Swarms are a pain in the butt. Physical weapons are of not much use against them if at all. Spells that target only a single creature are downright useless. You have to rely on area effect spells to take them out. Otherwise, you’re running away.
Incorporeal creatures are a pain in the butt. Physical weapons are of little use. Spells that don’t deal force damage or positive energy are not very effective. You’re have to rely on a small selection of spells and certain divine casters to take them out. Otherwise, you’re running away.
So when creating the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane, I thought why not combine the two. That would make a monster that is just downright terrifying and perfect for a higher level game. The only thing that would make it even worse is if one of those classes you would normally rely upon were less effective. That would be evil! The result of that is below.
You can find this creature and more that are equally awesome in the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane at the JBE Shop. This book is also available at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.
A cloud of dark malevolent energy manifests itself as a roiling mass of angry skulls and grasping hands. The parts move and act as one – a single entity driven to destroy all that is holy.
PHANTASM SWARM CR 12
CE Tiny undead (incorporeal, swarm)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +32
23, touch 23, flat-footed 16 (+4 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 size)
channel resistance +2, incorporeal, swarm traits; Immune
undead traits; SR
20 (divine spells only)
fly 40 ft (perfect)
swarm (1d8 Wisdom damage)
10 ft.; Reach
distraction (DC 22), hatred of religion (+2 Wis)
Dodge, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Skill Focus (Perception), Skill Focus (Stealth), Step Up
Fly +33, Knowledge (religion) +16, Perception +27, Spellcraft +16, Stealth +35
divine spell resistance
any (Plane of Shadows)
solitary, pair, or mass (3-5)
Divine Spell Resistance (Su)
A phantasm swarm has spell resistance against divine spells equal to 8 + its total HD. Arcane spells are not subject to this spell resistance.
Hatred of Religion (Su)
The only thing a phantasm swarm hates more than religious holy/unholy symbols are those bearing them. The Wisdom damage dealt by the swarm attack is increased by +2 if the targeted creature possesses some kind of obvious holy/unholy symbol or channels energy.
Wisdom Damage (Su)
A phantasm swarm’s attack deals 1d8 points of Wisdom damage to a living creature. This is a negative energy effect. A creature dies if this Wisdom damage equals or exceeds its actual Wisdom score.
It is done. These souls will never reincarnate nor will they be at peace. We have made them an offer and they chose to reject it. They refuse to work for us; they will have all eternity together to regret their decision. It is too late for them to reconsider now. Their souls are now damned for all time. Let them writhe in torment and remember their loss with no end. Pain is all they shall ever know.
– Thykan Rast, cleric of Asmodeus, “Ledger of Souls”
It is said that souls that reach their final reward forget their earlier lives. Less known is that souls forbidden from this reward never forget. Over the course of centuries, clusters of these tortured souls have gathered together on the Plane of Shadows to form a phantasm swarm, an entity more powerful than just the combined ectoplasmic energy of the souls alone. Its collective hatred for priests and all divine casters—the living intermediaries to the afterlife—gives a phantasm swarm power. The ghostly lynch mob now seeks revenge.
A phantasm swarm, armed with all its loathing of divinity, will attack any creature it identifies as an agent of a deity, regardless of the religion or alignment. Wearing a holy/unholy symbol or simply invoking the name of a deity may be enough for a phantasm swarm to exact retribution for its wretched state of disembodied unrest on a worshipful creature.
Magic bludgeoning weapons deal half damage to a phantasm swarm. All other magic weapons deal one quarter damage. Mundane weapons do no harm this furious soul cloud.