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Some class or race features activate whenever an enemy is brought to 0 hp or less.
I can recall seeing some only being activated when a non-minion dies, which is fine because minions are too easy to kill. Was this peculiar to some power or is it the general rule?

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This doesn't appear to be a general rule. Between the Player's Handbook, the Rules Compendium and the Dungeon Master's Guide, there's only three sections which would lay down ground rules about this:

  • The explanation of triggers under the sections that describe how to read Power blocks.
  • The triggered actions section.
  • The rules for minions.

None of these provide any special rules about minions not triggering on-death triggers (or anything in particular about on-death triggers, for that matter). The only way minions break the usual rules is that they never take damage on a miss. Minions are otherwise just regular creatures or enemies, albeit with only 1 hit point, and unusual attacks and defences.

Powers triggered by a death are generally worded in a way that wouldn't care whether a creature is a minion or not. As an example, consider Twilight Teleport from PHB p141, which would be triggered by a minion:

Trigger: A creature within range and affected by your Warlock's Curse drops to 0 hit points or fewer.

I haven't myself seen a power that ignores minions. I suspect it'd have to say "non-minion" somewhere. Being curious about how common such a trigger was, I searched the online compendium for powers with the keywords "trigger minion", and only four turned up. If you have a subscription, you could take a look and see how those work. You might have run into a very rare kind of trigger, or there's some way to word a trigger to implicitly include minions I'm not aware of.

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