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Teapot Salty
2014-02-18, 10:28 PM
Hey guys. Real quick question, what does munchkining mean? I'm guessing super optimizing but I'm not sure.

MirddinEmris
2014-02-18, 10:36 PM
Munchkin is a player who plays competitively in a game that doesn't assume competition. In other words, it's a player (or even a DM) who wants to "win" the game. It's often used (incorrectly) to describe players who likes to optimize their characters. Actually being a munchkin doesn't mean having skill to build OP characters (and vise versa).

holywhippet
2014-02-18, 10:36 PM
It more or less refers to playing like a little kid. No interest in role playing, just wanting to kill stuff and take it's treasure. Ethics or sticking to your alignment/back story isn't remotely a priority. High optimisation is a possibility but not a requirement.

Teapot Salty
2014-02-18, 10:37 PM
Munchkin is a player who plays competitively in a game that doesn't assume competition. In other words, it's a player (or even a DM) who wants to "win" the game. It's often used (incorrectly) to describe players who likes to optimize their characters. Actually being a munchkin doesn't mean having skill to build OP characters (and vise versa).

Thanks a lot:smallbiggrin:

Hyena
2014-02-18, 10:38 PM
It describes those people who bring the Mailman or Jumpomancer to the table.

MirddinEmris
2014-02-18, 10:48 PM
What's wrong with Mailman concept? It's a PO, not a TO, like Cancer Mage or Pun-Pun. Basically it's a build that uses casting to deal damage, so it's not really an overpowered way to use it.

Being a munchking is all about attitude, not character build.

Grod_The_Giant
2014-02-18, 10:50 PM
It more or less refers to playing like a little kid. No interest in role playing, just wanting to kill stuff and take it's treasure. Ethics or sticking to your alignment/back story isn't remotely a priority. High optimisation is a possibility but not a requirement.
That's not at all true. Well, playing like a little kid, perhaps, but the rest of it is a perfectly valid game style.

oudeis
2014-02-19, 12:14 AM
A munchkin is a twerp who powergames to be the badass he isn't in real life.

Arbane
2014-02-19, 12:33 AM
"Munchkin: One who, on being told that this is a game about politics and intrigue in 17th century Italy, asks to play as a ninja." Andrew Rilstone
(He said this before Assassin's Creed came out, I should mention.)

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Munchkin (Warning: Time-sucking TVTropes link)


Munchkin is a player who plays competitively in a game that doesn't assume competition. In other words, it's a player (or even a DM) who wants to "win" the game.

...And in the process, ruins the game for everyone else.

Savannah
2014-02-19, 01:34 AM
Obviously it's a term that can have a variety of definitions :smalltongue: As I usually hear it used, it refers to a player with BOTH of the following:

1) Wants to play the most powerful character*
2) Doesn't care about whether or not the other players and DM are having fun**

*Munchkins are not necessarily good at making very powerful characters. They also do not necessarily understand what makes a very powerful character in quite the same way as everyone else at the table. They do, however, tend to boast about how awesome their character is and scream about any perceived limits on their character's power. (And some are quite capable of building powerful characters -- munchkinism is a scale independent of system mastery.)

**Munchkins will quite happily push other characters out of the spotlight, rush through segments that the rest of the players are enjoying, and refuse to work with the DM, without considering (or without caring, depending on how charitable you want to be) that this is a group game and they're not the only one who wants to have fun.

At least, that's my preferred definition.

Vrock_Summoner
2014-02-19, 02:15 AM
An important distinction needs to be made here between munchkin and optimizer, with the term powergamer often overlapping into both.

An optimizer doesn't necessarily play TO wizard builds, and in fact he can do many things to improve the enjoyability of the game for everyone, from playing party buffers so everyone gets spotlight to a samurai in a party of high-tier casters, but whatever his standpoint on fairness is, whatever class/race/whatever he gets, he's going to push it to its mechanical limits. They aren't always and in fact rarely are bad roleplayers, and they can be fun to game with as long as they respect the desires of everyone else to not be overshadowed or made useless. They can be great fellow gamers.

Munchkins can not, except maybe in groups full of other well-humored munchkins. Munchkins by their very nature and definition do their thing, whatever that might be, wherever it is most unwelcome, and they are exploitative and coercive as hell. You want a serious RP-heavy game focused on social interaction and developing bonds? The munchkin joins the game knowing full well the expectations and continues to treat people as bags of XP, passively derailing any plots they come within earshot of and refusing to RP unless it might get them bonus XP or items, in which case they are *very* enthusiastic about it.

They are callous, they ignore the standards of the game (whatever they may be; contrary to popular belief, the RP Munchkin is actually the most vile sort), they only care about their own personal enjoyment, and they will neither willingly make nor accept any rulings or decisions that might harm themselves in any way. They exploit system loops, break games, use OOC knowledge of monster entries as if it were in-character knowledge, and use everything you try to create balance with against you in the process, unless it actually works and they can't get around it, in which case they whine incessantly until it goes away.

Interestingly, munchkins don't necessarily optimize even if they know how to do so. Often, a munchkin might willingly build a weaker or even group-balanced character, and then show their munchkinry in all the ways mentioned above. The thing about munchkins is that they're willing to and often enjoy playing weak characters build-wise. But once they have something, be it in terms of class or items or whatever, they will always want more of that something or something else, and never accept having less, no matter how slight the change.

I would know. I am a low-op munchkin myself, after all. I warn anybody who wants to play with me that they better either have astoundingly good temper/sense of humor or a really great rulebook-throwing arm, or they will come to regret sitting at the table with me.

rusty2667
2014-02-19, 02:29 AM
Thanks for asking this question. I thought a munchkin was just an abstract optimizer with no regard for roleplaying. Apparently, it's worse than that.

From what others have said here, it seems a munchkin is another way of describing a selfish, vindictive jerk. Nobody's got time for that.

veti
2014-02-19, 05:08 AM
It's also the name of a very entertaining card game, based on dungeon crawling, which celebrates the munchkin play style. It's a game where backstabbing is not merely good tactics, it's absolutely required to win.

Seriously, great game. Get it to play with your group for a change of pace, now and then.

Tengu_temp
2014-02-19, 06:57 AM
Munchkin is a player who plays competitively in a game that doesn't assume competition. In other words, it's a player (or even a DM) who wants to "win" the game. It's often used (incorrectly) to describe players who likes to optimize their characters. Actually being a munchkin doesn't mean having skill to build OP characters (and vise versa).

This. A munchkin wants to "win" the game by amassing the most kills, most treasure, most magic items, most experience, most numbers on his sheet. But at the same time, munchkining has nothing to do with powergaming! In fact, munchkins are often very bad optimizers, because they often have a very surface understanding of the game's mechanics and just pick options that seem most powerful at a first glance, because they have the most number.

A typical munchkin thinks that the most powerful DND character is an orc barbarian with 22 strength at level 1.

Eldan
2014-02-19, 07:13 AM
Yeah. For those familiar with M:tG terminology, in character terms, a Munchkin is often a Timmy/Spike, while an optimizer is Johnny with some Spike.

A Munchkin wants to be the best. They don't care about everyone else at the table, they are there because this game, for some reason, needs more people, because he needs someone to be better than and people to (they think) admire their skill.

Now, these come in degrees. There's the player who is very happy if he gets to make the killing blow on the boss monsters, but sulks a bit if someone does more damage than him. The player who sees it as a point of pride to have a solution prepared for every trap the DM can think of and to never lose a party member in a dungeon. The player who needs to have the strongest character in the group. THe player who leans back and is quiet during the "talky" scenes. Even the (rarer?) roleplay munchkin who has an elaborate scheme to cheat the rich merchant out of his possessions and make himself a god, all while keeping his identity secret from everyone, including the party. All of these aren't too bad in a group.

And then there's the bad ones. Those you read about in some of the worst internet anecdotes. Those who will flip the table and start shouting if the DM tells them that their favourite character build is banned, because a dark mineral warrior half-minotaur incarnate warforged psychic warrior doesn't fit the campaign. Those who will slit the throat of party members in their sleep to take their money. Those who cheat on their die rolls. Those who will start quoting the rulebooks for half an hour and insist on obscure internet FAQ rules definitions when the DM deals too much damage to them with a trap.

Kurald Galain
2014-02-19, 07:29 AM
Yeah. For those familiar with M:tG terminology, in character terms, a Munchkin is often a Timmy/Spike, while an optimizer is Johnny with some Spike.
Really? I'd say that munchkins are purely Spike, whereas optimizers are a Johnny/Melvin hybrid. Timmy is "the Real Man" from the classic categorization of roleplayers (http://pw1.netcom.com/~shagbert/pages/munchkins.html) (i.e. "real men", "real roleplayers", "loonies" and "munchkins").

Tengu_temp
2014-02-19, 07:43 AM
The difference between Magic and RPGs is that Magic is a game that is meant to be played to win, though. It's a valid approach. In RPGs, it's missing the point.

Also, the four classic categories of roleplayers are outdated. Sooo outdated.

Necroticplague
2014-02-19, 08:54 AM
Main thing about munchkins is that, regardless of other traits, they tend to want to be an equivalent of a Mary Sue, with powers that are either implausible, impossible, or just not appropriate. An RP centered one will attempt to wrap the whole plot around themselves, taking up all the time by expounding how awesome they are and whining prolifically when people actually use the mechanics (which usually don't remotely back up what they claim). A less RP centered one will simply game some small aspect of the game they like, and try to make everything about it. How exactly this presents itself depends on what aspect they like, and can be anywhere from a stereotypical "kill baddies, loot baddies, backstabbing buddies" who seems to suffer from IED and ODD, to the fan of the mass combat rules always trying to set himself up as a general, regardless of appropriateness. And an important distinction between rules lawyers and munchkins, though this is probably more of a personal definition: a rules lawyer may bend the rules into a gordion knot to get his way, but munckin is more likely to simply flat-out cheat or ignore rules.

Eldan
2014-02-19, 09:32 AM
Really? I'd say that munchkins are purely Spike, whereas optimizers are a Johnny/Melvin hybrid. Timmy is "the Real Man" from the classic categorization of roleplayers (http://pw1.netcom.com/~shagbert/pages/munchkins.html) (i.e. "real men", "real roleplayers", "loonies" and "munchkins").

I've met some who are quite Timmy. Not familiar with Melvin, by the way.

A Timmy D&D player, to me, is one who wants the highest possible numbers on his character, whether that makes much sense or not. Often, it's the highest damage, hit points, AC, etc. Not the most effective character, often, but very min-maxed within a narrow niche. You've probably all met them: "My melee damage is 4d6+1d6+26 at level 3!"

Vrock_Summoner
2014-02-19, 09:35 AM
Main thing about munchkins is that, regardless of other traits, they tend to want to be an equivalent of a Mary Sue, with powers that are either implausible, impossible, or just not appropriate. An RP centered one will attempt to wrap the whole plot around themselves, taking up all the time by expounding how awesome they are and whining prolifically when people actually use the mechanics (which usually don't remotely back up what they claim). A less RP centered one will simply game some small aspect of the game they like, and try to make everything about it. How exactly this presents itself depends on what aspect they like, and can be anywhere from a stereotypical "kill baddies, loot baddies, backstabbing buddies" who seems to suffer from IED and ODD, to the fan of the mass combat rules always trying to set himself up as a general, regardless of appropriateness. And an important distinction between rules lawyers and munchkins, though this is probably more of a personal definition: a rules lawyer may bend the rules into a gordion knot to get his way, but munckin is more likely to simply flat-out cheat or ignore rules.

Really? Has this tended to be your experience? I'll say nothing of anyone else, but I personally don't cheat (I do, however, whine if the DM doesn't fudge dice to avoid killing me, but even that is more a joke since everyone at my table knows me as a munchkin) and I only rarely kill my friends' characters. Some munchkins do have the mental capacity to realize they'll be kicked from the group if nobody wants to play with them.

As for the plot thing, well, that only applies to a specific subset of the RP munchkin, which is already just a category of munchkin. As long as I have opportunities to break whatever I need to to acquire moar loots/XP/power, then you guys can have your silly plot to yourselves, wake me up when we're going to start heading for the dungeon :smallamused:

skyth
2014-02-19, 09:52 AM
Munchkin is also a perjorative for anyone that plays differently than you do...It's a label put on other people to make the person putting on the label feel superior to that person being labeled.

Kurald Galain
2014-02-19, 10:17 AM
A Timmy D&D player, to me, is one who wants the highest possible numbers on his character, whether that makes much sense or not. Often, it's the highest damage, hit points, AC, etc. Not the most effective character, often, but very min-maxed within a narrow niche. You've probably all met them: "My melee damage is 4d6+1d6+26 at level 3!"

Yes, pretty much that. A Timmy will play a large-race barbarian with the biggest sword he can find, because of awesome. A Spike will play whatever does the most average damage, even if that happens to be a dart-specced pixie. Timmy likes weapons with big damage dice, exploding-dice mechanics, extra dice on a crit, and so forth; Spike likes no-save-you-die abilities, and boosting his to-hit to 99%, and the 1d2-infinite-damage-crusader.

Vrock_Summoner
2014-02-19, 10:34 AM
Munchkin is also a perjorative for anyone that plays differently than you do...It's a label put on other people to make the person putting on the label feel superior to that person being labeled.

So I have an inferiority and superiority complex simultaneously... Towards myself?

Firechanter
2014-02-19, 10:54 AM
It's funny; you can ask 10 people, you get 13 definitions. ;)

As the term has been used where I'm coming from, a Munchkin is someone who twinks out his character with absurd combinations, with no regard for ingame plausibility, and apply generous levels of cheese on top.
A Munchkin will not downright break the rules, but he will _bend_ them until the ends meet on the far side.

skyth
2014-02-19, 11:12 AM
So I have an inferiority and superiority complex simultaneously... Towards myself?

No. The person who calls someone else a munchkin does so so they can feel superior to the alleged munchkin. It's an accusation of 'wrong, bad fun!'.

ElenionAncalima
2014-02-19, 11:54 AM
For me, the defining Munchkin trait is a "because I can" attitude. They will combine anything and everything to give themselves the most pluses and dice to roll. Depending on the group, this might not be a problem. But for players who like immersion and realism, the Munchkin and his construct vampire druid who is also a half-dragon becomes a problem.

Vrock_Summoner
2014-02-19, 12:12 PM
For me, the defining Munchkin trait is a "because I can" attitude. They will combine anything and everything to give themselves the most pluses and dice to roll. Depending on the group, this might not be a problem. But for players who like immersion and realism, the Munchkin and his construct vampire druid who is also a half-dragon becomes a problem.

... Is it bad that I want to try to make this into a viable build now?

illyahr
2014-02-19, 12:31 PM
... Is it bad that I want to try to make this into a viable build now?

It wouldn't work. Undead templates can't be applied to a full construct. Neither can most racial ones, now that I think about it. You could make a construct that looked like a half-dragon vampire, but you wouldn't get the benefits without designing it specifically and getting your homebrewed creation approved by the DM.

Kurald Galain
2014-02-19, 12:45 PM
It wouldn't work. Undead templates can't be applied to a full construct. Neither can most racial ones, now that I think about it. You could make a construct that looked like a half-dragon vampire, but you wouldn't get the benefits without designing it specifically and getting your homebrewed creation approved by the DM.
In 3E, sure. In 4E, you can do it... revenant dragonborn for the half-dragon, hybrid class druid/vampire, multiclass to artificer to take self-forged paragon path and be a construct. Ta dah!

But I think this fits the archetypical Loonie better: playing a ridiculous combination because it's possible and/or silly. A Munchkin would play a ridiculous combination because it gives him more pluses.

Compare: the archetypical Real Roleplayer would, if playing a paladin, be interested in making a deal with a daemonic entity as a source of internal conflict, drama, and angst. The archetypical Munchkin would do that if it gave him a minor bonus to damage, and completely ignore any consequences there might be to dealing with daemons (and yes, I've met a player who did that).

ElenionAncalima
2014-02-19, 01:10 PM
It wouldn't work. Undead templates can't be applied to a full construct. Neither can most racial ones, now that I think about it. You could make a construct that looked like a half-dragon vampire, but you wouldn't get the benefits without designing it specifically and getting your homebrewed creation approved by the DM.

The inevitable response...usually resulting in a classic Munchkin sulk-fest.

SimonMoon6
2014-02-19, 01:29 PM
It more or less refers to playing like a little kid.

I could have sworn that the "little person" aspect of the word "munchkin" came from the 1st edition days, when an entire party might be made up of short people (dwarves, halflings, gnomes), characters created only to get the cool bonuses that the short people get.

Back then, there were very few reasons to be human (you could be a paladin... you couldn't multi-class, but you could dual-class... and you could get to higher levels if the game lasted that long which it probably wouldn't). So, most people were non-human simply to gain game mechanic benefits.

And that's the true spirit of a munchkin.

Vrock_Summoner
2014-02-19, 01:47 PM
The inevitable response...usually resulting in a classic Munchkin sulk-fest.

Please excuse me while I write a rough draft of my projection of self-righteous indignance in response to this very offensive statement.

... Hey, I tried, can I get that roleplaying bonus to XP now?:smalltongue:

neonchameleon
2014-02-19, 06:26 PM
The difference between Magic and RPGs is that Magic is a game that is meant to be played to win, though. It's a valid approach. In RPGs, it's missing the point.

This, incidentally, is a rejection of all Gygax's variants of D&D (and BECMI/RC for that matter). oD&D and pre-Dragonlance 1e are absolutely about winning. About being smart enough and tricksy enough to survive and steel all the gold without dying. Play was mostly "Pawn play" - and metagaming was considered just good play. Any version where 1GP = 1XP is about winning.

Now not all RPGs are played to win. But if you aren't playing to win in character then you are playing someone who's suicidal. A rejection of playing to win within the bounds of roleplaying is a rejection of roleplaying itself. It's asserting that your character should not have objectives or should not be striving to achieve them.


I've met some who are quite Timmy. Not familiar with Melvin, by the way.

Melvin and Vorthos (https://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr278).


Munchkin is also a perjorative for anyone that plays differently than you do...It's a label put on other people to make the person putting on the label feel superior to that person being labeled.

Being fair, Munchkins are a certain type of person being objected to. They are also routinely a consequence of unbalanced rules - and players using those rules because they are there. 4e doesn't have a munchkin problem. Fate doesn't have a munchkin problem. oD&D doesn't have a munchkin problem. Apocalypse Engine games barely do. Nor do most Indy Games.


Yes, pretty much that. A Timmy will play a large-race barbarian with the biggest sword he can find, because of awesome. A Spike will play whatever does the most average damage, even if that happens to be a dart-specced pixie. Timmy likes weapons with big damage dice, exploding-dice mechanics, extra dice on a crit, and so forth; Spike likes no-save-you-die abilities, and boosting his to-hit to 99%, and the 1d2-infinite-damage-crusader.

And Johnny's going to take the bard or something else thought weak just to show they aren't.

skyth
2014-02-19, 07:07 PM
Being fair, Munchkins are a certain type of person being objected to. They are also routinely a consequence of unbalanced rules - and players using those rules because they are there. 4e doesn't have a munchkin problem. Fate doesn't have a munchkin problem. oD&D doesn't have a munchkin problem. Apocalypse Engine games barely do. Nor do most Indy Games.

I'm not saying that 'problem' players don't exist...It's more I've seen it applied way too often just because people play a different way than the person that is doing the labeling.

This hearkens back to second edition days where I actually saw someone make the claim that if someone had a 9th level character that they should have won an academy award because their acting/roleplaying is that good. Granted, I don't remember the exact level mentioned, but the gist was that if you got your level by killing things then it wasn't legitimate and you're a bad person.

MukkTB
2014-02-19, 07:42 PM
There are a number of different behaviors that get classified as munchkin.

Optimizer is its own thing. It can overlap with being a munchkin, however some munchkins are terrible at optimization, and many many optimizers do not negatively effect the other players game experience.

Power Gamer is slightly different. A Power Gamer goes into the game with the attitude that he is going to do the absolute best that he can. Again this doesn't necessarily negatively impact other players. It can actually be an admirable thing for someone to attempt. We don't generally insult Olympic athletes even though they strive for perfection. And few people have bad things to say about Emperor Tippy. However munchkins are a subset of powergamers. One simple definition is that Munchkins are power gamers that negatively impact other players.

These behaviors generally include activities like:
Rules Lawyering
Cheating
Bending the Rules
Hyper competition with fellow players
Direct PVP
Refusal to participate in the unspoken agreements of the group, particularly with regard to tone, but including almost all behaviors considered negative

As a point these activities can have a place. Sometimes it is reasonable to rules lawyer against the DM. If you don't you can get screwed. Sometimes its totally reasonable to build a character you want to play. Sure it might not fit with the tone the guy to your right wants. But why does he have the right to dictate play style to you? Cheating on the other hand is pretty much unjustifiable.

Munchinism is a spectrum of activities that other people may dislike related to power gaming. The offended people try to assert their will by labeling the offender as a munchkin. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that nobody identifies themself as a munchkin. You could substitute munchkin out for "roleplaying jerk" and contain the same amount of meaning. The thing to take away from this is that its hard to prove someone is categorically a munchkin. If someone calls someone else a munchkin its best to hear the specific behavior refereed to and the context it occurred in before coming to a judgement.

GPuzzle
2014-02-19, 07:46 PM
Actually, most optimizers fell within a Johnny/Melvin with a dash of Spike. A Johnny/Melvin will take the mechanics, read them, understand them, and build around them in a way that is unique. For example, the most memorable builds in 4e CharOp (because I only lurk around that) involve interesting ways of doing something impressive. The Black Hole was interesting because it turned Drows into excellent Defenders, and it was the inspiration for the Inescapable Fisherman build, which could drag everyone nearby and knock them prone en-masse. The Man of Steel used a borderline futile Fighter feat (when target is Dazed with a Mace, he takes -Con mod to attack) and used it on a Warden|Battlemind combo that could do that at-will. The Spike bit comes when people look at something and say "This is better than any options at this level for this build". Majestic Halo, Twin Strike, Aspect of Might, Silent Malediction. They are better than anything in their levels for that class.

TL; DR: CharOppers are people who read through the rules, build a completely rules-legal character that works and can make the DM cry due to insane damage output/not allowing the DM to reach the squishies/buffing his friends to extreme bonuses/slapping several debuffs on the enemies/all of above with a combination of interesting power/spell/feat selection, powerful choices and strategy and innovative design.

Vrock_Summoner
2014-02-19, 07:55 PM
Munchinism is a spectrum of activities that other people may dislike related to power gaming. The offended people try to assert their will by labeling the offender as a munchkin. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that nobody identifies themself as a munchkin. You could substitute munchkin out for "roleplaying jerk" and contain the same amount of meaning. The thing to take away from this is that its hard to prove someone is categorically a munchkin. If someone calls someone else a munchkin its best to hear the specific behavior refereed to and the context it occurred in before coming to a judgement.

Either you haven't been reading any of the other replies on this thread, or I'm nobody by your definition. Either way, I'm offended. :smallconfused: :smallmad:

Also, again, cheating and optimizing aren't necessarily things munchkins even try to do, though it's a common misconception, mostly because people who do those things tend to get slapped with the munchy munchkin tag regardless of whatever else they do that might affect their overall position as munchkin or not-munchkin.

MirddinEmris
2014-02-19, 09:05 PM
This, incidentally, is a rejection of all Gygax's variants of D&D (and BECMI/RC for that matter). oD&D and pre-Dragonlance 1e are absolutely about winning. About being smart enough and tricksy enough to survive and steel all the gold without dying. Play was mostly "Pawn play" - and metagaming was considered just good play. Any version where 1GP = 1XP is about winning.


But you are still playing with your fellow players, not against them. It's a cooperative game, while MtG is a competitive.

Raimun
2014-02-19, 10:39 PM
A munchkin would try play half-thri kreen/half-minotaur/half-orc if it was possible. The character would not have a back story.

He'd try to murder the king, the orphans, the dragon, the party members and random people so he could have enough copper pieces to buy a plain +5 longsword.

Forced to an actual battle, he would most likely try to flee.

That's opposed to people who make the effort to build characters who are powerful yet follow a central concept and actually make sense, both on paper and in game. If you play a heroic game like D&D and your character is not awesome, you're doing something wrong. :smalltongue:

Lord_Gareth
2014-02-19, 10:52 PM
As you can see, the word has a lot of definitions, and has strong roots in the D&D community. As a more general term, a 'munchkin' is a problem player normally characterized by a need for attention and a lack of concern for the play style of the group.

It's like, a group of folks playing the King of Smack, Cindy the Mailman Wizard, CoDZilla, etc, are not necessarily munchkins as long as everyone involved (including the DM) is still having fun. But a guy who brings the King of Smack to a low-op table? Probably a munchkin. He's displaying absolutely no respect for the paradigm of the game he's in.

MirddinEmris
2014-02-19, 11:12 PM
As we can see, the most common definition for the term "munchkin" is "the player with gaming style i dislike the most". :smallsmile:

Lord_Gareth
2014-02-19, 11:16 PM
As we can see, the most common definition for the term "munchkin" is "the player with gaming style i dislike the most". :smallsmile:

Hey now. I defined it as a player who tries to hold the spotlight and won't respect the gaming style of the group >.>

MirddinEmris
2014-02-19, 11:21 PM
It's like, a group of folks playing the King of Smack, Cindy the Mailman Wizard, CoDZilla, etc, are not necessarily munchkins as long as everyone involved (including the DM) is still having fun. But a guy who brings the King of Smack to a low-op table? Probably a munchkin. He's displaying absolutely no respect for the paradigm of the game he's in.

Or just a player who isn't an the same page as everyone else. Often such situation emerge from the lack of preparation and communication on behalf of DM, after all it's his job to make sure that every player is on the same page. I remember one time when i played a paladin in a new gaming group - i asked DM if it was fine for to play one and he said that it was, only for me to be very surprised when one of the players was an NE Dread necro :smallsigh: It was a very awkward moment for both of us.

Rhynn
2014-02-19, 11:32 PM
It's the two guys immediately to the left (viewer's right) of the DM in Knights of the Dinner Table (Bob & Dave). "I waste it with my crossbow!" (Brian is a powergamer/rules-lawyer.)

Sir Chuckles
2014-02-19, 11:52 PM
It's the two guys immediately to the left (viewer's right) of the DM in Knights of the Dinner Table (Bob & Dave). "I waste it with my crossbow!" (Brian is a powergamer/rules-lawyer.)

Powergamer/rules-lawyer is not a munchkin. They can overlap, but I can tell you that the munchkin in my group (Who is slowly turning into a powergamer with no actual power) has a bare minimum grasp of the rules. Every time he shoots an arrow, he asks me "I add my Base Attack to my roll, right? And I roll a d20?". This has happened once for five rounds in a row.
And this was about 3 months ago, which was our 4-year group anniversary.:smallsigh:

Most recently, we decided to do an Epic campaign, to finish the life story of several "legendary" characters that survived a very long and very fun campaign we had.
When I asked him to make a Lv21 character, he immediately went Human Monk 21. After presenting me with 18s in each stat, I told him that we're using a 42 point buy. He now has 8 Strength. This took him 15 minutes to figure out how to use the point buy calculator.
This being the one who got accepted to Browns University.

So, yes, munchkins come in all kinds of colors. This one is the spotlight stealer (in a bad, incompetent kind of way) and "I can punch things for greatsword damage, I must be a god!" types.

Rhynn
2014-02-20, 12:05 AM
Powergamer/rules-lawyer is not a munchkin.

You don't read too good, huh?

Vrock_Summoner
2014-02-20, 12:25 AM
You don't read too good, huh?

He reads about as well as you grammar, so I think it's fair. :smalltongue:

(that was just a bit of teasing)

And if munchkin is just "person who's playstyle I don't like" then the ones most people call munchkins are actually the only people who aren't munchkins... From my perspective, anyway.

AMFV
2014-02-20, 12:27 AM
It's funny; you can ask 10 people, you get 13 definitions. ;)

I asked ten people and got 15 definitions, so clearly you must be asking the wrong people.

squiggit
2014-02-20, 01:37 AM
I played a game of 3.5 once with a player who was fairly new and wanted to play a tier 4/5 class. A second player really wanted to RP out a concept that wasn't super optimizable and figured it'd be a good game to do it in. So I made a decently optimized Bard to basically try to do that cheerleader routine.

Then this fourth player shows up with a wizard he's twinked out as much as he can with 'basic optimization'. No cheese or particularly loose RAW interpretations but he did spend a lot of time reading guides by the look of it. That is to say it was basically a one for one copy of a guide I found on either this website or the WOTC website.

I don't fault him for making a strong character, what did set me off though was when he started basically dominating every fight and every social challenge because our samurai and low-op fighter couldn't keep up.

What really got me though and what makes me think he fits here is when we approached him and pointed out he was basically ruining the game for the new player because he couldn't function at all in the fights the DM was forced to come up with to keep the Wizard challenged.

His response was to tell us that we were "jealous" at how much he was "better at DnD" than us and the proceeded to offer to "teach" everyone (including the DM) how to "properly make characters".

That's pretty much what I consider a 'munchkin'.

Jay R
2014-02-20, 10:45 AM
Character optimizing is like a two-lane highway. If someone is going slower than you, they're a slug. If they are going faster than you, they're a maniac.

Grod_The_Giant
2014-02-20, 10:57 AM
They are also routinely a consequence of unbalanced rules - and players using those rules because they are there. 4e doesn't have a munchkin problem. Fate doesn't have a munchkin problem. oD&D doesn't have a munchkin problem. Apocalypse Engine games barely do. Nor do most Indy Games.
I don't think that's true. I think you see the most munchkins in 3.5/PF because those are the most common games, or at least the most common "entry-level" games [citation needed]. You generally don't make it to Fate, retroclones, or indy games unless you've played a lot and are pretty dedicated to the hobby. That implies a level of maturity drastically at odds with munchkinry.

Fabletop
2014-02-20, 11:31 AM
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munchkin_(role-playing_games)

People confuse power-gaming and rules-lawyering with munchinism, but they are different.

Munchkins are immature gamers. Simple.

TriForce
2014-02-20, 02:19 PM
basically, ignore everything anyone said, and read the tvt-tropes definition, thats to my knowledge the ACTUAL meaning of the word, instead of "i heard its meaning from x who heard it from y who heard it from z" meanings

Rhynn
2014-02-20, 02:24 PM
basically, ignore everything anyone said, and read the tvt-tropes definition, thats to my knowledge the ACTUAL meaning of the word, instead of "i heard its meaning from x who heard it from y who heard it from z" meanings

What do you base this assertion of pedigree on? TVTropes doesn't even cite sources - it's just what a few people thought and wrote and edited.

I guess if you wanted the "real" (oldest, sort of, in print anyway) definition of the term, you'd flip through some old Dragon magazines - the term showed up plenty during the AD&D 2E era (when I started reading Dragon), and I'm sure there's older articles that "define" it. Dragon is almost certainly what popularized the term.

Kurald Galain
2014-02-20, 02:42 PM
The famous document "The Munchkin Files" was written in 1983, in the days of oD&D; this is six years before 2E was released. It defines the munchkin as "Need we say more?" suggesting it was already a known term before it was written.

Of note is that this (31 year old) document already illustrates people munchkinning in Call of Chthulhu, Paranoia, GURPS, and Whitewolf. However you define it, it's clearly a phenomenon that applies to any RPG.

Tengu_temp
2014-02-20, 02:43 PM
The TV Tropes definition is so broad it's meaningless. As it's often the case when that site tries to define something without a universally clear meaning.

Rhynn
2014-02-20, 02:53 PM
The famous document "The Munchkin Files" was written in 1983, in the days of oD&D; this is six years before 2E was released.

Technically, that would be AD&D 1E (1977) and Basic/BECMI (Holmes 1977, Moldvay/Cook 1981, Mentzer 1983) era... OD&D was 1974-1977.

Still, pre-AD&D 2E indeed.


It defines the munchkin as "Need we say more?" suggesting it was already a known term before it was written.

This would be in line with Dragon (1976, or 1975 as TSR) having popularized the term... it would've been on issue 80+ in 1983.

What I was getting at was that by the AD&D 2E era (the early 1990s), when I started reading Dragon, the term was obviously well-established.

veti
2014-02-20, 04:23 PM
The famous document "The Munchkin Files" was written in 1983, in the days of oD&D; this is six years before 2E was released. It defines the munchkin as "Need we say more?" suggesting it was already a known term before it was written.

That sounds very plausible. I would guess the earliest online references would be on Usenet - unfortunately, Google's Groups search is pathetic, shading into "utterly useless" for anything posted before about 1996.

I just want to plug the card game (http://www.worldofmunchkin.com/game/) again, which I think gives a lot of insight into how the word is commonly understood. (And has probably done its bit to shape that understanding, at least in this century.)

Tyndmyr
2014-02-20, 05:56 PM
It is a perjorative used to describe someone playing in a way that is not deemed fair in order to win.

Definitions of what is fair vary wildly depending upon game system and group.

neonchameleon
2014-02-20, 08:47 PM
But you are still playing with your fellow players, not against them. It's a cooperative game, while MtG is a competitive.

Again I'm going to cite oD&D - you worked with other players because that was in your long term interests. But you didn't have a stable gaming group so much as were part of an ecosystem, and killing other PCs to loot them was something that happened.


I don't think that's true. I think you see the most munchkins in 3.5/PF because those are the most common games, or at least the most common "entry-level" games [citation needed]. You generally don't make it to Fate, retroclones, or indy games unless you've played a lot and are pretty dedicated to the hobby. That implies a level of maturity drastically at odds with munchkinry.

You miss D&D 4e out of the list - which was a more common entry level game than Pathfinder while Wizards were still bothering to support it. And you don't see many munchkins in 4e because of the errata and balance.

Kurald Galain
2014-02-20, 09:15 PM
There are actually plenty of munchkins in 4E, which should not be surprising as it's a popular system.

The only system I can think of that has built-in counters to munchkinry is Paranoia, with its famous rule that rules lawyering or displaying OOC knowledge of the rules immediately gets your character killed. Other than that, every major system has its fair share of munchkins.

squiggit
2014-02-20, 10:15 PM
The only system I can think of that has built-in counters to munchkinry is Paranoia, with its famous rule that rules lawyering or displaying OOC knowledge of the rules immediately gets your character killed. Other than that, every major system has its fair share of munchkins.
I'd imagine it'd be rather hard to munchkin games in the vein of FATE too given that pretty much everything is based on DM/player fiat.


You miss D&D 4e out of the list - which was a more common entry level game than Pathfinder while Wizards were still bothering to support it. And you don't see many munchkins in 4e because of the errata and balance.

Dunno. I've had a few players come to me and expect me to let them play rebreathers or optimized revenants in my campaigns. Or other such shenanigans.

Eldan
2014-02-21, 02:41 AM
You can munchkin even freeform RP. It's harder without rules, but entirely possible. Godmodding, writing up ane extremely powerful character, talking over other people, arguing bad logic, endlessly debating any GM decision...

Tengu_temp
2014-02-21, 06:04 AM
You can munchkin even freeform RP. It's harder without rules, but entirely possible. Godmodding, writing up ane extremely powerful character, talking over other people, arguing bad logic, endlessly debating any GM decision...

As someone who's been running a large-scale freeform game for over two years now, I can confirm that this is entirely accurate. We had a guy who cried for new upgrades whenever a fight went anything but perfect for him, another one who didn't even bother and just pulled new powers out of his ass, someone who tried to make every scene she was in about her character, another one who endlessly debated the "balance" of other characters in order to make his one more relevant...

Do note that I'm using past tense for all those people.

Kurald Galain
2014-02-21, 06:40 AM
As someone who's been running a large-scale freeform game for over two years now, I can confirm that this is entirely accurate. We had a guy who cried for new upgrades whenever a fight went anything but perfect for him, another one who didn't even bother and just pulled new powers out of his ass, someone who tried to make every scene she was in about her character, another one who endlessly debated the "balance" of other characters in order to make his one more relevant...
That's interesting to know. I was wondering if e.g. gamist-oriented RPGs would attract more munchkins than narrativist-oriented ones, given that munchkinism strikes me as almost entirely gamist.

Eldan
2014-02-21, 06:48 AM
That's interesting to know. I was wondering if e.g. gamist-oriented RPGs would attract more munchkins than narrativist-oriented ones, given that munchkinism strikes me as almost entirely gamist.

That's perhaps where the distinction breaks down a bit. Because you can even try to "win" cooperative storytelling.

"My character is Eldan Morpledorpleworple Blackdarkshadow. At the age of five, he became an orphan when the lord of hell ate his parents. Luckily, he killed it with a silvered fork and got its power. As an orphan, he was sent to the magical academy, which gave him the rank of archmage at age 12. So he got bored with magic and became a sword grandmaster instead. Now he's 15."

It goes from there all the way down to the most childish level:
"Three bandits jump out from behind the rock and run towards you."
"I fire a single slingstone that bounces between their heads, knocking them all out without killing them. Then I take all the gold they have on them and sacrifice them to my god, who grants me his favour."

Raine_Sage
2014-02-21, 07:00 AM
That's interesting to know. I was wondering if e.g. gamist-oriented RPGs would attract more munchkins than narrativist-oriented ones, given that munchkinism strikes me as almost entirely gamist.

To be fair even though the behavior is in line with typical munchkin behavior, I've never heard an RP community refer to it as munchkin before except by players who also played ttrpgs. People who aren't familiar with ttrpg slang generally just refer to them by whatever fits best.

People who make flawless reality warping characters are your garden variety Mary Sues. People who make uber powerful characters are power gamers. People who make perpetually whiny characters are angst buckets etc.

That's part of what drew me to tabletop gaming to be honest. I felt like free form rpgs were more prone to this sort of behavior due to the lack of limits on what a character can do. Roleplayers sort of work on the honor system, there's no skills and no mechanics and no levels so we just have to kind of set a verbal contract. Obviously mods boot the most egregious examples but then you have the borderline cases. Just obnoxious enough to kill an rp, but not obnoxious enough to warrant a boot since they're technically following all the rules.

Of course joke's on me when I come in and find out that having a set of dice rolling mechanics doesn't really do a whole lot to weed out the munchkins.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 07:59 AM
I think the best definition is (in my opinion):

A Munchkin is someone who approach tabletop RPGs like he's playing a videogame, where the point of the game is killing monsters, getting experience and more power.

It doesn't mean that he's an optimizer or that he's necessarily a powergamer. Nor does it mean that his gaming methodology is inherently bad; just that it may conflict with the gaming style/desires of other players and thus make the overall game a bad experience. Some players do tabletop RPGs because it allows them to be extremely creative in their interactive storytelling, not just to kill monsters and gain levels.


tl:dr; the munchkin will spend 99% of his character creation on the stats and magic items, with the backstory being nothing more than a rationalization for the powers and items he starts with.

Rhynn
2014-02-21, 08:03 AM
tl:dr; the munchkin will spend 99% of his character creation on the stats and magic items, with the backstory being nothing more than a rationalization for the powers and items he starts with.

That's an awful definition. That's how basically everyone played OD&D and Basic D&D, generally AD&D too.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 08:09 AM
That's an awful definition. That's how basically everyone played OD&D and Basic D&D, generally AD&D too.

Then they behaved as munchkin. If your character is nothing but an amalgam of stats and items, that's being a munchkin.

AMFV
2014-02-21, 08:32 AM
Then they behaved as munchkin. If your character is nothing but an amalgam of stats and items, that's being a munchkin.

Well if that's the case then you really can't use it a pejorative since it's a matter of taste.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 08:39 AM
Well if that's the case then you really can't use it a pejorative since it's a matter of taste.

I did said it's not inherently bad; if people have fun with it, then let them rock their boat. The problem comes from the clash with other people.

Creating your character where the only backstory/trait you give it is meant to give yourself bonuses is acting very munchkin-y. Doesn't mean your entire playstyle is munchkin, it just says that it's how you behave when you create your character. Maybe you play a very dramatic and rich game thereafter; which is fine.

Compare "my family was killed by Gnolls, which happen to be your campaign's main villains. So can I have Favored Enemies : Gnoll?" to someone who actually figured out the basic element of his backstory to make it fit his build, and to figure out how it will impact his behaviour.

Rhynn
2014-02-21, 08:42 AM
Then they behaved as munchkin. If your character is nothing but an amalgam of stats and items, that's being a munchkin.

Given that the term was used by people who played that way as a pejorative, and was in fact originated from that old-school D&D culture, your definition excludes the original uses (probably the first 5-10 years) of the term, so it's a nonsensical definition.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 08:46 AM
Given that the term was used by people who played that way as a pejorative, and was in fact originated from that old-school D&D culture, your definition excludes the original uses (probably the first 5-10 years) of the term, so it's a nonsensical definition.

You do realize that with the bloom of gamer culture in the past 10 years, a re-evaluation of original terms might have happened? Who cares about the original meaning if the conditions have changed? I am applying the definition to modern standards, with a modern mindset.

The Gamer world has literally exploded with possibilities, systems and styles. What used to be a rather pejorative denomination of a relatively homogeneous community can now be seen as a basic definition of a certain attitude toward gaming, now that we have become more heterogeneous.

Rhynn
2014-02-21, 08:59 AM
Then consider the failure that most people will not understand if you use the term by your definition.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 09:12 AM
Then consider the failure that most people will not understand if you use the term by your definition.

Why? I applied the definition to the most common examples of the term in common Gamer culture, such as books, movies, webcomics, etc..

The term is used pejoratively by those who feel they are ruining their gaming experience, but the addressed gamestyle is not inherently bad.

edit: it's kind of like throwing "gay" as an insult. Just because it's used as an insult by some doesn't mean it's an inherently bad term

skyth
2014-02-21, 09:27 AM
Why? I applied the definition to the most common examples of the term in common Gamer culture, such as books, movies, webcomics, etc..

The term is used pejoratively by those who feel they are ruining their gaming experience, but the addressed gamestyle is not inherently bad.

edit: it's kind of like throwing "gay" as an insult. Just because it's used as an insult by some doesn't mean it's an inherently bad term

The term was created to insult and belittle people. Similar to the N-word...

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 09:55 AM
The term was created to insult and belittle people. Similar to the N-word...

Yes. And it describe a disruptive behaviour that ruins the gaming experience of those throwing the insult. In an earlier time when it was much harder to find gaming groups, it made sense to browbeat that behaviour.

Except that this "disruptive behaviour", in a vacuum, is not a bad thing in of itself. Nowadays, people playing like that can just hang together and have fun by themselves.

skyth
2014-02-21, 10:28 AM
Yes. And it describe a disruptive behaviour that ruins the gaming experience of those throwing the insult. In an earlier time when it was much harder to find gaming groups, it made sense to browbeat that behaviour.

Except that this "disruptive behaviour", in a vacuum, is not a bad thing in of itself. Nowadays, people playing like that can just hang together and have fun by themselves.

What you described is never disruptive behavior by itself.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 10:50 AM
What you described is never disruptive behavior by itself.

My point. A group of munchkin playing with a GM who expects and likes to DM for such a group are going to have a lot of fun.

And there's nothing wrong with that. Off course, some snobby roleplayers are going to lift their nose at this group, but why should they care at how other people are having fun? (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StopHavingFunGuys)

But a single munchkin in a game where people expect more story-focused gameplay? That's a receipe for disaster, recriminations and insults.

Kurald Galain
2014-02-21, 10:57 AM
My point. A group of munchkin playing with a GM who expects and likes to DM for such a group are going to have a lot of fun.
Hm, I'd expect a group of munchkins to get into argument almost immediately. After all, they're each trying to "win" the game, and for one to win that means the others must not win.

AMFV
2014-02-21, 10:59 AM
Hm, I'd expect a group of munchkins to get into argument almost immediately. After all, they're each trying to "win" the game, and for one to win that means the others must not win.

But that can be fun too, just depends on your group and their definition of fun.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 11:02 AM
Hm, I'd expect a group of munchkins to get into argument almost immediately. After all, they're each trying to "win" the game, and for one to win that means the others must not win.

If everyone subscribe to the paradigm of inter-group competition, it's fine.

What you are describing is a sore loser, which may or may not be part of a Munchkin's behaviour. :smallwink: I know if I join a munchkin game (and have been actually warned beforehand), I won't try to force my playstyle on them and join in their fun. And accept to lose, as long as the game was fair.

(all right, I'll be honest. When I did joined the munchkin game in Dark Heresy, I still managed to pull off the most memorable characters this group have ever known, even if they were sub-optimized. I consider that my own little victory. Everybody will remember Willjordin, the Berserker Priest from Fenris)

huttj509
2014-02-21, 04:31 PM
If everyone subscribe to the paradigm of inter-group competition, it's fine.


Intra-group competition.

Inter-group competition is when my group is competing against your group, whereas I think you were trying to convey party infighting.

Cikomyr
2014-02-21, 04:47 PM
Intra-group competition.

Inter-group competition is when my group is competing against your group, whereas I think you were trying to convey party infighting.

Well, it seems I failed my Speak Language roll. Damn it, I knew I shouldn't have taken that Rushed Penalty (-4)