In the chat playtest my players have decided that they are members of an army squadron. What is the best way to present the feel of working in a squad alongside other soldiers?
Nominally, I'd like the rest of the squad to be present at encounters, as minions that players can somehow order around. Normal 4e doesn't have mechanics for this. Have you had any experiences with player controlled minions? What actions should be necessary from players to control these minions? How easily should they be revived, and should their revival require healing surges from the players?
Here are the sample rules I'm considering. Answers on how to improve them are very welcome:
At present, I plan to use a variation summoning rules to evoke the sense of a larger group when necessary. Comments very welcome. Answers with better implementations even more welcome.
First, some math: 1) A minion will absorb exactly one hit. However, the hit it absorbs is a function of level, due to the scaling nature of damage. therefore, a minion /effectively/ has level+8 HP. 2) A healing surge provides 6+level*1.5 HP for defenders and 5+level HP for everyone else. Give or take.
Therefore, 1 minion is effectively worth 1 healing surge, though it's only worth one surge when it goes down.
However, given that it's taking hits, blocking terrain, and able to perform OAs, it's worth a surge to "summon."
Attacking and movement is far more tricky.
Movement, at root can be compared to the Shaman's rulings of "if you move, your spirit companion can also move your speed." Generous, but without that, they'd never get used.
Attacking should be roughly comparable to an at-will. Minion default damage at level 1 is 4. PC default damage is, roughly, 1d8+4 (give or take). Therefore the minion does around half damage to what an at-will would do. This suggests that the minion attack should be a minor action. This ups damage slightly (but not as much as a minor with all of the PCs damage bonuses would, due to no application of the static modifier.)
Summon Reinforcements - Level 2 Utility "What do you think you're waiting for, you maggots, an invitation to dance?" Encounter Power - Standard Action Spend a healing surge, and one "Army Soldier" joins you until the end of the encounter. Place the minion on the edge of the battlefield. The soldier has your defenses and has 1 HP. The Army Soldier may move up to your speed whenever you spend a move action. When summoned, the soldier can make a Soldier's Attack as a free action. Minor Action: 1/round The Army Soldier may make a Soldier's Attack.
Soldier's Attack - At-Will Minor Action - Melee 1 Special: This power may be used once per round Effect: The soldier may make a charge as part of this attack. Primary target: One creature Attack: Level +5 vs. AC Hit: Level+3 Damage