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TheBoulder

Minion Deaths and the Hp pool

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I'm curious as to how other GMs handle this.

A minion group has a communal Hp pool.  When damage is done and it exceeds an individual minions wounds, a minion dies. 

My question is....  How do you handle it if enough damage is done to account for the wounds of two or more minions?

I feel like there are two approaches.

1. Two minions or more die to the single attack.  This has the benefit of being cinematic and speeding up combat, but it creates a narrative dissonance for me.  Does the character fire two shots or swing their sword twice?  With the presence of Auto-Fire and things like Whirlwind in the game, it would seem this is narratively at odds with those abilities.  A single shot firearm would require extensive narrative stretching each time that I feel would quickly become a joke.

or;

2. A single minion dies to a single attack and you can't kill multiples with a single attack.  This preserves a certain narrative realism and allows things like Auto-Fire and Whirlwind to come to the fore as special qualities/abilities.  It does though tend to prolong combat and instead of scything through them, it often comes down to a volume of fire issue.  PCs tend to feel less "badass" as well, if that's a concern.

So, what do you guys think?  How do you handle it?

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Every time a minion's WT is exceed done minion is taken out. If an attack causes 2 minions worth of wounds, 2 minions are gone. That's what minions are: easily dispatched foes. They fall very quickly.

And it's not breaking the narrative; remember that a round is "roughly a minute", but not exact. Each combat check represents your best opportunity in that round to cause harm. It's not always one combat check = one pull of the trigger/one swing.

it could be a flurry of blows or a few quick pulls of the trigger. Auto-fire, Whirlwind and the like are just better at taking down multiple foes. Indeed, they can get two different targets whereas a normal attack can only hit one. Each minion group is considered one target, which is why you feel plow through them without Auto-Fire weapons. 

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Posted (edited)

Ok, that's an interesting way to interpret player actions within rounds, I'll definitely keep it in mind.

Unfortunately, I don't agree that it's not breaking narrative.  Auto-fire states that it's harder to do but has the advantage of hitting multiple targets.  But if you can hit multiple targets with a gun that doesn't have that, simply because MINIONS... Then that breaks a realism narrative for me that minions are people too.  I suppose if you just consider minions as not real characters within a narrative, but instead background filler, I could see it...  So perhaps I should clarify that I think of minions as equal to rivals and nemeses in personhood if not mechanical power. 

I also think that it can't be a flurry of blows or quick pulls of the trigger when there are talents and qualities that replicate those exact effects.  If a certain type of enemy changes the rules and narrative of abilities... that's the dissonance that has me questioning how to handle minions.

Edited by TheBoulder

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16 minutes ago, TheBoulder said:

Unfortunately, I don't agree that it's not breaking narrative.  Auto-fire clearly states that it's harder to do but has the advantage of hitting multiple targets.  But if you can hit multiple targets with a gun that doesn't have that, simply because MINIONS... Then that breaks a realism narrative for me that minions are people too.  I suppose if you just consider minions as not real characters within a narrative, but instead background filler, I could see it...  So perhaps I should clarify that I think of minions as equal to rivals and nemeses in personhood if not mechanical power.

That is your prerogative, yes. But the mechanics don't agree. Remember that each minion group is one target: "When characters attack a group, they attack the group as a whole, not an individual" (CRB132).

If you have, say, three rivals in the scene you can only shoot one of them. It can still be a triple-pull of the trigger or the old one-two-punch, but that's still one combat check against that one rival. And only one hit on a success. If you had an Auto-Fire weapon then you could hit one, two or all three rivals—or hit the one rival multiple times!

16 minutes ago, TheBoulder said:

I also think that it can't be a flurry of blows or quick pulls of the trigger when they are talents and qualities that replicate those exact effects.  If a certain type of enemy changes the rules and narrative of abilities... that's the dissonance that has me questioning how to handle minions.

It can be described in any way you want, you just don't get the mechanical benefits without the proper qualities or talents. Auto-fire allows you to get multiple hits—either one hit on several targets or several hits on one target—you can't do that without it.

Minions are designed for ease of use and to let your players be action heroes that kick, flip, punch, roundhouse and take out a smattering of no-name mooks.

This was discussed a while back when someone said "since there is a talent called Dodge I can't describe my character as dodging an attack‽‽‽" Which is, of course, not true. You can narrate however you want (within reason, you can't just narrate dodging an attack and having it hit the big bad who is several miles away in a reinforced bunker!) without the mechanical benefits of the named talents/qualities.

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Perhaps my solution is not to use minions as they serve a certain "cinematic" purpose that doesn't conform to realism in the first place.  If that's the type of game I want to run...

 

Thanks for your reply!

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Posted (edited)

This game isn't very good for realism/simulationist style of gaming. If you continue to find small bumps in your gaming like this, mayhaps you should consider a more codified style, like d20.

 

Edit: I forgot this is the GeneSys forum and not specifically the Star Wars forum.

Edited by kaosoe

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2 hours ago, TheBoulder said:

1. Two minions or more die to the single attack.  This has the benefit of being cinematic and speeding up combat, but it creates a narrative dissonance for me.  Does the character fire two shots or swing their sword twice?  With the presence of Auto-Fire and things like Whirlwind in the game, it would seem this is narratively at odds with those abilities.  A single shot firearm would require extensive narrative stretching each time that I feel would quickly become a joke.

This is how it's done RAW.  An attack role doesn't represent a single pull of the trigger, it represents a brief period of time in which shots are exchanged.  It's the same reason this system doesn't track ammo, it's all in the narrative.  I don't find it at odds with the narrative once I understood this, in fact I find it more accurately represents the action scenes I've seen on screen.   Imagine a battle scene from Lord of the Rings, Into The Badlands, Rambo...  I could go on.  The hero lays waste to those weaker foes, cleaving them in two at a record pace.  _Those_ are minions. 

 

1 hour ago, TheBoulder said:

Perhaps my solution is not to use minions as they serve a certain "cinematic" purpose that doesn't conform to realism in the first place.  If that's the type of game I want to run...

You're headed for a bad time if you want abject realism in Genesys. 

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Yeah, I've run star wars since it released so the style of game is nothing new to me.

I'm going to be running a fantasy campaign soon though and I don't know how well the star wars cinematic feel lends itself to a fantasy setting. 

So I'm just polling people to see how they do it and to learn different approaches that I could apply to a "grittier" setting. (I hate that word, it's so loaded)

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I see where you are coming from.

Player: I aim and fire my crossbow at the group of goblins down by the fence!  (Rolls, does enough damage to down two goblins)

GM:  The bolt blows through the first goblin into the one behind it, both go down!

 

This works, but it gets harder to justify turn after turn.  From both narrative and mechanical stand points: crossbows require a maneuver or two to reload.  How many "lucky shots" can you justify before the narrative becomes forced.

 

Alternatively, you can re-scope the action economy.  The player gets 1-2 maneuvers and an action they can control in a round.  So, the player may fires, hits the first goblin, and they manage to quickly reload and get another hip shot in.  Depending upon the tone of the game, this could wear thin after a while too.

 

Alternative 2, just table rule the narrative with the mechanical.  A crossbow can only take out a single minion, the rest of the damage is blow through.  If this had been a bigger (rival) goblin, the crossbow would have been more effective.

So, I'd say take the tone of your game and choose the one that runs best.  My ranger in Middle Earth might be able to manage the two crossbow shots in the same turn.  My ranger in Westeros would only get to down one baddie with a crossbow unless they started spending advantage.

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23 minutes ago, TheBoulder said:

So I'm just polling people to see how they do it and to learn different approaches that I could apply to a "grittier" setting. (I hate that word, it's so loaded)

Ah, so you're looking for more "grit" in Genesys? That's a completely different question! And yes, quite a loaded term.

What does grittier mean to you? Most people use that word to mean "deadlier" and/or "easier to kill PCs." If that's what you're looking for, then a simple "All critical injury rolls are made at +X" where X is between 30 and 60. Or "All critical ratings are decreased by 1 (or 2!)".

The former causes crits to be deadlier while the latter makes crits happen more often.

Of course, some grit can be done purely narratively. Describing the locations as dark, dirty, dank, fetid, etc. Use words to evoke the grit of the setting.

Here's a handy chart I use for word choice;

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Posted (edited)

Also, if you want to include a house rule that each individual minion can only be killed by a single combat check; outside of weapons, talents, or skills that specifically call out multiple targets; then you could do that as well. Remember, the book states a personal scale round can last up to 1 minute. It gives you the freedom to adjust it however you feel the game needs it. 

 

Genesys is VERY easy to adjust without breaking your game. If you're making setting that wants to emphasize auto-fire weapons or explosives for clearing crowds then go right ahead.

Edited by Noahjam325

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, TheBoulder said:

Yeah, I've run star wars since it released so the style of game is nothing new to me.

I'm going to be running a fantasy campaign soon though and I don't know how well the star wars cinematic feel lends itself to a fantasy setting.

Aragorn, Legolas, and Boromir in the forest near the end of the Fellowship of the Rings. They were cutting down Orcs left and right. That sort of things is what FFG was going for with Minions. And we see it commonly in fantasy.

d20 was proposed as a more realistic system for you. I wouldn't agree. d20 still has 100hp warriors getting hit by dozens of arrows without going down. That only works if you adopt a "narrative" interpretation of what is happening.

Unless you are using a system that has mechanics for blow by blow, each arrow/bullet shot, and realistic damage, then you MUST use narrative interpretations.

Edited by Sturn

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On 5/10/2019 at 2:45 PM, TheBoulder said:

Unfortunately, I don't agree that it's not breaking narrative.  Auto-fire states that it's harder to do but has the advantage of hitting multiple targets.  But if you can hit multiple targets with a gun that doesn't have that, simply because MINIONS... Then that breaks a realism narrative for me that minions are people too. 

And where's the line in the Autofire description that says it's the only way to hit multiple targets? Or that any other rule that allows you to hit multiple targets must adhere to the same mechanical rigors as Autofire?

There aren't such provisions, because Autofire is its own thing and not a stealth-rule on all cases of hitting multiple targets with the same attack.

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Autofire is more of a rule that allows one to inflict multiple strikes in an unlimited version. This does not mean that it is the only rule to allow to hit multiple targets.

Think of it like this:
You have an automatic rifle and you are fighting a creature that has been animated by alchemy and electricity a la Adam from the novel Frankenstein.
You can then aim the rifle right at the monster and then unload all of your rounds on it. This means that you have the ability to let loose a steady stream of bullets on the monster that can cause a LOT of damage based on how many advantages you get.

It is in contrast to Linked which says you can only do X amount of "hits" on the target and is limited to one target.

By "hits" I am not talking about a specific striking of your weapon against the enemy but the "hit" is the base damage. So with Linked, you get X amount of times of base damage max but with autofire, it is only limited by the amount of advantage you roll.

When I am running the game, I always go for the cinematic. When the sniper shoots the minions, this does not mean that they get one shot but that they take out this minion and then get another round off to take out the other minion and then another shot to damage the third minion. Or else the sniper shoots the minion in the head who then drops the grenade they were about to throw which then explodes and takes out the second minion and damages a third one.

All of this means that, from a mechanical standpoint, the damage cascades to take out the other minions in the group.

I know that this game takes awhile to get adjusted to. You need to shift from thinking like other games where things are spelled out and need to take some creativity and start imagining how to make the rules help you tell the story and not how the rules tell you how to tell the story.

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To take it to complete basics, Genesys combat rules don't simulate combat - they simulate the narrative of combat, with the aim of creating fast-paced, eventful encounters in the vein of an action movie.

When you atta... sorry, you don't actually "attack" in Genesys, you "perform a combat check". So when you perform a combat check in Genesys, you're not tracking how well your character aims, where the bullet goes and how much damage it does - you're tracking your character's narrative potential to inflict harm and weighing it against the enemy's potential to take a beating and still remain relevant to the narrative. This can mean taking a single shot and landing a single bullet between the enemy eyes if that's what best fit your character's style and the result of the dice. But to decide that only one bullet was shot before determining the mechanical results of the check is putting the cart before the horse.

Back to Autofire, Genesys is an exception-based system, meaning things run according to a set of general rules, unless a specific rule creates an exception. In the case of Autofire, the general rule is that one combat check can score one "hit", understood, again, not as a single bullet landing on target but by the weapon dealing its base damage once to the target. The specific rule is that by jumping through certain hoops, you can score multiple "hits", i.e. apply your weapon's base damage multiple times, potentially also to multiple enemies. This is, again, not a simulation of what happens when multiple bullets are fired in an attack, but an emulation of the Hollywood trope of a guy with a machine gun mowing down entire armies.

But machine gun wielders aren't the only ones who can mow down henchmen in large numbers in fiction! Whether it's Aragorn massacring Orcs with Anduril or John Wick gunning down mobster after mobster with his pistol, dispatching multiple mooks in the blink of an eye is something almost every hero partakes in at some point in their career - which is where the Minion rules come into play, letting you target up to five minions as one individual and dispatch as many of them as your damage roll allows. This isn't against the autofire rule in any way, because Autofire is a way to target multiple mechanically distinct individuals, and minions aren't mechanically distinct individuals. In fact, the two rules play to each others' strengths and by spraying minions with an Autofire weapon and scoring multiple hits, you can mow down a group of minions in no time!

Regarding the notion of "minion personhood", the very purpose of having minion rules is so that you don't have to treat everyone at the battlefield as a fully fleshed out actor. But the important thing is, this is an entirely OOC concern - it's not that this isn't a real guy with his own life, hopes and dreams, it's just that in the context of this action scene, he doesn't matter and isn't supposed to amount to much. And, again, it's not like they die because you shot a bullet into their friend - if you perform a combat check against a minion group and the result says you killed X minions, that means you fired enough bullets to kill X minions. Whether narratively it means you gave everyone the special forces treatment of two in the heart and one in the head or that you fired a single bullet that went through one guy's brain, ricocheted off the wall and detonated the flamethrower tank the other one held, exploding the whole group, depends largely on the style you're aiming for and your individual tastes. But please don't say the rules break the narrative when you introduce contradictory assumptions into the narrative before the dice tell you what actually happened.

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Lots of great conversation here. 

I think the minion pool actually offers a hidden bonus for role play. Sure, you could have a shot go through the first minion and take out a second. Or the first member might fall over pushing a second member from their shared ledge.

But it might be interesting, after the minion group has reached death as a group, for there to be a few members remaining (narratively) that either try to escape or are available as hostages. The remaining member are really just free narrative elements that won't be able to do any damage. Maybe they make a final heroic rush toward the PCs and get mowed down for their effort. Or maybe the PCs let the last few scurry off into the dark, knowing they'll see them again eventually. This can lead to great moral dilemmas like in Saving Private Ryan. The key is that once the minion group is dead mechanically, the remaining group members cannot do any actual damage. 

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Just adding one more thing about the auto fire/ whirlwind ability. In the case of minions it can actually hit multiple minion GROUPS. So it would be the equivalent as others have put it of the action hero mowing down multiple groups of enemies with just one spray of his machine gun. But ya minions are easily dispatched, a combat check is any number of attacks, and autofire just allows that number of attacks to increase so substantially that the weapon can deal it's damage multiple times over. A big bad getting hit with a standard rifle will do something like 10 damage and he may take a crit as you blow a shot through his leg, but he gets behind cover pulls out a medpac and patches himself up in the middle of combat with some gaus real quick and is back to the fight injured and limping but still fine, while you successfully manage to hit that same guy with a machine gun and the autofire he just took double or even triple the damage and that fight is over. In the case of minions  you have a hand gun and you take down 1 or 2 minions in one group while another group of bodyguard are starting to around and reinforce them forcing you to use cover. While the guy with the machine gun takes out a full 2 groups spraying bullets across 6 guys.

 

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