One of my peeves about any RPG is tracking HP for the cannon fodder that the heroes chew through. This is a rule I baked up for another game, but it ports well.


Extras will have a rating somewhere between 2-5. When an extra takes damage in combat, he dies if the damage meets or exceeds his toughness rating. If the damage is less than his toughness, he takes no damage at all. He parries the blow, dives out of the way, or is just lucky.

12 thoughts on “EXTRAS/PEONS/GRUNTS”

  1. Why not just give them 2 to 5 HP so they’ll just die?

    Also, extras/peons aren’t particularly in-keeping with DW’s principles of giving every monster a life. Every NPC is important, or just waiting to be.

    They’re not peons because we give them a rule to make them die faster. They’re a peon if they die faster. If that goblin survives attacks by the whole Level 4 party — that goblin is interesting now, lets get to know him in detail, and make him into more of a badass.

  2. Also. When the fighter rolls a 10+ on a hack&slash but rolls low damage the entire point of the move is gone and you took her success away. Even more of a problem on a 7-9 when the counterattack is viscous.

  3. I used this in a game last night and it worked well: come up with the HP for your fodder creature (usually 3-5), then multiply that by the size of the group, so 10 armed soldiers might give you 30-50HP. Now you’ve got one number, and multiples of 3-5 to represent a single life. 

    If they deal over the amount of a single creature’s HP and it’s reasonable in the fiction, have the extra damage roll over to another creature. It’ll make them feel badass and it greatly reduces the amount of note taking you’ll have to do! 🙂

  4. When I do this, they don’t have 2-5 HP. They have 1 HP.

    +Tim Franzke, my most recent monsters (putty homunculi/golems) had viscous counterattacks which engulfed a player’s swordarm, and the like.


  5. I tend to use this only with threats to the party. I do my best to make any hirelings important so that if they die, it has meaning and an emotional effect on the players. I try to not use large group rules like this but they can come in handy, like when outrunning a large number of opponents. When this happens I assign an HP value to the group and players tend to kill or disable just about anything they hit.

    When the HP of the group is gone the group breaks off the chase or attack or something awesome happens that consumes them all (like a rock slide or ground giving way). Somebody once said this approach is similar to Gangs in AW, though I couldn’t confirm that from personal knowledge.

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