Wherever there are battles to be fought or spoils to be claimed, troops march forward to do the dirty work of war. Whether they are hungry brigands eager to raid merchant caravans, frantic goblins scrambling to put a local settlement to the torch, or a cabal of drow spellcasters on a religious crusade for their demonic faith, troops heed the call and move as a single unit to accomplish what one lone mercenary, arsonist, or cabalist could not.
Of course, brigands, drow, and goblins aren’t the only types of troop that could exist—they’re merely the three presented on the following pages. The troop subtype provides rules for the creation of groups of likeminded individuals of all kinds, functioning in a way similar to how the swarm subtype allows for the modeling of a vast flight of creatures acting as a single whole. With a troop, running an encounter against a large number of lower-level foes becomes much more manageable, and allows for normally low-CR threats to band together and challenge more powerful PCs.
Troops can be created in innumerable variations, and you should feel free to use the three examples on the following pages as inspiration for the creation of troops of your own design. Troops are not as meant as exact simulations of tactical warfare, and when creating them you should not be overly concerned with trying to emulate the compounded abilities of the troop’s component individuals. Troops are created just like other creatures of their creature type, with basic elements such as Hit Dice and statistics assigned so the completed troop conforms to the approximate hit points, Armor Class, and other values for its desired Challenge Rating. Once that foundation is established, apply the subtype rules and use the examples and variations provided here to finetune it with flavorful abilities and feats that approximate how a homogenous group of creatures of this sort might fight. With troops at your command, PCs may think twice next time they encounter a seemingly outmatched group of opponents.
Additional Troop Abilities
Troops hail from a variety of cultures, and can represent vast differences in wealth, training, and motivation—any type of creature capable of forming an army could form a troop. You can use some of the variations below to diversify the troops on the following pages or as specific abilities for troops of your own design. When applying one of these variant powers to an existing troop, a suggested CR adjustment is listed to represent the troop’s change in power. As a general rule, you should not apply more than one of the following variants to a single troop.
Elite Troop (CR +2): Some troops enjoy the sponsorship of a wealthy benefactor, whether an ambitious noble or a powerful warlord eager to fund a band of highly-trained guards. Such troops gain the benefit of better recruitment, better training, and higher-quality arms and armor. Elite troops gain a +4 armor bonus to their Armor Class, increase the damage dice of either their melee or ranged troop attack by one die type—d6 increases to d8, for example— and gain 2 hit points per Hit Die. Their movement is reduced by 10 feet.
Phalanx Troop (CR +2): Troops that train together in the use of polearms or spears can gain special advantages on the battlefield. The long reach of such a troop’s weapons grants it an additional 5 feet of reach with its troop melee attack. In addition, these troops gain a +4 bonus on saves against trample attacks, and their troop melee attack deals an additional 2d6 points of damage against mounted opponents. Phalanx troops gain 2 hit points per Hit Die.
Rabble (CR –2): Some troops are not so much organized regiments of warriors as they are hasty assemblies of angry citizens or leaderless bands of creatures intent on chaos and destruction. Ill-prepared for real battle, these troops have 2 fewer hit points per Hit Die than normal and their troop damage is reduced by one die (rabble versions of troops that would normally deal 1d6 points of damage instead deal 1d3 points of damage). Their lack of training and effective protection reduces the troop’s Armor Class by 2.
Savage Troop (CR +1): Some troops are able to tap into the collective fury of their culture, unleashing a berserk wave of ferocity on the battlefield. A savage troop can enter a rage as a free action for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + its Constitution modifier, gaining a +4 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution, a +2 morale bonus on Will saves, and a –2 penalty to AC. When the rage ends, the troop is immediately fatigued for the duration of the battle.
Skirmishers (CR +1): Skirmishers are effective and versatile hit-and-run troops. In exchange for reducing their Armor Class by 2 and their troop melee damage by one die (troops that normally deal 1d6 points of damage instead deal 1d3 points of damage), the troop’s primary movement speed increases by 10 feet. In addition, the troop gains a ranged special attack that takes the form of up to two lines starting from the corner of any square in the troop’s space, with a range equal to the base range increment of a selected weapon type, such as crossbows or javelins. Like with the troop’s melee attack, all creatures in the lines’ areas of effect are hit by the attack automatically, though targets can attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage (DC = 10 + 1/2 the troop’s HD + the troop’s Dexterity modifier). This attack deals the same base amount of damage as the troop’s unmodified base melee troop attack, with thrown weapons’ damage modified by the troop’s Strength score as appropriate.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 6 © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, James Jacobs, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, Jason Nelson, Tim Nightengale, F. Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Todd Stewart, Josh Vogt, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.