-- by Pell
As a swarm of bats, you cannot use armour or weapons at all. Instead, you get really good natural immunity against physical attacks, and you have access to bite attacks with your hands and head table. These three simultaneous attacks are the main advantage of bat form, since few opponents can defend against this constant rain of bites. They deliver either cut or poison damage, whichever would give the best result against your current opponent. Your own defences will always be 0, instead you will rely solely on your immunity.
Regarding powers - the main power to raise is of course Bat Form, which controls the size and strength of the swarm. This power however requires 5 levels in Ears of the Bat. You are well advised to rely heavily on raging, which makes Rage of the Beast and Extended Rage your other two main powers. After reaching level 20 in Bat Form you can start putting levels into the Shapechanging power, which makes the swarm even stronger.
There are several talents with which you can improve your swarm's performance:
- The House NightWing talent allows you to direct your bites to high, medium and low, which allows you to hit the most vulnerable part of your opponent, something which can often be used to great effect.
- With Cleave and Great Cleave, you can give bypass to your bites' cut damage. Note, however, that the mud always selects the best of cut and poison, but if both are equal, poison takes precedence. This means that if you find yourself dealing poison damage, the Great Cleave talent isn't doing you any good against this particular opponent, and should be changed to something else.
- The Swift Blow talent is particularly well suited for bat form, since you have three attacks that all benedfit from the increased speed. The lost damage is more than worth it.
- The Ambidextrous talent will lessen the delay even more, although only for your off-hand location.
- Since you are forced to select a number of Mastery talents anyway, it would be foolish not to take the Unarmed Mastery, which slightly increases your fighting capabilities.
- The Berserker Rage talent is compatible with the rage power, making it even stronger.
- You can also improve your rage through the Tireless Rage talent, although this is slightly less useful - once you've gained a few levels in Extended Rage, your opponent should hopefully be dead by the end of your rage anyway.
- There are several ways to compensate your total lack of defence with talents. The Endurance talent is pretty effective, since your huge size means you have lots of hp to benefit from the 25% increase.
- Toughness makes you take less damage per blow, and increases with your mettle, letting you take full advantage of raising that stat.
- My favourite defensive talent however is the immunity-giving Evasion. It requires Unarmed Mastery, which might be a chore for others, but not for Bat Form. The immunity gained lessens with encumbrance, but we don't wear equip, so that's not a problem. When you reach level 20 in Bat Form and use this talent, you'll have 95% immunity against all physical damage.
Some closing comments: The Bat Form suits itself well to newbies such as myself, since it is very easy to play - you don't have to fiddle around with equipment, most talents aren't a viable option, and it is very easy to move around using the swarm's travel command.
Both summoning powers are a great help as a newly imbued supernaturalis, but far less useful at higher levels.
Just a single level in Summon Vermin gives you a swarm with low hitpoints but very high immunity. Against an opponent dealing physical damage, it will serve as an excellent decoy, soaking blows which would otherwise hit your more precious self.
The companion you get from Summon Wolf isn't only really neat to play with and watch grow, but can also mean a real edge in combat at lower levels. The pup will grow for every kill made, at the same time storing the same primal you would have gotten if you dealt the killing blow. This primal can later be retrieved by killing the pup. This means that each kill the pup makes, you earn double from! Soon enough, however, you will have outgrown the wolf, making him earn little to no primal from kills, and be of little use against the tougher opponents you now encounter.