PDA

View Full Version : Minion Monsters:Good or Bad



wbrandel
07-07-2008, 03:16 PM
I have been reviewing the Monster Manual for 4E and I am just not to sure about the minion monsters as they have low defenses and 1 hp.
For low level adventures I can see the use of them but after about 5th or 6th level they would be useless except as free xp for the players. Mabe I have missed something in the books but in my understanding the minions can be used for all levels. If I have missed something let me know or if I am right give your opinion.

ronpyatt
07-07-2008, 03:17 PM
Minions are there for distraction more than anything.

Icthius
07-07-2008, 03:29 PM
Minions are there for distraction more than anything.
Well, I think one of the great things about them is that they can deal damage according to what level they're scaled to. Still easy marks, but a threat nonetheless. I absolutely love throwing them out there by the handfuls and watching the players wade through them, it's pretty epic and still fun for the players (a combination that took a LOT of planning in 3.5)

fmitchell
07-07-2008, 03:29 PM
Minions are the meat shields you need to hew or blast through to get to the Big Boss who's either lightning-bolting you into oblivion or about to sacrifice the elf priestess to let Orcus into the world.

Tomcat1066
07-07-2008, 04:02 PM
Minion monsters is one of the few things I actually like about 4th Edition. The rank and file monster that isn't hard to kill, but can overwhelm the PCs with numbers. In sufficient numbers, I bet minion monsters can kill a higher level party...so there's always that ;)

Tamerath
07-07-2008, 04:08 PM
In my last game I used minions a lot. (zombie and skeleton minions) They do add a cinematic experience and you don't have to keep track of the damage on them. There's two schools of thought I've seen on them too as far as Dungeon Mastering is concerned.

1) There's the line of thinking that tells your players "These look weaker than the rest"

or mine...

2) They all look the same figure it out :)

Yes they are a complete distraction often getting in the way of something else you should be doing or killing. I plan to make great use of them for all 30 levels of adventure.

Note: I don't really see any difference from when you were fighting a skeleton with 2 HD (16 HP)...they usually went down with a hit or two anyway.

Valdar
07-07-2008, 04:51 PM
They seem to have taken a page out of 7th Sea on this one. In your typical action/adventure book, movie, or TV show, there are the guys that go down in one hit. Our hero will punch one of them in the jaw, and down they'll go, with the hero not even sparing the poor sap a glance to see if he's really down for good.

Also, they give Controllers something to really unload on.

Webhead
07-07-2008, 05:03 PM
I've always loved having "minion rules" in RPGs (FATE, Risus, Wushu) and I'm happy to see them making an appearance in D&D 4e.

I always like it when I can throw mobs of bad guys at the PCs to really fill out the scene but hate having to track every single enemy's hit points or unbalancing encounters.

I like that minions in 4e are easy to take down but that they actually provide a threat are aren't just a bunch of pointless attack rolls by the DM, giving the PCs incentive to deal with them rather than ignore them and focus their fire on more powerful "boss monsters" as tended to happen in previous editions where low-level "mooks" were filler to be dispatched at the party's leisure due to attack rolls that could only hit on a "natural 20" or spells that PCs could only fail against on a "natural 1".

Maelstrom
07-07-2008, 05:43 PM
it's pretty epic and still fun for the players

This is the kicker for me. They are a threat... they can flank for the bigger bad dudes, have defenses around others of their level and type, and still can lay down some pretty good damage. Catch your wizard and they are just as bad off as if another baddie got up next to them (they still can't used ranged attacks on em without getting pummeled).

And they are easy to DM! Without rolling damage or keeping track of HP for them, the DM can make the players sweat a little without adding to the complexity of the encounter.

Webhead
07-07-2008, 06:24 PM
And they are easy to DM! Without rolling damage or keeping track of HP for them, the DM can make the players sweat a little without adding to the complexity of the encounter.

Yeah, I like that part of it. The damage mechanic kinda reminds me of Cinematic Unisystem which is a compliment of the greatest magnitude.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-08-2008, 01:47 AM
Play them right, and minions can change the face of the game.

Thoth-Amon

Valdar
07-08-2008, 08:25 AM
I do think it odd that the provided Kobold boss has a power that gives his allies temporary HP, and there's no rule that says minions can't get temporary HP. They still typically go down in one hit, but the sort of inadventent bookkeeping created doesn't seem characteristic of the general streamlined-ness of the rest of the game.

Dimthar
08-15-2008, 12:03 PM
http://borkweb.com/story/tag/gaming
To understand minions properly, you have to understand hit points properly. Hit points do NOT represent how many stbs you can take before you fall. They are a kind of combat karma: picture it like a sports game. As a team starts losing, an indefinable sense of hopelessness sets in, making it harder and harder to come back. Bloodied represents that point when you take your first really scary shot - your arm is slashed, your nose broken, your shield arm begins to go numb from the repeated blows. When you hit 0 hit points, you take a bad wound and are out of the fight. That is why someone can decide to use subdual damage at 0 HP and not all the way through the fight. In that light, healing surges make eminent sense. In the sports analogy, a healing surge is like the feeling when your team finally scores a goal and you begin to come back.

Using that understanding of hit points, one can see that minions are not puny versions of the monsters, but they are versions with no karma. They are the marathon runner who twists his ankle after the first mile. That orc minion can kill you almost as easily as the normal orc, but when you stab him with your spear, his luck runs out and he dodges the wrong way.

Personally I love minions. Iíve always found it a little lame to go into a goblin village which is populated by 12 goblins, or a dungeon where the monsters never leave their rooms and swarm the adventurers because any more would make it too hard.

With minions you can have truly epic battles against foes that can actually threaten you and live to tell the heroic tale


I found this very helpful to understand the role of minions. And of 4E HP and Healing Surges for that matter.

Also makes Ron's suggestions in the "Ravenloft Thread" more applicable.

.

fmitchell
08-15-2008, 12:43 PM
So a weapon's damage, which reduces hit points, is based not on how heavy or sharp it is, but how scary it is?

Dimthar
08-15-2008, 01:00 PM
So a weapon's damage, which reduces hit points, is based not on how heavy or sharp it is, but how scary it is?

I guess as you raise levels and gain more Hit Points, an attack that deals 8 HP of Damage represents a deep wound on an inexperiend Fighter (32 HP Total) while for an Epic Warrior (80 HP Total) will only mean a small cut. The EPic Warrior fighting skills prevent the sword from dealing "Real Damage".

The damage dealt by a sword is a mix of: Quality of the sword itself (Type of weapon/Magic), strength of the character wielding it, and the skill of the character.

The damage dealt from a 1d8 sword wielded by an Epic Character in fact is "scarier" because is able to penetrate his opponent own fighting skills and deal "Real Damage (Higher% of total hit points).

An Epic Warrior who wishes to "Impale Himself" on his 1d8 sword should be treated like a "Minion" (Any damage will kill him) character, I guess. He is not using his skills (Class & Levels) to prevent the damage. He gave away all hope.

Does it make sense? That is the way I understood it.

.

Webhead
08-15-2008, 01:39 PM
Yes, understanding what hit points represent is important and often overlooked.

Gaining hit points as you level isn't "Ha ha! I feel tougher and can now take more sword stabs before I die!". It's a signaling of your character's increasing ability to 1) use skill and experience to turn potentially serious attacks into smaller scrapes, grazes and glacing blows, 2) better cope with pain and fatigue and 3) show increased morale, self-confidence, adrenaline and motivation. It also incorporates some element of luck or karma that saves your hide from situations that would leave lesser men broken and bleeding.

I have always liked "minion" rules for any RPG because I like the cinematic role of the minion. I'm glad D&D decided to enter that territory (whether I ever play 4e or not) because it allows a battle to move to a different level without overcomplicating or wildly unbalancing it.

Even if I never play 4e, I will probably be homebrewing my own "minion" rules for any previous edition that I run. 4e just gave me an excuse and example to take the idea and run with it.

Stormhound
08-15-2008, 06:26 PM
I love minions, moreso as I really don't give a lot of overt clues about which enemies are minions and which aren't. I can throw a nice large battle at my players (I've had one battle with 4 PCs against 14 monsters), without having to worry so much about overwhelming them or blowing the XP budget. So far, I haven't heard any complaints about it from the players, and I'm looking forward to even larger battles against "lesser opponents" as the PCs level up.

Aidan
08-15-2008, 08:10 PM
All I know is that it sucks to blow a daily or even an encounter on a minion.

Kalanth
08-16-2008, 09:01 AM
I adore the minions. The regular guys are great, and filled with attacks that will confound and enrage the player but the minion seems to draw the attention in my games. I had one battle were the minion skeleton was the last one standing as the dice gods were against the players and they just could not connect with its paultry defenses. Others were the minion plays a roll that no one expects and keeps the players pinned down at times.

A great trick is to roll an oppropraite dmg die when taking the minion turn so as to make them think they are regular monsters. Throws the players off for a round or so and keeping that mystery alive is part of the fun. :)

Stormhound
08-16-2008, 07:01 PM
A great trick is to roll an oppropraite dmg die when taking the minion turn so as to make them think they are regular monsters. Throws the players off for a round or so and keeping that mystery alive is part of the fun. :)

Yup, been doing that one. I've even been debating the relative merits of using a d6 as a +/0/- die, and varying the damage up to 1 point either way to make it even less obvious.

Chavic
08-22-2008, 10:02 PM
I like the idea of minions, as a player it lets you feel like the battles you are fighting are more epic. You can carve a path of destruction through the swarm of foot soldiers, hoping that you can get to the evil priest in time to stop his summoning.

And gamewise, they aren't useless, even though they die in only one hit. They can still dish out some damage.

The last session I played the Big Baddie knocked my Dragonborn Paladin off his feet. Since I was low on health from earlier battles, I was forced to fight the minions from the ground. I still took some damage, but it was nothing compared to the extra five attacks of opportunity I would have provoked standing up.

Stormhound
08-22-2008, 10:10 PM
Actually, I didn't think standing up would provoke an OA in 4e. The rules certainly don't indicate that it does.

Bearfoot_Adam
08-23-2008, 06:32 AM
All I know is that it sucks to blow a daily or even an encounter on a minion.

Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of the haveing the special abilites? When recharge is so often why worry that you wasted it on a minion. Enjoy the fact that you smacked a foe so hard that he crushed his skull on the wall behind him. Stuff like that. I thought one of the ideas of 4e was that you no longer had to feel like you need to hold things back or worry that now you have to rest.

ronpyatt
08-23-2008, 09:21 AM
I thought one of the ideas of 4e was that you no longer had to feel like you need to hold things back or worry that now you have to rest.Almost. Now instead of the wizard becoming all but useless by 10:AM, every class has to watch which Daily powers they use, and everyone gets tuckered out at about the same rate. It does suck when you blow a Daily, but it is very sweet when it hits. A lot of Daily powers work even if you miss.

Valdar
08-24-2008, 04:12 PM
Almost. Now instead of the wizard becoming all but useless by 10:AM, every class has to watch which Daily powers they use, and everyone gets tuckered out at about the same rate. It does suck when you blow a Daily, but it is very sweet when it hits. A lot of Daily powers work even if you miss.

It's a gamble. Missing with your daily sucks, but not as much as hitting a rest and realizing that you forgot to use it at all!

Back to Minions: I'm very close to house-interpreting "kill on a hit" to mean that minions only die when you successfully hit them with an attack roll, and they're immune to incidental, non-rolled damage, such as comes from a Lightning Weapon's daily power. The worst offender we've seen so far is the Rod of Reaving +1- Now the Warlock can take out a minion (if it's the closest foe) with a minor action and no attack roll, every round...

Grimwell
08-24-2008, 04:49 PM
The worst offender we've seen so far is the Rod of Reaving +1- Now the Warlock can take out a minion (if it's the closest foe) with a minor action and no attack roll, every round...

In a way though, that's pretty darn "heroic" and since it's a minion kill it's not really being spent taking down a serious challenge. In that lens, is it a game breaker, or just a way to say "your character is pretty darn cool!" ?

Chavic
08-24-2008, 06:49 PM
Actually, I didn't think standing up would provoke an OA in 4e. The rules certainly don't indicate that it does.


Hmm... I'll have to get my rulebook, but its a move action. And the only move action that doesn't provoke an AOA is the five foot step.

Valdar
08-24-2008, 08:26 PM
In a way though, that's pretty darn "heroic" and since it's a minion kill it's not really being spent taking down a serious challenge. In that lens, is it a game breaker, or just a way to say "your character is pretty darn cool!" ?

It's a game "bender" even if it's not a "breaker". The item, imho, was supposed to add a little damage to the curse, not be an automatic minion snuffer. Though it does mean that the warlock doesn't get to curse anyone else that turn.

I've also read about dual-wielding Reaving and Corruption rods, having the Corruption rod spread out the curse to five squares, snuff all those minions, spread out the curse some more or take pact boon as the warlock sees fit, thus snuffing all minions as a minor action and teleporting however far the warlock sees fit. Fortunately CS has put the kabosh on dual-wielding implements.

Valdar
08-24-2008, 08:36 PM
Hmm... I'll have to get my rulebook, but its a move action. And the only move action that doesn't provoke an AOA is the five foot step.

PhB, pg. 292, "Stand Up": Does not say it provokes. "Squeeze" and "Walk", on the same page, say they do provoke. In fact, if your square is occupied, you get a free Shift (also doesn't provoke) to get into a square of your own.

As far as I can tell, you only provoke if you leave a threatened square without shifting, or make a ranged or area attack. As a DM, I'd say you provoke if you rifle through your pack for a potion, but I haven't seen anything in the rules about it.

And, there's no 5-foot step in 4e. It's a shift, which can be more than one square if you've got the right mojo. If I recall correctly, Deathjump Spiders can shift 10 squares as an encounter power :eek:

Engar
08-24-2008, 11:02 PM
Minions is definitely one of the great ideas of 4e. It sort of merged swarms and peons to make a great concept for masses of little guys.