Mooks
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Basic Information

Also known as "goons", "scrubs", "drones", "flunkies", "pawns", "crunchies", "popcorn", and "cannon fodder", mooks are the chump change of the forces of evil, the disposable bad guys which the heroes cut down by the dozens. Existing only for this purpose, they have no names and as little personality as the writers can get away with.
Specific variations include:

Their good guy counterpart are the Redshirt Army.
See also What Measure Is A Non Human.

"Mooks" is also a combat role - in that case it's refering to minor badguys who just exist to make the PCs look good. They go down in droves, and provide no real danger to the PCs. Compare and contrast with Pinger, Ranged Ping, and Roadbumps.

See Also

Sources

Bibliography

Game and Story Use

  • This is a very classic rpg trope, with the pcs reaching levels of power where they can kill large amounts of weaker enemies with ease. Obviously you can't afford to be overly concerned with individual characterization for enemies that are just going to get swatted down by droves anyway.
  • Some rpg systems have specific rules for mooks, intended to allow for large amounts of them while speeding things up considerably. These may be worth looking into, especially if the pcs will be facing hordes of enemies so far beneath them that they might as well be mooks. Here's a brief summary of some systems that use special mook rules:
    • 7th Sea RPG has great mook rules - They call them "Brute Squads". High die rolls allow PCs to take out multiple mooks with a single attack. Brute Squads can be assigned to named characters, and they actually make it harder to hit the character they guard. Thus, in order to defeat the villain, you have to spend an action or two wiping out all his Brutes first.
    • Savage Worlds has NPC Extras that roll slightly different dice than named characters, and also can't take as much damage before being knocked out. There's also rules for simplifying skill checks so that a whole group of mooks can resolve it's non-combat actions without rolling for each separately.
    • Wushu RPG treats mooks as a single stat. Every round, they do 1 damage to all players, unless that player rolls a defensive success against them. Mooks aren't even quantified - they exist only as an abstract stat. An action that reduces the stamina of the mook group by 3 might be described as an attack against just a single mook, or as a sweep that KO's half a dozen mooks, player's choice which.
    • Cartoon Action Hour has Goonsquads. I don't remember much about how they work (only played it once so far), but I recall that they can't kill PCs, only capture them, and that an entire Goonsquad can be taken out by a single attack.
    • Scion RPG just makes mooks weaker, and speeds up their damage resolution and soak (damage) a little. They're still individuals, taking at least one hit each to put them down.
  • Depending on your system and the specifics of the encounter, even Mooks can be dangerous. They can drain resources with lucky hits or time and ammunition needed to put them down, and if your mass combat system allows for force multipliers… well…
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