PDA

View Full Version : The un-optimization challenge OR how to give a Munchkin an aneurysm



janusmaxwell
2015-02-26, 08:32 PM
So, I have a buddy. He's a good buddy, smart gamer, I can talk to him about pretty much anything. He just has this one REALLY annoying habit.

That being, he cannot NOT optimize the hell out of any character/system he's playing in.

Quite a few of my friends have min/maxer tendencies, though the restrain them/use them lightly. It comes from having a LOT of knowledge about the various game systems/lore/mechanics. My buddy was raised by 2 hardcore nerds himself and he pretty much knows enough about a given system that he could write a college thesis on a subject without needing to crack any source books/rule books.

This makes it great for advice on fluffing out a character that fits the world and is still effective, but any character he makes, regardless of the setting or backstory or whatever, will end up making a lot of the other characters in the party will be rendered functionally useless.

As a Non-Tabletop example: he got Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition with all the DLC and put all of the mods ever on it, so that he had:

A: 6-9 followers following him at all times, including 2 mod only character (Sunny Smiles and a Deathclaw)
B: Infinite Money and carrying capacity
C: A mod that allowed him to take all his things and followers into the DLC Dead Money (which is supposed to drop you alone and effectively unarmed in a dangerous hell-hole)

He will then say, unironically, that the game was too easy.

Apply that same mindset to pen-and-paper and you come to the crux of the problem. We just started a New World of Darkness game where all of is are starting off as Mortals and then later will get supernatural templates (Hunter, Werewolf, Vampire, Changeling, Geist). We drew cards for who will become what, and he drew "The one thing I DIDN'T want!" (Werewolf) and was allowed to switch so he will become the Geist, eventually. Other than that, we all team-agreed, character map and everything, to come up with roles that everyone has a use. He is something that involves trick-shooting, but FLUFF and backstory-wise he basically pulled aspects from our ST's life, effectively making his Character an ST EXPY (we had a very good laugh about that) and I filled up the nerdy college student: 4 Int, 1 dot in almost every mental skill and 4 dots in academics, specialties in Academics for Research, History, and Culture; with the Encyclopedic Knowledge and Eidetic Memory Merits for good measure. Meaning I am effectively useless outside of finding out what ever we can about the thing that might be killing us.

First session, hunting trip to a lakeside town/park with strange stuff going on, and it turned out the ST pulled EVERYTHING for this setting from the videogame: Alan Wake. My buddy realizes what the ST did and says that's what happening with a big smile. Using his 'fluff' from being an Expy of our ST, and this somebody who loves scary/Cthulian/fantasy stories, he decides to claim "Genre Savvy" like it's an actual Merit (the ST says it is...wtf) and starts using OOC knowledge about the Alan Wake game to prepare for what comes next, which included hitting a hardware store to stockpile on Roadflares, Ultra-strong Flashlights and extra batteries along with lots of guns and bullets, even though we hadn't gotten into a single combat encounter yet, with anything, let alone the "weak to light" shadow monsters that are in the game.

Effectively, his Genre Savvy meant I suddenly became as useless as shoes on a shark, and because he'd built his character around trick-shooting, it meant he was combat capable to such a degree that our designated brawler would have no opportunity to punch an enemy before it was shot dead.

He doesn't make on class "the best specialist character ever". He makes a Jack of all trades that can somehow out do ANYTHING a specialist character is specifically designed for.

So here's the challenge, name a system and a character class that is, for all intents and purposes, un-optimizable. Or at least, very very hard to munchkin/MINMAX.

Bonus points if it's a class that can't be morphed into a MASTER OF EVERYTHING EVER.

Vitruviansquid
2015-02-26, 08:36 PM
Okay, so this guy is annoying.

What's the challenge? :smallconfused:

edit: Oh, you edited it in.

Rhaegar14
2015-02-26, 08:42 PM
3.5e D&D, Truenamer. End of thread so far as original intent goes.

But this is definitely a player problem, not a character problem. Have any of you pointed out to him that his characters always being the best at everything ever is ruining the fun for the rest of you?

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 08:43 PM
Duh, CW Samurai. Also im the ST for the game in question, and he has changed from being the ST expy (which i found hilarious) to being an actual Trick Shooter (thus explaining his 5 Firearms). Also the hardware store stock up wasnt as bad a janus puts it, as they did shoot a bunch of Taken with a flaregun, so IC they know flares work.

In general though he is correct, the Player, we'll call his Steve Steveson (private joke) cant turn off his munchkin powers. Honestly i dont blame him, i mean he cut his teeth on freakin Exalted and its tainted his style of gaming.

Also, any 3.5 Martial character (i wish i was kidding)


3.5e D&D, Truenamer. End of thread so far as original intent goes.

But this is definitely a player problem, not a character problem. Have any of you pointed out to him that his characters always being the best at everything ever is ruining the fun for the rest of you?

Also ya, not those exact words but we have brought it up. We probably should have been more firm, but we can next time.

Also Truenamers can use Gate so late game they are fairly nasty. Just takes WAY to much work to get to that.

ewoods
2015-02-26, 08:45 PM
Yeah, I don't get the challenge. Are we saying they're stuck with whatever class we pick for their entire level progression? Because if that's the case, most classes would not be considered optimized without access to multiclassing.

TeChameleon
2015-02-26, 08:47 PM
I could be remembering wrong, but I seem to remember that the Artificer in D&D 4e was kind of underpowered...

Mind you, if you really want to make him go nuts, force him to play a core-only rigger in Shadowrun 4th Edition (Anniversary). Again, I could be wildly, stupidly wrong, but I don't think that's very easy to become master-of-everything with >.>

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 08:48 PM
Yeah, I don't get the challenge. Are we saying they're stuck with whatever class we pick for their entire level progression? Because if that's the case, most classes would not be considered optimized without access to multiclassing.

Though sticking him with 20 levels of Fighter would be funny, just to see what he does with it.


I could be remembering wrong, but I seem to remember that the Artificer in D&D 4e was kind of underpowered...

Mind you, if you really want to make him go nuts, force him to play a core-only rigger in Shadowrun 4th Edition (Anniversary). Again, I could be wildly, stupidly wrong, but I don't think that's very easy to become master-of-everything with >.>

Do NOT give him Shadowrun stuff, he knows that game quite well.

TeChameleon
2015-02-26, 08:53 PM
Do NOT give him Shadowrun stuff, he knows that game quite well.

... does he know it well enough to explain the bloody rigger rules to me? I've been having a hard time wrapping my brain around them, and I'm supposed to be the GM -_-;

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 08:54 PM
... does he know it well enough to explain the bloody rigger rules to me? I've been having a hard time wrapping my brain around them, and I'm supposed to be the GM -_-;

Idk lol i know he and his family play 3rd (im pretty sure its 3rd anyway) but he probably could. And dont go asking me as ive never played lol

ewoods
2015-02-26, 08:55 PM
Though sticking him with 20 levels of Fighter would be funny, just to see what he does with it.

That's exactly what I had in mind! LOL I played a really fun fighter from 1 to 20 and worked my hardest to min/max him, but at the end of the day, I hardly considered him "optimized" compared to pretty much anyone else.

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 08:59 PM
That's exactly what I had in mind! LOL I played a really fun fighter from 1 to 20 and worked my hardest to min/max him, but at the end of the day, I hardly considered him "optimized" compared to pretty much anyone else.

Honestly i could do it, a few ACFs and the Weapon Mastery line and im swinging solid numbers, not great mind you, but not utter crap either. Then again i like playing martial characters

Frozen_Feet
2015-02-26, 09:06 PM
I thought you could make him play a Fighter in Lamentations of the Flame Princess or other retroclone with roll-3d6-in-order and non-customizable character classes, but then I considered the ramifications of him getting his hands on some of the magic items in the modules...:smalleek:

You can't win the challenge as written, not against a guy like this. Your best hope is to convince him to commit his brain power into some sort of self-imposed challenge. Tell him to try to play a game carrying only five different items or some such.

Nalak
2015-02-26, 09:21 PM
Chuubo's Wish Granting Engine. I'm not kidding there's one arc where your character can gain the power to basically stabilize one of their injuries in exchange for a specific power chosen at the time. Mind you these can't be things like omnipotent and the book gives samples what kind of health level you'd have to trade for what kind of power. The game functions on a more narrative structure and really the way the game functions there just isn't anything to optimize out.

On a different note did his character take the genre savvy merit? Cause its kind of bull if he's using a merit he doesn't have. I don't know if one exists or not its not in any of my books, but then I can't guarantee its not in any of them.

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 09:28 PM
Chuubo's Wish Granting Engine. I'm not kidding there's one arc where your character can gain the power to basically stabilize one of their injuries in exchange for a specific power chosen at the time. Mind you these can't be things like omnipotent and the book gives samples what kind of health level you'd have to trade for what kind of power. The game functions on a more narrative structure and really the way the game functions there just isn't anything to optimize out.

On a different note did his character take the genre savvy merit? Cause its kind of bull if he's using a merit he doesn't have. I don't know if one exists or not its not in any of my books, but then I can't guarantee its not in any of them.

Genre savvy isn't an actual thing, i was making a joke. Though honestly if you have watched one horror film you are now Horror Genre Savvy, and i generally dont ask my players if their characters have watched a horror film, i generally assume everyone has seen at least one. Though i should ask if his character is a horror movie aficionado....

janusmaxwell
2015-02-26, 09:31 PM
Sorry Blackhawk. I know I'm b--ching over nothing, but it just kinda smacked me in the face with how Stevenson didn't even try to disguise using knowledge from the video-game. The other option I had besides this was to just come up with silly Monster combination templates, one of which I explained to him in the car after that session (I did it as a "here's a wonky idea for a monster" without adding the [which I want to make just so you can't OOC like that again...] part)

"A zombie shambles towards you, dripping wet, and moaning"
"Oh, I aim and shoot it in the head"
"Water starts leaking out off the new hole in it's cranium, but it doesn't register the wound at all."
"...I use a Molotov cocktail/flamethrower on it"
"A cloud of steam hisses from the corpse, creating a very tiny fogbank, and you can still hear it shuffling towards you through the mist."
"O_O"

Water zombie, from somebody who died of drowning, and have a weakness to electricity. Or a thought just now, a ghost of a drowning victim/cursed lake possessing the corpse so that it won't stop moving unless you take it apart joint by joint and/or perform an exorcism on the lake it crawled out of.

busterswd
2015-02-26, 09:37 PM
4th Edition, though it had clear favorites in terms of which classes were strongest (Fighter, Wizard, Warlord/Cleric, Ranger), had a lot of competent, middle of the road classes that couldn't accomplish absolutely everything, especially in heroic tier (Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, Monk, etc.). It might be worth a look.

Or maybe try Dresden Files, except he's not allowed to use magic. All the min-maxing comes in having a good character concept and aspects at that point, which means he's got to roleplay better (or be Compelled to roleplay better) for power. And you can choose to be a combat specialist, but social conflicts are just as important, depending on how you run the game.

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 09:42 PM
Sorry Blackhawk. I know I'm b--ching over nothing, but it just kinda smacked me in the face with how Stevenson didn't even try to disguise using knowledge from the video-game. The other option I had besides this was to just come up with silly Monster combination templates, one of which I explained to him in the car after that session (I did it as a "here's a wonky idea for a monster" without adding the [which I want to make just so you can't OOC like that again...] part)

Ill be honest, light is the only weakness the Taken have, and i was fairly blatant about its effectiveness. You have a valid complaint your just using a lousy example :smalltongue:

Also he does play Dresden files, i believe hes a half angel with his parents, and he can roleplay when he chooses to, its just that hes bad at it and he knows it, so he focuses on what hes good at IE munchkining.

Nalak
2015-02-26, 09:52 PM
Genre savvy isn't an actual thing, i was making a joke. Though honestly if you have watched one horror film you are now Horror Genre Savvy, and i generally dont ask my players if their characters have watched a horror film, i generally assume everyone has seen at least one. Though i should ask if his character is a horror movie aficionado....

Ah, yeah you kind of had me confused with the line about "The ST says it is." I would flat out tell him that he needs to curb the habit. I mean its one thing to get up to the area and notice "huh there are sod all spots of light out here. I should probably make sure to grab a spare flashlight and maybe a pack or two of batteries just in case." Cause I mean genre savvy would account for him expecting that they were going to be in a situation where they will be stuck in a blackout zone, but it wouldn't account for him basically gearing up to war against this specific threat. Cause seriously the story you told would get him chewed out if not kicked out by several people I run with. The Fallout story would have one of them beating him to death in the real world.

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 10:01 PM
Ah, yeah you kind of had me confused with the line about "The ST says it is." I would flat out tell him that he needs to curb the habit. I mean its one thing to get up to the area and notice "huh there are sod all spots of light out here. I should probably make sure to grab a spare flashlight and maybe a pack or two of batteries just in case." Cause I mean genre savvy would account for him expecting that they were going to be in a situation where they will be stuck in a blackout zone, but it wouldn't account for him basically gearing up to war against this specific threat. Cause seriously the story you told would get him chewed out if not kicked out by several people I run with. The Fallout story would have one of them beating him to death in the real world.

In his defense (wow im saying that a lot :smalltongue:) he geared up after first contact. So they fought some Taken, beat them, and then he bought a bunch of road flares and some lighter fluid and more flashlights the next day.

If he did that before hand i would have been very annoyed

Kid Jake
2015-02-26, 10:02 PM
Play Paranoia with him, roll for everything. If he manages to produce something coherent you can use that as proof that he's a commie mutant spy and let nature take its course.

Nalak
2015-02-26, 10:04 PM
In his defense (wow im saying that a lot :smalltongue:) he geared up after first contact. So they fought some Taken, beat them, and then he bought a bunch of road flares and some lighter fluid and more flashlights the next day.

If he did that before hand i would have been very annoyed

Ah. Yeah see your story in the opening post says he geared up before first combat.

"[He] starts using OOC knowledge about the Alan Wake game to prepare for what comes next, which included hitting a hardware store to stockpile on Roadflares, Ultra-strong Flashlights and extra batteries along with lots of guns and bullets, even though we hadn't gotten into a single combat encounter yet, with anything, let alone the "weak to light" shadow monsters that are in the game."

busterswd
2015-02-26, 10:06 PM
he can roleplay when he chooses to, its just that hes bad at it and he knows it, so he focuses on what hes good at IE munchkining.

That's probably 95% of your problem, honestly. My friends are EXCELLENT roleplayers and pretty much fill the room with their antics. Trying to hold a candle to them is pretty awkward, so I tend to just stick to mechanics over roleplaying myself. It will take a crap ton of encouragement to break him out of the minmax shell if that's all he feels he's goo at.

The metagaming is something that probably needs to be worked on (and vetoed by the DM in really abusive cases), but in terms of optimization, he's just playing a different game in the same system.


Oh, another system suggestion: Call of Cthulu. You don't win Call of Cthulu. Surviving the encounter and driving away whatever immediate threat is attacking you is as close as you get. Generally, games entail struggling to exist a few more days or hours before a tentacled monstrosity sucks out your ectoplasm.

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 10:12 PM
Ah. Yeah see your story in the opening post says he geared up before first combat.

"[He] starts using OOC knowledge about the Alan Wake game to prepare for what comes next, which included hitting a hardware store to stockpile on Roadflares, Ultra-strong Flashlights and extra batteries along with lots of guns and bullets, even though we hadn't gotten into a single combat encounter yet, with anything, let alone the "weak to light" shadow monsters that are in the game."

Huh, didnt see that, i guess Janus is just remembering wrong (it was last week so thats totally plausible) Its also entirely plausible that I'm remembering wrong (its been known to happen)

On CoC, ive played a few games with him. There hes a lot of fun, mainly cuz i think theres almost nothing to optimize, just be tactical. So when the mechanics are mostly gone hes pretty good. I think we need to update to GMC, as that may help here.

janusmaxwell
2015-02-26, 10:44 PM
Huh, didnt see that, i guess Janus is just remembering wrong (it was last week so thats totally plausible) Its also entirely plausible that I'm remembering wrong (its been known to happen)

On CoC, ive played a few games with him. There hes a lot of fun, mainly cuz i think theres almost nothing to optimize, just be tactical. So when the mechanics are mostly gone hes pretty good. I think we need to update to GMC, as that may help here.

Completely remembering that wrong. I remember him shooting a flare at the start of the fight we had at some of the taken, and kinda mixed up from there whether he'd grabbed A LOT of light based items before or after that. Then again, I was in a bit if a ----- mood from being metaphorically castrated due to "Genre Savvy" making all the IC knowledge/research stuff useless.

To use Supernatural as an example, not everybody can be a Winchester, and that's not what I was trying to be. Btw Blackhawk, I remembered the name of the character that mine is kinda like from that show. I'm basically Ash, sans mullet and really anti-social...which might have been what Ash was like before he dropped out of College and became the Hunter version of "Yahoo Ask" lol

Blackhawk748
2015-02-26, 10:47 PM
Completely remembering that wrong. I remember him shooting a flare at the start of the fight we had at some of the taken, and kinda mixed up from there whether he'd grabbed A LOT of light based items before or after that. Then again, I was in a bit if a ----- mood from being metaphorically castrated due to "Genre Savvy" making all the IC knowledge/research stuff useless.

To use Supernatural as an example, not everybody can be a Winchester, and that's not what I was trying to be. Btw Blackhawk, I remembered the name of the character that mine is kinda like from that show. I'm basically Ash, sans mullet and really anti-social...which might have been what Ash was like before he dropped out of College and became the Hunter version of "Yahoo Ask" lol

Dont worry, once the prologue is over your research is gonna save their rear ends. Especially because i have a tendency to make up creatures :smallwink:

So ya, next on the bill is talk to him about munchkinery. Though it could have been much worse. He could have taken Combat Marksmen and absolutely destroyed combat.

Arbane
2015-02-26, 11:40 PM
Pick a game that's hard to munchkin, like RISUS or ... hm, I see he already plays FATE (Dresden Files). How's he there?

Or pick a game where there isn't much to munchkin, like Trollbabe.

Or one where munchkinning is actively bad for your health, like Call of Cthulhu or Paranoia (already mentioned).

Or play a game like HERO System or Mutants and Masterminds.... but he gets to stat up the other players' character ideas. That should keep the level of powergaming roughly equal.

LooseCannoneer
2015-02-27, 12:04 AM
I could be remembering wrong, but I seem to remember that the Artificer in D&D 4e was kind of underpowered...

Mind you, if you really want to make him go nuts, force him to play a core-only rigger in Shadowrun 4th Edition (Anniversary). Again, I could be wildly, stupidly wrong, but I don't think that's very easy to become master-of-everything with >.>

4th edition Shadowrun riggers are way too underpowered compared to 1st edition ones, don't even try 1st edition Shadowrun if the munchkin asks about a helicopter.

Also, Kender Truenamer multiclassed into Samurai.

goto124
2015-02-27, 12:12 AM
Kender

Not the Kender!

Wait, wrong player problem. Move along, nothing to see here.

russdm
2015-02-27, 12:59 AM
This may be a way to cure his Munchkinism, a note that it is rather mean-spirited, but it ought to work:

Have him play a housecat, an actual housecat. There will be no way he can min-max it to do everything. Have him get abilities from the other players beyond having what would considered standard for a housecat, like purring/claws/teeth/being nimble. That should about do it.

The other solution is essentially tell him if he makes a character to be master of everything, then he doesn't play. Short of banning him from the table or saying "No" to each of characters until he makes a character that is tolerable, you won't solve this. Don't try finding a un-optimizable game because that won't actually teach him anything.

goto124
2015-02-27, 01:02 AM
Have him play a housecat, an actual housecat. There will be no way he can min-max it to do everything. Have him get abilities from the other players beyond having what would considered standard for a housecat, like purring/claws/teeth/being nimble. That should about do it.

To be fair to everyone and avoid rubbing salt in his wound, I would make ALL the players be housecats/housedogs/hamsters/etc.

It's essentially the same as playing another system where you can't minmax.

(Also, pokes russdm to that sci-fi ronin thread)

Straybow
2015-02-27, 01:23 AM
First, make everyone roll dice for ability scores. It gets very hard to min-max when your scores choose your class for you. Second, no multiclassing. Third, don't let him fluff the character. Character was raised on a farm, trained in whatever class by a crazy uncle. He knows nothing except the basics of his class and whatever he pays skills for.

LooseCannoneer
2015-02-27, 02:20 AM
Not the Kender!

Wait, wrong player problem. Move along, nothing to see here.

Yeah, I pulled out the badness artillery there. It was probably overreaction, I apologize in advance if they go through with it.

OldTrees1
2015-02-27, 02:29 AM
First, make everyone roll dice for ability scores. It gets very hard to min-max when your scores choose your class for you. Second, no multiclassing. Third, don't let him fluff the character. Character was raised on a farm, trained in whatever class by a crazy uncle. He knows nothing except the basics of his class and whatever he pays skills for.

Depending on the system that would be too easy to over optimize. In 3rd edition you only need a 15 Int, Wis, or Cha to play a Wizard, Druid, or Sorcerer respectively. What's more, those rules increase the disparity between those Tier 1-2 classes and the other classes.

However you also hit upon something very key. Controlling the fluff.




Much as I hate asymetrical handicaps, I think it could be appropriate IF the player was on board with the idea (either to help reign in an undesired uncontrolled impulse or merely as something to make victory extra sweet).

Start with russdm's idea of giving the player little-no control over their build. Do this by having the player choose a monster class from the savage species(yes, I mean the underpowered options. Not corrected homebrewed versions) that will span the entire level range of the campaign.

Finish by using Straybow's idea on how to control the fluff by having the group have a defined joint backstory defined by the campaign. (The uncle idea sounds good)

With internal crunch and fluff handled, the only thing left is external crunch. Aka Wealth. A weather eye should stop wealth based abuses. Especially if everything else is under control.

Belial_the_Leveler
2015-02-27, 03:18 AM
1) Warlock in 3.5 Edition.

2) He can't multiclass or use nonstandard races.




And that's it. There's very little he can do to optimise that.

Jay R
2015-02-28, 02:28 PM
Just have several enemies at once, who all target him as soon as it's clear that he is the biggest threat.

Tengu_temp
2015-02-28, 02:50 PM
I suggest the direct approach instead of pussyfooting and going for roundabout solutions. Talk to this guy and tell him that his munchkinery is making the game not fun for others and to cut it out.

Knaight
2015-02-28, 03:46 PM
The first thing to do is to directly ask the player to stop making their characters so powerful, and to try harder to emphasize the character instead of trying to solve the scenario the character is in. With that said, it could help to do this in the context of a system that emphasizes the character, and doesn't have a bunch of mechanically fiddly bits that can be tweaked. It's easier to get away from bad habits when the circumstances don't actively encourage them. A game like Fate would over cover both of these, though I can't say I'm all that fond of the system.

Another method to do this would be to get them on board with asymmetrical character creation. Take GURPS - maybe everyone else gets 150 point characters. Ask the player how many points they think they need to make a character that fits in with the party, given that they know how to mechanically represent a character in a point-efficient manner. Let them work with that total. Odds are good they'll actually provide a pretty good estimate, particularly as this comes in the context of already having explained the character.


First, make everyone roll dice for ability scores. It gets very hard to min-max when your scores choose your class for you. Second, no multiclassing. Third, don't let him fluff the character. Character was raised on a farm, trained in whatever class by a crazy uncle. He knows nothing except the basics of his class and whatever he pays skills for.

This would backfire. The player has a habit of metagaming, a head for the mechanics, and from the sounds of things some problem solving skills. This drastically reduces the influence the player has over who their character is in setting, and makes it all the more likely that mechanics are exactly what gets focused on.

Demidos
2015-02-28, 04:05 PM
1) Warlock in 3.5 Edition.

2) He can't multiclass or use nonstandard races.




And that's it. There's very little he can do to optimise that.

Helfire warlock and bloodlines would disagree. You can hit some pretty nasty levels of damage there...


I would challenge him to build a tactically based fighter, that is, one based around trip, bullrush, disarm, sunder, intimidate, lockdown, etc. that does not function via massive damage. That would leave him a powerful character (Might sound weak, but a character with reach and the above-mentioned options is nothing to be scoffed at, especially is they're a competent WBLmancer. Wrathful healing, cloak of the underdark, anklets of transposition, chronocharm of the horizon walker, amulet of tears...WBLmancy is fun and can easily be scaled up on other characters as well to keep them all on a level.

LET him optomize his wealth. It gives him something to research and its tacked on to a weak chassis. As long as you dont give him a candle of invocation or something similarly silly, he shouldnt be able to break anything too badly.

Coventry
2015-02-28, 06:31 PM
Try a different tactic - ask the player to optimize being the party buffer. Like "Q" from the James Bond universe.

He ends up being crucial to making everyone else shine.

Malimar
2015-02-28, 07:53 PM
You can't win the challenge as written, not against a guy like this. Your best hope is to convince him to commit his brain power into some sort of self-imposed challenge. Tell him to try to play a game carrying only five different items or some such.
Try a different tactic - ask the player to optimize being the party buffer. Like "Q" from the James Bond universe.

He ends up being crucial to making everyone else shine.

Once upon a time, faced with one player with high optimization skill and the rest of the party with lower optimization skill, I just asked/challenged the high-op-fu player to use his abilities for good instead of evil: I suggested he create a character focused on making the rest of the party feel awesome. As long as the player's not a jerk, he should be amenable to this sort of challenge.

goto124
2015-02-28, 08:24 PM
'What do you mean, you want me to play a Bard?'

Also, might have to take away the social skills such as Diplomancy? What if he manages to max it out and threatens to break the game/overshadow everyone else in social situations just by mechanical skill?

JeenLeen
2015-02-28, 09:36 PM
Try a different tactic - ask the player to optimize being the party buffer. Like "Q" from the James Bond universe.

He ends up being crucial to making everyone else shine.

Example of this working: I had a optimized wizard (in a highly optimized 3.5 game, to such a degree we all stopped having fun and shifted to WoD) using War Weaver that uber-buffed the entire party quite well. It was strange that sometimes I seemed useless in combat ("Well, I could throw an Orb of Acid or use a save-or-die, but the ClericZilla or DruidZilla will kill it next round, so better to save it for the boss.") since my main contribution was before the fight or in the first round.

But, in the end, OOC conversation is probably the best solution. BUT if he can't have fun without minmaxing and he's your friend so you want him to stay in the group, I can see wanting a system where minmaxing won't break things or limiting the class so it's minimal. The suggestions folk have said here sound good (e.g., martial D&D 3.5, Truenamer in D&D, Paranoia).

gom jabbarwocky
2015-02-28, 10:11 PM
I'm going to have to agree with everyone else who said get him to use his powers for good, not ill, and make the party better, not just himself. Otherwise the proletariat (i.e. other players) will eventually get sick of his crap and overthrow his bourgeois ass (i.e. kick him out of the group). Fair distribution of min/max!

Or, switch to Call of Cthulhu. That game is a meat-grinder. If he tries to max out on spells, he'll go crazy and die. If he tries to max out on combat skills, he'll Leeroy Jenkins on a Dark Young of Shubb-Niggurath and go crazy and die. If he tries to max out on wealth, possessions are fleeting and they'll all be destroyed in a fire and he'll go crazy and die.

Although it's still possible to munchkin Call of Cthulhu, and I've seen it happen. I won't elaborate here, because this is a thread about min-maxing, not bloody-mindedness and players who are just kind of lazy and boring.

emeraldstreak
2015-02-28, 10:22 PM
heh so many optimization newbies thinking there are unoptimizable things in 3.5 of all things



try Amber

YossarianLives
2015-02-28, 10:42 PM
'What do you mean, you want me to play a Bard?'
Actually, if properly built bards can be very powerful in 3.5.

Using the Sublime Chord prestige class for example...

Sliver
2015-02-28, 11:41 PM
I'm sorry, but neither examples are optimization or min/maxing related. You really didn't give an example of him using the rules to make a strong build.

Both examples are of him cheating. Sure, Fallout allows such methods of cheating, but you can also write whatever number you want as your HP and it would take quite a lot for your GM to notice. The Alan Wake example? That's using OOC knowledge about the ST to circumvent the challenge and point of that adventure, which the ST also allowed.

I don't know how cheating and metagaming is related to any system or build.

GGambrel
2015-03-01, 10:20 AM
Depending on the system that would be too easy to over optimize. In 3rd edition you only need a 15 Int, Wis, or Cha to play a Wizard, Druid, or Sorcerer respectively. What's more, those rules increase the disparity between those Tier 1-2 classes and the other classes.

Though if you roll randomly in order (or use the NPC array), you might not have a 15 in any mental stat.

Also, it'd be pretty difficult to min/max an NPC Class... or a Fighter with only one stat at 13+ (NPC Array).

OldTrees1
2015-03-01, 11:43 AM
Though if you roll randomly in order (or use the NPC array), you might not have a 15 in any mental stat.

Also, it'd be pretty difficult to min/max an NPC Class... or a Fighter with only one stat at 13+ (NPC Array).

Yeah I assumed it would be in order. However rolling 14 or less for 3 specific stats with 3d6 is ~0.9^3 = ~72%. With 4d6b3 it 0.77^3 = ~46%. Remembering the races with +2 to a mental stat changes this to ~0.74^3 = ~40% and ~0.5^3 = ~12.5% respectively.

With NPC array it only takes a race with a +2 to a mental stat to get to a 15.

GGambrel
2015-03-01, 03:53 PM
Yeah I assumed it would be in order. However rolling 14 or less for 3 specific stats with 3d6 is ~0.9^3 = ~72%. With 4d6b3 it 0.77^3 = ~46%. Remembering the races with +2 to a mental stat changes this to ~0.74^3 = ~40% and ~0.5^3 = ~12.5% respectively.

With NPC array it only takes a race with a +2 to a mental stat to get to a 15.

If using 3.5 with core races only, I don't think anything gets a bonus to mental stats. I was assuming 3d6 for rolling to better match the NPC Array, indicating the roughly 72% chance of not having a 15+ in any of the mental stats. You could also use a nonstandard means of rolling stats like 7d6 and taking the middle 3 dice which would reduce the likelihood of high stats further.

OldTrees1
2015-03-02, 02:37 AM
If using 3.5 with core races only, I don't think anything gets a bonus to mental stats. I was assuming 3d6 for rolling to better match the NPC Array, indicating the roughly 72% chance of not having a 15+ in any of the mental stats. You could also use a nonstandard means of rolling stats like 7d6 and taking the middle 3 dice which would reduce the likelihood of high stats further.

Look at the Core Elf races in the Monster Manuel: Gray Elf +2 Int.
So Core 3d6 in order is ~0.9*0.9*0.7 ~= 56.7%

Nonstandard can push it lower. However then you are running into the problem that most non casters need multiple physical stats. Although if the player is that much of an optimizer they might be able to handle it. On the other hand if they are that much of an optimizer, they could play a Wizard with 12 Int + Foxes' Cunning.

Sith_Happens
2015-03-02, 04:51 AM
I'm sorry, but neither examples are optimization or min/maxing related. You really didn't give an example of him using the rules to make a strong build.

Both examples are of him cheating. Sure, Fallout allows such methods of cheating, but you can also write whatever number you want as your HP and it would take quite a lot for your GM to notice. The Alan Wake example? That's using OOC knowledge about the ST to circumvent the challenge and point of that adventure, which the ST also allowed.

I don't know how cheating and metagaming is related to any system or build.

This. The one example given so far of the problem has very little to do with anything on his character sheet.

endur
2015-03-02, 02:17 PM
D&D basic. Make everyone roll die (no point buy).

Tarlek Flamehai
2015-03-04, 06:31 PM
GURPS, with a 50 point buy. Sure he can still optimize to be more effective at one thing than the rest of the party, but no way he can be the master-of-all. Of course in a 50 point game you are all gonna die frequently. That reminds me, Paranoia with any decent GM.

Icewraith
2015-03-06, 06:28 PM
Run D&D 5th edition. Don't let him play a bard or a druid (possibly no wizard, or at least no Diviner). Use point buy or have everyone at the table roll one set of stats and let any player use any set of stats, so the group is all on roughly the same power level.

Then, don't pull too obviously from any one source of media when running the campaign, especially one the players are familiar with.

The optimization floor and ceiling should be close enough that he won't be able to overshadow other players at their specialties (unless they're trying to do the exact same thing). If he doesn't know exactly where the material is coming from he can't metagame (and sometimes it's hard not to).

Jay R
2015-03-07, 10:28 AM
Don't fight his abilities. Use them. Ask him to help everybody design their characters.

If he just likes to optimize, this lets him do what he loves, and nobody's character is overshadowed.

[If it's important to him to be better than everybody else, he will either refuse or sabotage them. In that case, the problem is very different from the one you're trying to solve, and you need to find out. This is the way you'll find out.]

Jormengand
2015-03-07, 05:54 PM
3.5e D&D, Truenamer. End of thread so far as original intent goes.

Do not allow access to BoVD or UA or ROD or CC if you do this; even then watch out for nigh-unlimited fast healing, utterances that deal 20d6 damage at level 7, dispelling epic spells at level 10 and shooting people from the other end of the plane at level 14.

Jay R
2015-03-08, 09:31 AM
Forcing him into a class in which optimization is hard doesn't tell him he shouldn't optimize. It merely provides a harder challenge, and requires his to do it, just to have a worthwhile character.

The actual solution is one of two things:
1. Tell him he's hurting the game, and try to get him to agree not to create an over-powered character, or
2. Get him to help build everyone's characters, so they are all on an even footing.

Anything else is trying to treat symptoms without addressing the actual problem.

janusmaxwell
2015-03-28, 08:05 PM
So, to paraphrase, possibly quote Blackhawk and the forum as a whole: "DnD, a social game played by the most socially awkward people on the planet"

Hence why things came to a head yesterday and today and me and my buddy are, at this moment anyway (hoping probationary), not wanted to play with a group of our friends. They still want to hang out and do other things, but just not tabletop with us because our playing styles (mine & his Vs Theirs) are too different.

For my friend: I'm sorry man, about this thread and everything else, cause I'm looking at this now and going "Wow, I was acting like a bitter old F--k." and while you were dropped for the stuff that I cruelly overblew here, I was dropped for legit reasons as well.

This is something that, in the words of Blackhawk again, is "completely fine, it happens and nobody is going to ask you to change your play-style cause that sucks and makes the game feel like a job" A part of me is wanting to treat this like an old set-up/stereotype. If somebody throws you in a situation where "You have to choose: Me or THEM!" then you never pick the person who just asked that question, who put you in that situation. In this case it's "If the option is this or tell you to change your play style, we'd rather do this cause then you wouldn't have fun." then I want to TRY the playstyle change, and give the thing a chance.

And I'm, at least tangentially, aware that this has made me the forum equivalent of a horror movie victim "NO! Don't go in that Door!" *SHANK* "No you fool why!!!"

My thing though funnily enough is that I'm running through games we've played over the past few years, and I don't remember ANYTHING like these things happening in those games that were apparently red-flags. But then there was a relatively recent change in my behavior, going by the name of new meds.

Am I blaming the meds? No, but I'm saying the behavior that has resulted is possibly caused by same, and I'm sorry, but I like myself better. I can focus more, I have more energy (Like, holy mother of levels) and I'm better and happier as a person. If these new meds are the cause of my negative change in behavior then I'm sorry, but our play styles might be truly incompatible now, but I will still hang out and do other things. This is my own theory for the source, none of them have brought it up and I don't think most of them realize that I was medicated at all, or for what; and if I thought for a [B]moment that any of them would suggest 'don't take them on game day' I would walk out completely. But they will not do that, and I know it 100%

All I'm saying is that if I was doing something before Approximately last November that were raising red-flags, then we'd have a basis for "what happened" but if the traits that manifested did so after that point, then I think we know where to start the search for the fly that landed in our particular ointment. Maybe a trait I already had was amplified to higher levels after my switch, or maybe something got switched out for a new thing and everybody went "Where'd this come from!?!"

So at this point, me and my buddy are both looking for patching this thing by using the Repair skill on ourselves. Which is about half as fun as it sounds, especially since we're both (Okay actually just me) feeling like Sisyphus and his boulder about being able to game with the group again: Oh you think with effort you'll get there, but no...no...


So this has been an installment of Tabletop RPG nerd Drama. Enjoy.

nedz
2015-03-28, 08:42 PM
Re: the Alan Wake thing this smacks of poor/lazy STing also.

If you lift a source then you need to change things around a little, especially if one of the players is meta-gaming like this.

Esprit15
2015-03-28, 08:46 PM
Nth-ing playing Paranoia with him.

themaque
2015-03-28, 09:43 PM
I've got a friend, let's call him Z, like this as well. major major powergamer (some think munchkin but don't say that to his face) and he CAN be a really good role player, but ONLY after he had turned the game into his... well after had had successfully mitigated any chance of failure.

For him, it was all about taking luck out of the equation. He wanted to maintain control, it's why my friend Z hated rules light of GM Fiat heavy systems.