May 05

Fantasy Mook Traits: Introduction

 

Last week I launched Fantasy Mooks Traits. This is a small set of tables designed to create identifying tags for the mooks in a horde. The volume comes with five BONUS pdfs, making it quite a package. Fantasy Mook Traits is available to buy from DriveThruRPG, for only $2.99.

 

 

To further highlight the text, I reprint here a lengthy excerpt from the introduction of the book.

 

Fantasy Mook Traits

Do you struggle to differentiate the lesser creatures in your hordes?

Do you wish your Players were a little more creative than “I hit the one who hit me”?

Are you tired of referring to “Goblin number one, Goblin number two and Goblin number three”?

 

I have the answer for you. Fantasy Mook Traits generates an endless supply of easily-distinguished opponents. A couple of quick dice rolls gives you:

  • Laughing Goblin
  • Frail Goblin
  • Yellow-cloaked Goblin

 

The main body of this text involves a systematic look at each of the sections of the Fantasy Mook Traits tables. For each table and sub-table, I highlight anything noteworthy. I provide notes on any entry where the meaning or intention may not be clear. I also offer insights into why I chose specific entries and sometimes make suggestions for customizing your own set of tables.

 

 

 

Using the Tables

The fantasy genre is a broad church, with a great variety of styles. Thus, to widen the utility of this book, I include two sets of tables: FMT-01 Medieval Mook Traits and FMT-02 Bronze Age Mook Traits. The medieval table is best suited for the standard quasi-medieval fantasy cultures. In contrast, the bronze age table is created for cultures adopting an earlier historical background. The bronze age table is also useful for Sword & Sorcery games, or generic barbarian cultures. Pick the table appropriate for your setting, or the cultural background of the mooks.

 

The most common way to use either Mook Traits Table is to simply roll d% for each mook, then noting the trait as part of your prep routine. This is standard fare for a GM. Alternatively, there are two options to create a more targeted set of mook traits. For simplicity, the bulk of this text refers to FMT-01 Medieval Mook Traits. A later section details the variations found in FMT-02 Bronze Age Mook Traits.

 

The first option uses M1-A Category, where the sub-categories of traits have separate weighting. Here physique traits are most likely, with magical traits less likely. The same selection of traits are available, but the frequency of each category is slightly different. To apply this option, roll first on Table M1-A, then again on the designated sub-table using the nominated die.

 

Your second option for generating mook traits arises from narrative restrictions. Sometimes circumstances limit the range of options available to your mooks.

 

For example, if the Heroes are attacked by the Baron’s bodyguard, then these mooks will all be dressed in the Baron’s colours. Tunics and shields will all bear the Baron’s heraldic device. This uniformity is established by the narrative. For this band of mooks, the GM can only focus on their faces as distinguishing features.

 

Therefore, when preparing the Baron’s bodyguard, the GM must skip M1-A Category Table and roll instead on table M1-E Facial Traits. Likewise, a squad of sorcerous apprentices may all wear the same robes, but be distinguished by their magic. A mercenary troop might trick out their weapons to express their individuality. By rolling on one of the category tables, the GM creates distinctive traits in restricted circumstances. Choose the best method, or category table, to suit the mooks you are preparing.

 

 

Group Traits

Indeed, in some campaigns, the GM can assign different category tables to particular groups. In this way, the GM presents the personality of the larger group through the way the mooks distinguish themselves.

 

For example, suppose you are running a palace intrigue/Three Musketeers-style campaign. The Queen’s bodyguard are smartly dressed in matching tabards and shields bearing the royal crown. Thus, the bodyguard must be distinguished by their facial traits.

In contrast, the Cardinal’s guards have identical moustaches and trimmed beards to match the Cardinal. Individual guards are therefore noticeable for their different mannerisms. This tendency correlates with the Cardinal’s overflowing ego.

Finally, there is a regiment of elite cavalry, or perhaps musketeers. This regiment is fiercely loyal to the Queen, but do not operate under the same strict rules as the palace guard. Members of this group are distinguished by embellishments to their weapons, as discipline is more relaxed and they have greater scope for personal expression.

 

Conclusion

I hope this brief overview of Fantasy Mook Traits shows you how the book helps GMs deal with a horde of creatures. My Players love wading through a mass of mooks, and good tags help me to keep such a combat varied.

 

How do you distinguish your mooks? Have you tried using tags? Which tags really resonated with your Players? Share your thoughts with your fellow GMs in the comments below.

 

 

Happy Gaming

Phil

 

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