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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules

The Swarm

Source Alien Archive pg. 110
Originally an insectile race called the kucharn, the Swarm is now a single-minded collective with a desire to consume all things and absorb their best qualities into itself. The Swarm moves from planet to planet in tremendous organic hive-ships, reducing each so-called “feeder world” to a barren husk incapable of supporting life, and occasionally altering its own DNA in the process to take on qualities from that world’s species. Once it has consumed everything of use on a planet, the Swarm moves on, not bothering to hold territory.

Ironically, one of the most violent races in the galaxy also birthed one of the most peaceful, as a mutation within a sub-hive gave life to the shirrens, who broke away to form a new species. The Swarm is notorious not just because of the invasion that finally ended hostilities between the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium, but also thanks to the warnings of shirrens, who understand the Swarm’s might and its hunger as no other race can.

While individual components of the Swarm have some form of intelligence—or at least a set of complex programmed behaviors that resembles intellect—they cannot generally be reasoned with in any fashion. Swarm components rarely communicate with other creatures, as they see every alien entity as either a food source or a threat. The Swarm’s morale is unbreakable, and while individual components might retreat for tactical reasons, fear is utterly unknown to the Swarm and its components.

The Swarm rarely wields manufactured weapons, instead integrating biotechnology grown or grafted onto component creatures. Because of its constant genetic upgrading and experimentation, the Swarm encompasses components with a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and capabilities, from the mighty dreadlancers to the microscopic, bloodstream-infesting toxicytes.

Aliens in "The Swarm" Family

Swarm Corrovox3
Swarm Dredger (Troop)5
Swarm Mindreaper7
Swarm Thresher Lord10

The Swarm, Rematern

Source Drift Crisis pg. 163

Rematern CR 7

XP 3,200
CE Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +5; Senses blindsense (vibration) 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +14


HP 105
EAC 19; KAC 21
Fort +9; Ref +11; Will +8
Defensive Abilities chemical shell, Swarm mind; Immunities acid, fear effects


Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee jaws +14 (2d6+9 P)
Ranged spit rocks +17 (2d8+7 B; critical corrode 1d6)
Offensive Abilities regurgitate acid (15-ft. cone, 7d4 A, Reflex DC 15 half, usable every 1d4 rounds)


STR +2; DEX +5; CON +4; INT -1; WIS +0; CHA +0
Skills Acrobatics +19, Athletics +14, Stealth +14
Languages Shirren (can’t speak); telepathy 100 ft.


Environment any
Organization pair or pack (3–6)

Special Abilities

Chemical Shell (Ex) As a defense mechanism or as protection against harsh elements encountered while burrowing deep underground, a rematern can exude chemicals from its skin that harden when exposed to atmosphere as a move action. The rematern gains resistance 5 to electricity, fire, or cold (the rematern’s choice) for 1 minute, after which the shell crumbles and flakes off. This ability does not function in a vacuum.
Regurgitate Acid (Ex) As a standard action once every 1d4 rounds, a rematern can expel corrosive chemicals from one of its stomachs in a 15-foot cone that deals 7d4 acid damage (Reflex DC 15 half).
Spit Rocks (Ex) As a ranged attack, a rematern can spit acid‑coated rocks from one of its stomachs at a single target with a range increment of 20 feet.


Rematerns are one of the more rarely seen Swarm components, as they aren’t typically used as ground troops, instead appearing on worlds already overrun by the Swarm. Rematerns are often used alongside the extractor imagoes that burrow into a planet’s surface like a tick. While the giant imago can withdraw petrochemicals from a planet’s crust, the much smaller rematerns consume various ores and use corrosive chemical cocktails within their multiple stomach cavities to process them, regurgitating more refined products. Rematerns can burrow underground to locate deposits of specific materials required by the Swarm, often covering their bodies in chemical shells to protect themselves from harsh environments.

Beetle-like in appearance, a rematern crawls on six legs and has a sharp, pointed beak, used both for consuming ore and burrowing through the ground. It also has a quartet of chitinous flaps above its large, compound eyes that protect the sensory organs from debris. While among the less intelligent of Swarm components, a rematern can still be a fierce opponent in battle, spewing the contents of its stomachs at enemies in a deadly spray of acid.

Rematerns appear to be especially reliant on their connection to the Swarm. When their link is lost, they either continue their tasks mindlessly until their eventual deaths or cease functioning altogether. Those who have been formidable and fortunate enough to push back a heavy Swarm infestation—one that progressed far enough for rematerns to be introduced to the invaded world—are often rewarded afterward with a network of tunnels littered with refined ores, rematern husks, and the flaky remnants of their protective shells. Even these shell remnants can be useful, as they can be repurposed as a kind of insulative shingling.

Rarely, the Swarm deploys rematerns on worlds that happen to be rich in a rare starmetal, such as abysium or adamantine. While the typical rematern is not capable of processing such materials, the Swarm is ever adaptive, and prolonged exposure to a particular starmetal causes fundamental changes to a rematern’s physiology that allow it to excavate and refine even these extraordinary materials. Rematerns that adapt to process abysium, for example, are known as fever beetles and give off dangerous radiation. Those that process inubrix, or ghost iron, become able to burrow through even the hardest materials, though they lose the ability to process any other ore.