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Minion groups and melee


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#1 Venthrac

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 06:34 AM

This is a shameless re-port and I apologize, but I fear it was lost in the Adversaries sticky post so nobody was seeing it. I am putting it here so I can have a subject line, and perhaps get more eyes on the issue/question at hand. Thank you for your indulgence.

The problem is, I'm a bit confused about minions who operate in groups. I ran a test combat in which I threw a couple of groups of stormtrooper minions against a party of PCs. I used miniatures on my table to represent positions and distances. For my two squads of stormies, I had three minions in each, moving around in formation at short range from each other so as not to be obvious grenade fodder.

One of the PCs ran up to one of theseminion stormtroopers, engaged it and then attacked it with a force pike. The resulting damage was sufficient to knock out two stormtrooper minions, but the PC was only engaged with one of them, and the other two were at short range. By rule, attacks against a group of minions target the entire group at once, but I wasn't sure how to handle it if the attacker was only engaged with one of the stormtroopers.

The rules seem to be written with the assumption that the PCs are making ranged attacks against the minion group, as there is no mention of how to handle melee attacks and engagements against groups of minions that are spread out.

What do you guys think?



#2 beeblebrox

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:24 AM

I agree that this is a problem with the rules. I had a similar issue in my first session, where there was some confusion regarding melee attacks versus minions from a descriptive angle.



#3 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:59 AM

Venthrac said:

This is a shameless re-port and I apologize, but I fear it was lost in the Adversaries sticky post so nobody was seeing it. I am putting it here so I can have a subject line, and perhaps get more eyes on the issue/question at hand. Thank you for your indulgence.

The problem is, I'm a bit confused about minions who operate in groups. I ran a test combat in which I threw a couple of groups of stormtrooper minions against a party of PCs. I used miniatures on my table to represent positions and distances. For my two squads of stormies, I had three minions in each, moving around in formation at short range from each other so as not to be obvious grenade fodder.

One of the PCs ran up to one of theseminion stormtroopers, engaged it and then attacked it with a force pike. The resulting damage was sufficient to knock out two stormtrooper minions, but the PC was only engaged with one of them, and the other two were at short range. By rule, attacks against a group of minions target the entire group at once, but I wasn't sure how to handle it if the attacker was only engaged with one of the stormtroopers.

The rules seem to be written with the assumption that the PCs are making ranged attacks against the minion group, as there is no mention of how to handle melee attacks and engagements against groups of minions that are spread out.

What do you guys think?

Personally, when I had situation come up in a demo game I ran from my Saturday night group with the Wookiee Marauder.  When he did enough damage to take down one minion in a group with enough left over to carry over to another minion in that same group, I simply re-positioned him to stand next to the closest minion.  To put it in d20 terms, he pretty much got the effects of Great Cleave, which was fine since exact tactical positioning isn't an issue in this game, and the map was only used because the majority of the players are used to having a map to better understand who's standing where.

Then again, I wouldn't spread the minions in a group out too far (no further than short range, but probably sticking to close range in most instances), but that's a personal recommendation rather than anything backed up in the rules.


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#4 LethalDose

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:44 PM

Venthrac said:

This is a shameless re-port and I apologize, but I fear it was lost in the Adversaries sticky post so nobody was seeing it. I am putting it here so I can have a subject line, and perhaps get more eyes on the issue/question at hand. Thank you for your indulgence.

The problem is, I'm a bit confused about minions who operate in groups. I ran a test combat in which I threw a couple of groups of stormtrooper minions against a party of PCs. I used miniatures on my table to represent positions and distances. For my two squads of stormies, I had three minions in each, moving around in formation at short range from each other so as not to be obvious grenade fodder.

One of the PCs ran up to one of theseminion stormtroopers, engaged it and then attacked it with a force pike. The resulting damage was sufficient to knock out two stormtrooper minions, but the PC was only engaged with one of them, and the other two were at short range. By rule, attacks against a group of minions target the entire group at once, but I wasn't sure how to handle it if the attacker was only engaged with one of the stormtroopers.

The rules seem to be written with the assumption that the PCs are making ranged attacks against the minion group, as there is no mention of how to handle melee attacks and engagements against groups of minions that are spread out.

What do you guys think?

The stormtrooper got dropped by a stray blaster bolt deflected off the PC's melee weapon.

Seriously, it was awesome.  Did you guys not see that?



#5 JediHamlet

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:10 AM

That's the spirit!

Normally I'd leave it up to the Player to get creative: "I step up knock his weapon aside and jab him through the gut -- [after the dice result] -- and his weapon goes off and hits the other guy, taking him out."

If the Player is a little new to it you can nudge them in the right direction: Player: "I step up and hit the Stormtrooper." GM: "You send him reeling, and when he hits the ground his blaster rifle goes off, hitting his buddy."

Also, if your group of minions are to far apart, they no longer count as a group, no?



#6 LethalDose

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:25 AM

JediHamlet said:

Also, if your group of minions are to far apart, they no longer count as a group, no?

Eh, there's not an explicit rule about this.  They can probably be at no greater than medium range and still be effective as a fighting unit, but it seems it would get hard to track.  This is a place where I think GM's judgement should determine what's right for their game, and how to handle the "quirks" it leads to.

-WJL



#7 GM Chris

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:52 AM

Venthrac said:

This is a shameless re-port and I apologize, but I fear it was lost in the Adversaries sticky post so nobody was seeing it. I am putting it here so I can have a subject line, and perhaps get more eyes on the issue/question at hand. Thank you for your indulgence.

The problem is, I'm a bit confused about minions who operate in groups. I ran a test combat in which I threw a couple of groups of stormtrooper minions against a party of PCs. I used miniatures on my table to represent positions and distances. For my two squads of stormies, I had three minions in each, moving around in formation at short range from each other so as not to be obvious grenade fodder.

One of the PCs ran up to one of theseminion stormtroopers, engaged it and then attacked it with a force pike. The resulting damage was sufficient to knock out two stormtrooper minions, but the PC was only engaged with one of them, and the other two were at short range. By rule, attacks against a group of minions target the entire group at once, but I wasn't sure how to handle it if the attacker was only engaged with one of the stormtroopers.

The rules seem to be written with the assumption that the PCs are making ranged attacks against the minion group, as there is no mention of how to handle melee attacks and engagements against groups of minions that are spread out.

What do you guys think?

This is the "problem" that can sometimes arise with using minis and a map with an intentionally abstract system.  [shrug]  You've got to roll with it - and get creative.  From a game mechanics perspective, the Minions can all be attacked as one unit.  If that means a wicked badarse running attack with flips and rolls along the ground that punctures the lungs of 2 minions with that Force Pike… then so be it…


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#8 Venthrac

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:58 AM


Good points, all. I'd still like a bit more clarification in the rules regarding minion groups, but none of that would neceesarily supercede your suggestions. Half the fun of the game is throwing rules out and doing something cool with the narrative.

Also, much of what has been suggested here would make excellent uses for spending advantage.



#9 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:16 AM

JediHamlet said:

Also, if your group of minions are to far apart, they no longer count as a group, no?

There's nothing in the book on this one way or the other.  Hypothetically, you could space your quartet of minions at Extreme range to one another and still treat them as a Minion Group.

This is probably one of those things that will fall into "GM's call" on how exactly to implement.  Personally, I'd keep minions that are part of a group roughly at Short Range with each other, out to Medium Range at the absolute most; pretty much if they'd have to shout to hear one another, they're not a group.  But that's my take on it, and another GM (such as yourself, GM Chris, LethalDose, or Venthrac) could have a very different take on the matter.


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#10 gribble

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:26 AM

GM Chris said:

This is the "problem" that can sometimes arise with using minis and a map with an intentionally abstract system.  

Yeah - one of the things I do is represent groups of minions with single miniatures, when using them. It may not be 100% accurate, but then it's a case of engaging (or not) the group rather than individual minions. If they need to split up, I'll break them into separate groups.


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#11 Boehm

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 11:47 AM

 If using battlemap, just keep in mind that a round is something like a minute …so a shot …is actually in all probability quite a few more …so just wing it and kill any other nearby minions, I mean hey - they probably stock their head around the corner to have a look …and got one between the eyes … 

That being said, I dont really think using a battlemap is necessary with this system … we use one for wfrp3 where it has enhanced the sense of whats going on a lot …but so far we havent had the same need in EotE probably due to it favoring ranged engagements … the problem we had in wfrp was mainly due to 2 issues: holding down bottlenecks/keeping a sort of line … and the party running in 4 different directions with groups of minoins chasing first in one direction then another - being able to track relative range was soooo much easier on a battlemap … 



#12 Venthrac

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:44 PM

 How about minion groups and grenades? If a player hurls a single frag grenade into a group of 10 stormtroopers moving around at as a close-knit squad at engaged range of each other, and the attack hits and triggers Blast 6, how many stormtroopers would be taken out? Would each one beyond the original target get to use his individual Soak value against the Blast rating? Or are you only supposed to apply a minion group's Soak value once against any single attack?



#13 LethalDose

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:35 PM

Venthrac said:

 How about minion groups and grenades? If a player hurls a single frag grenade into a group of 10 stormtroopers moving around at as a close-knit squad at engaged range of each other, and the attack hits and triggers Blast 6, how many stormtroopers would be taken out? Would each one beyond the original target get to use his individual Soak value against the Blast rating? Or are you only supposed to apply a minion group's Soak value once against any single attack?

Presuming all the stormtroopers are all in an "engagement", I would resolve the primary damage from the grenade the way I would resolve damage from anyother source, then apply grenade damage against each of the individual remaining ST's separately.

As an aside, you're probably not going to operate 10 individuals in a group.  There aren't many advantages to keeping more than 6 minions in a group, since 1 + 5 minions provides maximum ranks in the minion group's skills.  From a practical standpoint, I've found it easiest to keep minions in groups of 3-6.

-WJL



#14 Cyril

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:50 PM

LethalDose said:

Venthrac said:

 

 How about minion groups and grenades? If a player hurls a single frag grenade into a group of 10 stormtroopers moving around at as a close-knit squad at engaged range of each other, and the attack hits and triggers Blast 6, how many stormtroopers would be taken out? Would each one beyond the original target get to use his individual Soak value against the Blast rating? Or are you only supposed to apply a minion group's Soak value once against any single attack?

 

 

Presuming all the stormtroopers are all in an "engagement", I would resolve the primary damage from the grenade the way I would resolve damage from anyother source, then apply grenade damage against each of the individual remaining ST's separately.

As an aside, you're probably not going to operate 10 individuals in a group.  There aren't many advantages to keeping more than 6 minions in a group, since 1 + 5 minions provides maximum ranks in the minion group's skills.  From a practical standpoint, I've found it easiest to keep minions in groups of 3-6.

-WJL

I agree with this. Otherwise it makes grenades TOO good. If you resolve the Blast against every individual target and each individual Soak value, it still keeps them dangerous, but not overly so. 



#15 Venthrac

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 03:29 AM

Yeah, that all makes good sense. I admit I was going to a deliberately extreme example, just to see how the rules held up in it.

So you both agree that you would apply the minions' soak individually, and not just once for the entire group? Would you do the same for an Auto-fire attack?



#16 LethalDose

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

Venthrac said:

Yeah, that all makes good sense. I admit I was going to a deliberately extreme example, just to see how the rules held up in it.

So you both agree that you would apply the minions' soak individually, and not just once for the entire group? Would you do the same for an Auto-fire attack?

Yeah, it's basically the same:

First "hit" strikes the group.  Subtract soak, apply remaining damage normally.

THEN

Second "hit" strikes the remaining group.  Subtract soak, apply remaining damage normally.

THEN…

Wash, rinse, repeat until you've resolved all the 'hits' generated by the AF attack.

To the best of my knowledge there are no rules that modify how any weapon mechanic affects minion groups differently than other characters.

-WJL



#17 Venthrac

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 02:02 PM

 Makes pretty good sense to me.



#18 Voice

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:20 AM

LethalDose said:

JediHamlet said:

 

Also, if your group of minions are to far apart, they no longer count as a group, no?

 

 

Eh, there's not an explicit rule about this.  They can probably be at no greater than medium range and still be effective as a fighting unit, but it seems it would get hard to track.  This is a place where I think GM's judgement should determine what's right for their game, and how to handle the "quirks" it leads to.

-WJL

Frankly, if only part of the minion group is engaged in melee, rather than the entire group, then they're not acting as a group attacking in melee, and aren't the original (full-sized) group anymore.


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#19 LethalDose

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:41 AM

Voice said:

 

 

Frankly, if only part of the minion group is engaged in melee, rather than the entire group, then they're not acting as a group attacking in melee, and aren't the original (full-sized) group anymore.

The one minion may not be "engaged in melee".  They're definitely engaged (which is a range band), but that individual minion isn't by any means forced to respond to his attacker with melee attacks.  So there are four conditions that may occur here, the differentiation between which is based solely on the actions taken by the minion group!

  1. Minion in engagement makes a melee attack while other minions take another action.  This is the case you described, and you are right, in this case the minion is no longer acting as part of the group.
  2. The entire minion group engages and joins the engagement formerly consisting of only the minion and their attacker, and then make a melee attack as a group.
  3. The entire minion group makes a ranged attack against the melee attacker, while the engagement stays in place.  In this case, the attack is subject the penalty for firing in an engagement (+ 1 or 2 difficulty dice, based on weapon), and firing at an enemy engaged with an ally (upgrade difficulty once and chance to hit ally)
  4. The minion disengages, and then minion group makes a typical ranged attack based on the greatest range.

So, the point is, as per the RAW, A minion is not removed from a group just because a PC (or any other character) creates an engagement that doesn't consist of every minion in said group.  

Now, if you don't like this, you should probably create a house rule that requires minions to stay in an engagement to act as a group.  I think this is needlessly limiting.

I think there IS some value to adding a rule that requires minions acting as a group to be no more than short (nee' close) range from any other minion in the same group, unless there is some other character making leadership checks to coordinate them.

-WJL



#20 Sirkamina

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:09 AM

LethalDose said:

Venthrac said:

 

This is a shameless re-port and I apologize, but I fear it was lost in the Adversaries sticky post so nobody was seeing it. I am putting it here so I can have a subject line, and perhaps get more eyes on the issue/question at hand. Thank you for your indulgence.

The problem is, I'm a bit confused about minions who operate in groups. I ran a test combat in which I threw a couple of groups of stormtrooper minions against a party of PCs. I used miniatures on my table to represent positions and distances. For my two squads of stormies, I had three minions in each, moving around in formation at short range from each other so as not to be obvious grenade fodder.

One of the PCs ran up to one of theseminion stormtroopers, engaged it and then attacked it with a force pike. The resulting damage was sufficient to knock out two stormtrooper minions, but the PC was only engaged with one of them, and the other two were at short range. By rule, attacks against a group of minions target the entire group at once, but I wasn't sure how to handle it if the attacker was only engaged with one of the stormtroopers.

The rules seem to be written with the assumption that the PCs are making ranged attacks against the minion group, as there is no mention of how to handle melee attacks and engagements against groups of minions that are spread out.

What do you guys think?

 

 

The stormtrooper got dropped by a stray blaster bolt deflected off the PC's melee weapon.

Seriously, it was awesome.  Did you guys not see that?

I saw it and it was AWESOME.

 

Our interpretation so far has been either thematic, (the stormtrooper falls over and knocks one of his buddies of the cliff with him) or Just going with it and saying you got an extra shot off hitting guy #2.






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