How can I get low PL mooks/villains to hit/hurt tough PCs?

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How can I get low PL mooks/villains to hit/hurt tough PCs?

Post by Dragonblade » Fri May 27, 2005 8:11 am

So, hero with Protection 10 is pretty much invulnerable to mooks toting your average gun. I guess that is generally how it should be.

But, are there any good feats, powers, or houserules that can allow the occasional elite mook to be able to hurt a Protection 10 PC without making the mook PL 10?

How about feats, or power combos that allow my mooks to hit super-speedsters with their Defense up to something crazy like 35 (Base 10 + Def 10 + Sspd 10 + Dex +5)?

Or do you just not even worry about it, and wait until the mooks roll a natural 20 before they can hurt or hit the heroes?

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Post by farik » Fri May 27, 2005 9:00 am

The speedster solution is simple "area effect attacks"

In a broader sense you need to go beyond the mindset that challenge requires risk of harm. Instead of damaging the protection guy keep him busy by making him save a bunch of people. The mooks may not be able to hurt him but they can still endanger innocent bystanders. If the character just brazenly walks up to the elite minion have the minion shoot somebody. If he stops the mook the hero will be crucified in the media for his disregard for the safety of the public.
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Post by Driver 8 » Fri May 27, 2005 9:26 am

I feel your pain! You want mooks to be an actual threat once in a while rather than just being harmless flies that the heroes can swat away. I agree with Farik that the mooks can cause damage or threats to the 'un-powered' world around them.

I personally wanted to run a game where mooks could be a threat so I put limits on the powers and ranks the heroes could have. Before I even ran a game I took notice that alot of hero write-ups that I found on these posts and in books had Protection at ranks greater than 5. That makes pistols useless...whats the fun of that?! So I put a limit on Protection and Armor of ranks greater than 5, saying that only one hero in the group could be a human shield and only if they had a good explaination for it, ie Colossus, Iron Man, etc. Most others have Amazing Save: Damage. It just puts a little realism into the game and allows lethal damage to be a little more...lethal! My solution to the problem of invulnerable heroes is to not allow them to be so invulnerable.

If you're looking for tactics or feats (that mooks might actually have) I'd try:
Ganging Up (pg 135), Combined Fire (pg 135), Flanking (pg 135), Charging (pg 133)
Feats to add to the amount of damage done such as:
Power Attack, Surprise Strike, Stunning Attack (not sure if Protection prevents this or not)
If all else fails, try swarming and grappling the hero with a mob of mooks. Protection won't keep them from being pinned and tied up.
Don't forget gas grenades with Fatigue, Stun, etc!
Last edited by Driver 8 on Fri May 27, 2005 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Death Octopus » Fri May 27, 2005 9:28 am

Well, you can always just face facts that mooks were born to die. Remember, if a Doomsday Device is going off in 8 rounds, and mooks are blasting at the hero with AK-47's, those bullets are flyin' off to hit innocent bystanders. So the hero has to beat up the minions for a few minions eat up character actions. Sure, the hero has just smashed 10 minions...but he really needs to stop that Doomsday Device.

I use a damn lot of minions in my games. Why? Because I hate writing stats. How many supervillain teams exist, anyhow? With minions, the characters can feel good beating up villains, and I can feel good that I didn't just lose a villain that was essential to the plot.

Here's some tricks I use=

1) Hard hittin' weaponry. Give mooks RPG's or LAW rockets, and suddenly they can fire a Strength 10 blast with an Area Effect. Or, give them AK-47's with depleted tungsten core ammo, and you can do Strength 8, plus Point Blank, plus Power Attack for a possible 14, and then say the attack is Penetrating, so heroes always have to roll for damage. But if the mooks are lead by a super scientist, now you can go off the map with gyrojet rifles, laser pistols...whatever. Remember, most Originals have great physical stats, but lousy will and reflex saves, so remember to reach for tasers (Paralysis) and Capscium Spray (Laced Stun and Dazzle).

Just give ten minions Laser Rifles that do +14 damage, and watch the characters drop.

Are you in a bad mood? Give those mooks Short Ranged Phase Field Projectors. They are only good for melee combat, but they deliver a +8 attack based on a Fortitude save, just like Incorporeal's Phase Attack. Ouch.

My favorite is a Teleforce Death Ray. Uses, Device, but Area 10' and Strength 0. Why? Because no matter what, everyone is Vulnerable to it. Even Protection 10 boy has to beat a 15, or else. Yes, it's a Plot Device, and it works.

2) Supernatural creatures. I use Aliens (you know, the Giger move kind), werewolves (yeah, they're minions, but they hit hard), vampires (ditto), evil ghosts, genetically altered combat clones (they got Protection and Superstrength of 10, and there's a million of them to fight), ninjas (with extra sharp swords, blessed by evil Shinto priests to pierce superhuman flesh, and watch out for the evil Yin energy that saps their power, like Drain or Slow) and evil Sorcerers. Throw ten Power Level 9 Sorcerers at the characters, with Point Blank and Power Attack, and good guys will learn to fear the night. Give the Sorcerors Force Field with Deflection, and they'll last a few rounds.

3) Armored suits. Put a trained mook into Iron Man's armor, and now he's a trained hero-killing Mook. Flight 10, Super Strength 7, Armor 10, Immunities, Energy Blast 10 with stunts of Dazzle and Snare. If they have a Con of 14 and Toughness, they now have a total +14 damage save, but they drop dead if they fail that save. Good times. Or, give them a very high Armor of 14 or so, with the flaw of Ablative. Sure, they are nigh-invulnerable, but they gradually wear down to garbage, and their weapons, with it, as the suit gets damaged.

Also, a mook with bulletproof vest, complete with a trauma plate, has an Armor of 6. Throw in a Con of 14, and that's a +8 save...although smart characters will throw called shots to the mook's heads.

4) The rules. Look closely...the book is full of odd rules that give strategically minded mooks an advantage. A minion with a Def of 4 and a Dex of 14 with Dodge has a total Def of 18 against a hero. Not bad. Now, give him the Lay Low feat, and with half cover he has a Def of 25. You can then combine this with All Out Attack, Point Blank, laser sights and other goodies to really mess with the characters.

Mooks flanking the characters get a +2 to hit. If they charge, that's another +2 to hit. So, a mook charging a character from his side gets a +4 to hit. Give them all powerful hand weapons, and they are a real threat in that first round they charge...and they are only going to last one round, anyways.

One last thing...not every character is totally shored up in their saving throws. Give mooks weapons and items that attack the other saves characters have, and feel free to change the saves to fit the device. Slow based on a Reflex save, for example. Or a Will save Suffocate. It's hard to justify Strength 10 weaponry, but anyone can get a Taser that has a level of 7, for a save of 17. Just open up the powers section, and go down the list of attacks that don't require damage saves.

I hope this helps. 8)

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Post by Mitchell » Fri May 27, 2005 1:00 pm

Also, don't forget Poison Ivy...(Or a reasonable facsimile...)

Watch the heroes cringe when the Original turns around, and yells, "YOU WILL NOT HARM THE PRETTY ONE!"

(Best part in Hush = When Superman was mind-controlled by Poison Ivy...)
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Post by Batmanintraining » Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:22 am

Ok I'm going to be playing in Dragonblade's campaign, so enough with the good ideas. :lol:

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A lot of good ideas

Post by Stone Cold Gargoyle » Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:11 am

Great ideas here. My personal favorite is giving the mooks nonconventional attacks like Suffocate or Drain.

A couple other options come to mind. First and foremost, bend the PL level limits for some of your mooks. Let the PL 4 Mook have the +6L assault rifle.

Now, in terms of HTH combat, you have a few options feat-wise. All-Out Attack and Power Attack are great feats. So are Attack Focus and Attack Finesse.

A couple more things come to mind.

If your supervillain has some sort of motif, then his minions might share the motif. Most famously, if your supervillian has an ice motif, then perhaps his low-level mooks are armed with +3S freeze rifles ... but his elite mooks might be armed, for example, with flash-frost grenades that create a large Slick effect or something that produces a snare effect.

Also, try equipping the mooks with items beyond mere weapons. For example, instead of a standard army of mooks, you might make a squad of mooks the pilots aboard a PL 21 robot. Or, better yet ...

Perhaps the villain has used a Shrink effect on a bunch of minions so that they can pilot a large PL 21 robot. The PL 10 heroes realize that they can't defeat the robot ... but you leave some clue that it's controlled from inside. So, the PCs must be shrunk to go inside the robot and defeat the people piloting it ... and hope that the robot doesn't go berserk.

Of course, nobody said that the mooks and the PCs have to be shrunk to the same scale ...

Which brings to mind something else. Do you want to create threatening elite minions, or memorable elite minions?


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Post by angelbialaska » Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:02 am

How to be a good mook (PL 5)...

Soldier guy
1: Buy yourself the meanest looking gun available and an assortment of nice ammo (Weapon +5, Extra: Autofire, Telescopic Sense; Flaw: Full Effect, Magazine X; Power stunts: Fatigue, Stun)
2: Buy yourself some handgrenades (Weapon +5, extra: Area, Dazzle; flaw: Uses, Full Effect)
3: Get a good kevlar vest (Armor +5)
4: Find yourself a teacher to get the following: Point Blank Shot, Ricochet attack, Power Attack, Accurate Attack, Rapid Shot, Multishot, Surprise Strike
5: Spend your remaining points on dex and other things you'd expect a soldier to have.
5: Go out and kick some hero butt!

This build is pretty simple. He has a bit of durability due to his armor, but he's really better at killing stuff. He's effective at a range, as he has a sniperscope on his rifle, which enables him to do some pretty nasty sniping at a distance (enhanced point blank shot distance). He can simply aim at the body of his opponent (accurate attack) and deliver some injection that'll stun or paralyze. Otherwise he can aim at soft spots (Power Attack). If against particularly easy targets to hit, which bricks usually are, let him take aim for soft spot, let the bullet do a ricochet and burst off as many shot as possible. Sure you'll have a rather difficult time hitting, but if you do hit, you should do a Surprise Strike (3)+Power Attack(5)+Point Blank Shot (1)+Weapon (5) for a total of 14 damage! That's not bad for your mook. If he then meets a speedster, he'll simply throw a handgrenade, which is an area attack, which means that even if it fails to hit, it'll still do half damage and evasion cannot be used! And not only are they causing damage, but they also leave those surviving in shellshock (hopefully).

Evil Medieval Knight/Crazed Barbarian
1: First you'll need to get yourself a weapon. Get yourself that sweet greatsword or big hammer or two-handed axe. Shields are for losers! (Weapon +5)
2: We can't have that you get killed, right? So put on that chainmail (Armor +5)
3: Push the millstone. Round and round and round like a good little Conan (20 strength)
3: Now go find yourself a teacher. You need two things. A good voice teacher and a good weapons master. Say "Dude, thou must teach me the following, for thou art a good master: All-Out Attack, Power Attack, Surprise Strike, Skill Focus (Intimidate) and Startle
4: Spend your remaining points. Remember to max out Intimidate. Also use the Strength to be used instead of Charisma for Intimidate Checks.
5: Go out and beat up the heroes

This guy is strength incarnate. Some say he can wrestle a bear... Those that said that are true... This guy is a powerhouse, he just need to survive long enough. He starts his round out with letting out a "IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, I SMITHE THEE!" or a "FOR CROM!" (last one gotta be said with German accent for full effect... That is of course his attempt to startle his opponents. He should have a good 11+ intimidate, well, actually the best would be to have 8 ranks, 5 for strength, 3 for skill focus for a total of 16. And what happens? Opponent is caught flat-footed. So it matters not if it's a speedster or a brick! Then Make an All-Out Attack (who cares about defense anyway?) Power Attacked Surprise Strike... Ouch. Weapon (5)+Strength(+5)+Power Attack (+5)+Surprise Strike (3) for a total of 18 damage! Even the PL 10 powered brick has only a damage save of 17! Did I smell Hero Points being used?

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A little more brainstorming ...

Post by Stone Cold Gargoyle » Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:22 am

An elite mook doesn't have to be a combat monster ... perhaps a hacker with a personal wrist computer (Datalink +5) and an attitude?

"Very good work, Captain Killallthevillains ... or should I say,
'Keven Melnitz?' Of 43 Denya Drive? I'm afraid that you've got a little bit of trouble. You've forgotten to pay your property taxes for ... ten years? Tsk, tsk. And the city has put a lien on your property? And, oh look, the Tribune just received an anonymous note about your 'secret' identity and your recent tax troubles."

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Post by Anthony » Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:42 am

One basic way to have mooks be a threat is to let them have weapons that do +5 damage, and then just have lots and lots of them, waiting on critical hits. That won't help with people who have both protection 10 and high enough defense that crits won't happen, but if you have people like that you basically need tougher mooks.

The errata'd version of penetrating attack is another option.

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Post by Argos » Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:04 am

1. Tougher mooks
2. Run a lower-PL game

I am not trying to be funny; I've found that if you want mooks to actually be a threat, you can't run in four color. Run grim'n'gritty, set the PL to 6 and move on. Tighten the noose on development; make concept drive everything. Most characters will grow "horizontally" - meaning, feats, skills, power stunts - rather than "vertically" - regularly maxing-out power ranks.
Argos Xanth

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Post by solidcobra » Fri Jun 17, 2005 7:16 pm

Evil anti-armor method: give your PL 4 (for example) mooks disintegrate at max rank. suddenly, three of those can turn a PL 12 characters armor into dust in a single round.
Or just accept that goons aren't meant to be an actual threat, and introduce super-goons. Ever played Oni? you don't fear the common fear the trio of red Furies, and Konoko is PL 8 at most.
Basically, make "goon special", a goon that is PL of your players minus three or two. Give them armor, give them permanent device-related forcefields, give them amazing saves...and that's just the defensive. For offensive, give them high strength, device-related super-strength that needs to be sustained and either a nice weapon or the strike power. A PL 7 goon can, in this way, get +19L damage in melee, presuming they have 20 strength.
Against that speedster, just give them molotov cocktails. Area-of-effect, limited use weapon power +7L heat damage away! *WOOSH* If they've got heat-immunity, cheat. give them cryoban grenades (cold) instead.
Or how about a railgun? *PREOW!* Try dodging that. +7L (for the PL 7 goon, still) and penetrating...and speedsters can't use evasion against it.

Another option is to make goons indirect threats. Yeah, a goon with a handgun won't deal damage, but that same goon with a high-explosive belt, on a thin catwalk over a vat full of powerful acid? Kill/knock him, the belt explodes...and takes the catwalk with it. Suddenly that goon has to be somehow taken care of in another way, and you didn't make him any stronger. he's not strong, but still a considerable threat.

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Post by HG » Fri Jun 17, 2005 8:23 pm

Use power attack and use stated weapon values. A gun can easily be rank 5-7 and need not follow stacking rules (not for npcs and not for mooks). With Power Attack the friend of all pc's. Its also the friend of all mooks. Give it liberally to mooks.

Give them Multi-fire and/or Autofire. Suddenly rank 10 isn't the invulnerable thing it was.


But ask why is the player have such high protection, and what do you want the gm. The more capable you make the mooks the more a player who wants to laugh at them will want his protection to that magic level to ignore them outright. HA I laugh at your puny weapons you filthy mortals. (so says gamer Bob, while eating some cheetos) :)

You make the Hulk who throws his arm up over his head but largely did the bullets of the soldiers bounce off him? Did he have amazing save or protection, its up to you. I told you above how to do it. You do that, and magically POOF you will be seeing rank 10 protection not be the magic bullet solution for the hero who wants to wade through someone. Forcing damage saves is one way to temper their ego.

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Post by Trenchcoat Brigand » Sat Jun 18, 2005 6:53 am

Mooks in armour with special vision upgrades, electrical feedback against melee attacks, radio co-ordination (possibly through a Control Chamber away from the action) and high-tech weaponry.

Or, in short, An Excuse For Tougher Mooks.

If they're PL 8, Attack Focus and Penetrating Attack will give that rifle a a reasonable amount of chance to hurt even Protection 10 folks.

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Post by Patriarch » Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:13 am

Nothing says you have to use a low PL for your "elite" mooks. Crooks! has mooks as high as PL21 (some armageddon robot, or some such thing). The fact is, low level mooks are not supposed to serve as a credible threat to heroes. At lest not directly (they may threaten bystanders or other non-heroic characters). But there is no rule that says all of your mooks must be hero-fodder.

My players are PL8, and I've found that a few thugs hopped up on Max (if you have the Freedom City book) give them a serious run for their money.
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.