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Devouring Swarm's ability icon.

Devouring Swarm is a supernatural ability in Dishonored and Dishonored 2. It allows Corvo Attano to summon forth a swarm of ravenous rats that will attack any characters in the immediate area. Devouring Swarm consumes 40% of Corvo's total mana.



A swarm of rats attacking a pair of City Watch Guards.

Tier I - (3 runes)[]

With Tier I Devouring Swarm, Corvo can summon a swarm of rats which attacks and eats foes.

Tier II - (4 runes)[]

With Tier II Devouring Swarm, the swarm is larger, allowing its attacks to do more damage and allowing it to eat foes faster.

Dishonored 2[]

Ability Runes Previous upgrade Description
Devouring Swarm 4 None Summon rats that attack enemies and devour bodies.
Greater Swarm 2 Devouring Swarm Increase the size of your rat swarm.
Rat Piper 2 Devouring Swarm Summon a rat swarm that follows you.
Twin Swarms 3 Devouring Swarm Summon two smaller rat swarms.

Usage tips[]

  • Rats summoned by Corvo will not attack him.
  • Devouring Swarm can be used to dispose of groups of enemies or corpses without Corvo having to reveal his presence.
  • Devouring Swarm is particularly effective at distracting enemies in the middle of combat, permitting Corvo to kill or escape without much difficulty.
    • Similarly, it can be used to lure multiple enemies to one spot by summoning a swarm near a large yet dispersed group of enemies. This can then be followed up by a grenade toss. If timed correctly, this can easily take out a large number of enemies simultaneously.
      • This strategy is of limited use against Howlers, as the howling bolts they fire will usually dispatch the entire swarm with one hit.
  • Like standard, the summoned rats will not attack weepers and can be possessed by Corvo.
  • Equipping the Undying Swarm bone charm allows the rat swarm to recover from losses sustained during an attack.
    • The overall lifespan of the swarm is not affected by this bone charm.
    • If the rats are destroyed too fast, it is still possible for the swarm to be wiped out.
  • Rats summoned by Corvo will not attack Granny Rags – instead, she will thank Corvo for summoning more of her "little pretties".
    • Similarly in Dishonored 2, Breanna Ashworth will turn summoned rats against Corvo.
  • If Corvo has the Gutter Feast or Carrion Killer bone charms equipped, killing a summoned swarm is a good tactic for harvesting mana or adrenaline, respectively.
    • The Albinos bone charm can make the mana side of this strategy more efficient.
  • In Dishonored 2, equipping the Blood Sacrifice bone charm then summoning and killing a swarm of rats can restore lots of health. Equipping an upgraded Spiritual Sacrifice bone charm can give more mana than summoning the swarm takes.
    • The above strategy involving Gutter Feast and Albinos also works in Dishonored 2.
    • If Corvo also equips Undying Swarm, he will be able to continue gaining health and mana until the swarm disperses.
  • The Synergic Swarm bone charm increase the duration of the rat swarm, allowing it to attack more enemies and consume more bodies.
  • Twin Swarms does not summon two swarms at once – instead, it summons two independent but smaller swarms for the standard mana use each time.
    • Without the Twins Swarms upgrade, Corvo cannot summon two rat swarms simultaneously. Attempting to summon a second swarm of rats will disperse the first.
  • The Rat Piper upgrade does not mean Corvo's rats always follow him; they prioritize enemies and other targets, including both unconscious bodies and corpses.
  • With Rat Piper, Corvo can summon a swarm of rats away from his enemies, wait for his mana to recharge and then enter combat with the swarm of rats and more mana.
    • While the lifetime of the rat swarm is slightly less when Corvo enters combat, the fact that he can use more supernatural abilities makes up for this.
      • With the Spritual Pool bone charm, Corvo's mana recharges faster, allowing him to enter combat sooner.
      • Equipping the Synergic Swarm bone charm also compensates for this.
  • Rats will attempt to devour both Clockwork Soldiers and the debris from their destruction, but will not succeed in either, distracting the rats from attacking Corvo's enemies. Clockwork Soldiers completely ignore the rats.

Related Bone Charms[]


  • Void Channel - Increased duration for the rat swarm.

Dishonored 2[]

  • Albinos - Rat swarms include more white rats.
  • Blood Sacrifice - Killing bloodflies or rats restores Health.
  • Carrion Killer - Killing rats or bloodflies boosts Adrenaline.
  • Gutter Feast - White rats can be eaten for Mana.
  • Spiritual Sacrifice - Killing bloodflies or rats restores Mana.
  • Synergic Swarm - Summoned rat swarms persist longer.
  • Undying Swarm - Rat swarms repopulate over time.


  • The Lonely Rat Boy has a version of this power. The only known difference is that the rats he summons can attack him.
  • If Granny Rags is killed or knocked unconscious at any point, her body will disappear and summon a swarm of rats. The same is true for Paolo during the mission The Clockwork Mansion, and can also occur once during the mission Dust District. This has been confirmed to be a similar but different power called Escape.[1]
  • When Granny Rags uses Devouring Swarm, she, unlike Corvo, seems to have a degree of control over the rats.
  • Undying Swarm works only if it was equipped at the time that the swarm was summoned.
  • Other variations of this power exist, allowing users to summon swarm of bloodflies or other creatures.[2]
  • In Dishonored 2, the numbers of white, brown and black rats persist through multiple uses of this power, even if they were killed or ran away.
  • Canonically it is shown in the Dishonored: The Wyrmwood Deceit comics that Corvo did unlock at least the first Tier of Devouring Swarm.[3]


Devouring Swarm sound effect.