Excerpt: Minions

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http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4ex/20080519a

Not really anything we didn't know. Good explanation for those who haven't "gotten" it yet. I love the line

Excerpt: Minions wrote:
The concept of minions is to provide fun filler for encounters, not to provide a way for a 1st level character to gain 1,000+ XP for defeating a 23rd-level abyssal ghoul minion by rolling a natural 20

because that kind of mentality seems to come up a lot as though the encounters out there in the world are self-existent and not planted by the DM.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

[SIZE="4"]Awesome! Devil minions!
IMAGE(http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh275/Ravingdork/Devils.jpg)
Left to Right - Legion Devil, Ice Devil, and Imp[/SIZE]

The stats kinda suck though.

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So judging by the devil minions you adjust a minions level by adding however many levels higher you want it to attack, and the defenses.

This is pretty cool because it means scaling stuff will be super easy... but what worries me is they have given us a page of what looks like the monster manual... and they have wasted almost all of it on showing us the scaled variations (which are simply adding +5 to the things i mentioned)... i'm really hoping the whole monster manual isn't like that... I'm sure the rules in the DMG for scaling minions would be sufficient for me to create all the variants based off the first devil.
...but what worries me is they have given us a page of what looks like the monster manual... and they have wasted almost all of it on showing us the scaled variations (which are simply adding +5 to the things i mentioned)... i'm really hoping the whole monster manual isn't like that... I'm sure the rules in the DMG for scaling minions would be sufficient for me to create all the variants based off the first devil.

QFT.
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Well, we finally have the stats for the Legion Devil Legionnaire which the pit fiend can bring in. Considering that they have just 1 hp, I have no qualms about having them attack, then sacrificing them to irresistible command...:D

I dunno - the idea of an epic minion sounds quite contradictory...
I can just imagine a line of Legion Devils marching forward then stopping and teleporting. Each of them teleporting around the party to form a reverse box-formation. Each would be beside another Devil so they would still have the Squad Defense while closing in.
Having finally seen the Legion Devil Legionaires, the Pit Fiend doesn't look nearly so tough now.

Also, has anyone found a pattern in determining their static damage, now that we have several minion examples to work off of?
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I like it all, really. Question though, they talk about how it should require a certain number of attack actions to get rid of a pack of minions, and give them the fact that they don't take damage from a missed attack, but how does the Stormlord's Blade Storm and improved version interact with this? Do they get a free kill there? No complaint to that, personally, just wondering.
I love the minion concept.
i'm really hoping the whole monster manual isn't like that... I'm sure the rules in the DMG for scaling minions would be sufficient for me to create all the variants based off the first devil.

It's likely that minions happen to follow the scaling rules more strictly than other monsters. They don't have complex abilities that would need adjusting and you also don't have to worry about things like HPs. Also certain things do not intuitively scale like fire resistance, speed, and damage, so I'm not too disappointed that all four versions were included. Anyway having at least a couple points of comparison makes it easier to interpolate between them.
Posted by RavingDork:
Having finally seen the Legion Devil Legionaires, the Pit Fiend doesn't look nearly so tough now.

why? were you expecting something more? they were about as good as i was expecting. they seem to have high defenses(or at least high AC) for their level.
Just thought you should know. the countdown continues...
why? were you expecting something more? they were about as good as i was expecting. they seem to have high defenses(or at least high AC) for their level.

I was expecting the summoned devils to have like 25-50 hp each or something. I suppose the other stats (attacks, Defenses, etc.) are about what I expected. I heard so many people talking about only using Irrestistable Command on Devils that were weak on hit points. So much for that!
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I love the idea and implementation (so far) of minions. I can imagine running an enounter with nothing but minions. It poses an interesting choice in the players: fight, or run? My group never runs, though...

Now, since minions now officially have 1 hit point, how do damaging auras work with them? If a player manages to get an aura that deals 1 point of damage, does the group suddenly become immune to melee minions?

Also, does ongoing damage that resulted from a miss kill a minion?
I like it all, really. Question though, they talk about how it should require a certain number of attack actions to get rid of a pack of minions, and give them the fact that they don't take damage from a missed attack, but how does the Stormlord's Blade Storm and improved version interact with this? Do they get a free kill there? No complaint to that, personally, just wondering.

I don't see anything contradicting the free kill interpretation. As long as the automatic damage is high enough to surpass any resistances the minion might have (if the damage was fire, there's no way it'd kill the epic legion devil for instance) I think it kills them.

I don't particularly have a problem with this. Most minions would have enough intelligence to realize that they didn't want to engage that blade-blender looking PC over there...even Legion Devils who don't care about their existence can probably tell that there are better targets for their attacks. Aside from that the Stormlord looks like a Paragon Path that gives significant benefits when it comes to killing minions.

Other notes:
The legion devil stats didn't take up the whole page. Half of that page is the big art block. I think half of a page is a worthy expense for legion devils since it looks like they'll be a major component of devil fights for the entire career of some PCs. Just taking an eyeball at things, these Legion Devils look like they have some high defenses...they'll be harder to put down than most minions.

I'm also glad since I see this article as the final death of the minion rules I was given at D&DXP. We were told there that area attacks couldn't actually hurt minions but just bounced them around instead. While that might perhaps be more fair to the minions, the rule felt wrong and added unnecessary complication to a part of the game that was supposed to be really simple in a mechanical sense. I'd seen some indications that the rule had changed before, but this seems like sufficient confirmation.

Edit: Dalzig - most of our playtests with the Lite version of the rules on these boards suggest that all-minion encounters aren't very satisfying. The primary complaint is that things get repetitive quickly. I'd guess that you don't want any more than eight minions in a base encounter. (This may or may not include any minions that a Pit Fiend might summon in for instance. Those minions are part of the pit fiend in terms of XP budgeting.)
D&D rules were never meant to exist without the presence of a DM. RAW is a lie.
I really like this idea. It's a good way to reward players who have area attacks (especially ones that do little damage), to make the game feel very cinematic by throwing them up against the kinds of swarms action-flick heroes fight all the time, to make the players feel awesome by going up against "impossible odds" and rocking hard, and... well, you get me. I recall that the devils preview had a suggested early-epic encounter that involved some 17 lower-level minions; I can really get behind that.

Also, I notice that the rogue is the one standing out in front in the picture. My money is on her being an artful dodger rogue/shadow assassin with a +5 or so AC bonus against opportunity attacks (those provoked by movement, specifically), that feature that inflicts Dexterity-bonus damage on a creature that fails an attack against her, and the intent to provoke a whole lot of OAs. I have decided I need to play an artful dodger rogue/shadow assassin at some point for that reason alone.
Edit: Dalzig - most of our playtests with the Lite version of the rules on these boards suggest that all-minion encounters aren't very satisfying. The primary complaint is that things get repetitive quickly. I'd guess that you don't want any more than eight minions in a base encounter. (This may or may not include any minions that a Pit Fiend might summon in for instance. Those minions are part of the pit fiend in terms of XP budgeting.)

I'd say that sometimes you'll want to do more than that, but in specific instances for a specific reason. Like if a character hasn't been feeling badass enough lately, make an excuse for them to be going toe-to-toe with a swarm of minions and let them lay down the smack like nobody's business--after some appropriately heroic dialogue. Bonus points for bystanders oohing and aahhing or otherwise being impressed.
Edit: Dalzig - most of our playtests with the Lite version of the rules on these boards suggest that all-minion encounters aren't very satisfying. The primary complaint is that things get repetitive quickly. I'd guess that you don't want any more than eight minions in a base encounter. (This may or may not include any minions that a Pit Fiend might summon in for instance. Those minions are part of the pit fiend in terms of XP budgeting.)

Yeah, you would think that strait minion encounters would get repetitive, but I think using minion only encounters as plot devices where the goal isnt necessarily to kill all the minions would be kinda cool. For instance after going through a dungeon they have to escape before the dungeon collapses in on them trapping them in, but on their way out they have to fight through a bunch of minions in order to get out. The objective here isnt to kill the minions, its to get them out of your way so that you can escape.
Sure, there might be exceptions I guess. If a DM wants to throw a pack of 20 minions at their PCs they're welcome to do so, but they should be aware that the fight will get repetitive.

I personally suspect that almost any of those all-minion ideas would still be pulled off better if there was a Controller(Leader) regular monster or some sort of elite hanging around with the minions though.
D&D rules were never meant to exist without the presence of a DM. RAW is a lie.
I did like that they had devil minions for levels 6 to 21 shown.

This means that you do not have players only level 16+ being sent to hell.

You can send them their to fight devils in your heroic campaign, too.

This will be good for me; since, I plan to be doing a Sigil-like, Planescape Campaign and I like having monsters of all types and planes of all types to work with.

Also, does ongoing damage that resulted from a miss kill a minion?

It specifically states damage resulting from a missed attack roll do not kill minions.

Damage from attacks kill.

Damage from other abilities that do not require an attack kill (Mark).



;)
Sure, there might be exceptions I guess. If a DM wants to throw a pack of 20 minions at their PCs they're welcome to do so, but they should be aware that the fight will get repetitive.

I personally suspect that almost any of those all-minion ideas would still be pulled off better if there was a Controller(Leader) regular monster or some sort of elite hanging around with the minions though.

Absolutely, I totally agree. There could be some truly wicked combinations of various types of minions and controllers / leaders. I can't wait.
I'd like to point out that orc minions suck to fight if there is an eye of grummsh. All those extra attacks? sheesh!
I was expecting the summoned devils to have like 25-50 hp each or something. I suppose the other stats (attacks, Defenses, etc.) are about what I expected. I heard so many people talking about only using Irrestistable Command on Devils that were weak on hit points. So much for that!

1 hit point is the lynch pin in the minions mechanics. There supposed to to effective for there level put drop with one punch. They are the hordes manipulated and complementing other devils within in their tier.

Minions are just one more reason I anticipate DMing DnD 4e!
Really, really need to see a mid 20's PC at this point. We have almost all the pieces of a Pit Fiend fight, but no PCs to compare to.

Also note the wording on Irresistible Command:

Ranged Irresistible Command (minor 1/round; at-will) • Charm, Fire
Range 10; affects one allied devil of lower level than the pit fiend; the target immediately slides up to 5 squares and explodes, dealing 2d10+5 fire damage to all creatures in a close burst 2. The exploding devil is destroyed.

All creatures, automatic damage. Unless they've changed the wording IC would blow up all Legion Devils in a 5 square cube (2d10+5 fire = 16 damage average, more than the Epic Legion Devil's 15 Fire Resist)

In all practice, due to their vulnerability, the Legion Devils in the Pit Fiend fight really are nothing but rabble that is best used by hanging at the edge waiting to get blown up.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

I'd say minions have the potential to be very interesting and fun, yet I'm also rather worried they'll be so easily dispatched that they'll have very little impact during a fight at all, making encounters too easy -- instead a DM may receive more mileage out of using just normal monsters?

It's hard to say without the books on hand or the experience of play, though.
Minions rock!!!

I can picture it now - the PCs swarmed by hordes of mooks, slaying to the left of 'em, smiting to the right! Oh, the humanity. Oh,the Arnie-esque one-liners. Oh, the fun!
Playing Scales of War

Rogue.jpg

One thing bothers me about minions - miniatures.
Managing such numbers of creatures without them might be painful. Hoping you get the right minion in a booster pack might be painful as well.
Minion miniatures should be sold in packs with like four or five of them inside.
That way or another, miniatures lovers are screwed.
I actually really like the looks of the 6th level minion; it seems like they could even be interesting against a first level party, as pretty hefty foes. Yeah, they have glass jaws, but I could totally see an encounter where someone summoned them and siced them on the PCs - five of them plus a first level NPC leader or controller could make for an interesting battle.
Also, I notice that the rogue is the one standing out in front in the picture. My money is on her being an artful dodger rogue/shadow assassin with a +5 or so AC bonus against opportunity attacks (those provoked by movement, specifically), that feature that inflicts Dexterity-bonus damage on a creature that fails an attack against her, and the intent to provoke a whole lot of OAs. I have decided I need to play an artful dodger rogue/shadow assassin at some point for that reason alone.

Interesting you should mention that. Last night, we were playing KotS and our rogue got surrounded by minions on the first round of combat. Same tactic. The wizard needed an 11 to hit them with his scorching burst. Lower, and he missed. Higher and he hit the rogue too. It was our first epic moment in 4e because he rolled the 11 and wasted the minions, saving the rogue from a slew of OAs.

I'd say minions have the potential to be very interesting and fun, yet I'm also rather worried they'll be so easily dispatched that they'll have very little impact during a fight at all, making encounters too easy -- instead a DM may receive more mileage out of using just normal monsters?

It's hard to say without the books on hand or the experience of play, though.

Meanwhile the other minions in the group did do their job by sending enough damage at us to make us worry about them. They were easy enough to kill, but there is something to be said for not being able to kill them all before they get their digs in. As a party, we were generally more worried about the bigger guys to focus all of our attacks on taking out the minions first. We had a balancing act, allowing the minions to be effective.
Sure, there might be exceptions I guess. If a DM wants to throw a pack of 20 minions at their PCs they're welcome to do so, but they should be aware that the fight will get repetitive.

I'd say minions have the potential to be very interesting and fun, yet I'm also rather worried they'll be so easily dispatched that they'll have very little impact during a fight at all, making encounters too easy -- instead a DM may receive more mileage out of using just normal monsters?

As much as I like the idea, these two things taken together (being repetitive and too easy) could make it fall flat in some respects. I imagine that after 20 or so minion fights there will be players who start adopting the "we kill them and loot them and move on" list mentality (or I am alone in that my friends are annoying like that sometimes??)

Its a brilliant idea though. My one fix, if it turns out that one-hit kill minion monsters need a fix, would probably be to houserule 'two-hit' and 'three-hit' minions if I wanted to use less minions in a fight without actually reducing combat time. But hey I'm only speculating because the idea inspires thought. I look forward to seeing the implementation of it in the overall big picture after the big release.
I know we've all been saying that the Legion Devils look like they have high defenses, but I want to put them up for direct comparison against (somewhat) equivalent creatures:

Legion Devil 6: AC 22/Fort 18/Reflex 17/Will 17 (minion)
Orc Drudge 4: AC 16/Fort 15/Reflex 12/Will 12 (minion)

Legion Devil 11: AC 27/Fort 23/Reflex 22/Will 22 (minion)
Succubus 9: AC 23/Fort 17/Reflex 21/Will 23 (controller)
Orc Warrior 9: AC 21/Fort 19/Reflex 16/Will 16 (minion)
Angel of Honor 8: AC 24/Fort 22/Reflex 20/Will 19 (soldier)

Legion Devil 21: AC 37/Fort 33/Reflex 32/Will 32 (minion)
War Devil 22: AC 35/Fort 34/Reflex 32/Will 30 (brute-leader)

Even if you adjust for differences in the level bonus, these guys look impressive in terms of their defenses. Perhaps most importantly they have no weak spot...you can't just hit their lackluster Will defense or something. I bet that PCs with good attack roll values will still need something like an 11 on their d20 rolls to hit them.

I'm betting that they're built using the Soldier chassis. The Angel of Honor is a fairly good comparison despite being 3 levels lower.
D&D rules were never meant to exist without the presence of a DM. RAW is a lie.
Great article! I have no problem conceptualizing the new minion rules, probably because I used to run Feng Shui and WoD. Mooks make combat much more interesting, and if you're fighting one minion You're Doing It Wrong.

I also immediately started to do some mental math from what we know. In theory, an encounter of level+4 should be something possible, but not without party death. Also, creatures of level-4 should still be somewhat relevant in combat, though little more than roadblocks. What happens when we combine the two, and create a level+4 encounter of level-4 minions? Would 80 minions, by themselves, pose a threat to the average party?
The legion devil progression reminds me of this picture

OT: Ravingdork, please put the daemons picture on the front page in sblocks, or make it a link. It's wide-itude is throwing off my poor, tiny screen's formatting...

Otherwise, I like the idea, but I kind of hope there's at least one non-minion version of the Legion Devil. It's a cool looking monster, and every once in a while I'd like to throw one at the party as a legitimate threat on it's own.

In lower level devil encounters, I'd rather have an imp be the minion of a legion devil, rather then the other way around. But maybe that's just me.
Really, really need to see a mid 20's PC at this point. We have almost all the pieces of a Pit Fiend fight, but no PCs to compare to.

Also note the wording on Irresistible Command:


All creatures, automatic damage. Unless they've changed the wording IC would blow up all Legion Devils in a 5 square cube (2d10+5 fire = 16 damage average, more than the Epic Legion Devil's 15 Fire Resist)

In all practice, due to their vulnerability, the Legion Devils in the Pit Fiend fight really are nothing but rabble that is best used by hanging at the edge waiting to get blown up.

Ironically enough this could make one of the better Pit Fiend strategies to fight the PCs in a pit. Have all of the Legion Devils standing on the lip of the 5x5x5 pit(most likely with the Pit Fiend right beside them) and every turn he drops one in on the PCs. Give all of them bows so they can keep adding on the damage, and then just find a soldier or brute with decent fire resistance(fire archons maybe) and the PCs are in for a world of hurt.
One thing bothers me about minions - miniatures.
Managing such numbers of creatures without them might be painful. Hoping you get the right minion in a booster pack might be painful as well.
Minion miniatures should be sold in packs with like four or five of them inside.
That way or another, miniatures lovers are screwed.

My strategy for this is to just use Commons. You can get most Commons for $0.25 each. Given the 4 of each you'll get out of one sealed case, you can have 20 for an investment of only $4.00. Plenty of good websites for single's sales, I can PM you a couple if you need.

I like the Minion rules. I'm already envisioning an 'invasion' campaign with portals opening and Legion Devils marching across the land. Hundreds of minions to wade through on your way to the portal to try and kill the Elites who are keeping it open...
Minions are definitely going to be a mechanic that requires some work to get them to be used well.

For example,

1> In CoH initially, you could herd large numbers of a hundred or more lesser types in giant herd and then bring them into a mass kill zone where the artillary was set up to flambe the lot. This is the donate the xp equivelent of using minions.

Compare this to reactor fights where you have groups appearing in waves from several possible starting points. You can still hit a clump here or there but there are enough different entry points that some get through and there are a couple tougher units in the mix to keep people occupied that it is not hit this group of minions and move on.

Covering different entry points and having waves where people need to watch for both larger and weaker versions of monsters makes for the minions to be effective.

2> This comes to probably the more important thing with minions. Do not let minions be the sole focus of a battle.

Classic Indiana Jones battles with mooks are like his chasing after Marion through the market in Raiders of the Lost Arc. It is the time factor that makes the minions more dangerous as Indiana can not sit back and fight safely but has to keep pressing forward and risking multiple attacks.

Star Wars, fighting mooks. If it was in Revenge of the Sith with the Droids in the Elevator then the focus was getting on the elevator. If it was in Star Wars a New Hope then it was trying to avoid being swarmed with Storm Troopers and getting back to the Millenium Falcon.

Minions are more dangerous when you need to push past them in a hurry or when you need to stop every single one from getting through an area.

3> Terrain is important in mook fights.

Usually when there are mooks in a fight then terrain is more important. Fighting on top of a bridge, fighting on a sinking ship, fighting on top of a moving train, fighting on the edge of a volcano, fighting while stactlites fall from the ceiling during an earthquake. Things that are keeping the players moving or not focusing their best resources.

4> Minions arrive in waves.

This again is a good thing. If you have twenty minions to use in a fight do not put them all, side by side, in a clump, at the start of the fight. This says fireball me!

Bring them in small groups with a bit of spacing which allows them room to manouver and shift. This draws out the fight and reduces the urge of people to hit them with one daily strike and yet if the groups come from a couple of directions and keep coming then you can see some of the encounter powers be used up while the minions keep swarming through.

Just some suggestions, I am sure others will come up with some good stuff for a DM optimization. :D
I am unsure about this one. I am just gonna have to see this in play to get a good feel for how it will work, and how to make it more fun for the players.
Yay! Mooks! :invasion:
So judging by the devil minions you adjust a minions level by adding however many levels higher you want it to attack, and the defenses.

This is pretty cool because it means scaling stuff will be super easy... but what worries me is they have given us a page of what looks like the monster manual... and they have wasted almost all of it on showing us the scaled variations (which are simply adding +5 to the things i mentioned)... i'm really hoping the whole monster manual isn't like that... I'm sure the rules in the DMG for scaling minions would be sufficient for me to create all the variants based off the first devil.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Legion Devils presented are at the various levels that will be summonable by the Elite and Solo devils in the MM. That would be in keeping with their "no assembly required" philosophy that they talked about so much with dragons.
I love the idea and implementation (so far) of minions. I can imagine running an enounter with nothing but minions. It poses an interesting choice in the players: fight, or run? My group never runs, though...

Now, since minions now officially have 1 hit point, how do damaging auras work with them? If a player manages to get an aura that deals 1 point of damage, does the group suddenly become immune to melee minions?

Also, does ongoing damage that resulted from a miss kill a minion?

Minions only die from taking damage from an attack with a to hit roll, therefore they would be immune to things like auras and ongoing damage.
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