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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules

Swarm Dreadlancer

Source Alien Archive 2 pg. 123

Swarm Dreadlancer Tier 11

CE Huge starship monstrous humanoid
Speed 6; Maneuverability average (turn 2); Drift 1
AC 27; TL 24
HP 230; DT 5; CT 46
Shields heavy 240 (forward 60, port 60, starboard 60, aft 60)
Attack (Forward) super plasma cannon (3d6×10)
Attack (Port) micromissile battery (2d6)
Attack (Starboard) micromissile battery (2d6)
Attack (Turret) particle beam (8d6)
Power Core Nova Ultra (300 PCU); Drift Engine Signal Basic; Systems advanced medium-range sensors, crew quarters (common), mk 2 tetranode computer, mk 6 defenses, mk 8 armor; Expansion Bays guest quarters (2 common), shuttle bay;
Other Abilities fleet mind, living starship, void adaptation

Crew Actions

Engineer (2 actions) Engineering +20 (11 ranks)
Gunners (3 actions) gunnery +16 (11th level)
Pilot Piloting +21 (11 ranks)
Science Officer (2 actions) Computers +20 (11 ranks)


Environment any vacuum
Organization solitary, pair, or grist (3–8)

Special Abilities

Fleet Mind (Ex) Like the individual Swarm components, Swarm starships are bound together into a singular hive mind through a blend of radio, quantum, and telepathic communication. All Swarm starships within 10 hexes of each other are in constant communication; if one is aware of a threat, all are. (Such awareness can spread along a “chain” of Swarm starships under appropriate circumstances, potentially alerting distant Swarm vessels.) Swarm vessels can also communicate telepathically with all Swarm creatures within 10 hexes.

Living Starship (Ex) A dreadlancer is a colony of symbiotic creatures so immense that it functions as a starship (and thus engages in only starship combat). Four central brains (represented as a tetranode computer) command a host of bioengineered Swarm components that act as a unified organism. These brains allow the dreadlancer to take crew actions using the skill bonuses, ranks, and level listed in Crew Actions above. Modifiers for the dreadlancer’s size, speed, and maneuverability are already factored into its statistics. Critical damage to life support instead damages the central brains, with the listed effect applying to gunnery actions, in addition to any penalties from weapons array critical damage. Critical damage to crew has no effect on the dreadlancer, due to the adaptability of its components.


The myriad components that make up the Swarm act as a single-minded collective that consumes and incorporates other life. Individual components of the Swarm cannot be dissuaded from their tasks, sacrificing themselves if necessary. The Swarm has little regard for manufactured weapons, instead grafting biotechnology onto individuals or growing entire new subhives. Constant mutation has shaped the Swarm into many specialized forms, from microscopic parasites to bioorganic starships. The two Swarm components listed here are some of the more specialized Swarm evolutions.

Mindreapers are intelligence-retrieval components whose method of gathering intel is far from subtle: they use a bioweapon spike for lethal interrogations, impaling a victim through the brain and extracting neural tissue. Once the mindreaper has this brain matter, it can spend up to an hour extracting knowledge from it. In combat, soldiers of the Swarm support mindreapers in their duty. Rarely encountered alone, mindreapers bolster allies while neutralizing enemies with painful psychic feedback. Mindreapers are still units in the collective, but they show more initiative and adaptability. Swarm packs that contain mindreapers use more complex tactics than those without.

Swarm dreadlancers are a colony of Swarm components that form a living starship built around a plasma bioweapon. The vessel’s four brains allow damaged dreadlancers to repair themselves given time and access to materials. These brains can self-terminate if captured, and they can eliminate a brain showing rogue tendencies.

A dreadlancer’s internal components are noncombatants, but it can carry a complement of troops to repel boarders and engage in extravehicular missions. It also contains a Swarm transport shuttle. Use the statistics for the Ringworks Wanderer for this shuttle, except that it has the fleet mind and living starship special abilities. The shuttle has the listed ranks and bonuses, and it can take an engineer, gunner, and pilot action (one of each, in the appropriate phases). It cannot take captain actions.