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Hive Mind Beetle Swarm

This churning cloud of beetles buzzes with a steady discharge of sizzling arcs of electricity leaping from insect to insect. The patterns on their wings resemble humanoid eyes.

Hive Mind Beetle Swarm CR 13

Source Occult Bestiary pg. 29
XP 25,600
LN Diminutive magical beast (swarm)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +28

Defense

AC 25, touch 25, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +8 dodge, +4 size)
hp 170 (20d10+60)
Fort +16, Ref +15, Will +9
Defensive Abilities swarm traits; Immune electricity, weapon damage
Weaknesses exposed nerves

Offense

Speed 5 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee swarm (8d6 electricity plus distraction)
Space 10 ft., Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks distraction (DC 24)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 14th; concentration +11)
Constant—thought echoOA
At will—shocking grasp
Psychic Magic (CL 14th, concentration +16)
15 PE—explode headOA (5 PE, DC 18), greater synaptic pulseOA (5 PE, DC 18), lightning bolt (3 PE, DC 19), mental barrier IIIOA (4 PE), mind probeOA (4 PE, DC 16), mind thrust IVOA (4 PE, DC 16), synapse overloadOA (5 PE, DC 17), synaptic scrambleOA (4 PE, DC 17), thought shield IVOA (5 PE)

Statistics

Str 1, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 5
Base Atk +20; CMB —; CMD
Feats Ability Focus (distraction), Flyby Attack, Great Fortitude, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Spell Focus (enchantment), Spell Focus (evocation), Spell Penetration, Toughness
Skills Fly +40, Knowledge (nature) +22, Perception +28, Spellcraft +22; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception
Languages thought echo (can’t speak)
SQ reflexive dodge

Ecology

Environment temperate forests
Organization solitary or colony (2–4)
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Exposed Nerves (Ex) Whenever a hive mind beetle swarm is at or below half its full hit points, its Intelligence score drops to 9 and it loses its spellcasting ability. When at or below one-quarter its full hit points, it becomes effectively mindless and can only use feats that provide a static bonus.

Reflexive Dodge (Ex) The constituent creatures of a hive mind beetle swarm can dodge attacks, forming holes in the swarm. It gains a +8 dodge bonus to its AC.

Description

Hive mind beetles have developed a peculiar method of communication. They generate arcs of electricity, the intensity and shape of which holds meaning for other beetles. Though hive mind beetles are individually only as intelligent as common insects, their capacity to process information increases dramatically when they function as a swarm. Each beetle processes and transmits basic thoughts, forming a network that mimics more complex brains. Their collective intellect makes informed decisions, evaluates risks, and even plans for the future.

When hungry, hive mind beetle swarms don’t hesitate to attack other creatures. They use their electrical control to stun and cook prey. The beetles never eat raw food, and thus are largely indifferent toward anything immune to electricity unless provoked. A creature capable of using electricity-based effects may even engage in a rudimentary conversation with a hive mind beetle swarm if it succeeds at a DC 25 Linguistics check, though most creatures don’t have the same fine control the beetles possess, and their communication therefore remains broad and clumsy at best. The swarm responds by shaping itself into three-dimensional images.

Hive mind beetle swarms’ intellects focus primarily on food and weather. They can develop friendships with creatures who point them toward food sources, and may return to their new friends to inform them about approaching storms and other meteorological phenomena. Friendly swarms may even inform familiar creatures about other predators in the area, or assist in locating people or treasures (though the ravenous insects may just as readily eat the subject of their search). Hive mind beetle swarms are even capable of religious thought, considering thunderstorms to be messages from a divine being.