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BobVosh
2009-11-14, 12:56 AM
Pretty much what the name suggests. I liked minions, a lot. I've been pondering how to implement them, and as always, magic is a thorn in my side. Especially stuff like cloudkill, or circle of death.

I know someone here mentioned a system like this for D20, anyone got the rules/source for it?

HMS Invincible
2009-11-14, 01:07 AM
You could use the normal rules for minions and then add a rule that says anything that doesn't try to hit their defenses don't affect them.

dyslexicfaser
2009-11-14, 01:09 AM
What's wrong with just making the appropriate creature and then reducing it to 10 hp or so?

I admit I never really got into 4e, but that seems to mimic the minions rather well.

BobVosh
2009-11-14, 01:35 AM
Still leaves the question of leaving it as 10 HD, or 2? Cloudkill kills, or what?

I had the thought of doing MR from 2ed. Just ignore it if you fail the %.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-14, 01:39 AM
Fireball is an issue, as well. And Web+torch. And Whirlwind attack or Great Cleave. And Alchemist's Fire. And Magic Missile.

Basically you're making enemies a strong wind can take down, in a game where strong winds are 1st level spells. You'll have issues.

BobVosh
2009-11-14, 01:47 AM
Whirlwind + cleave aren't a concern. They require attack rolls. Scorching Ray is the same way. MM is what worries me. Which leaves the question of "would 50% MR be adequate?"

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-14, 01:51 AM
MR?

Also, they may require attack rolls, but Whirlwind and Greater Cleave, against guys with less than decent AC(mooks, after all) will be basically auto-hits. It's hard enough to make NPCs with decent AC when they're the same level of the party as-is.

BobVosh
2009-11-14, 02:13 AM
Minions are suppose to be mooks with good damage and AC. Just a glass jaw.

Moreover great cleave is generally considered a waste, and whirlwind is rarely worth taking that many feats.

MR=spell resistance from 2ed. You just completely ignore spells if they don't meet the percentage.

Commander_Vimes
2009-11-14, 02:19 AM
I have implement minions in my 3.5 games with success. My minions have the special rule that if they make their save against any effect they ignore it entirely, so effectively they have evasion and mettle. This way a fireball will kill a bunch of minions, but a few will make their save and stagger onwards.

For things like Cloudkill you could give them counts as HD so they can make saves.

Mando Knight
2009-11-14, 02:21 AM
Take their saving throws, and if they succeed at the throw, they don't die, even if it normally deals damage on a save. Keep their HD for determining spell effects, but only give them 1 HP total regardless of their HD.

Let auto-damage kill them, since it does so in 4e as well, and auto-damage abilities usually aren't as powerful anyway.

Quietus
2009-11-14, 05:48 AM
Alternatively, leave them as "standard" encounters - full AC, full damage, etc - but give them minimum hit points. A "mook" fifth level dwarf fighter with 14 con (16 after racials) thus has 20 HP, as opposed to 42. Reduce exp granted accordingly.

jmbrown
2009-11-14, 06:04 AM
Alternatively, leave them as "standard" encounters - full AC, full damage, etc - but give them minimum hit points. A "mook" fifth level dwarf fighter with 14 con (16 after racials) thus has 20 HP, as opposed to 42. Reduce exp granted accordingly.

I don't know why I never thought of this.

Area of effect spells and multi-hit attacks were specifically designed to deal with minions in 4E. The idea isn't that minions are supposed to be, by themselves, challenging but rather minions act as support for normal monsters. The fighter in your example is still as skilled as a 5th level fighter and while he probably won't go down from a single fireball, it would definitely hurt. A lot.

Altair_the_Vexed
2009-11-14, 06:04 AM
An idea I borrowed from Star Wars d20 was that non-heroic NPCs only got their CON in HP (despite having multiple levels, and all the other benefits thereof), and any damage on them required a Fort save (DC5+damage) to avoid being knocked unconscious.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-14, 07:32 AM
Still leaves the question of leaving it as 10 HD, or 2? Cloudkill kills, or what?

I had the thought of doing MR from 2ed. Just ignore it if you fail the %.

Minions are level appropriate so HD appropriate. So Cloudkill won't kill them unless it wold kill you.

Mark Hall
2009-11-14, 10:24 AM
My suggestion:

Minions have 1 HP, but are considered to have as many HD as members of their race normally do. They have a +3 to AC and saves at levels 1-5, +5 at 6-10, +7 at 11-15, and +10 at 16-20. Any attack which does not hit them, or against which they make a save, do not kill them.

lesser_minion
2009-11-14, 10:36 AM
The Minion rule (missed attacks don't damage minions) can be a slight problem if players start working out who the minions are, because it messes up the effectiveness of different attack types in different ways.

I'd suggest something like giving minions a very small number of hitpoints (2/HD + 2 per point of Con bonus, maybe), and ruling that any attack that doesn't kill them outright is ignored. That should cut down bookkeeping, avoid weird quirks like the 4e Minion rule, and also avoid problems like a fireball auto-killing every single minion on turn 1.

Mark Hall
2009-11-14, 01:08 PM
The Minion rule (missed attacks don't damage minions) can be a slight problem if players start working out who the minions are, because it messes up the effectiveness of different attack types in different ways.

I'd suggest something like giving minions a very small number of hitpoints (2/HD + 2 per point of Con bonus, maybe), and ruling that any attack that doesn't kill them outright is ignored. That should cut down bookkeeping, avoid weird quirks like the 4e Minion rule, and also avoid problems like a fireball auto-killing every single minion on turn 1.

On the other hand, you can also rule that any attack minions save against doesn't affect them, which is analogous to "didn't succeed in attack roll against reflex".

lesser_minion
2009-11-14, 01:24 PM
On the other hand, you can also rule that any attack minions save against doesn't affect them, which is analogous to "didn't succeed in attack roll against reflex".

That doesn't get around the possible metagaming issue that comes up in 4e.

Quietus
2009-11-15, 05:43 AM
I don't know why I never thought of this.

Area of effect spells and multi-hit attacks were specifically designed to deal with minions in 4E. The idea isn't that minions are supposed to be, by themselves, challenging but rather minions act as support for normal monsters. The fighter in your example is still as skilled as a 5th level fighter and while he probably won't go down from a single fireball, it would definitely hurt. A lot.

Yup. You might have to give them evasion/mettle, though... a random fifth level Wizard might have, say, 12 con, giving them 10 HP. 5d6 is usually gonna throw 17 damage... half of that ... they'd survive, actually. That's not bad. A good roll drops the minions, if they save, and if they don't save, they're smoked. Depends on how minion-ish you want them to be, though. Could just give them a flat "1/2 damage from area effects", which you can tack saves on top of, if you want them to last longer.

Saph
2009-11-15, 05:50 AM
The problem isn't with 3.5 magic, it's with the entire concept of minions. As soon as you start including enemies with high defences with no HP, the natural solution you're pushing the PCs towards is auto-damage effects. In 4e this means the party Wizard uses something like Burning Blood, and every minion on the battlefield dies automatically.

I've never bothered to search the 3.5 spell lists for similar wide-ranging autodamage effects, but I'm sure there are some out there.

Acanous
2009-11-15, 06:25 AM
The biggest problem with 3.5 minions is Cloudkill, which has been addressed.
I make a habit of using 1/2 CR creatures as mooks. Easy to kill, plenty in number, and totally dependant on how you set up the encounter.

Do you want your party to feel epic and heroic? use 30 lv 1 Warriors in Full Plate. Mount them and give them shields to up the AC a bit higher. (You're looking at around 25+ AC after accounting for full plate, shield, high ground bonus, and a +1 from dex.)
Players WILL chew through them in a single round, but they LOOK formidable. The Warhorses can make trample attempts to spice things up and keep them on thier toes, but the mooks aren't going to show up the big bad.

Alternatively, if you want the mooks to be easy to kill, but a serious threat-

Give them a couple key items. Smoke bombs, Alchemist's fire, Caltrops, Oil. (One of the above for each minion)
Set the encounter up in an enemy base, or an area that the mooks know well- somewhere they've planned to be attacked in. Give them an avenue of escape; a tunnel, a system of trenches, secret doors, whatever you need.

Throw in a couple traps. Things like a poison dart trap, a pit trap, or even something simple like a tripwire.

Have the mooks do things like drop a smoke bomb on a square with a trap, so party members count as blind (With the appropriate save penalties)
Heck, throw down some caltrops just for fun in adjacent, non-smoky squares to make moving through the smoke look like a better option. Then when they hit the trip wire and fail a REF or fall prone... Uh oh, there's a minion right there ready to hit them (Twice, because of the AoO)

Tossing a vial of oil at a player is a ranged touch attack. Alchemist's fire is a DC 10 to hit the square you're throwing it at.
Pulled off well, the party will be scrambling- confused and panicing despite the fact that they're really only fighting 10 lv 1 mooks. They're likely to blow thier high-end abilities and spells fighting in smoke and putting out thier backpacks. Don't forget that Fire spooks horses, too. Make an appropriate morale check for the party's packmules and non-animal-companion animals.

Failure means they spook and run off in a random (D10) direction.

This is especially usefull if you're trying to wage a war of attrition on a high level party.
You know they've got a repitoire of "I win" spells, but you want the boss fight to be challenging without being a nigh-guerunteed TPK.

I think I've rambled quite a bit too much here >.>
Well, my point is- it's situational. Use the mooks for what you want the mooks used for. Are they fodder to glorify the adventurers? Are they a minor menace meant to delay the party so the mage in the back can finish his full-round-action summoning spell? Or are they supposed to be there to be a real and present danger, something that if handled improperly could make the difference in the fight?

Plan accoardingly.

BobVosh
2009-11-15, 06:42 AM
Alternatively, leave them as "standard" encounters - full AC, full damage, etc - but give them minimum hit points. A "mook" fifth level dwarf fighter with 14 con (16 after racials) thus has 20 HP, as opposed to 42. Reduce exp granted accordingly.

This? This is sexy. Still makes cloudkill a problem. However maybe I'll pull from negative levels and make each point of con=5 damage. That way a level 10 minion isn't killed from 3 con damage. Instead it is 15 damage.
Maybe give 1 for lowest HD, 2 for 2nd lowest, etc. (PF so 1D6=1, 1D8=2, 1D10=3, 1D12=4). Just so there is a difference for the HD. Although they will mostly be D8/D10 as casters would be silly.

Can't believe I never thought of that. <3 Quietus.

@ Acanous: I want a large swarm of people. My party has the lowest ac at 25 normally. That is the sorcerer. After him the lowest ac is 32. So I need actual high level mobs to scare with their to-hit. I mean I can fireball em all to death or something, but the only threat being a caster is kinda boring. Low level normal mooks just don't fit what I'm going for.

Mordokai
2009-11-15, 06:50 AM
Tucker kobolds? Only they are not there to kill, but scare the daylight out of your players.

Acanous
2009-11-15, 06:55 AM
Hm. What level is your party at? I could run a few ideas by you to optimize your minions without overshadowing the boss.

BobVosh
2009-11-15, 06:56 AM
Party is at 11 currently. 12 probably when they are fighting a demon with a fanatically loyal cult.

A Glabrezu and a Succubus will be the main things there. Lots of little culties beyond that.

Acanous
2009-11-15, 08:02 AM
Well, why not throw in a duo of level 4 Rangers, Archery spec, with 10 Brilliant Energy Arrows each. They'll each be sporting a Mighty Bow (+2) and will be Prefferred Enemy (Whatever your party Fighter's race is- default Human)
With Weapon Focus (Longbow) and a few ranks in Hide- you can have them firing from eyelets set in secret passages on either side of the room.
Rapid Shot and a 5 foot step into total cover every round makes them very difficult to hit. The brilliant Energy will give them away and make some big flashy distractions. Party will move to deal with one when the other hits them in the back.
(Brilliant Energy Arrow fired from stealth at a prefferred enemy means his AC is pretty much useless. Only the Magic bonus from a Ring of Protection would apply)

Use the demon's ability to summon in order to refresh the troops on round 2. That'll keep their attentions away from the cultists- two of which are low level rogues (Possibly even a spellthief- that Magic Missile will still do 5D4+5)
Have one of the cultists be a lv 3 Cleric with a Wand of Cure Light Wounds (Mass) to ensure that any of your cultists who don't die outright get refreshed each round until the cleric is taken down.
Have a lv 5-6 Fighter in the mix, specialize him for Sunder. On round one, call attention to him by having the spellcaster you mentioned hit him with True Strike.

Some of the congregation (6-8) may be undead wearing robes to hide thier grizzly countenance- a certain feat in the Libris Mortis allows for undead to explode with negative energy upon destruction. These undead should try moving in as close to the party as possible and initiate a group grapple against the lowest STR charactor.

The rest of the congregation should really just be colourful meat. A couple mid level warriors thrown in to limit party maneuverability.

The Demons should be able to take care of the rest. Have the undead cultists begin at random positions near the entrance, seperate from the main bulk of the enemy mooks.

BobVosh
2009-11-15, 08:17 AM
Exploding undead cultists...I like it. One thing: wands only go to 4th, not fifth level spells :P

However it is pathfinder, so a cleric with a phylactery of positive channel will throw 4D6 heals to everything within 20 feet easily replaces a CLW: mass spell. In fact it averages more healing. Although I get to have fun deciding to select out the undead or the PCs. Hmm. If I get the undead they go boom on the players. That could work...

Brilliant energy arrows are just the thing I need. 3 Full plate users. I never think of that enchant as it is rarely worthwhile on the player side of the screen(more use to that side).

Oslecamo
2009-11-15, 08:20 AM
What the above poster said. Minions on 3.5 it's just a matter of picking up low CR monsters and using them on a smart way. Touch weapons, aid another, buffing up the bigger monsters, blocking line of sight, trough carrying tower shields of sight and complicating movement for the party just by standing there.

Also, shameless self-promotion for my mob template, to make lots of small enemies dangerous and resilient:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=129179

The Corinthian
2009-11-15, 08:25 AM
While minimum hp was a great idea, I tend to be more of the Acanous school of "minion" use. A minion is just a low-level NPC or monster with some ability to punch above its weight. (Trolls, monstrous vermin and just about anything with spell-like abilities works well.)

Shardan
2009-11-15, 05:17 PM
Hows this for an idea. one monster with multiple low HP bodies.
AOE spells still only hit him once so it might burn off some of the bodies but leave others in the midst of it undamaged.
For example, the creature is 120(12HD) total HP in 12 bodies. Each body takes 10 damage to kill but single shots that over kill it don't affect the whole beast. A fireball that deals 48 damage will destroy 4 bodies and deal 8 damage to a fifth, but leave the remaining 7 untouched. but a single strike that deals 30 damage to one body will only destroy one body.

Or, alternatively, one creature that creates lesser creatures/constructs. Such as a huge shadow creature that creates small hp shadows that are of its HD for attack rolls/saves/resistances but just have a one HP each.

Tiktakkat
2009-11-15, 05:31 PM
While mooks that auto-die with one hit are nice in theory, they are not really needed.
Just use critters that are 4-5 CR below the PL and that do not have significant auto-hit attacks, and let the PCs kill them as normal.

Acanous
2009-11-15, 09:59 PM
Shardan, that sounds like a variant Swarm rule to make them more killable.
(Swarms, by the by, are one of the most overpowered things you can use for minions)

My bad on the wand. The feat in the Libris Mortis is "Destruction Retribution".

Edit: Something I can't believe I diddn't think of until right now.
They're a cult- why not have some innocent hostages tied up/knocked out up near the dais/alter? You could position the casters there. Make the party think twice about using AoE.

Karoht
2009-11-18, 05:03 PM
Another point is having the mooks use a very situation specific tactic. It is more of a one or two shot and then run kind of tactic.

IE
(Courtesy of Acanous DM'ing this one)
Outdoors right? Outdoors has trees.
Mooks pre-position dug in hiding places (holes) on the ground, as well as set up ropes in the trees to go from one tree to another easily. And high enough that when they swing overhead they are out of reach of any reach weapons.

They have pre-loaded crossbows in their ready positions. And they attack at night time. Especially if they are Orcs (or anything else with Darkvision)

They first have a surprise round. Flat footed will help take care of some of that pesky AC. You can also have them fire using one of the salvo feats if you can find one you like. They can also take their time and aim carefully. The first volley flies. They spend the time the party will spend trying to find them (light spells, spot and search checks, etc) reloading the crossbows. They fire again. When the party starts reacting, they swing away (spreading out away from the party to avoid incoming AoE and incure possible spot checks as they swing out of sight range from the light sources), and once in cover some make hide checks, some now pick up their ready and waiting crossbow and fire again. As the party starts to get the upper hand on the group that just fired, the ones that succeeded on hide checks now open fire as well, and cover the retreat of the first group. They retreat to either little murder holes on the ground, or swing away to more trees.
If the party persues into the woods, the mooks have the advantage of full knowledge of the area, hidden paths and game trails, etc, so they should move through the brush faster than their pursuers (not counting movement enhancers). Good luck flying through the woods/brush by the way. If the mage of the party tries, have them start making dex checks or reflex saves to avoid branches and everything, with a higher DC based on their speed.

Objectives of the group (both in character and non):
-Weaken the party for future raids, very similar to this one.
-Spread them out so a 3rd group (melee oriented) can steal their stuff, if they have horses and such carrying their gear, or cause some further damage and added distraction in melee.
-Hit and run. Many of this group should survive the encounter and make it to the next ambush. Lowers the XP gained to the point where it is negligable, which only adds emphasis to the harassment.


Justifications of such a group:
-Tribal or bandit leader with some good Knowledge: Tactics is telling these guys what to do.
-How to get the players to camp at this spot or close enough? The path they were taking goes here, and it looks like a natural place to stop and camp. In reality, the mooks have been using this site and perhaps others like it for months. A high survival check might be enough to indicate that something is amiss about the site. A high search or spot might indicate the prepared positions, however it may take an appropriate Knowledge check (or other skill check) to indicate what those positions might be. Someone might mistake certain preparations as remnants of game trails or something of the like.

Tips:
-Hit them with numbers. 30-40 of them ought to do the trick. If they get wiped out too easily, give all the survivors a level for surviving, and their reinforcements 2 levels.
-Don't group up. Ever. Spread out. Use cover all the time. Lessen the chance of success of any reprisal these guys might face.
-Have one 'squad' of highly specialized mooks in there somewhere. 4 that are rangers, archer spec, and high enough to shoot quickly and rapidly. These guys might hold position the entire fight, and only get away at the end.
-Use lots of cheap poison/disease. Remember, the earliest known form of biological warfare was arrows that were dipped into horse dung, or used to mark latrines, or recovered from dead bodies and reused. Improvise the DC.
-Save Caltrops and Fire for when these guys need to retreat. The guys who are hidden can be tossing down caltrops, and those caltrops will be VERY difficult to see at night time. Especially if they are made from carved stone, and hard to tell (especially at night) from other stones on the ground on a dirt path. Or if the ground is grass or brush, use carved wood.
-Have the mooks toss a bee hive or wasp nest down at them. Swarms are annoying to deal with as it is.
-If the 3rd group can get to their bedrolls and tents (hopefully while taking anything else that isn't nailed down like food and water rations, tools, lanterns, valuables, ect) have them toss a bunch of itching powder on the bedrolls. It can soften them up somewhat for the next ambush. Same with anything disease based. Fungal spores are good for this too. Fungal spores are small and inhaled, and can inflict diseases just by sleeping in the same tent. And it has a chance to apply every time they sleep in that bedroll/tent, until they wash it out. Good luck even detecting that it is in the tent/bedroll in the first place.

Cheap tactics with a very specific and situational aim are usually very effective in RPG's because your party will usually end up in the situation by hook or by crook. Not many parties out-think these kinds of tactics.