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wodan46
2008-06-04, 11:18 AM
Ok, lets say you encounter a Level 16 Minion when you are the same, and drop him in 1 hit. That minion is worth 350 exp, equal to that of an Level 8 Angel of Valor with 80 something HP. So how did you do 80 HP of damage in 1 hit? There are several reasons.

1. Your attack is now, compared to a level 8's defense, sufficient to more or less always score above a twenty. You could argue that you are more or less always scoring a Critical Hit unless you roll a 1. Since a level 16 minion isn't actually hit half the time, you can imagine yourself getting 2 Critical hits, one of which is simply unrecorded for simplicity's sake, and the second which actually drops the monster.
2. Your ability score increases by 1/2 per level for checks, but not for damage. That is because normally you are fighting enemies on the same level as you, and your listed ability scores at level 16 are meant to be as comparisons of other PCs/Monsters at level 16. Against a Level 8 monster, you could consider the ability score bonus as applying, giving you an additional +8 damage.
3. You are already dealing something like 10-20 damage by level 16, with items and feats giving improved criticals most of the time, for about 10 more damage. So you do about 40 damage a hit, and take 1-3 hits to kill the low monster, same as the high minion worth equal exp.
4. At this point, you deal so much damage to a low level monster that you should Gib them under the massive damage clause anyways.

The difference is that mechanically wise, the standard monster doesn't work. The rules for doing that 40 damage aren't implemented, as you are supposed to fight a minion instead. The monster won't be able to hit you at all, and do lousy damage, once again because you are supposed to fight a minion by then.

In short, once you accept that certain aspects of 4e will literally make no sense when used in certain situations, minions become useful and logical. The system isn't designed to let you fight high minions at low levels and low monsters at high levels. Its not a videogame where people can seek out breaks and use them, but an RPG where the game is managed by a DM referee who seeks to ensure that the game doesn't step into these cracks to begin with.

Zeta Kai
2008-06-04, 11:24 AM
In short, once you accept that certain aspects of 4e will literally make no sense when used in certain situations. The system isn't designed to let you fight high minions at low levels and low monsters at high levels.

The system isn't designed to do much of anything, frankly. :smallamused: And making sense hasn't been part of the business model for a while now.

Kurald Galain
2008-06-04, 11:26 AM
I foresee that the 4E equivalent of Monty Hauls will be powerlevelling through one-shotting high level minions.

SamTheCleric
2008-06-04, 11:27 AM
The system isn't designed to do much of anything, frankly. :smallamused: And making sense hasn't been part of the business model for a while now.

This statement is false, the system actually does quite a lot.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-04, 11:30 AM
Here is the problem with your example.

I am a level 6 Wizard. I cast Flaming Sphere (Level one Perday power) and drop it next to a level 8 Minion. The minions starts its turn and dies because of the autodamage. A level 1 and level 8 minion drop just the same for standing next to the exact same level 1 power.

wodan46
2008-06-04, 11:40 AM
1. Flaming Sphere has autodamage that works on minions? Keep in mind miss damage doesn't work, while things like Cleave do, but only if you hit the first target anyway (thus, you are required to get a hit). I work under the presumption that your ability must at least hit something, presumably of your level, before it can even have a chance of autokilling minions.
2. Encountering minions at way higher than normal is, as I just stated, outside the mechanical boundaries of 4e. While have mechanics that are naturally broken in certain situations, like say a videogame, or even a boardgame, would be bad, 4e is an RPG, and there is a vast amount of stupid stuff and things that the DM should and can prohibit anyways.
3. The reason your level 1 ability drops them is because you critical hit them with it, possibly twice in a row, and with big bonus damage. The game simply doesn't bother to illustrate this mechanically, and says you splattered them after 2 hits.

Also, 1 reason I forgot to add before is that the critical hits mean that you probably Gib minions under the massive damage clause anyways.

Tengu
2008-06-04, 11:40 AM
I foresee that the 4E equivalent of Monty Hauls will be powerlevelling through one-shotting high level minions.

Your DM is doing something wrong if he lets you fight a minion with a higher level than you are. If a player tried to pull such a trick on me, I'd simply convert the minion into an ordinary monster. Rejoice, it's worth five times the experience now! If you survive, that is.

wodan46
2008-06-04, 11:44 AM
How to break 4e:
1. Have a Level 1 minion stand next to a Level 30 minion (equal to level 22 standard monster in exp).
2. Use Cleave on the Level 1 minion.
3. BOOMSPLATTA

The DM then drops rocks on you, then converts them to lava, and you die.

Kurald Galain
2008-06-04, 11:50 AM
Your DM is doing something wrong if he lets you fight a minion with a higher level than you are.

Obviously.

Now think of how many DMs there are in the world, and think of the likelihood that one of them is doing something wrong...

Monty Hauls were never the intent of 1E design, yet they happened. Fighters and monks feeling worthless in some games was never the intent of 3E design, yet it happened. Characters powerlevelling from one-shotting high-level minions isn't the intent of 4E design either, but I'll betcha it'll happen in some campaigns. That's okay, though - this message board wouldn't be half as fun without people occasionally complaining about a ludicrous session they played.

Tengu
2008-06-04, 11:51 AM
How to break 4e:
1. Have a Level 1 minion stand next to a Level 30 minion (equal to level 22 standard monster in exp).
2. Use Cleave on the Level 1 minion.
3. BOOMSPLATTA

The DM then drops rocks on you, then converts them to lava, and you die.

The funny thing is that the highest-level premade minions are undead (level 26 Lich Vestige, level 23 Abyssal Ghoul Myrmidon) and therefore it's easy to explain why would they be in the same group as a level 1 Decrepit Skeleton.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-04, 11:57 AM
I work under the presumption that your ability must at least hit something, presumably of your level, before it can even have a chance of autokilling minions.

You work under an incorrect assumption. There are quite a few powers and spells that deal autodamage and kill minions. It is not a miss. They simply take damge, typically if they start in or next to the area of the spell. Spells with a duration longer than 1 round or a sustain option frequently work this way.


Encountering minions at way higher than normal is, as I just stated, outside the mechanical boundaries of 4e. While have mechanics that are naturally broken in certain situations, like say a videogame, or even a boardgame, would be bad, 4e is an RPG, and there is a vast amount of stupid stuff and things that the DM should and can prohibit anyways.

Neither of my examples there were of a minion way higher than normal.


The reason your level 1 ability drops them is because you critical hit them with it, possibly twice in a row, and with big bonus damage. The game simply doesn't bother to illustrate this mechanically, and says you splattered them after 2 hits.

This becomes a bit of a strain when I use Stinking Cloud, for example, and crit 10 times on five minions.

Citizen Joe
2008-06-04, 12:01 PM
I've been stating repeatedly that they shouldn't give minions 1hp, they should give the characters at will powers that simply 'disable minion'. That leaves the high level minions just as bad ass against low level minions but still gives the PC's a chance to eliminate them one at a time... which was the original objective of minions in the first place.

wodan46
2008-06-04, 12:17 PM
Minions aren't ever going to get respect are they? No matter how many PCs they dutifully and thanklessly gnaw to death, people will still complain about them only having 1 HP, and are unable to get over the concept of that being for simplicity's sake, to save them from having to do math elsewhere.

You being higher level means your better at deploying the flaming sphere, while the minions are lower level and not as good at avoiding it. This is what ensures the crits.

Rutee
2008-06-04, 12:23 PM
Wodan, do you have the 4e rules? You really shouldn't be that surprised at there being auto-damage effects if you do.

Starsinger
2008-06-04, 12:26 PM
Sure, there are auto-damage powers which spank minions. But so what? Minions are supposed to flesh out an encounter, not be the entirety of it. I mean I suppose you could fight 20 minions. The point of minions is to eat actions or stab you until you deal with them.

wodan46
2008-06-04, 12:30 PM
I have the KotSf module and have observed most excerpts and previews. I don't have full knowledge of the powers yet.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-04, 12:37 PM
You being higher level means your better at deploying the flaming sphere, while the minions are lower level and not as good at avoiding it. This is what ensures the crits.

Two things:

1. So I'm better at deploying it against the minions, who I autocrit, but the spell acts just the same as it always did against other monsters?

2. I have a problem wrapping my head around the idea of being better at deploying (to go back to stinking cloud) a smoky pile of poisonous gas when neither the damage, density, or size of the cloud has changed.

Overall, sure, I can view it as an abstraction and try to come up with explanations as to why it doesn't make sense. But in the end, I'm still having to come up with explanations as to why it doesn't make sense, which isn't a good thing.


Sure, there are auto-damage powers which spank minions. But so what? Minions are supposed to flesh out an encounter, not be the entirety of it. I mean I suppose you could fight 20 minions. The point of minions is to eat actions or stab you until you deal with them.

I know. I was using the autodamage spells and abilities as an example of a time where Wodan's explanation falls short of the mark. Not as an objection to minions themselves.

Xyk
2008-06-04, 12:51 PM
I actually like that they die so easily. I haven't read the rules for 4e, but it seems like in most battles there will be a monster or 2 and like 5 minions. I like to think of it like a movie adventure, not a dice-rolling game. I have an imagination that makes it look much cooler when the minions will sometimes damage you greatly, but will go down in one hit. It isn't realistic, but it is fun.

nagora
2008-06-04, 01:12 PM
Ok, lets say you encounter a Level 16 Minion when you are the same, and drop him in 1 hit. That minion is worth 350 exp, equal to that of an Level 8 Angel of Valor with 80 something HP.
You still get XP for killing minions!? These guys couldn't design tic-tac-toe, let alone an RPG.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-04, 01:14 PM
1. Flaming Sphere has autodamage that works on minions?

Yes, it does. It's Effect, not Miss. Applied at the start of the turn to anyone starting their turn next to the sphere.

AKA_Bait did, in fact, break the game already. I don't see anything that accounts for this. You don't need to hit the target, they take autodamage. (Unless minions have some other immunities aside from immunity to Miss damage.)

Fortunately, you're not really supposed to run into minions very much above your level. Those level 8 minions would be level 4 brutes or something when you're a level 1 PC. It's all relative and abstract, after all. If you're running into any minions, you're supposed to be killing them that easily. (Incidentally, wizards are apparently the best at handling minions, huh?)

Also, the one and only reason and reasoning why minions die so easily is because they're unimportant. The orcs that killed Boromir were (mostly) minions: he killed around a score of them, but was finally overwhelmed. Most orcs in LotR, both books and movie, are minions. The more dramatic and tough ones were brutes, skirmishers, or the like.

Tengu
2008-06-04, 01:18 PM
You still get XP for killing minions!? These guys couldn't design tic-tac-toe, let alone an RPG.

Have you read the books (or heck, just read the more informative 4e threads carefully), or are you pulling ideas out of your arse?

Minions give 1/5 experience of normal creatures their level. They give experience because, while you can kill them in one hit, they are still dangerous - their attack bonus is similar to normal monsters'.

TheOOB
2008-06-04, 01:19 PM
Minions should only be used when the creature is supposed to be a great deal weaker then the players to the point where there needs to be at least half a dozen or so in order to count as a single creatures worth of XP. Minions should also only be used when there is one or more, more powerful creatures leading them.

By sending a single high level minions against a level 1 party to say get cloud of daggered you are breaking the two fundamental rules that make minions work.

Elana
2008-06-04, 01:20 PM
Pah, minions don't die.

When you hit them, they just think "bah, I don't get paid enough for this"

Then they throw themselfs down and play possum.

Just wait a few month, when the player realise that they alway encounter the same minions.
(As they always have to get a job with the new big bad, after the PCs killed their last employer)

And of course, you don't want to start a fight with a minion in his free time :)

SamTheCleric
2008-06-04, 01:24 PM
Minions make for fantastic combat. I love the mechanic... and despite popular belief do make a difference.

Take the highest level Kobold Lurk.. he has an ability that's an immediate reaction to shunt an attack off onto an adjacent minion.

Try and tell me that's not cool

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-04, 01:26 PM
Pah, minions don't die.

You're actually kind of right. There's this little detail that makes playing more moral characters a lot easier. The rules say that when you drop an enemy, you get to decide if they're dead or unconscious. There's no mechanical difference at all, except that the unconscious enemies will eventually recover a hit point and get up.

Incidentally, since I mentioned LotR, the minion mechanic is a lot like the default combat solution suggested for all enemies (except the really important ones); instead of using the Health and Wound Level systems (which would make combat take for ever, and be a bookkeeping nightmare), enemies are ranked by the number of Complete Successes at attack tests required to drop them: one, two, or three. (Superior Successes count as two, and Extraordinary Successes count as three.) So most orcs and other enemies are dropped with one hit. It makes for excellently dramatic and fast combat encounters, where the point isn't to kill a bunch of monsters, but to accomplish some real goal (get away, save someone, etc.). The enemies are still lethal (any troll will drop you down one or two Wound Levels with a hit), but they don't have staying power.

Elana
2008-06-04, 01:37 PM
of course i'm right. I'm me after all :P

And if you want a consistent world, the only way to justify a high level character dropping after one hit, is that he just didn't fight to his actual death.

(And really, why would a minion want to die for nothing anyhow? )

Learnedguy
2008-06-04, 01:44 PM
Basically, if your players aren't enjoying your minions, your a bad a DM. Sorry, but it's the truth:smallamused:

Larrin
2008-06-04, 01:46 PM
High level minions die easily because the PC's killing them are high level. Say you have an ogre iving in a cave. A group of level 5 PC's stumble into it and are faced with a big nasty ogre, its should be a toughish fight, so maybe its a level 7 brute or something. Now lets say a group of level 15 PC's stumble across the same cave and the same ogre, They're more powerful then the ogre by a fair amount, and will end up swatting it down without any bother, so now its effectively a level 15 minion, so you might as well run it as one. Thats the general idea anyway. Minions are only minions with respect to the power level the appear at, they only have 1 hitpoint when they are facing someone who should be able to kill them with one hit. In any other circumstance they should be represented as a full-blown non-minion multi-hipointed monsters. To do otherwise naturally leads to sillyness.

Starbuck_II
2008-06-04, 01:56 PM
Obviously.

Now think of how many DMs there are in the world, and think of the likelihood that one of them is doing something wrong...

Monty Hauls were never the intent of 1E design, yet they happened. Fighters and monks feeling worthless in some games was never the intent of 3E design, yet it happened. Characters powerlevelling from one-shotting high-level minions isn't the intent of 4E design either, but I'll betcha it'll happen in some campaigns. That's okay, though - this message board wouldn't be half as fun without people occasionally complaining about a ludicrous session they played.

No, I'm sure Monty meant to do that. After all, why else would he do it?

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 02:04 PM
Here's a trio of suggestions/guidelines for using Minions in your games that will pretty much keep them in line as *minions* and not tasty chunks of high level one-shottable XP:

A) Don't use Minions that are higher level than any of the other monsters in the same encounter - so that if you want to throw high-level Minions at a party, they must be accompanied by high-level enemies.

B) The total amount of XP that Minions are worth should not be more than one-half of the total Encounter XP.

C) Always use at least 4 Minions.

Combining all of these should work pretty well. You can't throw too high level of Minions at the party without risking a TPK.

FoE
2008-06-04, 02:40 PM
C) Always use at least 4 Minions.

Combining all of these should work pretty well. You can't throw too high level of Minions at the party without risking a TPK.

Funny you say that, because WotC states that "four minions are considered to be about the same as a standard monster of their level."

Yes, you get experience for killing minions, but only a quarter of what you would get normally. Yes, they go down easily, but they should only to be used to fill out encounters.

@V: I was agreeing with you! Why do you hate me?

*Runs in the corner and cries*

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 02:46 PM
Funny you say that, because WotC states that "four minions are considered to be about the same as a standard monster of their level."

Yeah, that's why I chose 4.

Also, it's the smallest number of Minions I'm seeing in any pre-made encounters.

RukiTanuki
2008-06-04, 04:14 PM
Is the idea of using a creature that is defeated by one solid attack only when you need enemies that are defeated in one solid attack that hard to pick up, that some people are still arguing about it? :P

KillianHawkeye
2008-06-04, 09:29 PM
Apparently so. :smallsigh:

EDIT: I simply love your avatar, RukiTanuki.

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 09:32 PM
Is the idea of using a creature that is defeated by one solid attack only when you need enemies that are defeated in one solid attack that hard to pick up, that some people are still arguing about it? :P

Who's arguing? I'm discussing the mechanic reasonably.

Heaven forbid I attempt to discuss something reasonably!

Animefunkmaster
2008-06-04, 09:43 PM
Basically, if your players aren't enjoying your minions, your a bad a DM. Sorry, but it's the truth:smallamused:

I am sure you didn't just say what I think you said. Tell me I missread that you said something to the effect of:"If your player does not like a specific game mechanic for a specific rpg, you fail as a DM"

Anyone else read it like this?

Norsesmithy
2008-06-04, 09:50 PM
Here is the problem with your example.

I am a level 6 Wizard. I cast Flaming Sphere (Level one Perday power) and drop it next to a level 8 Minion. The minions starts its turn and dies because of the autodamage. A level 1 and level 8 minion drop just the same for standing next to the exact same level 1 power.

I don't think that works, don't you have to hit a minion with a Attack to affect its hit-point total? Flaming Sphere doesn't have an attack, so I don't think it would affect minions at all.

JaxGaret
2008-06-04, 10:52 PM
I don't think that works, don't you have to hit a minion with a Attack to affect its hit-point total? Flaming Sphere doesn't have an attack, so I don't think it would affect minions at all.

You are incorrect.


Damage from an attack or from a source that doesnít require an attack roll (such as the paladinís divine challenge or the fighterís cleave) destroys a minion.

its_all_ogre
2008-06-04, 11:15 PM
this thread seems like one of those 2nd ed vs 3rd ed threads:
always the same faces defending their favoured system.
can we not just play the damn game any more without trying to tell everyone that our way is the one and true way?
(i'm aware that nobody has specifically said this btw)
all of dnd is based on abstract mechanics, so why should this one bother people so much?
people double their ability to take hits in 1/2/3 editions per level :smalleek:
a level 10 fighter can be stabbed 50 times with a dagger and survive!!!!:smalleek:

but these are not issues.....people dying with one hit from an opponent who is WAY out of their league is.....
makes perfect sense to me :smalltongue:

Helgraf
2008-06-04, 11:19 PM
How to break 4e:
1. Have a Level 1 minion stand next to a Level 30 minion (equal to level 22 standard monster in exp).
2. Use Cleave on the Level 1 minion.
3. BOOMSPLATTA

The DM then drops rocks on you, then converts them to lava, and you die.

Yeah, if your DM is dumb enough to put a Level 30 minion and a Level 1 minion in the same battle then 'e's doing it wrong.

The minion rules break when you use them incorrectly. That's bloody well obvious. Congratulations. Now what have you proven that we didn't already know?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-05, 12:35 AM
Just got to say, goblin minions are great!

Why? Because those sneaky gobs get tons of extra damage when they get Combat Advantage, and all that takes is having someone set up flanking.

Now you see why the Blackblade carts around 4 goblin minions instead of 1 additional Blackblade - so many more flanking opportunities!

Now, you probably don't want to send a squad of Blackblades instead of the minions, since they could very easily turn your party to mincemeat. These aren't your daddy's gobos!

Plus, dramatically, I like being able to set my PCs against a goblin raiding party of 10 goblins (without worrying about killing the PCs or forcing the gobos to fight stupidly) instead of a measly 4. That's not a raid, that's just a robbery.

Seriously, though, folks need to read the 4e rules before complaining bitterly about them. I was a little put off by a lot of the changes they made, but gosh darn it, after I read how it all fit together, I couldn't say no!

To my shame, I read the alignment justification post over at WotC and, for a moment, I almost bought in to their argument for simplifying the alignment system. But I stood strong, and I'll keep my CN rapscallions and my LN grunts separate, thank-you-very-much :smallamused:

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-05, 03:37 AM
I don't think that works, don't you have to hit a minion with a Attack to affect its hit-point total? Flaming Sphere doesn't have an attack, so I don't think it would affect minions at all.

Like JaxGaret said, the auto-damage does work fine on Minions. They just don't take damage on a Miss. And Flaming Sphere does have an attack...

AKA_Bait
2008-06-05, 08:16 AM
Like JaxGaret said, the auto-damage does work fine on Minions. They just don't take damage on a Miss. And Flaming Sphere does have an attack...

Indeed, and if the attack itself misses then the minion takes no damage (they wouldn't anyway as per the spell but that's beside the point at the moment). However, when the minions turn comes up it automatically takes damage as per the spell, and since that damage is at least 1hp, they die.

SamTheCleric
2008-06-05, 08:18 AM
Indeed, and if the attack itself misses then the minion takes no damage (they wouldn't anyway as per the spell but that's beside the point at the moment). However, when the minions turn comes up it automatically takes damage as per the spell, and since that damage is at least 1hp, they die.

And, to that end... I'd say good for the person playing the Wizard, that's how they should be doing it. :)

Also of note: In most tactics blocks in the premade adventures it tells you that the enemies do not cluster in more than groups of two unless they can completely surround them... so if you've got all your minions piled up... you may as well not put them in at all.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-05, 08:43 AM
And, to that end... I'd say good for the person playing the Wizard, that's how they should be doing it. :)

Agreed. I just wanted to make it clear how that functioned for those who have not yet seen the books


Also of note: In most tactics blocks in the premade adventures it tells you that the enemies do not cluster in more than groups of two unless they can completely surround them... so if you've got all your minions piled up... you may as well not put them in at all.

Well, some but not all. The third encounter in KoS has them all cluster around that little circle as easy prey. Also, combined with other spells, like Thunderwave, it's not really that hard to push minions (and other baddies) into the range of autodamaging AoE's. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it certianly makes playing a Wizard different and more interesting tactically (at least for me) than in 3.e.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-05, 08:44 AM
Indeed, and if the attack itself misses then the minion takes no damage (they wouldn't anyway as per the spell but that's beside the point at the moment). However, when the minions turn comes up it automatically takes damage as per the spell, and since that damage is at least 1hp, they die.

You know, Flaming Sphere is pretty amazing for wiping out minions. Minor action to sustain, move action to move it, standard action to attack. Just move it into the middle of a bunch of minions each turn...

I guess that is what being a Controller is all about, though. Minions are less monsters and more a battlefield condition, and you change that condition. Makes sense to me.