Using My Monsters

Thursday, 6 October 2011

More Minion Maximisation

There has been some interest in the minion rules I use (Hi @DnDHelper), and as my groups have been using them for some time, I can safely say that they work, though they do make minion far more lethal. So, I thought I would share some more of the creation crunch with you. Let me know what you think!

DAMAGE PER LEVEL

As I described before, one of the major changes was giving minions more punch. Here is a table showing the base damage my minions deal, with some notes below about special considerations. 

Level
Damage
Level
Damage
1
9
16
16
2
9
17
17
3
10
18
17
4
10
19
18
5
11
20
18
6
11
21
19
7
12
22
19
8
12
23
20
9
13
24
20
10
13
25
21
11
14
26
21
12
14
27
22
13
15
28
22
14
15
29
23
15
16
30
23


Artillery: Artillery are glass cannons; deadly at range, squishy up close. Ranged attacks should always be deadly. I increase their ranged damage (not just minions) by +25% - +50%, though I reduce their melee attack by a similar amount . Like the Brutes, bear in mind that they will be doing double damage on a critical hit. Use with care unless you really hate your players.

Brutes: Increase the damage by 25% if they also inflict some kind of condition or effect on a hit, or anywhere from 50% - 75% if they are just damage machines. Bear in mind, on a critical hit, they are going to be doing double that damage. When maximising your minions this way, Brutes can be deadly. Use with care!

Controllers: I tend to reduce the damage by between -10% - -25% but slap on some nice effects. Minion controllers, because of their numbers can be a major pain in the backside, and really force the players to ask “Who do I kill first, minions or BBEG?”

Lurkers: Like Artillery and Brutes, Lurkers should deal significant (+50% - +75%) damage with their special “now you see me” type attacks, regardless of whether or not they inflict additional conditions or effects. This is because they then – if designed well – should phase out for a bit, leaving the party panicking about where they are or when they will strike next.

Skirmishers: Work out the box. Just give them lots of speed, and abilities to prevent being bogged down.

Soldiers: Work out the box. Just remember to give them good defences and to make sure they mark and get their opportunity attacks. Nothing breaks up a heroic charge like a wall of good soldier minions.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Auras: You know what else minions are good for? Auras. Give some of your horrors a nice aura that either boosts allies, grants other minions additional damage or abilities, or which just harms the party somehow. Favourites of mine include slow auras, auras that remove resistances or immunities, or auras that prevent spending healing surges. Used right, these can seriously affect the difficulty of an “easy” battle.

Death Effect: Minions that explode inflicting damage in a burst, or create zones of dangerous terrain simply rule! Clouds of poisonous fumes, zones of magma or portals that allow instant movement between them are all interesting ways for the battlefield to change during a combat.

They may Have 1 Hit Point, But They Aren't (Always) Stupid: So some minions may rush suicidally towards a glorious death, and that is cool (especially if they explode in a burst 1 when slain and inflicting ongoing damage muwhuahahahahaha!). However, most want to live, they really do, and so will try to use their terrain and their abilities to the best of their advantage. Think of them less as fodder, and more as proper monsters, and use them appropriately. Trust me, even upper paragon and epic characters are going to struggle when the minions use their brains.

Use Some Software: I know I tout it a lot, but the DnD4eCM is an excellent bit of free software, that helps you to track all the ongoing effects your new, shiny, deadly minions inflict. I tend to create a single minion token for the initiative order, and move all my minions of one type together (speeds up play), but the software still tracks the effects, which is ace. Just remember to note down the actual encounter XP total, not the total with only one minion, or your players will, literally, murder you.

Have fun, give these rules a try and see what happens. My group prefer these minions, though they now also fear minions, and actually groan when they see the multitudes of tokens going on the battlemat. And that's how it should be in my opinion. 50 Gorgoth Reavers should be scary, not a speed bump / XP fest, and trust me, when the smoke has cleared, and the dead are counted, your players (or at least those who's characters survived) are going to be grinning like idiots, high fiving, and generally gushing about how awesome the battle was.

Honest!

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