02. The Runelands
Minions typically begin as listed, with 4 skills at Average (+0): Strength, Speed, Smarts, and Toughness (Yes, there’s a skill called Smarts. Cope.) These are, respectively, used to make attack, overcome, create an advantage, and defend actions in combat. Toughness is also the defense against attacks. For most other actions, most minions have only a single skill: [X] Minion, at a level equal to their rating. Certain minions have other specific skills, but in the absence of those, an elemental rolls either its core skill or its core skill -2 for other actions. Minions improved through an Oath are discussed below, under Improving Your Minions
As one might imagine, the most easily-summoned minions are the least powerful variety. Smart enough to handle simple tasks, Companions are typically kept as pets or familiars. Owing to their diminutive size and often-ethereal nature, Companions excel in situations involving agility or stealth, gaining a +4 to that kind of task. They are not typically used as combatants out of the box, as they start with neither stress boxes nor the ability to take consequences.
Drudges are no smarter than Companions (in fact, they're often dumber by a wide margin), but they are substantially stronger and more patient. Well suited to performing long, boring tasks, Drudges receive a +2 to any roll related to heavy, repetitive work. While they're markedly tougher than companions, they're not great combatants, having no stress boxes and only a -2 consequence.
Servitors are human-sized and often a rough approximation of humanoid in shape. While not geniuses, they are smart and capable of following complicated instructions or of fighting on their master’s behalf. Servitors have 2 stress boxes and can take two -2 consequences.
Attendants are at capable of autonomous function on the level of a butler or bodyguard. They are also intelligent, able combatants. Attendants have 3 stress boxes and can take a -2 and a -4 consequence.
A Named minion is less a servant than a companion in its own right, and usually only available when a magician has made a Pact with a greater power. It has a fair semblance of free will, and is for all intents and purposes an NPC. Named minions will have agendas and personalities of their own, and are selected for their service on the basis of their unwavering loyalty to their patron power.
Handling a single minion in addition to the character is not too onerous, but an accomplished Summoner may be running around with several, and trying to handle each one in combat invites huge bookkeeping hassles. For this reason, use a variant on the Teamwork rules as follows:
- The basic attack and defense is determined by the most powerful minion the character controls. It receives an additional +1 for being under the direction of the character.
- Creating advantages and overcoming difficulties still use the character’s skill, but +1 per non-Wisp elemental in the fight, if it’s an effort the elemental could help with.
- Minions act as an additional pool of consequences for the player. Any time he would take a hit, he may lose elementals as if he were taking on consequences as follows:
- Drudge: -2
- Servitor: -4
- Attendant: -6
- Named: Any single value
Minions may earn advances by winning battles, or through training. Exactly how advances are earned depends on the situation, but each advance may be spent to:
- Increase a skill. All skills can be increased to Good (4) and one may be increased to Superb (+5).
- Increase resilience. An advance can be spent to add a -2 consequence, increase a -2 consequence to a -4, or increase a -4 to a -6. The maximum consequences for a Minion are -2/-4/-6.
- Buy an upgrade. :Upgrades include
- Shell: +1 Armor.
- Tough Shell: (Requires Shell and Good Toughness) +1 Armor.
- Breath Attack: Can attack two targets at once.