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View Full Version : Boss Mob equivalent for table-top gaming?



Neyjour
12-18-2013, 09:31 PM
In MMOs the "big bad" is called a Boss Mob. Is that appropriate to use in table-top gaming, or is there some other equivalent term that's used?

eViLe_eAgLe
12-18-2013, 09:34 PM
In the imageboard I use people refer to the Big Boss is BBEG (Literally Big Bad Evile Guy)

Gamerprinter
12-18-2013, 09:37 PM
I use 'main villain', but MMO terms do get used in tabletop games - such as 'tank', etc. I don't really have fixed terms for specific persons and archetypes and never needed them. Use whatever name works best for you.

Neyjour
12-18-2013, 09:51 PM
Thanks very much guys. :)

I think I'll go with "BBEG". I Googled that and it seems to be the proper/official term for it.

Thanks again! :)

Midgardsormr
12-19-2013, 11:56 AM
Nah, there's no such thing as "official."

"Big Bad" was, as far as I know, a term coined in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don't know who appended "Evil Guy" to it, but I suspect it was to differentiate the initials from the hundreds of other things "BB" could mean.

The Big Bad isn't necessarily the biggest physical threat, though. A chessmaster-type villain like Lex Luthor isn't going to go toe-to-toe with the heroes because he doesn't stand a chance in that situation. In terms of the "boss fight" (to use the video game term) a mastermind's henchman is likely to be more relevant. I am likely to shorthand such a minion as a "sergeant" in my planning notes.

My players can call the opposition whatever they like, although if they fall into video game speak, they're likely to earn a malevolent frown from me. I prefer to discourage reframing my scenarios in video game terms because that tends to cause them to devolve into purely tactical problems instead of narratives.

nightwind1
12-29-2013, 10:43 PM
Nah, there's no such thing as "official."

"Big Bad" was, as far as I know, a term coined in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don't know who appended "Evil Guy" to it, but I suspect it was to differentiate the initials from the hundreds of other things "BB" could mean.

The Big Bad isn't necessarily the biggest physical threat, though. A chessmaster-type villain like Lex Luthor isn't going to go toe-to-toe with the heroes because he doesn't stand a chance in that situation. In terms of the "boss fight" (to use the video game term) a mastermind's henchman is likely to be more relevant. I am likely to shorthand such a minion as a "sergeant" in my planning notes.

My players can call the opposition whatever they like, although if they fall into video game speak, they're likely to earn a malevolent frown from me. I prefer to discourage reframing my scenarios in video game terms because that tends to cause them to devolve into purely tactical problems instead of narratives.Ah, a kindred spirit.

When D&D4 came out, I was immediately driven away from it by all of the MMO/Videogame style references.

If someone can't immerse themselves into a game any further than pixels on a screen, they don't belong in my group.

Cunning Cartographer
12-30-2013, 03:11 AM
In our games "Boss Mob" for an adventure/encounter, BBEG for the story-arcs main villain/s

Neyjour
12-30-2013, 01:34 PM
The creatures and monsters I want to note on my map are more of the adventure/encounter type rather than the main villains. So...I guess BBEG is not really appropriate then?

It looks like there's quite a bit of prejudice against MMO terms, so I'm hesitant to use "Boss Mob". What about "Boss Monster" instead? Or can you guys suggest something else?

Surely there must be some kind of standard/commonly-used term for this, that's specific to table-top gaming?

Larb
12-30-2013, 03:34 PM
I don't really think there is a universal term. There are plenty of adventures where a certain NPC fits the role of the area boss especially in site-based adventures (adventures that take place almost wholly in a specific location such as a dungeon, ruin, village, etc). And even I informally refer to them as a boss sometimes.

But in an actual module (at least all the ones I have written or read/run) they tend to have extensive write-ups on their motivations and it's pretty clear they are the leader or most powerful NPC enemy present so you never really need them to be explicitly labeled as the "boss".

Midgardsormr
12-31-2013, 10:42 PM
When I'm writing a scenario, the pivotal scene isn't usually based on the toughest opponent, but on the most important objective. That may or may not involve a tough bad guy, but if it does, I'm typically just as happy if my players find a way to go around it or otherwise achieve the objective while avoiding a risky "boss fight."

And of course, there's the problem that my players tend to very quickly neutralize the uber-tough opponents (usually several scenes before they were even supposed to have the fight) and then get their heads handed to them by what was supposed to be a chump. Powerful evil wizard? No problem. Pair of low level orc flunkies? Two dead PCs. (Made worse because that was only the second scenario of the campaign. I handwaved it to let the PCs survive with serious injuries instead of dying.)

The thing about tabletop games, though, is that every writer wants to be unique. It's a hobby filled full of people who see the way "everyone else" does it and then decide to go a totally different direction (with varying results). So outside of the more formal D&D School, I'd be rather surprised if gamers managed to agree on any particular designation for particular kinds of opponents.

And speaking of D&D, 4e's DM Guide did offer up a list of monster roles: Brute, Controller, Lurker, Soldier, Leader, Artillery, Skirmisher, Solo… There may be one or two others; I don't recall. The "Solo" monster is roughly equivalent to a boss in that it's supposed to be as tough as five ordinary monsters, but that's because it usually shows up alone and still needs to be threatening to a group of PCs. Those roles serve as a way of more easily discussing and planning encounters formally.

In your own planning, and even in communicating with your group, whatever parlance you find most comfortable and useful is the one you should use. It's true that many gamers frown on video game jargon entering tabletop gaming, but speaking solely for myself, I also cannot stand to see people use the word "toon" in reference to their character in EVE Online. It totally ruins my sense of immersion to have such metagame ideas intrude into my roleplaying. My viewpoint is my own, though, and you shouldn't let it ruin things for you. If you want to use terms like "mob" and "aggro" in your games, then do it! Don't let us sticks in the mud cramp your style!

Cunning Cartographer
01-03-2014, 02:16 AM
Whilst Midgardsormr is right about the "Solo" being the boss, it stands apart from the "roles" mobs are given, as you can get a "Solo Brute".

In 4e you get 4 monster types:

Minions - Like a standard mob, but killed with 1 hit
Standard - Normal mob, normal powers
Elite - A tougher than normal monster/enemy that is usually the strongest in a group (so the Orc Leader who leads the tribe of orcs)
Solo - Typically a standalone mob that is meant to, as the name suggests, fight solo (eg. a Dragon, Sith Lord, or any encounter where combat can still be fun with only 1 target)

In the 4e DM guidebook that Midgardsormr mentions they do actually refer to Elites and Solo's as "Elite and solo monsters represent the toughest foes the characters can face... They make great villains, stars of a campaign, or intimidating "boss" monsters at the climax of an adventure".

Basically, anyone who is going to be overly picky about the term they use should just be ignored; some people will find fault in anything :D

Tracker
01-05-2014, 09:50 PM
Hello:
This is a area that computer gaming, table top gaming, mmo, actually almost all gaming has a similar thread. The bosses, the Big boss, Epic Boss, The big guty, etc. are different terms for the same object. The goal of many adventures is to get or defeat the boss. So using ideas from other platforms (table top, computer, arcade, etc.) works well. Even using ideas from different genres. Remember the Greeks stated that there are only 6 or 7 original plot lines. It is how you tell the story that will matter.

Tracker

Falconius
01-05-2014, 10:14 PM
Anything used to describe a tool or mechanic that crosses the platform of said games is fair game. That said whatever you choose to use will have impact on the mindset and atmosphere of the encounter. Using "boss mob" to me indicates something not to be engaged with, more just game furniture to further you on the way to blinging out your character.

Personally we always used the "villain" or "bad guy" to our main opponent. "Fodder" would be for goblins and the rest of the guys that we fought through. Except our DM had a penchant for trying to balance our encounters "perfectly," ie. so that'd we have a 50/50 chance of winning or loosing, and then he'd fudge his way out so we'd maybe survive. So "fodder" never really applied, it was more like crack squads of ambushing ninja bears and very threatening well executed divisions of goblin stormtroopers. We were the fodder really...