Shared Health Pools for Minions - Options Presented, Opinions Needed

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Ares
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Shared Health Pools for Minions - Options Presented, Opinions Needed

Post by Ares »

Hey folks. Reposting a question I had from Discord, but expanded a bit.

Like the title says, I'm looking to dabble in Shared Health Pools for Minions, primarily to include it into a Point Buy system. To start with, I'd best define my terms.

Shared Health Pools (or SHP): The notion that, instead of treating each minion as a separate character with their own health totals, you treat the entire group as a single entity. The basic way I've seen it implemented in other systems is like this: Each Minion has a Soak and a Health stat. The Health stat is multiplied by the amount of minions present to generate the SHP. Anytime a single minion takes damage, it is reduced by their Soak stat, and then the remaining damage is subtracted from the SHP. Every time the damage amount exceeds the Minion Health stat, a Minion drops, either dead or unconscious.

So if you have five Minions with a Soak of 3 and a Health 5, then the SHP has 25 points in it. If you hit a single minion with 10 points of damage, it gets reduced to 7 via Soak, then reduces the SHP to 18. That's more than 5, so a single Minion drops.

Area of Effect (or AoE): An option applied to some character abilities that allows said ability to target and affect all characters within a certain zone. So someone with an AoE attack could make a single attack and potentially damage everyone within the designated zone.

Multi-Target: An option applied to certain characters or specific abilities that allows them to make a single attack action, but apply the attack to multiple individuals. So someone with Multi-Target x2 could make a single attack and apply it to up to two targets within range.

Now, a potential issue I see with SHPs for Minions is how it handles "spillover" damage and multiple / AoE attacks. What I mean by "spillover" damage is when the damage that results is enough to drop multiple minions.

I haven't played in many systems that make use of SHPs, but I have done a little research and reading on some existing ones. After going over some examples and the like, I see two general options for implementing SHPs.

Option 1: Every time a Minion gets damaged, any excess damage is applied to the pool, and if that extra damage is enough to drop another minion, then another minion dies, falls unconscious, or removes themselves from the fight (fleeing in terror, fainting, etc.), even if the hero didn't directly affect said minion. When it comes to AoE attacks or Multi-Target, the amount of damage inflicted is multiplied by the amount of Minions hit.

-Example 1: Big MacLarge Huge punches one of those five 3 Soak, 5 Health, 25 SHP minions from earlier, and deals 15 damage. That gets reduced to 12 via soak, reduces the SHP to 13, and he takes out two minions.

-Example 2: Big MacLarge Huge has Multi-Target x2 on one of his Punch arrays. He deals 15 damage when he punches two of the above minions. It gets reduced to 12, but then is multiplied by 2 (for the two minions hit), becoming 24, reducing the SHP to 1 and taking out all but one Minion.

-Example 3: Big MacLarge Huge throws a grenade at the same minion group. It deals 15 damage, gets reduced to 12, but catches all five minions in the blast. That damage gets multiplied by 5 (for the five minions), becomes 60, and all five minions die.


Option 2: When you attack a minion, damage is done to the pool but has a cut off point of the minion's Health stat. Basically, unless you have a means to attack multiple people, the most you can ever do is drop the minion in front of you. However, if you have Multi-Target, this allows the spillover to spread to other Minions, with each extra target increasing the max amount of minions you can take down.

-Example 1: Big MacLarge Huge punches one of those five 3 Soak, 5 Health, 25 SHP minions from earlier, and deals 15 damage. That gets reduced to 12 via soak, but since he can only attack a single target, the damage tops out at 5. This drops the minion in front of him, but only reduces the SHP to 20.

-Example 2: Big MacLarge Huge has Multi-Target x2 on one of his Punch arrays. He deals 15 damage when he punches two of the above minions. It gets reduced to 12, and since he can attack two minions, he can deal 10 of that to the SHP, reducing it to 15 and taking out two minions.

-Example 3: Big MacLarge Huge throws a grenade at the same minion group. It deals 15 damage, gets reduced to 12, but catches all five minions in the blast. That all 12 damage is subtracted from the SHP, reducing it to 13, taking out two minions and injuring a third.


The first option is probably the easiest when it comes to single attacks, and has a definite cinematic flair to it by letting a hero always have the chance to damage more than one minion. At the same time, the math gets more complicated with Mult-Target and AoE attacks, and there's a lot of potential to wipe out minions a little too quickly (even for how easy minions are supposed to be dispatched). To compensate for this, you might need to make minions a little hardier, or make AoE and Multi-Target very expensive.

The second option makes more logical sense in that you can't drop more than one minion unless you have bought the ability to do so, and Multi-Attack ensures you get to damage as many minions as you pay for. If you want to be able to drop two minions at once, you need to purchase the ability to do so. However, it might make AoE damage too weak, as even though you're hitting everyone, you're still limited by the initial damage. For instance, in Example 3, even though 5 minions are caught in the blast, 2 of them essentially escape unharmed. Though that might be a good thing, reflecting how some minions were able to dive out of the way of the attack? Maybe the default AoE attack functions this way (representing things like grenades that don't literally fill the entire designated zone with damage), but you can purchase more expensive options that deal intense damage to everyone the entire zone equally (such as D&D's Fireball). Or maybe how Option 2 handles AoE needs to be changed entirely?


While I list two possible options, I'm very aware that there are certainly additional options I'm not considering. I'd be interested in hearing all options or thoughts you guys have.

Right now I'm probably leaning more towards Option 2 in terms of how it handles single target and Mult-Target attacks, but I'm not 100% satisfied with how it handles AoE.

So . . . thoughts?
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Re: Shared Health Pools for Minions - Options Presented, Opinions Needed

Post by FuzzyBoots »

So, this bypasses Toughness saves? And is meant to apply to Afflictions and alternate saves as well?
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Re: Shared Health Pools for Minions - Options Presented, Opinions Needed

Post by Ares »

FuzzyBoots wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:29 pm So, this bypasses Toughness saves? And is meant to apply to Afflictions and alternate saves as well?
It's for a non-M&M based system.
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Re: Shared Health Pools for Minions - Options Presented, Opinions Needed

Post by Ares »

For instance, both of Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars and Genesys game lines uses minion rules akin to those listed, and the systems have more traditional health pools as opposed to Mutant and Mastermind's Toughness Save damage tracker, though both have penalties applied based on the damage you've taken.
"My heart is as light as a child's, a feeling I'd nearly forgotten. And by helping those in need, I will be able to keep that feeling alive."
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Re: Shared Health Pools for Minions - Options Presented, Opinions Needed

Post by Ares »

Thinking about Option 2 (which is the one I'm leaning towards), maybe it gets bonus damage against minions based on the number of minions it hits, but only a single point?

So in Option 2, Example 3, when Big MacLarge Huge throws a grenade that deals 15 damage, it gets reduced to 12 but then gets 5 bonus damage because it hit five minions, raising the damage to 17, leaving 8 points of damage to the minion pool, and leaving only two of the five minions standing, one of which is at half health. That's a little better to my mind, and the math is easy.
"My heart is as light as a child's, a feeling I'd nearly forgotten. And by helping those in need, I will be able to keep that feeling alive."
- Captain Marvel SHAZAM! : Power of Hope (2000)

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