D&D 5E Minions with Damage Thresholds?

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I just go hit roll Attack success = dead minion, For a mass of minions I'll ask for damage and then apply to multiple targets ie you roll 20 Damage you kill 20 minions...
 

log in or register to remove this ad


Clint_L

Hero
So, I currently play a monk, and this system seems really punishing on characters who rely on a bunch of low damage attacks. How do you take that into account?

For instance, that fire newt minion would be basically immune to a monk’s unarmed attacks.

It would be great for our barbarian, though - that guy never does less than ten damage on a hit.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Minions with damage thresholds* existed in 4e. They were a great tool, particularly for paragon-tier and epic-tier minions. I definitely recommend using them in 5e you plan to port minions over!

*Well, technically they had damage resistances, but in 4e damage resistance was still reduction-by-a-specified-amount instead of half-damage like in 5e. So, combined with minion mechanics, damage resistances were functionally damage thresholds to a specified damage type or types.
 
Last edited:

I think the best way of handling minions would be treating then as a swarm. Each individual has 5 to 10 hp per tier. Everytime one individual dies, the swarm has one attack less.

Easiest way to help martial characters deal area/cleave damage.

I am not sure how I'd treat area attack spells and single target spells. Probably I'll let spells work against individuals. Or just deal double damage with are spells...
 

I tried a similar thing in my 4e games, but with the twist that if the damage was below the damage threshold, the minion became “bloodied”. A second hit on a bloodied minion would then kill them. What this did was take away some of the sting the players felt when hitting a foe but not doing enough damage to do anything.

I’ve often thought of bringing the idea back in my 5e games but haven’t yet. I’d be interested to know how the damage threshold minions work out at your table.
I have tried it in 5e, and it works fine. Mook monsters have their normal HP, and you can just kill them outright that way, but if you don't manage that, they became "wounded" and any further damage will kill them. If you use it on monsters whose HP is no more than roughly twice the average damage of the PC's attacks it doesn't actually affect the difficulty or odds noticeably; it is just a bookkeeping hack.

Fair point, but since we were playing with miniatures and lots of tokens anyway, I’d just stick a red “bloodied” bead next to the injured ones, so it saved me some hp tracking.
Yep, did this too.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
A damage threshold of 10 seems very high. That's pretty close to the maximum damage in a single hit that most weapon uses can do. Which isn't quite what you want for a minion. When my 7th level fighter hits Mr. Minion four times after an action surge and still doesn't kill it because I keep rolling ones and twos on my damage die, that's a bit harsh.
So, I currently play a monk, and this system seems really punishing on characters who rely on a bunch of low damage attacks. How do you take that into account?

For instance, that fire newt minion would be basically immune to a monk’s unarmed attacks.

It would be great for our barbarian, though - that guy never does less than ten damage on a hit.
I appreciate your feedback! Quoted you together, because my response pertains to both excellent points.

This is a work in progress for a 15th+ level adventure, so very likely the "final form" of these critters will be modified based on these discussions and playtesting.

But to respond based on my original thought process... I wanted the Damage Threshold to be more than average damage from a PC's sword strike (something like 1d8+5...or 9.5...which is how I ended up with the Damage Threshold 10 for the Firenewt Minion & Mamluk Minion). Any damage less than 10 would be ignored.

Unless..... And this is where the conditions come in to address (partially) your concern about the monk.... Though I agree as I have it now the monk would definitely have a harder time fighting these by themself than other PCs...

Slippery Foe. The firenewt takes no damage from an attack, spell, or effect that deals less than 10 damage, unless it is cold damage. While the firenewt is unable to move, it loses this trait.

How could the monk get the firenewt to be unable to move? (1) Stunning Strike or (2) using one of their extra attacks to Grapple and then strike the grappled firenewt.

That's kind of a punting answer because I'm assuming a 5th+ level PC (getting back to the context being a high-level adventure), and it doesn't address the real frustration this would present to a monk player facing the monster at 1st-4th level.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I think the best way of handling minions would be treating then as a swarm. Each individual has 5 to 10 hp per tier. Everytime one individual dies, the swarm has one attack less.

Easiest way to help martial characters deal area/cleave damage.

I am not sure how I'd treat area attack spells and single target spells. Probably I'll let spells work against individuals. Or just deal double damage with are spells...
Hah, so I actually am also designing "hordes" (variant swarms) - e.g. Horde of Firenewts - that interface with these minions, but I didn't want to clutter up this conversation where the focus is on discussing ways of implementing minions. We can definitely do a thread on hordes next, but here's where I'm currently at addressing that design challenge you mentioned...

Damage Vulnerabilities area of effect spells and attacks

Strength in Numbers. The horde is immune to spells or effects that require less than four creatures to make a saving throw. Anytime firenewt minions break off from the horde, it transfers any conditions afflicting it to those minions, ending the conditions on itself.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
My only concern would be that the idea of killing something in a death-by-1000-cuts manner (e.g. lots of attacks with small weapons, missile fire, etc.) couldn't work: those many small-damage attacks wouldn't be able to touch one of these minions and yet would be able to slowly whittle down and kill a "real" one of these creatures.
I know @Clint_L mentioned monk's Flurry of Blows already, but this matches spells like Magic Missile or some ranged builds. I was going for turning the complexity dial down as much as possible without hitting "handwavium" (happy with handwavium for home games, just my context with this is different), but I can see how there might be corner cases where some kind of additive damage is allowed within the context of that turn. For example: "If the firenewt would take less than 10 damage in a turn, it takes no damage, unless it is cold damage. While the firenewt is unable to move, it loses this trait."

You can see my hesitation because that's getting close to tracking hit points...

With the slayers you also have the slightly silly situation where if two of them were to fight each other, if neither was surprised the fight would last forever as neither could exceed the other's damage threshold (though I suppose they could eventually poison each other).
Hah, nice catch! That is silly. But! It also helps showcase what I'm aiming for with this Damage Threshold idea being curated/artfully applied to emphasize the FEEL of each monster. For example...

Slayer Minions are trained to be sneaky opponents who don't come at you directly, who can drop down from 40 foot ledges onto their victims, who can walk through mundane fires and even some magical ones unscathed, and whose weakness is if they are ever caught off guard (e.g. cannot take reactions due to being surprised, lured into making an opportunity attack, paralyzed, stunned, Shocking Grasp, Slow, Confuse, Arms of Hadar, Staggering Smite, Mind Whip, Dominated to use its reaction), etc.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top