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The Eciton Horde and the Undying Swarm

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Please read this before reading this post, since this post ties in to the linked post.

Read it? Good.

In the linked post, I stated that Grounded's ants remind me of rival fantasy races.

These guys...they are the typical "wandering horde of orcs that can eat people".

They are strong and numerous, and pillage, burn and...yeah, I don't think they would do THAT, every ant colony they come across. They are raiders from distant lands, trapped in a foreign world. They are called the Eciton Horde.

How they got here is a funny story, though.

When Wendell Tully caught word of his neighbor's new pet, a colony of Eciton burchellii army ants, he immediately went over to chastise his neighbor, fearing that the brutal ants may escape, become invasive and kill off native ants, as army ants always do (you CANNOT keep army ants in captivity). His furious neighbor responded by throwing the army ant colony as well as the terrarium they reside in into Wendell's yard.

The Eciton Ants are based in the Broken Terrarium by the Milk Carton. They don't dig nests like regular ants, what they have is called a...


Erm, ackshually it'sh called a bivouac, but "thunderdome" sound cooler. So I'm going with that.

The thunderdome is a dome made up of Eciton Workers. No, literally. The walls are made up of ants clinging onto each other. This dome is built around the queen, and is guarded by legions of the finest Eciton Soldiers.

The Eciton Ants are tier 2, and they follow a sort of "schedule", like real army ants. It's a cycle between a 14-day rest period, where the entire colony chills around the thunderdome, and a 7-day swarm period, where they raid the red and black anthills. They are neutral to all other ants during the rest, but hostile to all other ants during the swarm. They are the only lower yard ant that is hostile to you, always.

When they raid a colony, it's more of a smash-and-grab, they just take the eggs and leave. They do NOT kill everybody. If they did that, they wouldn't be able to raid the same colony again (nobody to lay eggs).

Eciton Workers are gray with an orange butt. Unlike other workers, these will fight you to the death. They have a bit more health and damage than the black ant workers.

Eciton Soldiers are ugly as hell. Sandy beige, black beady eyes, black, long, sharp mandibles, lanky legs, and orange butts. They have a bit more health and damage than the Black Ant Soldiers.

Both ranks drop Eciton Parts, used to make something cool. We'll get to that in a moment.


The Horde's warrior-queen is possibly one of the most fearsome ants in the backyard. She's a straight-up boss, meant to be fought before the Broodmother. Like a black widow, she is only confined to one location, inside the thunderdome.

Once you approach the thunderdome nestled into the broken terrarium, Workers will break off of the structure and attack you. The opening forms an entrance.

When you enter the dome, a cutscene plays where the Warrior-Queen roars at you, preparing herself for battle. Soldiers form a ring around both you and their queen, stomping the ground and gnashing their teeth in the air. The battle is on.

The warrior-queen does not call other ants to her aid-it's a one-on-one with her.

Once the battle is over, you end up slicing off one of her mandibles. The queen is on her side, doubled over in pain. You have the option to kill or spare her. If you spare her, the Eciton will respect you, with all the soldiers cheering and saluting you. Eciton ants will now be neutral. If you kill her, all the Eciton ants will despawn from the map and never respawn. The ring of soldiers will try to kill you instead of cheering you on.

The mandible you sliced off can be used with Eciton Parts to craft the Pike of the Warrior-Queen, a spear that does 25% more damage to ants. This can stack with Ant-nihilator. And since all ants have a Stabbing weakness (even the Eciton, Leafcutter, and Crazy ants), this won't be good.

And this weapon can be upgraded. Every upgrade adds 5% to the bonus.

Now for something a little darker. The Tully army ant. A failed experiment in pest control. Also known as the Undying Swarm.

The Undying Swarm is a genetically modified colony of Nomamyrmex esenbeckii ants created by Dr. Tully to eliminate the invasive Fire, Leafcutter, and Crazy ant colonies in the upper yard. Since N. esenbeckii normally only raids the colonies of a certain species of leafcutter, their instincts had to be tweaked drastically.

Dr. Tully imbued the colony's females with a specific mindset. The belief that they are superior and that everything else should be exterminated. This seemed like a good idea at the time for Dr. Tully, but turned out to be a grave mistake. He thought they would just attack other ants. And then they escaped containment and tried to kill him.

The Undying Swarm are lavender-colored tier 3 ants covered in thick, spiky armor. They are resistant to everything except Stabbing, and if you attack them with anything except for a ranged attack or a spear, the thorns will damage you. Their eyes are black as night, their legs are covered in thorns, and their mandibles are as robust as the rest of their body. The soldiers also have stingers like fire ants that give you the Black Widow venom effect. Fun!

The workers have the same health as Leafcutter Workers and more damage than Fire Ant Workers, and the soldiers have the same health as Leafcutter Soldiers and more damage than Fire Ant Soldiers.

Remember when I said that the Leafcutters were high elves? These are the Drow.

They are constantly in a swarm state, and do not have rest periods. They mercilessly raid every other upper yard ant colony. They patrol the entire upper yard and will attack any other ant on sight. These guys are why you get an OP weapon when you beat the Eciton.

There is a fountain in the garden near Castle Moldorc. Beneath it is the underground lab where the Tully army ants originated. The queen is found here, still in its former containment chamber, surrounded by a small thunderdome made up of Soldiers.

Wendell documented everything about these ants. The logs get more and more gruesome every one you find, and these logs explain the seemingly random corpses around the lab.

One of the logs documents how the ants gruesomely killed a Black Widow in a test to see if they would attack non-ant insects. They reportedly had workers hold the spider down while soldiers climbed all over it, stinging it repeatedly and watching it die, then tearing it apart and eating it. They then all clacked their mandibles in the air, laughing.

Another log shows the brutal misandry of this species, a product of Wendell tweaking with the ants' brains. Since the workers and soldiers are all female, he only tweaked with the brains of the females, not the males.

He documents how a group of soldiers picked a particularly weak male to torment. They tore off his wings and left him with only two legs, and they laughed as he hopped around. They then forced him to eat the colony's refuse until his stomach burst.

He also remarks on the colony's mating rituals being more like a r*pe than anything else. The queen picks out the strongest male, forces herself on him, then cuts his head off with her mandibles after mating.

Throughout the lab, you see corpses of winged males sawed in half, decapitated, dismembered, and so on.

This is why you will not have the option to spare the Undying Queen. Killing her will save 3 colonies and countless other bugs.

The Undying Queen will basically be the same fight as the Warrior-Queen, just stronger and with a stinger. After she's dead, all the Undying Workers and Soldiers will despawn and never respawn.

IDK why Grounded never had little side stories like this, every other Obsidian game does.

Also this game is inspired partially by Dungeons and Dragons, and drow are big in that, as well as orcs. The best substitute for them in Grounded would be army ants, that's why I made this post.

I know Obsidian can do this, they've had dark stories like this before. If this will ever be in the game, though, it would probably take half a year, maybe more to make. And it would most likely be paid DLC.

And that is all for today, backyard dwellers! Hopefully you liked this post, it took a couple hours to write.

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