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Marveljew
2017-04-18, 10:09 PM
So, I read an article that mentioned the concept of an "anti-munchkin". This is a player who, usually out of fear of being labelled a munchkin, will play as under powered player that ends being virtually useless much to the annoyance of the other players. So, I was wonder if anyone has encountered one of these types of players. If you have, please share your story.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-18, 10:15 PM
Yeah - I'm anti-munchkin! Those shorties can't even kill their own witch, and when a little girl did their work for them, their gratitude had them send the little girl down the road to the big city all by herself! What jerks!

VincentTakeda
2017-04-18, 11:59 PM
My playstyle gravitates towards 'funky' at the expense of 'function'... I like interesting more than I like effective so I've had two things like this come up recently...

• A player who didn't like that when my turn would come up I didn't do anything particularly useful... Sort of only acted when I saw a cool unusual opportunity to contribute.
• A young player who had the audacity of suggesting that after 30 years of playing wizards, that he just needed to take a look at my character sheet and he'd rework it a bit and 'show me how its done'... lol.

mikeejimbo
2017-04-19, 12:13 AM
I'm kinda like Vincent there in that I will totally take the funky. It helps that my group tends not to run games where you need to be super optimized to contribute, or even games where combat isn't a huge part.

For example, my character in the current campaign we're in has the concept "average guy caught up above his paygrade". His best skills are bowling and knowing about tea. It's a fun concept with a lot of chances for humorous and dramatic moments.

The other players don't mind because the kinds of games we play support these kinds of characters. I actually was labeled an anti-munchkin by the GM.

I optimize characters when the game calls for it, though still usually in amusing ways. (My omni-engineer, ahh he was fun. No combat ability but none of the characters did because it was explicitly a low-combat game. He did, however, have every engineering skill, repair skill, mechanic skill, armory skill, math skill, and a number of other related skills at ridiculous levels. His skill sheet alone was 3 pages long.)

The Insanity
2017-04-19, 02:56 AM
Personally I prefer my characters effective AND interesting. IME optimization tends to make the character more fun to play.

Sajiri
2017-04-19, 05:10 AM
I had a friend who was sort of like this? I dont think it was out of fear of being labelled a munchkin, but she did seem to be very anti-powerful-options in any sort of game, be it tabletop or mmo. Like, she knew what was the better option, but for some reason she was really against doing it, probably because its what everyone else did.

My very first game of D&D was with her as the other player. I wouldnt call my character overpowered, but it was definitely stronger than her's (she made a half orc barbarian), and honestly her character was often very weak. I can't remember her build, but the DM had to set up encounters in a way that we would often be seperated, so she could have one easier fight while I took on a harder one at the same time...but it didn't matter in the slightest. She was such a fun roleplayer that it made up for everything else, so much so that even though we dont talk anymore (on account of just drifting apart thanks to different schedules), in one of our more recent games, her old character was immortalised as a npc party member in her memory. Taught me that the strongest options arent always the best, since it is a game after all you should just have fun with the character you're playing.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-19, 07:20 AM
On a more serious note - I don't make the most powerful characters I possibly can. I optimize more than the rest of my table, but I don't want to nerf myself as I enjoy the optimization process. So I optimize support roles and/or sub-par character types and make them playable.

I want to optimize, but I don't want to hog the spotlight either. But - that isn't really what you're talking about.

redwizard007
2017-04-19, 07:42 AM
I rarely anti-munchkin, but I'll often munchkin in ways that are only rarely useful. I'll struggle through more common encounters and then BANG, my over the top knowledge architecture lets me collapse a dungeon on the BBEG.

More commonly, I'll sub optimize, but still be useful and contribute. Sometimes my clerics heal during combat, or I'll run an evoker, sometimes I'll even go vanilla fighter.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-04-19, 07:43 AM
The weirdest example of that I've seen was a guy who forgot to buy his attack skill up in a combat-heavy game. Which was an understandable mistake, M&M is complicated and he hadn't played it before, but he refused an offer to shuffle points around to fix it. He also used what we figured out was actually a d10 instead of a d20- it was the same shape, but it had each number twice. Again, would not change it.

(The same party also had a guy whose attack powers were too weak to be useful (he'd Summon a couple weak ice golems) and a guy whose character was fine but spent most of their time faffing around and attempting useless strategies. If it wasn't for me and the telekinetic being seriously on the ball we'd have never gotten anywhere.)

hymer
2017-04-19, 08:30 AM
One player was rather astounded when I informed him that a 3.X Con 8 character was at least as much a nuisance to plan for as the most heavily optimized character in the campaign. I'd vetoed that score distribution earlier, but we hadn't gone into the withertoes or the whyfores. He was also a little surprised at the thought that it was a strain on suspension of disbelief if the party's ranger couldn't find his own arse with an atlas. At level 8. Why were they bringing this inept fool with them into dangerous situations, when he ought to be in some sort of home?
I'd concluded that he just didn't care about the game or his character or anything, but he was just genuinely clueless that he was causing everyone headaches. I'm not sure if that counts as an anti-munchkin.

thamolas
2017-04-19, 10:44 AM
In my experience, the games that favor heavy optimization tend to feel "samey" and every session blends together, except for the "boss fight" sessions, and all of the "boss showdowns" feel the same, too. This play style bores me to tears because it's always the same thing over and over.

On the other hand, intentionally making a useless character in a game that isn't focused on useless characters sounds pretty annoying. Is it just trolling to intentionally make a character that will annoy the group?

mikeejimbo
2017-04-19, 12:06 PM
Personally I prefer my characters effective AND interesting. IME optimization tends to make the character more fun to play.

See I've always heard that, but I feel like it immediately rules out a lot of concepts that would be dramatically interesting but not lend themselves to optimized characters.

- The average guy who gets rescued by his alien friend just before the Earth is destroyed
- The high school teacher who starts making drugs to support his family
- The wizard who only knows one spell that would be dangerous to cast, but The Lady smiles on him
- The high school student who becomes a masked vigilante to clean up his town
- The old and delusional knight who just wants to protect his people from the giants
- The small country who attacks a larger one in order to get war repararions
- The writer who starts looking at the Eldritch things man was not meant to know
- The self-styled lawyer who never passed his bar but defends his cousin in court
- The politician whose plane is hijacked
- The beat cop who discovers that aliens are among us
- The FBI agent who believes that aliens are among us. (Or even his partner, who doesn't)
- The long shot political candidate who is picked by a shadowy organization to be a puppet
- The grifter who gets caught up amongst the schemes of a god of chaos
- The guy whose friends have to break him out of a psychiatric institution whenever they want his help
- The young man who accidentally steals a slave
- The "adopted" but uncultured child who is abused by his "father", becomes obsessed with his "sister" and vows revenge
- The girl who falls into a different world
- The fellows who hate travel and love eating but are the only ones who can destroy the powerful artifact
- The kid who falls in love with a rival family's daughter
- The farmer who has to lead his country's army
- The farmboy who is the chosen one of a prophecy
- The normal guy framed for a crime he didn't commit and runs from the law
- The plain, average girl who turns out to be a princess

I could probably go on.

Mordar
2017-04-19, 12:29 PM
So is the motivation the key element here? Ineptness to avoid accusations of gamesmanship/munchkinism?

Because I had a friend always desperate to play pink ninjas...but not because he was worried people would think him an optimizer if he did otherwise...

- M

sktarq
2017-04-19, 12:49 PM
Each table (and usually the DM/GM/ST is the key here) has their own natural level of optimization.

And roughly the PC's should fit close to that.

Thus the PC's should roughly be about the same level of optimization.

One of the types the OP mentioned at a highly optimized table is a pain in the neck. A table full of them is more fun than a barrel of chinchillas on Molly.

The Insanity
2017-04-19, 01:24 PM
See I've always heard that, but I feel like it immediately rules out a lot of concepts that would be dramatically interesting but not lend themselves to optimized characters.
And that's because...?

CharonsHelper
2017-04-19, 01:32 PM
And that's because...?

+1. In the right system/setting/party, it seems that nearly all of those would be perfectly playable when optimized.

You just shouldn't try to bring to mix the Breaking Bad teacher into a game about superheroes. (Which actually - is often the problem with horribly optimized characters. They want to play a character which doesn't fit the setting/story.)

Arbane
2017-04-19, 02:04 PM
Characters in books/movies/etc. don't have to roll dice when they try to do something. Just sayin'.

Quertus
2017-04-19, 02:08 PM
So, I like to play a whole range of characters. Because that is what is most interesting. My signature character, for whom this account is named, is incredibly powerful, not terribly optimized, and completely tactically inept. Good times. He is strongly focused on magic theory, with good sights and defenses, and so rarely steps on anyone else's toes.

I can enjoy playing characters that are much stronger than the rest of the party, or much weaker than the rest of the party, so long as the other players enjoy that, too. Granted, some systems lend themselves to this diversity better than others.


He also used what we figured out was actually a d10 instead of a d20- it was the same shape, but it had each number twice. Again, would not change it.

Um... What? I can understand the rest of the story, but this makes no sense. It'd be like playing d20, and always saying, "my character takes a 1".


In my experience, the games that favor heavy optimization tend to feel "samey" and every session blends together, except for the "boss fight" sessions, and all of the "boss showdowns" feel the same, too. This play style bores me to tears because it's always the same thing over and over.

On the other hand, intentionally making a useless character in a game that isn't focused on useless characters sounds pretty annoying. Is it just trolling to intentionally make a character that will annoy the group?


Each table (and usually the DM/GM/ST is the key here) has their own natural level of optimization.

And roughly the PC's should fit close to that.

Thus the PC's should roughly be about the same level of optimization.

One of the types the OP mentioned at a highly optimized table is a pain in the neck. A table full of them is more fun than a barrel of chinchillas on Molly.

I think it's a matter of the size of the range of optimization level that the table can handle. I happen to prefer tables that can handle big ranges. Some can, some can't. The can't's tend to feel boring and "samey", to me (regardless of whether they only play high op, only play low op, only play mid op).

Grod_The_Giant
2017-04-19, 02:09 PM
+1. In the right system/setting/party, it seems that nearly all of those would be perfectly playable when optimized.

You just shouldn't try to bring to mix the Breaking Bad teacher into a game about superheroes. (Which actually - is often the problem with horribly optimized characters. They want to play a character which doesn't fit the setting/story.)
Exactly. It's not the optimization level that's the problem so much as trying to play a character who's fundamentally incompatible with the game in question-- be that system, setting, tone, what have you. It's the player's responsibility to bring a character the the table that fits the game being played. And yes, that means not bringing your out-of-depth-everyman into a Justice League game, just like it means not bringing your black ops supercommando into a Call of Cthulu game.

Darth Tom
2017-04-19, 02:12 PM
I'm like that and all the games I've run are like that. Unlike most people on here, I find optimisation boring and unappealing, so I focus things on the group of us having fun with a cool story. It doesn't mean you can't have cool things, it just means you're Bilbo or Rincewind rather than Conan.

mikeejimbo
2017-04-19, 02:24 PM
+1. In the right system/setting/party, it seems that nearly all of those would be perfectly playable when optimized.

You just shouldn't try to bring to mix the Breaking Bad teacher into a game about superheroes. (Which actually - is often the problem with horribly optimized characters. They want to play a character which doesn't fit the setting/story.)

That's my point - it depends entirely on the nature of the game.


Characters in books/movies/etc. don't have to roll dice when they try to do something. Just sayin'.

No, but they do suffer setbacks and failures. I think that those can be narratively interested. You can play a game that's narratively intersecting with optimization of course, but I think there is room for games that are not focused on perfectly optimized characters.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-19, 02:38 PM
That's my point - it depends entirely on the nature of the game.

Right - but if the system/setting is designed well and those are its intended character types, those character should be able to BE the optimized characters. The system should just be put at a much lower power level and with a different focus than a D&D style dungeon slog.

Quertus
2017-04-19, 04:37 PM
No, but they do suffer setbacks and failures. I think that those can be narratively interested. You can play a game that's narratively intersecting with optimization of course, but I think there is room for games that are not focused on perfectly optimized characters.

Yes. I'm interested in the story of what happens when these characters encounter this situation - what will they do? I'm interested in the story of what happens when these characters attempt this course of action - what will happen? Realistic setbacks and failures can be just as fun as realistic success, perhaps even more so. But not always as rewarding.

Always making optimized characters taking the optimal course of action doesn't sound nearly as fun to me. But it's probably a lot more successful.

Guizonde
2017-04-19, 08:52 PM
last time i "anti-munchkined", i was getting into dnd. i played a radiant servant of pelor (so, extraordinary healer build, brutal against undead, not exactly the most powergamer build for a cleric). nobody told me that "concentration" was a skill, so first time i got beaned in combat, i wondered why i had to do a concentration check at dd72 to heal myself.

nowadays, i prefer to build lethal joke characters or eccentric professionnals. it's so much fun using 9-barrelled gatling guns as suppositories sometimes. turns out that the dark side of the moon doesn't have a very high armor rating, to boot. as the saying goes, "if it looks stupid, but it works, then it ain't stupid".

i won't nerf myself just for fun. i'll reign it back if i'm clearly overshadowing the rest of the group, but i won't make a useless character. that leads to boredom, and that leads to me leaving a table. not to say i'll always play overpowered characters. my playstyle leans towards "overkill is too subtle", so in general, i'll encourage the rest of the team that way.

what i love to play, turns out, is support. healers, snipers, scouts, techies, skill-monkeys, and force multipliers. that tends to drive my teammates bonkers at my antics while praising my efficacy. i don't play the sheet (or a system that encourages that), so that gives me greater latitude to pull off stunts that shouldn't be doable with my character. so what if i've got a 23% chance of success? if it works, i'm a hero. if i fail, i'm too unconscious to care. too many players artificially limit themselves by sticking to the crunch of their sheet rather than their imagination, or at least that's what i've seen from novice players. "my character has got +3 str on you! i'll wreck you in a fight."
"sure you will. i've got an ied and a fuse."
"when did you get an ied?!"
"when i took a perception check and found out we were next to a gas station and i've got a lit cigar."

if i wanted to play powergamer, i'd just do some math. i'm not in it for the power level, i'm in it for the latitude. yeah, i know wizards and clerics break the game with their spell list, but my forays into dnd led me to an antimagic-happy dm (spheres, collars, manacles, rays... you name it, we got hit by it). turns out i'd rather take a rogue, a ranger, or a halfling outrider. being less dependent on gear and more on the environment and quick thinking leaves me feeling more free.

Katrina
2017-04-20, 02:12 AM
I was accused of this for the longest. :smalltongue: In fact, only our resident Munchkin knew how well I knew how to optimize because he would often present a character and I would point out the loophole, exploit or hidden trick he was using within a few minutes of looking at the character sheet. That and occasionally I would announce something and he would look at me odd and remark "I thought only I knew that trick."

The others didn't take me seriously until I literally cut down the second strongest combatant in the group in a single attack when he turned on us. (It was a critical, but the character was built to have a 16-20 crit range on a x3 weapon.) Suddenly, respect. After years of slightly disrespected rogues, sorceresses being greeted with head shakes (Sorceror is unoptimized, apparently.), an Anima violinist that everyone thought was a joke until I revealed the AT 10 vs everything but Energy, and who knows how many crazy BESM d20 concepts, they were suddenly scared. It was then that my friend started revealing the horrible effectiveness behind all the previous "joke characters" that I had never used. Good times.


And seriously? What strange company makes a d20 shaped d10???:smallconfused:

RazorChain
2017-04-20, 03:52 AM
One of my friends and a fellow player always makes a special snowflakes characters that often just don't function.

One of his favorites was the wild mage or anything that rolls a random roll to check if things go horribly bad. With his rotten luck he should never be allowed to roll on such a random table.

Another thing of his is the overspecialization or in point systems where he buys a power that only functions on wednesdays during the full moon....if he can he will attach some randomness ala the random table where things can go horribly wrong and will.

The third is when he makes characters who are absolutely jack of all trades....and worse than mediocre at everything and he tries to fill all the roles of the party by himself. So playing the fighter/rogue/mage/cleric that also is the face/fixer/specialist/skillmonkey ends up as the party gimp...as he has gimped his character so much.

Once in a blue moon he actually manages to make a character that works and contributes.

Knaight
2017-04-20, 04:56 AM
Exactly. It's not the optimization level that's the problem so much as trying to play a character who's fundamentally incompatible with the game in question-- be that system, setting, tone, what have you. It's the player's responsibility to bring a character the the table that fits the game being played. And yes, that means not bringing your out-of-depth-everyman into a Justice League game, just like it means not bringing your black ops supercommando into a Call of Cthulu game.

Sure, but sometimes the character is fundamentally incompatible with the campaign (if not the system) precisely because they're heavily optimized. Almost the entirety of TO fits within this even in D&D, and that's without getting into how there are plenty of generic systems where heavy optimization can often fly against the core concept of individual campaigns, and low optimization can fly against the core concept of other individual campaigns (nobody starts a 400 point GURPS game wanting the points to be ineffectively distributed; that game is there to be ridiculously high powered).

Dappershire
2017-04-20, 05:11 AM
Optimized characters are so boring. How unique can you really be, with your unexplainable dips in eclectic classes, with the same feats and forms and skills and points that every other munchkin has because that's what works!
I much prefer to under optimize, so I'm forced to get creative with what I have. I limit my characters for story purposes alone. I'll give my barbarian a rapier (or ten. They break). I'll force my bard to carry a full sized Harp. Or make my human paladin as short as a Halfling, but screw it if I'm not carrying the biggest shield around Church. I love rolling 18s as much as the next nerd, but if I don't, you wont see me sneaking in some weird race to cover my lacks. What the hell is a variant human anyways?
If under optimization is keeping you from helping in any way, then the other players probably have two dimensional demigod like characters that your DM has to provide for.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-04-20, 07:42 AM
Sure, but sometimes the character is fundamentally incompatible with the campaign (if not the system) precisely because they're heavily optimized..
Well, sure. Matching the rest of the party optimization wise is as important as matching the game's tone. But while that sometimes rules out mechanics, it rarely rules out CHARACTERS (that weren't already ruled out by other factors). "Cool martial artist" in D&D could be anything from a Monk 20 to some crazy psionic gish build, fitting neatly into any op level you can imagine.


Optimized characters are so boring. How unique can you really be, with your unexplainable dips in eclectic classes, with the same feats and forms and skills and points that every other munchkin has because that's what works!
I much prefer to under optimize, so I'm forced to get creative with what I have. I limit my characters for story purposes alone. I'll give my barbarian a rapier (or ten. They break). I'll force my bard to carry a full sized Harp. Or make my human paladin as short as a Halfling, but screw it if I'm not carrying the biggest shield around Church. I love rolling 18s as much as the next nerd, but if I don't, you wont see me sneaking in some weird race to cover my lacks. What the hell is a variant human anyways?
If under optimization is keeping you from helping in any way, then the other players probably have two dimensional demigod like characters that your DM has to provide for.
Optimization doesn't mean making the same choices every time. It means having an idea and making the best version of the idea you can. You go "okay, I have an idea for a hobo kickboxer" and THEN saying "well, this PrC strongly expresses the concept, and I need this to enter it, and these things to compliment it." Idea, then build. Heck, sometimes it's "I want to be a tiny dude with a huge shield, how can I make that [email protected]?"

Do you sometimes get boring but optimized characters? Sure. Anyone can make a boring character. Anyone can make an interesting one too, because how interesting a character is HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NUMBERS ON THEIR SHEET. It's all about how you play it. An optimized character is not intrinsically boring any more than an anti-optimized character is intrinsically interesting.

Dappershire
2017-04-20, 08:02 AM
An optimized character is not intrinsically boring any more than an anti-optimized character is intrinsically interesting.


I dunno. In my experience, Optimized characters are made by players that care about the crunch, more than the fluff. They don't make a well rounded Paladin, then build a story around it. They build a Paladin/Sorcerer, out of some race that can fly, with a couple of meaningless flaws so they can afford a new feat that pwns. It rarely makes any logical sense, and I often find it distasteful. It gives me the first impressions that they need to draw attention through superior math, than through storytelling. If I'm not proven wrong, its not a terrible issue, I just find reason not to play with that person/group for long.
Making a character dedicated to one thing can be fun "My barbarian is gonna be able to wrestle frikken dragons outta the air!", and obviously you need specialized talent trees to get them off the ground. But when a player starts doing such things with every single character....well, I just don't approve of munchkins all that much.

JAL_1138
2017-04-20, 08:10 AM
And seriously? What strange company makes a d20 shaped d10???:smallconfused:

Back in the day, there were no d10s. You got five dice with the White Box or Holmes Basic (assuming TSR wasn't out of dice at the time and have you cardboard chits and a redeemable coupon for when supplies recovered instead). The d20 was numbered 0-9 twice, and you colored one set of 0-9 numbers differently than the other (you had to fill in the colors on the numbers yourself). You'd then use it as both a d20 and a d10. If using it as a d10, you just went with the number on the die face. If using it as a d20, you'd declare which color was high (usually before the game, but at least before the roll--declaring after the roll would be cheating) and add 10 to it. Say you colored one set of 0-9 blue and the other red, and declared red as the high color. If you rolled a blue 5, it'd be a 5. If you rolled a red 5, it'd be a 15.

Gamescience still makes the "0-9 twice" style of d20s, but nowadays they put a plus sign on one set of 0-9 (they might leave the "+" off on their micro-sized d20s, not sure, but it's there on the regular-sized ones). So you could roll either a "5" or a "+5". If using it as a d10, ignore the "+". If using it as a d20, "+5" becomes 15.

Cluedrew
2017-04-20, 09:51 AM
To JAL_1138: Wouldn't that give 0-9 and 0-19 instead of the standard d10 & d20 results? Or did zero go high?

On Optimization: I think this disagreement might be on the use of the word optimization. Formally, you can optimize towards any goal (even making the weakest possible character) but informally, people usually mean trying to crank out the most raw power (or with versatility) out of a character as you can. The latter has less versatility character wise, there are only so many character concepts that involve nothing but combat (or whatever, its often combat) ability. Mind you I have played one and it was a very successful character, but I don't want to stick to that. The more general type of optimization though can be used to create any character, just optimize for the best mechanical representation of the character you have in mind.

Quertus
2017-04-20, 10:12 AM
I dunno. In my experience, Optimized characters are made by players that care about the crunch, more than the fluff. They don't make a well rounded Paladin, then build a story around it. They build a Paladin/Sorcerer, out of some race that can fly, with a couple of meaningless flaws so they can afford a new feat that pwns. It rarely makes any logical sense, and I often find it distasteful. It gives me the first impressions that they need to draw attention through superior math, than through storytelling. If I'm not proven wrong, its not a terrible issue, I just find reason not to play with that person/group for long.
Making a character dedicated to one thing can be fun "My barbarian is gonna be able to wrestle frikken dragons outta the air!", and obviously you need specialized talent trees to get them off the ground. But when a player starts doing such things with every single character....well, I just don't approve of munchkins all that much.

Well, creating a pixie commoner who tries to wrestle everything may be fun, but is unlikely to be successful. I assume you don't have anything against your fellow players being successful, so what, exactly, is it that you're opposed to?


To JAL_1138: Wouldn't that give 0-9 and 0-19 instead of the standard d10 & d20 results? Or did zero go high?

There are still d10s (especially but not exclusively percentiles) labeled 0-9; the 0 is obviously a 10, thus the acceptable range of numbers, 1-10&1-20, on the double d10. So, yes, the zero goes high.

Guizonde
2017-04-20, 10:21 AM
I dunno. In my experience, Optimized characters are made by players that care about the crunch, more than the fluff. They don't make a well rounded Paladin, then build a story around it. They build a Paladin/Sorcerer, out of some race that can fly, with a couple of meaningless flaws so they can afford a new feat that pwns. It rarely makes any logical sense, and I often find it distasteful. It gives me the first impressions that they need to draw attention through superior math, than through storytelling. If I'm not proven wrong, its not a terrible issue, I just find reason not to play with that person/group for long.
Making a character dedicated to one thing can be fun "My barbarian is gonna be able to wrestle frikken dragons outta the air!", and obviously you need specialized talent trees to get them off the ground. But when a player starts doing such things with every single character....well, I just don't approve of munchkins all that much.

few years back on this forum, a poster noted that a "perfect" optimization involved balancing crunch and fluff, ie, explaining through logic why said character is so head-scratchingly versatile. a good example would be old-man henderson. made to be a campaign-killer, but it was all explainable as to why a stoner scotsman wearing a hawaiian shirt looking for his garden gnome could speak fluent mandarin and portuguese and pilot a military chopper. doing qaaludes of all things.

you want crunch? pun-pun is the epitome of the all-powerful character, done as a thought experiment. how you'd explain it away, i've no idea, but who cares? it's math and rules-abuse to prove a point. it's not meant to be played.

one sign of the powergamer in my eyes is min-maxing. sure, you can explain away disparate stats (i played a sniper with 78% ballistic skill, but a relatively poor 36% agility. he had a bum knee from friendly fire years back. it became obscene at endgame with gear and skills, reaching 145% hit rate on a rifle with stealth hitting 79%), but when str and con are both at 26+ and cha, int and wis are at 3 at level one... there's either someone playing the sheet for only crunch, or a very convoluted reason why a pc is dumber than a rat.

if the roleplay is doable, i'll let anything fly. i'm just dubious about how you can rp a speaking pc with 3 int. if it's a crunch situation, it'll devolve into a thought experiment, or a team-play (the scout finds a barrel of black powder, the rogue sets the trap, the beatstick is the lure, and the wizard lights the barrel up, for example). and i'm not getting into the whole rules-lawyering or rules-breaking can of worms that is a mainstay of munchkins.

Mordar
2017-04-20, 12:04 PM
To JAL_1138: Wouldn't that give 0-9 and 0-19 instead of the standard d10 & d20 results? Or did zero go high?

0 was the 10, if you will. That's why the bestest strength ever was 18-double-0. Incidentally, d10s were numbered 1-0 (0-9)...I'm not sure if they thought the 10 was too difficult to carve into the dice die, or what...

You rolled d00 if you got an 18 strength...that was two d10s, and you wanted both to show as 0s for maximum effect. Yeah, it was odd...we're didn't have your fancy 10s and 1s versions of d10s back then, and we walked 3 miles to school in a snow storm uphill both ways every day and we liked it just fine! So it did mean that when you rolled a d10 for a 1-10 result 0 was 10 and best. But when you rolled 2d10 for a 1-100 result, a 0 on the "tens" die was bad *unless* you also got a 0 on the "ones" die. Then it was good.

We could also do math in our heads. Now go mow my lawn, kid. Then get off of it. :smallsmile:

- M

J-H
2017-04-20, 12:19 PM
I typically 'optimize' my characters (to be sure they are relevant and have more than 1 thing to do), but within a certain theme or set of limitations. I like to pick classes or options that aren't used as much, or perhaps a subset of abilities within a class.

A current E6 game application? I'm playing a Wu Jen instead of wizard/druid/warmage/etc. He has 5 skill points in herbalism/tea-making, and he's going to be a water specialist. A wizard would have substantially more options.

Characters I am currently playing:
Drow swashbuckler/wizard/swiftblade (fast, mediocre casting, low-ish damage, relying on on-hit effects)
Spirit Shaman
Favored Soul//Warlock (we went Gestalt partway into the game)
Duskblade (solo game in Thay)
Warforged Warblade (E6). Four of his maneuvers are Stone Dragon; only 1 DM and 1 TC.
Dwarf swordsage, stealth specialist wielding dual kukris. Staying away from the magic/flashy schools.

Some of these are powerful classes, but I keep my choices to a specific flavor or theme within those classes.

Rerem115
2017-04-20, 01:52 PM
I guess you could say that I'm an anti-munchkin. My characters tend to be well optimized, but in a way that tends to downplay their optimization. For example, my most recent character is an Entertainer Lore Bard (A walking stereotype, I know) with an emphasis on illusions. No damaging abilities other than cantrips, but the amount of support he provides has carried the day so many times.

JAL_1138
2017-04-20, 02:03 PM
To JAL_1138: Wouldn't that give 0-9 and 0-19 instead of the standard d10 & d20 results? Or did zero go high?

Same as on a d10. It was done with 0-9 so you could use it as a d100 "percentile" die as well—the same reason d10s aren't numbered 1-10.

If using it as a d100 (roll twice, first roll is tens digit, second roll is single digit), then 0 is 0 unless you roll 0 twice, which would be 100.

If using it as a d10, 0 is 10.

If using it as a d20, one 0 is ten, and the other (high color, or +0 on dice with the "+" indicator for high) is 20.




There are still d10s (especially but not exclusively percentiles) labeled 0-9; the 0 is obviously a 10, thus the acceptable range of numbers, 1-10&1-20, on the double d10. So, yes, the zero goes high.

I have never once even seen a d10 labeled 1-10, and my dice collection recently passed the five pound mark. I have one numbered 1-5 twice, because that's frankly a much better way to make a d5 than those weird little triangular-prism ones.

All my TSR, Chessex, Koplow, and Gamescience d10s are labeled 0-9 (or a variant thereof for powers of ten, such as 00-90, 000-900, or 0000-9000) except for that one "d5." Wait, maaaaybe—does Crystal Caste do a 10 on their weird barrel-shaped dice? I could swear those are 0-9 and 00-90 too. I'll look at my set later. I think they're numbered 0-9 and just shaped weird.

Squiddish
2017-04-20, 04:58 PM
I dunno. In my experience, Optimized characters are made by players that care about the crunch, more than the fluff. They don't make a well rounded Paladin, then build a story around it. They build a Paladin/Sorcerer, out of some race that can fly, with a couple of meaningless flaws so they can afford a new feat that pwns. It rarely makes any logical sense, and I often find it distasteful. It gives me the first impressions that they need to draw attention through superior math, than through storytelling. If I'm not proven wrong, its not a terrible issue, I just find reason not to play with that person/group for long.
Making a character dedicated to one thing can be fun "My barbarian is gonna be able to wrestle frikken dragons outta the air!", and obviously you need specialized talent trees to get them off the ground. But when a player starts doing such things with every single character....well, I just don't approve of munchkins all that much.

Well, first of all, this is stormwind fallacy at its maximum.

Second of all, as I can vouch for, it is patently wrong.
There are six people in our group, and we rotate through the DM's seat. I'd say the two most skilled roleplayers are also the best optimizers in our group, and they both enjoy playing optimized characters, either some sort of minmaxed charisma caster or some sort of crazy rogue builds.
Then of the two least skilled roleplayers, one is in the middle, and the other tries to optimize but is really, really, really bad at it and forgets his abilities regularly.

Third of all, liking optimized characters doesn't make someone a munchkin. Munchkinry is mostly defined by a desire to "win" the game.

Ninja-Radish
2017-04-20, 05:19 PM
Ugh, I absolutely despise anti-munchkins. Mostly because I tend to play heroic characters and I've had characters die protecting the jerk who decided to put 8s in all of their prime stats. Screw those people.

If someone doesn't want to play a combat monster, that's fine with me. But for Christ's sake, make a character who's useful for SOMETHING. You can make a guy who is great at knowledge skills, or stealth, or a face character, but don't make a character who's useless at EVERYTHING.

I've had so many problems with those people that now I tend to play Neutral characters who tell the anti-munchkins to keep up or die, no help from me anymore.

Pex
2017-04-20, 06:17 PM
So, I read an article that mentioned the concept of an "anti-munchkin". This is a player who, usually out of fear of being labelled a munchkin, will play as under powered player that ends being virtually useless much to the annoyance of the other players. So, I was wonder if anyone has encountered one of these types of players. If you have, please share your story.

I call them Drama Queens. It's all about the role play, only the role play, and their motivation for why the player's character should care about or do anything related to the campaign. They will not play a fighter, paladin, or barbarian. Ranger is possible if they emphasize heavily on nature, but they'll only play one as an archer. If they play a spellcaster they will only choose spells that enhance their roleplay, lots of utility, personal buffs, and any spells that affects socialization. They would love to Charm Person an NPC lover. Ability scores are irrelevant. Damage per round is irrelevant. Combat effectiveness is irrelevant. Combat takes away from story time and playing out their fantasy.

Mordar
2017-04-20, 06:48 PM
Well, first of all, this is stormwind fallacy at its maximum.

Except for, you know, that part where he said "In my experience...".

That also makes it kind of hard to vouch for his experience (which mimics mine with one noteworthy (to me) exception) being wrong.

My favorite thing about the vehement defenders of optimization I've met in real life is how woefully unoptimized they are in real life. If only there existed a charop board for real life...

- M

Dr_Dinosaur
2017-04-20, 08:48 PM
Personally I prefer my characters effective AND interesting. IME optimization tends to make the character more fun to play.

This is my style, and I've never understood the idea that wanting a character to be competent in addition to interesting (or encountered it offline).

The Insanity
2017-04-20, 09:57 PM
IME accusers of munchkinism tend to be petty whiners who are simply jealous that I'm having more fun than them. They can't optize themselves so they choose to put down their fellow player instead of asking for help.

VonMuller
2017-04-20, 10:13 PM
I like to challenge myself playing an underdog

I do it in Crusader Kings on the PC. "I will take this poor county and turn it into an empire"

I do it playing a fluffy character in D&D that excels at spotlighting other party members

I love overcoming odds. I find great pleasure in it.

RazorChain
2017-04-20, 10:32 PM
Well, creating a pixie commoner who tries to wrestle everything may be fun, but is unlikely to be successful. I assume you don't have anything against your fellow players being successful, so what, exactly, is it that you're opposed to?

How do we measure a success in RPG's? Most think of combat and try to crank out most possible combat power. But as I found out when playing Cyberpunk 2020: The bigger the guns you bring, the bad guys will just wear heavier armor.

But I also know players that show up with a ridiculously optimized face characters and expect to be able to fast talk their foes into suicide...but that ended badly :)

When people say someone isn't contributing and cry about somebody making a "bad build" that doesn't help the team then they are mostly referring to combat.
The funny thing is in my group I can show up with a pacifist that doesn't contribute anything in combat and nobody blinks an eye, so long as my character is useful in some other way.
On the other hand when I showed up with a combat monster that was extremely optimized nobody blinked an eye either. If I show up with a character that is a cadboard cutout that has no bakstory or a past then you can be sure that the group would call me out for being a bad roleplayer :)

Once a player complained to me over another PC who was uber optimized cardboard cutout character. Grim Dark who was from faraway and had no family or friends, a man without a past. So a player complains about mr. Grim Dark as he is uber optimized in combat and he didn't feel that was fair. Now the player in question was playing a character that didn't contribute much in combat so it's not like mr. Grim Dark was stealing the spotlight from him, no he was worried about what happens when I start to tailor combat challenge to mr Grim Dark standards. So I just explained to him that mr. Grim Dark's player enjoys combat so I just throw in some extra mooks into combat encounters for him to kill and he's happy.

I have nothing against optimized or unoptimized characters but when players start trying to cheese thing then I reign them in.





There are still d10s (especially but not exclusively percentiles) labeled 0-9; the 0 is obviously a 10, thus the acceptable range of numbers, 1-10&1-20, on the double d10. So, yes, the zero goes high.

I still have some d10 dice which are actually D20....I've never given this any thought....at least when I started playing in '87 they were widely available.

Arbane
2017-04-21, 12:45 AM
I have a 0-9 x 2 d20, and it does have the little +marks on half the faces. No idea where I got it....


I call them Drama Queens. It's all about the role play, only the role play, and their motivation for why the player's character should care about or do anything related to the campaign. They will not play a fighter, paladin, or barbarian. Ranger is possible if they emphasize heavily on nature, but they'll only play one as an archer. If they play a spellcaster they will only choose spells that enhance their roleplay, lots of utility, personal buffs, and any spells that affects socialization. They would love to Charm Person an NPC lover. Ability scores are irrelevant. Damage per round is irrelevant. Combat effectiveness is irrelevant. Combat takes away from story time and playing out their fantasy.

The most annoying ones are the ones that hog the spotlight through sheer weight of ineptitude. (Especially in games that have disadvantages, and they took ALL OF THEM. Every event in game is an opportunity for a five-minute monologue on their inner trauma.)


If someone doesn't want to play a combat monster, that's fine with me. But for Christ's sake, make a character who's useful for SOMETHING. You can make a guy who is great at knowledge skills, or stealth, or a face character, but don't make a character who's useless at EVERYTHING.

Kind of the problem I'm having with the antimunchkin in my current PF group - he's playing a rogue who's great at sneaking around, and gets a good sneak attack once in a while...but otherwise is lucky if he does 10 damage in a a round. At 9th level. And the GM doesn't use a lot of traps. At least he's good at having connections. (The GM eventually gave him a 'cohort' wizard, who he mostly uses to fireball things.)

I'd argue that in a combat-heavy game like D&D/PF, NOT optimizing your character at least a little is bad roleplaying. What kind of fool deliberately puts themselves in harm's way repeatedly without doing whatever they can to ensure they survive it? (Or if they have a death-wish, at least endure long enough to do whatever they value more than life?)

oxybe
2017-04-21, 12:58 AM
My favorite thing about the vehement defenders of optimization I've met in real life is how woefully unoptimized they are in real life. If only there existed a charop board for real life...

My favourite thing about the detractors of optimization seem to be how they have so little better things to do with their time, that they have to actively try to make other people feel bad about how they elfgame rather then do something productive or just shut up and play games with like-minded people. Why so petty?
----------------------------------
But to go back to the idea of optimization, i'll give my account as to why I optimize:

After I graduated college in the early 2000's, I moved out of my parent's place and started looking for a game to join, which was all 3rd ed by that point, having cut my teeth on 2nd ed in the late 90s.

But the available GMs in my area when I moved? Meat. Grinder. One openly admitted to feeling disappointed if a character didn't die by the end of a session.

Being that there were few available groups in my small city, and me being a relatively broke college graduate owning only a PHB (where buying a DMG+MM would be a luxury) and was not ready to run a game, nor did I have the sense to think "Not gaming is a better alternative then bad gaming", I opted the other route.

the "Git Gud" route.

I buckled down, learned the ins and outs of the game and the meat grinder became far less grindy and more tolerable. Once the issue of difficulty was somewhat resolved it was a very... adequate game. nothing to write home about, your typical "there is a dangerplace full of loot for unspecified reasons, go kick it's face in and get rich" type of game.

Fast forward a many years and after playing a larger variety of games with different groups I still do optimize, but rather I came to an epiphany, the "Tao of the Oxybe" if you will: full understanding that mechanics and characterization are the Ying and Yang of PCs, both separate yet at the same time influencing each other to create a balanced and interesting whole.

A character that keeps getting beaten down and without tools or abilities that let him rise above his oppressors doesn't sound that entertaining to play in. The fun of the underdog story is that people underestimate him, but he still has tools at his disposal that allows him to succeed within the narrative. The underdog is still optimized, just in a way that's different then the standard and they can work that to their advantage.

Having been forced to "Git Gud" I learned the game. I still have all the unoptimized character options available to me if I felt the need to want to play them. They didn't go anywhere, that didn't change.

What did change, is that I can now take something esoteric and make it work within the framework of the group and power level the GM has set, or take what would be an unoptimized concept and make it a viable concept that's fun not just to conceptualize but also play and interact with the game mechanics.

The Insanity
2017-04-21, 02:55 AM
Optimization enhances roleplay, not hinders it.

Lazymancer
2017-04-21, 03:35 AM
A question to all the "anti-munchkins" here: did any of you attempt to guilt-trip other players by playing underpowered characters?

Earthwalker
2017-04-21, 03:56 AM
Optimization enhances roleplay, not hinders it.

Optimization and Roleplaying are not linked. That's kind of the point of the stormwind fallacy.


A question to all the "anti-munchkins" here: did any of you attempt to guilt-trip other players by playing underpowered characters?

I have had to stop a game I was running as one player was optimizing "to win". It was also a number of other things all around floating around the same issue. Basically its the kind of thing that Pathfinder brings out that just causes problems for this one group.
We are currently playing Earthdawn and its not causing problems. (we shall see tho)

oxybe
2017-04-21, 04:18 AM
Optimization and Roleplaying are not linked. That's kind of the point of the stormwind fallacy

Stormwind is more "just because it's optimized doesn't mean it's not well roleplayed" then a strait "is not linked". IMO good roleplay does inform the direction of your optimization and your optimization will inform how your character interacts (ie roleplays) with the world.

Earthwalker
2017-04-21, 05:07 AM
Stormwind is more "just because it's optimized doesn't mean it's not well roleplayed" then a strait "is not linked". IMO good roleplay does inform the direction of your optimization and your optimization will inform how your character interacts (ie roleplays) with the world.

I disagree.
I believe it is possible to have a someone who is able to optimize well and be terrible at role playing. (I have seen this person at games)
I also think it is possible to have someone that can role play well but is terrible at optimizing. (I have also seen this person at games)

I have also seen the a wide range between.
The best roleplayers I know do optimize but not all good roleplayers I know are good at optimizing.

When I say they are not linked. I mean you can't say oh that person optimizes well therefore he must be a brilliant role player.

While for you (Oxybe) optimizing helps you role play it is not true for everyone, and therefore its not linked. Its just easier for you.

oxybe
2017-04-21, 05:20 AM
I never said it wasn't possible I just said that stormwind indicates that level of optimization doesn't indicate level of rp proficiency on part of the player or how well roleplayed the character in question is, just how mechanically well made the character is.

Earthwalker
2017-04-21, 05:47 AM
I never said it wasn't possible I just said that stormwind indicates that level of optimization doesn't indicate level of rp proficiency on part of the player or how well roleplayed the character in question is, just how mechanically well made the character is.

I agree with you on what the stormwind fallacy is about. I think that what you are saying is true.
What I disagree with is the following statement (which is what I originally replied to)


Optimization enhances roleplay, not hinders it.

Stormwind is the mistaken belief that optimization and roleplaying a dynamically opposed and linked in some way. Now the reason its a fallacy is because of course the two are not linked.
If the two are not linked (being opposed or in fact being synergistic) then the above statement is false.

If I wanted to help someone be a better role player, say get into character more. Perhaps the best idea isn't to teach them to optimize better but to teach them to role play better.

If someone wanted a character that was more capable then perhaps teaching them how to think in character and care about the NPCs around them probably wouldn't do as well as teaching them to optimize better.


So in closing, I agree with you about Stormwind.

Additionally I believe....

Optimization and Role Playing ability are not directly linked

Grod_The_Giant
2017-04-21, 06:50 AM
I think there's probably a slight positive correlation, in that people with more experience playing RPGs will tend to be... if not strictly better, at least more comfortable with all the various aspects of the game. Including both optimization and role-playing. But it's not a very strong one -- there are certainly a lot of outliers, the slope is shallow, and the r-value is low.

Earthwalker
2017-04-21, 07:39 AM
I think there's probably a slight positive correlation, in that people with more experience playing RPGs will tend to be... if not strictly better, at least more comfortable with all the various aspects of the game. Including both optimization and role-playing. But it's not a very strong one -- there are certainly a lot of outliers, the slope is shallow, and the r-value is low.

As I said the best role players I have known also are the best optimizers but then I think this is more to do with the player in question committing to all elements of the game.
More commitment makes them just better.

Also as you say more time playing can improve both aspects.

I still shy away from any notion that if you are a good optimizer you are a good role player.
Just as much as I dislike the notion if you are a good optimizer you are a bad role player.

Knaight
2017-04-21, 10:19 AM
IME accusers of munchkinism tend to be petty whiners who are simply jealous that I'm having more fun than them. They can't optize themselves so they choose to put down their fellow player instead of asking for help.

I have an alternate hypothesis. We have a group of players who enjoy the game. Then, someone with a different style insists that everyone enjoy the game their way, even though it involves a great deal of rules familiarization work up front and then consistently more work to make characters and GM. Not being willing to do this is then painted as being unable and inferior, and people understandably react in a hostile fashion.

Lazymancer
2017-04-21, 10:51 AM
I have an alternate hypothesis. We have a group of players who enjoy the game. Then, someone with a different style insists that everyone enjoy the game their way, even though it involves a great deal of rules familiarization work up front and then consistently more work to make characters and GM. Not being willing to do this is then painted as being unable and inferior, and people understandably react in a hostile fashion.
Why do you even play the game you are not familiar with? There is a ton of systems with less complicated (and fiddly) rules of the same style - if you like D&D, there is Basic D&D (or LotFP, for that matter).

And the crux of the problem is not the "hostile reaction", but passive-aggressive behaviour and attempts to get in-game advantage by OOC means. People are essentially roleplaying at being roleplayers.

Psyren
2017-04-21, 11:44 AM
When I read threads like these I have to wonder - why is a middle ground so hard to achieve? "Criminally useless" and "spotlight-stealer" are very, very far from the only options available in this game.

Lazymancer
2017-04-21, 11:51 AM
When I read threads like these I have to wonder - why is a middle ground so hard to achieve? "Criminally useless" and "spotlight-stealer" are very, very far from the only options available in this game.
What makes you think there are no other options? People here are talking about players who annoy them. Consequently, non-disruptive players aren't being mentioned.

Mordar
2017-04-21, 11:53 AM
Why do you even play the game you are not familiar with?

You do get that if there isn't an answer to this question, no one ever plays anything, right?

- M

Knaight
2017-04-21, 01:22 PM
Why do you even play the game you are not familiar with? There is a ton of systems with less complicated (and fiddly) rules of the same style - if you like D&D, there is Basic D&D (or LotFP, for that matter).
I don't, but that's because I'm deep enough into the hobby that learning entire new rules sets isn't that big a deal. For the people who do, there's a whole lot of D&D sticking around because it's the standard and works well enough to not be worth the effort to switch to something else. There's also the matter of there being a huge difference between being familiar with the rules as a whole and familiar with the various intricacies and edge cases so central to optimization, and that's before bringing in the question of splatbooks.


And the crux of the problem is not the "hostile reaction", but passive-aggressive behaviour and attempts to get in-game advantage by OOC means. People are essentially roleplaying at being roleplayers.
Coming with a character at a high optimization level and then insisting that everyone else either be useless or have fun your way is also a highly passive aggressive behavior, and for that matter optimization is getting in game advantage through OOC means. That it gets the same response back is hardly surprising, particularly given how incredibly annoying the people who insist on everyone playing their way (regardless of what that way is) are.

kyoryu
2017-04-21, 01:28 PM
See I've always heard that, but I feel like it immediately rules out a lot of concepts that would be dramatically interesting but not lend themselves to optimized characters.

...

I could probably go on.

Know the system you're playing.

D&D's strong suit is *not* emulating fiction.

Cluedrew
2017-04-21, 01:47 PM
Why do you even play the game you are not familiar with?Building off of other answers, playing unfamiliar games is the main way people become familiar with the game. Both it tends to be the one used most often, and in terms of the others usually only work if used in conjunction with playing the game.

As an example, I am pretty good at learning rules sets. I almost always go through the rule book, even if some one else can explain it, and have pretty good recall for them. I once played a tactical game that, on the whole I was very familiar with, but faced some special units I had never seen before. But I knew every special rule for the unit, I even new most of the stat line for it. Still lost because that doesn't tell you how it works in the game and it certainly didn't give me the strategies I needed to fight them effectively. I suppose someone could have given me a strategy, but just looking at the strategy isn't going to help either, I'm going to have to try it.


When I read threads like these I have to wonder - why is a middle ground so hard to achieve? "Criminally useless" and "spotlight-stealer" are very, very far from the only options available in this game.Yeah, I don't think they are. I've played with few of either, actual it might just be one that was both. A mechanically sound, I think as I never examined the sheet, character whose attempts to steel the spotlight generally resulted in the character failing and being useless. Point is, a lot of people to hit that middle ground.

Quertus
2017-04-21, 02:24 PM
A question to all the "anti-munchkins" here: did any of you attempt to guilt-trip other players by playing underpowered characters?

No, I can't say that was my goal.
Perhaps my best anti-munchkin story is of a character named Amalak.

I know it's hard for modern gamers to understand, but, back in the days of Gygaxian pros, we didn't have "touch AC", or a condition summary page with a defined helpless condition. No, we had "AC 10". If you were being grappled? You were "AC 10". You were asleep, paralyzed, helpless? "AC 10". So, "AC 10" was code for every bad thing that could happen to your character, something you'd try at all costs to avoid.

Well, due to my incredible, unparalleled knowledge of the rules, I discovered you could have an AC worse than 10. (Yes, it's just no armor and a Dex penalty. Seems simple nowadays.)

To explain this bold, new concept, I invented a religion of death worshippers, who were trained not to fear death. They were not allowed to wear armor or use shields, they were trained not to dodge blows (until they had a Dex penalty), and had the special granted power that they were immune to protective devices/spells.

I would only run Amalak when I knew the DM would call for AC.

DM: name?
Me: Amalak.
DM: armor class?
Me: <number worse than 10>.

This would invariably result in either the DM claiming that was impossible (and usually either asking to see my sheet, or asking someone to help me with my character), or the party rules lawyer(s) claiming that was impossible, or both.

Invariably, much reading of the rules and head scratching later, everyone would agree that it was possible to have an AC worse than 10.

There would generally also be questions of why I would make such a character, and the roleplayers in the group would usually be quite interested in learning about my character's religion. He even got a few converts from the PCs. :biggrin:

From this, people would generally learn:

Yes, I am a rules lawyer.

No, I don't just bend the rules to my statistical advantage.

Yes, it is possible to rules lawyer and min max, and still be a role-player.

Although Amalak by himself is a poor example, I'd like to think I've been fighting against the Stormwind Fallacy since before it was a thing. :smallwink:

And to directly answer the question, that was my goal: to draw out the roleplayers (and, arguably, draw out the roleplayer in my fellow rules lawyers and min maxers).

And to directly address the other half of the question: I'm a min maxer - I'm certainly not going to begrudge someone else playing a powerful character. In fact, as has been at least strongly hinted at in this very thread, it's generally a bad thing if no-one in the party is able to, you know, do anything. So I actively like other people playing strong characters when my opt-fu is being dedicated to making a character that... isn't.


I guess you could say that I turned anti optimization into a religion. :smalltongue:


How do we measure a success in RPG's? Most think of combat and try to crank out most possible combat power. But as I found out when playing Cyberpunk 2020: The bigger the guns you bring, the bad guys will just wear heavier armor.

Pity that the reverse isn't true in most games.

Actually... One very smart computer AI did exactly the opposite: the weaker my guns, the more it prioritized armor. That was rough.

But I was just measuring the success of a given action (pixie commoner attempting to grapple foes), not, you know, some larger, more cosmic measure of "success". :smallwink:

Pex
2017-04-21, 03:27 PM
I'm an optimizer. No regrets or shame. If a player asks for help in creating a character I will do so in an optimized way that creates their character concept. If I'm not asked, I keep it to myself if they choose a particular build I wouldn't have. It's not my character. However, I will always speak up if they do one particular thing I've seen way too many times and not just in the current 5E system.

Do not put an 8 in Constitution!

That is too much of a character weakness that will hurt the party. I've seen warrior players do this. They'll drop sooner losing party action economy. They will be too cautious because they're so low on hit points. They have too much of a need of healing to avoid dropping. They'll Honest True unintentionally suck the fun out of the game exclaiming worry about their character dying so easily when they see how fast their hit points dwindle to 0. To avoid this from past experience I tell them to increase it. I prefer the "adventurer's tax" of at least a 14 and say that number, but I also say "make it a 12 at least".

Ninja-Radish
2017-04-21, 04:24 PM
The other issue I have with anti-munchkins is that their very presence in a group seems to trigger a downward spiral of suck, at least in my experience.

First, they soak up a disproportionate amount of healing resources cause they're terrible in combat. Second, everyone else in the group has to somehow pitch in to take over the role that character was supposed to play (i.e. the Fighter with 12 Charisma has to be the party face cause some dimwit made a Bard with 8 Charisma), it's just a bad time all around.

Quertus
2017-04-21, 05:28 PM
The other issue I have with anti-munchkins is that their very presence in a group seems to trigger a downward spiral of suck, at least in my experience.

First, they soak up a disproportionate amount of healing resources cause they're terrible in combat. Second, everyone else in the group has to somehow pitch in to take over the role that character was supposed to play (i.e. the Fighter with 12 Charisma has to be the party face cause some dimwit made a Bard with 8 Charisma), it's just a bad time all around.

Well, yes and no. Let's say that you could measure character competencies, and put numeric values on them. Let's say that a good, functional party has a total competency value between, say, 500-600. If one member of your 4-man team brings a "50", it's an opportunity for you to pull out that "200" or "250" you've been dying to use.

Alternately, you can play the same 125-150 you always do, in which case you get to tell the story of the underdogs, the team that really isn't up to snuff.

As for the healing... I don't know how you play, but if someone who is terrible at combat keeps getting hit, they clearly need to go to the Quertus / cowards' school of combat, and learn to get out of the way. IME, those who aren't good at combat and don't know enough to get out of the way don't usually live long enough to be a problem. :smalltongue:

icefractal
2017-04-21, 05:54 PM
See I've always heard that, but I feel like it immediately rules out a lot of concepts that would be dramatically interesting but not lend themselves to optimized characters.Most of those are just un-optimized rather than anti-optimized though. And Rincewind is fairly optimized ... just not at casting spells; in any effect-based system the luck to survive all that stuff is totally an ability you would buy/pick. Ditto for being "the chosen one" or being part of a god's schemes.

Also, I have to say some of those are a bit unfitting - conceptually, not mechanically - in the typical D&D party. In some campaigns they'd be fine, but in others it would be like having an accountant who had a mid-life crisis and decided to become a man of action (but has had no training as of yet) inserted into a SEAL team - not really suitable unless it's a comedy.

JAL_1138
2017-04-21, 06:30 PM
Most of those are just un-optimized rather than anti-optimized though. And Rincewind is fairly optimized ... just not at casting spells; in any effect-based system the luck to survive all that stuff is totally an ability you would buy/pick. Ditto for being "the chosen one" or being part of a god's schemes.

Don't forget how high his movement speed is, and his frankly amazing facility with languages, and he has some talent with street smarts and general survival know-how. He might be rubbish as a spellcaster, but he's actually pretty good as a skillmonkey.

And he has The Luggage, which is so ferociously, bloody-mindedly loyal that it's probably closer to a class feature than a magic item.

kyoryu
2017-04-21, 06:37 PM
Also, I have to say some of those are a bit unfitting - conceptually, not mechanically - in the typical D&D party. In some campaigns they'd be fine, but in others it would be like having an accountant who had a mid-life crisis and decided to become a man of action (but has had no training as of yet) inserted into a SEAL team - not really suitable unless it's a comedy.

Well, exactly.

Know the game you're playing, and what it does (and doesn't) do well. Both in terms of system and table culture.

The Insanity
2017-04-21, 09:52 PM
Optimization and Roleplaying are not linked.
Is not linked =/= can not be linked.

Prince Zahn
2017-04-22, 08:59 AM
So, I read an article that mentioned the concept of an "anti-munchkin". This is a player who, usually out of fear of being labelled a munchkin, will play as under powered player that ends being virtually useless much to the annoyance of the other players. So, I was wonder if anyone has encountered one of these types of players. If you have, please share your story.

Funny, my friends and I are always griping and saying that we'd do this in response to our DM always giving us encounters that are unfairly lethal at low levels.... Maybe one day we'll really make such a protest for realsies.

daemonaetea
2017-04-22, 12:09 PM
I apologize if this has been brought up already, but after reading certain comments on the first page I had something I wanted to add.

A few people are defending weak characters as allowing them to play characters that impossibly to play otherwise. To which my rejoinder would be, some characters are simply not a good fit for most games.

I would actually put the too weak character into the same basket as the incredibly powerful character, in that there are plenty of situations where they're simply not viable for the game concept. That's not to say they're never useful, but a purposely weak character in a game started at level 8 seems broadly out of place of most games at that level, just as wanting to playing the unrelenting badass at level 1 is also just going to leave you with heart ache.

Sometimes, the idea you have just needs to be abandoned because it doesn't fit the game. If you want to play a deliberately weak character, I'd check with the GM and other players to make sure it fits what they're going for. If not, put them aside for rainy day.

Arbane
2017-04-22, 01:50 PM
Optimization and Roleplaying are not linked. That's kind of the point of the stormwind fallacy.


It's hard to roleplay if your character is dead.

TheCountAlucard
2017-04-22, 03:11 PM
It's hard to roleplay if your character is dead.Sounds like someone needs to try playing a ghost. :smallwink:

Psyren
2017-04-22, 08:12 PM
What makes you think there are no other options? People here are talking about players who annoy them. Consequently, non-disruptive players aren't being mentioned.

Seems like a great solution to me. So what's to discuss?

ross
2017-04-25, 09:49 PM
I'd concluded that he just didn't care about the game or his character or anything, but he was just genuinely clueless that he was causing everyone headaches. I'm not sure if that counts as an anti-munchkin.

So why was he there?


Well, creating a pixie commoner who tries to wrestle everything may be fun, but is unlikely to be successful. I assume you don't have anything against your fellow players being successful, so what, exactly, is it that you're opposed to?

Probably people who suck the fun out of the game for everyone else while feigning ignorance.


IME accusers of munchkinism tend to be petty whiners who are simply jealous that I'm having more fun than them. They can't optize themselves so they choose to put down their fellow player instead of asking for help.

See above.


My favourite thing about the detractors of optimization seem to be how they have so little better things to do with their time, that they have to actively try to make other people feel bad about how they elfgame rather then do something productive or just shut up and play games with like-minded people. Why so petty?

Pot, meet kettle.


You do get that if there isn't an answer to this question, no one ever plays anything, right?

You can become familiar with a system without playing it.


Is not linked =/= can not be linked.

They are never linked.


Seems like a great solution to me. So what's to discuss?

We are discussing specific types of disruptive players. Try re-reading the thread if you're still (pretending to be) confused.

oxybe
2017-04-26, 12:39 AM
Pot, meet kettle.


Pot, after meeting kettle, still wonders why they feel the need to verbally attack him for boiling water for the purpose of cooking eggs instead of making tea.

hymer
2017-04-26, 03:08 AM
So why was he there?

I thought he was a social player, there to hang out. In reality, who knows? I guess it all makes sense in his mind.

ross
2017-05-08, 12:01 AM
Pot, after meeting kettle, still wonders why they feel the need to verbally attack him for boiling water for the purpose of cooking eggs instead of making tea.

"Everyone who says bad things about people who optimize are losers"
"You're saying bad things about people who don't optimize"
"WHY ARE YOU ATTACKING PEOPLE?!?!!"

oxybe
2017-05-08, 02:04 AM
Pot, realizing that Kettle understands neither sarcasm or satire and still continues to berate him for boiling eggs instead of making tea, shrugs and continues to boil eggs anyways.

Because the worst Kettle can do is a loud, annoying whistle.

weckar
2017-05-08, 07:46 AM
My current chararacter, for example, is a scholar. Specifically a Historian with a dabbling in... just about everything else including Mathematics. So the fact that he's a by-the-numbers optimised build (other than his chassis, which has him being sub-normal in all physical attributes) is actually in-character justified.

Psyren
2017-05-08, 09:38 AM
We are discussing specific types of disruptive players. Try re-reading the thread if you're still (pretending to be) confused.

My point was that it's a type of disruption that seems overly specific to the point of caricature. I can think of no reason for the kind of intentional ineptitude described in the OP other than retaliatory trolling of one's group.

Also, you could try being less abrasive.

icefractal
2017-05-08, 08:33 PM
"You're saying bad things about people who don't optimize."Not optimizing != complaining about how optimization is evil.
He was mocking people who do the latter, not the former.

Hagashager
2017-05-14, 08:46 PM
In the last couple of groups I gamed with we had the same guy in the team as well.

His whole shtick was to make some obtusely optimized character who could only be absolutely excellent at one thing, and terrible at everything else. It was annoying since he was also the same player who thought it was funny to constantly work against his party somehow. He'd deliberately leave combats, separate from the party, or swap notes with the GM detailing how he'd use his uber skill to bolster himself at the party's expense.

His excuse was that, since he ALWAYS, played Rogues, or rogue type characters, it "made sense" for his character to be a selfish and uncooperative jerk.

JNAProductions
2017-05-14, 08:50 PM
In the last couple of groups I gamed with we had the same guy in the team as well.

His whole shtick was to make some obtusely optimized character who could only be absolutely excellent at one thing, and terrible at everything else. It was annoying since he was also the same player who thought it was funny to constantly work against his party somehow. He'd deliberately leave combats, separate from the party, or swap notes with the GM detailing how he'd use his uber skill to bolster himself at the party's expense.

His excuse was that, since he ALWAYS, played Rogues, or rogue type characters, it "made sense" for his character to be a selfish and uncooperative jerk.

That makes perfect sense.

It's also a richard move.

If it makes sense for your character to work against the party, MAKE A DIFFERENT CHARACTER.