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Digital M@

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I've also had to deal with munchkins for years in one of my groups. The problem with munchkins is that they also ignore the rules-little details such as CROSS CLASS SKILLS costing more points and conveniently ignoring armour check penalties. One guy had a fighter in full plate and somehow had a better move and hide skill than my single class rogue.....until I pointed out that the armour penalties and cost to buy those skills BLAH BLAH BLAH...and he still gave himself way too many skill points. GOTCHA!


I'll share a little munchkin mangling tip from an old DM. Munchkins NEVER fail saving throws, mainly because they tend to cheat. So my old DM set up a trap (a magical orb in an old temple) that went off and had everyone roll a will save. Of course the power gamer will make his save and be uneffected by the magical enhancment that only affects those that failed the save. It could be anything-a stat booster, a free feat, or even a level....use this sparringly.


Another DM used a point system to build a charecter-using this system, everyone had a PC where all the stats added together added up to 81. He kept track of our skill points and feats on a computer program so it was impossible to cheat.

Hope this helps.

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While there have been power gamers since the advent of role-playing 3e has made it a lot worse. The whole idea of charisma-based skill checks screams of roll-playing, not role-playing. Basically there is a 5% chance you can convince nearly anybody of anyting (Bluff), turn enemies into friends (Diplomacy), or scare off somebody/thing much more powerful than yourself (Intimidate). Whatever happened to players role-playing charisma-based things? I let my players use the Gather information, Handle animal, and Use magic device skills but I make them role-play everything else.


Just for fun I made up a 9th level 1/2-Nymph-half-1/2-Elf Human/Nymph/1/2-Elf Paragon who could turn any intelligent adversary to at least neutral with anything but a natural 1. I never got to use her in a game, but that's OK; I just made her to show how easily 3e can be broken.

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Another point, while I'm ranting:

Players don't know anything about their characters nowadays. If you ask some new gamer (I've been playing D&D for two-and-a-half decades, so my idea of new might be different than yours) what his character is like, he'll typically start spouting off stats and feats. Whatever happened to backstory? Character development? I was reading a post somewhere that went something like:


"She's a 1/2-Orc sorceress with a 20 Charisma."


"Great backstory!"


How in the world is that backstory?!?

I have a 1/2-Orc who's backstory was a few pages long before it even got to his conception! There were about 10 pages concerning his mother, who was dead before he reached puberty.


You won't see that kind of character development with most new players. D&D has become a video game with dice and paper. That's why I play version 1.99: d20 mechanics with a 1st edition feel.

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At the start of this thread, D&D d20 was kinda blamed for the overabundance of power gamers that are around now....now unless I missed it somewhere, you guys forgot to blame the real culprit in this thing.....MAGIC THE GATHERING....spend enough money...toss the right cards into a deck in the right proportions and WHAMMO everyones a power gamer


.....and the whole quick satisfaction thing.....M:TG only requires a few minutes of preparation and most games only take a few minutes to play.....Roleplaying or Miniatures Wargaming require real time investment if you are to enjoy them...and after playing M:TG who wants to invest that much time.

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Once again, every system can be broken. And every system can be fixed. I'm hearing a lot of DMs complaining that their players characters are too powerful. Whose fault is that? The DM's! If players are abusing the nuts and bolts, ignore the rolls! Who's in charge here?


And if a character is specifically tailored to break a certain rule, they're bound to be weak in just about every other area. A fighter is always going to have a low will save, a wizard is always going to low fort save. If a character can bluff his way past intelligent opponents, make them fight a frickin' ooze! This is basic stuff.


Get over the 3.5 hatred. It's as good or better a game than most out there. The rules are consistent and make sense.


RPG's are supposed to be FUN. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.

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Reading DigitalM@'s original post made me laugh because the last time I ran a session for my campaign, one of my players ranted for 15 minutes about another (absent) player's 'max/min'ing habits! Yes, I did type that correctly, and you did read that correctly! Max/Min'ing!


The characters that this particular player has made for the last couple of campaigns have been, umm, let's just call them less than optimized. Usually it is his random multiclassing that causes this, though sometimes it is the odd feat selections. I don't mind, but it is amusing that he does not excel at anything, even his main class!


Now before you all roll you eyes and think that I've got a group full of munchkins, I've got to tell you that this group is the best RP group I've ever played with. I'll also add that you guys would be very surprised at which player was doing the ranting! :wow:


I've also watched the 'power creep' from all the supplements since 3.0 came out. I've been playing D&D since it was the little brown books. I got disillusioned with it when the Players Options came out. 3.0 brought me back.


I ran a 3.0 campaign 3 or 4 years ago with most of the same group of players. The one exception was the wizard character. It was a Forgotten Realms campaign, and as the group got higher and higher in level, the wizard kept casting these spells that I'd never heard of before. Each time I'd ask where he got that spell from, and he'd whip out Magic of Faerun, or the next great supplement.


I decided right then that the next campaign I was going to run would be Core Rulebooks only! I don't have the money to buy each new book that comes out. Even if I did, I wouldn't have time to read them either!


My thoughts on Munchkins/Power-gamers/Min-Maxers:

If the game is more about whose attack bonus is higher, or who can do the most damage in a round, then you should be playing Diablo and other games of its ilk.

Role-playing games are about assuming the persona of a character, and dealing with encounters, trials, and adventures through the character's perception. That being said, I believe that everyone in life should strive to reach their potential, even fantasy characters.


What I mean is, if you're going to be a pirate, be the best damn pirate on the oceans! Don't be spending skill points on Ride! If you're going to be a Jack-of-all-Trades, be the best damn jack-of-all-trades that has ever jacked some trades! If you're going to be a wizard, be the best wizard you can be. If you're going to be a lazy half-orc wizard, be the world's greatest lazy half-orc wizard! (blatantly stolen from the Mordant play-by-post game, and I love that character concept).


If you're a fighter that wears full plate and swings a greatsword, DON'T take a level of Rogue just cause you think it would be cool. I happen to think that the Maori facial tattoos are really cool. Don't see them on my face though, do you! ::P:


I find that the best way to make a lasting memorable character is to find out the characters background, history, personality and motivations FIRST! Then go through the mechanics of making the D&D character!



I know, I know! I'm preaching to the choir here for the most part! :B):



Just my two cents! Your mileage may vary!

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Oh, yeah, one more thing. Anything that the players can do, the DM can do back to them. If you read through some of the published adventures, it seems that the NPC's feats were picked at random. A DM can go through and make some changes to munchkin up the enemy.

Also, just because some third party company printed something, it doesn't mean it can automatically be brought in. The DM has a right to say "NO!" and I recomend having a rolled up newspaper or squirt bottle handy.

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With reference to "power creep" and the supplement avalanche, one thing our group does with that is, whenever Wotc releases a D&D book, it's considered accessable to all players, unless there are some major problems with it (Book of Exalted Deeds...consensus here is that some of the ideas are bad...or Book of Vile Deeds, since we don't run an evil campaign--though its fair game for NPCs!). All other supplements require discussion time. Things like spells are strictly regulated, and must meet group approval before they're introduced to the campaign. The DM has a little more leeway here, but most times adheres to this regulation. Once thr group reaches a consensus, we introduce either the supplement or the spell/feat. Of course some are easier to introduce than others...the book we use for Critical Hits was nearly seamless. Some of the spells from the Monte "cheater books" get a lot more vetting...


We accomplish all this through O-L forums or email lists.


I think the idea of the DM dictating what can and can't be in the game is a little authoritarian. Players are going to find cool stuff to use, interesting concepts, and the like. Players should (IMHO) be encouraged to bring things in if they add to the campaign, or are simply neat. But it's also important for the group to discuss and be happy with the element being ported in. Fun gaming is often one of compromise and concensus...


WRT CHA based skill checks, or skill checks in general, I really don't think these reduce role playing and degenerate into "roll-playing." In the real-world, I'm very laid back and not very "charismatic." But I often play characters that ARE. Skills like "Diplomacy" are meant to compensate players who are NOT very diplomatic (and it also keeps the DM honest...there have been a few times when we've RPed diplomatic discussions and the DM has been biased towards a negative reaction...at least the dice aren't biased). It would be boring if every character I played was a scholarly historians instead of creepy self-interested power mages, or heroic sacrificing Paladins, or even xenophobic dwarven clerics...


Damon, playing an ignorant Grey Elf mage in the current campaign...

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Come, let me bore you all with theory whose moral is basically: there are many different types of people in the world - who all like different things. ::P:

I find the Bartle quotient can apply to RPG players too, in and out of game.


Achievers want power, be it in-game socio-political power for their characters, or out-of-game player min-maxing - just depends on the player. (Things in D&D that cater to them: levels, feats, powers, prestige classes, the whole 'improving character' aspect.)


Explorers tend to explore the heck out of the in-game world or explore to exploitation any given game system. (Things in D&D that cater to them: entire imaginary worlds, dungeon crawling, mapping, the whole 'exploring the world' aspect. Game system explorers tend to be achievers as well, probably make good game-breaking munchkin types, were they so inclined.)


Socializers might manage their in-game NPC network or enjoy out of game social interaction among friends. (Things in D&D that cater to them: specifically, not much, I don't think. This might probably explain why there's always been such a huge backlash to stress on ROLEPLAYING, not roll-playing. It might have been assumed once that this would naturally happen and be taken for granted that you didn't have to write rules for this sort of thing. Unfortunately, those attracted to the rulebook and the rules are probably not strong socializer-types, and the evolving D&D versions might reflect a bias towards the A and E types.)


Killers like anything that gives them a win. (I think, anyhow.) So cooperative players who have a strong Killer preference might enjoy helping the group defeat obstacles thrown at them by the GM, or combat where you get to win over lots of critters. Less cooperative types can become griefers, where they just enjoy abusing the world, game, system, other players until they run out of gaming groups or end up in one that suits their style of play - think 'Black Hands' for those who read Knights of The Dinner Table.


For a more RPG-related theory of games, there's Gamist/Narrativist/Simulationist.

I don't even pretend to understand a quarter of the stuff going on at the Indy Games Forge website, but here's how I construe G/N/S:


Gamist: People who like RPGs as a game. The game system has a set of rules to follow, your job is to play within the rules to achieve a 'winning' state.


Narrativist: People who like RPGs as a narrative device. The game system should allow you to tell a story - beginning, middle, end, with character development, stress on themes and all that writing-related stuff.


Simulationist: People who like RPGs as a simulation. The game system's rules should simulate a world, realistic or otherwise, and allow you to pretend to be someone else.


D&D is very much G/S-oriented, and the version changes are just adding so much crunchy stuff on, that it turns off those who can't be bothered to keep track of so many rules. Like me. Jumped on the bandwagon and picked up 3.0, and didn't get through half of it without my eyes glazing over. Forget it, I'm not touching 3.5.


Give me 2nd edition AD&D any day - on the first few pages it said the most important thing, if I remember correctly, something like - it's your game, the rules are optional, what the DM says, goes.

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There will always be power-gamers in Roleplaying games...I even had a mathematician in one of my games who literally calculated the best character and argued all my decisions.


But the DM is in charge, what he says goes. Most of my players like to create powerful characters...and I let them. But I keep an eye on them and create enemies suitable to their power.


Once I even went a little overboard with a group of plate-armoured Bugbear mercenaries with tower shields and their twin-sword wielding leader. The characters charged...bounced off...and went to find some goblins to fight. :lol:

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I am one of the old school DM's, using the rules as a guideline sort of thing. But I do agree.. it is up strictly to the DM to tell the oplayers how he plays and to go from there. If you think that the players might try and abuse the rules.. then you make them stick to them on the rolls for rolling a PC up.. make them use the 3d6 method.. it works! there will be few characters out there that will be overwhelming that the Dm could not handle it ;) Regardless if the player min/maxes. The 3d6 method assures that. very few rolls will even be above 16 :)

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I don't have a problem with the d20 mechanics (I've actually spent a great deal of time converting my 2nd edition campaign setting over to 3rd), I just don't like the idea behind them. It seems the whole idea behind 3rd edition was to dumb it down so as to attract more players. A little reading through the core rulebooks makes it painfully obvious the authors have absolutely no idea what medieval culture, thought, and technology was like or they don't believe any of the players do.


3 things for me sum up the problem with 3rd edition:


1. The illustration for chapter 1 of the PHB: the guy has breast implants! Muscles have points of attachment.


2. The illustration for armor in the PHB: most of them don't resemble anything historically accurate or practical.


3. A (near) quote from Unearthed Arcana: Adding fraction can be tricky...


If you have no interest in playing anyting remotely historically accurate (I know--Trolls and magic didn't exist in the Middle Ages, but is is possible to try and create a world that reflects what Medieval society would have been like if they had), and are too stupid to do simple math, stick to M:TG

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I think belittling other's playing styles is counterproductive to any discussion.


Personally, I would prefer that any game designer NOT try to emulate Medieval technology and culture too closely, since more than likely they'll produce a McD's version rather than something really satsisfying.



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