Beefing up Minions, Using Minions as Followers
Kobold fantasy art courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.
by Michael H. Olson
Minions can be a great way to spice up encounters. When used judiciously, they can speed up battles while letting players feel heroically powerful. They can also be used to effectively create non-player-characters who won’t overshadow player characters in combat. Use them too much, though, and they become down-right easy to “read” by players and sometimes players will begin to take them for granted, becoming complacent and lazy with their tactics. If that happens, try spicing up your battles by using the following house rules. They will provide ways to make minions a bit more “beefy,” both as enemies and sidekick non-player characters, and players will find it a bit surprising when they strike a minion and it doesn't go down in one blow.
House Rules: How to Eliminate Magic Missile Exploitation of Minions
A magic missile attack drops a minion fighter instantly.
by Michael Karkabe-Olson
Under the current official rules of fourth-edition Dungeons & Dragons a first-level wizard will automatically defeat a minion of a level much higher than him or herself, even a 20th-level minion, by using a simple magic missile spell. This is because magic missiles, which typically cause three to six points of damage, automatically hit, and all minions take only 1 hit point of damage, even 30th-level ones. Thus, a 30th-level minion can provide a party of 1st-level player characters with 4,750 experience points as soon as a wizard drops it, which means the party could theoretically leap to 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th-level by simply destroying a couple such