Minion & Lieutenant Oddities

Hello folks,

I was looking over the rules for building a Scene in Chapter 4: Moderating the Game of the Core Rulebook, and I think I noticed a peculiarity related to the numbers of Minions and Lieutenants in Scenes. I’ve reproduced the pertinent part of the Scene Element Difficulty Quick Reference table below for ease of reference:*

Difficulty Minions Lieutenants

Let :h: = 4. Therefore, 1 Moderate Difficulty Scene Element could be 4 :d8: Minions. But, the rules also state that the GM can swap one Moderate Element for 2 Easy ones. 1 Easy Element could be 2 :d8: Lieutenants. Thus, one could replace 1 Moderate Element with 2 sets of 2 :d8: Lieutenants, which = 4 :d8: Lieutenants. But, remember that 4 :d8: Minions can also be 1 Moderate Scene Element. So, now we have a situation in which a group of Minions and a group of Lieutenants of the same number and die sizes are both considered 1 Moderate Scene Elements, yet the Lieutenant group is obviously significantly more powerful.

The same is true regarding and :d10: Minions and Lieutenants: 1 Difficult Element can = 4 :d10: Minions or 2 Moderate Elements, and 1 Moderate Element can = 2 :d10: Lieutenants, so 4 :d10: Minions and 4 :d10: Lieutenants can both be Difficult Scene Elements.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share this y’all. Do you think this was intentional? Or did I make some sort of mistake?

* I hope reproducing this bit of the table is okay, and doesn’t count as unauthorised reproduction of one of GTG’s products. If it does, please remove it.

I don’t think the intent was to replace difficult or moderate difficulty amounts of minions with lieutenants. Even at easy 2 D8 lieutenants are much harder to deal with than 4 D6 minions. That’s true for each level in that. I’d say at best if you changing moderate or difficult levels of minions to lieutenants than you only do one instance not two.


This is very much running into the “the scene elements are more of an art than a science” part of the game. See also “one Villain is a Moderate Difficulty Scene Element” regardless of how dangerous that Villain is, or the lack of guidance on what constitutes a “standard” or “hostile” environment.

As a rule, I would say that swapping is usually going to make the scene a bit more dangerous, regardless of what swaps you do. Two d8 lieutenants supported by four d6 minions are really more dangerous than four d8 minions unless your team has really effective area-clearing. A minor villain and a 3-4 success challenge is probably going to take more work to clear than a major villain by themselves.

I think that, in general, trading two challenges of one level for three of the next level down is going to give you a somewhat more accurate difficulty curve than the one in the book.

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Thanks for the insights! I’m fairly new to this system, so I appreciate the wisdom of more experienced GM/players.

Yeah, I think this is the key thing that I think I was doing wrong. What the book has to say on Scene Difficulty is really more advice and guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules that must be obeyed. Right?


Pretty much, yes. I wish the game was a bit more clear about that, the way that it is in some of the other sections, but Scene Difficulty is a lot like Environment or Villain construction - it’s a useful set of rough guidelines, but not very good as hard and fast rules. Unfortunately, much more so than those other sections the language in the scene difficulty section leans towards “do these simple things and it will work.”

The creators have been more clear when they’re talking about it online or in person, I think, and the advice to read through or run some of the existing adventures to see how the system interconnects is very good; if you just jump right into building your own stuff, there are likely to be some missteps along the way.

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