log in or register to remove this ad

 

Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Oh man, we're having this conversation...yet again.

It isn't just HP that are the problem for someone trying to model actual world biology and physics/collisions between objects. Its the whole thing. D&D's discrete parts (HP, AC, Attack Rolls) push against that idea as well as the combat round (be it 1 minute, 10 seconds, or 6 seconds). Worse still for the effort, when those 4 intersect? Good_Night.

Hit Points - Not meat; some indecipherable amalgamation of combat prowess soup, physical resilience, mental resilience, divine sponsorship/protection, magical wards.

AC - Not damage mitigation; some indecipherable amalgamation of avoidance, parrying, reflexes, nimbleness, other protections.

Attack Rolls - Not a discrete attack; a combination of pressure which includes feints, footwork to take angles and wrongfoot, and actual attacks (multiples).

Rounds - Even at 6 seconds, the number of actual blows that can be delivered by a skilled combatant against a non-sentient target overwhelms the D&D PC build and action resolution mechanics. Therefore, it should scale downward (if we're looking for any kind of fidelity to real world combat exchanges) BASED ON THE THREAT/SKILL OF THE DEFENDER...not the prowess of the offender. Further still, the offense offered up by an offender should typically scale upward as time progresses. Martial combatants probe their opponents early, determining responses, establishing distance, establishing timing. This is why you almost universally see a typical bell curve in combat in terms of output. Time piles up and comfort increases, output increasing in proportion. Then, as time piles up further, gas tanks become depleted and output decreases in proportion.



Sum total:

If you're parameterizing a model for actual physical combat, D&D's collection of combat mechanics would be just about the last place you'd look to...because not only do they model absolutely nothing well (in terms of real world fidelity)...but they actively push back against very fundamental aspects of martial combat (such as the bell curve of output).

As I've mentioned before, in my opinion (as someone who has actually been a real world combatant for much of my life), things like Minionization and Roles (informal, "player-facing", hierarchical arrangements are fundamental to the world of martial combatants...despite the Blue Belt being formally hierarchically below the Black Belt...everyone knows that THIS particular Blue Belt has a borderline indefeatable Guard and his Choke game is off the charts...that Black Belt wants no part of him) and Defender mechanics in 4e better reflect the relationships of combatants in the real world than anything D&D has offered before or since. Not to mention the fact that Minionization elegantly (in terms of ease-of-use, table handling time, cognitive workload) models the genre logic of mythical fantasy action adventure (in the ways [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] mentions above). The idea that these two things are seen as grotesque offerings by a segment of D&D culture is a source of endless frustration for me.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

My argument is that any mechanic that turns the 40 h.p. ogres into 1 h.p. ogres is intentionally not being true to what's established in the fiction, and is thus very flawed.
It doesn't do that. Rather, it offers an alternative mechanic for defeating those same ogres. Instead of hitting AC 16 repeatedly for a total of 40hp, the DM can require you hit AC 25, once, and not have to worry about damage. Kinda like the old called shot variants, but in the DM's bailiwick, chosen by him when building an encounter.
 
Last edited:

The 4e DMG even spells this out (pp 54-55):


A fight against thirty orcs is a grand cinematic battle. The players get to enjoy carving through the mob like a knife through butter, feeling confident and powerful. Unfortunately, the mechanics of standard monsters make that difficult. If you use a large number of monsters of a level similar to the PCs, you overwhelm them. If you use a large
number of monsters of much lower level, you bore them with creatures that have little chance of hurting the PCs but take a lot of time to take down. On top of that, keeping track of the actions of so many monsters is a headache.

Minions are designed to help fill out an encounter, but they go down quickly.
4e minions did a decent job of cashing the check the DMG wrote, there. I mean, there may have been a hold on it while it cleared, but, ultimately, it wasn't rubber.

13A, IMHO, did even a bit better with it's mooks, which combined some of the ease of DMing and threat of swarms, with the progressive figure-removal of minions - and of old-school wargames, where you'd remove figures from the rear of a formation as the formation engaging it from the front inflicted casualties.
 

Campbell

Legend
Here's my take: Character sheets and game mechanics are representative of the fiction, but they are not the fiction. They are tools we use to create a consistent compelling fiction. I feel it is a grave mistake to confuse the fiction with its representation because it lowers our overall investment in what is actually going on. Some games (even games I am quite fond of) make it all too easy to do so because they layer on so many abstractions it can be easy to lose sight of the fiction. Vincent Baker would say it's all boxes.

I also do not think it is fair to expect one system or subsystem to serve all masters. Exalted 3e has a combat system that is designed around kung fu duels between similarly powerful opponents. It does a swimming job at that, but is not designed to accommodate many less powerful opponents so has a way of grouping lesser enemies into Battle Groups. Masks is a game about teenage superheroes trying to find out who they want to become. The basic moves of the game are written to reflect their lack of maturity, shifting sense of self, and impulsiveness. Blades in the Dark is a game about daring scoundrels trying to make their way up the criminal underworld. The core mechanics make risk taking, vice, and crew advancement a central focus of play. It's not a game for playing it safe.
 

Here's my take: Character sheets and game mechanics are representative of the fiction, but they are not the fiction. They are tools we use to create a consistent compelling fiction. I feel it is a grave mistake to confuse the fiction with its representation because it lowers our overall investment in what is actually going on. Some games (even games I am quite fond of) make it all too easy to do so because they layer on so many abstractions it can be easy to lose sight of the fiction. Vincent Baker would say it's all boxes.

Or, put another way, there is this tendency among a cross-section of the TTRPG culture to try to assume that action resolution mechanics are actually a gamestate unto themselves, rather than an input into a possible new gamestate.

This is one of the reasons why the spellcaster vs martial dichotomy has been an issue for so long.

In much of D&D, spellcasters spells are actually gamestates unto themselves. Conversely, in much of D&D, martial characters merely have inputs for possible new gamestates.

Contrast with Dungeon World where Cast a Spell is an input into a new possible gamestate, while Armored, My Love for You is Like a Truck and the like are each a gamestate unto themselves.

I also do not think it is fair to expect one system or subsystem to serve all masters. Exalted 3e has a combat system that is designed around kung fu duels between similarly powerful opponents. It does a swimming job at that, but is not designed to accommodate many less powerful opponents so has a way of grouping lesser enemies into Battle Groups. Masks is a game about teenage superheroes trying to find out who they want to become. The basic moves of the game are written to reflect their lack of maturity, shifting sense of self, and impulsiveness. Blades in the Dark is a game about daring scoundrels trying to make their way up the criminal underworld. The core mechanics make risk taking, vice, and crew advancement a central focus of play. It's not a game for playing it safe.

Same with Dogs. It doesn't assume you're the Earps and Doc Holiday at the OK Corral. If you're in a shootout with a gang of bandits or cattle rustlers...well, you're in a tricky pickle (because the dice game as inputs for a possible new gamestate say so...though they don't ensure it). There is a straight-forward workaround (change the magnitude of dice pool mechanics for antagonist numbers), but the default fiction (and the mechanics that serve as inputs for gamestate change) isn't built around "Dogs as Epic Gunslingers."
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There's actually little evidence for this in the history of D&D. Most kobolds, goblins and 0-level humans will be either up or down if hit by a AD&D fighter with weapon specialisationm 18 STR and a magic weapon (damage die +1 for magic +2 for spec +3 for 18/01 STR = minimum 7 damage on a hit and typically quite a bit more). But I've never seen it suggested that this does not make for good play.
IMO the minimum 7 damage does not make for good play...

A 7th level specialised AD&D fighter with a +2 longsword fighting an ogre averages 2d12 + 14 = 27 average with a 16 minimum multiplied by the chance to hit.
Assuming the fighter hits with both swings in the round. Ogres' AC is either 5 or 4, I forget which at the moment. 7th fighter with +1 to hit from strength, +1 to hit from spec, and +2 to hit from sword needs, I think, to roll 5 or better to hit AC 5 (6 or better to hit AC 4) so yes, she'll hit most of the time but not every time.

AD&D ogres have 4+1 HD or an average of 19 hp and a maximum of 33.
By RAW, yes. That said, I'd posit there's very few DMs left out there who use RAW values for 1e monster hit points for the big and-or tough ones - including ogres.

That 7th level fighter therefore is going to take down many ogres in a single round. I've never seen it suggested that this does not make for good play.
I've seen it - and said it - many times, couched in terms of noting that a significant problem with 1e monster design is that many of them are glass cannons and need more hit points in order to be viable threats and-or worthwhile opponents; particularly post-UA with all the PC power creep that book introduced.

I don't give a toss whether or not [MENTION=29398]Lanefan[/MENTION] wants to play 4e. That has zero effect or significance for me.

I'm responding to other claims, such as that 4e's minion rules lead to inconsistent fiction, are an incoherent frameworld for hp, etc. Those claims are false, and the only reasons being put in favour of them betray a failure to understand the 4e combat mechanics.
You keep mistakenly saying I fail to understand the 4e combat mechanics. I understand them well enough, but at the same time refuse to accept some of the premises they are built on, as they are wrong.

There is nothing inconsistent about a fiction in which (for instance) mid-heroic tier PCs find dealing with ghouls a matter of life-and-death, and in which mid-paragon tier PCs can cut through those ghouls with relative ease.

The notion that a ghoul or an ogre is "entitled" to its hp, or that it is "inconsisent" to resolve a fight with one by any means other than a series of to hit and damage rolls, simply betrays a lack of understanding of the 4e combat rules. The 4e DMG even spells this out (pp 54-55):

A fight against thirty orcs is a grand cinematic battle. The players get to enjoy carving through the mob like a knife through butter, feeling confident and powerful. Unfortunately, the mechanics of standard monsters make that difficult. If you use a large number of monsters of a level similar to the PCs, you overwhelm them. If you use a large
number of monsters of much lower level, you bore them with creatures that have little chance of hurting the PCs but take a lot of time to take down. On top of that, keeping track of the actions of so many monsters is a headache.

Minions are designed to help fill out an encounter, but they go down quickly.​
I've bolded a few bits there.

Little chance does not equal no chance; highly relevant in a game where resource management - hit points, spells, ammunition, item charges/uses maybe - is key. If "they take a lot of time to take down" then a good DM owes it to her game to spend that time and do it; ditto for dealing with the "headache" of keeping track of lots of opponents.

In the fiction, an orc is an orc is an orc. Minions are a mechanical technique intended to facilitate a certain sort of action occurring in the fiction. It's not inconsistent to change the mechanical parameters of an orc encounter - level, defences, hp, to hit and damage numbers, etc - because of the level of the PCs who are facing those orcs.
well, actually it is inconsistent; and you'll not change my mind on this.

And the whole suggestion is even more absurd coming from an AD&D player. From the mechanical point of view, there is no difference other than the technical and mathematical between using the attacks-per-round mechanic to reflect relativites of prowess (as AD&D does for fighters vs 0-level men-at-arms and the like) and using the defence-by-level, attack-and-damage-by-level and hp mechanics to reflect the same thing (as 4e does more generally via its minion rules).
Additional attacks per round, and a better chance to hit, as level advances are both quite nice reflections of - in the fiction - a fighter's skill increasing as she learns her craft. The foes are what the foes are regardless of what's attacking them, thus the fiction and setting remain consistent with themselves.

As soon as you start having monster mechanics change themselves based solely on what those monsters are fighting fictional consistency goes out the window - UNLESS the same holds true for PCs, which we've already agreed is a bad idea.

So if you envisage a 4e fighter standing there for 6 seconds doing nothing for 5-and-a-half of them, then moving instantaneously and metronomically on his/her turn, I guess that's your prerogative.
I don't, though 6 seconds is still a far cry from a minute (one is too short IMO, the other too long).
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But it is true to the fiction. The ogre that is tough for mid-heroic PCs is not tough for mid-paragon PCs.

That's it.

I mean, speaking purely about the fiction, what is inconsistent?
A minion ogre has 1 h.p., which means that if its buddy fumbles and hits it for 3 damage it's going down; where a more normal ogre could shrug that same hit off as a mild annoyance.

A minion ogre that gets shot by a crossbow wielded by the paragon character's hired porter is going down even though the bolt does just a straight d6 damage (or d8 in 4e? I forget), where d6 (or d8) damage would be a triviality for a normal ogre.

A spell that does 2 h.p. to everything it hits in a large area will clear the field of minion ogres if it happens to be cast by a paragon PC. (and if I'm playing a paragon Wizard that's the first spell I sit down and invent, if it doesn't already exist!) Normal ogres would take it as a pinprick.

This is not a statement about the setting or the gameworld inhabitants. It is a statement about mechanics.

Changing the numbers used to resolve declared actions, and find out what happens in the ficiton, isn't something that happens in the fiction.
The three examples I give just above would beg to differ. The fumble/bolt/spell does the same damage no matter who casts it or what it hits...but the effect varies widely based on how the targets' mechanics have changed where the effect shouldn't vary at all.

Some 5e D&D GMs do not resolve all combats using the 5e combat rules. I know this because I read their posts about it. Some, for instance, simply declare fights over with a bit of narration once it is clear to the table that the PCs have the better of the situation.
Which isn't RAW, and IMO isn't good for the game unless those DMs are also doing some random PC resource attrition in the process to cover off what in theory would have happened had the combat been played out. Better to play it all the way through; even more so if you're using options like fumbles or weapon/armour degradation where every attack can have consequences. (better yet just to have the foes surrender or flee, as this maintains integrity in the fiction while also cutting the combat short)

That is an example of changing the resolution method for that combat. It doesn't mean that the fiction is inconsistent.
Actually it almost certainly does meanthe fiction is inconsistent, in that even if a DM throws in some random resource attrition the odds of her guessing exactly what quantity and type of resources would have been attrited (new word there!) had things been played out fully are very low.

The attack-defence-damage-hp system - in 4e, at least - is just a mathematical framework for resolving declared actions. Changing the maths - eg by stepping up defences and stepping down hp; by stepping up attack numbers and stepping down damage; etc - doesn't mean that the fiction is inconsistent.
Changing the maths in the mechanics, without also somehow changing the fiction behind them, makes it inconsistent. If an ogre wearing thick hide armour has AC 17 when it's fighting heroic PCs then - unless it has changed its armour - it has AC 17 when fighting paragon PCs, because that's what the hide armour gives it. That's consistent math reflecting consistent fiction.

I'll reiterate: referring only to the fiction, rather than the resolution system, explain what is incoherent about a mid-paragon PC being able to defeat an ogre or a ghoul or whatever in 6 seconds, perhaps with a single blow.
Maybe nothing...but maybe something: why can't a paragon hit a typical ogre but not do enough damage to kill it?

And why does a single magic missile for d4+1 damage now kill an ogre that previously could take ten of them? The spell didn't change - it's not suddenly doing d4+40 per missile - but somehow the ogre did...and there's your inconsistency.

This is all just mechanics. It tells us nothing about the fiction. And it's not as if someone has ordained that you 1, 2 and 3 are mandatory mechanical options for RPGing as such. AD&D, for instance, has many mechanical systems for hurting a creature that do not involve 1, 2 and 3 as options (eg the assassination rules; the rule that magically slept creatures can be killed one per round with no check required; the rule that a paralysed being can be hit automatically for max damage (ie no to hit or damage roll required) at twice the normal attack rate; etc).
1e by RAW has these various mechanics, and...you guessed it...I don't subscribe to them either. Any attack - and I mean ANY attack - needs a roll to hit, if for no other reason than any attack roll can also cause a fumble; a good roll to hit will kill but a poor one will force a roll for damage - particularly with slept creatures in that if you do very little damage you might just wake them up.

Assassination always needs a check even by RAW - there's a table for it in the DMG.

Turning from mechanics to fiction: in the fiction, a minion can be hurt but not die. Just like the 1 hp kobold in KotB can be hurt and not die. The minion can be hurt by a paragon level fighter and not die. That would be one possible narration of a missed attack roll. Just as one might narrate a missed attack roll against that 1 hp kobold as scratching but not killing it.
A variant on damage-on-a-miss, then. I however go by the theory that only on a hit can you do damage - a miss might clank off the armour or otherwise make physical contact with the foe but only a hit does actual damage.
 

pemerton

Legend
You keep mistakenly saying I fail to understand the 4e combat mechanics. I understand them well enough, but at the same time refuse to accept some of the premises they are built on, as they are wrong.
What does wrong mean here?

A minion ogre has 1 h.p., which means that if its buddy fumbles and hits it for 3 damage it's going down; where a more normal ogre could shrug that same hit off as a mild annoyance.

A minion ogre that gets shot by a crossbow wielded by the paragon character's hired porter is going down even though the bolt does just a straight d6 damage (or d8 in 4e? I forget), where d6 (or d8) damage would be a triviality for a normal ogre.

A spell that does 2 h.p. to everything it hits in a large area will clear the field of minion ogres if it happens to be cast by a paragon PC. (and if I'm playing a paragon Wizard that's the first spell I sit down and invent, if it doesn't already exist!) Normal ogres would take it as a pinprick.

<snip>

Changing the maths in the mechanics, without also somehow changing the fiction behind them, makes it inconsistent. If an ogre wearing thick hide armour has AC 17 when it's fighting heroic PCs then - unless it has changed its armour - it has AC 17 when fighting paragon PCs, because that's what the hide armour gives it. That's consistent math reflecting consistent fiction.

<snip>

And why does a single magic missile for d4+1 damage now kill an ogre that previously could take ten of them? The spell didn't change - it's not suddenly doing d4+40 per missile - but somehow the ogre did...and there's your inconsistency.
These are all examples of not knowing 4e or how its system works.

In 4e the AC of a (say) 16th level ogre will be higher than that of an 8th level ogre (eg AC 28 for the Ogre Bludgeoneer 16th level minion compared to AC 19 for the Ogre Savage 8th level standard). AC in 4e doesn't reflect simply the armour that is worn (hide armour in both cases). It is a mechanical device for adjudicating the success of attack rolls that reflects the overall fictional context. Statting an ogre as a higher level minion rather than a lower-level standard involves stepping up the AC to the appropriate level, while stepping down the hit points. This change in the mathematical operations performed during resolution don't change the fiction.

In 4e there are no fumble rules. A GM is free to narrate a missed attack by an ogre minion as a fumbled swing. S/he is even free to narrate it as inflicting a pin-prick's worth of physical harm to another ogre minion in the vicinity. In 4e that narration would be mere colour and is not reflected in the resolution process (similar to the way in which, in AD&D, narrating a missed attack as glancing of armour is mere colour - contrast, say, Burning Wheel where that is not mere colour and has mechanical significance and is a permitted narration only when the mechanics provide for it).

In 4e a higher level mage casts a more powerful magic missile spell. (Whether this is narrated as a single more powerful missile or a series of magical blasts pulse-laser style is a matter of discretion for the player of the wizard.) This is the same as the ability of a higher level fighter to strike more powerful blows, or fire more deadly shots with a bow or crossbow. There is no such thing in 4e as a mid-paragon mage casting the same magic missile spell with the same in-fiction power as a mid-heroic mage; or as a mid-paragon archer releasing an arrow with no greater deadliness of aim and power than a mid-heroic archer.

In 4e there is no "spell research" of the sort you describe - ie mechanics-first spell descriptions intended to exploit weak points in the rules. There are plenty of magical effects in 4e that can do AoE damage and will clear a field of minion ogres - this is because the magic of those mid-paragon wizards, sorcerers and invokers is more powerful than that of their mid-heroic precursors.

You are presenting a certain mechanical framework - AD&D - as if (i) it is a fictional framework and (ii) it is the only possible ficitonal framework. Frankly this is bizarre. There's nothing inconsistent, for instance, in a ficiton in which a more puissant archer can shoot down a fell beast with a single arrow (qv Legolas in LotR). The fact that AD&D doesn't allow for it simply reminds us of one of the oddities of AD&D, namely, it's relatively unrealistic treatment of archery.

If "they take a lot of time to take down" then a good DM owes it to her game to spend that time and do it; ditto for dealing with the "headache" of keeping track of lots of opponents.
Why?

As soon as you start having monster mechanics change themselves based solely on what those monsters are fighting fictional consistency goes out the window
Why?

What is the inconsistency in the fiction in which a ghoul which is a handy challenge for a mid-heroic PC is little challenge to a mid-paragon PC?

Additional attacks per round, and a better chance to hit, as level advances are both quite nice reflections of - in the fiction - a fighter's skill increasing as she learns her craft. The foes are what the foes are regardless of what's attacking them, thus the fiction and setting remain consistent with themselves.
The maths of this are, for present purposes which is at the level of generalities, no different from minion rules. I can even make the point by rephrasing what you have said: a reduced chance to hit but significantly increased chance to kill as level advances is a nice reflection of - in the fiction - the character's skill increasing.

I however go by the theory that only on a hit can you do damage - a miss might clank off the armour or otherwise make physical contact with the foe but only a hit does actual damage.
This is not a theory. It's a property that any given D&D variant either possesses or doesn't. Clearly 4e doesn't possess this property. The making of an attack roll doesn't per se tell us whether or not physical harm is inflicted on the foe; nor does it tell us whether or not damage in the mechaincal sense (ie depletion of hp) occurs as part of the resolution procedure.

This can easily be seen in the fact that 4e allows for hit point depletion on a failed attack roll; and allows for hit point depletion to be narrated as other than physical harm in the fiction; and clearly permits a failed attack roll against a minion to be narrated as the non-fatal infliction of physical harm.

Little chance does not equal no chance; highly relevant in a game where resource management - hit points, spells, ammunition, item charges/uses maybe - is key.
Were it relevant, which I don't think it is, 4e D&D is not a resource management game in the way that AD&D is.
 
Last edited:

pemerton

Legend
A discussion about the methods that might be used, in a RPG, to establish which descriptions of a PC's actions are true in th shared fiction is almost impossible if discussants are unable to separate their knowledge of how one particular RPG does such things from a consideration of how other (actual and possible) RPGs might do it.

I believe that everyone posting in this thread knows that, in B/X and AD&D, with a handful of exceptions (like assassination, killing sleeping foes, and the like), the only circumstance in which it is permissible to truly describe a PC's action as I kill it with my sword! is if the enemy's hit points have been ablated to zero via the system of to-hit and damage rolls.

But obviously other systems are possible. Rolemaster has critical tables which are, by default, used all the time. (There is a variant combat system in RM Companion III that does away with them.) 4e has a GM-side system that permits dispensing with the damage roll and hit point ablation; it is understood, and the example creatures presented in the Monster Manuals reinforce this understanding, that the GM will use this method to reflect the increased power of higher-level PCs against foes which were once threatening but have ceased to be.

There are many othe ways that RPG systems depart from AD&D assumptions. For instance, in AD&D - in many circumstances - a player is able to make the description I cast my spell true by mere stipulation. This is not the case in Rolemaster or Burning Wheel (to give just two examples) - the former always requires a check, and the latter treats a spell casting action declaration the same as any other (and so the principle "say 'yes' or roll the dice" applies).

These differences of resolution method don't reflect significant differences in the fiction. Rather, they reflect different allocations of authority for establishing descriptions, and different methods for doing so.

I would have thought that all of the above is obvious, but some recent trends in the discussion seem to make it necessary to state it.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
There are many othe ways that RPG systems depart from AD&D assumptions. For instance, in AD&D - in many circumstances - a player is able to make the description I cast my spell true by mere stipulation. This is not the case in Rolemaster or Burning Wheel (to give just two examples) - the former always requires a check, and the latter treats a spell casting action declaration the same as any other (and so the principle "say 'yes' or roll the dice" applies).

We should also keep in mind that most of us are not disciplined about differentiating between stating general intent, specific intent, and narration of result.

In a bar, a guy dumps a beer in your lap, and laughs at you. You stand up, crack your knuckles and announce, "I'm gonna kick your butt!"

That's a declaration of desire - and even figurative, at that, given that several punches to the face are apt to be considered fulfilling the intent, even though there's no kicking or butts involved. And the combat hasn't started, so maybe the butt will be kicked, maybe it won't, and whose butt actually gets kicked has yet to be determined.

In a game where such declarations may well be made semi-in-character, but taken as input into the resolution mechanic, we do need to be thoughtful about pulling this apart.
 

The far-from-perfect-but-better-than-nothing solution I use is that on any 'minimum' damage roll - here this would be 4 on the 4d6 - you add the bonuses to that roll (here giving 24) and then roll a die of that size to determine what damage you actually did.
Cute variant. I like it - you could call it "imploding dice."

This means there's a small (sometimes very small, but never zero) chance that anything with more than 1 h.p. can survive a hit from pretty much anything - and the minion model again defeats this.
It actually /doesn't/ 'defeat' it because a minion has a pretty decent chance of surviving an attack by a PC anywhere near it's nominal level (about 10 above its 'real' level), even though PCs can do /damage/ on a miss with things like Fireballs and Reaping Strike, because it has a special escape clause: "missed attacks never damage a minion."

Of course, they do 'in the fiction' - I mean, the Reaping Strike that rolled 22 and 'missed' and did 4 damage would have, had you been running the minion in it's 10-level-lower mode, 'actually' /hit/ and did 1d10+14 damage or something (say we're back on the 40 hp Ogre), which wouldn't have killed it. But, the DM is simplifying this encounter, by ignoring hits to less than 25 AC, and not tracking damage, so the little damage nudge of Reaping Strike (even on a natural 1), and the theoretical damage on a 'hit' of AC 16-24, isn't not happening (it could be visualized or not as the group sees fit), it's just, for convenience, not being tracked.

That's all minions are, really, an alternate-resolution way of keeping a much lower-'level' monster useable in a higher-level encounter. It's not like D&D has never used alternative resolution mechanics.

What does wrong mean here?
Something that challenges unexamined or long-accustomed assumptions, thus must be dismissed as automatically 'wrong,' since daring to considering it could lead to disequilibrium?

These are all examples of not knowing 4e or how its system works. …
In 4e the AC of a (say) Ogre Bludgeoneer 16th level minion will be higher (AC 28) compared to AC 19 for the Ogre Savage 8th level standard. …
In 4e there are no fumble rules.
In 4e there is no "spell research."
In 4e a higher level mage casts a more powerful magic missile spell. (Whether this is narrated as a single more powerful missile or a series of magical blasts pulse-laser style is a matter of discretion for the player of the wizard.) This is the same as the ability of a higher level fighter to strike more powerful blows, or fire more deadly shots with a bow or crossbow. There is no such thing in 4e as a mid-paragon mage casting the same magic missile spell with the same in-fiction power as a mid-heroic mage; or as a mid-paragon archer releasing an arrow with no greater deadliness of aim and power than a mid-heroic archer.
This is true prior to the infamous July pre-Essentials update, in which magic missile was re-written to use an effect line, it had remarkable ripple effects, causing numerous items and feats to be re-written to /try/ to deal with the fact the Wizard now had an auto-damage 'basic attack,' and it was never really fully handled before errata went out of style at WotC.

Post-Essentials, though Lanefan has a point: the same, say, 12hp damage Magic Missile that pops an Ogre Minion and 15th level, barely nudges the exact same Ogre run as if it were in a 5th level combat. The 10 point AC difference means nothing to it. One of the many implications of the new/Old eMissile that wasn't fully thought through an properly errata'd.

All for the sake of 'bringing it into line with the classic spell.'

(And that was Mike Mearls, setting the direction for 5e, right there.)

You are presenting a certain mechanical framework - AD&D - as if (i) it is a fictional framework and (ii) it is the only possible ficitonal framework. Frankly this is bizarre. There's nothing inconsistent, for instance, in a ficiton in which a more puissant archer can shoot down a fell beast with a single arrow (qv Legolas in LotR). The fact that AD&D doesn't allow for it simply reminds us of one of the oddities of AD&D, namely, it's relatively unrealistic treatment of archery.
Heh. In the LotR movie L one-shots a Mammoth, G is like, "that still counts as one!" Hey, L, a minion's a minion, however many squares it takes up.
This is not a theory. It's a property that any given D&D variant either possesses or doesn't. Clearly 4e doesn't possess this property. The making of an attack roll doesn't per se tell us whether or not physical harm is inflicted on the foe; nor does it tell us whether or not damage in the mechaincal sense (ie depletion of hp) occurs as part of the resolution procedure.
In 1e AD&D. An attack that 'hit' could produce no wound, /at all/. That was the rationale for saving successfully against, say, a poisoned blade, and dovetailed nicely with the rationale for PC's not growing to titanic size as they accumulated HD. Contrarily, the logic of D&D AC meant that attacks that 'missed' would frequently make contact - even solid, forceful contact - with the target, and merely fail to ablate hps. In the case of a /very/ large creatures with 'thick hides,' for instance, you might literally make contact with it, do visible damage to it's hide, but that damage might, in the context of it's hugeness, not translate to even a single hp - thus a 'miss.'

The idea that every hit in AD&D caused a real wound, and every miss was a clean wiff, is just lazy thinking. Gygax went on at length about the bizarre assumptions and mental gymnastics required by the abstraction of hps and 1 min rounds.

Were it relevant, which I don't think it is, 4e D&D is not a resource management game in the way that AD&D is.
Not in the exact way, but both are certainly roleplaying games, both are nominally evoking some sort of fantasy-genre, and certainly have resources to manage. I mean, 4e is 'different' in being /balanced/ in the sense of rough resource parity among the PCs...? But I don't see how that's entirely irrelevant to Lan's statement alluding to small chances of bad things happening possibly impacting said resource-management mini-game.
There are plenty of magical effects in 4e that can do AoE damage and will clear a field of minion ogres - this is because the magic of those mid-paragon wizards, sorcerers and invokers is more powerful than that of their mid-heroic precursors.
With one important proviso ...

...you had to hit each minion to kill it. In 4e, saving throws by the targets of magical & poison attacks were inverted to mathematically equivalent attack rolls by the attacker. A simplification that streamlined play (which I really noticed on returning to saves the first few weeks of HotDQ, because a player would use an attack cantrip, and we'd have to see if they needed to roll to hit, or I needed to roll a save) and made it overall more consistent. Many spells, like the classic fireball, did half damage on a miss (DoaM!), and so did some weapon attacks, neither to any particular controversy at the time.

But, during the Next playtest, saves came back, and kept 1/2 damage, but even the slightest suggestion of retaining the same privilege for weapon attacks ignited a firestorm (save: 1/2, don't know if MM made it or not). Also, come 5e no minions. Afterall, it would be appalling and 'wrong' for a poor monster to have no chance of surviving a hit!

Indeed, if there had been 4e-style minions in 5e, they'd've needed a special quality: a minion is never damaged when it successfully saves (it wouldn't need one for surviving misses, because there's no DoaM). So when you fireballed a bunch of kobolds, some of 'em would likely survive.

Instead, we get the polite fiction of BA applying to saves bonuses & DCs, low-level foes potentially making successful saves vs fireballs without needing to roll natural 20s - and dying instantly from the 1/2 damage.
 
Last edited:

We should also keep in mind that most of us are not disciplined about differentiating between stating general intent, specific intent, and narration of result.

In a bar, a guy dumps a beer in your lap, and laughs at you. You stand up, crack your knuckles and announce, "I'm gonna kick your butt!"

That's a declaration of desire - and even figurative, at that, given that several punches to the face are apt to be considered fulfilling the intent, even though there's no kicking or butts involved. And the combat hasn't started, so maybe the butt will be kicked, maybe it won't, and whose butt actually gets kicked has yet to be determined.

In a game where such declarations may well be made semi-in-character, but taken as input into the resolution mechanic, we do need to be thoughtful about pulling this apart.

On the last sentence:

I agree that they can be made semi-in-character in the sort of meta "self-talk" that occurs in life as someone is navigating a consequential decision-point. To themselves, people transmit a desire...perhaps to visual the outcome so that it moralizes them toward the will to act. To their nervous system, they issue a command. In the world, the collision of opposing desires, wills, and actions allow us discover the outcome.

I do agree that we need to be thoughtful about pulling it all apart, but some systems focus on alleviating this burden, through clarified ethos and clear, concrete play procedures so that our role as intermediary (between the input of declaration, the processing of deriving resolution, and the output of that resolution) can be reduced in key ways (reduction in cognitive burden, reduction in table handling time, reduction in GM stress-load, increase in overall mental bandwidth available for deployment/transmission/absorption of other things such as creativity and improvisation and better active listening skills or perception of nonverbal cues).
 

pemerton

Legend
you had to hit each minion to kill it.

<snip>

we get the polite fiction of BA applying to saves bonuses & DCs, low-level foes potentially making successful saves vs fireballs without needing to roll natural 20s - and dying instantly from the 1/2 damage.
In 4e a minion is also killed by any damage that doesn't require an attack roll to inflcit - eg zone damage. Having GMed a long campaign with a zone-heavy sorcerer I've seen the anti-minion effect of such zones. In the fiction, this is a sign of the power of the fire (or whatever it is) that this sorcerer conjures up.

As far as AD&D and 5e save-for-half is concerned, it's always struck me as odd that most ordinary beings (1 HD or less including kobolds, goblins, men-at-arms etc) are incapable of diving for cover and surviving a fireball or similar (because the half damage is still going to be fatal for most of them on most occasions).

That's all minions are, really, an alternate-resolution way of keeping a much lower-'level' monster useable in a higher-level encounter. It's not like D&D has never used alternative resolution mechanics.
As you're presenting it, minions are an approximiation framework: set a higher to-hit number (ie levelled-up AC) and only track hits that reach that number - with a single hit being enought (ie 1 hp).

I've personally never thought of them in quite that way, perhaps because (i) I've never used called-shot rules in AD&D, and (ii) I don't think of their being a "true" (standard) AC and hp value to which the minion resolution approximates. But I fully agree that they are an alternative resolution system. They take full advantage of the various mathematical components of the D&D system (AC, hp, damage, etc) and play with them to produce the right fiction for the right tier of PC.

My own take on 4e, given the way that the PHB and DMG present the tiers of play, is that while all the numbers are purely resolution devices, the tiers are something that is part of the fiction. Perhaps not strictly literally, but in the sense that - in the fiction - it is evident when a being is capable of doing the sorts of things described as apt for each of the tiers. ANd then on the GM side we use the various resolution devices (minions, solos, swarms, etc) to express our creatures and NPCs in ways that suit the fiction of the tiers.

I've always thought that this is one of the reasons [MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION] has described 4e D&D as "fiction first" rather than "mechanics first". It contrast very markedly in this respect with systems like RQ or RM which fall under the Forge lable purist-for-system simulationism and which lead with the mechanical framework and read all the fiction from that. 4e is virtually the opposite of purist-for-system.

I also want to tie this back to one of [MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION]'s recent posts. Campbell referred to the role of the system being to facilitate and even force a certain sort of authenticity, antagonism and playing to find out. He flagged GM mediation as possible burden on this. 4e D&D minion mechanics are one form of GM mediation; they are one example of how 4e sometimes requires the GM to already form a view about what the fiction requires in terms of challenge - eg should this creature be presented as a standard or a minion? what should the complexity of this skill challenge be? This isn't a fom of railroading - it doesn't impose GM pre-determined outcomes onto the fiction - but I think it is possibly a reduction in the sort of "pressure to authenticity" that Campbell has described.
 

In 4e a minion is also killed by any damage that doesn't require an attack roll to inflcit - eg zone damage. Having GMed a long campaign with a zone-heavy sorcerer I've seen the anti-minion effect of such zones. In the fiction, this is a sign of the power of the fire (or whatever it is) that this sorcerer conjures up.
Yeah, I'm aware. ;) I'm also fine with minions 'dying' because they flee, surrender, collapse in panic - or can't bring themselves to cross a wall of flame, say. The mechanics are that the minion who takes any damage is done, exactly how can fit the narrative however.


As far as AD&D and 5e save-for-half is concerned, it's always struck me as odd that most ordinary beings (1 HD or less including kobolds, goblins, men-at-arms etc) are incapable of diving for cover and surviving a fireball or similar (because the half damage is still going to be fatal for most of them on most occasions).
/Somethig/, if not everything, about hit points and saving throws is going to have to strike you odd at /some/ point. ;) They really do get pretty whack. Making all attacks use attack rolls is not just a simplification, it makes you stop and think, 'hey, why is this so messed up, anyway, let's fix it.'

As you're presenting it, minions are an approximiation framework: set a higher to-hit number (ie levelled-up AC) and only track hits that reach that number - with a single hit being enought (ie 1 hp).
Yep, with the minor proviso that their an approximation framework /of an approximation framework/. It might feel 'right,' though, to consider any given creature's 'real stats' it's "Standard" stats... BTW, that'd mean that PC's are actually all about 4 levels higher than their class level - since PC's are generally about equivalent to Elites.

I've personally never thought of them in quite that way, perhaps because (i) I've never used called-shot rules in AD&D, and (ii) I don't think of their being a "true" (standard) AC and hp value to which the minion resolution approximates. But I fully agree that they are an alternative resolution system.
Exactly: Both regular old monster stats & taking averages for loads of 'em and sliding a 4e monster from Solo through Elite & Standard to Minion if not Swarm are just 'approximation frameworks' for the mechanics to model a desired challenge in the narrative.

And, really, in fiction, the Heroes' relationship with monsters they slay can be quite inconsistent. When you first face a new monster, it's often a huge threat, seems nearly invulnerable, tosses everyone around. Then you figure out how to kill it, and barely defeat one...

… by the end of the 'season' or the 4th book or whatever, even minor characters are mowing their way through the same monsters.

It was a very evident phenomenon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for an amusing, and occasionally extreme instance.

My own take on 4e, given the way that the PHB and DMG present the tiers of play, is that while all the numbers are purely resolution devices, the tiers are something that is part of the fiction. Perhaps not strictly literally, but in the sense that - in the fiction - it is evident when a being is capable of doing the sorts of things described as apt for each of the tiers. ANd then on the GM side we use the various resolution devices (minions, solos, swarms, etc) to express our creatures and NPCs in ways that suit the fiction of the tiers.
There's certainly a clear intent that the nature/content/scope of the fiction will change with each Tier. Some DMs 'get' that and do a great job. Others choke and deliver the same kinds of scenarios at every Tier. It's one of the harder things to do as a 4e DM - a job that's otherwise awfully easy, IMHO.

I've always thought that this is one of the reasons [MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION] has described 4e D&D as "fiction first" rather than "mechanics first".
It's funny, because in systems like 4e and Hero, mechanics /really matter/ in a hard-numbers, hard-rules kind of way, and fiction can be customized quite a bit. But, that actually facilitates starting with what you want and finding things with mechanics that approximate something that evokes that, once you file off the serial numbers and reskin it.

I also want to tie this back to one of [MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION]'s recent posts. Campbell referred to the role of the system being to facilitate and even force a certain sort of authenticity, antagonism and playing to find out. He flagged GM mediation as possible burden on this. 4e D&D minion mechanics are one form of GM mediation; they are one example of how 4e sometimes requires the GM to already form a view about what the fiction requires in terms of challenge - eg should this creature be presented as a standard or a minion? what should the complexity of this skill challenge be? This isn't a fom of railroading - it doesn't impose GM pre-determined outcomes onto the fiction - but I think it is possibly a reduction in the sort of "pressure to authenticity" that Campbell has described.
I can see that. I can also see shifting the same alternate resolution frameworks to the players' side of the court, if you wanted to.

I posted something like that not so very long ago...


...There it is:
https://www.enworld.org/forum/showt...what-stinks)&p=7615703&viewfull=1#post7615703
 
Last edited:

My own take on 4e, given the way that the PHB and DMG present the tiers of play, is that while all the numbers are purely resolution devices, the tiers are something that is part of the fiction. Perhaps not strictly literally, but in the sense that - in the fiction - it is evident when a being is capable of doing the sorts of things described as apt for each of the tiers. ANd then on the GM side we use the various resolution devices (minions, solos, swarms, etc) to express our creatures and NPCs in ways that suit the fiction of the tiers.

I've always thought that this is one of the reasons @Manbearcat has described 4e D&D as "fiction first" rather than "mechanics first". It contrast very markedly in this respect with systems like RQ or RM which fall under the Forge lable purist-for-system simulationism and which lead with the mechanical framework and read all the fiction from that. 4e is virtually the opposite of purist-for-system.

The present conversation about Monster Roles underpins the "fiction first" nature of 4e.

Imagine a scenario where the PCs were just in a sort of "Race Against Time" Skill Challenge where they know that an undead horde are converging on a steading and will overwhelm it without the party's aid.

They fail.

The field-stone wall has been breached. The Guard is nearly slain and the people of the steading and their few remaining forces have fallen back to the haphazardly fortified Common House. The fallen souls now bulwark the undead legions.

From a GMing perspective, you've got:

1) A handful of beleagured men-at-arms already battle-weary and shell-shocked.

2) Waves of ravenous ghouls, reinforced by any who fall to their midst.

3) Trope-wise, we want this to play out like classic zombie-horror, with the undead like a mass of grasping arms and snapping mouths, dragging down and tearing apart anything in its way, absorbing it into its mass.

Them getting through the barricaded doors or windows and into the common house would be disastrous (not just because they would murder civilians, but the positive feedback loop of increasing their numbers would increase the danger proportionately).

Further still, the extra numbers of the steading's Guard need to help...but the fear of them adding to the numbers of the dead needs to be real.





So this is the fiction we're looking for the mechanics to support. Now we can look to the mechanics to bring this to life.

* The 5 living Guards are of-level Minion Soldiers (so good AC) and a Trait that when they're adjacent to an ally, they get +2 Defenses.

* The bulk of the enemy force will be Huge Swarms with a passive Aura 1 that (a) Slows enemies and (b) does 10 damage to the barricaded openings to the Common House. If the double doors or a window takes 30 damage, its fortifications are lost and it can be freely traversed.

* We'll have 10 slain Guards as of-level Minion Ghouls and the others slain will just be narratively absorbed into the Swarms.

* We'll have 20 Minion Villagers inside the Common House. Any Guards or Villagers that are killed "heals" the Swarm that killed them for 5 HP (125 HP total potential) and then they're reanimated as an of-level Minion Ghoul.

* We'll have some kind of Elite Leader of the horde which buffs them and can Force Move them.

* Now we just have to figure out the initial Encounter Budget based on how deadly and desperate we want the fight to be. We already know we have 10 of-level Minion Ghouls. We subtract that from the budget to determine (a) the level of the Elite Leader and (b) the level and number of the Swarms.

* Obviously, things get more hairy if members of the Guard go down and significantly so if the horde is able to break into the Common House. This creates a layer to the decision-points that each PC is making individually and the party as collective (in terms of protecting NPC allies and controlling enemy forces).

* We'll want a covered porch that surrounds the structure that can be collapsed on enemies as stunt (AoE damage that Swarms are vulnerable to). Perhaps some large firepits nearby that the defenders have ignited for visual purposes (this should be at night) and to weaponize (hazardous terrain for Forced Movement).
 

Campbell

Legend
I agree with much of what @Manbearcat just posted. The underlying tools 4e GMs have access to accurately reflect the fiction provide a means to properly convey the emotional weight of the battle before them. I view their responsible use as a function of framing. Just like clocks in Blades or GM moves in Apocalypse World they can definitely be misused. I think it's important to leave room for GM judgement in any role playing game. What's important to me is that these tools are used responsibly and during the act of play GM mediation is minimized so they can focus on adversity and playing to find out what happens. What I want is when a GM or any other player is trying to shape events to match their own creative vision that it is as obvious as possible. Most of the 4e machinery is right out there in the open for all to see.

My own falling out with 4e is due to a couple things. All the resolution mechanics are built around a team of PCs working in tandem where my favored approach is a collection of individuals with their own needs and desires that are sometimes allies, sometimes rivals, and occasionally enemies. Some games like Masks and Blades I can deal with because the team is very much something thematically important. The other issue I have is there really is no built in pathos to the characters as generated. There are some great conflicts built into the setting, but no initial impetus for the characters. You can borrow from other games for this, but mostly I would rather just play other games. Plus I get into less arguments putting an Apocalypse World game together.

Addendum: I just wanted to say real quick that games that utilize a standardized action economy massively favor lesser skilled opponents in a way that is unrealistic. As a trained martial artist (Krav Maga/ Jujitsu/ Muay Thai ) I can tell you that breaking past the defenses of a more skilled opponent is incredibly difficult. You might get a lucky shot in, but no where near what happens in most games.
 
Last edited:

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
All the resolution mechanics are built around a team of PCs working in tandem where my favored approach is a collection of individuals with their own needs and desires that are sometimes allies, sometimes rivals, and occasionally enemies.
Regardless of the rest of your post, xp just for this bit alone!

And it goes beyond just the resolution mechanics and beyond just 4e - some DMs in all editions force their parties to work in tandem via various house rules that discourage or even ban anything else; and some players force it through peer pressure. Your favoured approach here exactly matches mine, both as player and DM.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What does wrong mean here?

These are all examples of not knowing 4e or how its system works.

In 4e the AC of a (say) 16th level ogre will be higher than that of an 8th level ogre (eg AC 28 for the Ogre Bludgeoneer 16th level minion compared to AC 19 for the Ogre Savage 8th level standard). AC in 4e doesn't reflect simply the armour that is worn (hide armour in both cases). It is a mechanical device for adjudicating the success of attack rolls that reflects the overall fictional context. Statting an ogre as a higher level minion rather than a lower-level standard involves stepping up the AC to the appropriate level, while stepping down the hit points. This change in the mathematical operations performed during resolution don't change the fiction.

In 4e there are no fumble rules. A GM is free to narrate a missed attack by an ogre minion as a fumbled swing. S/he is even free to narrate it as inflicting a pin-prick's worth of physical harm to another ogre minion in the vicinity. In 4e that narration would be mere colour and is not reflected in the resolution process (similar to the way in which, in AD&D, narrating a missed attack as glancing of armour is mere colour - contrast, say, Burning Wheel where that is not mere colour and has mechanical significance and is a permitted narration only when the mechanics provide for it).

In 4e a higher level mage casts a more powerful magic missile spell. (Whether this is narrated as a single more powerful missile or a series of magical blasts pulse-laser style is a matter of discretion for the player of the wizard.) This is the same as the ability of a higher level fighter to strike more powerful blows, or fire more deadly shots with a bow or crossbow. There is no such thing in 4e as a mid-paragon mage casting the same magic missile spell with the same in-fiction power as a mid-heroic mage; or as a mid-paragon archer releasing an arrow with no greater deadliness of aim and power than a mid-heroic archer.

In 4e there is no "spell research" of the sort you describe - ie mechanics-first spell descriptions intended to exploit weak points in the rules. There are plenty of magical effects in 4e that can do AoE damage and will clear a field of minion ogres - this is because the magic of those mid-paragon wizards, sorcerers and invokers is more powerful than that of their mid-heroic precursors.

You are presenting a certain mechanical framework - AD&D - as if (i) it is a fictional framework and (ii) it is the only possible ficitonal framework. Frankly this is bizarre. There's nothing inconsistent, for instance, in a ficiton in which a more puissant archer can shoot down a fell beast with a single arrow (qv Legolas in LotR). The fact that AD&D doesn't allow for it simply reminds us of one of the oddities of AD&D, namely, it's relatively unrealistic treatment of archery.

Why?

Why?

What is the inconsistency in the fiction in which a ghoul which is a handy challenge for a mid-heroic PC is little challenge to a mid-paragon PC?

The maths of this are, for present purposes which is at the level of generalities, no different from minion rules. I can even make the point by rephrasing what you have said: a reduced chance to hit but significantly increased chance to kill as level advances is a nice reflection of - in the fiction - the character's skill increasing.

This is not a theory. It's a property that any given D&D variant either possesses or doesn't. Clearly 4e doesn't possess this property. The making of an attack roll doesn't per se tell us whether or not physical harm is inflicted on the foe; nor does it tell us whether or not damage in the mechaincal sense (ie depletion of hp) occurs as part of the resolution procedure.

This can easily be seen in the fact that 4e allows for hit point depletion on a failed attack roll; and allows for hit point depletion to be narrated as other than physical harm in the fiction; and clearly permits a failed attack roll against a minion to be narrated as the non-fatal infliction of physical harm.

Were it relevant, which I don't think it is, 4e D&D is not a resource management game in the way that AD&D is.
I had a great big long reply 3/4 typed in when my computer decided to crash; lack of patience means I'm not about to start over. :)

But a few fast points:

4e really - really? - doesn't allow a PC to research and design a new spell and add it to the game/fiction? That kinda puts a DM on the spot when she's asked "How were the spells I cast now first designed, and why can't I attempt the same thing?"

The numbers and recovery rates etc. are different but 4e is still a resource management game, just like all the other editions.

The inconsistency in the fiction is not that "a ghoul which is a handy challenge for a mid-heroic PC is little challenge to a mid-paragon PC", it's that the ghoul itself has to be changed in the fiction in order to make this the case, rather than the ghoul just stay as it was and let the skill/level advancement of the PC cover this off.
 

Sadras

Hero
The inconsistency in the fiction is not that "a ghoul which is a handy challenge for a mid-heroic PC is little challenge to a mid-paragon PC", it's that the ghoul itself has to be changed in the fiction in order to make this the case, rather than the ghoul just stay as it was and let the skill/level advancement of the PC cover this off.

Bold emphasis mine. How is the change from x hit points to 1 hit point a change in the fiction?
I see it as a change in the mechanics. Usually minions are afforded a higher AC, higher saves and greater damage than their original counterparts, and yes their hit points are reduced to 1. But that is all mechanics.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I do agree that we need to be thoughtful about pulling it all apart, but some systems focus on alleviating this burden, through clarified ethos and clear, concrete play procedures so that our role as intermediary (between the input of declaration, the processing of deriving resolution, and the output of that resolution) can be reduced in key ways (reduction in cognitive burden, reduction in table handling time, reduction in GM stress-load, increase in overall mental bandwidth available for deployment/transmission/absorption of other things such as creativity and improvisation and better active listening skills or perception of nonverbal cues).

Yep, the issue I raised can be resolved with strict adherence to a game process. But, any time you engage in a game process, you are apt to lift a player out of immersion. This is hardly an issue with, say, a complicated D&D combat, where there are so many dice flying around that one more process bit won't harm anything in that sense. In the middle of a tense interpersonal role play, scene, though, asking a player to stop and restate their intents in specific game terms and format can be a total buzzkill, and worse if there's a bit of player-GM negotiation that goes along with it.

Real, practical play probably generally works in a compromise, or often taking on some uncertainty for sake of cognitively smooth play.
 

Presents for Goblins

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top