In my 5E game, I sometimes use Minions (stolen from 4E). This allows me to add the ability to increase the drama without increasing the difficulty. Ultimately making a scene a bit more epic. The challenge is that when certain spells are used such as Sleep, there is not an easy action resolution.

The way I use Minions is: I give the Monster an AC of X and if the PC rolls X (or above) they kill the monster (regardless of what their damage dice result is). When I just use weak monsters from the 5E Monster Manual I have ran into situations where the PC's attack hits, but their hit dice roll is low and they take multiple turns to kill the monster, which just drags out combat unnecessarily.

What am I able to utilize in 5E that is Minion-like? Or perhaps how could I modify a 5E Monster that would satisfy the use of a spell like "Sleep"?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you can ask if there's anything like it, but the request for modifications seems like too much \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ How would you expect minions to interact with AOE damage spells like fireball? Do they all just automatically die if caught in the AOE (thus saving you the trouble of rolling a bunch of saves)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson AFAIK, Under the rules I've used (I don't have the original source, unfortunately), minions take no damage if they succeed the saving throw for such an attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrendire
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 21:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aslum: Don't answer in comments (including partial answers).. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 4:59

4 Answers 4


There is nothing like minions

As I understand it (and I did not play 4e) a minion is exactly the same monster with the same attacks, special abilities, etc. but only 1 hp. So you could have minion Ogres that hit hard like an ogre but popped like a balloon when hit. Further, area of effect spells that dealt damage were (and were intended) to be absolutely devastating to groups of minions.

D&D 5e has nothing like that.

There is nothing stopping you from doing this

If you want ogres with 1 hp; have ogres with 1 hp.

Further, there is nothing stopping you from having ogres with 1hp if they take damage, but normal hp for all other effects.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I remember in one of Matt Colville's videos, he describes doing exactly this; giving monsters 1HP as his attempt to borrow the concept of minions from 4e. +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 8:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ As someone that did play 4e: minions had slightly higher defenses than normal for their CR. If you want to copy the same feel to 5e, you should transfer that as well to AC and saving throws. \$\endgroup\$
    – DonFusili
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 14:42

Low-level creatures; they work better at high level in 5e than before.

Compared to 3e/4e, the numbers in 5e are much flatter. There is less difference between low and high level creatures in terms of attack bonus and armor class. This means if you want a low-HP creature in 5e, a low-level monster is still fairly viable.

D&D 4e needed minions because of the way the numbers worked in that edition. In 4e preview book Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters, p.10, James Wyatt notes that large numbers of low-level monsters rarely posed a threat in 3e because they could rarely hit PCs, whereas the PCs could hit the monsters easily. That effect was even stronger in 4e, where all monsters added their level to AC and attack.

In D&D 5e, the numbers for attack and damage no longer scale linearly with level. The proficiency bonus only scales from +2 to +6 over twenty levels (instead of +1 to +20), and doesn't apply to AC. However, hit points do scale linearly. This means even when you're high level, you can reliably kill many low-level monsters in one fireball, but they can still hit your AC and pose a challenge.

Rules for using large numbers of creatures appear in Dungeon Master's Guide p.82. The difficulty increases but the XP gained does not increase.

This doesn't directly equate to the minions of 4e, but it does fill a similar role. One difference is that you aren't guaranteed to one-hit opponents. You could house-rule it that such low-level creatures always go down in one hit from a much higher level PC, particularly if they're only being added as garnish rather than increase the encounter's challenge.


It's an interesting mechanic and I like the idea of you upping the drama by introducing a bunch of easy-to-kill "minions", which are mostly a one-hit kill.

If I were using this strategy, I would use the model of the Commoner from the Monster Manual (p.345). They have an AC of 10 and only 4 HPs each. They can be of any humanoid race as well. So you could use this as your base. Given that they have only have 4 HP on average, it would rarely take more than one hit or attack to kill one. Their ability scores are all 10, so they have a +0 to all their bonuses. Also, they only do (2) 1d4 damage tops. So even a great number of them shouldn't pose a big threat to an adventuring party - especially, if you have any party members who already have area-of-effect spells.

I hope this helps.


The 1st-level Sleep spell should on average be able to knock out at least 5 Commoners. (PHB p.276)

A spell like Fireball would effectively wipe out any number of Commoners caught in the area-of-effect because the damage is a minimum of 4 HPs even if they are successful in their saving throws and you rolled 1s on all dice. (PHB p.241)


So this is not from a canon source, but The Angry GM came up with systems that aim to provide 'boss' and 'minions' fights in 5E, inspired by 4E

Keep in mind this is very unofficial.

I personally have only tried the 'Paragon rules' from The Angry GM, which are rules he came up with to create interesting boss fights ... and I personally liked it, my players also have. Those boss fights surprised them and it was positive afaic.

Now, there are rules for minions fight that I haven't tried, you can take a look at them here in this article

Let me know what you think ?

Since this article is quite long and in case the link breaks, I shall do sum it up:

I don't know much about the minion system in 4E, but this looks to be fairly similar to it.

Basically, turning a monster into minions is taking a creature's stat block (all except HPs), saying there are 4 of those (4-6 being the recommended numbers after the author's number crunching, but it could more or less) and having the minions die on 1 hit or maybe 2 hits maximum.

A group of minions is considered as 4 creatures that have the action economy of 1 creature. Each time their turn in the initative track arrives, the 'mob' of minion can activate 1 of its member per action.

EG. a mob of 4 Ogre minions on its turn could have 1 of its member run up to a PC and attack it or you could have 1 of them attack and another one move up to the PCs.

The goal here is to make fights quicker while still retaining an element of epicness (since it is always more epic to be able to slay 4 ogres instead of 1, right ?).

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    \$\begingroup\$ You should try to summarize the rules that you're referring to. If your link breaks in the future (because the site the rules are on goes down or gets reorganized so the article is at some different URL), then this answer would become useless. \$\endgroup\$
    – Blckknght
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good call. Took the time to do it. The longest was to read the article, it's a long one ... \$\endgroup\$
    – Catar4
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 20:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Relevant meta: Don't signal your edits in text. Instead, you should edit your answer to read as if it were always the best version of itself; anyone interested in older versions can always view the revision history. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 4:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you haven't actually tried these rules out, I'm not sure how good it is to suggest them. While angrygm has a strong following and a lot of trust, he's not infallible and providing feedback on actual use would make this answer not just proposing an idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 17:20

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