Should the minions be in Next?

I started playing d&d in 4e, and I was a huge fan of the minion. It made large battles a lot of fun, and I feel with the speed of battle in Next, minions would have a good spot, especially when considering monsters for large-scale battles. What do you all think? I understand there are a lot of 4e haters out there, but I think the minion was actually a good idea. What does anyone else think?
I also liked minions in 4e, but in 5e, any creature that is 4+ levels below the PC is basically a minion. I'd like them to give guidelines so that there is a standard way to modify any particular monster species to make it weak, average or elite. I'd also like them to work more on making some monsters what 4e would consider solo monsters.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

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I never liked the 1 hit point element to them. I like what they're doing where it's just lower level creatures. Considering the whole bounded accuracy thing, it works as a creature which is 4 levels worse won't be that much easier to hit then a creature of your character's level (In comparison to previous editions where a four level change means that your Fighter has at least +4 to hit in addition to any other bonuses).
On the other side, I loved the 1 hit point element, because it allowed you to basically say, "these characters don't have plot armour."  And most of the time, as a DM, I didn't tell my players which had plot armour and which didn't. 

That said, the lower level monsters SEEM to be trying to accomplish the same thing – there's less emphasis on hitting/missing in this game and more emphasis on dealing higher or lower HP damage. 

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

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

That's one interpretation. Another interpretation is "these guys are no threat whatsoever and are pretty much just bags of XP on legs", which is how they always felt to me.
Minions, when used correctly, are incredible threats.  You don't just throw a single minion into a fight.  You throw a huge mess of them in, mobbing the players and whittling them down.  You make the minions higher level too, so that they have higher defences and are less likely to die.  At least, that's the theory that plays into using the feature wisely. 

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

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

I also liked minions in 4e, but in 5e, any creature that is 4+ levels below the PC is basically a minion. I'd like them to give guidelines so that there is a standard way to modify any particular monster species to make it weak, average or elite. I'd also like them to work more on making some monsters what 4e would consider solo monsters.

This. What Rhenny said. All of It.   Wink

Yan
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Personally, I never found Solos a useful mechanic.  They were only useful if they weren't SOLO, because they tended to act the same way as the PCs - upload all the big attacks, and then turn into a slugfest as their recharge mechanics kept falling short.  Too high HPs helped that.  So they failed the job of being "boss monsters."

I can't remember where, but I was reading someone's blog where they proposed a new form of solo which they called the Boss Monster, where it's fought in three stages, each with different HP totals, abilities, and such.  The first third of the monster's HP is devoted to being an introduction to the monster, but the PCs should probably have the upper hand.  The monster becomes much more powerful during the second stage, and the pressure should be moved back onto the PCs in that phase.  The final third counts for bloodied-triggering effects, and is much weaker (the monster slows down and is having a harder time), thus shifting the dramatic tension downward and making it the clean-up job.  It was a beautiful way of redesigning solos, and you could even substitute other things in for different parts of the fight (like a dangerous chase scene with minions of the monster in stage two as the monster runs away, only to be caught up to and fought again in stage three).

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

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Personally, I never found Solos a useful mechanic.  They were only useful if they weren't SOLO, because they tended to act the same way as the PCs - upload all the big attacks, and then turn into a slugfest as their recharge mechanics kept falling short.  Too high HPs helped that.  So they failed the job of being "boss monsters."



Yeah, the parties that I DM'd for in 4e never had a problem with solos even in more dynamic fights. Elder vampires, dragons, a Kraken trying to eat their boat. If the boss didn't take a few of them down in their opening turn, it was a battle of the math which is usually in the party's favor. The biggest challenge they ever had is when I was just sending endless waves of undead minions (Halloween game in a graveyard on the Plane of Shadow) until they took the hint to use the exit through the catacombs.

I can't remember where, but I was reading someone's blog where they proposed a new form of solo which they called the Boss Monster, where it's fought in three stages, each with different HP totals, abilities, and such.  The first third of the monster's HP is devoted to being an introduction to the monster, but the PCs should probably have the upper hand.  The monster becomes much more powerful during the second stage, and the pressure should be moved back onto the PCs in that phase.  The final third counts for bloodied-triggering effects, and is much weaker (the monster slows down and is having a harder time), thus shifting the dramatic tension downward and making it the clean-up job.  It was a beautiful way of redesigning solos, and you could even substitute other things in for different parts of the fight (like a dangerous chase scene with minions of the monster in stage two as the monster runs away, only to be caught up to and fought again in stage three).



And this^ is being stolen. Want a fun Dragon fight? Dragon flies and does strafing runs for several turns before taking enough damage to cause him to crash. Engages the party in melee (breathing on recharge). Stage three is when he starts breathing so hard (increase damage and DC) that he is physically hurting himself (ie, self-inflicting damage.) Or maybe after the first stage is a White on the cealing, throwing ice chunks from the roof at the party, then flying, them melee. Or Flying, up mountin rolling boulders, melee once the party gets to him.

Want a kobold as a boss? Starts out as him and his gang at the front of his cave, he then runs through the cave  with traps and murder-holes waylaying the party. Then a last-ditch fight with a few remaining warriors. Would make the kobold cave in the Caves of Chaos much more entertaining.

And if you're a nice DM you can allow them to spend a HD or two during the transitions between stages given the lethality of 5e in prolonged fights.
While I dislike minions from a conceptual standpoint - my games don't involve plot armor - the practical effect was that you could never tell whether a minor damage source would be incidental or absolutely lethal.

This zone deals 2 damage per round? Okay, that's something to take note of, and avoid standing in there. But it also irrevocably murders half the people who go into it? Better check your NPC friends before you go anywhere near it. I'm still not sure how you're supposed to ask that question, in-character.

There's also the issue with minions who basically exist to make you waste an encounter power. After all, you wouldn't want to waste a powerful ability on someone who would drop from an at-will, so you make sure to only use them on a target who will be around long enough to feel its full effects. Oops, that guy was a trap, and you wasted your cool thing; you could have spent your turn doing something meaningful, but you had no way of knowing; sucks to be you.

The metagame is not the game.

In next level 1 creatures or other low level creatures play like minions.   They still have the hit modifiers to do damage, but they go down very quickly.
Minions is great for quick combat used in a transition between two scenes. 

Think; players characters fighting their way through lots of bad guys towards the market place to save an important NPC (what ever it could be :P)  

I always use them if i want things to get exciting, and a great way to give the players a chance to do some more fluff based heroic actions  
Minions with only 1hp, unfortunately, do not work well mechanically with spells such as Sleep.
Minions as they were done in 4E aren't necessary in 5E, for the reasons mentioned above. But, when you are using lower level monsters for a minion-like effect, it would be advisable to not be exact about the damage they take. If they take most of thier hit points in damage, just have them die.
Minions as they were done in 4E aren't necessary in 5E, for the reasons mentioned above. But, when you are using lower level monsters for a minion-like effect, it would be advisable to not be exact about the damage they take. If they take most of thier hit points in damage, just have them die.



^ THIS.  Actually, this is a general rule about combat.  If the monster is hanging on by one or two HP, and it'll be more trouble than not to keep the combat going, then it's usually better to just count it as dead.

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

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Minions worked better in 4e with 1/4 normal HP instead of just a single HP. I would like to see minion and elite enemies in 5e.


It makes more sense to have minion versions of some enemies than to have two different enemies who might not logically be connected fighting together.

Edit: Also it is trivially easy to make a player immune to low level monster attacks. Dwarf shield fighter or cleric in plate armor with +1 magic armor and the bless spell cast has an AC of 24 which most +4 attack bonus mobs need a nat 20 to hit.


Minions worked better in 4e with 1/4 normal HP instead of just a single HP. I would like to see minion and elite enemies in 5e.


It makes more sense to have minion versions of some enemies than to have two different enemies who might not logically be connected fighting together.

Edit: Also it is trivially easy to make a player immune to low level monster attacks. Dwarf shield fighter or cleric in plate armor with +1 magic armor and the bless spell cast has an AC of 24 which most +4 attack bonus mobs need a nat 20 to hit.




Plate Armour is incredibly expensive, and it's either incredibly difficult to get magic items in D&D Next or else it's incredibly easy to do so. 

Bless costs a very important spell-per-day that's probably better spent on someone other than the fighter.

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

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe


Minions worked better in 4e with 1/4 normal HP instead of just a single HP. I would like to see minion and elite enemies in 5e.


It makes more sense to have minion versions of some enemies than to have two different enemies who might not logically be connected fighting together.

Edit: Also it is trivially easy to make a player immune to low level monster attacks. Dwarf shield fighter or cleric in plate armor with +1 magic armor and the bless spell cast has an AC of 24 which most +4 attack bonus mobs need a nat 20 to hit.




Plate Armour is incredibly expensive, and it's either incredibly difficult to get magic items in D&D Next or else it's incredibly easy to do so. 

Bless costs a very important spell-per-day that's probably better spent on someone other than the fighter.



I might be wrong but with wealth by encounter guidlines, a typical player will have enough wealth to ahve playe by level 7 or so on average. Minion monsters probably won't become "minions" until levels 10 plus. It is fairly easy to assume by that level the party will have plate armor for everyone (if not magical plate).

As for bless, it is a low level spell that affects the whole party and is cast as a swift action (i think) meaning it is very easy to pull off every fight.
As I read these post I remembered why I quit playing online games and most video games. It becomes all about the numbers.  I'm an accountant all day long 5 days a week. Why would I want to sit down to figure out crap loads of math after that.

Give me some decent armor, a good weapon, a damsel to save, and then let me see how far I can get.
I'm not really a fan of minions and I don't see them working well if they were included in Next. As has been said, some of the low level monsters are already pretty weak and can be killed with one hit, but it's not a given. I like it that way better.
The position minions occupied in 4e is filled in the playtest document by low HD monsters.  They are able to hit the PCs and deal small amounts of damage individually, and tend to go down on the first hit.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
I'm not really a fan of minions and I don't see them working well if they were included in Next. As has been said, some of the low level monsters are already pretty weak and can be killed with one hit, but it's not a given. I like it that way better.



The reason that doesn't work for me is two-fold. Damage scales up slower than HP. Only the lowest level enemies can be minions. A 4HD creature is almost never going to be a minion except when facing level 15+ PCs. Because monster AC and Attack values are a function of level, this means any creature that is going to be a minion will simply be unable to affect a high level PC.

The other reason is that it seems silly that when facing Giants or Ogres you need to use something like goblins to fill in the minion "role". Why would the goblins be working for the giants at all? What about when facing demons? Minions were a great addition simply because they allowed you to fight homogenous groupds of enemies instead of needing to intersperse 2HD orcs into your battles with demons.

5e really fails in this regards.
Minions as they were done in 4E aren't necessary in 5E, for the reasons mentioned above. But, when you are using lower level monsters for a minion-like effect, it would be advisable to not be exact about the damage they take. If they take most of thier hit points in damage, just have them die.



^ THIS.  Actually, this is a general rule about combat.  If the monster is hanging on by one or two HP, and it'll be more trouble than not to keep the combat going, then it's usually better to just count it as dead.



Agreed. This I like, for any edition. I don't object to minions, but a DM doesn't need them to achieve this.
The other reason is that it seems silly that when facing Giants or Ogres you need to use something like goblins to fill in the minion "role". Why would the goblins be working for the giants at all? What about when facing demons? Minions were a great addition simply because they allowed you to fight homogenous groups of enemies instead of needing to intersperse 2HD orcs into your battles with demons.

Demons are probably a bad example, since there have always been low-ranking demons to act as fodder while you're fighting the big ones. Giants, though? That was actually one of the examples that really drew me out of the game in 4E, when a bunch of twelve-foot behemoths all drop from incidental damage that doesn't even scratch a level 1 goblin (not a theoretical situation - this actually happened to me).

The metagame is not the game.

The other reason is that it seems silly that when facing Giants or Ogres you need to use something like goblins to fill in the minion "role". Why would the goblins be working for the giants at all? What about when facing demons? Minions were a great addition simply because they allowed you to fight homogenous groups of enemies instead of needing to intersperse 2HD orcs into your battles with demons.

Demons are probably a bad example, since there have always been low-ranking demons to act as fodder while you're fighting the big ones. Giants, though? That was actually one of the examples that really drew me out of the game in 4E, when a bunch of twelve-foot behemoths all drop from incidental damage that doesn't even scratch a level 1 goblin (not a theoretical situation - this actually happened to me).



Oh I agree the 1 HP rule is dumb. I would much rather minions simply have 1/4 HP. I think at 1/4 the HP they would still be fodder, but they wouldn't die to a 6d6 fireball that does half damage even on a miss, or some auto 3 damage zone.

That still doesn't address my issue with 5e's handling of "minions" though. A minion creature, in order to be a minion, must beof a level so low when compared to the PC that they are in fact trivial. Most minions will never be able to hit the party tank and most minions saving throws are so poor the party wizard could easily disable them all with a single low level spell. The thing I loved about 4e minions was that they were basically the standard monster, just easier to kill. They had the same defenses, the same attack bonuses, and still put out decent damage, but were not ignorable which 5e minions will be.


I'm not really a fan of minions and I don't see them working well if they were included in Next. As has been said, some of the low level monsters are already pretty weak and can be killed with one hit, but it's not a given. I like it that way better.



The reason that doesn't work for me is two-fold. Damage scales up slower than HP. Only the lowest level enemies can be minions. A 4HD creature is almost never going to be a minion except when facing level 15+ PCs. Because monster AC and Attack values are a function of level, this means any creature that is going to be a minion will simply be unable to affect a high level PC.

The other reason is that it seems silly that when facing Giants or Ogres you need to use something like goblins to fill in the minion "role". Why would the goblins be working for the giants at all? What about when facing demons? Minions were a great addition simply because they allowed you to fight homogenous groupds of enemies instead of needing to intersperse 2HD orcs into your battles with demons.

5e really fails in this regards.



Goblins are frequently depicted with a social structure that features a strong and ruthless leader who keeps the group together with the threat of violence.  Leadership is assumed by killing your predecessor in front of everyone.  If you follow that convention it's not outside the scope of goblin behavior to follow a leader that isn't a goblin. 

You might also come across small groups of goblins who glommed onto a group of larger, stronger creatures for protection, and serve them in exchange for that protection.  Finally, a lot of intelligent races keep slaves of other species.  Drow, hobgoblins, orcs, ogres, illithid and a lot of other creatures maintain a work force comprised of weaker, less intelligent or less organized races.

If none of those explanations work for your campaign, you can make minions by giving the standard issue monster 1 HP or using the stat block of a lower HD monster with a similar suite of abilities.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider

^ you still miss the point.


a) giving a monster 1 HP just doesnt work for a number of reasons. That is why I prefer minions to have 1/4 HP of the standard monster


b) using a lower level monster doesn't work due to the aforementioned to hit, saving throw, and AC issues.


I would prefer if minon and elite were templates (like 3e templates) that could be added to any monster.

Minion template could be 1/4 HP, 1/2 damage and be worth 25% exp.
Elite Template could be 2x HP, and some special qualities.


^ you still miss the point.


a) giving a monster 1 HP just doesnt work for a number of reasons. That is why I prefer minions to have 1/4 HP of the standard monster


b) using a lower level monster doesn't work due to the aforementioned to hit, saving throw, and AC issues.


I would prefer if minon and elite were templates (like 3e templates) that could be added to any monster.

Minion template could be 1/4 HP, 1/2 damage and be worth 25% exp.
Elite Template could be 2x HP, and some special qualities.




Your second point is a non-issue. Bounded accuracy keeps lower level monsters a viable threat in large numbers.

Minions basically sucked in 4e. Use an area spell to hit them all with at least 1 damage, and they were basically "XP bag" like another poster said. Again, they were okay-ish in 4e, and served their purpose as peons to be controlled by BBEGs well, but I felt they were an eyesore as written for that edition. One of the many mechanics about 4e I found incredibly contrived due to the 1 hit point mechanic. 

Whereas 3.5e minion-style creatures were simply too weak and required more bookkeeping than they were worth.

I would rather there be a way to keep track of minions in an abstract way, but which also captures the danger element of a mass of creatures fighting against you. Basically, give the "monster" that is a horde of goblins an HP total, a relatively easy to hit AC, and an attack that is strong as any appropriate level monster (at first, but which depletes as the minion group's HP is depleted - representing the minion group's member getting killed). Reinforcing that threat might take an action from the BBEG, and this reinforces how a group of minions can be as important to deal with as the "solo" creature at that point. And what I envision, is something the DM can flavor however they want, even to simulate mass combat threats. Perhaps a 10th level and up mechanic, to fit in better with the scaling level of involvement in more global events that the designers want beyond 10th level.
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
Lower level monsters have +4 and +5 attack bonuses. These may work against AC 16 level 1 parties. By level 10+ most parties have better armor, ability scores, feats, magic items, and spells that easily push their armor to the 23+ range. This 5e low level monsters cannot effect high level PCs.

Stop hidin behind BA without actually looking at the math already present in the system
There is absolutely nothing in DDN preventing a DM from deciding any given monster will go down in one hit.
Lower level monsters have +4 and +5 attack bonuses. These may work against AC 16 level 1 parties. By level 10+ most parties have better armor, ability scores, feats, magic items, and spells that easily push their armor to the 23+ range. This 5e low level monsters cannot effect high level PCs. Stop hidin behind BA without actually looking at the math already present in the system



How do "most parties" manage that?
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
By level 10+ a party will probably have access to a few magic items. +1 ot +2 armor, +1 or +2 shields go a long way to breaking BA. Combine things like the dwarven racial AC bonus, the iron hide feat, dual wielding shields, prayer for +1 party AC as a swift action using only a low level spell slot, barkskin or haste for +2 AC. It is trivially easy to make your tank into the 26+ AC range and the rest of the party into the 22+ AC range.

So +4 and +5 to hit monsters simply aren't going to be a challenge for most parties that are level 10+. Only a party that doesn't invest anything into their AC will such monsters remain a challenge. Even so, a dwarf tank with just +1 plate armor has a 23 AC meaning a +4 to hit monster only hits on a 19+
By level 10+ a party will probably have access to a few magic items. +1 ot +2 armor, +1 or +2 shields go a long way to breaking BA. Combine things like the dwarven racial AC bonus, the iron hide feat, dual wielding shields, prayer for +1 party AC as a swift action using only a low level spell slot, barkskin or haste for +2 AC. It is trivially easy to make your tank into the 26+ AC range and the rest of the party into the 22+ AC range.

So +4 and +5 to hit monsters simply aren't going to be a challenge for most parties that are level 10+. Only a party that doesn't invest anything into their AC will such monsters remain a challenge. Even so, a dwarf tank with just +1 plate armor has a 23 AC meaning a +4 to hit monster only hits on a 19+

I don't see it.

Effret chain gives +2, but it's chainmail.  So it's really 18 AC same as mitheral plate.
You can get +1 mithral chain, but not mithral plate, that still put's you at 18.
The only shield is spellguard, which does not boost AC.

So max equipment seems to be 18+2+2 = 22, dual wielding shields, which means you can't attack (san spiked shield, which is currently borked).
If you take the race, and feat, = 24, which is out of hit range of low level creatures.  
I don't see why putting all your effort into defense shouldn't get you some really good defense.

Also crit's always hit.


That said, i wouldn't mind AC being droped 2-3 points.

guides
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my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

By level 10+ a party will probably have access to a few magic items. +1 ot +2 armor, +1 or +2 shields go a long way to breaking BA. Combine things like the dwarven racial AC bonus, the iron hide feat, dual wielding shields, prayer for +1 party AC as a swift action using only a low level spell slot, barkskin or haste for +2 AC. It is trivially easy to make your tank into the 26+ AC range and the rest of the party into the 22+ AC range.

So +4 and +5 to hit monsters simply aren't going to be a challenge for most parties that are level 10+. Only a party that doesn't invest anything into their AC will such monsters remain a challenge. Even so, a dwarf tank with just +1 plate armor has a 23 AC meaning a +4 to hit monster only hits on a 19+



That does sound trivially easy, provided the level of DM cooperation you're assuming.  You've got stacking shield bonuses, a fighter who foregoes weapons and wields homebrewed magic items, and spellcasters who are willing and able to spend a few rounds before every fight using up their spells buffing the whole party.  I can easily imagine an entire game group, including the DM working together to make a party untouchable by vanilla monsters, but I have substantially more trouble imagining that most game groups will do that.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
Personally, I never found Solos a useful mechanic.  They were only useful if they weren't SOLO, because they tended to act the same way as the PCs - upload all the big attacks, and then turn into a slugfest as their recharge mechanics kept falling short.  Too high HPs helped that.  So they failed the job of being "boss monsters."

I can't remember where, but I was reading someone's blog where they proposed a new form of solo which they called the Boss Monster, where it's fought in three stages, each with different HP totals, abilities, and such.  The first third of the monster's HP is devoted to being an introduction to the monster, but the PCs should probably have the upper hand.  The monster becomes much more powerful during the second stage, and the pressure should be moved back onto the PCs in that phase.  The final third counts for bloodied-triggering effects, and is much weaker (the monster slows down and is having a harder time), thus shifting the dramatic tension downward and making it the clean-up job.  It was a beautiful way of redesigning solos, and you could even substitute other things in for different parts of the fight (like a dangerous chase scene with minions of the monster in stage two as the monster runs away, only to be caught up to and fought again in stage three).


In case you don't know, this is how World of Warcraft does it's raid boss fights.  Multiple stages, requiring a shift in tactics and and combat styles.

For example, the iconic WoW dragon fight has three stages, first the dragon comes in meleeing everyone, because she's overconfident and with good reason.  The main 'tank' sets up in front, to take on the face.  Everyone else melee, has to avoid her sweeping tail, so no behind her, or her sweeping front claws, so don't stand with the Tank.  The casters and range types spread out but avoid the walls for fear of waking up her babies.  Who are hungry and will eat you.

The second stage occurs at 30%.  Where she flies up out of reach and bombs the entire cave with dragon fire.  This of course, wakes her brood and anyone not ranged combat, has to take care of them, while the casters and ranged fighters keep shooting her.

The third stage is a mix of one and two.  Where she's back on the ground, back to avoiding her claw swipes and tail lashes, but also have to manage her waking dragonlings.

This is what 4e should have stolen from MMOs.

And even better because of the way D&D works in general every single solo might have different tactics, including two of the same types.  No Red Dragon would fight the same.  You could even drag terrain into it, for even more variety and fun.
By level 10+ a party will probably have access to a few magic items. +1 ot +2 armor, +1 or +2 shields go a long way to breaking BA. Combine things like the dwarven racial AC bonus, the iron hide feat, dual wielding shields, prayer for +1 party AC as a swift action using only a low level spell slot, barkskin or haste for +2 AC. It is trivially easy to make your tank into the 26+ AC range and the rest of the party into the 22+ AC range.

So +4 and +5 to hit monsters simply aren't going to be a challenge for most parties that are level 10+. Only a party that doesn't invest anything into their AC will such monsters remain a challenge. Even so, a dwarf tank with just +1 plate armor has a 23 AC meaning a +4 to hit monster only hits on a 19+



That does sound trivially easy, provided the level of DM cooperation you're assuming.  You've got stacking shield bonuses,

Shields don't provide a typed bonus and all bonuses stack. Dual wielding spiked shields is a perfectly valid tactic for fighters in 5e.

a fighter who foregoes weapons and wields homebrewed magic items,

There are magic shields in the playtest already. Spiked shields allow you to attack while maintaining your shield bonus to AC. I'm almost positive enchanting is going to be available to spellcasters at some point.
and spellcasters who are willing and able to spend a few rounds before every fight using up their spells buffing the whole party.

Lol. Prayer is a swift action, so a cleric can attack and buff on round 1 of every fight. Haste is simply a good spell to cast on your party tank because +2 AC and an extra attack every round can do wonders.
I can easily imagine an entire game group, including the DM working together to make a party untouchable by vanilla monsters, but I have substantially more trouble imagining that most game groups will do that.

All the examples I gave are nothing that requires more than mild optimization to achieve. As I said, even unoptimized parties with ACs in the 18-20 range (and 22 for their tanks) will be more or less immune to minion monsters. Sure level 10+ monsters can still hit them, but we are talking about minions here and level 1-4 monsters with their +4 or +5 attack bonus simply won't cut it.


All the examples I gave are nothing that requires more than mild optimization to achieve. As I said, even unoptimized parties with ACs in the 18-20 range (and 22 for their tanks) will be more or less immune to minion monsters. Sure level 10+ monsters can still hit them, but we are talking about minions here and level 1-4 monsters with their +4 or +5 attack bonus simply won't cut it.

Magic shields of +AC only exist in conversion material, rather than the playtest proper. You can count them if you really want to, but it's going to throw off your math, because it's not something that will impact the final game as we understand it. Ditto for stacking two shields.

As for +4/+5 against AC 18-20, that honestly sounds about right. You shouldn't expect to get hit. If you're getting hit, then you're doing something wrong.

I mean, in the aggregate, sure. You're going to take a few hits over the course of a long fight, and you should prepare for that, but getting hit should be the exception rather than the rule. The +4 against AC 20 is still a quarter of the time, which sounds about right for the non-tanks. That +5 against AC 18 is a forty percent hit rate, which is practically suicidal (in my mind).

The metagame is not the game.

One of the primary perks of the "boundless accuracy" system is that there are no need for minions anymore.

Why were there minions in 4E? Because in 3E, after you became strong enough, lower-level foes had no chance of hitting you or dealing any kind of damage. Certain spells could wipe out a horde of them, even if they made their saves. Armies could not take the heroes down. Some people liked this, others found it unrealistic. There were some attempts--like swarms and mobs--to deal with the problem, but 4E decided to tackle it once and for all.

4E rectified this problem by creating "virtual" low-level dudes: minions. They possess nearly the same attributes as regular enemies, except they do a slightly lower amount of damage and have 1 HP.

Because of boundless accuracy, 5E doesn't need minions, because all the problems are gone. Low-level foes can still poses a threat to higher level PCs. Low-level foes have attack bonuses and defenses that rest safely in the span of a single d20 roll. You won't see a battle where the boss has 34 AC and the minions have 16. They don't need only 1 HP, because player damage scales faster now. They'll die off quick enough depending on how minionized they are. Other than slightly easier book-keeping, I don't see what else officially designating certain monsters as "minions" would bring to the game.
One of the primary perks of the "boundless accuracy" system is that there are no need for minions anymore. [..] Other than slightly easier book-keeping, I don't see what else officially designating certain monsters as "minions" would bring to the game.


This. That is the purpose minions should serve in D&D, a background element to illustrate larger scale conflicts, and a way to reduce bookkeeping on that. Minions should not be a creature designation. They would just be weaker monsters if so.

They should be in droves, and be presented as story complications (possibly positive ones). And they should only appear often during important scenes post 10th level; something like that.
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
Shields don't provide a typed bonus and all bonuses stack. Dual wielding spiked shields is a perfectly valid tactic for fighters in 5e.


That strikes me more as a need to tighten up the rules for shields (fix BA) than to create a new monster type (build on broken mechanics).  It's far more elegant to add one sentence to the rules for shields and change the entry for spiked shields.


There are magic shields in the playtest already. Spiked shields allow you to attack while maintaining your shield bonus to AC. I'm almost positive enchanting is going to be available to spellcasters at some point.


There aren't any magic shields that increase AC in the rules documents, and I think it's safe to surmise based on the quality and frequency of revisions to the published content, character sheets and pregens that any that might exist in the adventure content owe their lives to editing oversight.  Considering the pains they're taking to confine armor class and hit bonus to a narrow range, I'm comfortable predicting that they'll deliberately limit shield enchantments to prevent AC stacking.

Spiked shields are a bad basis for an argument.  They're obviously, badly busted in the current build.  I'm almost positive they'll be nerfed at some point.
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