On the 2d20 GMing Discord there have been two questions, which I hope to get some official confirmation or clarification on, regarding mobs (or squads) of Minion NPCs.
Q1: When a character is in close combat, within Reach, of a mob or squad, can this character simply leave the melee (by using a movement action) without any fear of Retaliation Reaction or the need of a Withdraw Action or a Withdraw Momentum spend?
My view: That is how I read it. If an NPC, in that case a mob or a squad, does not get a Reaction, then you don’t have anything to fear by simply moving away from them.
And there is no need for the Withdraw Momentum Spend or the Withdraw Action at all.
That is my view on the rules-as-written.
It does not make sense at all, but if the rules are designed that way, that low-value, low-story-impact NPCs don’t get Reactions, then this is the way it is supposed to be handled as designed by the developers.
Q2: If a character wants to move through a zone, where hostile NPCs are, is there anything to hinder the freedom of movement at all according to the rules? There are no “zones of control” or other mechanics in the zone-based combat of 2d20, so a character could enter a zone with 10 hostile NPCs, maybe a mob of Minions, four Toughened and a Nemesis, move through and leave this zone without any of the NPCs being able to stop or prevent the movement, it appears. Is this correct?
My view: There is nothing that hinders you moving through a zone full of NPCs, hostile or not - except there is.
If you had been in close combat, within Reach, of an opponent in that zone, they might get the Retaliate Reaction (only if they are Toughened or Nemesis NPCs). But that would work only for Toughened and Nemesis NPCs and only if you had been within Reach of them, so moving through would still not trigger this Reaction.
Moving through a zone can cause a “terrain test”, a test on a suitable movement skill (like Acrobatics, Athletics, but others might apply, too). A large zone with only a few opponents is sparsely populated so that you don’t need to make a terrain test, or it would be a D0 Free Action.
But as soon as you make a roll, this is no longer a Free Action, but instead at least a Minor Action, often a Standard Action, thereby restricting your ability to perform other actions in the same turn.
If the zone is smaller, more densely populated or there are other hindering circumstances (like moving through tables and chairs in a tavern) the terrain test becomes D1 or higher and thereby a Minor or even Standard Action.
Moving through a horde of weapon wielding NPCs, although they won’t get a Reaction if they are only Minions, might still be declared as a hazardous zone, automatically causing damage if your terrain test fails.
For example: If you try to “run the gauntlet” it would cause 3[CD] Vicious 1, Stun, Knockdown per zone you passed through. The terrain test would be at least a D2 or if they stand very closely a D3. And it would be about 4 or 5 zones to pass. That makes it a hazardous, and even deadly thing, what “running the gauntlet” is supposed to be.
And, of course, moving through a zone populated with hostile NPCs, the GM might want to spend Doom to interrupt Initiative just when the player character is in the zone with the NPCs, who then get to perform their turn, entering close combat within their Reach and thus stopping the free movement of the player character.
But that would be an interruption in the middle of a player’s turn, which might not be according to the rules at all, as the interruption of the initiative only covers going before the player character who was interrupted hat the turn - not during the current player’s turn.
The interruption would be the Ready Action, which the NPCs must have taken on their Initiative, to be able to interrupt a player character’s turn right in the middle of an action.
Some clarification or confirmation would be very helpful.