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heymejack
2010-10-06, 10:48 PM
i've been playing for years now, mostly with this one friend of mine, we'll call him jack (which is actually my name), with him as the DM and a revolving group of other friends. now, i've decided i'd like to try my hand as the DM so he can play a bit.

so i said to him that once the campaign we're playing is over, I'd like to start a campaign, and that I'm thinking about all the stuff I'd like to do in it, and he should start thinking about what he'd like to play, so i can maybe plan around that a little. yes, i was planning on making it a story mainly about he and my girlfriend's characters (a paladin and a pixie-hilarity ensues).

a week later, jack tells me he has made a character, and is ready to start playing. and that he is too excited about his character to continue planning games for us, and that i should just start my campaign. now, at this point I have an idea of what i might like to do, but i havn't actually DONE anything. but whatever, i say, let's play. so we start. we play a couple games, and jack's character dominates. he kills EVERY monster in every fight, being the only one (besides me) who knows how to optimize a character. and then he starts talking about how he needs a rod of quickening to REALLY make his max work out.

so i tell him no. i'm going to wait until some of the other characters level up a little, and see how things work out, and when the party gets a little more balanced (AKA it isn't just the Jack Show), yeah, no problem, he'll get it.

and he quit.

he said that what is fun for him about the game is maxxing out his character, finding an interesting rule to exploit and taking it as far as possible. in this case, a paladin/cavalier who is charging and doing a LOT of damage. he wants the rod of quickening for protection from evil for his pegasus, and for true strike for his charges (all of which was going to be converted into damage, at x5 (for charging)). not having the rod makes it so he isn't MAXXING out his character, and that takes away 100% of the fun for him. or so he says.

the problem is, he just is not balanced with the other players. I'm coaching them through making their characters, and none of them are bad, but they just are not on that level, and it's really quite boring to watch a guy fly around on a pegasus and kill all the monsters.

on the other hand, the main reason i even wanted to DM was so he could have a turn playing. but now he's not even playing. we've gone though several games without him, and the campaign is progressing well, but it just really sucks that he isn't playing. every time he's around when we are playing, he makes some passive-aggressive joke about how one of the other characters should buy a rod of quickening and give it to him. or how he should have been silent and secretive about his maxx so i wouldn't know it was so powerful and unbalancing, which is AGAIN the opposite of what i want.

basically, i want the party to be of relatively even optimization levels, and he does not think thats reasonable. from his point of view, if I 'artificially' control the power levels of the characters (try to make them balanced), then i'm both making the characters AND the baddies, and therefore am on a powertrip, controlling every aspect of the game. there is, apparently, no point in him even trying to make a character, because i'm just gonna 'retroactively police his max'.

what should I do?

Satyrus
2010-10-06, 10:59 PM
Unfortunately it sounds like "Jack" just needs to accept that you are not running a campaign where power-gaming is the goal. If he's not willing to accept that simple fact then there really isn't a place for him at the game.

It may be a sympton of just acting as DM for many years and not playing. I myslef have actually played in probably less than 10 in-person session but have DMed probably hundreds over the years. It's difficult to go from being able to make the rules and shape the world as you want it to being confined to just a single limited character.

I don't know if when he was DMing that his NPCs were built to the max either or if he did so by ignoring or changing the rules since he was the DM (which is fine) and that now that he is constrained by rules he wants to see how broken he can make his character without technically breaking the rules.

Either way, he just needs to act a little more mature it seems and let everyone have fun at the table. It'd be better to lose one bad player than to give him concessions and risk everyone else quitting in frustration.

Hope that helps.

WarKitty
2010-10-06, 11:03 PM
Personally what I do for that urge is take the freaking worst race/class combo I can find and optimize it. Tell him this is the perfect time to play a monk, as a challenge. Maybe put some extra restrictions for him to optimize within. If he takes it, cool. If not, well there's really nothing you can do.

Dust
2010-10-06, 11:04 PM
The OP's post, summarized for low attention spans:

My friend (who we'll call Jack) and I have been playing tabletop games for a long time. I volunteered to GM the next game, thinking Jack might enjoy being a player for once, and he was very thrilled by the idea.

We're several games into the new campaign and Jack is blatantly playing an Ubercharger on a flying pegasus mount. When I had to say that he couldn't have the specific magical item he wanted RIGHT THIS SECOND to become the best, most min-maxed character he could possibly be, Jack quit the game.

We've kind of continued on without him, but he's being really passive-agressive about the fact that he isn't playing anymore. He states that I'm in the wrong for 'artificially controlling power levels.'

What should I do?

Anyway, I second WarKitty's response. His character was a known and well-used 'broken' build, he just wanted to be the big man at the table and show off his superiority to everyone else. Tell him there's no challenge involved in building an ubercharger, and that if he really wanted to feel self-satisfied with his min-maxing abilities, to tackle a harder class.

That said, passive-aggressive bull is indicative of feelings of resentment that won't just 'go away' in time. This is something the two of you need to sort out.

Katana_Geldar
2010-10-06, 11:30 PM
If he's like that, then let him stay out of the group. You don't need those sorts of issues at the table or you may find that other players will leave.

And if he asks to come back, you need to remind him that YOU are the DM, not him. If he doesn't like the way you DM, then you aren't forcing him to play.

The way I see it, it's nothing to do with his class, build or whatever. He's just used to having things his own way as a DM, but we've all been there.

Kaun
2010-10-06, 11:54 PM
as with all problem players i find the easiest solution is hitting them over the nose with a rolled up news paper untill they stop what ever they are doing that is a problem.

That or spraying them in the face with a water pistol every time they act up.

Ozreth
2010-10-07, 01:06 AM
You guys have been friends and playing d&d together for years and something like this happened that easily?

Sounds like you dont need the guy around anyways. Your game will prosper without him.

FelixG
2010-10-07, 01:13 AM
Theoretical Optimizers are not fun people to play with at the table.

If he cant tone it down and play the game as it was meant to be played, not as a thought experiment, then it would be best to let him go. Your other players will likely thank you.

Kaww
2010-10-07, 02:23 AM
I think someone once posted this as a solution to a similar problem.

Talk with the other players, have their consent and make the following session: Have him kill everything. Dragons falling from the skies, slaying whole tribes of giants, nobody else does anything except buff him, or give him flanking bonus. Have all players, if possible, telling him how great he is, without being cynical/sarcastic. If he doesn't get bored of 8 hours of that you shouldn't worry, he's hopeless. Also if you make the rolls in secret have him hit all the time. Double his crit range.

Or you could make dungeons where a pegasus is not a viable mount. Cramped spaces, buildings, dense forests, stuff that lower his effectiveness.

That's my 2c.

P.S. In my groups (both as a player and a DM) we don't mind if the warblade/warmage/wizard kill all opposition in one round, before our initiative.

Sewercop
2010-10-07, 09:09 AM
If you actually are running a game so your friend can play it, play it his way.
I understand him sitting out, the frustration to be restricted by a game master after the game has started are,well, frustrating.
Would you stop the other players to buy a rod of quicken? If no, I understand him too well.
Did he restrict you when he was gm?
My opinion are that restrictions should apply to all players, not just one.

I have quit games myself because of restrictions. Only advice I can give are to choose the guys and gals you gonna play with all are on the same page when it comes to min\maxing.

There is nothing wrong with you as a gm imo, but I understand your friend too well.If you let him into the game again, he will probably lay low power wise until things hit the fan and then he will unleash a can of whoop ass. He will just hide his power until needed. That is what i would have done. And I have done it. The sad thing is that will probably destroy the game for the other players. I i were him, I would rather sit out than to be restricted to nothing while the other players can do as they want. If you let him in you will probably ruin the group... Its a lose lose situation.

For myself, I am happy i have fun being a gm

Psyx
2010-10-07, 09:37 AM
what should I do?

Carry on running without him. It sounds like he is detrimental to the group. Find a replacement and have fun. If the rest of the group are enjoying it, keep going.

He's not going to change the way that he plays, and your other players are not going to enjoy playing with him.

Some friends shouldn't be gaming friends. Not wanting him in your game doesn't make him less of a friend. If he wants to be a jerk about it and make it a 'friend issue', then maybe he's not such a great friend after all.

It sounds like he's better off playing Counterstrike with Wallhack running. He seems to have this rather immature urge to be the 'best' at the table, while totally failing to grasp that searching for 'ubercharger build' on Google and using it when playing amongst non min-maxxy players is just more than a little pathetic.

kamikasei
2010-10-07, 09:54 AM
I i were him, I would rather sit out than to be restricted to nothing while the other players can do as they want.
I'm not sure how "since you're already so effective in combat that you're killing every monster in every combat and leaving the other players with nothing to do, I'd rather you not become even stronger by getting this new item" can fairly be construed as being "restricted to nothing".

Kylarra
2010-10-07, 09:55 AM
It does sound a lot like he wants to "win D&D". I'd really advise talking to him once more, point out that D&D is a team game and that while he may enjoy "getting his maxx" on, that detracts from the enjoyment of others. Perhaps suggest he try to optimize in a less cheesy and more party friendly way. Remind him that the game is not "all about him".

valadil
2010-10-07, 09:57 AM
Let him ditch game. If he finds that he misses it and eventually comes back maybe he'll realize that he actually liked the game without being fully maxed out.

However, if you feel like being a jerk about it, here are some suggestions (not that I advocate being a jerk about it):

Let him have his rod of quickening. But give them low level encounters. He'll one shot a kobold every round. Good for him.

The other option is to give him what he wants and then give the other players more. Give Jack the quickening rod and then tell him that Steve's build needed a complete set of +5 stat tomes and a gestalt character to be happy. Since Jack was already maxed out he should be content :-P

KiltedGrappler
2010-10-07, 10:15 AM
What happened to Dms being able to say "No" to an over-optimized character, or a character/player who doesn't fit with the group? Seems like 95% of these "difficult player" threads can be solved just by saying that.

One of three things happens.

1. He says ok, plays a less optimized character who meshes with the rest of the group, and all is well.
2. He says ok, and then present yous with yet another overly optimized character to play. You say no again. He tries again. Repeat until he stops giving you overly optimized characters.
3. He gets pissed off and quits playing with you. So be it. You can still be friedns outside of D&D. You can't pander to him at the expense of the other players.

In conclusion, learn to just say no to things you don't want in your game. You're the DM. You can do that. It's really easy, and it works.

Quietus
2010-10-07, 10:15 AM
Let him sit out until he shows interest in coming back. Then put it to him : "Look. I'm a GM. You're a GM. As GMs, it's our jobs to make things more fun for everyone in the game. Having three other people watch you one-shot encounters is fun for exactly one person. How can we 'maxx' your ability to help other people have fun?"

As an aside.. I want to slap someone every time I see the word 'maxx' used as though it's a real word. And that includes myself, when I use it.

Tengu_temp
2010-10-07, 10:24 AM
I think the situation resolved itself already. Let him drop off and continue without him, or switch back to him DMing (I assume he's a better DM than he is a player).

Whammydill
2010-10-07, 10:27 AM
The simple fact he is outright seeking to exploit rules and go balls-to-the-wall means he isn't going to be a good addition to any group synergy. It's going to be all about him or he isn't happy, the other players...and you, be damned.

Carrying on without him is about the only recourse for you that will work really. Untill you two have a dialog about whats really going on, it will not get better. If he is back in the game he will just snipe snipe snipe about it and do his passive-agressive thing. You didn't make the game FOR HIM, you made the game so he could be ONE of the PCs.

All in all, this all could have been averted by reviewing the characters before the game starts, even better you could have laid some ground-rules before-hand instead of throwing it against the wall and seeing what happened (if thats what you did.)

No sense in him ruining it for everyone.

Lhurgyof
2010-10-07, 10:37 AM
You should let him have it, but send at him a monster he can't kill... say, a swarm. And let the other characters shine as they deal with it, and have him be useless. He shouldn't complain, he's maxxed out and fun with having the highest numbers, and everyone else gets the spotlight.

heymejack
2010-10-07, 10:38 AM
thanks, all. i think the main problem is that I didn't make ALL the rules/the way i wanted the game to go clear before we started. not my fault, since I planned to start six months from now instead of now, but now I know for next time, and will have very specific guidelines for making the pc's.

Jolly
2010-10-07, 10:47 AM
Sounds like "Jack" is an immature, narcissistic, nerd-raging loser. Anything that gets him out of your life would probably be a good idea. But then, I have a pretty low tolerance for self-absorbed drama queens so...

kamikasei
2010-10-07, 11:00 AM
What happened to Dms being able to say "No" to an over-optimized character, or a character/player who doesn't fit with the group?
Nothing. That's just what the OP did. It's just that, since said player was the one for whose sake he was originally going to run the game, he'd like to find another solution.

valadil
2010-10-07, 12:06 PM
What happened to Dms being able to say "No" to an over-optimized character, or a character/player who doesn't fit with the group? Seems like 95% of these "difficult player" threads can be solved just by saying that.


Part of the problem is that Jack isn't used to being a player. He's usually the GM. GMs are used to getting what they want. I know several gamers whose personality makes them decent GMs but terrible players, and it wouldn't surprise me if Jack is another one of those.

Pisha
2010-10-07, 01:07 PM
*laughs* I had to doublecheck to make sure you weren't my GM. We have a player very much like the one you describe.

He loves making over-the-top, ridiculously overpowered characters. And sometimes that's ok - it's fun, it's funny, and he's good at it. When he's the one running the game, it can lead to memorable NPCs and interesting monsters. Even as a fellow player it can sometimes be fun to watch his overpowered antics - the problem comes in longer-running games. Not everyone has fun in the same way; the rest of us don't always enjoy making the most broken, min-maxed character possible, but y'know... once in a while we'd like to kill a monster too.

In most situations I'd agree with the other posters here. Your friend is overreacting - badly - and not willing to compromise. You have the choice between letting him break your game, or letting him quit. Let him quit. As the GM, you absolutely have the right to make sure all your players will be able to enjoy the game. If one player is telling you he can't enjoy it without making it un-enjoyable for everyone else, well... that's his problem.

But on the other hand... you did say you're running the game so that he can play it. And if he usually GMs, he may be seeing this as the only chance he'll have for a while to sit on the other side of the table. Someone who powergames every time and will never adjust his playstyle is a problem, but he may legitimately be feeling, "Why can't I just let loose and go wild for a change?"

So here's my suggestion. From what you're describing (coaching them through making their characters, etc.) it sounds like the other players are not very experienced. Also, you started early, so a lot of these characters were probably made on the fly. Talk to the other players, and see if they'd be willing to do a character re-write. (You could even come up with a cool in-game reason for it - maybe the group wins the favor of a minor deity, or maybe even have each character go on a personal side-quest of some kind - something to justify Taking a Level in Badass.) Then, tell your friend he is welcome to come back to the game (and, yes, he can have his Rod of I Win Now) - but first, he has to sit down with you and each of the other players and show them how to optimize their characters too. That way, he gets to REALLY exercise his min-max muscles (if he's like a lot of powergamers I know, he'll probably think Christmas has come early), he gets to play the powerful build he wants, and the rest of the party is now strong enough to hopefully keep up and not just watch him swoop in and kill stuff. And you get to keep your friend in your game. Sure, you get a cheesier game than you originally planned for, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Just up your own power level in response.

There's also some other tricks you can use in addition to that (for instance - a tag-team pair of monsters, one flying, one on the ground - guy on a pegasus faces one of them all on his lonesome, and the rest of the group has to deal with the other), but the above suggestion is probably the closest to a win-win that you're gonna get.

Jornophelanthas
2010-10-07, 01:35 PM
My guess is you don't want to lose Jack as a friend, while being unable to DM for him and the other players at the same time.

Consider playing a one-on-one campaign with him. Just you (DM) and Jack (player), and no other players. He can go all-out because, yes, it IS all about him. As DM, you will still control the power balance, because you can just scale up the difficulty of encounters accordingly. And if he has need of things other players would usually provide (e.g. healing, high skill ranks, arcane magic), have him hire NPCs for that who require significant payment and won't accompany him on adventures like other players would. (And don't allow these NPCs to become semi-permanent "party members", because they might be reduced to the status of free Cohorts, or worse, DMPCs.)
This way, Jack gets to play, and he does not overpower any other players.

If you are up for DM-ing two stories at the same time, then the problem is solved.
If you can't, then wait for your current campaign to run its course, and then have Jack be DM for everyone else again, while you DM just for him. And arrange this with him beforehand, of course.

Chen
2010-10-07, 02:05 PM
What happened to Dms being able to say "No" to an over-optimized character, or a character/player who doesn't fit with the group? Seems like 95% of these "difficult player" threads can be solved just by saying that.

I mean I gotta wonder this too. Do most people not give the DM their characters to inspect before playing? Or do most DMs just not realize how bad things will get? Most games I've played in the DMs are more than willing to make you ret con something if we suddenly discover its broken. You don't simply "get away with it" and ruin the game.

heymejack
2010-10-07, 03:37 PM
this is the crux of the problem. no, he doesn't want to give me his character beforehand for inspection. before now we've played core only, and every time i mention another book that i've bought and gotten excited about this prestige class or that feat, he gets annoyed because it's one more book he has to read from cover to cover to exploit in as strong a way possible. while I see the huge number of extra books as a blessing with which to create infinite variety, he sees it as every single book just makes it possible for things to be more and pore powerful things, and if he doesn't use it all in the most powerful way possible, he isn't having fun. he doesn't want to play in a game where I control his power level in ANY way. and he doesn't see the merit in being balanced with the other players.

so, yeah.

we're just going to go on without him.

Notreallyhere77
2010-10-07, 04:49 PM
I have three players like this, and one, sometimes two or three, that aren't. Needless to say, I am very interested in any and all solutions I haven't tried.
If you are in my group, you can probably recognize yourself from the anecdotes and examples below, but I'm still changing the names to protect anonimity.

One player, let's call him "Jacques" used a liberal interpretation of a feat to claim arcane casting ability so he could get into a PrC. Granted, I allowed it, having only skimmed the PrC in question, and unknowing of his plans to cast miracle without components 3/day. His characters have a tendency to maximize damage output at the expense of teamwork benefits. His characters are almost always played as CE, as in "how much will you pay me not to kill you today," but he accepts alignment shifts for actions committed. And he does follow basic rules about physics overruling RAW.

Another player, who I will refer to as "Mr T." is similar, but does not want to follow physics if RAW would benefit him more.
He also tried to get broken homebrew stuff accepted before I banned any sources not specifically authorized. He talked me into it the first time, with a subtly overpowered homebrew base class (The class was not broken until he became a necropolitan) before I understood the havoc he could wreak. I countered by giving levels of the base class to a monster, and we (the whole table) agreed that it was indeed overpowering. No more homebrew for him. He is still a theoretical optimiser and would rather one-shot an opponent with 650 maximized empowered twinned magic missiles as a standard action (I exaggerrate, but only barely) than let anyone else use their newfound loot or whatever. He also plays as CE, but comes up with flimsy justifications for why they should stay CG ("I'm telling you, attacking a group of children is totally chaotic, but not evil!") and does not accept fiat alignment shift well (granted the party had a paladin in it, but the other guy managed to hide and/or resist conversion to the faith). He also knows the item creation rules like the back of his hand, and can create wondrous campign-shattering gear (i.e. rod of infinite-use true ressurection, no components, usable by humans only to reduce price). He does not like not getting his way, and always looks for new evidence to change the verdict if the outcome is unfavorable to him.
That said, he knows the rules better than anyone at the table, and is our long-time friend, so harsh measures are out of the question as he is considered indispensible.

Lastly, we have the one I'll call "Duke." He is the most agreeable of the three, not trying to break the game, but still choosing just the right selection of feats, gear, and skills to make ubercharger builds like the OP, super-powered mages (he knows Spell Compendium better than I do), or CoDzillas, and finds ways to ignore obstacles. He last played a paladin/pious templar and killed a monster 10 CR above his level (with some help by an incomplete party). He does not break rules, always asks before trying something out of the ordinary, and explains his intentions for tactics. The hard part is, even knowing what he'll do, it's hard to challenge him. For a while the only damage I could do to his character was through a ring of friendship. In addition to this, he is a skilled roleplayer as well, and will act in character even when doing so is detrimental to him mechanically. These qualities, while making him a joy to play with, also make it hard to keep him from dominating the spotlight. I need to get him to tone it down without being mean.

Most of other players either are sporadic enough in showing up for sessions not to care about this, but a regular one (we'll call her "Jill" actually considered dropping out of the campaign because all of the encounters were over before she could do anything, and she was feeling useless. I tried rememdied this with some solo quests and allowing her to play multiple charaters (the new one was a buffer, always useful), and this helped, but she still got very little time to shine. And she was playing a druid. Even when I resorted to Eigen plot, someone else managed to steal her parts.

One thing I tried was to interrupt the main storyline with related one-shots against overpowered opponents and let them pick any insane build they wanted. Their regular PCs were still more powerful than the temporary characters.

I don't want to go on without any of them, and I realize they are unlikely to change, so any advice on getting them to tone it down would be appreciated.
Also, if you're reading this and belive it's you, try not to take this the wrong way. I love you just the way you are, but I think you should channel your powers into effective teamwork rather than effective one-turn-kills. Please, I know that being another player (and often DM) wife makes her unkillable and powerful in some campigns, but that doesn't mean "Jill" is content with a bit part in mine.

TL; DR version: Three optimiser spotlight hogs, one mild optimiser and non-spotlight hog, trying to give them equal screen time.

Jornophelanthas
2010-10-07, 05:36 PM
Long tale

My advice would be to play a different game system instead of D&D, and to make sure that you know the rules better than any of your players.

Lhurgyof
2010-10-07, 08:40 PM
My advice would be to play a different game system instead of D&D, and to make sure that you know the rules better than any of your players.

I'd say Hackmaster 4e if it didn't cost SO MUCH. Dx

Notreallyhere77
2010-10-08, 01:02 AM
Thanks guys. I am trying to learn more every day, so hopefully that will help, and I was planning on the campaign after next to use the "generic classes" from UA, which ought to keep them from making those devastating builds.

I did offer to introduce them to other systems, but they politely declined; they didn't see a need to learn another rule set when they're doing so well with what they know now...

Pisha
2010-10-08, 02:41 AM
Your friend "Duke" is the one I'd personally see as the biggest problem, and here's why. The other two are clearly doing things that are not kosher, and that just requires a firm DM smack-down hand. (I'm getting ready to run my first game myself, and I've made my players very aware of the following guideline: If you're going to use obscure rules, combine abilities in unexpected ways, or otherwise be cheesy, tell me first. I can be swayed by the Rule of Cool as easily as the next person, and if you're upfront with me, there's a good chance I'll allow it. But if you spring it on me unexpectedly, I WILL GM-fiat it away, if only because I don't want to stop the game to read through 3 rule books to see if you're right. [Also, don't try to fast-talk your way out of alignment shifts with me. I spent way too many of my college credits in useless philosophy classes; I guarantee you I will win that debate.]) But Duke, as you describe him, is doing nothing wrong - he's just much better at the game than the people around him. Which makes it harder - you don't want to penalize him, but you also want to let other people have a chance to shine.

Sometimes you have to play dirty. Every character has a weakness, some field in which they're not the best, or some effect that keeps them from using their most powerful stuff. Find out what that is, and abuse it shamelessly - about half the time.

For example: in my current game, we have a character who, through a little of this and a little of that, is an absolute god when it comes to fire magic. If we're killing it with fire, she's our go-to girl - to the extent that we could realistically point her at the bad guys, then go have tea. Unfortunately, tea gets boring occasionally. So what does the GM do? He looks up every monster in the book with resistance or immunity to fire, and comes up with plausible reasons for us to run into them. Not in every combat, of course, or she'd just get frustrated and leave the game. But often enough that the rest of us get plenty of chances to take down the bad guy ourselves, while she has to/gets to explore the less-optimized aspects of her build. (But don't forget to occasionally reward that character too. When our party was attacked by a white dragon [especially vulnerable to fire], her face lit up like it was her birthday.)

Now, she's not a huge powergamer, so that weakness was fairly obvious - but you get the idea. When presented with a min-maxed character, play to the min rather than the max.

Psyx
2010-10-08, 05:50 AM
Unfortunately, tea gets boring occasionally.


Get out! :smallmad:



"Why can't I just let loose and go wild for a change?"

'Because it impacts on the enjoyment of six other people' would be my answer. Making your 'friends' watch you hog the spotlight (with a character build that you didn't even make up yourself, for crying out loud!) for 4 hours a week isn't a very nice thing to do. Some people are just not team players.

To be fair, the problem has mostly solved itself, in that the player left. It's far better that way that being in the position of him refusing to do so, and still degrading the game.


Talk to the other players, and see if they'd be willing to do a character re-write.

I disagree. Encouraging people who are perfectly happy to not min-max and who are enjoying the game 'as is' to min-max just to keep up with someone who loves doing it isn't going to work. It tends to alienate the 'normal' players. They come to think 'why should I turn a game that I enjoy into maths homework because of that jerk?'.


no, he doesn't want to give me his character beforehand for inspection.

You are the GM. Your rules, your world. If he wants to 'hide' stuff from you he's not treating the game as co-operative, and seems to have completely the wrong approach.


we're just going to go on without him.

Good call.


My advice would be to play a different game system instead of D&D, and to make sure that you know the rules better than any of your players.

I Highly recommend this course of action. It's what I do.
Learning new rules is only a chore for players who are either slow, or who want to min-max every last drop out of the system. Most players love the chance to explore a totally new genre, and most systems are a lot easier to learn than 3.5 (NWoD, for example).

I have to be honest: My players do min-max to a man. But they do it in a reasonable way, within the rules, not going 'silly', and they clear it all with me first. So for me, using new rules or my homebrew system is a god-send. It means that I always know more about the system than them, and can happily fiat without complaint. It also levels the playing field: A player who is horribly min-maxxy is suddenly everyone's equal when we play a new system.

prufock
2010-10-08, 06:21 AM
If you're going to try a different system, try d6. SOOOO simple, character generation takes about 5 minutes, and the potential for abuse is about nil.

Psyx
2010-10-08, 07:22 AM
the potential for abuse is about nil.

Apart from 'I'm playing a Force User', of course. That's flagrant abuse, right there!

Pisha
2010-10-08, 07:31 AM
Get out! :smallmad:

...It's a fair cop. (Actually, now that I think about it, I believe our wizard has proven that most combat actions become exponentially more awesome if you can perform them without spilling your tea.)




I disagree. Encouraging people who are perfectly happy to not min-max and who are enjoying the game 'as is' to min-max just to keep up with someone who loves doing it isn't going to work. It tends to alienate the 'normal' players. They come to think 'why should I turn a game that I enjoy into maths homework because of that jerk?'.


And normally I would agree. But the OP did say that he wanted the problem player to be in the game, he just wanted to find a way to do so that wouldn't be unfair to the other players.

The thing is, there isn't anything wrong with playing uber-powerful characters. Just like there isn't anything wrong with playing more "normal" (read: less powerful) characters. It's just a difference in play style and preference. It only becomes a problem when you have both types in the same group. In order for them to play together, someone's gotta compromise.

I'm not saying you should make anyone min-max their character. Sometimes people chose less-powerful builds for a reason, are quite happy with them, and don't want to change them. But not always. Sometimes the characters are underpowered because the players are new to the game or simply don't know all their options. In that case, they may actually be grateful for someone sitting down with them and showing them ways to improve their character's effectiveness. (My current GM has done this once or twice, when characters have started to fall behind the party's overall power level. In each case he's been able to show the players how they can get more "bang for their buck," while still remaining true to their characters' core concept, and the players have had much more fun afterwards.) The point is that it's an option, and you won't know if it's a good option or not if you don't ask.

Eldariel
2010-10-08, 07:36 AM
I Highly recommend this course of action. It's what I do.
Learning new rules is only a chore for players who are either slow, or who want to min-max every last drop out of the system. Most players love the chance to explore a totally new genre, and most systems are a lot easier to learn than 3.5 (NWoD, for example).

Do you realize just how many generalizations about what's "normal", what "normal players" like and how to play "right" you're making without any basis in that post?

DwarfFighter
2010-10-08, 07:56 AM
Edit: Never mind. It's all been said.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-08, 08:06 AM
I Highly recommend this course of action. It's what I do.
Learning new rules is only a chore for players who are either slow, or who want to min-max every last drop out of the system. Most players love the chance to explore a totally new genre, and most systems are a lot easier to learn than 3.5 (NWoD, for example).

Heck, I'm an avowed optimizer, and I LOVE new rulesets. Finding new optimization potential is like christmas. The fun isn't in reusing the same tired old trick over and over, the fun is finding new and unexpected ones.

So yeah, good solution. Telling him that if he wants to optimize more, he could help his friends optimize as well can be good. I love poking around someone else's character sheet and finding what can be boosted, and usually, so do they. Teamwork is great, and can start before character creation ever happens.

Psyx
2010-10-08, 09:05 AM
Do you realize just how many generalizations about what's "normal", what "normal players" like and how to play "right" you're making without any basis in that post?

If you'd like me to caveat 'in all of my X number of years of gaming experience' to every post, I can. It's pretty safe to assume that everyone is posting from their own perspective.
Playing with a fairly mixed crowd of gamers in a good number of games, in a university city with a lot of gamers in it does indeed give me a perceptual bias that people playing optimised chargers, flagrantly wringing every bonus out of the rules and not allowing the GM to see their character sheet are not the norm around gaming tables.

More bias from me here: I would rather jab forks into my face repeatedly than play that kind of game.



But the OP did say that he wanted the problem player to be in the game,

Likewise there's a friend that I'd like to be in my games. Too bad he's such a power-gaming attention-hogging, rules-lawyering jerk. :smallsigh:
Some people just don't fit into some gaming groups.



Finding new optimization potential is like christmas.

It is. But fortunately, such rapidly learned min-maxxing is seldom as imbalanced with the rest of the group as -say- looking up blag for the world's most popular RPG on the Internet. Which is what the guy has gone and done.

The problem with balance in 3.5 is not only that there isn't any, nor that it stems from so many sources that it's hard for 'not interested in optimising' GMs to keep track of, but also partially that it's such a well-known subject.

WarKitty
2010-10-08, 09:24 AM
If you'd like me to caveat 'in all of my X number of years of gaming experience' to every post, I can. It's pretty safe to assume that everyone is posting from their own perspective.
Playing with a fairly mixed crowd of gamers in a good number of games, in a university city with a lot of gamers in it does indeed give me a perceptual bias that people playing optimised chargers, flagrantly wringing every bonus out of the rules and not allowing the GM to see their character sheet are not the norm around gaming tables.

More bias from me here: I would rather jab forks into my face repeatedly than play that kind of game.

Two separate things here. I don't see the reason for not letting the GM see your sheet. But I get bored when I'm playing with a group that doesn't optimize and doesn't let me optimize, because I feel like I'm stuck being either a one-trick pony or having a wide variety of things I can suck at.

The trouble with the term "normal" is that it implies that anyone who isn't normal is wrong. No, that's not the dictionary definition, but it is how it's used.

Pisha
2010-10-08, 09:46 AM
More bias from me here: I would rather jab forks into my face repeatedly than play that kind of game.

And that's cool. You don't have to play that kind of game. But that doesn't mean it's the wrong way to play, just that it's not your way to play. (I feel the same way about certain card games that my friends play. They're not bad games, I just don't like them.)



Likewise there's a friend that I'd like to be in my games. Too bad he's such a power-gaming attention-hogging, rules-lawyering jerk. :smallsigh:
Some people just don't fit into some gaming groups.


Sometimes they just don't. It's a shame, but it happens. But sometimes a compromise can be worked out to where people with different play styles can still have fun together. To do so, though, you have to be willing to consider the possibility rather than just going "Your play style is bad and you should feel bad."

I'm with you on the whole not letting the GM see your character sheet, though. That's just weird.

GM: You're done making your character? Great! Just let me look over the sheet and we'll get you into the game!
Player: I'm not letting you see my sheet.
GM: ...It appears we're at an impasse.

FelixG
2010-10-08, 09:50 AM
Two separate things here. I don't see the reason for not letting the GM see your sheet. But I get bored when I'm playing with a group that doesn't optimize and doesn't let me optimize, because I feel like I'm stuck being either a one-trick pony or having a wide variety of things I can suck at.

The trouble with the term "normal" is that it implies that anyone who isn't normal is wrong. No, that's not the dictionary definition, but it is how it's used.

Be thankful your not playing with my RL group.

They blatantly dont optimize characters at all, i got involved with some online play by post games and learned how to use practical optimization, then when my RL group started a new campaign i made an optimized character because that came naturally to me then and i got yelled at for trying to break the system ~.~

The real funny bit: the character was a glaivelock with some hellfire later on (without the binder cheese)

Psyx
2010-10-08, 10:32 AM
No, that's not the dictionary definition, but it is how it's used.

I really can't be held accountable for other's interpretation of the English language, though. :smallwink:



I get bored when I'm playing with a group that doesn't optimize and doesn't let me optimize

I get bored if I'm sat around with gamers who are either VERY RP-based, or who treat RPGs like computer games. I think that rather than either forcing others to accommodate my style of play, or changing my own brain chemistry, the best thing to do is simply be choosy when selecting gaming groups.



"Your play style is bad and you should feel bad."

Whereas 'your play style is bad for this group' is a lot more valid and sometimes very true. Sometimes the best solution is that there is no solution (and the player should leave). Divorces exist for similar reasons.



That's just weird.

I was being screamed at on this board only a couple of weeks ago by someone of the opinion that a GM looking at their sheet was only doing it to 'cheat', and had no right to do so.

WarKitty
2010-10-08, 10:37 AM
I really can't be held accountable for other's interpretation of the English language, though. :smallwink:

:smalltongue: I hardly think that's "other's interpretation." English words do come with connotations.



I get bored if I'm sat around with gamers who are either VERY RP-based, or who treat RPGs like computer games. I think that rather than either forcing others to accommodate my style of play, or changing my own brain chemistry, the best thing to do is simply be choosy when selecting gaming groups.

Not all of us have the luxury of choosing from a bunch of different gaming groups. Plus there's a big difference between "I want to play a game of D&D" and "I want to play D&D with my friends." If I'm playing with my friends I expect everyone to make an effort to accommodate everyone else's playstyle, even if one person is the odd one out. It's just what I'd do for a friend.





Whereas 'your play style is bad for this group' is a lot more valid and sometimes very true. Sometimes the best solution is that there is no solution (and the player should leave). Divorces exist for similar reasons.

+1


I was being screamed at on this board only a couple of weeks ago by someone of the opinion that a GM looking at their sheet was only doing it to 'cheat', and had no right to do so.

Buh?

Starbuck_II
2010-10-08, 10:54 AM
One player, let's call him "Jacques" used a liberal interpretation of a feat to claim arcane casting ability so he could get into a PrC. Granted, I allowed it, having only skimmed the PrC in question, and unknowing of his plans to cast miracle without components 3/day. His characters have a tendency to maximize damage output at the expense of teamwork benefits. His characters are almost always played as CE, as in "how much will you pay me not to kill you today," but he accepts alignment shifts for actions committed. And he does follow basic rules about physics overruling RAW.

Another player, who I will refer to as "Mr T." is similar, but does not want to follow physics if RAW would benefit him more.


What does Physics have to do with the game?:smallconfused:

Pisha
2010-10-08, 10:55 AM
I was being screamed at on this board only a couple of weeks ago by someone of the opinion that a GM looking at their sheet was only doing it to 'cheat', and had no right to do so.

That... wha? But... I don't... huh? What is this I don't even.

What kind of game are they playing?

Psyx
2010-10-08, 12:04 PM
:smalltongue: I hardly think that's "other's interpretation." English words do come with connotations.

Which vary by region and culture. I'm on the other side of the Atlantic...



If I'm playing with my friends I expect everyone to make an effort to accommodate everyone else's playstyle, even if one person is the odd one out. It's just what I'd do for a friend.

It's what I'd do for most friends... except when they are being massive jerks and repeatedly spoiling every game that they step inside. At that point it becomes a case of happily seeing them down the pub, but not wanting to deal with the confrontations and arguments that result in them being in a game. It's just common sense sometimes.



Buh?

Quite.

WarKitty
2010-10-08, 12:20 PM
Which vary by region and culture. I'm on the other side of the Atlantic...

Point taken. Around here you typically hear "standard" or "average" when people don't intend a moral connotation.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-08, 12:20 PM
I've always seen character sheets treated as public information, unless there was some particular reason to hide something from another player.

I can't see the benefit to hiding character sheets unless it's a very "dm vs players" style game. And D&D doesn't really do that well. It's not meant to.

Eldariel
2010-10-08, 01:38 PM
If you'd like me to caveat 'in all of my X number of years of gaming experience' to every post, I can. It's pretty safe to assume that everyone is posting from their own perspective.
Playing with a fairly mixed crowd of gamers in a good number of games, in a university city with a lot of gamers in it does indeed give me a perceptual bias that people playing optimised chargers, flagrantly wringing every bonus out of the rules and not allowing the GM to see their character sheet are not the norm around gaming tables.

More bias from me here: I would rather jab forks into my face repeatedly than play that kind of game.

I can only say this: Optimizing everyone's character a tad does not lead to that. I find it really enhances the game experience. And honestly, if one player likes min/maxing, it's little problem to just have the others play something that more or less optimizes itself without any special work (Druid, Warblade, Crusader, Wizard - if you bother reading through the spell list, Cleric, Swordsage, etc.) and just throw few gentle hints if things aren't working out. This allows everyone to work at a higher level without really requiring much rules mastery (well, beyond what playing a caster always requires; knowing what your spells do is of course required to play one, but that doesn't change with regards to optimization). Allows the whole group to get what they want. I've yet to hear of a group that would hate their characters being efficient.

And learning a whole new set of rules is definitely not for everybody. Many players have learned the game back when they had more freetime and now have studies + job + family to deal with; what little freetime they have they'd rather use playing something they know they'll enjoy than trying to learn a new system they may or may not like.

aboyd
2010-10-08, 06:14 PM
To address the original post, I would agree with some others here, that suggesting he try to min/max a terrible class might be a good solution. I *know* that I am a min/maxer, so when I play with friends, I tend to play bards. I can optimize the hell out of that character, but generally all that does is make the other players go, "Huh, I guess the bard isn't useless." Nobody complains of it being overpowered.

Or, I will play a cleric -- which yes, can be the most overpowered class in the game, but which I play as a buffer. So I optimize on being good at powering up everyone else. I get my fix min/maxing, and the players all use that to be more awesome at what they do.

But really I wanted to post another more insidious idea. That is, most min/maxers are optimizing for combat. And so they've just dumped on anything that isn't combat-related. And what does that mean? They're heavily dependent upon others for things like talking, negotiations, traps, working allies in a town, diplomacy, gathering rumors, motivating a church full of believers, etc.

So what happens if the session is about rescuing a town right in the path of a tarrasque? The group has mere hours before it may arrive, how will they save people? Even if the problem player *wants* to optimize the solution, there is little chance he will teleport the entire town out of the way, which leaves everyone else a chance to contribute.

You might say, "Roll for initiative. We won't be acting in true rounds, however. Instead, we'll go in order, and each player will get 5 minutes of my time to accomplish as much as possible before I move on to see what the next player can accomplish."

Or perhaps the challenge for the evening is healing. The town came under attack by a very powerful wizard (off-stage, the players don't get to interact with that part), and now as the PCs enter the town they see huge suffering. The town mayor sees these adventurers with their ridiculous weapons and slinging around gold pieces as if they were nothing, and he brings them to the local church, wherein the one low-level cleric is tapped out, and cannot even cover all the wounded people with heal checks. So suddenly it's about how many spells they will cast, how long they'll do heal checks and full-term care, etc. The most successful PCs will gain rumors, places to stay in an emergency, prestige, etc. But there will be far too many wounded for 1 player to heal alone.

Maybe even make the players do a triage, and part of the game will be determining who has the most to gain from their help, because not everyone will live. (You know? Set a ton of NPCs at -1 to -4, and falling. The players have at most 9 rounds until the NPCs hit -10 and die. Each PC will therefore have 9 chances to save a life (or many lives, if the PC is a cleric with a mass cure or something). They'll have to juggle movement issues with the time cost of stabilizing someone. They'll want desperately to do spot checks to determine if someone is dead before they get to them, so they don't have to waste a round moving toward a lost cause. And so on.)

Or lastly, for example, consider an otherworldly roadside market that plane shifts into existence for an hour. This market has special rules. Nothing can be had at standard PHB/DMG prices. But instead, the prices swing wildly either way. Maybe have a dozen merchants of planar origin -- Djinni or other weirdness. Pre-determine each merchant's predilections. One might automatically give a 10% discount to dwarves. Another, a 25% penalty to men. And so on. Then do 4th-edition-like skill challenges. Charisma rolls, rushed diplomacy rolls, +-2 modifiers depending upon what lame/clever thing the player says. Don't let the players look things up in the DMG. They need to use Appraise rolls if they can, right then & there. Again, go round-robin on a timer so that no single player can dominate. At the end of the game session, maybe each player negotiated/bartered for an item or two.

This kind of stuff is endless. You can think of lots of D&D-ish stuff to do that isn't combat and cannot be one-shotted. Suddenly that min/maxing player will be less dominant. I mean, in combat, sure, still dominant. But if that's only 25% of the game and the other 75% becomes fun non-combat adventures, well, your other players will reclaim some time in the spotlight, and start having fun again. At the same time, the min/maxer will still have all the stuff he wanted, so yay for him.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-08, 06:25 PM
Depends. What if he Min/Max for healing: as a Cleric you still have other spells meaning you don't be less dominant.
Although Min/Maxing for healing isn't optimal, it could still be done.

aboyd
2010-10-10, 05:45 PM
Depends. What if he Min/Max for healing: as a Cleric you still have other spells meaning you don't be less dominant.
Although Min/Maxing for healing isn't optimal, it could still be done.
So? Then there will be other areas that the player is weak in -- that's kinda the definition of min/max. So whatever that player is good at, great, let him or her be great in that area. Just don't make your game about only that area. If it turns out the player has min/maxed his healing abilities, well, first of all then we wouldn't be here. No DM nor player would ever be like "Dude, you healed the PCs, you suck." But assuming that was at issue for some weird reason, then fine, make the game about more than healing. He or she cannot maximize skills in everything so there are bound to be areas that other players would excel at. Pay attention to the other players. Give them things to do that cater to their strengths.

If you have bards & rogues, maybe espionage. Maybe theft, stealth. Maybe kidnapping. These are things that the healer wouldn't be good at.

Maybe put them in the middle of a town square and say, "This is the busiest day of the year at this market. Everyone is here; the city is bursting with coin, tons of guarded chests line the market stalls, and as your rogue can see, the people are ripe for the picking." Suddenly there are 3 hours of the game dedicated to slinking around, sleight of hand, distractions, perhaps even the bard is erasing the memory of people who catch on, or perhaps he's using disguise to impersonate a city watchman, so that if someone catches his buddy, he can trick the people into letting his buddy go.

Or buy a copy of 3 Dragon Ante -- a card game you can get at amazon.com, which allows players to integrate their PC's skills into the play. If the player's character has 5 ranks in Sleight of Hand, well, he can take an extra card to represent the advantage of being so adept at fooling people. Or if the PC has 5 ranks in intimidate, he gets to take a coin out of the pot to represent his skills at making bluffers back down. And so on. And then make one of your D&D sessions about the card game. "Guys, the inn you're staying at is having its seasonal gambling night. High stakes. You in?" Poof, another D&D session that is not about healing, not about combat, not what your players expected.

But the point isn't to fixate on an example, because of course a min/maxer can optimize for any single example. The point is to take the general idea of diversifying your D&D activities so that no one player can dominate all the various scenarios you create. Learn what unique powers each character has, and then be sure that such unique powers get a chance to be used.

You don't need to have a lame player to do this. It's good advice for any table full of role players.

big teej
2010-10-10, 11:07 PM
I mean I gotta wonder this too. Do most people not give the DM their characters to inspect before playing? Or do most DMs just not realize how bad things will get? Most games I've played in the DMs are more than willing to make you ret con something if we suddenly discover its broken. You don't simply "get away with it" and ruin the game.

my groups have never been required to submit their characters to me prior to play, this is partly because we've yet to have anyone even capable of powergaming or munchkinism (either do to a lack of resources, ability, or will) and thus I do not request them, this state of affairs will continue whenever I sit behind the screen until someone shows me I can't trust them with that, at which point they will be required to submit every build to me in advance, which will most likely be put up here for a 'cheese examination'

that said
I make it perfectly clear to my players that I reserve to smite anything and everything at my own discretion...

followed by making sure they know I consider my primary duty to be making sure they have fun.....

:smalltongue:

/ramble, my 2 CP

Psyx
2010-10-11, 05:00 AM
And learning a whole new set of rules is definitely not for everybody.

It may be a lot easier than learning D&D 'properly', though. I'd rate -say- WoD or d6 Star Wars far easier to learn than grasping the ins-and-outs of grappling, turning, size changes and all the old chuff in the 3.5 rules.



most min/maxers are optimizing for combat.

Maybe ones who have played a lot of D&D, but players with a wider base of experience in games that are so squarely centred in combat tend to go for broader min-max goals. In a recent Japan-base game we had a player in the party who was pretty useless at everything that didn't involve getting the party from point A to point B on the map as quickly and safely and as well-fed and least tired as possible.


OT bit:


Point taken. Around here you typically hear "standard" or "average" when people don't intend a moral connotation.

Americans tend to plump for [unnecessarily, in the eyes of many English people] complex words in casual conversation. cf 'Carbonated beverage' vs 'fizzy drink'. I do quite a bit of writing in my spare time, and whereas if I needed to use a word akin to 'normal' in an article several times; I'd go for variations such as 'standard' or 'average', it would be considered abnormal for those to be used in isolation, or as 'first choice'.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-11, 09:25 AM
my groups have never been required to submit their characters to me prior to play, this is partly because we've yet to have anyone even capable of powergaming or munchkinism (either do to a lack of resources, ability, or will) and thus I do not request them, this state of affairs will continue whenever I sit behind the screen until someone shows me I can't trust them with that, at which point they will be required to submit every build to me in advance, which will most likely be put up here for a 'cheese examination'

Woah, that's a long sentence. Yeah, I've never required players to have me approve their chars(in RL games). I give them the rules for char creation, and they're trusted to follow them.

However, character sheets are not considered exceptionally private. If I wanted to see something on them, I'd just ask. Once or twice, I've gathered everyones sheets for things like collecting AC, spot modifier, etc for general use in combat. Never been an issue.

It's not that optimization is the problem...it's the player not willing to work with others that's the problem.

Edit: Yeah, I feel that people jump too quickly to assume judgement. I pretty much assume that EVERYONE is talking about their personal experiences whenever they mention "standard" or "average", unless they specify differently.

WarKitty
2010-10-11, 09:56 AM
OT bit:



Americans tend to plump for [unnecessarily, in the eyes of many English people] complex words in casual conversation. cf 'Carbonated beverage' vs 'fizzy drink'. I do quite a bit of writing in my spare time, and whereas if I needed to use a word akin to 'normal' in an article several times; I'd go for variations such as 'standard' or 'average', it would be considered abnormal for those to be used in isolation, or as 'first choice'.

Huh. Using "normal" for all of those would seem to me to be woefully imprecise and ripe for miscommunication. Oh well, to each their own. Although in my area "fizzy drink" refers to alcohol. :smalltongue:

Mastikator
2010-10-11, 10:00 AM
If a difficult player quits, then what's the problem?:smallconfused:

Scow2
2010-10-11, 10:05 AM
If a difficult player quits, then what's the problem?:smallconfused:

When you're running the campaign precisely for said difficult player's sake as a good friend, it becomes a problem.

Lev
2010-10-11, 10:34 AM
Item rule fix:
Instead of saying no, make him find his Pelor damned items himself, have him walk into a town and have them not have one.
If this turns him into a douche, be friendly, be kind, and call him the hell out on it. If he makes childish passive aggressive remarks don't let them slip, just ask why he is saying that and flat out resolve it on the spot.

Players ending the fights:
More. Complexity.
If you are going to say "ok, you are party Y in place Z, X appears... kill it or you lose" then there is only going to be one outcome isn't there?
Make it more interesting if it's not interesting enough. Instead, tell them to bring whoever back alive (or even unharmed for added difficulty). Obfuscate what's happening so players don't treat the game like a FPS where the only goal is to find the ultimate spartan laser bazooka death ray and turn a corner BAM every single time. You could start throwing in illusion spells, multiple opponents, send them on espionage missions, limit their options so they become more regular, give them puzzles that stat numbers wont solve, make them use their brains, throw in interconnected and varying instances like all dungeons should, and flat out astound the minmaxer players with your own homebrew creations like "all your magic missiles are sucked to and are absorbed by the crystal in the center of the room, lighting bursts out of it and hits statues infront of the 4 of you and walls separating the room fold up dividing you... you notice the statues eyes are glowing" or just divide up the characters from each other. Find social instances on a world-scale and use the unearthed arcana contacts and reputation systems which you can augment into the Arms and EQ guide book to reference in mercs for dungeon crawls and hirelings for plot drivers.


Protip: DnD is an incredibly social game played by some of the most socially inept people on the planet, understand that the players may or may not get better and that the problems may or may not be game related.
Sometimes, you just gotta accept this.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-11, 10:43 AM
and flat out astound the minmaxer players with your own homebrew creations like "all your magic missiles are sucked to and are absorbed by the crystal in the center of the room, lighting bursts out of it and hits statues infront of the 4 of you and walls separating the room fold up dividing you... you notice the statues eyes are glowing"

The above advice should be followed only if by "astound" you really mean "annoy", and enjoy listening to players complain about DM fiat.

And frankly, any optimizer is going to assume that statues are pretty likely to come alive anyway.

Greater variety is good, but in general, it shouldn't be done by ignoring the established rules of the game. If you do that, you risk changing the game to a more directly adversarial style. It certainly isn't likely to make players more cooperative, or more likely to show you their character sheets and the like.

TL:DR - Fix player problems with the player, not by using fiat.

Lev
2010-10-11, 11:27 AM
The above advice should be followed only if by "astound" you really mean "annoy", and enjoy listening to players complain about DM fiat.

And frankly, any optimizer is going to assume that statues are pretty likely to come alive anyway.

Greater variety is good, but in general, it shouldn't be done by ignoring the established rules of the game. If you do that, you risk changing the game to a more directly adversarial style. It certainly isn't likely to make players more cooperative, or more likely to show you their character sheets and the like.

TL:DR - Fix player problems with the player, not by using fiat.

What rules? The only way a DM brings up his world as rules is if he directly says so, everything else is wrapped in a loose layer of context and then an impenetrable layer of black curtain.

Any optimizer worth his salt will know that there are 2 types of DMs, ones they can rules lawyer to and ones they can't.

I wouldn't be too worried about annoying your players, explain what your campaigns are like and your players will make characters appropriately, people will join appropriately, and the social dynamics will work better.

Work on the game first, if the game doesn't work THEN fix the players. Making an environment where you allow people to play lawyer then trying to fix them when they start to lose their case seems a little bit backwards. You are telling a communal story, or you are playing 4e, pick one. :smalltongue:

DanReiv
2010-10-11, 12:13 PM
Hum, that's what you get when you start with mid/high level PCs.

A lesser rod of quickening might be within reach of his WBL, maybe that'll be his only piece of magic stuff.

I might let him have it, for this kind of build is far from being optimized, even with 3xquickened true strike /day.

Any situation where he's not able to use his mount (and I won't even begin to work on an exhaustive list) will cripple him and besides it's still only a melee attack.

Geez, toss a mirror image and he's next to useless, hopes he realizes that his build is quite easily countered.

Depending on the rest of the group (who should be allowed the same wealth after all) I wouldn't refuse straight out, especially if it's its only magical item for an ECL8+ PC.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-11, 12:17 PM
Let me rephrase. This advice is straying rather far from the original topic, and I suspect it's probably not terribly useful to the OP.

In a nutshell, the problems are as such:
1. One player is at a far higher optimization level than the rest.
2. He refuses to tone it down and still play.
3. The OP wants him to continue to play.

This is primarily a social problem, as the optimization level is only really a problem because he dominates the game. There are a number of ways in which you can attempt to fix the domination of the game, but negating his abilities by fiat is probably among the least likely tactics to work. Note that merely being unable to purchase an item has already resulted in the player getting upset/angry. If such a reasonable step is already meeting such resistance, random fiat is likely to only make things worse.

DanReiv
2010-10-11, 12:37 PM
Well, I believe I'm right on the spot.


1. One player is at a far higher optimization level than the rest.

okay, last time. THIS IS NOT AN OPTIMIZED BUILD. It's a decent build, that a decent druid/wizard will easily OUTSHINE.


2. He refuses to tone it down and still play.

He wants a friggin' lesser rod of quicken, which would be ten times more efficient in the hand of our basic druid/wizard above. That also might eat all the wealth allowed, which I found is a nice way to tone down an already subpar build.


3. The OP wants him to continue to play.

And my advice is : give him his toy, help the other player to come up with character that match the so-called optimization of "Jack". That's seriously easy. Done.

Side note :


yes, i was planning on making it a story mainly about he and my girlfriend's characters

So the other players are irrelevant ?

As the 99%-of-the-time DM myself, I find that way more disturbing than a player asking for 35k gold item when it's obvious they will start at least mid range, and for enabling a crappy combo, no less.

Side notes 2 : yet another proof of "Jack" mad optimizing skills, 35k gold for an item you need to have in hand to quicken true strike when there's the heartseeking amulet for 3k gold. Heh.

Lev
2010-10-11, 12:40 PM
Let me rephrase. This advice is straying rather far from the original topic, and I suspect it's probably not terribly useful to the OP.

In a nutshell, the problems are as such:
1. One player is at a far higher optimization level than the rest.
2. He refuses to tone it down and still play.
3. The OP wants him to continue to play.

This is primarily a social problem, as the optimization level is only really a problem because he dominates the game. There are a number of ways in which you can attempt to fix the domination of the game, but negating his abilities by fiat is probably among the least likely tactics to work. Note that merely being unable to purchase an item has already resulted in the player getting upset/angry. If such a reasonable step is already meeting such resistance, random fiat is likely to only make things worse.
I have to agree and I should clarify as well that I was responding to the thread as a whole as multiple people have brought up multiple issues each.

Yeah, out-of-game sitdown talk time. Sounds like the OP should be bringing up these issues with the group, not GitP.

BRC
2010-10-11, 01:15 PM
First of all, this guy sounds like he's gone beyond simply Powergaming. It sounded like he wanted you to just give his character a Rod of Quickening. From the bit about him hanging around telling the other players to buy a rod of quickening and give it to him, he couldn't get one normally.
This isn't just a powergamer overwhelming the party, this is somebody whining that the DM isn't actively bending the rules in his favor. And the talk about "Needing to maximize his character" makes it sound like this is worse than a standard Powergamer.

The problem here isn't that the character isn't using the most effective combo possible, it's that he's apparently far more effective than the rest of the party, and that his mindset is such that he is willing to leave the game because the DM isn't letting him have everything his way.


And my advice is : give him his toy, help the other player to come up with character that match the so-called optimization of "Jack". That's seriously easy. Done.
What if the other players like their characters and don't want to have to rebuild them for the sole purpose of matching Jack. Apparently, Jack's level of optimization is a problem, and "I could do better" is not helpful advice.


Sitting down and talking with Jack is really your only option. If the only way he has fun is at the expense of the rest of the group, then you may be better off not having him in the game. As a DM, your responsibility is to the group as a whole, not any individual player.

Scow2
2010-10-11, 01:29 PM
Get him back in the game. and then, build encounters that have a nasty monster to distract his character while its supported by monsters your other players can handle.

How flexible are your unoptimized characters? Completely gimp the munchkin politely by sending him against, say... a Phalanx of low-level Hobgoblins. Your other players should be able to mop them up, but if he attempts to ubercharge them, they should have readied actions so the guy he targets uses his Tower Shield for Full Cover (A +99999 to attack is worthless against a well-used Tower Shield), everyone 5'steps toward the guy, and every other hobbo in the phalanx uses a not-unreasonably homebrewed Hoplite Lance (1-handed, 1d8 damage, x3 Critical, 10' reach, can be set against charges). Other players get to fight a small number of low-challenge warriors, while the Sir Lance-a-lot finds himself on the wrong end of a wall of pointy doom.

Or, just have a number of Gryphons (CR 3) the party can take dive bomb him from above (You can dive faster than climb). He's death to all beneath him, but all Adventurers should know the real threats come from above.

The purpose of these isn't to get your munchkin to feel your out to get him, just to give your encounters the other players must contribute to defeat, while also proving to him (and them) that his character isn't as Ubermaxx as he thinks it is.

Amphetryon
2010-10-11, 04:05 PM
Get him back in the game. and then, build encounters that have a nasty monster to distract his character while its supported by monsters your other players can handle.

The purpose of these isn't to get your munchkin to feel your out to get him, just to give your encounters the other players must contribute to defeat, while also proving to him (and them) that his character isn't as Ubermaxx as he thinks it is.
[voice of experience]This has the serious possibility/probability of making the rest of the group feel like they're Jimmy Olson and Lois Lane helping the guy with the Blue and Red Pajamas, while simultaneously annoying 'Jack' and terrifying the rest of the group.

You'll either have to force the encounters to happen such that 'Jack' is the one taking on the nasty monster while the others get the scraps, or you'll have some situations where Jack wades in amongst all the leftover monsters while the rest of the party works to combat the thing that only Jack is capable of fighting. Players are likely to howl about railroading in the first case, and characters are likely to die in the second.

Jack will quite possibly - and fairly reasonably - feel like you're ramping up only part of the encounter JUST to mess with him, which could easily make him optimize even harder, especially if you 'prove' to him that his character isn't as min/maxed as he thinks. In the meantime, if the other players notice the disparity, they may feel like they're being 'talked down to' by having you clearly set up stepped-difficulty encounters. Alternately, they could be frustrated and nervous about the fact that part of the planned encounter was a monster that none of them had a reasonable chance of defeating. That can reinforce the 'Jimmy Olson & Lois Lane hanging out with the guy in the Blue and Red Pajamas' syndrome. [/voice of experience]

Mystic Muse
2010-10-11, 04:11 PM
From what the OP has said, this guy just wants to make the most powerful character he can, and if he isn't, he isn't having fun. While this character may or may not be powerful depending on the campaign, bringing him back into the game will solve nothing. Let him play warcraft or something where doing that actually has a point.

Pisha
2010-10-12, 01:45 PM
my groups have never been required to submit their characters to me prior to play, this is partly because we've yet to have anyone even capable of powergaming or munchkinism (either do to a lack of resources, ability, or will) and thus I do not request them, this state of affairs will continue whenever I sit behind the screen until someone shows me I can't trust them with that, at which point they will be required to submit every build to me in advance, which will most likely be put up here for a 'cheese examination'


I'm still not sure I get this. To me, it's not about trust so much as making sure everyone's on the same page. First of all, people's perceptions of powergaming can differ - something I consider cheesy may be par for the course for someone else. Without looking at sheets, how can you know that your idea of munchkinism and theirs match up?

Second... if the GM doesn't see your sheet, how are they supposed to run encounters for your character? Maybe I'm just used to a far more cooperative style of game, but the GMs I play with like knowing what the characters can do and can't do. It helps them create more balanced, creative challenges. Not letting the GM see your sheet, to me, would feel as weird as not giving them your character's background.



Americans tend to plump for [unnecessarily, in the eyes of many English people] complex words in casual conversation. cf 'Carbonated beverage' vs 'fizzy drink'. I do quite a bit of writing in my spare time, and whereas if I needed to use a word akin to 'normal' in an article several times; I'd go for variations such as 'standard' or 'average', it would be considered abnormal for those to be used in isolation, or as 'first choice'.

I'm not sure I'd consider "standard" or "average" complex words... just ones that lack the overtones and implications that "normal" carries (in the States at least!) And I don't think I've ever said the phrase "carbonated beverage!" (To American ears, though, "fizzy drink" just sounds... well... silly! At least as odd as our overly-complex terms do to your ears!)

WarKitty
2010-10-12, 01:58 PM
Ask him to play villains. Seriously, if he's ok with losing characters repeatedly, let him play the villains.

Notreallyhere77
2010-10-12, 02:50 PM
What does Physics have to do with the game?:smallconfused:

Not as much as they should. And "Mr T" tends to look for ways to abuse this, among other rules.

Commoner railgun, for one. I think the only reason he hasn't tried that on me is that his last DM, who is in our group, found a plausible way of explaining why it couldn't work.
He also found a similar way to abuse the "moving a grapple" rules to make a ball of wrestlers that voluntarily fail grapple checks to resist moving, allowing each participant to move the grapple 10 ft per turn, with an end result of 500 wrestlers in a ball, rolling across the countryside at 5000 ft per round. He was disapointed when I told him it wouldn't work, and tried rules lawyering, until he realized the probability of getting that many NPCs under his control had to be accomplished first. When he looked for ways to get a mindless army of slaves and found them, the wrestler ball paled in comparison to the havoc he could wreak with an army of devoted minions.

Sorry it took so long to reply, I hope you read this...

aboyd
2010-10-12, 04:23 PM
He also found a similar way to abuse the "moving a grapple" rules to make a ball of wrestlers that voluntarily fail grapple checks to resist moving, allowing each participant to move the grapple 10 ft per turn, with an end result of 500 wrestlers in a ball, rolling across the countryside at 5000 ft per round.
I've played with this guy, or one like him.

That grapple maneuver should fail due to strength limitations, by the way. Even if the grapple text doesn't say, "As limited by your own strength," the rules nonetheless show weight limits for the various strength scores, and it's within the rules to state that those limits apply not only to this, but to every unique game-breaking manipulation of feats of strength that he could ever dream up.

When my own player realized that I was going to be like that -- that I'd say, "Even if the rules don't spell it out, I'll apply them to your unanticipated manipulations" -- he started getting really annoying. He would ask for things that seemed harmless, and if I were ever stupid enough to rule that the harmless thing was OK, he would then immediately use it for something broken, and say, "YOU SAID IT WAS OKAY."

So eventually I had to make the most obvious, lamest house-rule ever: "If what you are trying to do is not in the spirit of the game as far as I am concerned, it will be overruled, even if it doesn't technically break the rules, even if the only reason I can cite is this house rule."

The Glyphstone
2010-10-12, 04:26 PM
Isn't there a limit of how many creatures can participate in a single grapple? I'll bet 500 exceeds it.

Sliver
2010-10-12, 05:29 PM
Thing is, any single creature can grapple only with 4 other creatures of his size. This means that he can force 4 other creatures to move with him, and 4 other creatures can force him to move with them. But each of those 4 creatures is grappling this single creature. When one of the secondary grapplers forces the main grappler to move, he doesn't force the other 3 to move, thus breaking 3 of the grapples right away.

Note in the rules that in case of multiple grapplers, you can only make a single opposed grapple check vs a single opponent at a time, with the only exception of trying to escape the grapple. You can't force others to move by proxy, you will simply cause your opponent to break his grapple with the other opponents.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-12, 05:40 PM
Thing is, any single creature can grapple only with 4 other creatures of his size. This means that he can force 4 other creatures to move with him, and 4 other creatures can force him to move with them. But each of those 4 creatures is grappling this single creature. When one of the secondary grapplers forces the main grappler to move, he doesn't force the other 3 to move, thus breaking 3 of the grapples right away.

That was my thought. The chain reaction isn't explicit in the rules...it's a jump that the munchkin has made.

This does bring up interesting possibilities for intentionally failing grapples against allies, and them pulling you away from a grappling monster, but tbh, this doesn't actually sound that crazy. I would allow that in a game, actually.

Sliver
2010-10-12, 05:57 PM
This does bring up interesting possibilities for intentionally failing grapples against allies, and them pulling you away from a grappling monster, but tbh, this doesn't actually sound that crazy. I would allow that in a game, actually.

Considering there is an already existing mechanic for something similar to that, "Break Anotherís Pin" which is one of the possible grappling actions, I don't see the need.

Thing is, whoever wrote the grapple rules is a jerk.


Note: You get a +4 bonus on your grapple check to move a pinned opponent, but only if no one else is involved in the grapple

Why would you acknowledge the fact that one of the grapplers may try to move in a multiple grapplers case, without telling us how it would effect the others?

Psyx
2010-10-14, 05:59 AM
Second... if the GM doesn't see your sheet, how are they supposed to run encounters for your character? Maybe I'm just used to a far more cooperative style of game, but the GMs I play with like knowing what the characters can do and can't do. It helps them create more balanced, creative challenges. Not letting the GM see your sheet, to me, would feel as weird as not giving them your character's background.

To be fair, I seldom bother looking at my player's sheets. They're there in my GM file to look at betwixt games, but I don't often feel the need. I have a good gauge of their capabilities on a practical level, and sometimes it's nice to get a surprise. However; my players DO tell me where they are spending XP: 'is it ok to bung my WS up to 55 and buy Drive: Ground vehicle?'

That said, I wouldn't even consider gaming with someone who flat-out refused to allow me access to their sheets. It shows a kind of gaming attitude that I don't like at the table.




I'm not sure I'd consider "standard" or "average" complex words... just ones that lack the overtones and implications that "normal" carries (in the States at least!) And I don't think I've ever said the phrase "carbonated beverage!" (To American ears, though, "fizzy drink" just sounds... well... silly! At least as odd as our overly-complex terms do to your ears!)

The English have a great fondness for communicating in a very simple way for the most part. It may be because we have a higher exposure to nationalities who speak English as a second language and a simpler vocabulary aids that. Having spent a lot of time working overseas, I know that simplicity is the key to being understood.

Even amongst the most highly educated members of society, communication is normally fairly simplistic in structure. Both ends of our social structure - upper and working classes - see it as very pretentious and a bit lame to use a complex phrase when a simple one will do. The middle class is the one that probably uses the widest vocabulary in normal use (and certainly a lot of French loan-words, such as 'sofa' and 'serviette') in order to differentiate itself from the working class and to demonstrate it's education. Only the middle class says 'pardon?'. Upper and working classes say 'what?'

'Carbonated Beverage' was from a girl I used to date from SC. It's kind of a well-known truism to the British that no American uses a word with two syllables when they can use two words, each with three.
That said; if it's possible for some English people to use incomprehensible slang instead: They will, whether it's street slang, or simply Latin.

The recent complication is corporate business language, which has crawled its way from over the other side of the Atlantic. Very small people with very long job descriptions think that if they use words like 'paradigm' five times a day, other people will think that they are clever.


I digress.



"YOU SAID IT WAS OKAY."

When I make a snap-call, I tend to need to say to a couple of my players sometimes: 'Understand that this is happening because it's cool, and not broken in the current situation. This does NOT set a precedent.'