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LugWrench

A question (or two) of minions in combat

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I've been running a game for quite a while, but one thing I'm still shaky on is minions in combat.  I know they have a combined wound threshold of all the minions in a group, but how, exactly does that change (if at all) during combat.
For example...  A minion group of 3 'troopers would have a threshold of 15.  Lets say one of my players really cuts loose and deals 30 damage after soak (my group loves them some big guns), would that eliminate only 1 trooper, or two?
If only one is eliminated, would the 'troopers threshold then drop to 10 (as there are now only 2 minions in the group)?
If my players fire at a group of 3 'troopers, and deal `17 damage, does the 'extra' two points carry over after eliminating one trooper?  If only 10 points is dealt, does that damage carry over to the next round, or is it 'wasted' because it failed to drop a 'trooper?
Right now, my group is mowing through minions, partially because they like really big blasters that hold lots of ammo, but maybe because I'm not understanding exactly how minions work.
And apologies if this has been asked and answered, previously, but a quick search failed to come up with anything like this, and I didn't want to sort through 700+ pages of search results.

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34 minutes ago, LugWrench said:

I've been running a game for quite a while, but one thing I'm still shaky on is minions in combat.  I know they have a combined wound threshold of all the minions in a group, but how, exactly does that change (if at all) during combat.
For example...  A minion group of 3 'troopers would have a threshold of 15.  Lets say one of my players really cuts loose and deals 30 damage after soak (my group loves them some big guns), would that eliminate only 1 trooper, or two?
If only one is eliminated, would the 'troopers threshold then drop to 10 (as there are now only 2 minions in the group)?
If my players fire at a group of 3 'troopers, and deal `17 damage, does the 'extra' two points carry over after eliminating one trooper?  If only 10 points is dealt, does that damage carry over to the next round, or is it 'wasted' because it failed to drop a 'trooper?
Right now, my group is mowing through minions, partially because they like really big blasters that hold lots of ammo, but maybe because I'm not understanding exactly how minions work.
And apologies if this has been asked and answered, previously, but a quick search failed to come up with anything like this, and I didn't want to sort through 700+ pages of search results.

Let me give you an example using Stormtroopers (Soak 5, WT 5 per minion).

Three Stormtroopers are WT 5/10/15 (here's a reason for noting it this way). A shot hits them for 10 points and a Critical Hit. This is 5 points after Soak, leaving 5 Wounds. This does not eliminate a Trooper (you must exceed WT, not equal it), but the Critical hit does.  For best fairness, the critical hit removes one of the  WT "slots" starting from the right, so 5/10/15 becomes 5/10 .

Against another group of three Stormtroopers, a powerful blaster rifle hits them for 16 Damage! This is 11 after Soak, so applied to the 5/10/15, we see that it exceeds the first two "slots" and drops two of the Stormtroopers.

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Minion Groups are a cheat, a way for you as the GM to represent lots of guys, but do the paperwork of one.

So if you have 3 troopers with a WT of 5 each, they group up to make a kind of single composite character with a total WT of 15. When they attack, they make one single roll. When they take damage soak applies once. When you do enough damage to remove a member additional wounds roll over to the next.

So if you attacked a group of three with a threshold of 5 each, and did 7 damage after soak, you'd remove one and apply 2 wounds to the next.

When a group of 3 makes a check using a group skill it rolls as one character with 2 ranks in that skill.

If you toss a grenade at em and activate blast (assuming the group is self engaged) you'd calculate damage as 3 separate hits. 1 for grenade damage, 2 for blast, and soak each time.

 

Make sense?

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I think I'm getting it....
Doing 11 points to a 3 trooper group (5/1`0/15) would drop the first trooper, with 6 points left over.  Since the group then becomes a 2 trooper group (5/10) a second trooper would then be eliminated, leaving 1 point  left over to be applied to the 3rd trooper.
Keep in mind, I'm doing the math at 10:30 pm, without having any Dew for the past 48 hours, so I could be wildly off.
As an aside, it would appear that the way to make minions tougher for my group (they don't like/use weapons that don't leave smoking craters the size of a football stadium), would be to add more minions and thus up the would threshold.

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1 hour ago, LugWrench said:

I think I'm getting it....
Doing 11 points to a 3 trooper group (5/1`0/15) would drop the first trooper, with 6 points left over.  Since the group then becomes a 2 trooper group (5/10) a second trooper would then be eliminated, leaving 1 point  left over to be applied to the 3rd trooper.
Keep in mind, I'm doing the math at 10:30 pm, without having any Dew for the past 48 hours, so I could be wildly off.
As an aside, it would appear that the way to make minions tougher for my group (they don't like/use weapons that don't leave smoking craters the size of a football stadium), would be to add more minions and thus up the would threshold.

I don't change the WT when Damage occurs and minions are eliminated. If a group has WT 5/10/15 and has taken 11 damage, it's still against the original WT of 5/10/15. This way I don't have to do any special math or shifting of Damage around. The only time I adjust the WT line itself is when a member is downed by a Critical Injury, and then I remove from right to left.

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2 hours ago, LugWrench said:

As an aside, it would appear that the way to make minions tougher for my group (they don't like/use weapons that don't leave smoking craters the size of a football stadium), would be to add more minions and thus up the would threshold.

Not entirely. Separate them, so 1 big shot doesn't eliminate all of them.

Use 2 groups of 2 minions instead 1 group of 4.

That's also applies soak more times

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4 hours ago, Rimsen said:

Not entirely. Separate them, so 1 big shot doesn't eliminate all of them.

Use 2 groups of 2 minions instead 1 group of 4.

That's also applies soak more times

It also has the benefit (for lower XP groups) of making their attack rolls less devastating. A four-minion trooper group will roll three yellow dice, compared to a two-minion trooper group rolling one yellow die and two green dice.

Of course, once the group is a high enough level, consider making those larger groups.

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You should always first decide how many minion groups you want rather than how many minions. What I mean is that if you decide you want three opponents, and you decide one of them is a minion group, then that group's size gets adjusted based on the difficulty you want to present. Running two groups of three stormtroopers is slightly easier than running three groups of two stormtroopers. Running one full squad of eight stormtroopers in a group is way easier than running four groups of two stormtroopers each.

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I tend to just have minions fall over when they hit their wound threshold, rather than over. It tends to just make the maths easier. (House rule, of course)

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13 hours ago, LugWrench said:

As an aside, it would appear that the way to make minions tougher for my group (they don't like/use weapons that don't leave smoking craters the size of a football stadium), would be to add more minions and thus up the would threshold.

That would help, while there's a cap on the Skill ranks a group can accumulate, there's no upper limit on group size. So you can have a group of 100 dues if that's your bag, but it's group skill numbers will still have them rolling the same dice as a 6-man group.

Also depending on the situation you may want to look at Squads and Squadrons in the AoR GM kit. In that system a minion group is attached to a Rival or better level character. There's a lot of details, but one is that when you shoot at a squad and the leader decides to have a Minion in the squad take the hit, it's resolved by-hit, not by-damage. So you shoot that 40 damage blaster cannon at the squad, it hits, the leader says a squaddie eats it, you remove one guy and it's done. No rolling over damage to the next guy. Of course this also mean a blast weapon can be devastating.

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Yeah, exceeding rules have always struck me as a kind of THAC0 that wouldn't survive future editions.

For what it's worth, I've houseruled that any single minion taking wounds is eliminated at the end of a round, and the group's wound count is then adjusted as if he'd taken full damage. Passthrough damage is calculated normally, though again, additional minions suffering wounds are eliminated at round's end. 

For a party that isn't gear-conscious, it's really helped with pacing since one hit always pays off. Plus, I can increase Wound Threshold much more if I want, without the effective kill speed ever dropping below one minion per round.

 

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