Hive mind or Collective conciousness
This power represents a guiding consciousness endowed to a group of otherwise independently functioning entities. It is seen in nature, expressed by schools of fish, hives of insects and flocks of birds. Some ordering force, a pack instinct, organizes the actions of otherwise autonomous individuals. In nature this ordering is done primarily for defense or some other group task, such as migration. As an extranormal ability, the tasks and motives can be changed at whim.
This is an odd power, changing the nature of the character itself. The character is NOT one thing, but rather the organizing force of a collection of independently functioning entities. He is a flock of birds, a pack of rats, a collection of cars which form a giant robot. As such, the player should configure his character sheet to reflect the abilities of the pack as a whole. In the standard version of this ability, the components of the swarm are fixed, are a set defined group. The character is literally a flock of pigeons or a swarm of insects or a cloud formation or the contents of Uncle Steve’s steamer trunk. The power can also be additive to other abilities, such as FLUID FORM, NRG FORM, NRG BATTERY, SEPARATION, ELONGATION, TRANSFORMATION, DUPLICATION or PASS PRESENSE.
· Limited Immortality: The collective consciousness exists as long as at least one of its members is still alive.
· Pack Recovery: If diminished, the swarm replenishes naturally over a period of time. The power conveys no additional ability to rebuild lost pieces. If your character is a flock of seagulls and you only have one seagull left, it’s going to be a while before you have more seagulls. The swarm can be repaired through outside agency or the application of another ability. You can always convince the mad scientist who created you to breed more seagulls, which is an example of using an outside agency. The power TRANSFORMATION would also aid your seagull in rebuilding his swarm.
· Individual Autonomy: The basic abilities of normal pack members do not need to be accounted for. Seagulls fly, fish swim, ants dig. It is assumed that the pack members will function normally when not under the guidance of the collective conscious. It’s a pigeon. When not spying or attacking machinegun emplacements, he’s engaged in standard pigeon business.
· Fixed Group: Once defined, the swarm does not grow, nor is it entitled to sympathetic actions from like individuals. Your pigeons may not go out and recruit more pigeons. Your pack of wombats does not have any special standing amongst wombat-kind, in general. The swarm, the collective conscious, only has the power to influence the individuals under its direct control.
· Collective Reduction: The swarm’s abilities decrease as it loses members, in proportion to its losses. This affects all BASESTATS and abilities. We can use some fuzzy accounting on this, measuring losses in terms of 10%, 1/4th, 1/3rd, ½ and so on. The reduction primarily applies to attacks and is across the board. If the Swarm has lost 10% of its members, the damage potential of all attacks are reduced 10%, range is reduced 10% as is duration and so forth.
· Immune to Mental Influence: Individual members of the swarm are immune to outside influences. The swarm as a whole cannot be controlled by anyone other than the character. Swarms cannot be affected by non-damage causing mental attacks. This immunity vanishes if the swarm is reduced to only one member.
· HTK and Number of Members: The swarm should be configured as a regular character. Two factors determine the number of individuals in the swarm, (1) the SAVE that SWARM is linked to and (2) the SAVE of the character’s SIZE Basestat. Adding these two numbers together determines the swarm’s number of members. Each member of the swarm is endowed with HTK equal to the character’s SIZE ACT plus the ACT of the level linked to SWARM.
EXAMPLE: Captain RatHoard has a SIZE of Mutant (ACT 10 SAVE 35) and has his SWARM ability linked to a level of Super Human (ACT 12 SAVE 40). Per the character concept, the swarm is a hoard of rats. The Captain would have 75 rats in his hoard, each of which have an HTK Total of 22 points.
· Attack Distribution: The SWARM may deploy any power the character is endowed with, either in distributed form or projected from a single member. You are free to have one pigeon fire off your full NRG BLAST or split attacks between several pigeons attacking several targets. Attacking several targets is effectively splitting dice and follows those rules. Most powers can only be applied once per action and should be treated as a standard attack emanating from a member of the swarm. Other powers could be construed as emanating from the entire swarm. The player needs to determine how each power is applied. In general, being in SWARM form does not convey any real advantage when determining the effect on a potential target.
· Worldwide Broad Telepathic Control: Members of the swarm may be controlled worldwide. They may scatter hither and yon and still be in communication with their host, still under the watchful control of the singular entity which guides all their actions. That said, any extranormal sense or power endowed to the SWARM may only be used by one member at a time.
· HTH Attack: This attack is available in proportion to the number of members of the swarm which are present at the same location. The same is true for any attack which is dependent on the character’s form. If more than 2/3rds of the flock is present, the Swarm is entitled to make an HTH Attack as an area of effect attack. The area of effect of such an attack is equal to SWARM’s linked ACT in square meters. The swarm may make this form of attack once every other action.
· No Recovery and Limited Invulnerability: Individual members of the swarm have a form of invulnerability. If the damage inflicted on a member is less than their HTK Total, they take no damage. If the amount of damage is greater than their individual HTK Total, the member is eliminated, considered dead. The swarm does not recover during combat and may not be replenished during combat.
· Attack Battery: The Swarm has a base attack, which can be added to the HTH Attack. The attack is equal to the ACT in dice. There is also a bonus pool of dice equal to the SAVE in dice, which may be applied either as an attack on its own or to another power. This battery replenishes at a rate of the ACT in dice for every action it, or the base attack, are not used. Points from this pool may also be used to increase the range of a power or attack on a one meter per point spent basis. Points can be used to create a Conditional Advantage to attacks on a one point spent per +1 awarded.
· Mutant ACC and DODGE: Individual swarm members have a fixed ACC and DODGE at Mutant level.
Mechanics: 75 plus SAVE plus SIZE SAVE. The basic set up assumes that the character is built with this power as its centerpiece. It assumes that the members of the swarm are somewhat normal on their own. It’s a pack of dogs or bees or some other common entity. The player should configure his character as if it were aspects of the swarm as a whole when it comes to the physical traits. (As a whole, the Swarm can lift a car or whatever.) When it comes to the derived BASESTATS, the player is free to add his REC Score to his MPS rating. The REC rating otherwise does not apply to SWARM characters. HTK, DEFL and STUN are also irrelevant to characters built around the SWARM ability.
We do allow for some flexibility with this power. The following are suggested alterations. The judge should feel free to customize the ability to match a player’s concept.
Additions and Alterations:
Increase number of SWARM members. At no additional expense, the number of pack members may be increased by reducing the HTK Total of each member. At Half HTK per member, the number of members doubles. By multiplying the HTK total per member to the number of members, you get the HTK total of the entire swarm. The player is free to subdivide this number as he wishes, as long as no individual has more than ½ of the Swarm’s total and that each member has at least an HTK Total of 1. The smaller the HTK Total is, the less substantial the individual swarm member will be. Additional members may also be purchased at a cost of the HTK Total.
Increase HTK Total of individual Swarm members: You may substitute SWARM’s linked SAVE for the normal HTK Total by reducing the number of members in half. Other bonuses to the HTK Total of alike swarm members cost 1 point multiplied by the number of swarm members per point of increased HTK per member.
Unalike Members: The basic set up assumes that all of members of a swarm are similar normal entities. This isn’t a hard and fast rule. As long as the members can be defined in terms of the basic rules above, the members can be anything from a pack of different animals to a gaggle of tween girls. NO SUPER SPEED INVULNERABLE PACK OF ELEPAHNTS. Anything somewhat touching on that is a SIDEKICK or SUMMON subject.
Merge Form: For an additional 100 points the swarm may merge to create a singular being. It’s probably going to be a big guy, something like a giant robot. The entity has an ACC and DODGE of Mutant. Its HTK Total is equal to the number of Swarm members multiplied by the HTK Total of the individuals. (Or is simply given a total HTK of all Swarm members.) This being has no DEFL and no REC Score. Its STUN is equal to its HTK. Alternatively, for 10 points, the swarm can form a rather ordinary person. This person’s only real ability is to turn back into a swarm. Having the ability to simply be a person can be a great advantage to a Swarm character.
SWARM Replenishment: For 25 points the swarm rebuilds its membership at a rate of the ACT in individuals per day.
Attack Battery: No modifications allowed, however the battery could be used to add to the point pools of other powers the character possesses.
DODGE and ACC Modifications: Increase both levels at a cost of 30 points per. Increase either DODGE or ACC at a cost of 15 points per level. Decrease ACC and DODGE reduces cost of power by 10 points per level, with Average being the lowest level possible.
SWARM SIDEKICK: (Alternative Power) If all you really want is a pack of rats to follow you around, may we suggest MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE. If you want to boss around some otherworldly creature and his entourage, you probably need SUMMON. But for those of you who would like to have a pack of flying monkeys or some other such neo-fantastic thing, a pack of normal critters with a few gimmicks thrown in, there is an option to configure SWARM as effectively a SIDEKICK. As with the character who has SWARM as his centerpiece ability, you configure a separate character record for the SIDEKICK. All of the basestats need to be accounted for, minus 60 points. You then pay for the SWARM ability and whatever other powers your SWARM SIDEKICK may have. Now you are not a pack of flying monkeys. Instead you are a person with a pack of flying monkeys.
NOTE: The suggested set up for a basic SWARM character would include also allocating for either the TRANSFORMATION or INTERNAL IMMUTABILITY. That said, most SWARM characters are monsters and not standard issue science fiction protagonists.