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Talakeal
2016-02-09, 04:05 PM
So I have seen several blogs which have posted some variant of the "2 hit minion" rule for use in D&D like games.

In short, enemies which are not "boss monsters" or "plot relevant" do not have HP. Instead the first time they take damage they are injured, and the second time they take damage they are killed / disabled. In addition a critical hit or the like will take them out regardless of their current health.

I have begun using this rule, and from my perspective it is great. It makes book keeping a breeze, keeps combat fast, and alleviates a lot of the complaints I had with 4e D&D's one hit minion rules.


However, my players have complained about it a lot. Basically, it hurts their image of their character to think that there is a rule preventing them from one-shotting mooks, and say that it is not "heroic" "cinematic" or "realistic" that most everyone takes exactly two hits to kill.


Anyone else have any experience with this or a similar rule? Or have any advice for how I could handle players being dissatisfied with a system that, from my side of the screen, seems so awesome?

Douche
2016-02-09, 04:15 PM
Pretend that you're keeping track of their health so that your players feelings don't get hurt.

The fact that they already know kind of complicates things, cuz now they'll know something is up if they're paying attention and one guy takes 7 and 4 damage to kill, meanwhile another one takes 3 and 2.

But honestly, I think it helps the game move along smoother when you simplify things like that. Sounds like a good idea. Do they really care that much? Is the damage on a nameless bandit underling going to impact the story in any meaningful way?

Seems like the primary complaint is that they can't 1-shot things without a crit. Just take note of the enemy health and if it crosses the threshold that you would believe to be a "crippling blow" then allow it to kill them in one hit. Otherwise, it takes 2 hits whether the damage they dealt is 2 or 20 damage.

Knaight
2016-02-09, 04:18 PM
I wouldn't recommend porting the idea to a system not built around it. With that said, you could have a kill threshold, where its two hits below it or one hit above it that take out a minion.

Also, your players need to pick between heroic, cinematic, and realistic. They aren't the best aligned goals, and any given game is only really able to have two at once.

Eisenheim
2016-02-09, 04:26 PM
I did two hit minions with a damage threshold for one hit kills, and that worked great for my table.

obryn
2016-02-09, 04:51 PM
As a 4e DM, I rarely/never use one-hit "basic" minions.

I most often use tougher minions - two-hit ones, as you are calling them - who have a minimum and maximum damage threshold. Below the minimum, they are fine. Above the maximum, they die in one hit. In the middle, they get Bloodied and another hit above minimum damage takes them out. (Crits take them out in one hit too, regardless of damage, though this is really just to save the hassle of calculating crit damage since it's likely going to be enough anyway.)

They work great. Not much else to say. :smallsmile:

Mark Hall
2016-02-09, 05:01 PM
Savage Worlds has this built in. Mooks have one health level. A normal hit will make them "shaken". A strong hit, or a second hit while shaken, will make them "Wounded". Anything above "wounded" kills them.

ComaVision
2016-02-09, 05:24 PM
My group does this for me. If the ubercharger hits something then it's dead, and otherwise it's on hold until the ubercharger hits it.

nedz
2016-02-09, 05:56 PM
Another method for doing this is the 50% out rule.

When a minion is hit - roll a dice, any dice.
If the result is odd they die, if the result is even then they are still alive.
On average these are 2 hit minions - but the results are less predictable.


Now I've never run this option, and it might not go down too well with folks expecting the old HP bag, but I'd be interested in hearing about the results - if any one did want to try this.

theMycon
2016-02-09, 06:27 PM
My group has tried a lot of rules.

In general, we prefer some variety of "two hit minion unless X" over default 1-hit minions. With a bard and a real controller, 1-hit minions never threatened anyone (The bard turned on Wail of Anguish, found a chokepoint, and referred to them as "free Temp HP"). With two strikers, "always two hit" minions ruined their fun ("My one hit did 5 times as much damage as the bard ignoring the minion twice, but which one killed it?"). It's currently threshold-for-save-for-bloodied (die on failed save/damage exceeds threshold), can be bloodied but not killed by autodamage, crits always kill.

It works well, and it still saves a lot of bookkeeping (we have plastic chips to mark bloodied creatures) but it sounds complicated. If this were a first try instead of where we've ended up probably sound crazy.

BRC
2016-02-09, 06:44 PM
The issue with grafting this system onto an existing game is that it renders mechanics, which the Players might be highly invested in, irrelevant. It dosn't matter that you're swinging a giant greatsword, you take two hits to kill these guys. Meanwhile, that guy is using his backup daggers with barely any skill in them, and is ALSO killing in two hits.

If there is any sort of "Low number of Big hits vs lots of Small Hits" choice in the game, you're severely tilting it towards "Small Hits". Oh, same goes for any sort of power-attack "Trading accuracy for damage" mechanic, really, anything that impacts damage at all goes out the window, which can lead to players feeling that half their character sheets are irrelevant here.


That said, I could see it used sparingly for "Cinematic" Fights, where individual enemies are just part of the scenery for the PC's to hack through. If you're running some sort of Helms-deep style scenario with a massive horde of enemies.

Treat it like this: Enemies have 3 HP.
0-9 damage means they lose 1 hp from that attack.
10-20 damage means they lose 2 hp
21+ means they die instantly.
Adjust scale as you see fit, of course. This keeps the sense of "Big Hits" vs "Small Hits", but isn't substantially more bookeeping than the 2-hit system (in which you still need to keep track of which enemies have been hit. The difference is that now you're marking two dots, instead of one, for most hits). I would use this sparingly, and only for big cinematic moments.

Dimers
2016-02-09, 06:46 PM
Below the minimum, they are fine. Above the maximum, they die in one hit. In the middle, they get Bloodied and another hit above minimum damage takes them out.

I like the minimum damage idea. No more "popping seven minions with a 2-damage beguiling strands" for you, Miss Wizard! Since I'm playing with ideas for 4E in particular, though, I have other gauges to replace max damage:

any critical hit
any hit that includes a striker mechanic (including if an avenger makes two rolls due to Oath of Enmity and both would hit)
any hit from a Hidden foe
any instance of damage to which the creature is vulnerable

Sitri
2016-02-09, 07:08 PM
The issue with grafting this system onto an existing game is that it renders mechanics, which the Players might be highly invested in, irrelevant. It dosn't matter that you're swinging a giant greatsword, you take two hits to kill these guys. Meanwhile, that guy is using his backup daggers with barely any skill in them, and is ALSO killing in two hits.

If there is any sort of "Low number of Big hits vs lots of Small Hits" choice in the game, you're severely tilting it towards "Small Hits". Oh, same goes for any sort of power-attack "Trading accuracy for damage" mechanic, really, anything that impacts damage at all goes out the window, which can lead to players feeling that half their character sheets are irrelevant here.


That said, I could see it used sparingly for "Cinematic" Fights, where individual enemies are just part of the scenery for the PC's to hack through. If you're running some sort of Helms-deep style scenario with a massive horde of enemies.

Treat it like this: Enemies have 3 HP.
0-9 damage means they lose 1 hp from that attack.
10-20 damage means they lose 2 hp
21+ means they die instantly.
Adjust scale as you see fit, of course. This keeps the sense of "Big Hits" vs "Small Hits", but isn't substantially more bookeeping than the 2-hit system (in which you still need to keep track of which enemies have been hit. The difference is that now you're marking two dots, instead of one, for most hits). I would use this sparingly, and only for big cinematic moments.

+1

You saved me a lot of typing.

ElFi
2016-02-09, 07:08 PM
This is actually a suggested (though not a mandatory) mechanic in Mutants and Masterminds, my group's current system. The corollary there is that M&M doesn't use hit points but rather an injury system, and as a result it's pretty easy to two-shot or one-shot a mook whether or not you're using this rule.

My advice? Mix it up a little. Have these two-shot minions interspersed with mini-bosses and straight-up harder-to-kill enemies so that combat seems fun and varied. And if your players are really so annoyed about being unable to OHKO an enemy without a critical hit, ask them how you could change your rules to accommodate their requests.

Sitri
2016-02-09, 07:19 PM
... And if your players are really so annoyed about being unable to OHKO an enemy without a critical hit, ask them how you could change your rules to accommodate their requests.

Well as BRC said, this level of deviation from the book really punishes people who like to focus on dealing damage; I have played with a lot. I can't count how many times people want to see how much they overkill an enemy. I can see my table light up when I describe a brutal destruction as opposed to a more minor one. Just as people light up when they see a one shot/one round of good rolls that normally takes two+ to take down an enemy.

This rule really takes a lot away from some play styles. Also, I rarely play damage dealers, I can see someone who has devoted a lot of resources into dealing damage being very pissed at my magic missile outshining them at almost every turn.

Slipperychicken
2016-02-09, 11:49 PM
As a player, I don't even see the point of bothering with combat that's this shallow and easy. Might as well declare "you won, you drove them before you, heard the lamentations of their women, etc etc", so we can get back to the slice-of-life dating simulator or whatever we were actually playing the game for.

Kane0
2016-02-10, 12:34 AM
Our group finds them incredibly useful when fielding our 200 man company against other forces. Smaller skimishes we use their actual level 1-3 statblocks, but in large scale combat its far easier considering they are roughly equal to their opponents.

Squibsallotl
2016-02-10, 12:39 AM
However, my players have complained about it a lot.

I'm starting to think your players are just whingers, honestly :smalltongue:

Talakeal
2016-02-10, 12:59 AM
I'm starting to think your players are just whingers, honestly :smalltongue:

They are at that. Still, there is no such thing as a wrong opinion and all that.


As a player, I don't even see the point of bothering with combat that's this shallow and easy. Might as well declare "you won, you drove them before you, heard the lamentations of their women, etc etc", so we can get back to the slice-of-life dating simulator or whatever we were actually playing the game for.

Its not really about difficulty so much as book keeping. If the players are fighting a large group of weaker enemies it is simply a pain in the butt to keep track of their individual HP totals.


The issue with grafting this system onto an existing game is that it renders mechanics, which the Players might be highly invested in, irrelevant. It dosn't matter that you're swinging a giant greatsword, you take two hits to kill these guys. Meanwhile, that guy is using his backup daggers with barely any skill in them, and is ALSO killing in two hits.

If there is any sort of "Low number of Big hits vs lots of Small Hits" choice in the game, you're severely tilting it towards "Small Hits". Oh, same goes for any sort of power-attack "Trading accuracy for damage" mechanic, really, anything that impacts damage at all goes out the window, which can lead to players feeling that half their character sheets are irrelevant here.


That said, I could see it used sparingly for "Cinematic" Fights, where individual enemies are just part of the scenery for the PC's to hack through. If you're running some sort of Helms-deep style scenario with a massive horde of enemies.

Treat it like this: Enemies have 3 HP.
0-9 damage means they lose 1 hp from that attack.
10-20 damage means they lose 2 hp
21+ means they die instantly.
Adjust scale as you see fit, of course. This keeps the sense of "Big Hits" vs "Small Hits", but isn't substantially more bookeeping than the 2-hit system (in which you still need to keep track of which enemies have been hit. The difference is that now you're marking two dots, instead of one, for most hits). I would use this sparingly, and only for big cinematic moments.

In my system I have minimum maximum damage thresholds. Basically, if the players do less than X damage the monster is unharmed, more than X but less than Y it is wounded (a second wound incapacitates and a third kills), more than Y and less than Z the enemy is incapacitated, and more than Z it is killed outright. A critical hit always increases the damage level by one step.

It works for my system because everything is d20 based vs. set difficulties, including damage rolls; I am not quite sure how I would apply it to D&D where damage dice are so variable and swingy.

obryn
2016-02-10, 01:00 AM
As a player, I don't even see the point of bothering with combat that's this shallow and easy. Might as well declare "you won, you drove them before you, heard the lamentations of their women, etc etc", so we can get back to the slice-of-life dating simulator or whatever we were actually playing the game for.
It's seasoning for fights, rather than the main fight itself. If any number of minions are presenting no credible threat on the battlefield, then they're better left off.

lperkins2
2016-02-10, 01:57 AM
I've run 2 campaigns with something similar to this, it worked quite well both times.

The problem with 4e-style minions is that something as simple as caltrops hidden in tall grass could kill/halt an entire army. Simply saying '2 hits instead of 1' doesn't fix that issue (10' of caltrops instead of 5').

For the first campaign (3.5, low magic, combat as war), I gave the mooks full HP for first level, so the enemy barbarian will have 14 or so, the fighter 10-12, and the wizard 4 or so. This was enough to let them, on a lucky damage roll, stay in the fight, especially any with DR, but usually took 1 or 2 hits to put them out of action.

I did a couple 1 session play-tests before the campaign started, and the players liked it well enough we actually used that for everyone (PCs and NPCs), and made armour grant decent DR (IIRC 1-4 pts for light, 5-8 for medium, 8-12 for heavy), offset by exploding damage dice. For PCs dropped, instead of dying at -10 HP, they would have to make a fortitude save (or die) at the beginning of their next turn (DC=-hp).

Other than making ranged weapons prominent (subject to limited ammunition, and not in tight spaces), it didn't have much of an impact on game balance, but let us do fairly large battles quickly. In about a year worth of campaign, we only had 2 PC deaths (one out of combat, not from a damage effect).
One of the BBEG's Captains (around level 15, PCs were level 9 or so) stumbled across the party looting a BBEG compound. Both sides were surprised (PCs had cleared the area, Captain TP'd in), but the Captain won initiative and opened by shooting the party's mage, who was standing in the open, flat footed. A natural 20 on the attack roll, followed by max damage (+ reroll for about half) from a magic 4x longbow for about 80 damage dropped the mage (through armour and tempHP) to about -50. The Captain then ran and took cover by the exit (and got away the next round, since the party was busy trying to save the mage). Even dropped to -50, the mage almost survived (and would have if he'd been next to the cleric instead of the druid). The druid dragged him to cover and dropped a cure serious wounds on him for around 25 healing, but the cleric couldn't get to them without being exposed to the archer. He survived through that round by rolling a 20 on the save vs death (beat the DC by 1 point exactly). The rest of the party fired on the Captain, but couldn't hit him (but came close enough for him to withdraw). The next round, the druid dropped a cure light on the mage, and the cleric ran over to try to help (ran, too far to cast upon arrival), and the mage failed his fort save and expired (they reincarnated him later).

Overall, it was one of the more fun campaigns I've run, with the PCs seriously considering if any particular engagement was worth the risk, which lead to a lot of sneaking past bad guys, or having the party Face talk their way into the restricted area. As a side note, I left undead, elementals, and constructs at full HP, but allowed critical hits against corporeal creatures (shatter a skeleton's spine, for example). It worked quite well, since the damage output from individual zombies and skeletons wasn't enough to be a serious threat to the PCs, but en-mass, the PCs would have to engage in a running battle with them.


Obviously, in a higher magic setting, it would probably not work super well without other changes, since things like Power Word Kill would basically be a TPK, and even fireball against anyone without evasion is a serious threat. It also wouldn't work well for combat as sport, since it lends itself most to the 'take cover and catch the enemy in the open, kill them all in the surprise round' style of play.

lacco36
2016-02-10, 02:01 AM
I like using the "paper tiger" minions - who, when harmed beyond scratches/bruises, go down or run away.

If they want to "finish them off", they have to hit them second time.