Hey. As a confession- I haven't actually run the game yet. Just read the rules for a few weeks in preparation for a game on Sunday. But I think I have a pretty nifty idea for a tweak to the mook rules.
Instead of having them go down on an Outcome of 5, why not have them go down on an outcome that exceeds their toughness? Toughness for an average person is 5 anyway, so it wouldn't change the typical mook, but it would allow some to be slightly more rugged than others, and creates an obvious way to implement armored mooks.
Since I haven't ran the game, I'm ready to believe this is a terrible idea for some reason I haven't thought of, but it seems great from my limited current perspective.
Yeah, active dodging, or especially quick mooks in general don't really need this. I guess I'm looking for a way to separate out things a little more so that a mooks ability to hit, avoid being hit, and how hard they need to be hit to go down aren't all derived from one number. Bringing their toughness into it allows me to make zombie-like NPCs that are hard to put down put not particularly dangerous, or glass-cannons that can seriously hurt you if you leave them alone, but die very easily.
Using Group Attack from Glimpse of the Abyss is one way to give mooks a better attack AV than a defence AV, which helps avoid annoying misses too often. It also cuts down on the number of rolls you make for mooks.
There's nothing stopping us from simply giving mooks a Dodge AV stat, ignoring their combat skill for that purpose, to fine-tune the attack/defence balance. I've done that sometimes, generally when I've generated a really weird mook type where the standard rules go a bit screwy.
I'd say that the absolute maximum Outcome you should require to bring a mook down (without them active dodging or having cover) should be 17 (i.e. the normal rules for the best mooks you'll find in the books, AV12). Any more than that and mooks actually become harder, or at least more frustrating, to take down than named character for non-combat-specialists.
So using Toughness as a proxy is a neat thing, except for competent, high-toughness mooks.
You can give the mooks several lives, if you want to lengthen the fight without making a lot more attack rolls or making them too hard to hit.
Ran my first session tonight, went very very well, everybody seems to love the game, and the combat rules. As far as mooks go, the ones in this game were barely better than average joes (6's across the boards), so didn't really get to try anything fancy.
You make a good point about 17 being a sort of magic number. Now that I've played it, mooks with an AV of 6 go down like tissue paper and never hit the players. But it wouldn't take much to make them really scary.
I'll have to read more about supernatural Mooks in Glimpse into the Abyss- that's really what I'm concerned with. It seems like the regular rules can represent human mooks decently well.
I think the Outcome/Toughness idea is not altogether a bad idea, really. I am not an expert or seasoned GM of the game like others here, but I can see your point in your concept and it makes sense.
There are a number of ways you could go with it really, Toughness is one, for damage. You could even go with the initial hit roll itself, if it exceeds a mook's AV (parry) past a certain point, while you could still do damage, you could also just consider mooks to be taken out - though of course the higher the damage, the more spectacular the action. It really depends on how much time you want to assign to details of mook fights. Some you might handle normally, with damage having to meet or exceed Toughness as usual, but then some may be the bottom of the barrel orange-jumpsuited fist-fodder sent to the PCs in droves to die and be knocked out in entertaining ways - maybe you couldn't care less about their Toughness, as long as the PCs hit (as long as you send enough).
It's interesting the number 17 comes up, as that is possibly the practical upper band of Toughness in another game system I run, that has a Toughness stat. You can't even damage the enemy unless your damage meets or exceeds their Toughness, and then when you do, they're only Shaken (stunned until they recover) unless your damage is 4 or more higher than their Tgh, which inflicts a Wound, which eliminates all mook types, who have only the one Wound. Given Feng Shui's mechanics, I would agree, especially with the +/- mechanic for hits and the fairly static damage (carryover damage notwithstanding), that 17 would be about as high as you'd want to require for a Takeout.
Glad to hear the game went well and everyone enjoyed it. I haven't got to run much FS myself, as my group sort of dissolved, but everyone really liked the openness and freedom of personal narrative available to them, and also enjoyed the overall simplicity, compared to a lot of other games.
Yeah, I'm currently a player in a Savage Worlds game on the same day as I run my own Feng Shui game, so I'm kinda familiar with both systems. Mook rules in general are hard, I've never really liked them when other people run them, because they all have this "you hit them but didn't kill them, so technically no effect" margin. It takes a lot of the fun out of it for a player if you don't mask that- I hate in Savage Worlds when I shoot a mook, pass my roll with a raise, but because the damage roll was low, it doesn't even matter. And the GM tends to describe it like it doesn't even matter. A successful roll shouldn't feel like a failure so often...
back to Feng Shui, the Toughness + AV rule has helped me describe things a little better. If a mook has a AV of 6, and a toughness of 6, and you hit them with a 8, that means they get knocked down, or cool stuff happens that makes you feel like you succeed, but the mook just isn't out of 'hit points'. The arbitrary '5' number kinda made it harder to feel that.
How do you guys handle mook initiative? I've been breaking my mooks up into groups of 5, and giving each group it's own initiative roll. This makes it easier for different numbers of mooks to attack different players.
With that in mind, how do you people handle active dodging of mooks? If 5 mooks are attacking a character, does it cost 5 shots to actively dodge them all, or 1, or something else?
The "arbitrary 5" as you say is only what's needed to take out or kill a mook. There's no reason why if you got a two the GM couldn't say that you hit the guy, sent him sprawling into a clutter of tables but yet he manages to get up and come for you again. It doesn't mean you just miss.
break your mooks down into what you feel comfortable handling - my rule of thumb.
5 could well be fine, I think it depends on the situation.
I've had 25 mooks facing 3 PC's before now - 4 went for 1, 5 went for the other 2, the other 16 "held back". Made sense at the time, room wasn't that big.
Tend to roll initiative for mooks by what groups they are in. I.e, above example I would roll initiative for the 4 mooks and 5 separately (the other mooks were at this time pretty much observers so didn't roll until later).
As with active dodging, if you're doing that it costs 1 more shot than normal and adds a plus 3 to dodge av (if I remember right). With that in mind it would be effective against all the 5 mooks if they were then to attack you before the next time you act.
For Mook initiative, it varies what I do. If they're using Group Attack, splitting them up into chunks is kinda necessary. Running on paper, particularly for less important fights, I have each type of Mook act on the same initiative. Sometimes I hum circus music while rolling for them. This also has the advantage of making some GM judgement callseasier - such as if the fight is starting to drag a little you can skip some Mook attack rolls to finish it up more quickly, perhaps describing them getting in each other's way or some fleeing. On the other hand, the utility I wrote for tracking Mook initiative gives them their own numbers. It also gives them note fields, so you can track who a Mook is currently attacking neatly. Varying it fight to fight helps keeps things different and interesting.