Initiative & Accidental house rule

Spurred by a discussion on, I looked up something the main rulebook last night and discovered that I've always been playing the game with "gimped" mooks: I and the GMs I've played with never let mooks actively dodge.

Do you let mooks dodge? If so, how much of a headache do you find keeping track of their shots?

I am kind of cool to the idea of letting them dodge, for two reasons:

  • if you have a bunch of mooks who are dodging different amounts, their initiatives won't all fall on the same shot any more, and it will be harder to run the combat
  • Say a typical mook has a Dodge AV of 8. That plus 5 is 13. Generally starting PCs have a combat value of at least 13, which means they have a better than 50% chance of hitting a mook who doesn't dodge. So, if mooks don't dodge, starting players can expect to see some results from their attacks. If Dodge 8 mooks DO dodge, the AV to take them out rises to 16, and that is pretty hard to roll with a 13 or 14.


Hmm.. this depends on the way how tough you want the fight to be.
I noticed, that mooks who are hard to put down tend to lengthen
a fight seriously. So much, that it endangers to make the whole
scene boring. Thus unnamed mooks should rarely dodge. In the sense
of the game they are merely cannonfodder.

A good way to handle it might be this:

  1. If the fight would be over too soon, let them dodge.
    When mooks notice they are in trouble, their wish for survival
    might kick in.
    Think of that cool Bruce Lee film, where he singlehandedly
    beats up a whole dojo. The mooks outnumbered him by
    far and none of them really "dodged actively". Now imagine
    there were only 3 or 4 left... I guess they'd surely try to pull
    some tricks to get away after their buddies dropped to the floor...

  2. Consider who the mooks are. When they are some kind of
    barbrawling brutes... no active dodge. If they are a ninja-death
    commando ... well... this should be a little more gritty.
    On the other hand, ninja mooks would probably have a
    higher action value than a dumb brute. Thus even the ninjas
    shouldn't dodge actively all the time, just now and then for
    dramatic purpose.

About keeping track of shots:
We use a shared shot cost counter, a fielded piece of paper
we put in the middle of the table. There is a token for each
player character, for each named character and special markers
for unnamed mooks. Those "special markers" are just dice,
that represent a group of mooks of the size indicated by the
number the die shows (sixsiders do a good job here).
When a member of such a group goes down, I simply turn the
die to the new number.
I also roll initiative separately for each such group. Thus the
groups mooks don't act all at the same time. It works pretty
well in my opinion.

Of course, if they are very good mooks like SWAT oder SEAL. Normal mooks? Well, they sometimes missed the advanced tactics course. :wink:


Just to chime in, I don't let mooks dodge, but I do have several modified mooks that I trot out when the situation warrants.

If I want mooks to be harder to take down (say, I only want to throw two mook sat every PC instead of 6, which is harder to keep track of), I simply bump their stats a point or two. So, instead of going down on a 13, they may indeed need to go down on a 14 or 15.

Yes, it makes fights last longer, but it also gives my players a bit of respect to the underappreciated mook, laying his life on the line for his thankless bosses' schemes. I always think of a scene in Lason Lee's movie Rapid Fire, where he fights a mook in a ferocious kung fu fight before he gets to the big boss. The guy's just a mook; no name, never see him again in the film, but he gives Lee a good run for the money, being almost as skilled as the hero.

If you don't want to bump the scores, I sometimes just require TWO successful Outcomes of 5+ to take mooks out. Still easy to hit, but they last longer than the Regular Mook.