Excerpts Archive | 9/28/2009
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Excerpts: Primal Power Swarm Druid

In today's Primal Power preview, we present a new build for druids -- the Swarm Druid... including the return of creeping doom!


"I am the voice of the wilderness, and when I speak, the world shudders."

The primal spirits that inhabit the world are at your command. The very substance of nature responds to your call, allowing you to use it as a weapon and a tool. Your own spirit is a part of the primal world, and your body is but a reflection of your spirit, shifting freely from your mundane humanoid form to any of thousands of bestial shapes, reflecting the glorious variety of nature. You are a druid, mysterious and elusive, wise beyond common mortal knowing.

Your body is a conduit for primal magic, and with that power, you might transform into a wolf or a panther and glide unseen among the trees. You could sculpt your body into a shifting mass of fur, feathers, claws, or scales. Or your form can become a swarm of hundreds of small creatures, which move as a shifting, shapeless mass over the ground.

In this chapter, you’ll find powerful evocations to allow you to transform into beasts, control the elements, and summon creatures to your aid. The chapter contains the following material.

  • Playing a Druid: Perspectives on the druid’s place in the world and at the game table.
  • New Builds: As a swarm druid, you can transform yourself into a beast form made of hundreds or thousands of tiny creatures. Becoming a summoner druid enables you to bring forth creatures great and small to do your bidding.
  • New Class Feature: Primal Swarm is a new version of Primal Aspect designed expressly for the swarm druid.
  • New Powers: This chapter offers more options for summoning both creatures and swarms, and it supports existing druid builds, providing powers for predator and guardian druids and for druids who favor evocations that control the battlefield.
  • New Paragon Paths: You can channel the powers of the wild as a member of one of seven new paragon paths, among them the coiled serpent, the luminescent swarm, the pack lord, and the whirling samara.

Swarm Druid

Druids call on forces associated with primal magic, such as beasts, plants, storms, and the earth. Swarm druids prefer to call on a particular primal force: insect swarms. Such druids see great strength in the unity of purpose and combined might of a colony of ants or a nest of hornets.

Most druids assume the forms of creatures such as bears, panthers, and rams, but a swarm druid splinters into hundreds of insects, all driven toward a single purpose by the druid’s mind. The druid is at once all the creatures in the swarm and none of them. Enemies might stomp at the swarm, crushing a beetle here and swatting a wasp there, but to the druid the loss of an individual in the swarm means nothing. It is the swarm as a whole—a dauntless tide of chitin and stingers—that matters.

Swarm druids are most often found in tropical climates. They typically dwell in jungles, where they have witnessed the power of an ant colony on the march. Druids of the Underdark also tend toward this discipline. In web-shrouded caves, drow and troglodyte swarm druids commune with spiders, mushroom forests, and creatures that have never seen the light of day.

New Class Feature

When you choose your Primal Aspect, you can choose Primal Swarm instead of another option, such as the ones in Player's Handbook 2.

Primal Swarm: While you are in beast form and not wearing heavy armor, melee attacks and ranged attacks deal less damage to you. When you take damage from either type of attack, the damage is reduced by your Constitution modifier.

Suggested Options

As a swarm druid, you focus on close attacks and other multitarget attacks that can be used while you are in beast form. Many of your powers (as well as the Primal Swarm class feature) cause you to take less damage or to avoid attacks entirely, allowing you to hold your own when you stay in melee range. It’s a good idea to focus on feats, powers, and other options that boost your ability in close-quarters fighting.

Many of your beast form powers are close bursts or blasts. Look for feats that improve such powers. Make Wisdom your highest ability score to bolster all your druid attacks, followed by Constitution to enhance your Primal Swarm powers.

Suggested Class Feature: Primal Swarm*
Suggested Feat: Toughness
Suggested Skills: Arcana, Endurance, Nature, Perception
Suggested At-Will Powers: grasping claws, swarming locusts,* thorn whip
Suggested Encounter Power: scattered form*
Suggested Daily Power: fog of insects*
*New option presented in Primal Power

Swarming Locusts
Druid Attack 1
Insects launch from you to vex your enemies.
At-Will Beast Form, Implement, Primal, Zone
Standard Action Close blast 3
Target: Each creature in blast
Attack: Wisdom vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + Wisdom modifier damage.
Level 21: 2d8 + Wisdom modifier damage.
Effect: The blast creates a zone of swarming locusts that lasts until the end of your next turn. While within the zone, enemies grant combat advantage.

Scattered Form
Druid Attack 1
Your form scatters into a horde of insects to attack nearby creatures.
Encounter Beast Form, Implement, Primal
Standard Action Close burst 1
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Wisdom vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d6 + Wisdom modifier damage. You take half damage from the next melee or ranged attack that damages you before the end of your next turn.
Primal Swarm: You take half damage from all melee attacks and ranged attacks until the end of your next turn.

Fog of Insects
Druid Attack 1
A swarm of insects surges from you, stinging creatures all around before swirling about you protectively.
Daily Implement, Primal
Standard Action Close burst 3
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Wisdom vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2d10 + Wisdom modifier damage.
Miss: Half damage.
Effect: You gain a +2 power bonus to all defenses until the end of the encounter.

Creeping Doom
Druid Attack 25
At your command, biting and stinging vermin spill forth to consume your enemies.
Daily Implement, Primal, Zone
Standard Action Close burst 1
Effect: The burst creates a zone of vermin that lasts until the end of your next turn. Any creature that starts its turn within the zone takes 10 damage and grants combat advantage until the start of its next turn. As a move action, you can move the zone 3 squares. When the zone appears, make the following attack. As a standard action, you can repeat the attack.
Target: Each creature within the zone or adjacent to it
Attack: Wisdom vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d8 + Wisdom modifier damage, and the target is dazed until the end of your next turn.
Sustain Minor: The zone persists, and you can increase its size by 1 to a maximum of burst 5.

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