Tough Minions - Giving Minions a Simple HP System

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The minion mechanic is great for creating hordes, henchmen, or rounding out a monster party.  The downsides are that 1 hit point creatures disrespect high-damage characters, and die too easily to multi-target powers.  (And maybe worst of all, in a world where a level 1 goblin has 30hp, a 1 hit point Fomorian is just rediculous).

I'd like to adjust minions to respond to high-damage attacks, while keeping them easy to track.  The solution, as I see it, is "Tough Minions".  An example tough minion's entry reads like this, "HP: 10 (tough minion)".  If the tough minion takes 10 or more damage from a single source, it dies outright.  If it takes less than 10 damage, it becomes "wounded" (indicated with a bloodied marker).  If it receives any amount of damage while wounded, it dies.  Damage applies on a miss.  A tough minion's HP is equal to its role's HP + 1/2 level.  A tough minion's XP value is equal to 1/3rd of a standard monster's in heroic, 1/4th in paragon, and 1/5th in epic.

For tough minions, "insubstantial" means "cannot become wounded".  Any amount of healing applied to a tough minion removes its wounded condition.  Tough minions count as minions for all other purposes (for instance, if a power specifies "non-minion enemy", a tough minion is a minion).  "Wounded" is very intentionally not "bloodied", because even the toughest minions shouldn't trigger class or racial features related to bloodied and bloodying.

I'll try this on the table at my group's next session.  It's already seen play once already (sort of), when I fielded some minions with "resist 10 all".  My inspiration was the "Wisp Wraith" entry, which lists it as a minion with insubstantial.  I couldn't figure out why a minion would have insubstantial, so I slapped on a resistance, and it was a hit with my mostly anti-minion players.  Please comment, and try this in your own games.  Please share any minion enhancing methods you've tried already.
I like your ideas and they remind me a little of a system I use that has a similar effect but without the need to roll damage.

I call this the "two-hit minion".  I developed this after switching from minis to tokens and realizing that the bloodied side of a token allowed a quick easy way to track damage on minions without worrying about numbers. Here's how it works:

- An at-will power bloodies a minion (flip over the token). When a bloodied minion takes new damage it is killed.

- An encounter, daily, or augmented at-will (psionic) kills the minion outright.

- Multi-round zone effects bloody the minion.

- Punishing marks (like the paladin's) bloody the minion

That's it. It's pretty simple but gives the minion a LOT more survivability and threat. Players can decide to expend big powers to kill them quickly, or wear them down with at-wills. In practice, this system takes no more time to run at the table because there is still no need to roll damage. I recommend this for level 7 and up. The best part about it is that minions once again threaten PC's at paragon and epic.
I have used a system for 'uber-minions' for a few years now:

* If they take damage from an encounter or daily power, they die.
* If they are crit, they die. 
* If they take damage from another source when unwounded, they become bloodied and slowed. 
* If bloodied when damaged, they die.
* Stats are as a minion -  and if I feel like it, either +1 damage or + 1 to defenses.
* Healing unbloodies them. 

What they're good for:

* I added them to a game when one of the PCs went aura happy.  He has a damage aura that inflicts damage when enemies come within it... so minions were pretty boring.  I still used them a bit, of course - you don't punisha PC for having an ability, but I do try to make sure they're not all autokills.
* They are nice as a threat to charge in and attack the back ranks without being overwhelming.  They can take an OA.
* They are nice leaders for a group of minions. 
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
 (And maybe worst of all, in a world where a level 1 goblin has 30hp, a 1 hit point Fomorian is just rediculous).




I just wanted to point this out but minions are abstractions, a level 1 party wouldnt never come across a level 17 Fomorian minion.  By the time a Fomorian minion pops up thematically goblins should all be minions anyways if they even show up as a viable threat at all.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

This is what I do:

Minions have a damage threshold equal to 10+the minion's level. Deal that much damage and the minion dies in a single hit, anything less bloodies the minion. A bloodied minion dies to any damage. A miniion cannot be killed by a missed attack, but it can be bloodied by one.

I find the above simple and almost perfect. The only time I suspend the above rule is when the battle generates more minions, then I use the standard rules.
...whatever
I saw what was called a 3 hit minion in a mod I am going to run.

The first hit bloodies it. The second hit dazes it and the third hit kills it.
Please share any minion enhancing methods you've tried already.

Minions were a great idea that we never found really worked quite 'right'.  One of our DMs hates them and doesn't use them at all.  When I use them, I use them in great swarms, spawn them at the start of every turn from 'spawn points', and generally don't award XP for them, period.

We've more or less stopped using minion hp house rules, but here are things we have used (some just once, mind you):

♦ Two-hit minions.  Doesn't really increase book-keeping.  Flip over a token to its bloodied side, or but a red marker next to it.

♦ Hit a minion, and it gets a saving throw.  Pass = still alive.  Fail = dead.  Quick easy and makes them last about twice as long.

♦ Kill a minion, leave its mini or counter on the board.  It's incapacitated but keeps taking turns (and dies if it takes more damage like this).  Think of these scenes in Bond movies where the mooks get punched and roll on the ground, slowly standing up ;)   
Start of next turn, make save.  Fail = dead/unconscious/out of the fight for good.  Pass = minion 'comes back to life' and is completely full-functional and not prone.

Comments:
I like the idea of using damage resistance, but then in a scene with minions v minions (example, 6 shopkeepers vs 6 goblin minions) they can't harm each other.  That stuff can (and should) be narrated anyway but sometimes you want a 'rescue the shopkeepers!' scene, darn it, and you want to see how they are doing while the PCs fight their way to them!   


Zones usually wipe minions out irregardless of 'clever ideas' to save them.  I suppose giving them a godly resist 10 all even at L1 would change that but then you've made a huge change to game power delivery expectations.  I like the idea of letting minions last a little longer, but without nerfing controller zones altogether.
I just used to roll a d6 and if it was a 5-6 the minion survived the attack. Unless it was a crit or a daily in which case it always died. I found players don't like spending daily powers on minions and having them not die.

For those of you who imagine that minions are weak little creatures that only have 1 hp in the game world. Remember that the stats of monsters in 4E are essentially intended to be their stats relative to the party, unlike in many other games where stats represent them in the context of the game world.

So the hobgoblin warchief might be a 4th level elite for a 1st level party. If he survived and the same party fought him again at 9th level, the dm might rebuild him as an 8th level standard monster. If they again encountered him at 16th level he might be reduced to minion status. 
If the tough minion takes 10 or more damage from a single source, it dies outright.



  10 has the same problem that 1 has, it just shows up a few levels later.  You'll want to make the number increase with level, maybe use 2x the damage the minion does.  I don't think it's a perfect fix, and it will definitely change how good some powers are in your game.

  Add on to the problems you mentioned is the fact that minions are as anti-heroic as you can get.  You're basically butchering defenseless peons.  A typical minion is of no real threat to a PC with the damage they put out, they're pretty much on par with a puppy. I don't think of mowing down a crowd with an assault rifle or kicking a litter of puppies to death as exactly heroic.  Generally I'd avoid using them unless you really really need to put them in for game balance, and if you do, use things like skeletons or constructs to break instead of butcher.



@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

To me, minions are essentially an abstraction as well. 

HP is your luck potential – it's what defines you as a major player, a protagonist or antagonist in the conflict.  Minions are the common breed: they don't have good luck, but they might be able to deal power hits. 

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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why give the minions hp at just give them a power that helps them avoid death, like the first time they are hit by a ranged attack in an encounter they take no damage and are considered bloodied, or when reduced to 0 hp they regain 1 hp at the start of their next turn (zombies)
I call this the "two-hit minion".

This is just about the only suggestion that I've seen that I am willing to incorporate. I like the simplicity of minions. Anything that makes them more effective needs to remain just as simple.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I've done minions with a damage threshold of 10+1/2 level. If damage from an attack equals or exceeds the threshold then the minion dies. If not then it is bloodied. Any damage to a bloodied minion kills it.

I hadn't thought about doing the wounded instead of bloodied thing. But it wasn't an issue. I thought it worked fine.

 Any Edition

You know, I was thinking of a sort of a monster that is halfway between minion and standard. It'd have half the hp of a standard monster and on hits of a 16 or greater, the player does maximum damage (critical hits as normal). It'd do a little bit lower than standard monster damage.
One of the many, many awesome things in the Threats to the Nentir Vale book that came out very recently was a set of minions who had Resist 10 all. It's simple, effective, and annoying as *hell* when your character is designed to do a little damage to a lot of targets (Storm Warden). Be prepared for your players to be frustrated with the changes you make, if any. Not everyone will -- but I sure was.
I call this the "two-hit minion".

This is just about the only suggestion that I've seen that I am willing to incorporate. I like the simplicity of minions. Anything that makes them more effective needs to remain just as simple.



I use  a lot of minions (often 10 to 20 at a time) and I agree that simplicity is the key to making them work. Anything that slows down the table sucks away fun so you need to avoid damage rolls, tracking HP or status effects whenever possible. Flipping the tokens over to bloodied is fast and requires no real thought from the DM. The players simply call out their power, roll attack and describe its effects if necessary. There are only three possible results: miss, bloodied or dead.

RAW, minions worked because they required almost no bookeeping by the DM. However you toughen them up, that system needs to be maintained.

If you are looking for additional ways to make minions more threatening you could try some of the following:

- minion spawn points. I like open doorways, holes in the floor, warp fields, etc. The minions spawn in on their initiative and I roll a die to determine how many come in (d6 or d8 works best). I'll use different spawn points and roll to see which one gets used each round. This keeps the PC's guessing and really ramps up the threat because they can't ignore any of the spawn points.

- minion waves that try to accomplish a task. At fixed or random intervals, waves of minions appear whose main job is not to fight the PC's (although they can) but to accomplish some sort of task (ex. open the drawbridge, blow up a door, cut the mooring rope, etc.)  The PC's have to devote resources to the minions or they risk losing the objective.

- minion summoners. One of the monsters, usually not the main threat, has a rechargable power that allows it summon a large swarm of minions. PC's pick up on this quickly and have to focus on the summoner or risk being overwhelmed. This interfere's with the PC's ability to focus fire on the main threat (ex. a big "solo" boss)

- minions as movable terrain or movable effects/traps. I made up some modron minions that blocked line of sight and effect. They could join together to form walls or seal off corridors. I also used minions as movable magical effects. Example, each minion was a portal for the big boss to jump through. The minions could move to reposition around the battlefield. If the PC's didn't like where the minion was positioned they could kill it, but it would immediately respawn at the edge of the edge of the battle.

There's lots of other things you can try with minions to make them interesting. Sadly, most of the official WotC adventures use minions in a very uninspired way and they are very unthreatening. Try the two-hit minion I proposed and maybe some of the ideas above and you'll find them a lot more fun.

The key is to keep them simple.
Style75, although I have seen all of your ideas at other times in other places, I have never seen them all in one place. I like it! A lot! And am appreciative!
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I've tried "elite minions" - first hit bloodies, second hit kills, and they get a save against auto damage (to ignore that round). Keeps them around a little longer.
One of the many, many awesome things in the Threats to the Nentir Vale book that came out very recently was a set of minions who had Resist 10 all. It's simple, effective, and annoying as *hell* when your character is designed to do a little damage to a lot of targets (Storm Warden). Be prepared for your players to be frustrated with the changes you make, if any. Not everyone will -- but I sure was.


 
  A static 10 isn't a good idea.

  Anyway, as you point out, this can be very annoying to low damage classes (i.e. controllers) who suddenly can't sweep minions with at-wills.  But strikers like sorcerers can, and pretty much any class using encounter AE powers can.

  The solution is really to just use a few more lower level monsters.  Minions have always been a worse trap choice for a DM in 4E than Careful Attack for a Ranger.  Nothing about them is good and it's pretty much impossible to properly fix.

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

I've thought about using  bunch of monsters at level -5 or something, but then you have to track all their HP, which can be a pain, and they'll probably last a bit longer than you really want, since everything has so much HP in 4e.
I've thought about using  bunch of monsters at level -5 or something, but then you have to track all their HP, which can be a pain, and they'll probably last a bit longer than you really want, since everything has so much HP in 4e.


I think the bigger problem here is that Monster defenses at level - 5 are pitiful.  If you're also going to adjust the defenses as well, then you are essentially just building a whole new monster or taking a current one and just reducing its HP.

I think I am going to try out the "two hit minion" rule from now on.  I am okay with them exploding if they are there for a more thematic reason (a never ending horde of undead for an example), but I find it hard to actually use them in their current for whem they are supposed to just be support in a fight for a larger boss creature.
I've tried "elite minions" - first hit bloodies, second hit kills, and they get a save against auto damage (to ignore that round). Keeps them around a little longer.

How did it work for you? For your players?

I don't mean the mechanics, I mean your enjoyment. Did everyone have fun with two-ht minions in your group? Were there any pitfalls? And frustrations?
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I've played in a game with two-hit minions (technically, they had a damage threshold set by the DM - if a single hit does threshold damage or more, the minion dies outright).  I'm a bit torn.

A mechanic like this tears a big block of utility out of many AOE abilities; you'd be hard-fought to find a swordmage (sword burst) or wizard (beguiling strands) capable of downing a minion in a single hit.   That's a bummer.  On the other hand, it did make minions more of a threat.

I'm a bigger fan of granting minions some sort of death effect.  Drow minions generate single-square dark zones upon death; spiders create difficult or potentially immobilizing terrain; leader-minions grant some sort of buff to the nearest ally upon death... that sort of thing.  It creates a dynamic battlefield and forces a decision - it may not always be strategically advantageous to obliterate all the minions at the same time.     
Agreed, sigfile.  Death effects like giving them a free MBA upon being reduced to 0 hps or exploding like a Burning Devil (if you haven't checked them out, do so!!) can add some oomph to minions and make killing them at the 'wrong time' very dangerous.
A mechanic like this tears a big block of utility out of many AOE abilities; you'd be hard-fought to find a swordmage (sword burst) or wizard (beguiling strands) capable of downing a minion in a single hit.   That's a bummer.  On the other hand, it did make minions more of a threat.

I wonder if it would be useful/desirable to use both. Perhaps one in every four minions is a "squad leader" that takes 2 hits. Would the bookkeeping be more than it is worth?

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I wonder if it would be useful/desirable to use both. Perhaps one in every four minions is a "squad leader" that takes 2 hits. Would the bookkeeping be more than it is worth?

It's just a different type of enemy at that point.  I don't think the bookkeeping would be all that intense.  The blend has potential.

 (And maybe worst of all, in a world where a level 1 goblin has 30hp, a 1 hit point Fomorian is just rediculous).




I just wanted to point this out but minions are abstractions, a level 1 party wouldnt never come across a level 17 Fomorian minion.  By the time a Fomorian minion pops up thematically goblins should all be minions anyways if they even show up as a viable threat at all.



Exactly. I think people get to locked in the game mechanics, and forget simple logic like this.

Minions represent easily killed monsters, for the appropriate level

Minions work fine the way they are now, so long as you play them smart.  
I've tried "elite minions" - first hit bloodies, second hit kills, and they get a save against auto damage (to ignore that round). Keeps them around a little longer.

How did it work for you? For your players?

I don't mean the mechanics, I mean your enjoyment. Did everyone have fun with two-ht minions in your group? Were there any pitfalls? And frustrations?



Um it worked well and was more fun (as far as I could tell, everyone liked it well enough) -  but my mage player did winge that if I was going to change the rules on him, we should discuss it first! And fair enough!
A friend of mine has been using monsters with 1/4 to 1/8 of "normal" HP. Such creatures get KO'd just about as easily as minions!
I have to say, I really like the idea of Resist X minions. Frankly, I think any minion with more than one "hit" to it has already failed at what it's supposed to do for me (that is, allow me to memorize it, so I can focus on DMing the rest of the encounter). Plus, the players don't even get to know what they are until they kill one. Just seems like a really nice, elegant solution to people blowing up your minions all the time. Wish I would have thought of this last session I ran, actually. Even with the wizard using Beguling Strands once, the players demolished the 16 minions I was running. Fewer of them, but resist ten, means they would be a bit more of a focus for the party's resources, and would change what the party does completely. The controller isn't so hot at busting these minions, but that Rogue/Ranger/Fighter with all those multi-attacks?
Don't you want the controller > then the others for minion bustification?
Don't you want the controller > then the others for minion bustification?



Sure, regularlly. But every so often you have to introduce mechanics that throw a player's perception of the game off, making them face different challenges. I'd like to see what a party would do when their minion buster isnt so great against these minions.

Unfortunatly i have a very small player base, two at this time, who both have chosen striker characters. So my options for encounters are kind of forced towards minions. Things get very boring when theres only 2 creatures in each fight. While this has made encounter design tough I’ve also had to come up with other ways to fill out encounters and utilize minions.


Now while this has been annoying at the start I’ve come up with a few tricks to make things a little more interesting.


Firstly. When I first started running minions my players got a strong sense on who they were by me simply saying. “ok you hit its dead” I had to adapt and have since made players roll damage for each attack. Now while this seems like a common sense stand point and many would say, well there gonna know their minions when they deal 8 damage and it dies. That brings me to my second point.


I use one of two specialized templates for some monsters to round out battles and make things a little more dangerous. First is the Underling. You can replace 3 underlings for every 1 standard monster. They have 30% of the hit points of a standard monster but deal 25% more damage. This makes them abit more lethal, but easier to drop. Also fills out the roles and allows for me to throw in a few more enemies instead of just the 2 standards or a bunch of minions.


Ive also taken to using the lackey template. Basically the lackey deals damage like a normal monster but has a 2 hit damage threshold. All attacks deal 1 damage regardless of what it is and a critical hit kills the lackey outright. Now looking at some of the other posts I might opt to let dailys kill them outright too. Perhaps even encounters.


My other point to fact is I use 6 minions for every 1 standard instead of the normal 4. It doesn’t make things much more lethal but keeps the players in the feel of being in a situation that might not bode too well.


Some of the other ideas on this thread about minions are defiantly worth looking into and I might incorporate a few them in my upcoming games.



A mechanic like this tears a big block of utility out of many AOE abilities; you'd be hard-fought to find a swordmage (sword burst) or wizard (beguiling strands) capable of downing a minion in a single hit.   That's a bummer. 

 



I have to respectfully disagree with this. The AOE abilities are still greatly appreciated because they allow the PC the ability to bloody large groups of 2-hit minions. This is huge because it means those minions are threatened with death by defenders marks, OA's, multi-round zones and auras. You may not have killed the minion outright, but you've denied them a lot of tactical options and made the other players powers more effective.

Also, the way I play with 2-hit minions is an encounter or daily power always kills on one hit. At higher levels this means you have a lot of options to insta-kill minions with AOE's, but it forces you to devote resources to it. If you want to jack up the threat for Epic tier, you can only insta-kill on dailies, encounters bloody, and at-wills have some sort of resist damage or saving throw.

My experience with this system of 2-hit minions is that adds a LOT more tactics to the game without burdening it with any more book keeping. My players love it and complain when I give them fights without minions.
What I have found the issues with minions is both as a player and as a GM is that they are easily idenfiable in a tactical situation and simply knowing something is a minion considerably reduces them as a threat.  Players look at the tokens and know, ya these skeletons numbered one through ten are probobly minions and they respond with appropriate tactics to counter them (aka area powers, conserving encounters and dailies, focusing their strikers on tougher oponnets..etc..).


What I have found that works really well is to not offer any clear identifiers to the players.  For example if I want to describe a scene of 10 goblins of which maybe 3 are real monsters and the other 7 are minions I will try to blend their appearences in the description so that they are not easy to identify.  I also will intentionally mix up counters, blending minion and non-minions using the same type of tokens with different numbers and track them behind the scene.  That way they can't visually differentiate between minions and non-minions on the battle map forcing them to kind of plan their strategy in a bit more realisitc way, aka treating everyting as a threat. 

Not knowing which tokens/monsters are minions changes the tactical situation a great deal and makes minions far more effective in combat.    

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What I have found the issues with minions is both as a player and as a GM is that they are easily idenfiable in a tactical situation and simply knowing something is a minion considerably reduces them as a threat.  Players look at the tokens and know, ya these skeletons numbered one through ten are probobly minions and they respond with appropriate tactics to counter them (aka area powers, conserving encounters and dailies, focusing their strikers on tougher oponnets..etc..).


What I have found that works really well is to not offer any clear identifiers to the players.  For example if I want to describe a scene of 10 goblins of which maybe 3 are real monsters and the other 7 are minions I will try to blend their appearences in the description so that they are not easy to identify.  I also will intentionally mix up counters, blending minion and non-minions using the same type of tokens with different numbers and track them behind the scene.  That way they can't visually differentiate between minions and non-minions on the battle map forcing them to kind of plan their strategy in a bit more realisitc way, aka treating everyting as a threat. 

Not knowing which tokens/monsters are minions changes the tactical situation a great deal and makes minions far more effective in combat.    

My opinion is completely opposite.

As a player, I would hate using a daily on a minion by accident. And even then I would just tell the players that some are minions (as opposed to "you can't tell if any are minions"). Basically, it means I might hide one stronger enemy in a group of minions, but I would not try to get the players to waste high damage powers on minions.

Minions don't have to be effective just for the sake of doing damage. The game is not about the DM being out to get the PC's by maximizing his benefit from the XP budget.
If you feel that an encounter is too easy with X minions, just put in more and still grant the same XP - nobody will care.

As for the alternative minions, there are lots of good ideas here.

For the resist X minions I would consider the rule that any damage still "wounds" them. The reason is that otherwise powers like Cleave and Cloud of daggers are pretty useless. They are designed to hurt minions, and if they can't do that, why pick them.

totally hate multi-wound minions. i dont mind them exploding or having damage buffs, but forcing the players to spam at wills on minions that take more than one hit is, among other things, boring as hell for all parties. just use a ton of them
The AOE abilities are still greatly appreciated because they allow the PC the ability to bloody large groups of 2-hit minions. This is huge because it means those minions are threatened with death by:


  • defenders marks,

  • OA's,

  • multi-round zones

  • and auras.


You may not have killed the minion outright, but you've denied them a lot of tactical options and made the other players powers more effective.

I re-formatted to bring this benefit to the fore.

Very good summary of how 2-hit-minions do not gimp AOE powers.


Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
totally hate multi-wound minions. i don't mind them exploding or having damage buffs, but forcing the players to spam at wills on minions that take more than one hit is, among other things, boring as hell for all parties. just use a ton of them

In the final encounter of last night's session, my five players encountered a gang of sixteen bandits that were intent on recovering a certain item the PCs had. I tried out the two-hit minion approach. Is was beautiful!

I was able to run the entire encounter with no paperwork or off-map tracking! To maintain the perceived threat of the encounter, I would, every now and then, ask the player to repeat the amount of damage they caused, then feign a quick mental calculation before placing the bloodied token or removing the figure from the battle.


  • The shifter rogue was bloodied in one round. He shifted (an every-encounter objective he has set), Low-Slashed and Piercing-Strike'd one enemy dead, and proceeded to work his magic each round thereafter, either bloodying or killing an enemy with each attack.

  • The dwarf paladin managed to mark six enemies in round two with his Call of Challenge, effectively protecting the rogue for the rest of the encounter.

  • The wizard, who usually hangs back and attacks from a distance, found himself surrounded by four bandits who entered in round two. He fled with six hit points, but not before hitting with an AOE that bloodied four of the bandits.

  • The pacifist cleric pulled off Hymn of Resurgence in the second round, making the assault that much easier for everyone.

  • The half-orc monk showed restraint, turning the killing blow of the last enemy into a knockout punch instead. They won the battle and had a prisoner to interrogate.


None of the players realized they were two-hit minions. Even now, the next morning, they do not know. Fun was had by all.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
well im glad it worked for you, parties ive been realized it immediately so it was at-will spam and yawning. if it happened again id actually flee


As a player, I would hate using a daily on a minion by accident. And even then I would just tell the players that some are minions (as opposed to "you can't tell if any are minions"). Basically, it means I might hide one stronger enemy in a group of minions, but I would not try to get the players to waste high damage powers on minions.

Minions don't have to be effective just for the sake of doing damage. The game is not about the DM being out to get the PC's by maximizing his benefit from the XP budget.
If you feel that an encounter is too easy with X minions, just put in more and still grant the same XP - nobody will care.

As for the alternative minions, there are lots of good ideas here.

For the resist X minions I would consider the rule that any damage still "wounds" them. The reason is that otherwise powers like Cleave and Cloud of daggers are pretty useless. They are designed to hurt minions, and if they can't do that, why pick them.



Well its kind of the point.  If you know who the boss is, who the minions are and what role everything plays in a combat you have an uncanny, pretty unrealistic advantage that allows for all sorts of tactics that can turn an otherwise balanced fight into an alpha strike cake walk.  There is nothing in the rules that says that a Daily is wasted if its not used to kill the main boss of a battle.   Besides in doing it this way you aren't altering the inherent balance of the game, you are simply giving the users less (or one might say appropriate) information about a fight rather than a lot of meta gaming information.  I mean telling someone "these are minions and these are not" is kind of like saying "these are my mages, these guys have vulnerability to fire".  


In 4th edition the fights are already squarly in the players advantage, giving them only information that their characters should have (not the players) eliminates a great deal of meta gaming.


Ya you might burn a daily and find out you just killed a minion, than again, how would you find out it was a minion?  Perhaps it was a monster with less hitpoints?  Just because the fight is over or something is dead doesn't mean as a GM I have to explain who was who and what was what. 


In a role-playing game a player shouldn't have any more information than what his character has, thats how you keep it honest.  All this meta gaming is very ... world of warcratish.           

     

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