More Minion Variations For 4e
I like minions in 4th edition D&D but sometimes they just don’t feel right to me. A good example is when someone hits a minion and rolls a one for damage. The player knows that is a wimpy hit and somehow even a mook should shrug it off. I have used a couple of variations to beef them up a bit without overdoing it.
The first is a simple one, each minion needs either one hit where the damage is in the upper half of what could be rolled or they die on the second hit. This one gives them a chance to one shot them if they roll well, but if not they go down and the next hit regardless of what is rolled. The players seem to like this one, it still lets the low damage burst attacks like the fighters cleave clear out crowds if they roll a high damage roll, but makes minions more menacing if they roll badly. A simple variation mentioned at The Dungeon’s Master is requiring two hits, but I don’t mind minions going over in one if the players score well.
The second technique is use is more complicated and a bit more abstract, I treat a crowd of minions like a swarm. I use a large base with three or four basic troopers on it to represent a swarm of guards or ineffectual monsters. Individually a goblin means nothing to higher level character, but a mob of them can wear them down and distract them from the bigger creatures or NPCs. Here is a quick example done with the WOTC Monster Maker Tool:
A mob of goblin soldiers each more frightened of being seen running away than they are of any other danger.
Level 20 Soldier
|Large Natural Humanoid (Swarm)||
|Initiative +8 Senses Perception +24
Everyone within one square is -4 to any attacks to anything other than the swarm.
HP 188; Bloodied 94
AC 36; Fortitude 34, Reflex 25, Will 25
|Melee Basic (standard; at-will)|
|+27 vs AC; 2d6 + 4 damage Many stabs with spears and short swords from the teeming mass of goblin guards.|
|Desperate Swarm (standard; encounter)|
|+27 vs AC; 2d10 + 7 damage When the mob is bloodied it swarms desperately over any single target it is in melee contact with. One a hit the target is grabbed, otherwise the mob is dispersed and considered destroyed.|
|Alignment: Evil Languages: common, goblin
Str 26 (+18) Dex 3 (+6) Wis 8 (+9)
Con 20 (+15) Int 8 (+9) Cha 7 (+8)
Goblin Swarm Tactics
Goblin Swarms will try to bind up as many enemies as they can to help their masters be more dangerous.