D&D 3E/3.5 Converting 4E Minion Concept to 3.5E ???


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Dragonwriter

First Post
Corsair said:
Of course something like Acid Fog, or even magic missile will mow through them.

That doesn't matter. If you read the excerpt from WotC, you see that they just want minions to occupy the PCs a little bit and make the characters expend resources. So what if they die? Anyway, isn't that what most villains do - throw servants at the PCs to mess with them and take time?
 

Nail

First Post
Dragonwriter said:
That doesn't matter. If you read the excerpt from WotC, you see that they just want minions to occupy the PCs a little bit and make the characters expend resources. So what if they die? Anyway, isn't that what most villains do - throw servants at the PCs to mess with them and take time?
Exactly.

I suspect many of us do something like this already.

For example, when the PCs hit 13th level, I hit 'em with a few major demons and a horde of dretches. The dretches didn't each roll to hit; I treated it as "environmental damage" to the PCs, and any damage directed at a detch took it out of combat. It worked well, I think.
 

I think one 3E issue that needs addressing is that multiple attacks based on high BAB enable minions to be dealt with that much quicker in 3E vs. 4E.

In 4E, one successful attack kills one minion. Most people will have one attack per round (usually). But in 3E you can quickly get to the point where people have 2 or 3 attacks per round and are therefore able to get rid of minions that much quicker.

I'm thinking of giving 3E minions "hits", where a minion needs to be struck more than once by people with multiple attacks from BAB. One hit per BAB of the attacker sounds good, but since iterative attacks are at a lower bonus it may not be the perfect solution. Or maybe just use the creature's BAB and for every 5 points give it an extra "hit."

Thoughts?
 

phindar

First Post
I think the "hit" method penalizes people with high damage output. Power Attack/Great Cleave is designed to mow down unimportant minions, but would be useless against a 2 hit minion.
 


phindar said:
I think the "hit" method penalizes people with high damage output. Power Attack/Great Cleave is designed to mow down unimportant minions, but would be useless against a 2 hit minion.

Damage output is irrelevant since any damage kills a minion.

You could say that a Cleave attack can kill a minion in one shot. But still, if you can cleave off iterative attacks it's the same problem.
 

hornedturtle said:
If they are killing the minions too quickly you just need more minions!

Agreed, but it drives up the XP. I'm looking for a way to adapt the 4E minion rules to 3E, but you can't just do a straight lift due to different mechanics of the rule systems (specifically, iterative attacks).
 

Corsair

First Post
Ogrork the Mighty said:
Agreed, but it drives up the XP. I'm looking for a way to adapt the 4E minion rules to 3E, but you can't just do a straight lift due to different mechanics of the rule systems (specifically, iterative attacks).

Or god forbid a TWF warrior.
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
You do realize massive area spells are also more common in 3E, right? It's not just the fighters you need to worry about. One web spell (+a fire effect to burn it), evard's, fireball if you're not feeling creative, or my favorite for this situation: level 3 druid spell, Spike Stones. cover 20 ft square per CL, every 5 ft stepped is 1d4 damage, no way of seeing the spikes w/o a large Search check and Trapfinding...minions...defeated!

--Accountability announcement: I hate, loathe and despise the minion rules as the most idiotic concept if not ever in D&D, then at least in the past several years, and came into this thread against it before reading anything.
 

AFGNCAAP

First Post
Well, to apply a few of the minion concepts to 3.5 D&D, here's what I suggest:
  • Minimum HP per HD for minions (but not just a single 1 HP regardless of HD, due to the use of Saves instead of Defenses)
  • Average damage per die/dice with a weapon/attack (instead of rolled); default on the low side of average (2 for a 1d4, 3 for a 1d6, etc.).
  • Average spell/spell-like ability/supernatural ability durations per die/dice (instead of rolled) when applicable; default on the low side of average (2 for a 1d4, 3 for a 1d6, etc.).
  • Rarely/never encountered individually: always in groups, and always at a CR at least equal to or lower than the PC's CR (higher in a few rare instances, like for minions present for a "boss fight").
  • Rarely/never use potent templates for minion-level foes: a vampire spawn minion is OK, but not a dwarf fighter with the vampire template; Celestial & Fiendish work for minions, but not Half-Celestial or Half-Fiend; etc.
  • Only use NPC classes for minions (if you're making minions of a LA +0 race)—never PC classes.
  • OTOH, for PCs with the Leadership feat, have all of the followers (but not the cohort) abide by the minion guidelines. Do the same with summoned creatures for spellcasters, as well.

OTOH, here's what I'd recommend for solos:
  • Max HP per HD for solos
  • Minimum # of HD for a solo (enabling multiple attacks per round), &/or Feats that allow attacks against several opponents at once (like Cleave/Great Cleave, Whirlwind Attack, etc.).
  • If you use Action Points IYC, let solos (and maybe some elites/BBEG roles) have Action Points as if they had the Heroic Spirit feat (basically gives prominent NPCs 3 AP, which can be boosted by other feats).
  • If viable, provide with levels in a PC class to give class-like options/powers to boost the solo's threat level (access to spellcasting/psionics; access to weapon specialization; access to sneak attack; etc.).

Hope this helps some (if any).
 

phindar

First Post
I'm a little confused by what you mean by multiple hits. If any damage kills a minion, Great Cleave becomes a lot more powerful. If minions require more than one hit to drop, Great Cleave doesn't do anything.

Mooks in 3.5 can be built in a number of ways. Some monsters might have horrible ACs, but have DR and a lot of hit points that make multiple cleaves unlikely (like say, ogre zombies). Others might have hit points lower than a fighter's minimum damage, but better ACs that make a long string of cleaves unlikely (like 1st level warriors in full-plate).

Obviously, the benefit to the way 4e mooks work is that they are much simpler to run, but a lot of 3.5 abilities are based around minions that are a little more effective (even if they still need to roll a 20 to hit). I would use the 4e minion mechanic if the 3.5 characters were wiping out defenseless villagers or something (or more likely, if they were trying to stop other monsters from wiping out defenseless villagers), but other than that I probably wouldn't bother putting monsters that weak on the board.

Edit: This post came off a kind of terse, which wasn't what I was going for. My point is that 3.5 characters have abilities that are designed for stronger minions, and a lot of those abilities (like iterative attacks) are gone in 4e. So minions that are designed to be low-threat in 4e become even less effective in 3.5. That was my point.
 
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Jeff Wilder

First Post
Just say that when a minion takes any damage, he "dies on even, lives on odd." You could either roll a die for it, or you could just use the actual damage number:

"I did 25 damage."

"Okay, you strike the orc, hard, and he stumbles, but he keeps coming."

"I did 2 points to the other orc with a magic missile."

"The magic missile takes the orc in the eye and he drops."

"WTF?"

If you use the latter method, probably best not to tell your players.
 

I made a "Minion"-like rule by just reduce HP by half for my Iron Heroes game. But that was before any details on the Minion rules existed.

Today, I might make this work differently.

CR -3:
1 HP, Evasion, Mettle. All damage is average, and Minions cannot score critical hits (but automatic hits are okay). (If they have a special ability like "Augmented Criticals", you might allow them to do so on a 20)

For monsters with Save or Die/Suck abilities: Remove them.
If you really want to keep them, require 2-4 of the Minions to work together to replicate the effect. (So, you might need to see 4 Bodak Minions to make a Save, and maybe 2 Ghuls need to hit you before you need to save for paralysis.) Or it simply takes more rounds for the effect to work (after 4 rounds of looking at the Medusa Minions, you turn to stone.).
Both ways increase the urgency of dispatching the Minions.

The big problem in 3E will be that at high levels, missing a Minion is highly unlikely, but at low levels, it will happen often.
Therefore maybe the still should have hit points, but only a lot less (1/2 or 1/3 is okay). Keeping Evasion and Mettle might still be a good idea...
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I'm not particularly convinced that the minion rules for 4e would work particularly well in 3.5. For one thing, it increases the relative power of magic missiles. Just fire off the widest spread you got, take down 1-5 minions with one 1st level spell.

I think minimum hit points for the hit dice (and maybe Con bonus) is probably a better option in many cases. Characters capable of doing a lot of melee damage will take them down quickly (1 or 2 hits), most area effect wizard spells will mow through them as well, cleave and great cleave wouldn't be quite as powerful as with 1 hp minions.

I'd probably drop the CR more than 2 though for calculating XPs.

Personally, I think 4e makes the minions too weak and easy to take out. Other games with minion rules that I can think of don't make it hard but not all hits are auto-kills.
 

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