Friday, December 26, 2008

Lazy DMing: Pt. 1 1/2: Minion Subtypes

EDIT: For terms referenced in this article please pursue The Other Articles in the Series .

As discussed in the Previous Article there are many ways to make silly mistakes in your minion creation. However, if you follow that there are many 'types' of minions, you can easily develop a system of discussing these subtypes and provide possible examples.



Now, onto Minion subtypes. These subtypes are helpful for certain materials . . . here's how we can adjust these subtypes into an easy cost-benefit system.

To be honest, I've been using 'one-hit' minions for quite some time in 3.X, and their existence is great for the 4e DM who needs something to go off of. I usually use the following as a 3.X construct for minions: Minions are effects, not creatures.

Yes, I know, this may sound odd... but hear me out. One of the major fallacies of DM thought is that every creature is a full stat block. 4e remedies a bit of this with minion stats and the various elite/solo/minion types.

But when it comes to monsters, we can do better. Let us make an example:

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A sharp-faced demon stands tall above the Lord of Pembroke. Weaving two of its tendrils through the air as if creating a tapestry, the demon smirks when the party wizard casts his first spell.

As the spell fizzles in purple sparks, the demon bares its teeth and the battle is truly begun.

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This demon must be some great threat! It is a powerful lord of the manor, the power behind the throne!

Perhaps . . . but it is a condition more than a creature. Kill the condition, remove the protection.

Such a "Demon" is applied Spell Resistance. The Lord of Pembroke has a demonic watchdog, and it raises itself off of its haunches. The "Demon" has several solutions; banish it, turn it, kill it.

It is nothing more than HP and an effect. As an Aiding minion (it is not using its body, but its magic to defend the Lord) it should have enough HP to be somewhat threatening, but if all it does is protect its master . . . it's not engaged in combat. It's a walking Amulet of Spell Resistance, and the best way to break it is to break the demon involved.

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The scream of ecstasy, the swing of the blade, the cultist storms forward. Even as you strike him down the haze falls over you . . . the choking sensation of spirit takes over, and you drop to the ground.

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This cultist is a Suicidal Minion with a Hold Person/Monster effect. It dies, you get Held (or have the chance to be Held).

Get the picture? I have faith in your . . . imagination. Let us see how many such effects we can generate! Anyone who posts a minion type below will be recognized in the next post, and given the chance to guide the next Lazy DMing guide.

Enjoy, and Good Gaming,

Slainte,

-Loonook.

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