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My take on Minions and Thralls

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  • My take on Minions and Thralls

    Having re-read the Beast Player’s Guide as of late, I’ve taken a keen interest in the Minions and Thralls lair traits. However, the traits as written (among others in the book) are rather vaguely written, as they don’t quite explain how Minions (as Actors) work when they have no standard for their simplified traits, nor how Thralls are supposed to be made with Dreamborn attributes such as Influences and Numina. This is to say nothing on what scenarios would be resonant with these traits and thus give a Beast with either of them immunity. Since most others I have discussed this with haven’t had much luck themselves in deciphering this, I decided to write out my own interpretation of how the traits could work in a game, and get a bit of feedback from others as well. Thanks for reading.

    Minions created by the Lair trait have variable Power, Finesse, Resistance and Health, dependant entirely on what role they have as Actors and the context for these actions. If the Minions were to take on the forms of children, their traits would be quite low compared to if they had manifested as adults, but a scenario may have children appearing make more sense than adults. However, as they are only semi-sapient Minions are good for little more than acting out the scenario the Beast intends for them to do for the current “story” - they are good for labor and filling out a background, but aren’t good at all for meaningful conversations.

    Minions are very obviously not human, even if brought about by an Inguma. Unless within a dramatic or opposed scenario, Minions don’t require a roll to do an action within the Beast’s lair so long as it is only pertaining to the Lair - dancing ballerinas will dance endlessly and professionally on stage as that is their role, but Minions that are acting in a lab likely won’t be of any help to a science textbook that isn’t part of the Lair/experiment.

    Minions grant a Beast immunity to scenarios when they are surrounded by groups of beings who either can’t or won’t do harm to them but can still be obstructive. This can range from a crowd of people at a concert or a rally, a group of drones or remote controlled vehicles, or a group of dogs who crowd for attention and won’t take no for an answer.

    A Thrall’s size and attributes are all half of what a Beast’s Horror’s attributes are, meaning they are often the size of children or short adults, though Atavisms can change this (example: a Thrall with Enemy Within can change to look like anyone and retain the other person’s size, without it changing their Health track). A Thralls’s Rank is equal to half their Beast’s Lair rounded down, used for purposes of Lair (for Atavisms effects) or supernatural tolerance. Unless the Horror has the Legendary Horror merit, Thralls do not have Numina, Influences nor Essence pool; however, they do have access to the Beast’s Satiety pool for purposes of tracking Low Satiety or Satiety Expenditure for their Atavism (the Beast determines what effects are active and when). Thralls are only active outside a Lair so long as the within a sympathetic environment to their other traits (if a Beast has Poor Lights and evokes Thralls, their Thralls will vanish if the Beast’s environment becomes well lit).

    Though Thralls only have one Atavism, the limit a Beast has on their Thralls (one for half their Lair, rounded down) is only for their active Thralls. A Lair 3 Beast with Storm Lashed, Siren’s Treacherous Call and Vengeful Earth could call upon a single Thrall at any point with one of those Atavisms, chosen when the Lair trait is evoked. This means that if the Beast first manifests a Thrall with Siren’s Treacherous Call initially, they aren’t limited to just calling that particular Thrall in later uses of the Lair trait - they can manifest a Thrall with Storm Lashed or Vengeful Earth instead, or any other Atavism they lair possess. Multiple Thralls may be active with the same Atavism.

    Another member of a Beast’s Brood that doesn’t have the Thralls trait can evoke Thralls by using shared Lair traits, like any other Lair trait, but doing so has a couple of caveats. The Thralls they summon are the same ones as the particular Beast they are borrowing the trait from, rather than versions unique to the borrowing Beast. These Thralls will be loyal to the borrowing Beast, but this loyalty will not overrule their own Beast’s orders or best interests - after all, a Beast is immune to instances of Lair traits they own, whether it’s wielded by someone else or not.

    Thralls grants a Beast is immunity to ethereal beings controlled, compelled or who have otherwise sworn fealty and are acting in the interest of another entity instead of their own, either making the Beast be considered a nonvalid target by these beings, finding themselves literally unable to act against the Beast, or they are simply unable to perceive the Beast at all. This won’t prevent individual Ghosts, Spirits or the Angels of the God-Machine from affecting a Beast, but it will work against Mage controlled/created Spirits, cultists compelled by an Angel or Ghosts being pushed by a Sin Eater into action. When one ethereal being or another is able to act depends entirely on context.

    Edit: Removed the Essence pool aspect from Thralls simply to avoid breaking the economy of Satiety Expenditure effects without spending any actual Satiety. Clarified a couple of other areas.
    Last edited by Taidragon; 02-03-2020, 04:52 AM.

  • #2
    I think it's better to leave it vague and up to individual game and storyteller. the system is already bloated.

    One thing I would like to say is that all those beings exist in Astral, not real form. Their strength has nothing to do with size. Have't you seen a horror movie with small monsters dominating much larger humans?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Warpwind View Post
      I think it's better to leave it vague and up to individual game and storyteller. the system is already bloated.

      One thing I would like to say is that all those beings exist in Astral, not real form. Their strength has nothing to do with size. Have't you seen a horror movie with small monsters dominating much larger humans?
      There is “vague” and then there is “barely referencing how the powers properly work”. Most of the discussion I have had with others about Minions and Thralls is how potential storytellers won’t allow them because of how vague they are. Still, as noted in the opening paragraph, this is entirely my take on things; players and storytellers are free to make their own interpretation and rules.

      I am also not entirely sure where this comment on strength and size comes from. The write-up for Thralls specifically states that their attributes are half of the Beast’s Horror’s own rounded down.