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Back to Minions!

Before switching over to Pathfinder, you may recall I was talking about 4E-style minions in 3.x. After a lot pfutzing around with various ideas, I finally settled on this as my working model, at least for Pathfinder:

To minionize a monster, they get 1/4 hp, their attack dice and damage bonuses are halved (any result less than 1 is treated as 1), their CR stays the same but their cost from the encounter budget is 1/4. Thus, to make a "minion" version of a standard PfRPG ogre, you get:

Ogre Minion (CR 3, XP 200)

CE Large humanoid (giant) minion
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +2

AC 17, touch 8, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, –1 Dex, +5 natural, –1 size)
hp 7 (4d8+12 / 4)
Fort +6, Ref +0, Will +3

Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. base)
Melee greatclub +7 (2d4+3)
Ranged javelin +1 (1d4+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Abilities Str 21, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 18
Feats Iron Will, Toughness
Skills Climb +7, Perception +2
Languages Giant

Regarding things like spells or spell-like abilities, special attacks like rend or swallow whole, and so on, the same basic rules apply. Save DCs don't change, but damage or other effects are halved. 1d4+1 Con drain, for example, would become 1d2+1 Con drain. Draining 1 level would stay 1 level, but draining 2 levels would become 1 level, and so forth.

This works best with soldier- and brute-type critters, who tend to have very simple stat blocks and are there mostly to fight-fight-fight -- really that's what minions are about anyway. Making something like a dragon or a mind flayer into minion not only doesn't work real well mechanically, it just doesn't make much sense thematically either. You could use this technique to make some sort of "glass cannon" creature I suppose ... I remember Young Sherlock Holmes had a very nifty "stained glass golem" for instance. The only problem is that with the reduced damage it's more like a "glass pea-shooter."

Whattya think, sirs?

-The Gneech


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Sounds good. Thinking that things like a 1 level level drain, since it can't be halved, might instead have a nerfed saving throw?
Mar. 11th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, if you nerf the saving throw, you might as well just drop the power all together. A power that never works is just a waste of turns in a critter's already short lifespan. You'd be better off just swapping it out for a "less-debilitating" power ... dazing for a round instead of knocking out, temporary debuff instead of level drain, etc.

Mar. 23rd, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
This is an amazingly clear and easy rule to implement, I can't wait to try it in my game. You've got the best efforts at 4E-ifying 3.5 I've seen so far.
Mar. 23rd, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :) Let me know how it works out for you.

-The Gneech
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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