[RPG] Can you get sneak attack as a swarm


Can a character with the sneak attack ability, deal sneak attack damage with a swarm attack while under the effects of a spell like Verminous Transformation? (Unfortunately Swarm Skin isn't an ideal example, as it has an additional effect of causing you to loose all other abilities, I am looking for a better example and will update the question when I have found one. In the mean time there is a Vampire specific feat called Improved Swarm Form from Blood of the Night, or the Nosferatu variant Vampire Template, Verminous Transformation and GM Fiat (e.g. via appyling the swarm template))

I realise that Swarms cannot flank, so it would be harder to meet the criteria even if they can in theory, although Verminous Transformation might be an exception?

Why can I not sneak attack with Magic Missile? may be relevant. Though the RAW reasoning for the negative answer there relies on wording specific to Magic Missile.

Best Answer

In your question you have given us two use cases.

First lets look at the critical terms.


When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner.

Creatures with a reach of 0 feet can't flank an opponent.


A swarm is a collection of Fine, Diminutive, or Tiny creatures that acts as a single creature. A swarm has the characteristics of its type, except as noted here. A swarm has a single pool of Hit Dice and hit points, a single initiative modifier, a single speed, and a single Armor Class. A swarm makes saving throws as a single creature. A single swarm occupies a square (if it is made up of nonflying creatures) or a cube (of flying creatures) 10 feet on a side, but its reach is 0 feet, like its component creatures. In order to attack, it moves into an opponent’s space, which provokes an attack of opportunity. A swarm can occupy the same space as a creature of any size, since it crawls all over its prey. A swarm can move through squares occupied by enemies and vice versa without impediment, although the swarm provokes an attack of opportunity if it does so. A swarm can move through cracks or holes large enough for its component creatures.

Swarm Attack: creatures with the swarm subtype don’t make standard melee attacks. Instead, they deal automatic damage to any creature whose space they occupy at the end of their move, with no attack roll needed. Swarm attacks are not subject to a miss chance for concealment or cover. A swarm’s stat block has “swarm” in the Melee entries, with no attack bonus given.

Sneak Attack:

The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

So with those clearly defined lets look at the use cases;

Swarm Skin:

This power clearly states that you cannot use "any of your own abilities or take any actions other than controlling the swarms" so this will exclude sneak attack completely.

Verminous Transformation:

This power does not limit your actions or your abilities. So any attacks you make could benefit from sneak attack as long as you meet the criteria. The standard action that it gives can also benefit from sneak attack.

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