[3.5] Help! How to make a minion-heavy class

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One of the players of my "Evil Campaign" (where the player characters are all evil and trying to take over everything) has been inspired by Starcraft, and wants to play a Kerrigan-like character surrounded by minions.

This character's minions would be his primary class feature, and I want him to have both access to multiple, increasing numbers of minion types (at higher levels, flying ones and some with supernatural abilities) and abilities or spells that work well with or cast on his minions. I want the class to have exceptionally limited offensive options aside from the minions, but cool x/day utility effects related to them (buffs, minion-only healing, etc).

The minions should NOT be summons, but permanent companions and such.

I already have a bunch of balance concerns, and I'm trying to figure out how to do this without under or over powering the character.

I am aiming for a tier 3 class, or as close as I can get, and it needs to scale up to 20th level. Particularly, it needs to keep pace with a martial melee character similar to a warblade, and a slightly improved version of a Warlock.

Are there examples, has anybody tried this, and do you have any advice for me?

Mostly, how can I stop the minions from breaking the game without making them worthless?
Dread Necromancer is pretty pro.

Also, spellstitch Animate Dread Warrior onto yourself or a zombie familiar. 'Cuz an uncapped number of undead minions with class levels is fun.

I am ORCutus of Borg, 3 of 6. Resistance... is futile. Your life as it has been... is over. From this time forward... you will service... us.

Resident flaming Frickin' Awesome Guy

Flamboyant Flamer of the House of Trolls

Leadership or the Thrallherd ability already exist if you don't want undead minions.

Really, though, this WILL slow your game to a halt. Loads of minions take a long time to run, and balance dictates that the more of them there are, the weaker each will be - which means that you're taking a long time to act and probably achieving nothing.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Leadership or the Thrallherd ability already exist if you don't want undead minions. Really, though, this WILL slow your game to a halt. Loads of minions take a long time to run, and balance dictates that the more of them there are, the weaker each will be - which means that you're taking a long time to act and probably achieving nothing.



That is a problem I've considered. I'm trying out numerous ways to get around that at the moment, mostly the idea that at the higher levels, when his minions become so numerous that they are a veritable army, I'll track their actions and attacks as groups based on their average damage per round and such.

Are there any other good ways of dealing with this?

Also, I'm thinking that minion numbers may be limited in the early levels to only a handful of minions at a time, so that their actions don't bog things down too much. His minions would each therefore be much stronger than the average skeleton or zombie, for their size. 
You could look into how Saga Edition handled it. StevenO can answer this one better than I can, but I believe it was in the Clone Wars or Galaxy at War books that talents (class features) were introduced to give you a small squad of reasonably powerful supporters - in a way that did NOT actually grant extra actions in the conventional sense. (In fact, a Crime Lord with these talents and minion-based talents could be an impressive leader in that system.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I never really got into the whole "minions" thing even in SWSE.  I know the Crimelord PrC had features allowing you to pick up a nonheroic (think DnD NPC class or worse) follower.  The Clone Wars Campaign Guide (I believe) has a more general way of picking up followers and improving them but I wasn't a big fan of that.  The Scavenger's Guide to Droids had a system where a PC would need to "issue orders" with some type of action to have a droid (effectively a follower) perform some action.

The CWCG also had information about treating a small group of characters as a single "Squad" that acted as one character.  In StarWars this allows you to use what would otherwise be "weak" units, like Stormtroopers, and make them a bit more threatening; at the same time it REALLY helps cinematic emersion when every time a character tears up a single "squad" unit you could describe it as tearing into a group of soldiers despite using a single attack.
 
I never really got into the whole "minions" thing even in SWSE.  I know the Crimelord PrC had features allowing you to pick up a nonheroic (think DnD NPC class or worse) follower.  The Clone Wars Campaign Guide (I believe) has a more general way of picking up followers and improving them but I wasn't a big fan of that.  The Scavenger's Guide to Droids had a system where a PC would need to "issue orders" with some type of action to have a droid (effectively a follower) perform some action.

The CWCG also had information about treating a small group of characters as a single "Squad" that acted as one character.  In StarWars this allows you to use what would otherwise be "weak" units, like Stormtroopers, and make them a bit more threatening; at the same time it REALLY helps cinematic emersion when every time a character tears up a single "squad" unit you could describe it as tearing into a group of soldiers despite using a single attack.
 




First of all, thank you for posting, as usual StevenO.

I think this may be the approach I use. Despite the relative lackluster of the approach, the player may just act once, and his actions contain what all the others do. For example, he will roll one attack roll for himself (if he attacks) and all minions. Modifiers may apply differently, and different attacks can be aimed at different creatures, but the same roll will apply.

This will only work for up to perhaps a dozen or so minions, though. In the higher levels, when he starts to build armies and the like, I'll have to codify my ideas on how group/army combat should work. Mostly, I want to create low-maintenance rules that create a dynamic background for the PCs, but allow them to step in and affect any part of the battle they want to and can affect, with actual mechanical results, rather than simple narrative.

I think his minion types available and his max number of minions will be limited by his level. No 1 HD cannon fodder, either. Loosing a minion will hurt (at least a little), costing both gold and time to replace, and he will have a cap to the number of minions he can control. In the higher levels, this cap will expand to epic proportions, allowing for the formation of armies and such.
But at the lower levels, the minion cap will require careful use of minions and reasonably restrict him to only having perhaps 3-6 minions at the lower levels, and maybe as many as a dozen in the middle level range.

I think he will gain flying minions at 6th level, minions with cool supernatural abilities around 11th level, and big, beastly minions of epic proportions that also have extraordinary and supernatural abilities and special qualities, at the high levels.
Saga did that "collapsing minions into single actor" thing in a few different ways.

It had a "Coordinated Attack" feat (which, to give you an example, was on every stormtrooper) that basically said you automatically succeeded on Aid Another. This doesn't sound like much - until you realize that this means you could instantly consider each extra stormtrooper in a group as a free +2 to the one that actually was attacking. (They also had Coordinate, a talent (class feature) that took a standard action to use and increased allied Aid Another bonuses by 1 to 5, depending on how many times you focused on this. With effects like this, groups of relatively harmless common mooks, such as regular stormtroopers and a basic officer, could combine to produce something that could actually threaten higher-level foes!)

It had "squads" and "units" which, as I recall, were templates applied to groups. Squads reflected a smaller group (think four people or so), while units reflected large armies. I don't remember the squad rules offhand and I'm away from books. I DO remember the unit rules, which were a bit wonky, but more or less turned whatever creature you were using into a starship. (That is, you'd create a unit of clone troopers, say, and use the starship-scale combat rules to reflect the army as a whole. While PCs in a starship might take on different crew stations - pilot, gunner, engineer, etc - in a unit, they'd take on corresponding leadership roles. It used exactly the same rules for both ships and armies.)

And, most importantly, there was (I think) only two ways to get extra actions in the entire game, and you couldn't use those tricks on yourself. They also cost you as many actions as they granted your partner. This is something that's quite different in D&D.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

As I said I'm not a big fan of PCs wandering around with lots of "minions" and the squad rules really would help that.  The squad rule are great as a GM as can use one squad instead of three or four characters and treat it as a single actor instead of multiple acting units.

To try and put things in DnD terms a "Squad" is essentially a template added to a base character.  It increases its challenge level +2 point, has it occupy a space one size larger than the base character, gives it x4 hitpoint, I want to say it give a +3 attack bonus and turns ranged attacks into splash weapons and melee attacks into area melee attacks; a squad also takes double damage from area attacks.  Squads are pretty simple and may work as NPC groups in DnD but they still represent a small number of individuals acting as one.  Units are a much larger scale and basically get used for wargame type play.

In SWSE there are a few ways to get additional actions but most involve giving up very limited resources and/or having other characters give up their actions so you could do something.
 
In SWSE there are a few ways to get additional actions but most involve giving up very limited resources and/or having other characters give up their actions so you could do something.
 


This is a little off-topic, but... Apart from Trust and Impel Ally, were there really any that could affect another hero? The cohort-style talents technically gave some form of action advantage but only worked on the NPC cohort in question.  It's been a while and all I really remember is the core book.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Saga did that "collapsing minions into single actor" thing in a few different ways.

It had a "Coordinated Attack" feat (which, to give you an example, was on every stormtrooper) that basically said you automatically succeeded on Aid Another. This doesn't sound like much - until you realize that this means you could instantly consider each extra stormtrooper in a group as a free +2 to the one that actually was attacking. (They also had Coordinate, a talent (class feature) that took a standard action to use and increased allied Aid Another bonuses by 1 to 5, depending on how many times you focused on this. With effects like this, groups of relatively harmless common mooks, such as regular stormtroopers and a basic officer, could combine to produce something that could actually threaten higher-level foes!)

It had "squads" and "units" which, as I recall, were templates applied to groups. Squads reflected a smaller group (think four people or so), while units reflected large armies. I don't remember the squad rules offhand and I'm away from books. I DO remember the unit rules, which were a bit wonky, but more or less turned whatever creature you were using into a starship. (That is, you'd create a unit of clone troopers, say, and use the starship-scale combat rules to reflect the army as a whole. While PCs in a starship might take on different crew stations - pilot, gunner, engineer, etc - in a unit, they'd take on corresponding leadership roles. It used exactly the same rules for both ships and armies.)

And, most importantly, there was (I think) only two ways to get extra actions in the entire game, and you couldn't use those tricks on yourself. They also cost you as many actions as they granted your partner. This is something that's quite different in D&D.



Ok, well that sounds like a decent system, and I'm going to give some version of it a try. I don't have access to any of those rulebooks, but I get the idea at least from this post.

Thank you! 
In SWSE there are a few ways to get additional actions but most involve giving up very limited resources and/or having other characters give up their actions so you could do something.
 


This is a little off-topic, but... Apart from Trust and Impel Ally, were there really any that could affect another hero? The cohort-style talents technically gave some form of action advantage but only worked on the NPC cohort in question.  It's been a while and all I really remember is the core book.

The big one could be spending a Destiny Point (you only get one of those each level for the uniformed) to act out of turn although that isn't so much gaining more actions as just acting again with a brand new turn.  Now besides the Trust and Impel Ally series there are some other talents that would allow other characters to perform certain actions when certain conditions are met.  That's maybe not the same as giving open ended actions but if you could give you allies a free move action at the start of an encounter that is a pretty massive boost.

Ok, well that sounds like a decent system, and I'm going to give some version of it a try. I don't have access to any of those rulebooks, but I get the idea at least from this post.


Although it has a couple warts many have regarded StarWars SAGA Edition (SWSE) as the best d20 roleplaying game WotC ever created.  Many of us were disappointed to see it go.  In many ways it is kind of what DnD 3.75 might have looked like as it is between 3.5 and 4e and I'd say that because of it some of us were very disappointed with the direction 4e took.  Although WotC recently closed their StarWars forums after losing the rights several years ago some of us have taken the form to a new place where we continue to talk about SWSE.