Monsters & Mooks

Heroes need enemies to fight, villains to vanquish and monsters to slay. These come in many shapes and forms but all have one thing in common: they intend to harm the characters.

Monsters and mooks are the opponents the characters face across the battlefield. A monster has a monster sheet just like a character has a character sheet. They also have potential and are played by the Game Leader using exactly the sames rules that apply to the players and characters. Mooks are different. Instead of a monster sheet, they have special rules and a single dice value. This makes them a lot weaker than monsters but also a lot easier for the Game Leader to manage.

Running Monsters

The aim of combat is not to kill the characters. A Game Leader can do this any time they want by throwing wave after wave of over-powered creatures at the party. Instead, fights should be like a roller coaster: full of ups-and-downs, fear and screaming but with everyone arriving safely at the end, laughing about the experience.

The art of being a good Game Leader is to push the characters to the edge of their abilities but no further. To achieve this the monsters will have to pull their blows occasionally by choosing a sub-optimum combination of advantages or by not targeting the most vulnerable character. Having a creature simply taking a more defensive strategy for a round or two, recharging their potential, will give the characters a chance to regroup.

With the randomness inherent in the game, sometimes characters will be in danger of dying regardless of what the Game Leader does. This is a good because fights should be dangerous, but once a character is down the creatures should ignore them. The character's situation is not going to become any worse (see dying) which should give the rest of the players plenty of time to revive their unfortunate comrade. Even if the creatures win the fight and drive off the characters, the monsters will only strip the obvious treasure and leave the body, allowing the rest of the party to sneak back and recover the comatose character.

Be Smart

Living creatures, whether dumb animals or evil wizards, do not blindly run into fights. They will retreat when in danger, gang up on easy targets and do whatever they can to win the fight. This is also true for most non-living creatures such as robots or ghosts. Only a few monsters like zombies blindly succumb to blood-lust.

The biggest danger to any creature (or character) in a fight is being outnumbered. With all the creature's potential put into defending against the first attacker, they are left exposed to the second or third. Monsters who just charge headlong into a group of enemies will very quickly find themselves on the endangered species list.

Running Away

Whether they bravely run away, bug out, cheese it, scarper or make a tactical withdrawal, it's all the same. Putting as much distance as possible between yourself and a stronger enemy is a good tactic. Creatures and NPCs should follow the same plan - rather than standing around being killed to the last man they should run. This presents the characters with an interesting dilemma. Retreating creatures can regroup and attack again but they may also hole up in a highly defensible location or lead the party into an ambush. Giving chase is also likely to split the party and allow the enemy to gang up on individual characters. When the characters are on the receiving end and find themselves in a difficult situation they should be encouraged to run away. Creatures are more likely to lick their wounds and regroup than give chase.

Avoiding combats where the combatants try to annihilate each other opens doors to more varied styles of role playing. Creatures and characters can parley or prisoners can be captured and their releases negotiated. The party can encounter creatures too powerful for them and be driven off, leaving unfinished business the characters can to return to once they have honed their combat skills.

Mooks

Mooks are easy-to-kill versions of normal monsters. They are the henchmen, the hired help, the grunts, the minions and the cannon-fodder that stand between the characters and the Boss Monster. The rules for Mooks are highly simplified, letting the Game Leader use as many of them as they want without being swamped by monster sheets and piles of potential.

A mook consists of a single advantage, e.g. Goblin Mook, and like any advantage it can be from 1d6+0 to 1d6+6. However mooks do not have potential. Instead they use their Mook advantage as a Free Resist and during their turn they can take just one action. Whenever the mook needs to roll action dice they use the advantage's dice value plus any situation bonuses which apply.

Mooks are organised into gangs and these have their own place in the initiative sequence. Gangs should be limited to no more than ten mooks and a gang of four mooks is roughly equivalent to a player character.

Disposable Mooks

A mook does not have any Life advantages and will therefore be 'killed' by a single point of life damage. This does not mean the mook is actually killed but instead is knocked out or otherwise disabled and cannot take any further part in this fight. This may be important to the characters as living equipment is classed as mooks.

Additionally, mooks are also 'killed' if they take any potential damage, are knocked down or fail a resistance roll against any status effects. In short, any successful action targeted at a mook permanently takes them out of the combat.

Traits

A mook has a very limited range of abilities known as traits. Except for these traits, a mook can only do two things. It may mosey in its turn and when attacked it may use its Mook advantage as a free resist, if appropriate. A mook may use its traits in resistance actions every time it is attacked if they are relevant, but during its turn the mook is limited to a single action so may only mosey or use a trait. Mooks do not have ammo or other restrictions on the availability of traits.

Traits vary from setting to setting and from monster to monster. Some examples are listed below but check the setting's bestiary for a full list used in that game world. Some traits require multiple mooks to collaborate which counts as the mook's action for all mooks involved. For example, a mook included in the dice roll for a Mob Attack cannot act again this turn. This does not apply when a trait gains a situation bonus from other mooks.

Charge
Move and attack as a single action. The movement cannot exceed a movement resistance of 3 and must involve an attack at the end.
Melee Attack
Attack an opponent using the mook's dice value.
Mob Attack
Two or more adjacent mooks can combine to make a single attack, adding their advantages together into a single roll.
Mob Defence
Mooks gain a 1d6+0 situation bonus for each adjacent mook.
Mob Grapple
Adjacent mooks combine their attacks to hinder an opponent by making a potential attack.
Run
The Mook can run using their Mook advantage dice value.
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open/mechanics/core/monstersmooks.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/04 09:26 by tregenza
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