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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    If you can't defend your stance in the face of even mild criticism, that says much about its merits.


    Not giving a thoughtful response to a person whose reply oozes condensation, says nothing of my points merits.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Posts meme, and continues to run away from the discussion.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    I think it's fair to say that while the 3.X statblocks are complicated and full of abilities because the system is complicated and demands to have something to counter the tons of abilities the PCs have, and that 4es statblocks are full of abilities because they listed all the moves the monster could do (or nearly so) while they were borderline to do anything else, 5e works more on a "everyone is capable to do X, and this guy has an ability to do X+" system.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-12-31 at 07:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    But they're not taking down their previously challenging foes in one hit. They're taking down severely nerfed foes who would die just as well if slapped by a Commoner.

    Why not make them actually face those foes, rather than balloon animal versions of them?
    It's the "fault" of bounded accuracy (I consider it one of the strong points, not a fault): 4e rules and math worked so you had, say level 2 ogre (numbers pulled out of my behind) and level 20 ogre minion, and you were supposed to face each at their respective level: though the minion only had 1 hp, it's AC and attack means that the level 2 character would be unable to hit him outside nat 20 autohit, and the ogre would destroy the same character easily, because his attack bonus and damage is too high for low level character to survive. And vice versa, the level 2 ogre would have HP to possibly survive few hits, but its AC and attacks would be so low at that level that it would get autohit and it would be unable to hit or seriously damage level 20 opponent. It's extremely gamist approach, and if the players are paying attention, or have the experience on the other side of the proverbial GM's screen, they *will* notice what's going on, and it will break their versimilitude. It's one of the biggest faults of 4e, IMO: it's too gamist and the mechanics don't make sense from in-character and in-setting PoV.

    Meanwhile, thanks to bounded accuracy in 5e, the CR 2 ogre is still a threat at level 20: most characters don't have AC so high the ogre can't hit them outside nat 20, and while its damage is low comparable to CR 20 foes, it can't be ignored for long, especially if there are multiple ogres. The ogre's power level feels more consistent (because it *is* consistent), it is the characters who are now more powerful, but that doesn't mean they may walk through army of ogres without worry, it means they have powers that allow them to deal with what was once deadly threat much easier (it's not that hard to one-shot an ogre with level 20 character, but can you do the same to the second one? To the tenth one?) and they are able to hold their own against its attacks longer (i.e. more hp means they can forestall that "last, fatal hit" longer than they could when they first met the ogre). But that's not necessary true about PCs' own minions, who aren't legendary heroes, but just the same ordinary people they met when they just started their adventuring careers. And unlike 4e, you *can* fight side-by-side with the ordinary people even when you're legendary hero, and the people don't have to be special to contribute just because *you* are special.
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2017-12-31 at 07:36 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    But they're not taking down their previously challenging foes in one hit. They're taking down severely nerfed foes who would die just as well if slapped by a Commoner.

    Why not make them actually face those foes, rather than balloon animal versions of them?
    Well let me begin by saying I've never tried using minions in my games. All I can say is what I've read and heard about the concept. I also have no real experience with 4e, from where I understand the concept of minions comes from.

    That being said, I think the concept of using minions is primarily a tool for a DM to manipulate the action economy for the monsters. You only use minions when you've got some kind of boss monster--minions don't just appear by themselves. They're tacked on to solo fights to give the boss some breathing room, because a minion (due to bounded accuracy) still poses a damage threat to the PCs and must be dealt with.

    When people on forums ask advice for designing a boss monster fight, one of the most common answers they get is to throw some mooks into the mix to help even out the action economy. E.g. give the evil blackguard a handful of skeletons and maybe some low-level clerics for buffs and things. The mooks have to be weak because they should not be (opinion) the main focus of the fight--the blackguard is.

    Now, because of the way monsters are designed to have increasing hitpoints at higher levels (simply in order to survive long enough to have a turn), if you want to add minions that have a higher CR, you need to account for the fact that they have many more hitpoints than a skeleton or goblin or other peasant-level threat. Let's take ogres as our example. If, for example, you wanted to design a high-level fight against Ogremoch (level 20 elemental) and his ogre minions because you have a thing for ogres, you're going to run into the problem very quick that ogres have a lot of health. Roughly 9 ogres have the same hp as Ogremoch himself. That's an ogre-powered fight. But 1000 hp worth of opponents takes a while to burn through. And the problem is, level 20 characters may not be able to finish off 9 ogre minions all that quickly. A fighter might be able to wipe out one per round, maybe two. A rogue will almost certainly only be able to deal with one. A wizard will have to expend a 6th or 7th level slot to deal with the ogres in a timely fashion. But Ogremoch is the target, not the ogres. You're burning resources to chew through these bags of meat to get to the boss, but you're level 20. 9 measly ogres really shouldn't give you much pause, but they're almost as much of a challenge as the boss himself. Not good. This is where I would consider using the minion system and just giving them 1 hitpoint. Because when you're fighting the biggest baddest earth elemental in the world, I bet you wish you wouldn't have to concern yourself much with his ogre minions.

    At the end of the day, it's partly a story mechanic and partly mechanical for boss fights. I would hesitate to use normally strong minions like ogres and giant scorpions except in these very high level fights where the boss should feel orders of magnitude stronger than the minions. It's a magnifying effect that wouldn't otherwise be possible because of bounded accuracy and the flattening of power from levels 1-20.

    tl;dr if a minion takes more than one or two hits to deal with, then 1) you are very limited on how many minions you can use in the fight and 2) you risk having the minions be a bigger threat than the boss itself.
    Last edited by Jack Bitters; 2017-12-31 at 09:57 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    Snip
    Except then you run into problem that the wizard will wipe out the minions with a single, low level spell... Sleep would remove any minion in its AoE, upcasted Magic Missile would kill them all. "One character takes one action to deal with the minion" is not "minions contribute to the action economy". And forcing the party to use resources to deal with minions (whether the resources in questions are actions, spell slots or other abilities) is the whole point. Do I focus deal with the minions first, or do I focus on the boss? Should I spend time and resource trying to kill them, or is there an effective way to remove them from battle? Say, using Wall of Stone or targetted crowd control? Do we send one party member to deal with the minions while the others try to kill the boss before he's overwhelmed? Do I use my single 9th level spell slot to cast Meteor Swarm to clear the room, or do I save it for something else? *That* is what minions should contribute to the encounter design... you know, actual important tactical decisions...and 1-hp "let's pretend this is an ogre" minions don't do that. Or at certain point, the characters will start bringing a bunch of commoners/skeletons/animated objects/weak summoned creatures to deal with the minions for them, because if the discount ogres go down when anything touches them, there's no point in heroes wasting time with BBEG's hordes in the first place. And unlike 4e, this solution works in 5e thanks to bounded accuracy.

    Edit: using the mob rules, it would take 6 decapeasants to kill a single ogre in one round. If the ogres were 1-hp minions, it would take 2 commoners for one ogre.
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2017-12-31 at 10:35 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    . It's one of the biggest faults of 4e, IMO: it's too gamist and the mechanics don't make sense from in-character and in-setting PoV.
    When people are talking about how nice 4e abilities are, I'm reminded of 4e's Disintegrate, which doesn't actually disintegrate most stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    But that's not necessary true about PCs' own minions, who aren't legendary heroes, but just the same ordinary people they met when they just started their adventuring careers. And unlike 4e, you *can* fight side-by-side with the ordinary people even when you're legendary hero, and the people don't have to be special to contribute just because *you* are special.
    Something I found funny in Tomb of Annihilation is that despite being said to be foolish and incompetent at searching (or finding) fortune, Faroul and Gondolo, as Scouts, are actually fairly competent both in exploration and in a fight. I mean, sure, they're not badasses, and there are plenty of Scouts in Chult working as hunters or goons that help soldiers, but still, the two friends's actual capacities can't be ignored. And some better equipment would benefit them even more.

    Heck in a fight of them vs, say, 4-5 pirates, I would actually bet on Faroul and Gondolo.

    Might be fun to have them act like fools with delusion of grandeur on first meeting, but then a bar fight breaks out and they show they actually do have skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post

    When people on forums ask advice for designing a boss monster fight, one of the most common answers they get is to throw some mooks into the mix to help even out the action economy. E.g. give the evil blackguard a handful of skeletons and maybe some low-level clerics for buffs and things. The mooks have to be weak because they should not be (opinion) the main focus of the fight--the blackguard is.

    Now, because of the way monsters are designed to have increasing hitpoints at higher levels (simply in order to survive long enough to have a turn), if you want to add minions that have a higher CR, you need to account for the fact that they have many more hitpoints than a skeleton or goblin or other peasant-level threat. Let's take ogres as our example. If, for example, you wanted to design a high-level fight against Ogremoch (level 20 elemental) and his ogre minions because you have a thing for ogres, you're going to run into the problem very quick that ogres have a lot of health. Roughly 9 ogres have the same hp as Ogremoch himself. That's an ogre-powered fight. But 1000 hp worth of opponents takes a while to burn through. And the problem is, level 20 characters may not be able to finish off 9 ogre minions all that quickly.
    If 9 Ogres are too much for the encounter, why not, you know, use less Ogres?


    Giving 1 HP to an opponent in 5e is about as absurd as giving mooks -10 to AC "because they're mooks".


    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    9 measly ogres really shouldn't give you much pause, but they're almost as much of a challenge as the boss himself. Not good.
    Why? Why is it not good that that 9 CR 2 enemies have almost as much HPs that one CR 20 monster? Not
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-12-31 at 10:37 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    Well let me begin by saying I've never tried using minions in my games. All I can say is what I've read and heard about the concept. I also have no real experience with 4e, from where I understand the concept of minions comes from.

    That being said, I think the concept of using minions is primarily a tool for a DM to manipulate the action economy for the monsters. You only use minions when you've got some kind of boss monster--minions don't just appear by themselves. They're tacked on to solo fights to give the boss some breathing room, because a minion (due to bounded accuracy) still poses a damage threat to the PCs and must be dealt with.

    When people on forums ask advice for designing a boss monster fight, one of the most common answers they get is to throw some mooks into the mix to help even out the action economy. E.g. give the evil blackguard a handful of skeletons and maybe some low-level clerics for buffs and things. The mooks have to be weak because they should not be (opinion) the main focus of the fight--the blackguard is.

    Now, because of the way monsters are designed to have increasing hitpoints at higher levels (simply in order to survive long enough to have a turn), if you want to add minions that have a higher CR, you need to account for the fact that they have many more hitpoints than a skeleton or goblin or other peasant-level threat. Let's take ogres as our example. If, for example, you wanted to design a high-level fight against Ogremoch (level 20 elemental) and his ogre minions because you have a thing for ogres, you're going to run into the problem very quick that ogres have a lot of health. Roughly 9 ogres have the same hp as Ogremoch himself. That's an ogre-powered fight. But 1000 hp worth of opponents takes a while to burn through. And the problem is, level 20 characters may not be able to finish off 9 ogre minions all that quickly. A fighter might be able to wipe out one per round, maybe two. A rogue will almost certainly only be able to deal with one. A wizard will have to expend a 6th or 7th level slot to deal with the ogres in a timely fashion. But Ogremoch is the target, not the ogres. You're burning resources to chew through these bags of meat to get to the boss, but you're level 20. 9 measly ogres really shouldn't give you much pause, but they're almost as much of a challenge as the boss himself. Not good. This is where I would consider using the minion system and just giving them 1 hitpoint. Because when you're fighting the biggest baddest earth elemental in the world, I bet you wish you wouldn't have to concern yourself much with his ogre minions.

    At the end of the day, it's partly a story mechanic and partly mechanical for boss fights. I would hesitate to use normally strong minions like ogres and giant scorpions except in these very high level fights where the boss should feel orders of magnitude stronger than the minions. It's a magnifying effect that wouldn't otherwise be possible because of bounded accuracy and the flattening of power from levels 1-20.
    See, there are two ways to handle minions though.

    If you give ogremoch some massive salt crystal golems with 1 hp. That's very different than changing the stats of the ogres.

    And I have no trouble with that. 1 hp or only a little higher creatures that don't currently exist, but reducing a current creature to 1 hp causes verisimilitude problems. Suddenly these ogres, and these ogres only, can be killed by magic missiles. Or any number of other minor abilities. And when you find the ogre guards afterwards or the ogre jailor earlier in the fight, they're back to 60 hp.

    And that means players can't plan for it. Sometimes enemies are normal strength, other times they are super vulnerable. It's far better to create something new, or come up with an explanation for their weakness. Because otherwise it just becomes kind of random... Or a clear sign of "the boss fight is here"

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Fun thing is that Ogremoch has built-in minions. For 50 HPs and his Legendary action, he can create a Gargoyle.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    If 9 Ogres are too much for the encounter, why not, you know, use less Ogres?

    Why? Why is it not good that that 9 CR 2 enemies have almost as much HPs that one CR 20 monster? Not
    Well, to the first point, according to kobold fight club, Ogremoch + 2 ogres is a deadly encounter for four level 20 pcs. And I know that the CR system breaks down at higher levels, but, if we accept this premise anyway, two ogres doesn't really capture the idea of a host of minions.
    If each ogre takes four hits from a fighter to drop, I think I'd rather have eight ogres with 1 hp to better capture the feel of a bunch of henchmen. Remember, at the beginning of the fight, the players don't need to know that the ogres only have 1 hp.

    To the second point--the best reason to try and minimize the amount of hitpoints to chew through in a fight is to cut down on real life time spent hacking and slashing away at relatively unimportant baddies. Cutting down on time is a usually a good thing. If you can turn a two hour fight into a one hour fight, that seems better to me.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaosmancer View Post
    See, there are two ways to handle minions though.

    If you give ogremoch some massive salt crystal golems with 1 hp. That's very different than changing the stats of the ogres.

    And I have no trouble with that. 1 hp or only a little higher creatures that don't currently exist, but reducing a current creature to 1 hp causes verisimilitude problems. Suddenly these ogres, and these ogres only, can be killed by magic missiles. Or any number of other minor abilities. And when you find the ogre guards afterwards or the ogre jailor earlier in the fight, they're back to 60 hp.

    And that means players can't plan for it. Sometimes enemies are normal strength, other times they are super vulnerable. It's far better to create something new, or come up with an explanation for their weakness. Because otherwise it just becomes kind of random... Or a clear sign of "the boss fight is here"
    I like this. As I mentioned earlier, I haven't actually used minions as a DM, but I see how your approach gives a new perspective on it. By treating the minions as extensions of the boss itself, you can justify them being at 1 hp, or 1 hit-to-kill.

    But I guess I have one question. If the players (assume level 20) run into the ogre guard earlier, or even a handful of ogres, is there any point in rolling initiative if the outcome is so obvious?

    At that point you may as well treat them as 1-hp baddies because they're 100% going to die anyway. But why spend thirty minutes on it when you could spend five?

    Edit: I guess what I'm saying is, to preserve verisimilitude, at some point you could just have low-level monsters have 1 hitpoint with respect to your high level players, sort of how a cleric can destroy undead of various CR as they level up.
    Last edited by Jack Bitters; 2017-12-31 at 11:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    I like this. As I mentioned earlier, I haven't actually used minions as a DM, but I see how your approach gives a new perspective on it. By treating the minions as extensions of the boss itself, you can justify them being at 1 hp, or 1 hit-to-kill.

    But I guess I have one question. If the players (assume level 20) run into the ogre guard earlier, or even a handful of ogres, is there any point in rolling initiative if the outcome is so obvious?

    At that point you may as well treat them as 1-hp baddies because they're 100% going to die anyway. But why spend thirty minutes on it when you could spend five?

    Edit: I guess what I'm saying is, to preserve verisimilitude, at some point you could just have low-level monsters have 1 hitpoint with respect to your high level players, sort of how a cleric can destroy undead of various CR as they level up.
    I'd say it's a judgement call on whether to roll initiative, based almost entirely upon the situation.

    If it doesn't matter how the ogre dies, or if the party is loud during the fight. Then, no, I wouldn't roll initiative. I wouldn't even bother putting the guard there. They're less than a speed bump at that point.

    But perhaps i have them roll cause they need to kill the ogre before he can call oit a warning. Or maybe some players are trying one strategy and another group is doing something else and it matters who succeeds first.

    But, making 1 hp minions has never felt neccesary to me. There are plenty of weaker monsters who have around 20 hp to throw into the fight that are almost 1 hit kills, or i just let the epic fight against Ogremoch be epic. That feels like an arc if not a campaign ender. I've got no problem running that as a full session combat with the big bad and his "army" of minions.

    And, it's kind of telling how ogres end up being the creature talked about during these minion discussions. Their entire schtick in DnD is being a bag of hit points. They don't have interesting attacks, good armor, interesting defenses. The only thing they've got is a lot of hp.

    I think it's a perfect example for the divide. Taking away their hp value shortens combat, but it also takes away the only thing ogres do in combat, which is take a lot of damage. If you want 1 hp minions, then create something else. Demonic shells, starved or experimental undead or abominations, there can be lots of interesting things to create. I'm thinking of adding some low hp flying eyes to a boss fight for 20th level characters because of this thread, but I find it strange to alter an existing creature just to reduce its impact on a fight. Especially when the reduction takes away the major feature of the enemy

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Nine ogres have an adjusted CR of 14.

    Ogremoch fighting alone has an adjusted CR of 16.

    Ogremoch with 9 ogres has an adjusted CR of 25.

    If you are level 12, and you see ogremoch with nine ogres, you should not engage. If your DM is being inordinately gamey and those nine ogres are balloons, well... How as a player are you supposed to know that? Can you make an investigation check to know that these are shrimpy nerd ogres that can be killed with a stiff breeze?

    Even then, 1 HP minions don't do anything to the action economy unless you have tons of them coming from multiple directions. In the ogremoch example,1 fireball would clear them all.

    If you're using minions and it isn't noticeable, there's no reason to do it. If you're using it and it is noticeable, you'll piss you players off.

    And you don't keep monsters from being boring meatsacks by making them boring balloons.
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2018-01-01 at 02:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Yeah, I think that if you must do 1hp style minions (and I still dispute the need), create a new creature for a role. Undead creatures quickly animated from a jumble of parts, crumbling suits of ancient animated armour, rotting vine blights, Golems made of unsuitable materials and so on. Don't just take an Ogre and make it inexplicably scrawny.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    Yeah, I think that if you must do 1hp style minions (and I still dispute the need), create a new creature for a role. Undead creatures quickly animated from a jumble of parts, crumbling suits of ancient animated armour, rotting vine blights, Golems made of unsuitable materials and so on. Don't just take an Ogre and make it inexplicably scrawny.
    Personally, I'd be tempted to go a step further.

    These minions are obviously going to be easy to kill, so why not have a reason for players to avoid killing them? Perhaps they're acid-filled zombies (almost literal balloons). They're easy to kill because almost any hit will pop them. On the other hand, almost any hit will pop them and shower the immediate area with acid.

    Or perhaps the players need to kill some minions in order to make the boss vulnerable for a single round, after which those minions respawn. So, whilst they're again easy to kill, the players can't just kill them once and move on - they have to keep killing them until the boss is dead in order to win the encounter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Now I want to write a one shot adventure where the BBEG is a parody of 4th edition who fills his dungeon with gas spores with "Ogre" branded on them, and has a lair action that forces the PCs to headbutt themselves if he Naruto runs past them.

    He has a +3 greatsword, but using it is a daily power so he's overcome with guilt afterward and has to sleep on the matter.
    Last edited by War_lord; 2018-01-01 at 05:48 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Personally, nothing against minions. But then, I play lots of RPGs. Minions are common in a lot of games, and they're often a way to provide some extra garnish to a fight that would simply get swamped action-wise if no mooks were there but which might be entirely too dangerous with a reasonable amount of fully-statted mooks. My primary system of choice, after all, is Mutants&Masterminds, where minion rules are an integral part of the game, and "why do these not-Hydra soldiers now fall down in a punch when they were tougher last time" "because they have absolutely no narrative importance in this scene, this is about taking down the not-Zemo guy, they are basically environmental hazards and extra body parts for the boss" is a perfectly reasonable argument.

    The only real weirdness is the HP-dependent spells. "But fireball drops a pile of them" is not a bug but a feature far as I'm concerned. "Sleep affects all of them because it's HP-dependent" is where it gets a bit less easy to handle. But then, I'm not a fan of HP-dependent spells as is, so them making minionizations bothersome is just another reason they're annoying design, rather than a reason to not do it, far as I'm concerned.
    Last edited by Drascin; 2018-01-01 at 05:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Drascin View Post
    The only real weirdness is the HP-dependent spells. "But fireball drops a pile of them" is not a bug but a feature far as I'm concerned. "Sleep affects all of them because it's HP-dependent" is where it gets a bit less easy to handle. But then, I'm not a fan of HP-dependent spells as is, so them making minionizations bothersome is just another reason they're annoying design, rather than a reason to not do it, far as I'm concerned.
    Right. And how about "a Fireball drops a pile of them, but only if they are near boss, if you encounter one (or more of them) on their own, one Fireball isn't enough to take them down. It wasn't enough 15 levels ago when you first learned it, and it didn't got any stronger since"?

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Having "unimportant bad guys who crumble anytime they got hit" is fine, IF the system is built for that.

    5e isn't.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Having "unimportant bad guys who crumble anytime they got hit" is fine, IF the system is built for that.

    5e isn't.
    Right, in a system that's designed to replicate James Bond, or Star Wars or anything else where "enemies as set dressing" is a feature of the work, minions are fine.

    It just doesn't work in D&D, with the exception of 4ed's openly being a board game, something they didn't keep.
    Last edited by War_lord; 2018-01-01 at 08:10 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

  21. - Top - End - #81
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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Fair enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Having "unimportant bad guys who crumble anytime they got hit" is fine, IF the system is built for that.

    5e isn't.
    Agreed.

    5e is built in a way that fighting 20 goblins is still supposed to be a challenge for a level 10 Fighter. It is not a game where you should be fighting 9 ogres with 1 HP each.

    For other games, the idea is fine.
    Methods & Madness - my D&D 5e /OSR /game design blog.
    *5e: easy survival rules. Bringing balance to the Forge (yup!). Fort/Ref/Will.
    *OSR: One page hacks, my answer to retroclones. Would love to take ONE PAGE from YOUR book!
    *3e x 4e x 5e - Can you trip an ooze? Are miniatures required?

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Perhaps it could be said that 5e aren't boring or unchallenging, but that they *feel* unrewarding if your idea of a fight is to exchange a couple of moves, then throw a bunch of flashy powers that sends the generic mooks flying before concentrating your Team Nova Megazord to blow up the Monster of the Week (who may become more dangerous mid-battle due to Rita Repulsa making her monster grow... I mean, due to getting bloodied), rather than a struggle where a warrior can wrestle giant snakes to death before cutting its cultist master in half, but not without blood and sweat.

    Basically, 5e is more Conan's Hyborian Age than Power Rangers, and you're not going to find Power Rangers stuff in it, but it doesn't make it boring.

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    NinjaGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    But they're not taking down their previously challenging foes in one hit. They're taking down severely nerfed foes who would die just as well if slapped by a Commoner.
    Well, I adapted the Minions idea to a 3.5 battle fairly successfully. Basically my PCs (level 2 or 3) were assaulting a goblin camp (13 goblins I think) and I couldn't be arsed to track 5-4-3-2-1-0 HP. I just handwaved that any damage short of 5 HP made that goblin Wounded, and any other damage would take them down.

    I think you could port this to 5e Goblins--1 or 2 hits from an experienced adventurer reasonably puts down a Goblin, even if that same Goblin would have been an even match at 1st level. Especially if they're not the main focus of the encounter and there to support a boss.

    Why not make them actually face those foes, rather than balloon animal versions of them?
    Well, 5-7 hp goblins are already basically Minions. I just simplified the math from hp damage to Healthy/Wounded/Dead.

    I don't know how well it would scale from Goblins & Ogre at level 4 to Bugbears & Hill Giant at level 8.
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2018-01-01 at 11:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    Now I want to write a one shot adventure where the BBEG is a parody of 4th edition who fills his dungeon with gas spores with "Ogre" branded on them, and has a lair action that forces the PCs to headbutt themselves if he Naruto runs past them.

    He has a +3 greatsword, but using it is a daily power so he's overcome with guilt afterward and has to sleep on the matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Perhaps it could be said that 5e aren't boring or unchallenging, but that they *feel* unrewarding if your idea of a fight is to exchange a couple of moves, then throw a bunch of flashy powers that sends the generic mooks flying before concentrating your Team Nova Megazord to blow up the Monster of the Week (who may become more dangerous mid-battle due to Rita Repulsa making her monster grow... I mean, due to getting bloodied), rather than a struggle where a warrior can wrestle giant snakes to death before cutting its cultist master in half, but not without blood and sweat.

    Basically, 5e is more Conan's Hyborian Age than Power Rangers, and you're not going to find Power Rangers stuff in it, but it doesn't make it boring.
    I like the cuts of your jib, find your ideas intriguing, and would like to subscribe to your newsletters.

    I also think you may have convinced me to return to 4e DnD with new eyes. Perhaps cynical, satirical eyes, but at least they are new! "Voltron-Megazord DnD" is something I never really knew I needed in my life, and yet it was with me all this time. Thanks!
    Last edited by opaopajr; 2018-01-01 at 12:20 PM.

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    Imp

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    Quote Originally Posted by opaopajr View Post
    I like the cuts of your jib, find your ideas intriguing, and would like to subscribe to your newsletters.

    I also think you may have convinced me to return to 4e DnD with new eyes. Perhaps cynical, satirical eyes, but at least they are new! "Voltron-Megazord DnD" is something I never really knew I needed in my life, and yet it was with me all this time. Thanks!
    Well, you're welcome.

    Also:



    Because such a game deserves a proper theme song.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    I think this mostly depends in your dm, take a velociraptor for instance, usually just a beast, nothing to special about it at first, but say it is night time, in an area surrounded by high grass. The raptors can take turns grappling/pushing people down into the grass, all you hear are the chitters and howls of the beasts muffling the screams of your party members while no one has line of sight on what is happening. Not a difficult encounter exactly, they're quite weak statistically speaking, but it is an encounter that could unsettle your players. Could even distract the players with a bigger beasty (hp distraction) while the raptors run around more freely if need be. Plus it's fun to watch players play around it, Maybe they will tie ropes to each other's waists, maybe they'll avoid the high grass, maybe they'll tame a raptor to lead the others away. Or distract the beast with an easy meal(maybe the hp distraction).

    Maybe they pissed off the wrong tribe of shrunken head halflings that ride velociraptors, and the only redeemable path is death.

    Knee high water in an arctic cave housing an aboleth.

    Fighting flying opponents on a cliff side.

    A red dragon in a semi active volcano.

    Another example could be a skeleton with a bow, put it behind an iron cage and you've got yourself a more difficult to deal with archer. While the players use up resources to deal with it, or somehow force open the iron bars.

    Terrain can add so much more to an encounter than just your typical stat array, try thinking how the monster would hunt, what advantages would it use. Would it flee if in danger? Does it have access to allies? Can it communicate, can it strike deals to avoid conflict? Is it reckless or confident? Can it use tools, would it avoid the party? Would it try to wait for the players to separate before striking? Does it stalk them? Would the monster be protected by a society?

    Also, roll for magic items before an encounter, so the NPCs can use it against them(if they can).

    Just a few tips to spice up your meat(hp) bags.
    Last edited by vexedart; 2018-01-01 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Spelling

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    Right. And how about "a Fireball drops a pile of them, but only if they are near boss, if you encounter one (or more of them) on their own, one Fireball isn't enough to take them down. It wasn't enough 15 levels ago when you first learned it, and it didn't got any stronger since"?
    Again, I legitimately do not care. I mentioned the example of "the hydra dudes were taking several hits to go down now go down in one" explicitly because that is the thing I do not mind. The ogres were an important encounter before because they were guarding the Temple of the Red Skull, and getting past them mattered to the campaign. The ogres now are just appendages of the superboss, and their sole mechanical purpose is making it harder for our heroes to simply annihilate the boss by whacking at him six times for every turns he gets, without adding four hundred low-threat HP to boringly chew through to the encounter. To borrow a videogame design term, encounter-design-wise they're a destructible stage hazard, not actors.

    Basically, sometimes people want to play less Self-Contained Simulator and more Silmarillion.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    Wouldn't a better way of doing that be to actually present the players with a group of enemies that was previously challenging but that they can now take down easily? I don't like Minions because it's a piece of "conservation of Ninjitsu" gameism that actually encourages players to think in terms of encounter design rather then playing their character intelligently.
    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    I track how many HP the Orc has, because that's how strong the Orc is. He or she is an entity in the world independent of the fact that they happen to be in a fight with the PCs. It's about presenting a consistent world to my players, they have a good idea of how strong a single Orc is, and from that make a judgement call on how well they can handle twenty Orcs.
    In terms of how well the mechanics model the fictional entities keeping the same mechanics at all scales doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense, as it can easily involve tracking a bunch of useless information for the specific case - or a bunch of almost useless information, where there is technically a difference in effect but it's so minor that the added rules aren't really worth using.

    Minions are often an example of that. They're an opponent so far below the PCs that the in-setting interaction between them is the the PCs can cut down large groups of them. Using rules made for an in-setting interaction of a more even fight doesn't necessarily fit the entity in the world in this case even if that model does exist in and is useful in other cases.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Devil

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    What's with all these people crawling out of the woodwork to think that 'intelligent' play is the same thing as having fun? Y'all want an internet thesis on how to play DnD in designing an encounter, but can't stand to make an argument longer than 'the book says this, so I' m not going to think any more' when someone challenges your limited closed in world view.

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