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Best Mechanics to Steal from Non-D&D Games

Naburimannu

Registered User
Validated User
Fair enough.

The corner cases -- like "your spell deals 2 damage to everyone within 100'" -- are one thing Mooks does better than Minions.

In the limit -- the fireball damage is 50 you say? Minions and Mooks work the same. At the edge, Mooks are smoother; they devolve to 2-hit or 3-hit Minions continuously. And Mook vs Mook works (with different strength Mooks actually being different), while Minion vs Minion is ridiculous.
I think there's still a bit of discontinuity with 2-hit Minion-equivalency:

first round:
fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook.
fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits their nearest mook and kills it (1 hit).
next round:
fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook again (2 times).
fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits their next nearest mook and kills it (1 hit).
second round:
fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook again (3 times).
fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits yet another nearby mook and kills it (1 hit).

Or am I missing something?
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
If you want a more cinematic game, then minions/mooks/lackeys are a fun way to have PCs feel like badasses. I know 4e had the concept of minions with 1 HP, which was fairly decent. Each class had access to AoE abilities, so they could wipe out many baddies. I like allowing for multiple attacks, especially when dealing with lesser beings. While this exists in D&D, it is often tied to the level system, and I feel that's a bit limiting. I like how Starfinder allows for 2 attacks immediately, with -4 to each attack. Pathfinder 2e playtest also allowed for extra attacks out of the gate (with the added bonus that light weapons are easier to use with extra attacks, which makes light weapons actually beneficial).
The Exemplars & Eidolons/Godbound system has the Fray Dice which lets you roll a die (typically a d6, I think) and apply that toward any lowly character you can reach (the system also doesn't give cannon fodder enough hit points that this would take forever to kill them) for free, and excess carries over to any nearby. So the fighter is always slicing someone, the rogue is always knifing, the wizard always conjuring rocks to fall on their heads; makes everyone feel like they're contributing to the combat because there's no "I didn't cause any damage this round" rounds.
 

Weisenheim

Baroque Space Orc Mage
Validated User
The Exemplars & Eidolons/Godbound system has the Fray Dice which lets you roll a die (typically a d6, I think) and apply that toward any lowly character you can reach (the system also doesn't give cannon fodder enough hit points that this would take forever to kill them) for free, and excess carries over to any nearby. So the fighter is always slicing someone, the rogue is always knifing, the wizard always conjuring rocks to fall on their heads; makes everyone feel like they're contributing to the combat because there's no "I didn't cause any damage this round" rounds.
I always thought this was really cool tech. I am surprised it hasn't shown up in some variant or other in other products. Maybe the typical "give minions 1 HP" is considered sufficient for most people.
 

Kuildeous

Registered User
Validated User
I think there's still a bit of discontinuity with 2-hit Minion-equivalency:


first round:

fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook.

fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits their nearest mook and kills it (1 hit).

next round:

fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook again (2 times).

fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits their next nearest mook and kills it (1 hit).

second round:

fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook again (3 times).

fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits yet another nearby mook and kills it (1 hit).


Or am I missing something?
That is indeed a possibility with shared-HP mobs. To make it work, there must be some narrative leeway and less reliance on video game logic.

So in your example, the fighter on the east is battling this mook for a long time. Perhaps the mook is trying to keep distance and keeps throwing vases at the fighter and knocking over fruit stands. Or the mook is just really good at defending himself. Meanwhile, the fighter on the west is mowing through them like butter.

Numerically, the fighter on the east is contributing just as much as the fighter on the west. It just so happens that damage is such that he's not getting the final kills. Is this a problem? If the players take the situation literally and take issue with "beating" on the same thing with seemingly replenishing health, then yes. But if you frame that sort of abstraction and weave a story out of it, then it should work for most players.

It's conceivable for one person to do the most damage to a group but drop nary a one. It's unlikely, but it could certainly happen. For the most part, scenarios like this will see a proportionate amount of foes dropping to their attacks. It's easier if the player is comfortable knowing that doing 12 points of damage to a mob with 15-hp mooks while someone else does 3 points of damage is equivalent whether it was the 15 points that dropped one or the 3 points.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
On that issue.....

Fantasy Craft has a mechanic where a GM can spend one of their meta-currency to upgrade a minion to a full character. Might be useful for those times a fighter seems to be fighting one minion forever: inverse ninja rule in potentia.
 

N0-1_H3r3

Bemused and Bewildered
Validated User
I've done similar in both Leverage and in Star Trek Adventures, though in those cases, I used a complication a player rolled as the prompt to declare that "this one's tougher than you expected". If you've got an extended task mechanic (or something like Apocalypse World/Blades in the Dark clocks), using those sorts of moments (either spending GM currency or a "success at a cost" situation) to declare "you succeeded, but only partially, so you start this extended task instead of succeeding completely".
 

Yakk

Registered User
Validated User
I think there's still a bit of discontinuity with 2-hit Minion-equivalency:

first round:
fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook.
fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits their nearest mook and kills it (1 hit).
next round:
fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook again (2 times).
fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits their next nearest mook and kills it (1 hit).
second round:
fighter on the east side of the battlefield hits the nearest mook again (3 times).
fighter on the west side of the battlefield hits yet another nearby mook and kills it (1 hit).

Or am I missing something?
Yes, *if* your damage is nearly always exactly half minion HP, or reliably averages it.

Suppose the Mooks have 20 HP, and you hit for 6-15 (1d10+5). The 2nd/4th/6th swings are *more likely* to drop a Mook. But the 5th and 7th are also pretty likely.

V(1d10)=99/12, V(6d10) = 99, SD(6d10)=~10, so 6d10+30 is 63 damage +/- 19.6 damage 19 times out of 20. About half of the 6th attacks drop a Mook; and most of the ones where it doesn't, either 5th or 7th does it instead.

The Exemplars & Eidolons/Godbound system has the Fray Dice which lets you roll a die (typically a d6, I think) and apply that toward any lowly character you can reach (the system also doesn't give cannon fodder enough hit points that this would take forever to kill them) for free, and excess carries over to any nearby. So the fighter is always slicing someone, the rogue is always knifing, the wizard always conjuring rocks to fall on their heads; makes everyone feel like they're contributing to the combat because there's no "I didn't cause any damage this round" rounds.
I've been looking into stealing mechanics from Risk for melee combat in D&D.

You roll your HD, an ArmorD and a WeaponD. Then you play Risk with it (match highest dice against highest dice), with rules like: Equipment cannot die; Armor cannot kill, odd dice can lose and not be lost.
Spoiler: Show

So a 4d8 HD character with plate and shield (d12) and a longsword (d8) can fight 4 kobolds (d4 each) with daggers (d4 each).

Hero: 6,3,8,7 HD, 2 sword, 6 armor
Kobolds: 4,4,3,1 HD, 2,2,3,4 daggers

Sorted:
Hero: 8H 7H 6A 6H 3H 2W
Kobolds: 4W 4H 4H 3W 3H 2W 2W 1H

Fight:

8Hv4W 7Hv4H 6Av4H 6Hv3W 3Hv3H 2Wv2W

one Kobold dies.

Next round, Kobolds:
Weapon: 4,1,1
HD: 4,3,3

Hero:
7W 11A
4,8,5,2 HD

Fight:
11A:4W 8H:4H 7W:3H 5H:3H 4H:1W 2H:1W

another Kobold dies.

as a sort of "melee combat is dangerous" roll. Then split the "my action" away from "I hit things with a stick" for heroes; they *do* things with their actions, hitting things with an axe is a non-action.
 

ShadowbaneX

Registered User
Validated User
From Marvel Heroic (Cortex): I'm a big fan of Balsera-style initiative (action order). The GM picks who goes first based on the scene, the highest reflexes (or senses) and then it's "tag, you're next." What's great is that at some point you have to select a bad guy, and it can be interesting to see what a given baddie will do. Secondarily, it's aces for teamwork, because unlike a rolled init order, the person you want to work with might be way down the init order and someone might get taken out. So if you want that Fastball Special, then you set it up, tag your buddy, and you're off to the races.
As someone already mentioned, the Initiative system from FFG's Star Wars & Genesys systems sort of works like that. Everyone rolls at the beginning of combat, then the totals are ranked and each side gets to decide who uses which slot.

There's actually quite a bit I like from the FFG system including their Advantage/Disadvantage system which sorta works like Bardic Inspiration in that it gives an additional dice.

I also like it's skill/stat system and how the die pool gets upgraded. If we're talking more D&D style systems I do prefer Dragon Age's 3D6 system over the D20.

I think I prefer the more cinematic 1 hit 1 kill cinematic method for mooks, but to each his own. You fireball hit 12 mooks. They're dead. yay!It does get cumbersome whenn you're talking about unit sized conflict and up of course.
This is another thing that's good about the FFG system. They've got classes of opponents so that it's possible to cut down squads of stormtroopers fairly easily, but that one guy in the fancy armour in the back, he's going to be a challenge.
 

Fenris-77

Registered User
Validated User
This is another thing that's good about the FFG system. They've got classes of opponents so that it's possible to cut down squads of stormtroopers fairly easily, but that one guy in the fancy armour in the back, he's going to be a challenge.
This is my default approach for heroic role playing in general, regardless of system. Even in D&D where I'll sometimes happily ignore HP for low level baddies in favour of just calling them one and two hit chaff.
 

LordofKhyber

Registered User
Validated User
I've been meaning to put Mouse Guard's system for modelling seasons and weather to work for my next F20 game. It's an aspect that I've been ignoring or handwaving, but one that could add a little more depth to the world. One idea that I'm playing with is to modify the system to reflect slow yearly changes caused by the weather wizard/necromancer/awakening eldritch horror as the evil plan moves forward.
Hello Friend, can you explain more about this system please?
 
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