Thugs, Mooks, and Goons

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Thug, Mook, or Goon
STR/STA 40/40 PS +2
DEX/RS 40/40 IM +4
INT/LOG 40/40 Ranged 20
PER/LDR 40/40 Melee 20
Special Abilities:

By Race, don’t forget ability score modifiers.

Skills: (Military PSA)

One weapon skill at level 1 (base chance to hit 25%)


Cheapest version of whatever weapon in which they’re skilled, one full magazine of ammunition, 2d10 Credits.


Lacking the will to fight, a minion will be out of the battle after taking half his STA in damage (20 points). If more than half the number of minions who started the fight are gone, the rest will want to flee.

by Bill Logan

Rinnar stepped into the diner, expecting trouble. He already spent the better part of the day defending himself against the minions of Dr. Givvins, whom he had angered one time too many. Rinnar wasn’t too worried, though... the mooks that Givvins sent after him were no match for a strong hand and a quick blaster... and were often bribable.

Minions play a strong role in role-playing games, but are not discussed effectively within the pages of Star Frontiers. Mooks, Goons, Thugs... whatever you call them: they’re minions and using them in game comes with some very specific guidelines.


Minion Guidelines

Loyal to Credits.

A minion is paid for his services, and most likely lacks the conviction to carry out his boss’ plans. As long as he is being paid, he’ll do what’s asked of him. It’s a simple rule to live by, and it can be exploited by clever players with some extra credits to spare. But how much is a good bribe?

According to the NPC Wages rules in the Alpha Dawn game, most minions are going to be paid around 20- 40 Credits per day, assuming they have low-level skill (see guideline 5). A bribe that comes equal to or less than this will probably be ignored.

Bribing a minion with an amount equal to ten times their daily pay might result in their knowledge that you have a lot of money... and if you’re dead, you’ll not be needing it anymore...

A bribe of 100-200 Credits might be enough to get an unloyal minion to let you get away for now, but there will be no promises that if he sees you again later that he won’t put a bullet in your head!

Afraid of their Boss.

If a minion fails his employer, it often ends up in death for the minion. This means that the minion will have to be more afraid of the characters than they are of their employer if the characters want to be able to bribe them to walk away (see guideline 1). It also means that any loyalty they lack is made up for by fear... so don’t count on their loyalty to Credits in every case. A clever player will intimidate the mooks by a show of force, then offer a bribe... “I could kill you, but bullets are expensive and I’m not in the mood... what’s it gonna cost me to keep me from wasting ammo by shooting holes in your head?”

Pack Mentality

Minions are bolstered by the proximity of other minions. They don’t practice tactics and lack the proper training required to coordinate covering their allies while those allies reload... but they do operate best in numbers. A smart boss would never send a single minion to accomplish anything; they know the minion’s life expectancy is shorter that way.

Alone, they lack much courage at all. When a group of minions enters a battle, they will fight normally. Once their numbers have been reduced to less than half of what they started with, the rest will want to run away.

So when your characters encounters minions, look around for more. They’re not smart enough to hide, but they just might be standing back and thumbing the safety off their weapon.


Minions don’t look like minions. They don’t generally wear uniforms or red shirts or carry the same gear. Normally, they are hired because they’re willing to do what others won’t (see guideline 8) – for the right price.

Players can use this to their advantage. It doesn’t require much of a disguise to pretend you’re some enemy’s thug. Just wear cheap clothes and hide your best weapons (see guideline 9). Since they’re non-uniform, you won’t need to take out a minion to take his uniform or badge. Since they’re expendable (see guideline 6), they’re used to seeing new faces. Infiltration is easy when a boss uses minions.

If they were better, they’d do something else.

Minions don’t have much in the way of skill. They’re probably unable to operate a computer. They’re more likely to shoot at a robot than try to reprogram it. They don’t know how to bandage their own wounds. Bottom line: if they had any sellable skill, they wouldn’t be risking their lives for low pay.

This means their ability scores are probably below average. Assume an average of 40 instead of 45 for all scores. Minions shouldn’t have more than a level 1 skill in the weapon they’re using. In fact, many will have no formal skill at all.

They are expendable

Minions know that their jobs could be automated by robots with more accuracy and durability than they possess. They know that if they die, their employer won’t even blink... he’ll just send someone to the streets to find more minions. Minions are very expendable.

Characters can take advantage of this, especially if they’re in a situation where they can effectively communicate with the minion. Knowing they’re expendable means they may be willing to listen to any persuasive discussion that might result in them acquiring money (see guideline 1) by some other means. Of course, remember their fear of their employer – it does factor in.

They don’t really want to die

Their morale is low, their skills are poor, they know they could be replaced and that nobody cares about them. With all this self pity and lack of self-image, you’d think they all have a death wish. Not so.

Minions tend to lay there and make noise when they’re hurt. They lose the will to fight once they have their own blood leaking down their dirty shirts. Few minions will wish to fight on once they’ve received half their STA in injuries. Since most attributes average around 40 for minions (see guideline 5), taking more than 20 points of damage is usually enough for a minion to drop out of a fight... running or limping or crawling away, often leaving their weapons behind.

It may be tempting to dispatch any mooks who lay there writhing and screaming... don’t. Other minions tend to grow more and more afraid as their numbers dwindle (see guideline 3) and hearing evidence of that over the din of a fight is quite effective.

Morally Dysfunctional

If they were morally capable, minions wouldn’t kill people for money. Remember – these people often don’t even know the cause for which they fight (see guideline 10). They probably know they’re going to hell – and fear their employer more than the afterlife.

Players can take advantage of this. If running from thugs, head into a church or public place of higher wealth. They’re probably not very capable of getting around in such a place effectively. Don’t head into seedy taverns and slum districts – the goons will have the advantage. Remember that not all forms of bribery need be financial – to the morally dysfunctional minion, a promise of all manner of pleasures and comforts might be sufficient (an all-day pass for a night of debauchery at Dashara’s Pleasure Palace? A bottle of liquor? A tip on a race that’s going on down the street?)

They have the cheapest gear

Minions aren’t paid that well – not in the grander scheme of things. For the little pay they receive, they tend to waste on frivolities (alcohol, gentleman’s clubs, gambling, etc.).

When the players rifle through the gear of the minions after dispatching them, they shouldn’t find too much that would be helpful. Ammunition will be in short supply – maybe even empty. Weapons will be in disrepair and inferior to those the characters already have. Defenses are completely absent. It’s doubtful that they’ll even have more than 2d10 Credits in their wallets.

They don’t know much.

Players can try to have their characters interrogate a minion. They really can. But other than who pays them their Credits – they probably won’t know much.

Since they die so quickly and are loyal to the coin and not the cause, minions are intentionally left in the dark by intelligent bosses. Still, some of them will know where a base is hidden, or might know a code number to open the secure door of a skimmer they’ve been given to run the characters over. When questioning the minion, remember all the other guidelines. If they are afraid of their employer, they probably will be afraid to talk. If they think there’s nothing in it for them, the will probably not talk.

Random Minion Names

d100 Name d100 Name d100 Name
1 Bimlem 34 Loddo 67 Schatowe
2 Bindun 35 Loru 68 Schert
3 Boffo 36 Loss 69 Secath
4 Brils 37 Lozar 70 Shez
5 Buras 38 Lulridge 71 Shilt
6 Byrid 39 Lutt 72 Shyqs
7 Catar 40 Mansel 73 Sif
8 Chaff 41 Milfo 74 Siggard
9 Chenton 42 Nasroth 75 Sladon
10 Chryn 43 Nelit 76 Smuz
11 Chups 44 Nem 77 Snirk
12 Cikban 45 Nichckach 78 Sockque
13 Cinds 46 Nig 79 Sonds
14 Clum 47 Nolloque 80 Sulrad
15 Crodusk 48 Non 81 Sylden
16 Donack 49 Norc 82 Sylphin
17 Dozer 50 Numir 83 Sytinn
18 Drednal 51 Packer 84 Theb
19 Drent 52 Pagwar 85 Thellum
20 Drit 53 Pesat 86 Thrik
21 Dyrik 54 Phete 87 Thryfe
22 Feghl 55 Phidsak 88 Tornys
23 Fothos 56 Quikit 89 Tova
24 Goltwos 57 Raddo 90 Triddel
25 Hannat 58 Ragroth 91 Tunsia
26 Hog 59 Rant 92 Tyck
27 Hyqus 60 Retick 93 Werbel
28 Jamach 61 Rickard 94 Whament
29 Lavar 62 Rith 95 Whot
30 Lendsam 63 Rocher 96 Ysntai
31 Lessard 64 Rosl 97 Zhild
32 Liddom 65 Runk 98 Ziqiss
33 Lith 66 Rymd 99 Zoder
100 Zorner

When you have your players encounter a bunch of mooks, who wants to name them? I don’t. There are many random name generators available all over the web, but who wants to go web surfing in the middle of a heated battle? What follows is a list of 100 names – simply roll percentile dice and use one. Some are silly – but come on, they’re mooks!

Editor’s note: Mook isn’t really a word, but I looked it up on and the popular consensus seems to be as follows (and this is a quote – don’t blame me for the slang!!):

A term coined by Douglas Rushkoff in an episode of PBS's "Frontline" entitled "The Merchants of Cool." Mooks are archetypal young males(teensearly 20s) who act like moronic boneheads. They are self centered simpletons who live a drunken frat-boy lifestyle (or are frat-boys). Examples can be found anytime someone watches "Jackass." Rushkoff claimed that the media glorifies this ideal and stifles natural self expression, however, some people might argue teenage boys have always acted like morons(its actually a long-standing stereotype). Nonetheless, standardized conformist dumbass-culture behind a veneer of exuberance is a scary notion indeed.

Opposite of Mooks are Midriffs; oxymoronic innocent “skanks” who are modeled after Britney Spears.

Although everyone likes to blame Jackass, anyone on that show is a model “Mook.”

Minion Cowardice

As has been stated, a minion will generally be out of the fight when he is reduced to half his maximum STA score. But what does he do? Does he drop his weapon and run? Hide and cower? Pee his pants? Here’s a little table you can roll on for fun...

d10 When a Minion is reduced to half STA he will...
1 Drop his weapon and run away
2 Scream and fire his weapon in the air
3 Drop to his knees and beg to be spared
4 Run away (with his weapons)
5 Lay down and scream, holding his injuries
6 Pass out from the pain
7 Writhe in his own vomit in agony
8 Cower in fear
9 Pee his pants
10 Fight on, desperate to win

Minion Tactics

Minions don’t tend to be careful with their ammunition, and they don’t have a ton of it. A common mistake of most minions is to shoot as often as possible as quickly as possible... thus a smart player can take cover for a couple of turns and then stand up and shoot easily. Most minions won’t have a second magazine on hand. Once their weapon is empty, they will try to close on your character and beat him up... or run away to get more guns!