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Yet another solution to the Minion Problem

amnuxoll

First Post
A number of solutions to the fact that minions are too easy to kill have been posted. Some solutions I've seen along with the chief argument against using them:

1. Double or triple the number of minions (problem: too many bad guys!)
2. Increase minion hp and require that you do at least that much damage to kill them or not at all (problem: It's hard to reliably pick a hp level that "works")
3. Require two hits to kill a minion (problem: bookkeeping, slows combat)
4. Don't use minions at all (problem: minions fill an important niche in some combats)
5. Minions get a saving throw to stay alive if they are hit (problem: slows down combat)

So, I'm going to throw a new idea into the mix:
6. Minions receive a +5 bonus to all their defenses vs. bursts and blasts.

I realize this cuts down on the controller's spotlight moment, but at this point most classes have a decent set of AoE powers so it's less of an issue.

Thoughts?
 

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Starfox

Adventurer
I've been thinking of rephrazing "a miss doesn't damage a minion" to "a minion is only damage by powers that hit". The main minion killer is automatic damage. Powers that currently do automatic damage require an attack roll agaisnt minions, unless the power already has an attack roll in the first case - like Cleave.

Not tough this trough, however, there might be powers where this wouldn't work.
 

Sporemine

First Post
This creates a problem, as minion killing is one of the controller's roles. If you eliminate that the controller is no longer able to send 6-8 minions to death in a firey burst, eliminating some major fun from that role.

In my opinion, there is no minion problem. They work fine and don't need to be changed.

Kudos

-Sporemine
 

keterys

First Post
'Too many bad guys'???

I think your problem is my feature. As I see it, there are three potential problems with minions:

1) Automatic damage deals with them too easily
2) They are not worth the xp value assigned to them
3) At higher levels in particular, burst attacks can be very large and potentially catch too many minions at once (particularly true of enemies only attacks and with the enlarge spell feat)

I like the idea of dealing with automatic damage in some fashion - whether that's by requiring it to hit (mostly outright denying it) or giving a save for automatic damage, or bloodying on automatic damage, or whatever.

Allowing more minions per 'xp spent' sounds fine to me. I've seen some extremely good combats where they started with 8-10 minions but had used 20-24 by the end of it, and that's just not viable by the normal xp parameters.

The higher level 'and I casually attack all your minions' thing is a bit of a deal. I'm okay conceptually with giving controllers their chance to shine, though it's not just a controller shtick (why, hello, cleric, hello, sorcerer). Up to you how much you care, really.
 

I just give minions resist all 5 (10 at paragon, 15 at epic). Also, I may increase their damage a tad, especially ones in the MM, because it's often low compared to what an average roll would be for a standard monster of the same level.

This might actually make them slightly more challenging than their XP value at the beginning of the fight, but as the PCs clear them out, I think it balances.

For instance, a single standard monster might get in 6 attacks before the PCs kill it. Four minions get 4 attacks each round, but the PCs can probably kill them in 2 or 3 rounds. I find this makes minions a respectable threat.
 

lukelightning

First Post
I've been thinking of rephrazing "a miss doesn't damage a minion" to "a minion is only damage by powers that hit". The main minion killer is automatic damage. Powers that currently do automatic damage require an attack roll agaisnt minions, unless the power already has an attack roll in the first case - like Cleave.

Not tough this trough, however, there might be powers where this wouldn't work.

So minions can walk across lava? Pass through walls of fire? Ignore clouds of acid?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yup more bad guys = more fun...
For me bloodying on a miss and non-targetted damage has enough other cool benefits that it outshines other options. PCs start to like ally minions they can heal and readily bloodied enemies they can intimidate, etc. Its about making them more interesting... and actually they fall to damage on a miss more reliably... which is what damage on a miss is supposed to mean.
Minions arent a problem to me but with a simple house rule they can be cooler. (and it doesnt make them in generally tougher .. it still only takes one focused attack to take them out.)
 

Flipguarder

First Post
This creates a problem, as minion killing is one of the controller's roles. If you eliminate that the controller is no longer able to send 6-8 minions to death in a firey burst, eliminating some major fun from that role.

In my opinion, there is no minion problem. They work fine and don't need to be changed.

Kudos

-Sporemine

I pretty much completely disagree with this. Controllers are masters of doing damage to many targets at a time, in addition to putting nasty effects on the enemies they hit. To claim that one of a controller's roles is killing minions there would need to be at least one controller power that does 1 damage to each target.
That would show evidence that what you state was a design intent. As it is, I like the idea that minions take 2 hits, it makes the less trivial.
 

Aramax

First Post
This creates a problem, as minion killing is one of the controller's roles. If you eliminate that the controller is no longer able to send 6-8 minions to death in a firey burst, eliminating some major fun from that role.

In my opinion, there is no minion problem. They work fine and don't need to be changed.

Kudos

-Sporemine
What he said
 



Emryys

Explorer
2. Increase minion hp and require that you do at least that much damage to kill them or not at all (problem: It's hard to reliably pick a hp level that "works")

Minion HP = Minion Level or ML x2

3. Require two hits to kill a minion (problem: bookkeeping, slows combat)

Small book keeping... fine or bloodied

I'd mix it up so some are regular minions, other's aren't... give the controllers fits... ;)
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I would be careful giving hp to minions. Chances are, a few hp only means added administration, and that any form of attack kills them anyway.

I like the "resist 5/10/15" idea much better. Simpler, faster, and a much bigger nerf of autodamage than the controller's bursts.

IMO, the ease with which characters can blast minions to death, is intentional and functional and should not be nerfed.

What needs to be nerfed is instead how even a single point of autodamage kills any minion; as well as the high xp awards minions yield.
 


eriktheguy

First Post
Auto hit abilities bloody minions instead of killing
Minion level in damage from one source always kills
Attacks that hit always kill minions

If you find all the minions go down on the first round, ask the players if they enjoy it. If they do, don't change it (maybe count minions as less XP if you need a challenge). If they don't enjoy it, trickle minions. Introduce a few each round so that they can't all be killed at once. I sometimes have minions respawn endlessly until a condition is met (leader killed, signal fire put out).

I don't recommend giving them a defense bonus, but if you do, controllers should ignore it.

If you find the controller is destroying 6 minions in 1 round easily, don't fret, controllers are less powerful than other classes in many ways (imo) so let them shine.
 

Flipguarder

First Post
I would be careful giving hp to minions. Chances are, a few hp only means added administration,

When I think of the administration required for 4e it reminds me of a simpsons clip I couldn't find. But here's the general screenplay section.

Lisa's rival: Hey Dad, let's play anagram description. ______(some long name)

Lisa's rival's dad: _____ (witty comment using the same letters in the name that describes the person). Here lisa you try. We give you a name, and you make an anagram phrase describing the person. Try this one ______

Lisa: Umm.... ______ (not really anything witty or even related to the person)

Lisa's rival's dad: That's ok... Here's a ball. It bounces. You can bounce it.

point being, that extra amounts of bookeeping are REALLY not that hard in 4e. It got ridiculous in previous versions, but adding 30 or so hp to each minion isn't all that hard.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I took that clip as you expressed it to mean there are different forms of intelligence and that people specialize according to there natures.... and therefore measuring it according to your own standards is doomed to make errors... sometimes severe ones of self deception.

umm perhaps I didnt get it... putting hit points on minions is for me contrary to there philosophy allowing them to be bloodied and intimidateable or healable is (cool). and using more strategically instead of as insta-clump instakills makes sense...

But I dont "like" tracking hit points (on significant creatures I do it as a necessary evil) but on minions? lets just say that one less set of numbers to think about... one less ball I need to bounce ... not because its hard but because Im not into basketball.. prefer soccer or trackball ;)
 
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Henrix

Explorer
I'll reiterate my version, which works really well, in my experience.

  • All minions get +2 to all defences, putting them on par with others at their level.
  • Minions get a save against all damage that does not entail an attack roll against the minion in question. (Including stuff like Cleave, that require an attack roll against another minion but deals automatic damage against another (who now gets a save).)

This means that there is still no bookkeeping, which I think is really essential.
Area attacks are still effective. If it's one that does automatic damage (which is generally quite low) it kills about half of the minions in the area.
There is no such thing as certain death - the PCs cannot ever be absolutely certain that they'll get a minion out of the way.
It's simple and easy to remember, and requires no extra prep - just remember to add two and roll those saves.
 

Flipguarder

First Post
umm perhaps I didnt get it...
No... maybe i didn't make it clear enough. I feel like the amount of bookeeping required in 3.5 got ridiculous. But I feel as though there is a wide berth between what 4.0 has now, and what I can keep track of. I have a much harder time dealing with conditions than anything.

Hey in any reasonable encounter, you can't do without using at least one piece of paper and one pen (pencil). As long as that remains true and I can write everything I need to without disrupting the flow of battle, then I see no problem. Giving minions some hp doesn't prevent me from doing that.
 

Minigiant

Legend
I simply do.
Minions only takes damage on attack roll with a natural roll of 13 vs AC or 11 vs non AC.

But only if there's more than 3 minions.
 

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