possess traits and talents treat them as having all the usual effects. Certain traits and talents cannot be possessed by Swarms, and will never have them listed on their sheets.

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Swarm Commands

  • Swarm Commands are issued on the Overseer's turn. Using a Command requires the Overseer to use an action, eg. Half or full. Once activated, the Swarm follows the Command immediately. Unless explicitly stated, activating Commands do not require tests from the Overseer.
  • Swarms only act through Commands. Like normal units, they possess a single Full Action (or two Half Actions) per turn and a single Reaction per round. Swarms can only make Reactions due to a Command from their Overseer.
  • Commands are divided into Generic, Special and Passive Commands.
    • Generic Commands are Commands that any Overseer may use.
    • Special Commands are rarer- they cannot be accessed by everyone, and can depend on the type of Underlings that makes up the Swarm's composition or on the type of Overseer.
    • Passive Commands are a subset of Special Commands that are like traits in that they passively modify a Swarm and do not need to be activated. Passive Commands are tied to Underlings, not to Overseers.
    • Thus your typical Swarm will have one Passive, derived from Underlings, and one Special, derived from the Underlings or from the Overseer.

Generic Commands

Action Name Subname Action Cost Action Type Effect
Move - Half Movement Each member of the Swarm moves up to their Half Move distance.
Tactical Advance - Full Concentration, Movement Each member of the Swarm moves up to their Full Move distance. If the Swarm was in cover before this movement, and counts as being in cover after it is done, then they count as still having the previous cover's protection during the move itself, even though they briefly leave cover for a time.
Run - Full Movement Each member of the Swarm moves up to their Run distance. Until the start of their next turn, WS tests against them take a +20 bonus and BS tests a -20 penalty.
Disengage - Full Movement Each member of the Swarm moves up to their Half Move distance. Opponents engaged in melee with the Swarm may not make opportunity attacks as it retreats.

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