Threats (Henchmen)

(originally drafted by Leonard Balsera)

Threat characters are a little bit tougher to defeat than minions, but don't quite have the versatility and punch of named NPCs. They're intended to represent a sort of middle ground like the privileged henchman in James Bond… cool enough to be at the center of some conflicts and scenes, but not cool enough to drive whole plots. This category can also be used to describe unnamed NPCs who have vast amounts of scale or power advantage over the PCs, such as colossal size or crazy AI, or NPCs you come up with on the fly and haven't assigned aspects/stunts to yet.

All threat characters come with one aspect, which is generically called 'Threat', but may be altered as needed to represent the source of the threat. Give them a handful of fate points, based on how much resistance you want them to be capable of putting up, and a ladder rating for making rolls (or partial skill pyramid).

So, you might have 'Ogre Tribal Leader (Threat), Good (+3), FP: 2' in your notes.

The special thing about the Threat aspect is that it can be invoked multiple times by that NPC, to stack a larger bonus on a single roll. This is effectively a shorthand for, "this NPC has a number of aspects that are relevant, but I'm not detailing them right now". They also take stress like named characters, instead of like minions.

However, they do come with a few limitations:

  • First of all, they should never get more fate points than half of the normal character max. So, if you have 10 aspects, a threat NPC should never have more than 5. If you want more, those are going to have to come from adding actual aspects.
  • Second of all, they automatically have a grit rating of 1, meaning that they always concede after a single consequence is inflicted on them. To change that, the NPC has to become a named character as per the rules.
  • Third of all, they cannot make rolls at a rating higher than the normal pyramid peak for PCs. So, even if your on-the-fly enemy is a millenia old vampire or whatever, you can only give him Superb rolls until you actually make him into a named character and set his real skill pyramid.
  • Fourth of all, they do not get the benefit of stunts until they become named.
  • Fifth of all, they only have default capacity, and do not get extra boxes from their skills or rating until they become named.
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