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I recently started a new campaign and was really disappointed in the beginning. I live in a college town and play with college students. The players revolve regularly as does the game, all of which is fine by me. I have had a big problem with power gamers, so much so, i do not think I enjoy the game very much anymore.

 

Every game I run someone maximizes something in such a way that it breaks gameplay. I try to let the players make characters that interest them, after all, just because I run it does not make it my game any more than theirs. But every time, no matter how nice I ask them not to min/max, power game, or whatever you want to call it, at least 1 or 2 people do.

 

Before this gets side tracked, it is not the age of the gamers I mind, both old and young power game.

 

I can't completely blame them, D20 has expanded into little more than an endless list of feats and prestige classes that allow you to do one amzing thing after another. So many combinations out there not even half of them could have been play tested or really analyzed. Players want to play the best character they can. But, to me, in the end, it wrecks the game.

 

The game is becoming a math problem, one where players sit and gather whatever they can to get the most powerful solution. It is not about playing tha game anymore for many players, they have their path choosen out all the way to level 20. What happens in the game does not matter, it is about obtaining some level of power and ability like you are playing Diablo. Instead of enjoying the game too many people are trying to beat it. I say OK, you win, you beat it, now what? Great you can kill a dragon in two rounds all by yourself, now what do you want to do? Want to go beat up some children? I don't get the mentality.

 

D&D is the perfect combination of RPG and videogame. "In my day", it was not about making the biggest baddest character ever made, actually for the most part, there were not rules to support it. It was more about getting togther with friends for some fun and the game was the focus of the fun. What happened?

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There have always been power gamers. Period. Point out ANY system, and someone will point out a gamer that broke the system -- legally -- with an uber-powerful character.

 

I think part of the problem is the people you choose to game with. Seriously. In our group, we really don't have too many min/maxers. Sure some do it a bit; its only natural, and some have a legitimate reason to do it. I play a wizard in our current campaign. He has an 18 intelligence. A bit min/maxed, for sure. But then, why would I want to play a wizard with an 11 intelligence? Some may want to... Irregardless, the group I play with is as ready to do some intense RPing as they are to throw down...and it's a very stable group and one in which we exercize (collectively) a great deal of control over who joins. We have players in the campaign that have been there for 10 years or so...I believe I've been with this group for around 8. We've been able to build a stable relationship and we're all comfortable with each other. Anyone that doesn't meet our approval doesn't play with us anymore... WHile that may sound callous, he do have a certain style and desire from the game, and we want to play with people that compliment our collective style of gaming.

 

I think the answer is to find a core of stable, regular gamers that can exert a level of influence over the group, that sees eye-to-eye with your style and what you want out of the game.

 

Damon.

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I think the answer is to find a core of stable, regular gamers that can exert a level of influence over the group, that sees eye-to-eye with your style and what you want out of the game.

 

Damon.

That is what everygamer wants, but only a very few find. I have tried to find that, but none of my long time friends play RPGs. I have great time playing cards and the like with them, but can't RP with them.

 

 

I grew up playing games like James Bond, Traveller, Boot Hill, Gamma World and several others. The only way to have uber characters were with uber stats. That was easy to work around and many of them used percentile dice where chance played a much bigger role. D20 brought a strict set of rules to power and consistency in games which was good, but in the end I think for me it may have removed a lot of what made gaming fun.

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If you introduce a min/max character into a standard setting, you will have broken results. The solution is to take them out of their element.

 

They have the uber weapon combo? Send them to a costume party or ball. They one-shot dragons? Feed them a stream of insignificant critters. Having a hammer is no good when you don't have a nail to hit - deny them the nail.

 

Then again, using the hammer in new ways is what makes for satisfying role-play.

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I totally understand where you are coming from. I use to play sims online, a game that you can't win at, yet people would have 8 differant accounts and "cheat" to have thier lot be number one. It was pathetic. As for D&D, I was fortunate, the group I played in, the majority of people made characters, not battle machines. They were more actor then player.

 

The best option would be to find people like minded, but if that's not possible then change your setting. You don't want superheros? Then limit their stats so that even getting a 15 is impossible. Restrict magic items, focus on adventures where there is no fighting, or very little. I think if you are DM, you are justifed in saying it's your game, and you are justified in running it as you see fit. If they don't like it, you can either compromise, or let them walk.

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Remember, though, that some munchkins are a product of their environment. If their introduction to role-playing was with a combat-oriented DM in a fighting-heavy environment, then they would adopt the tools necessary to survive - a well rounded character on the battlefield isn't much fun. Don't be afraid to tell them what you don't like, or they may never realize the difference. Give them a chance to grow, and develop a situation where the growth is useful, and see what comes of it. If it doesn't work, either accept it or boot them.

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Or just pregenerate characters. SInce you have a rotating complement of players, Pre-Gen characters, while more work for you, the GM, make some sense - This week Billy is "Frab the Mage" and next week Stanley is.

 

Alternatively:

Use the Point-buy method of Stat Creation (It's what we used in our WLD Game to prevent Power gaming abuses). It's remarkable effective when you realize that realistically 16 is the highest you can get. We only have 2 characters generated out of over 14 that had anything higher than 16 (each got a 17 but had 2 8's, so if you asked them to do anything other than the 18 thing, they failed fast.)

 

Final solution:

Ask them to play in Frosch's Dungeon of Doom with a Goth Faerie and her Magic Poetry, Percival the Dire Freaking Wonder Ferret and his Pogostick, the Autochef 5000 cooking android and his biscuits of death, notorious G.R.A.G.G., and the rest of the bunch . . . They'll soon realize powergaming won't help them if they are carrying anything Shiny . . .

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Well said Digital Mat! I have also been noticing this trend, and like yourself, my enjoyment with the game has been diminishing (The interest is still strong though!). There are certainly strategies a DM can use in order to try and offset the issue of course, but I recall fonldy the days of yore when the story and the action were the important thing. Now, half demon illithid vampire psionicists seem to have replaced the Conans. All is good if that's how you like to play, but not my cup of tea. I tried House Ruling such combos away, and using "low magic/low fantasy" settings instead, but then of course, popular interest in your game wanes since the masses seem to want to uber character Diablo style. <_<

 

Over the past 2 years, I have instead begun to shift my focus from the RPG aspect of the hobby to the miniature side of things, due in large part, to the issues you mention. I do miss the days of yore though, I must say! :;):

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Open gaming Licesne= everyone who vaugely wants to can pour buckets of fees into DnD.

 

worst part is WoTC takeover. why? old flavor of Dnd made it fun to play? member the old crisp campiness of the old school fantasy mixed with blooduy hardcore stuff? the feel of DND in the 80's made it cool, now, it's gettin; awfully close to MTG the RPG. how many half ithilid githyanki blackguard monk holocause warriors can we make today.

 

"give me a 6th level human fighter (or cleric) with a longbow (specialized) and a falchion and i will show you the meaning of pain."

--me, during char'gen' in recent months.

 

sorry, i will play a game with no freakshow, like L5R 3rd ed. or Wheel of Time. or go backto the good ol' hollow world, modified to date.

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The only D&D I would even consider playing anymore is my old "red box" Basic D&D set. You rolled stats and bought equipment and all the rest was purely imagination based. Want a fighter that was once a gladiator? Fine, *POOF* there he is. Want a dwarf that likes to play the flute? Fine, *POOF* there he is. That old stuff made you be creative to flesh things out. I hate the way that everything is just "handed" to you as if the RPG were a video game on paper. <_<

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hail hail!!!

 

BTW, i loved the art for the expert level set box. if i ever find it again for cheap i am sooo getting it. why did i ever toss it????

that, or an elmore poster of the art in question...

 

hmmm. elmore posters...hmmmm...

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My new Elf Wizard has a 22 Intelligence and a feat that makes him an outsider. He has a level of Cleric, so he can cast healing spells too. He has 2 PrC (Dwoemerkeeper and Divine Oracle), with a 2 level dip in each. Am I a munchkin?

 

Oh yeah, he's a Diviner so his spells seldom require a save (although Scry does in 3.5). His high Intelligence is for skill points. And I am alternating levels in the PrCs.

 

Sadly, the DM still whines about his all his Knowledges. But then this is the same DM who said my Halfling Cleric/Rogue with the Track and Run feats was overpowered.

 

Sometimes it's easy to blame the system. I also think you are glossing over a bit of the past. There were PLENTY of powergamers and Monty Haul campaigns back then (these aren't new labels), you are just conveniently forgetting about them...

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DS: You've built the perfect Plott Devise!

 

But seriously, something liek that just tells me 'send strange auspices and augery through this character and run the characters ragged'.

 

I've been a DM for nigh-on 20+ years now, I've gone through all the stages, and I've learned the best rule ever about DnD (even better than 'give them enough rope to hang themselves with')

 

Let them play the game they want to play.

 

If they want to kill a peasant, let the peasants revolt against the players. etc...

 

--LSH

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