Do you know why a zombie apocalypse is a nightmare scenario? It’s not just that the hungry dead are coming for you brains. It’s not that your loved ones have become hideous Romero monsters bent on making yet another sequel. It’s not even the stench of rotten flesh wafting around the countryside like an ambulatory fart. No my friends, the real horror is trying to finish your turn in under half an hour.

When you’ve got a boatload of minions following your orders, you wind up chewing through game time like an intellect devourer at a Mensa meeting. Between rolling to hit, rolling damage, tracking hp, remembering which minions have status effects and which ones don’t, and whether that one in the corner with the yellow cloak has already taken its action this round, even experienced necromancers cab be forgiven for flinging down the old knuckle bone abacus in disgust. In short, the playstyle is a bugger to pull off.

For my part, I’ve tried minionmancy exactly once. It was in a one-shot playtest game with some of my fellow Veranthea Codex developers. (To my surprise and delight, you can actually watch this game over here. I’d thought it was lost to the sands of time.) I was a goblin fighter pilot in that game, and the proud owner of a pseudodragon familiar named Gimmick. The little ball of scales and bad attitude was the source of my many minions. Thanks to the obscene amount of cash you can throw around in high-level one-shots, she actually had more magical gear than I did. Her tiny golf bag of wands and scrolls had enough firepower to make Sorcerer blush, but it was the wand of summon monster III that kept crapping out eagles. Every round without fail, another 1d4+1 feathered friends would take to the air, surround whatever hideous monstrosity we were pummeling at the moment, and proceed to annoy the shit out of it. They provided flanking bonuses, caused chaos, ate up attacks of opportunity, and did zero damage. (We were something like 16th level. Even if they managed to hit something they weren’t getting through DR.) It was an amusing tactic, but you know what I remember most about the experience? Feeling grateful when they all died. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I have a tough time piloting one stat block, much less a dozen.

What about you other minionmancers out there? I’m talking to all the summoners, druids, and wizardly types who like fighting with squads of dudes rather than single companions. How do you manage it? Does it stay fun throughout, or is it more bother than it’s worth? And to all the necromancers in the room: have you ever made Necromancer’s mistake and lost control of your own undead? I hear that’s something of an occupational hazard. Sound off with your tales of too many men on the field down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.