PDA

View Full Version : Why can't you powergame and roleplay?



Dorizzit
2007-12-24, 08:13 AM
Exactly the same as the title. The general thought seems to be that you can't powergame and roleplay an interesting character at the same time. Why?

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 08:15 AM
I don't think anyone still thinks that.

Armads
2007-12-24, 08:15 AM
You can. I don't have the link to the stormwind fallacy now, but it basically addresses this question.

Dorizzit
2007-12-24, 08:17 AM
Ah, that's good.

nerulean
2007-12-24, 08:26 AM
You can. The observation was initially based on the fact that there are a lot of people who choose to do either one or the other. For example...

Often, someone who has a clear concept of a character in mind will take feats that they think suit the character, even if they're mechanically not very good or just don't synergise well with each other. When I started playing D&D, I gave my first level fighter toughness. It's a bad feat, but at that point I didn't know it, and the fact that this character was tough and sturdy and could take a punch was absolutely fundamental to his persona. This is roleplaying at the expense of stats.

If all I wanted to do was make a character who was kickass awesome, I could have made a spiked chain fighter, which wouldn't have suited the idea of the character at all, but who cares, he's awesome! This is powergaming at the expense of roleplaying.

Now, if I was going to make the very same character I started with, I definitely wouldn't take toughness, but nor would I give him a spiked chain. I'd choose a powerful set of statistics that nevertheless suited the concept of what the character should be like, perhaps something along the shock trooper line. Most of the people who like D&D enough to discuss it on forums are pretty much at the same stage of roleplay/rollplay balance.

Arakune
2007-12-24, 08:37 AM
You can, but you can't munchkin and roleplay by definition.

To be fair, most of the powergaming level are still reasonable though some PrCs combinations seens quite strange...

Dorizzit
2007-12-24, 08:42 AM
Oh, well, munchkining is a completely different thing altogether. Munchkin = bad.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 08:45 AM
Yeah isn't munchkin= cheat, wheras powergamers are powerful within the rules.

bluish_wolf
2007-12-24, 08:53 AM
I thought it was because, in order to powergame, you have to pick certain feats and whatnot which may not align with the idea of your character. Actually, if you want to roleplay, you essentially have to make up your own class and whatnot, since you may not see your character as exactly the same as the book.

Actually, when you consider it, powerplaying assumes the rules are going to be static, while roleplay assumes that the rules are secondary and can change at any moment for dramatic flair or whatnot.

So, it's not that you can't roleplay and powerplay, but do you really need to powerplay when roleplaying is the focus?

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 08:57 AM
Not true, you could build it the other way, build then fluff.

bluish_wolf
2007-12-24, 09:00 AM
Don't most people come up with a character concept first, then try to make it work with the rules? Or just ask the DM to let you sidestep them?

Saph
2007-12-24, 09:05 AM
Exactly the same as the title. The general thought seems to be that you can't powergame and roleplay an interesting character at the same time. Why?

Mainly, the people who think that are the ones who are extreme roleplayers or extreme powergamers.

Extreme roleplayers don't really pay attention to the mechanics of their characters. They're only interested in what fits the feel of the character and what makes sense to them IC. So they look at powergamers and decry them for being munchkins. The problem is that their lack of interest in effectiveness often means that their characters end up being mechanically so weak that they have to be carried by the rest of the party, which is very frustrating for the other players who sooner or later are going to need their help. No-one wants to die because their teammate was useless.

Extreme powergamers suffer from the opposite problem - they view character creation as an exercise in making the most powerful build possible, and they find it tiresome to have to justify anything IC. Usually their build ends up requiring so many mutually contradictory elements that it's pretty much impossible to make any kind of coherent personality out of it other than 'I want to be really awesome'. These players tend to run and point at the Stormwind Fallacy when called out, but it's a bit of a con - while it's true that not all powergamers are bad roleplayers, it's also true that many are.

Most players are neither of these types. They want an effective character, but they want a memorable one with personality as well. For these players there isn't much of a conflict, since they work at both.

- Saph

Winterwind
2007-12-24, 09:16 AM
In a thread about two months ago tainsouvra made a very enlightening post on this subject. I think it explains the popularity of the (false) belief that powergaming and roleplaying are mutually exclusive very well, so I'll just let it speak for itself:

[...]Someone who is an unskilled roleplayer but a skilled powergamer, who comes to a roleplayer group, will stand out for his lack of the relevant skill. Someone who is a skilled roleplayer and a skilled powergamer, who comes to a roleplayer group, will not stand out because he has the relevant skill. Thus, the only powergamers that stand out in roleplaying groups are the ones that are also poor roleplayers. This causes the group to make the obvious connection--whenever they can notice that someone is a powergamer, it's because they're a poor roleplayer. Human generalizations being what they are, this causes "powergamer" and "poor roleplayer" to become synonymous within that group--despite the reality being that not only are they unrelated, but proof of that lack of relation is actually present in the group. I quote this to emphasize my earlier statement. Someone who is good at both will be seen by a roleplayer as a fellow roleplayer--but I submit to you that he would be seen by a powergamer as a fellow powergamer for exactly the same reason. This is due to the way humans generalize and build group identities, rather than any inherent attribute of these two skill/interest sets. [...]

NerfTW
2007-12-24, 09:29 AM
What I've always wondered is why people say you can't plan out a character's level progression and roleplay.

Because in real life you never learn one skill so that you can learn a different skill later on. Nope. Never.

There is absolutely no career that requires foundation training before advanced.

Hang on, I think I overdid the sarcasm a little.

You know what people who don't plan ahead wind up as? Liberal Arts majors.

And Ash Ketchum.

random11
2007-12-24, 09:40 AM
You can, but you can't munchkin and roleplay by definition.


I guess it's kind of a noobish question, but what's the difference between power play and munchkin?

PirateMonk
2007-12-24, 09:49 AM
I guess it's kind of a noobish question, but what's the difference between power play and munchkin?

There's no clear boundary, but in general, munchkins cheat more.

Riffington
2007-12-24, 09:56 AM
I guess it's kind of a noobish question, but what's the difference between power play and munchkin?

A roleplayer is someone who says "that troll is strong and crafty. If I am to defeat him I will need the power of flame".
A power player is someone who says "I picked shocking for my greatsword instead of flaming, since everyone's immune to fire. Still, I power attack the troll for 4".
A munchkin is someone who says "That troll is worth 2000 experience points".

Toulash
2007-12-24, 09:59 AM
I think you can be a powergame to some degree and roleplay. What Irks some people is that powergamers sometimes do *not* roleplay or introduce hideous combinations into the game.

They will pick an obscure race, class and attribute combo maxing for DPS and then not roleplay their intelligence or cha of 8. (you should literally probably be pissing someone off almost everytime you speak) Instead, they pretend the 8 does not exist.

Another thing that bothers a roleplayer about a powergamer is that they oten get pissed when there is not enough combat. If there is not one fight per session a powergamer tends to get antsy. Solving a puzzle, figuring out a dungeon, meeting the king are all lost on many powergamers who simply want to cut the next orcs head off.

Another clash between roleplayers and powergamers is encounter level. It usually gets thrown out of whack. If I make a half dragon warrior and my buddy plays an elf bard, the encounters often designed to challenge the half dragon warrior will vaporize the bard. So in essence the roleplayer is forced to build his character to be combat heavy whether he wants to or not.

Riffington
2007-12-24, 10:06 AM
There's no clear boundary, but in general, munchkins cheat more.

Just to be clear, munchkins are likely to cheat and to steal your dice, because they are often jerks. The defining characteristic is that they're playing the game for a power-trip at the expense of the other players/DM, in a game that wasn't designed for it*.

They typically believe that they are both a good powergamer and a good roleplayer.

A good test is: will he give the other players their time in the spotlight? Or is the game really all about him.

Kurald Galain
2007-12-24, 10:08 AM
I guess it's kind of a noobish question, but what's the difference between power play and munchkin?

"Power player" is a mostly-neutral description, whereas "munchkin" is an insult. The following is a stereotypical description that's only mildly exaggerated.

A power player will try and find the optimum combination of races, classes, feats et cetera, balancing his strengths against his drawbacks. They tend to consider this a challenge, and are very well aware of how the rules work and tend to play it straight rather than take advantage of loopholes. An argument with a power player is quickly resolved by taking out the rulebook in question.

A munchkin will find the races, classes, et cetera with the most pluses, and conveniently forget to bring the piece of paper (or obscure rulebook that preferably nobody else in the group has) with the drawbacks on them, and "forget" that a certain spell has a $5000 material component. They tend to not want the challenge of making a character, but instead download a good build from the internet; and take advantage of any and all loopholes they can find, claiming "that's how the rules work". An argument with a munchkin is not really resolved until the munchkin gets his way.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 10:09 AM
A roleplayer is someone who metagames.
A power player is someone who doesn't metagame and makes incharacter desciscions.
A munchkin is someone who says who knows the rules.

That's an interesting was of looking at it.

A powergamer keeps in the rules (Game rules and common decency) a munchkin doesn't.

NerfTW
2007-12-24, 10:15 AM
A roleplayer is someone who says "that troll is strong and crafty. If I am to defeat him I will need the power of flame".
A power player is someone who says "I picked shocking for my greatsword instead of flaming, since everyone's immune to fire. Still, I power attack the troll for 4".
A munchkin is someone who says "That troll is worth 2000 experience points".

I fail to see how stating the weakness of his weapon against an enemy in simple terms is "not roleplaying". Not everyone needs to be annoyingly verbose to role-play. Why on earth wouldn't a fighter say "My greatsword is embewed with electricity, not flame, but I can still hurt him the old fashioned way."?

And why wouldn't he look at what he's probably facing before picking a weapon? If I know I'm likely to be facing a bunch of ice giants, I'm going to load up on fire weapons, just like if a swat team were going into a building, they'd load up on shotguns and close range guns and not sniper rifles.

VeisuItaTyhjyys
2007-12-24, 10:30 AM
I'd also like to note that the idea that people who kill very, very, very powerful creatures and constantly risk their lives as a career are probably going to want to be better at it. I mean, call me crazy, but I'd damn sure not go up against a Dragon, personally, unless I was optimized so far I could be damn sure I wouldn't die, and even then, had a clone in the oven. I mean, an Initiate of the Seven Veils is cheezy, and whatnot, but I really think "not getting killed" is more important to most characters than "being on about an equal level with those around me, so I can be killed with them." Paladins, Barbarians, and some such characters wouldn't be this way, so much, but they're also much harder to optimize and much less powerful when optimized.
The only way to powergame a wizard, really, is to be paranoid and generally cowardly. The only RP reason to powergame a wizard is to be paranoid and generally cowardly.

KIDS
2007-12-24, 10:31 AM
Of course you can powergame and roleplay; while I can't prove that they are positively corellated (i.e. that a good roleplayer is also more capable of assembling a finely synergized character), the proof for there not being any negative corellation is easy to find all around.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 10:32 AM
My least favorite part of this sort of thing are those that actually play the herb sellers or near to that.

Everyone use herb sellers as part of your posts whe you can, lets make a phrase.

The Mormegil
2007-12-24, 10:34 AM
I think you can be a powergame to some degree and roleplay. What Irks some people is that powergamers sometimes do *not* roleplay or introduce hideous combinations into the game.

They will pick an obscure race, class and attribute combo maxing for DPS and then not roleplay their intelligence or cha of 8. (you should literally probably be pissing someone off almost everytime you speak) Instead, they pretend the 8 does not exist.

Another thing that bothers a roleplayer about a powergamer is that they oten get pissed when there is not enough combat. If there is not one fight per session a powergamer tends to get antsy. Solving a puzzle, figuring out a dungeon, meeting the king are all lost on many powergamers who simply want to cut the next orcs head off.

Another clash between roleplayers and powergamers is encounter level. It usually gets thrown out of whack. If I make a half dragon warrior and my buddy plays an elf bard, the encounters often designed to challenge the half dragon warrior will vaporize the bard. So in essence the roleplayer is forced to build his character to be combat heavy whether he wants to or not.

I agree totally with you. Nevertheless, I have to say roleplay could be helped by power play, in some way. If my party decides that they aren't going to be wizards because wizards are broken, not to play diplomacers because diplomacy is broken, not to play power attackers because power attackers are broken, not to play DnD because it is broken, I (the DM) will end up having them all blocked in a "cell" of incapacity, where they cannot find informations, cannot interact wth important people etc. even roleplayers will be disappointed. I mean, good, we roleplayed well each character up until this very moment, now go and defeat the dragon. YOU DIED? But it was a CR 3! Oh, you all have prepeared Detect Thoughts because it was in character? COME ON!

If my party decides, instead, to min max each character, they'll one-shoot the CR23 dragon, but they will even have Detect Thoughts ready for when they are needed... And divination spells to ask information about the plot, and teleportation spells to complete sidequests, and the Diplomacy needed to beg the king for money, and the Bluff needed to get out of jail etc.

Riffington
2007-12-24, 10:35 AM
I fail to see how stating the weakness of his weapon against an enemy in simple terms is "not roleplaying".

It isn't. You just misunderstood me. To clarify, you can do both.

The essence of being a roleplayer is that you are doing what makes sense given what your character knows. In this case, bringing fire if your character knows that trolls must be defeated with flame.

The essence of being a powergamer is knowing many rules, and using them for maximum efficiency. In this case, knowing exactly how many points to put into your power attack. This may be compatible with roleplaying if you do this appropriately. For example, a fighter who's faced trolls before probably does know how best to use his power attack (how many points to assign). However, if the character hasn't faced trolls before, but the player knows how many HP a troll has, then using this knowlege is being a powergamer at the expense of roleplaying.

The essence of being a munchkin is that your fun is more important than anyone else's. This need not involve cheating, but it very well may.

Fixer
2007-12-24, 10:35 AM
I have always been a believer in illustration.

Roleplayer: "Alas, poor Alec. His uncle, Lord Longname, will be most distressed of his demise. I believe we should take a few moments to pay respects."
Munchkin: "I loot his corpse while everone's not looking."
Powergamer: "I am not closing my eyes. Do I see what munchkin's up to?"
DM: "Yeah, you are standing right over the corpse so it isn't hard to notice.."
Munchkin: *rolls* "I got a 41 for a hide check."
Powergamer: "How'd you get a 41? You are a 1st level character."
Munchkin: "I am a tiny sized gnome giving me a +8 to Hide checks. I also took the Stealthy feat and Skill Focus: Hide giving me a total of +21 to hide checks."
Powergamer: "How do you have two feats as a 1st level non-human character?"
Munchkin: "My race is from the Web Gnomes Handbook. Instead of being able to talk to animals or have illusionary skills we get a bonus feat."
DM: "Did you bring a copy?"
Munchkin: "I emailed you the link. Didn't you get it?"
DM: "No, I guess not."
Roleplayer: "I finish paying my respects and being to wrap the body respectfully in order to return it to Lord Longname. Really, DM, couldn't you think of a better name than that?"
DM: "I didn't think you'd ask for it. I just made that up."
Munchkin: "Before he wrapped the body, what did I get?"
Powergamer: "You didn't get anything. I was watching the body."
Munchkin: "Did you roll a spot check?"
Powergamer: "No, I was WATCHING THE BODY."
Munchkin: "Then you weren't watching me, which means unless you beat my spot check I get to check the body."
Powergamer: "But I was WATCHING THE BODY!"
DM: "Munchkin, do you have some way of somehow distracting Powergamer's attention?"
Munchkin: "I could use my bluff. I have a +12 in it."
Powergamer: "How did you... you know what, nevermind. I don't care. I attack the gnome."
Roleplayer: "Friends! Please! Respect the dead! Let us just return him to Lord Longname and beg forgiveness for not returning his nephew alive."
Munchkin: "I get a 23 for initiative. Beat that!"

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 10:36 AM
Toulash: The bard is probably stronger than the fighter or around equal.


Pretty colours.
Exactly.
The munchkin is sad, roleplayers are envious and powergamers don't rhyme.

The Mormegil
2007-12-24, 10:48 AM
I have always been a believer in illustration.

Roleplayer: "Alas, poor Alec. His uncle, Lord Longname, will be most distressed of his demise. I believe we should take a few moments to pay respects."
Munchkin: "I loot his corpse while everone's not looking."
Powergamer: "I am not closing my eyes. Do I see what munchkin's up to?"
DM: "Yeah, you are standing right over the corpse so it isn't hard to notice.."
Munchkin: *rolls* "I got a 41 for a hide check."
Powergamer: "How'd you get a 41? You are a 1st level character."
Munchkin: "I am a tiny sized gnome giving me a +8 to Hide checks. I also took the Stealthy feat and Skill Focus: Hide giving me a total of +21 to hide checks."
Powergamer: "How do you have two feats as a 1st level non-human character?"
Munchkin: "My race is from the Web Gnomes Handbook. Instead of being able to talk to animals or have illusionary skills we get a bonus feat."
DM: "Did you bring a copy?"
Munchkin: "I emailed you the link. Didn't you get it?"
DM: "No, I guess not."
Roleplayer: "I finish paying my respects and being to wrap the body respectfully in order to return it to Lord Longname. Really, DM, couldn't you think of a better name than that?"
DM: "I didn't think you'd ask for it. I just made that up."
Munchkin: "Before he wrapped the body, what did I get?"
Powergamer: "You didn't get anything. I was watching the body."
Munchkin: "Did you roll a spot check?"
Powergamer: "No, I was WATCHING THE BODY."
Munchkin: "Then you weren't watching me, which means unless you beat my spot check I get to check the body."
Powergamer: "But I was WATCHING THE BODY!"
DM: "Munchkin, do you have some way of somehow distracting Powergamer's attention?"
Munchkin: "I could use my bluff. I have a +12 in it."
Powergamer: "How did you... you know what, nevermind. I don't care. I attack the gnome."
Roleplayer: "Friends! Please! Respect the dead! Let us just return him to Lord Longname and beg forgiveness for not returning his nephew alive."
Munchkin: "I get a 23 for initiative. Beat that!"

I bet he got a natural 20 on initiative too. Anyway, while I was readng I mentally classified my party memers... Not a very nice group, really... The only roleplayer is so extreme he absolutely REFUSES to make something viable. For instance, a Con 10 character...

Toulash
2007-12-24, 11:12 AM
Toulash: The bard is probably stronger than the fighter or around equal.

It depends how they are built, but yes they can be equal.

I will rephrase: A half dragon warrior built for combat against an elf bard built to wow crowds in taverns.

Riffington
2007-12-24, 11:35 AM
I will rephrase: A half dragon warrior built for combat against an elf bard built to wow crowds in taverns.

Then the real question is why they are in the same story.

This could work really well if this a story about a band going on tour. The half-dragon could have a job that doesn't require any musical talent, like bodyguard or drummer. You can throw in some fight scenes, where the half-dragon isn't in much danger of being killed - his job is to protect the vulnerable bard.

But if the game's main interest is fight scenes, these two characters won't work very well together.

If anyone here says "actually the bard is better in a fight than the half-dragon", then I'm going to have to ask you to go back to first level until you can behave.:smalltongue:

Fenix_of_Doom
2007-12-24, 11:53 AM
A roleplayer is someone who says "that troll is strong and crafty. If I am to defeat him I will need the power of flame".
A power player is someone who says "I picked shocking for my greatsword instead of flaming, since everyone's immune to fire. Still, I power attack the troll for 4".
A munchkin is someone who says "That troll is worth 2000 experience points".




A roleplayer is someone who metagames.
A power player is someone who doesn't metagame and makes incharacter desciscions.
A munchkin is someone who says who knows the rules.

That's an interesting was of looking at it.

A powergamer keeps in the rules (Game rules and common decency) a munchkin doesn't.

Please refrain from mutilating a post and making it look the original poster actually said it.

also you conclusions are horribly wrong, roleplayers DON'T metagame, powergamers DO metagame(in varying proportions) and munchkins metagame a lot whether they say they know the rules or not.

Arbitrarity
2007-12-24, 12:00 PM
Bah. +21 at first level? That munchkin is a gimp :smallbiggrin:

Take one part of MM2 Germaline, one 18 in dex (for 24 total), one skill focus hide, one feeble, and one vulnerable flaw, (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/characterFlaws.htm), one illiterate (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/characterTraits.htm) (raising hide), and the Birth feat Born Under a New Moon for 26 thus far. If we're in a city, take Urban Stealth, for +28 total.

To boot, I have +7 on initiative.

Crow
2007-12-24, 12:03 PM
The half-dragon could have a job that doesn't require any musical talent, like bodyguard or drummer.

Off topic interjection: Part of the reason some people think being a drummer doesn't require musical talent is because there are so few truely talented drummers nowadays. [/geezer]

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 12:06 PM
Please refrain from mutilating a post and making it look the original poster actually said it.

also you conclusions are horribly wrong, roleplayers DON'T metagame, powergamers DO metagame(in varying proportions) and munchkins metagame a lot whether they say they know the rules or not.

They weren't my conclusions, he said roleplayers use fire when fighting trolls, despite thier characters not knowing that. So metagaming.

So your conclusions are wrong.

Toulash
2007-12-24, 12:16 PM
Then the real question is why they are in the same story.

Well first off, they would not normally be in the same story, but you will find powergamers pushing one desired angle of the story and a roleplayer pushing another, thus making it more difficult for a GM to cater to both, and throwing one or the other out of whack.

Also, to me a good story has alot of good roleplaying *and* combat. A powergamer sometimes will just fall asleep during roleplay times, much to the annoyance of the roleplayer while the roleplayer will sometimes die more than he should, much to the annoyance of the powergamer.

The OP asked why sometimes there is a conflict, I am giving an answer. I usually do not run games with elf bards and half dragons. :)

Riffington
2007-12-24, 12:22 PM
Since people seem to be arguing about what I did or did not say:
1. A roleplayer would only bring fire to fight a troll if his character would know it's a good idea. However, one imagines that in a world with trolls, this would be common knowledge. In short, a roleplayer does what his character would do.

2. A powergamer is someone who does all the numbercrunching and figures out the mechanically optimal way to do things. If you are powergaming within your character's areas of expertise, there is no issue. If you are powergaming outside these areas, you are not being a good roleplayer.

3. A munchkin abuses the rules or common decency, and makes the game less fun for people around him/her. There are a variety of ways this can happen.

4. Many drummers have tremendous musical talent, but that won't stop me from telling drummer jokes.

Fenix_of_Doom
2007-12-24, 12:23 PM
They weren't my conclusions, he said roleplayers use fire when fighting trolls, despite thier characters not knowing that. So metagaming.

So your conclusions are wrong.

Oh really? I quoted the original post too, I suggest you read it again, did you notice the information he gives of said character? yes? there was none! so the character may have had a maxed out knowlage: nature, or he could have encountered a troll before, you don't know. So he wasn't metagaming and riffington certainly didn't intend to say that roleplayers did.

So yes they were your conclusions, it was what you concluded from his post, unfortunately you are so wrong that it hurts.

Valairn
2007-12-24, 02:21 PM
You can, but you can't munchkin and roleplay by definition.

To be fair, most of the powergaming level are still reasonable though some PrCs combinations seens quite strange...

That's a mistake actually. The flavor provided by wizards should never determine how you should role-play a character or whether a prestige class is appropriate. For instance just because I pick up a few levels in Jade Phoenix Mage doesn't mean I should use the fluff provided by wizards, I should use whatever fluff is appropriate for my character. Just like instead of saying a swordsage is a "mystical wuxia" type guy, I could say he is a magician that uses a sword to cast his spells, and all of his stuff is straight up arcane magic. There now my character is who I wanted them to be, and the provided fluff can go suck large ostrich eggs.

Dairun Cates
2007-12-24, 03:04 PM
Anyway, while I was readng I mentally classified my party memers... Not a very nice group, really... The only roleplayer is so extreme he absolutely REFUSES to make something viable. For instance, a Con 10 character...

Uh... Since when is a character with 10 con no longer viable in a build? Even barring that you're saying he never plays UP to a 10 con, that still doesn't inherently make the build non-viable. Mind you an 8 con fighter is a bit silly, but a wizard, sorceror, or hell even some rogue builds with 8 con isn't unheard of, especially if your GM isn't using 32-point buy or something that ends up giving you more than one 18 without any 8's.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 03:15 PM
Oh really? I quoted the original post too, I suggest you read it again, did you notice the information he gives of said character? yes? there was none! so the character may have had a maxed out knowlage: nature, or he could have encountered a troll before, you don't know. So he wasn't metagaming and riffington certainly didn't intend to say that roleplayers did.

So yes they were your conclusions, it was what you concluded from his post, unfortunately you are so wrong that it hurts.

Where is the proof that I'm wrong?

PnP Fan
2007-12-24, 03:18 PM
to the OP:
Like so many others have said, you can PG and RP. I won't beat that dead horse.

To Valairn:
I agree, the fluff provided by WotC certainly isn't necessary, but in a number of PrCs it explains why certain abilities are in the PrC. I think, to prevent a character from becoming merely a collection of special abilities, with completely unrelated fluff, you have to re-fluff the prestige class, and explain why those particular abilities are there. I've done this in the past (Ruby Knight Vindicator reffluffed for an Eberron campaign into an elf-friendly Undying Court specific PrC) and it works out nicely. Unfortunately, I'm on holiday now, and my books are 300 mi away, so I can't give any concrete examples. . .

For Mormegil:
I concur with Dairun, Con is usually the least important attribute in any of my builds. One or two hp per level isn't really that big a deal, unless you're playing a wizard or something similar. Better to dish out damage via STR w a 2H weapon, or gain useful skills via INT, or AC via DEX to either not get hit, or kill the villain before he can even hit you. Heck, unless I've got build points to spare, even my fighters don't tend to have superior CON scores. Granted I avoid penalties when I can. . . so I usually shoot for min of 10.

Riffington
2007-12-24, 03:21 PM
That's a mistake actually. The flavor provided by wizards should never determine how you should role-play a character or whether a prestige class is appropriate. For instance just because I pick up a few levels in Jade Phoenix Mage doesn't mean I should use the fluff provided by wizards, I should use whatever fluff is appropriate for my character. Just like instead of saying a swordsage is a "mystical wuxia" type guy, I could say he is a magician that uses a sword to cast his spells, and all of his stuff is straight up arcane magic. There now my character is who I wanted them to be, and the provided fluff can go suck large ostrich eggs.

Basically true, but only with DM cooperation. There exist classes (rogue, bard, reaping mauler) that just clearly work with alternate backstories. It would be very lame for a DM to say "sorry, your character has insufficient wanderlust, you can't be a Bard".
But others might not fit into a campaign without a certain kind of backstory. It might be the case that anyone can study fighting arts and take monk levels... or you might need to train at an actual monastery in the campaign, which will only accept people of certain philosophies. Similarly, you might have to actually train with a specific trainer to take levels in Chameleon.

So you're definitely right that you don't need to stick to Wizards flavor, but you might need to stick to your campaign's flavor. Obviously a good DM should make every effort to tailor the campaign's flavor to what the players want... but that doesn't necessarily mean assisting with cheese.

Dairun Cates
2007-12-24, 03:22 PM
Where is the proof that I'm wrong?

Stop arguing like Sigmund Freud. I think his point is that by the very definition of metagaming, it makes no sense that a role-player would be the heavy meta-gamer. Meta-gaming is the use of OUT OF GAME knowledge to gain in an in-game mechanical advantage. Everyone does this to an extent, but there are minor cases and extreme cases.

On top of that, trolls being weak to fire is common knowledge, "everything is immune to fire so I'll buy a shocking sword instead" is not common knowledge. A good use of tactics is not meta-gaming. Showing a heavy knowledge for the entire monster manual IS meta-gaming. Who seems to be showing more out of game knowledge. The guy who generalizes the entire monster manual, or the guy who knows trolls hate fire?

Also, if you're just "rephrasing" someone else's point in about the same number of words, what was the point in rephrasing it in the first place?

Azerian Kelimon
2007-12-24, 03:25 PM
To clarify, though, assuming an out of the blue encounter and no knowledge checks, thinking "Troll, better get some fire" is crass metagaming. That wasn't a good example of a roleplayer.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-24, 03:25 PM
Stop arguing like Sigmund Freud. I think his point is that by the very definition of metagaming, it makes no sense that a role-player would be the heavy meta-gamer. Meta-gaming is the use of OUT OF GAME knowledge to gain in an in-game mechanical advantage. Everyone does this to an extent, but there are minor cases and extreme cases.

Which is why I thought that definition was wrong

On top of that, trolls being weak to fire is common knowledge, "everything is immune to fire so I'll buy a shocking sword instead" is not common knowledge. A good use of tactics is not meta-gaming. Showing a heavy knowledge for the entire monster manual IS meta-gaming. Who seems to be showing more out of game knowledge. The guy who generalizes the entire monster manual, or the guy who knows trolls hate fire?

The one who knows and uses the specifics

Also, if you're just "rephrasing" someone else's point in about the same number of words, what was the point in rephrasing it in the first place?

I couldn't work out another way to show my point.


Oh, yeah if we weren't told about checks we shouldn't presume they were made.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-12-24, 03:29 PM
Cut it, boys. Out of the blue, that was metagaming, 'kay? It wasn't a good example. A better example would be "A Black dragon! It's going to use it's breath on us!" if the party has faced a red dragon wyrmling before. You KNOW IC that a dragon can breath something, thus it's roleplay.

Dairun Cates
2007-12-24, 03:29 PM
Oh, yeah if we weren't told about checks we shouldn't presume they were made.

I'm not arguing that "troll, go get fire" isn't meta-gaming I'm arguing that that's a minor case compared to. "Well, I heard there were trolls, but a shocking sword hurts them just as well and a lot of things are immune to fire." By your OWN words, you said that power-gamers DON'T meta-game, but this is CLEARLY a bigger case of meta-gaming then one character's understanding on one monster. This is someone generalizing ALL monsters. I DOUBT his character has the 40 or so knowledge: nature, dungeoneering, religion to pull that one off.

Fixer
2007-12-24, 03:32 PM
I cannot speak for your guys' games, but I know in my games I generally assume that certain monsters are considered 'popular' enough that players would know some things about them just growing up.

Goblins (dangerous in numbers, nasty, disgusting)
Hobgoblins & Orcs (bigger goblins, more dangerous)
Dragons (basics, if not color-specific details)
Trolls (heal damage quickly except fire damage, knowledge about acid also would require a knowledge check)
Ogres (really big goblins that wield tree trunks)
Dire Animals (big animals, basically)
...

That's all I can think of off-hand. Vampires are more well-known in our world than in D&D, so I would require appropriate checks for their weaknesses.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-12-24, 03:34 PM
Hey...that's a great way to fix the issue. I imagine that in FR, you should know of pretty much any monster, given that there are epic bartenders ready to tell stories. But in any case, that show you merit your name, fixer.

Riffington
2007-12-24, 03:37 PM
First, my games always played like Fixer just described. If your don't my example would be bad.


Where is the proof that I'm wrong?

This argument amuses me greatly because I said roleplayers should avoid metagaming, but on further reflection it occurs to me that they actually should occasionally metagame for plot purposes.

To clarify: a good roleplayer should do and say things as his character would. This means bringing a flaming sword to a troll fight if
A: he knows enough about trolls to know they are vulnerable to fire.
or B: he knows that flaming swords are totally awesome.
This does not include knowing the exact right amount to powerattack based on the troll's HP and AC. Unless he knows trollslaying extremely well.

However, I can certainly imagine times when the roleplayer would metagame a bit (arriving at the palace at the most dramatic moment possible) and I want to endorse this.

Hawriel
2007-12-24, 04:08 PM
Just to be clear, munchkins are likely to cheat and to steal your dice, because they are often jerks. The defining characteristic is that they're playing the game for a power-trip at the expense of the other players/DM, in a game that wasn't designed for it*.

They typically believe that they are both a good powergamer and a good roleplayer.

A good test is: will he give the other players their time in the spotlight? Or is the game really all about him.

This is what I call the egotist. The player who can not let other peaple do their own thing in their own time. Even when the egotists character is not in the sean. The egotist is a combination of the powergamer and some parts of being a munchkin. They have to dominate every part of the game. Whether its their stats, equipment, combat or social interaction in game. Particularly social interaction.

please dont take this as a derailment of the thread I just mean to explane through a real life situation.
My character who became a Duke had to go around and do the diplomatic thing with the other Dukes and Barons around the kindom. The egotist player who was portrayed as my paige for this mission would not shut up. Not only would he IC start blurting things out as if he had athority. when My Duke would speak he would constantly tell me OOC what I should be saying. THis is also among blusters about how he would just beat the crap out of the Duke if he tried any thing, after giving him IC/OOC hints that he was overstepping boundries. This caused me and the DM much consternation. Later when we where fighting the big evil for that chapter of the adventure he had to, well for lack of a better turm, kill steal. the big evil had a long standing rivalry with my Duke character, the egotist would not take that hint and constantly interfear in the one on one duel going on between the Duke and villan. The excuse was he had to save the Dukes ass, or as I put it ruin a very tense and climactic fight.

I have to problem optimising characters. Thats not powergaming, My duke character has been retconned many many times over the years so I can get the rules to fit his comsept. Never changed his stats, just feats and skills and once dropping a crap PRC for one that better fit the consept. The role player picks a class like cleric because thats what his character is a priest. This is a class that partly defines a character and what his motives are about. A power gamer would pick cleric just so he can use devine scrolls and magic items because he is just using a 1 level dip for this use. Not because he is devoted to god.

Valairn
2007-12-24, 04:16 PM
Basically true, but only with DM cooperation. There exist classes (rogue, bard, reaping mauler) that just clearly work with alternate backstories. It would be very lame for a DM to say "sorry, your character has insufficient wanderlust, you can't be a Bard".
But others might not fit into a campaign without a certain kind of backstory. It might be the case that anyone can study fighting arts and take monk levels... or you might need to train at an actual monastery in the campaign, which will only accept people of certain philosophies. Similarly, you might have to actually train with a specific trainer to take levels in Chameleon.

So you're definitely right that you don't need to stick to Wizards flavor, but you might need to stick to your campaign's flavor. Obviously a good DM should make every effort to tailor the campaign's flavor to what the players want... but that doesn't necessarily mean assisting with cheese.

Well hopefully we all work with our DM to find at the very least a good compromise. Of course a lot of the reason that powergaming has a tendency to create ire in people, is because its closely associated(wrongly) with munchkinism. We all have those horror stories of the twerp who just refused to play nice and had to have his way cry cry cry. So yeah, we should do our best to keep to the campaign, and cooperate with other players.

Honestly I don't like prestige class's, but you can't get some of the abilities that make certain types of characters "good" without them. If I had it my way prestige class's would be replaced with the types of feats you find in complete scoundrel that make multi-classing not such a penalty. Feats like Daring Outlaw and Daring warrior, could be expanded to create the majority of prestige class effects people are looking for.

As a DM I personally believe in the philosophy that the character's my players are playing are my first priority, if they don't like their character what's the friggin point? So I'm pretty role-playing focused, but at the same time, I don't like gimping people for the sake of "role-playing." I want my players to have fun, feel challenged and also to be able to create the character they want to play, regardless of how many prestige classes it takes to make it.

Arakune
2007-12-24, 04:45 PM
Valairn, the problem are just some combinations like classX 5/classY 2/PrC A 2/PrC B 1/ PrC 10 C. You can make it sound reasonable, but that's a lot of effort.

And let's not forget the PrC that are trained only (need to be instructed by X) or that have some in game requirement (need to got XYZ before taking this PrC), were people normally forget...

Mojo_Rat
2007-12-24, 04:45 PM
I think the issue of Power gaming vs's roleplaying comes about partially as somone said earlier that a Poor Roleplayer but a good powergamer in a group of rolelayers stands out for his owergaming more than somone who is a poor good roleplayer and a good powergaming.

I believe also that You probly need to seperate optimization from power gaming. While they dont break the rules in the way that munchkinism does many power gamers can bend the rules as they exist.

As an example of the differences. Everone is probly aware there are spells in the game that probably never should have been created. Some of these For example in our game the Dm has never forbiden but none of the players have ever asked to use like shivering touch. I think that the Optimizer can Say to himself 'well its strong but its a poorly constructed spell' where as the power gamer might just take it because the DM has not said no. (and of course a munchkin would fail to mention any drawbacks of such a spell)

One problem though Is that in my opinion the stormwind falacy is in effect its own fallacy. IT takes the oposite extreme of treating anyone who criticizes power gaming to automatically have no basis.

Really though power gaming Is really only a concern if just one person in the group is doing it. If everyone is doing it it isnt a problem but if one person is doing it and no one else is then the power gamer is robly causing the Dm to have to change entire encounters to deal with him. This of course though has nothing to do with role playing.

Tor the Fallen
2007-12-24, 04:55 PM
That's a mistake actually. The flavor provided by wizards should never determine how you should role-play a character or whether a prestige class is appropriate. For instance just because I pick up a few levels in Jade Phoenix Mage doesn't mean I should use the fluff provided by wizards, I should use whatever fluff is appropriate for my character. Just like instead of saying a swordsage is a "mystical wuxia" type guy, I could say he is a magician that uses a sword to cast his spells, and all of his stuff is straight up arcane magic. There now my character is who I wanted them to be, and the provided fluff can go suck large ostrich eggs.

Depends on the group. Some play by-the-books fluff. In those groups, you'd be powergaming and not roleplaying if you ignored the fluff for good combinations of powerful classes.

Sleet
2007-12-24, 05:12 PM
Of course you can do both. But powergaming implies making mechanical decisions for your character based solely on maximum mechanical advantage, previous roleplaying choices be damned. "And now I'll level-dip a level of sorcerer..." "But you've never had any sorcerous talent before. You've never met one, you've never had any interest before." "Oh, I just want access to insert spell here."

This is only implied. It is not a given.

leperkhaun
2007-12-24, 05:21 PM
in general a power gamer will create a powerfull character that does what that character does best.

a munchkin will try to play pun pun and cant seem to get why they cant.

d12
2007-12-24, 06:58 PM
Cripes, not the metagame thing again. I don't get the draw of enforcing ignorance on the group. Does it really improve fun to have to pretend to not know how to deal with a troll? I would think even most of the dirt-farming peasants would know about the weaknesses of quite a few beasts like trolls, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and so on just by virtue of living in a world where such things actually exist. There are even people who have nothing better to do than prance around in tights while plucking their lutes and telling stories about such things being slaughtered by random assortments of mercenaries.

Besides, after a certain point those levels of artificial ignorance require a high degree of metagaming just to maintain. "Yeah, you've tried every other elemental damage type, just huck a fireball at it already." "Oh my god, you're right! Why am I assuming that this thing has elemental weaknesses?! Quick, someone stab it with some silver first..or maybe try pogo-sticking blindfolded through its threatened space. Maybe that'll make it easier to kill." Is it really so boring to play characters who aren't idiots? Sometimes I get the impression that some consider metagaming acceptable when it results in the party being less competent, but hopefully I'm just reading too deeply into it.

Whenever I run across discussions that wander into this area I always imagine a conversation like this:
1: "Ok guys, looks like that's the troll."
2: "Wait a minute, they said this thing was laughing off wounds that should've killed it. How are we supposed to do anything about it?"
3: "Dude, just use fire."
2: "What?"
3: "Oh come on, don't give me that 'omg, we can't know about trolls and fire' garbage."
1: "So you've run into trolls before? You didn't mention that in your biography."
3: "You don't need to have encountered them, you just have to not be totally ignorant of the world."
1: "..."
3: "Ok fine, remember that old nursery rhyme? 'Don't be stupid, use fire and acid on trolls'? Now let's stop yapping and make with the Flame On already."
Fun times. :smalltongue:

Oh, and as to the original question, because I just don't want to. :smalltongue: I've been told I could roleplay decently if I ever tried, but I'm just not interested. And I don't consider my level of knowledge to be encyclopedic enough to consider myself a bona fide powergamer. My gaming aspirations tend to be consistent with powergaming though.

Mike_G
2007-12-24, 09:27 PM
I keep hear about how the nonpowergamers ruin the powergamers' fun. In our group it works the other way. The vast majority of us put concept first, mechanics second. A typical party would be a Swashbukcler, a Monk, a Rogue, a wild elf Barbarian wielding dual kukris and a Bard. If somebody wants to bring in a min-maxed Grey Elf Wizard, the whole curve get thrown off.

For me, powergaming, or even what the board likes to classify as optimization, is too much work. I usually have a concept, and I just pick the class that seems closest.

If I want to play a dashing swordsman who wields a rapier, wears light or no armor and fights acrobatically, swinging from chandeliers while exchanging witty repartee as well as thrusts and parries, I just roll up a Swashbuckler. I know that people could tell me in painstaking detail how a Ftr 4/Rogue 6/ Swahsbukler5/ Scout 3/Bladedancer2 with the Darting Outlaw feat and a specific Elven subrace would be much, much better, but I haven't got the time or inclination to bother.

These days I work two jobs, have a house to maintain, a four month old son, and a wife who wants some attention. My gaming time is one night a week, and it's relaxation. I'm not going to spend hours in between poring over nine splatbooks and surfing the web and building the ultimate light weapons fighter.

Back when I was young and single and in school, I probably spent ten to twenty hours a week on gaming stuff, whether it was world building or character creation or playing.

Valairn
2007-12-24, 09:49 PM
Valairn, the problem are just some combinations like classX 5/classY 2/PrC A 2/PrC B 1/ PrC 10 C. You can make it sound reasonable, but that's a lot of effort.

And let's not forget the PrC that are trained only (need to be instructed by X) or that have some in game requirement (need to got XYZ before taking this PrC), were people normally forget...

The reason you state is actually the reason that Prc's are unfortunate creations. Wizards tried to make them special by including all sorts of fluff and fluff based requirements in order to "balance" them. Of course PRC's are not balanced and some are down right terrible.

The problem is, is the design mentality behind prc's. Are they supposed to be better than base classes? Or are they supposed to be equivalent? Well it depends on who you talk to, it also depends on which supplement you read

In reference to class x/class y/prc z/prc t etc.... The in game fluff requirements are just silly an unnecessary to run a game with. Its a constant issue of having the ball of "balance" dropped into the mix. The whole design approach is just flat wrong. If you are afraid a prc is imbalanced, and you try to balance it with fluff requirements you are just flat out doing it wrong. If an ability is OP its just OP and you can't fluff it any other way.

The main issue with trying to use fluff as a balance to mechanics is because you can't guarantee fluff is going to be consistent across campaign settings. Eldritch Knights may be non-existent in one campaign setting, but there might be whole armies full of them in other campaign settings. Obviously the balance of each campaign is greatly decided by well, the campaign setting. But I digress.


Depends on the group. Some play by-the-books fluff. In those groups, you'd be powergaming and not roleplaying if you ignored the fluff for good combinations of powerful classes.

And that's fine, I'm not talking about Joe blow gamer here. I'm talking about proper game balancing and game design. Fluff can't stand in for bad mechanics, it should never be used as a design approach to "balance." I put balance in quotes, because yeah, it totally depends on the campaign setting, and the players involved. To each his own. I was just giving my opinion.

Fawsto
2007-12-24, 10:18 PM
IMO, I think power gaming is Ok if the powergamer start with a decent concept for his character (no Minmax) and if he let the other party members to fill their holes and be usefull.

I think, personaly, that I am a power gamer. Most of my hcaracters are killing machines, but I try to roleplay them along to it's concept. Also, since I am a Paladin fanboy, I try when I can to avoid unecessary fights, but in the late sessions it has been difficult...

I have no problem with moderate powergaming. I trust my DM will come up with something to challenge me. Mostly they are wizards XD.

CactusAir
2007-12-25, 02:20 AM
to quote someone who's name i forget:

Real Roleplayers optimize. Why? because if you live in a world where you may be eating a fireball when you round the next corner, you damn well make sure that you have the best training, skills and stuff available. That's realistic roleplay.

Thrythlind
2007-12-25, 03:23 AM
What I've always wondered is why people say you can't plan out a character's level progression and roleplay.

Because in real life you never learn one skill so that you can learn a different skill later on. Nope. Never.

There is absolutely no career that requires foundation training before advanced.

Hang on, I think I overdid the sarcasm a little.

You know what people who don't plan ahead wind up as? Liberal Arts majors.

And Ash Ketchum.

I agree...save the fact that I was an English major...sort of required to head into the field of English Teacher.

Planning out your character early on and then building him up strictly along those lines is a way to get yourself quickly to a reroll.

I write up plans only so that I have a clear idea in mind for where I want to go with a character. Those said plans often end up changing as circumstances in the campaign change my expectations of what's to come.

Dairun Cates
2007-12-25, 04:52 AM
What I've always wondered is why people say you can't plan out a character's level progression and roleplay.

Because in real life you never learn one skill so that you can learn a different skill later on. Nope. Never.

There is absolutely no career that requires foundation training before advanced.

Hang on, I think I overdid the sarcasm a little.

You know what people who don't plan ahead wind up as? Liberal Arts majors.

And Ash Ketchum.

I missed this the first time, but as someone who's going for an MFA and has a BA in Arts and Technology, I take offense to this. Animation, Interactive Design, and Catching Pokemon has a very VERY big skillset that needs to be learned.

Edit: Mind you, I'm not a Liberal Arts major per se since I actually have job prospects and enjoy what I do rather than having angst, but still, low blow for the pokemon training art majors.

KIDS
2007-12-25, 04:59 AM
For instance, a Con 10 character...

What's so wrong with Con 10 character? I mean, I often wondered how useful extra hit points or how detrimental lack of hit points were and at which point monsters would one-shot you, but I played plenty of such characters (even 8) and it always worked fine...

lisiecki
2007-12-25, 03:17 PM
Ok and how unwilling are you to do this?
If your playing a mage, are you willing to learn the school specialization rules?
If you are are you willing to open up the DMG to read about redmages?
Are you willing to open up a complete book?

These days I work two jobs, have a house to maintain, a four month old son, and a wife who wants some attention. My gaming time is one night a week, and it's relaxation. I'm not going to spend hours in between poring over nine splatbooks and surfing the web and building the ultimate light weapons fighter.


Wow, im glad you have a life, so that just boils down to
"I don't wanna do it" right?



I keep hear about how the nonpowergamers ruin the powergamers' fun. In our group it works the other way. The vast majority of us put concept first, mechanics second. A typical party would be a Swashbukcler, a Monk, a Rogue, a wild elf Barbarian wielding dual kukris and a Bard. If somebody wants to bring in a min-maxed Grey Elf Wizard, the whole curve get thrown off.

For me, powergaming, or even what the board likes to classify as optimization, is too much work. I usually have a concept, and I just pick the class that seems closest.

If I want to play a dashing swordsman who wields a rapier, wears light or no armor and fights acrobatically, swinging from chandeliers while exchanging witty repartee as well as thrusts and parries, I just roll up a Swashbuckler. I know that people could tell me in painstaking detail how a Ftr 4/Rogue 6/ Swahsbukler5/ Scout 3/Bladedancer2 with the Darting Outlaw feat and a specific Elven subrace would be much, much better, but I haven't got the time or inclination to bother.


Back when I was young and single and in school, I probably spent ten to twenty hours a week on gaming stuff, whether it was world building or character creation or playing.

Sleet
2007-12-25, 10:07 PM
because if you live in a world where you may be eating a fireball when you round the next corner, you damn well make sure that you have the best training, skills and stuff available.

Not everyone plays characters who have to worry about that.

Mike_G
2007-12-25, 10:24 PM
Ok and how unwilling are you to do this?
If your playing a mage, are you willing to learn the school specialization rules?
If you are are you willing to open up the DMG to read about redmages?
Are you willing to open up a complete book?


Wow, im glad you have a life, so that just boils down to
"I don't wanna do it" right?


No.

It's "I don't have time to do it."

Flipping open to "Swashbuckler," banging out a 28 point buy and picking feats and skills appropriate to a swashbuckling character takes ten minutes. Working out the ultimate 20 level build plan using three base classes and two prestige classes from four separate books plus a specific race from yet another splatbook plus some feats from Complete Scoundrel and Cityscape and Complete adventurer and ToB, running quick calculations for each variant option takes all my free time for six months.

Four hours a week to game. Period. Show up with a concept, bang out the character as quick as you can, then roleplay.

It's what works for me.

Since most of my group are pushing 40, raised on AD&D and just trying to have fun for a few hours, number-crunching powergaming really doesn't hold much appeal. We just want to play like we have for the last two and a half decades, but maybe without so much THAC0.

valadil
2007-12-26, 12:58 AM
Roleplaying and powergaming aren't mutually exclusive, but you often have to prioritize one over the other. If I'm playing a rogue I'm going to have a reasonably high int because it helps important skills. The character probably isn't meant to be super smart, but I'm going with a mechanic that isn't an accurate portrayal of the character to gain a little power. Likewise there are feats that I'm never going to take because they're mechanically inferior.

I consider myself a roleplayer more than a powergamer, but I often have to make concessions in my mechanical representation of the character in order to have a character that is as competent as those around him. I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets bored if I'm not contributing to the party, so I try and powergame my character up to the level of the rest of the group.

Jayabalard
2007-12-26, 01:13 AM
to quote someone who's name i forget:

Real Roleplayers optimize. Why? because if you live in a world where you may be eating a fireball when you round the next corner, you damn well make sure that you have the best training, skills and stuff available. That's realistic roleplay.Nope, not in the slightest; in the real world, very few of the equivalent people (the ones who work in highly dangerous conditions) are optimized: I'll agree that they're usually highly trained, but they often spend time on stuff that isn't focused on staying alive (ie, not optimal).

Sure, some roleplayers optimize, but not all of them do. Someone who plays a woefully underpowered character can be a real roleplayer too; in fact someone who can roleplay any character, regardless of power level is a better roleplayer in my book than someone who can only enjoy roleplaying powerful characters (ie, a powergamer).

JadedDM
2007-12-26, 02:36 AM
Nope, not in the slightest; in the real world, very few of the equivalent people (the ones who work in highly dangerous conditions) are optimized: I'll agree that they're usually highly trained, but they often spend time on stuff that isn't focused on staying alive (ie, not optimal).

Exactly. For instance, in the real world nobody joins the army because they have a high STR score. They do so because they need the money, or they are patriotic, or they want direction in life. Nor does anyone decide to be a scientist just because they're smart. They usually have a thirst for knowledge, too, or simply a passion of science.

Likewise, in D&D, it's a little unrealistic to assume that only the highly optimized ever adventure. They may have a better chance at survival, granted. But I sincerely doubt anyone ever said, "You know, little Billy seems to be pretty strong. You should buy him a sword and shield so he can start killing kobolds and goblins for treasure."

VeisuItaTyhjyys
2007-12-26, 02:45 AM
also you conclusions are horribly wrong, roleplayers DON'T metagame,

It's as though a thousand existentialists cried out at once, and were silenced.

EDIT: I'm stating that, if I were little Billy, I'm not going to fight a damn Glabrezu with a sword I don't know how to use very well and can't even lift with my 7 strength. I'm going to make my money in a different way, as a baker or something. A character who has the compulsion to be a hero, despite being unable, is a quirk that could be played and wouldn't be powergamed, but, there aren't that many people that desperate. Also, if you're starting after first level, there's a lot less of them left.
People in the army become optimized, or at least that is the idea. You might start with a 10 strength, but theoretically you train it higher. Then, you get very high level gear even at pretty low levels, and even then, it's not likely you're definitely fighting an octopus-headed creature that will eat your brain out after stopping all the bullets with telekinesis. You might end up getting in fights with people who are very likely no better off than you and stand a pretty good chance of being equipped worse. It's not even guaranteed you'll see combat if you join the military. If walk into a dragon's lair with the intent of fighting the dragon, you're fighting that dragon. And if you think I'm fighting a scaled, millenia-old beast with knowledge beyond mortal ken and breath that will melt the flesh from my bones, not to mention caster levels, after a lai full of probably other monsters and insidiously clever traps, I'm not just going to figure it's a good way to make a few bucks. Being an adventurer isn't like being a cop, where it can be dangerous. An adventuere is like living every day of your life in an action movie every day.
Again, I note that the only ways to effectively powergame a class are also the reasons to powergame it. A wizard is his strongest when he's paranoid and cowardly, batman style. A wizard would only really live his life that way if he was paranoid and at least a little cowardly.

Thrythlind
2007-12-26, 03:12 AM
Prestige classes are.....okay...but, for the most part, I rarely had a character that fit them, so I generally stayed with core classses.

Bosh
2007-12-26, 08:55 AM
You can, but you can't munchkin and roleplay by definition.

To be fair, most of the powergaming level are still reasonable though some PrCs combinations seens quite strange...

I'd disagree. A good number of roleplayers are selfish spotlight hogs and pretty much every munchkin is a selfish spotlight hog. The two combine more easily then you'd think and can create perfect storms of annoyance.

I think that a lot of the roleplaying/rollplaying split is mostly an artificial distinction based on D&D history. Basically D&D rules do a very good job of covering some things (combat) and a really crappy job of covering other things (most other things). Because of this combat is mostly played pretty close to by the book with lots of dice rolling and things that aren't combat are played with a lot of hand waving and not much dice rolling.

Because of this people tend to associate killing stuff with going by the rules and rolling dice and other things (like talking to people) with not rolling dice and acting things out. So people who like combat tend to like dice rolling (since there's lots of rolling in D&D combat) and people who don't like combat tend to like acting things out more (since there's less rolling in D&D outside of combat and more acting things out).

However in RPGs in general there's really no necessary connection between stuff like combat being crunchy and stuff like combat involving lots of hand waving. There's games out there where talking involved at least as much crunch as wacking people. And there's really no reason to necessarily connect liking talky stories with avoiding rolling lots of dice or to connect liking combat with liking piles of crunch and dice and not much roleplaying.

In many cases I've seen players do a lot better job of injecting personality into their characters through game mechanics or in combat than during conversations.


also you conclusions are horribly wrong, roleplayers DON'T metagame, powergamers DO metagame(in varying proportions) and munchkins metagame a lot whether they say they know the rules or not.
Not at all, there's a bunch of games out there that hand roleplayers a big stack of fun metagame mechanics that let them do their thing more easily (Fate, Buffy, etc. etc.)

The thing is D&D rules are focused on powergamer concerns so roleplayers tend to operate outside of the rules and don't metagame much in D&D. In games in which the rules are focused on roleplayer conerns more than is the case in D&D the dynamics are very different...

Winterwind
2007-12-26, 09:45 AM
Being an adventurer isn't like being a cop, where it can be dangerous. An adventuere is like living every day of your life in an action movie every day.
Again, I note that the only ways to effectively powergame a class are also the reasons to powergame it. A wizard is his strongest when he's paranoid and cowardly, batman style. A wizard would only really live his life that way if he was paranoid and at least a little cowardly.But PCs don't need to be adventurers either, at least not in the sense that they are people who actively seek out a life where "every day is like an action movie", merely in the sense that they are people to whom adventures happen. They may just as well be just some warriors or wizards who, while having a few specific goals in their life, do not actually desire a life in danger, but find themselves confronted with a task which is too important for them to decline, even if it is going to be dangerous. Accepting the task nevertheless is what makes them heroes; that doesn't mean they meant for their life to turn out as a long and dangerous series of adventures and challenges, and they would rather sooner than later return to whatever it is they lived before. They do not spend their entire time training. They are not the most intelligent or strong people around; they are just the people who were in the right place at the right time. Just because that would make him stronger does not mean a wizard is going to change his personality and habits and suddenly become paranoid, and he may not even expect to be involved into yet more dangers; that's metagaming, using the OOC knowledge that this character is a PC and hence bound to get involved into yet more adventures, while the character himself would actually expect to be finally able to return to his calm and secure scholar life. Also, not everyone plays in such a grisly and horrible world where you can get a fireball into your face at each corner. A character who lives for a life of adventure and actively tries to prepare himself for it as much as possible is a perfectly valid personality choice to be roleplayed, but to say that better roleplayers limit themselves to this particular personality is like saying that better roleplayers always play vengeful characters, instead of forgiving ones - it's just one character trait, you may make it a part of a character's personality or not, both can lead to a believable character (that part was directed rather to CactusAir, not you).

Valairn
2007-12-26, 09:48 AM
Nope, not in the slightest; in the real world, very few of the equivalent people (the ones who work in highly dangerous conditions) are optimized: I'll agree that they're usually highly trained, but they often spend time on stuff that isn't focused on staying alive (ie, not optimal).

Sure, some roleplayers optimize, but not all of them do. Someone who plays a woefully underpowered character can be a real roleplayer too; in fact someone who can roleplay any character, regardless of power level is a better roleplayer in my book than someone who can only enjoy roleplaying powerful characters (ie, a powergamer).

While that's "true" I think its fair to mention that the "job" PC's have is normally called adventuring/whatever their class is. If you are a programmer, you have optimized your skill set(at least slightly) to program, schooling, book reading, practice. If you are an adventurer, you almost certainly are optimized to adventure(at least slightly). Its a natural conclusion.

Saying that someone is "better" at role-playing because they can play a crappy character, is like saying that a true "actor" is at his best when he's using a poorly written script. While its nice to see people being good at what they do when someone gives them crap, an actor is truly at his BEST when his script is good and the actor is good, and both come together to form a symbiosis that truly portrays a scene.

Jayabalard
2007-12-26, 10:14 AM
If you are a programmer, you have optimized your skill set(at least slightly) to program, schooling, book reading, practice. If you are an adventurer, you almost certainly are optimized to adventure(at least slightly). Its a natural conclusion. Nope; I know programmers who don't have high school diplomas let alone collage degrees. I know people who had a high school diploma and a hobby interest in computers late in their adult life (no additional training) who wound up as programmers. I know people who graduated with a business degree who turned around and got a job programming, with no background in computers other than the training that the job is going to give them. Heck, I spend most of my time on things that are not related to programming. While I'm good at what I do, I'm far from optimized. Plenty of programmers are not optimized.


Saying that someone is "better" at role-playing because they can play a crappy character, is like saying that a true "actor" is at his best when he's using a poorly written script. You misunderstood my point, so this is a bad analogy.

Here's a good analogy: Saying someone is a better roleplayer because they can play any character, strong or weak, is like saying that an actor who can play any role is a better actor than a character actor who can only play one character.

Powergamers are the character actors of roleplaying games; they limit themselves to a much more narrow set of roles than non-powergamers.


I'm stating that, if I were little Billy, I'm not going to fight a damn Glabrezu with a sword I don't know how to use very well and can't even lift with my 7 strength. I'm going to make my money in a different way, as a baker or something. Or a fighter who used a lighter sword. Or you'll be picking weaker things to go after.


People in the army become optimized, or at least that is the idea. You might start with a 10 strength, but theoretically you train it higher. "Higher than 10" is not optimized. fighters with a strength like that would include quite a bit of unoptimized characters.

people in the army become BETTER, not optimized.


Being an adventurer isn't like being a cop, where it can be dangerous. An adventuere is like living every day of your life in an action movie every day.It might be like that, or it might be much more like being a cop, depending on your game. This is part of what I mean by " a narrow set of roles" ... non powergamers can play roles that cannot fit in the sort of game that you're talking about, characters that are definitely non-optimal.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 10:44 AM
Valairn, the problem are just some combinations like classX 5/classY 2/PrC A 2/PrC B 1/ PrC 10 C. You can make it sound reasonable, but that's a lot of effort.

And let's not forget the PrC that are trained only (need to be instructed by X) or that have some in game requirement (need to got XYZ before taking this PrC), were people normally forget...

This is one of the important things to remember about PrC's and while ditching all the 'fluff' is allright to build the character you want one me must remember to balance out any RP requirements for the class in the new fluff.



One problem though Is that in my opinion the stormwind falacy is in effect its own fallacy. IT takes the oposite extreme of treating anyone who criticizes power gaming to automatically have no basis.


I think that it is sometimes taken that way, but after a long and tedious discussion over on the Wizards boards some time ago Stormwind explained that 'optimization' as he means in it the fallacy means 'optimal for the character concept you want to play.' This of course, makes the 'fallacy' (which is actually an axiom) not much more than saying 'it's ok to build a mechanically strong character if that fits your concept and it's ok to build a weak one if that does'. Many posters do use it as a shield to say that it's ok that their build doesn't match their concept, or more commonly, it's ok that they don't have a concept past the mechanics at all.



In reference to class x/class y/prc z/prc t etc.... The in game fluff requirements are just silly an unnecessary to run a game with. Its a constant issue of having the ball of "balance" dropped into the mix. The whole design approach is just flat wrong.

I agree that it is a bad design approach. That does not mean that since that design approach is included in what is already out there that the full requirements can just be dropped without replacing them with some equaly annoying hing the the pc must go through.


The main issue with trying to use fluff as a balance to mechanics is because you can't guarantee fluff is going to be consistent across campaign settings.

This is a common misapprehension about PrCs. There is no guarantee that a PrC will be available across different campagin settings at all. Just because Wizards put it in a book does not mean it is available to be used in any given setting. That's up to the DM every time.

That misapprehension I have found to be one of the glaring differences bettween powergamers and roleplayers. Powergamers (speaking in broad strokes) tend to assume that if it's published, and not universally accepted to be broken, it can be used in a given game without consulting the DM and build a character 1-20 using whatever they like. That can substantially mess up roleplay and cause problems for the DM since they don't want to tell the Powergamer to rework their build and they also don't want to include things in their setting that don't belong there and screw up the feel of it.


Real Roleplayers optimize. Why? because if you live in a world where you may be eating a fireball when you round the next corner, you damn well make sure that you have the best training, skills and stuff available. That's realistic roleplay.

That's true to an extent. However, how many soliders do you know that spend all their time obsessivley taking target practice or drilling? That's ok as a character concept too, but even in a war zone most people don't 'optimize' their skills all the time. They get drunk, play cards, read or write a book instead. They could probably be better marksmen if they didn't, and have a higher chance of surviving, but once over the 'I feel comfortable that when I round that corner I can avoid getting killed by whatever it is' threshold working on skills beyond that is not the norm even among those in constant peril.


Sure, some roleplayers optimize, but not all of them do. Someone who plays a woefully underpowered character can be a real roleplayer too; in fact someone who can roleplay any character, regardless of power level is a better roleplayer in my book than someone who can only enjoy roleplaying powerful characters (ie, a powergamer).

Indeed. It should also be remembered that there are multiple survival strategies in that kind of world which do not all correlate into builds. I can have a character who is good at a particular trade (max ranks in Perform:x, skill focus, etc.) and have a 'never piss off a spell caster' policy as their major means of surving the fireballs.


Saying that someone is "better" at role-playing because they can play a crappy character, is like saying that a true "actor" is at his best when he's using a poorly written script. While its nice to see people being good at what they do when someone gives them crap, an actor is truly at his BEST when his script is good and the actor is good, and both come together to form a symbiosis that truly portrays a scene.

This is a very poor analogy. There is no script in D&D and one's build is not equivalent to one. The closest thing would be their character concept.

Frankly, a better analogy to acting is saying that a true 'actor' can play a part that is weak and unheroic in the traditional sense and still capture the audience because of their portrayal. Action Heroes are not generally considered great actors. Take a look at the roles that are recognized as great acting performances in history and you will note that almost all of the characters played are flawed or weaker than those around them in some way. Be it physically as in Richard III and My Left Foot, or emotionally/intellectually: Othello, Hamlet, Faust.

Of course, if you can play Othello one day and Jack Bauer the next, both well, you are a better actor than the fellow who can just play the one, even if it's the weaker one.

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 10:53 AM
It's important to know what the terms you are throwing around mean when you use them.



- Power Gaming*: Varying definitions, but usually refers to attempting to “break” certain aspects of the game in the player’s favor. Also, the intent to gather as much power in game as possible, sometimes to the detriment of the campaign. Someone who does this a “power gamer.” Sometimes used as a synonym for the given definition of “min/maxing,” and other times as a synonym for “munchkin.”


I would argue that you cannot powergame and roleplay at the same time, as the focus is completely different. A powergamer focuses on making a mechanically powerful character. A roleplayer focuses on making their character's role come to life.

A powergamer can roleplay at times, but they will not sacrifice mechanical effectiveness in the name of roleplay.

A roleplayer can try to accumulate mechanical power, but will not sacrifice the integrity of their character's role in the name of mechanical effectiveness.

That is the dividing line between the two, IMO.


It important to remember that roleplaying is not required for a group to have fun. If you and your group enjoy playing hack n slash D&D there is nothing wrong with that. But for the sake of clear communications, please don't claim that you are roleplaying when you are not.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-26, 11:07 AM
A roleplayer will resolve situations without using dice, usually through ingenious strategies or discussion.

A powergamer will optimize his character so as to maximize the chance of success (but still uses dice). This is usually maximized towards one narrow skillset.

A munchkin will pull out his toy (usually an artefact of way more power than anyone should ever use) and use that to destroy any problems. Usually, the toy has given the munchkin so many bonuses that he can't fail no matter what the dice roll is, but he cheats any way and claims the maximum result.

----

Powergamers CAN roleplay, but typically roleplayers can't roleplay around a powergamer, since the powergamer will usually just go rogue and resolve the situation using his forte to the detriment of the group.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-26, 11:13 AM
It's important to know what the terms you are throwing around mean when you use them.

Doesn't the thread say that these terms are debatable?

I would argue that you cannot powergame and roleplay at the same time, as the focus is completely different. A powergamer focuses on making a mechanically powerful character. A roleplayer focuses on making their character's role come to life.

I'd agree with you, but they aren't really mutually exclusive.

A powergamer can roleplay at times, but they will not sacrifice mechanical effectiveness in the name of roleplay.

A roleplayer can try to accumulate mechanical power, but will not sacrifice the integrity of their character's role in the name of mechanical effectiveness.

That is the dividing line between the two, IMO.

But why is weakening a character needed to roleplay.

It important to remember that roleplaying is not required for a group to have fun. If you and your group enjoy playing hack n slash D&D there is nothing wrong with that. But for the sake of clear communications, please don't claim that you are roleplaying when you are not.
I agree with the last bit 100%

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 11:15 AM
A powergamer can roleplay at times, but they will not sacrifice mechanical effectiveness in the name of roleplay.

A roleplayer can try to accumulate mechanical power, but will not sacrifice the integrity of their character's role in the name of mechanical effectiveness.

That is the dividing line between the two, IMO.


Actually, I think that's the best way I've seen the distinction made. There are of course, some people in the middle, who will sometimes sacrifice one and sometimes sacrifice the other but in terms of the dividing line, I like this.


A roleplayer will resolve situations without using dice, usually through ingenious strategies or discussion.

They may well use dice. They will probably just be rolling Bluff, Diplomacy, Sleight of Hand checks instead of attack rolls.


This is usually maximized towards one narrow skillset.

Frequently, but not always the case.



Powergamers CAN roleplay, but typically roleplayers can't roleplay around a powergamer, since the powergamer will usually just go rogue and resolve the situation using his forte to the detriment of the group.

I think that depends upon the group and the style of the DM really.

Tura
2007-12-26, 11:27 AM
While it is, of course, possible to powergame and roleplay at the same time, it tends to become complicated when you have too many options to choose from. When you're low level, core and/or in a specific setting, it's easy to have a perfectly optimized party AND great roleplaying.

But when the DM says "I have all the books, go wild and powergame, just give me some fluff to make sense", you wind up with a party of oddball races, templates, obscure classes and prestige classes, which (even if every player has figured everything out for himself and has fleshed out a brilliant character concept to fit the mechanics), they hardly make any sense working together, or co-existing in a consistent world.

For example, in a 1st level Forgotten Realms setting, the dwarf fighter guy and the elf wizard guy will optimize their mechanics and roleplay their mutual mistrust, right? No prob. But when you play race Random/template Whatever/ classX 5/classY 2/PrC A 2/PrC B 1/ PrC 10 C... do you really know your place in the world? Do the other players know it? More importantly, does the DM have any clue about it?

It can be done. But if you don't want to sacrifice roleplaying, it needs work, and collective work for that matter. Personally, I prefer concrete settings, where the DM knows exactly what's going on in the world, and allows or disallows concepts based on whether they fit the setting or not. If I run a game inspired by the roman empire, I don't want to see any ToB builds...:smallsmile:

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 11:32 AM
Doesn't the thread say that these terms are debatable?

Of course terms are debateable, but it is important to work off of one standard definition in order to communicate clearly. If we are both using the word "Hot", but I am referring to attractiveness of a person where as you are using it to refer to temperature, then our communication is hampered.



I'd agree with you, but they aren't really mutually exclusive.


I would argue that they are. If I have you pick option A or option B, then they are mutually exclusive. You can't pick both. Therefore, if a scenario unfolds during a campaign where a player has the option of honoring the integrity of their character and not obtaining a powerful item, or obtaining a powerful item and throwing their character's integrity out the window, then the choices are mutually exclusive to one another.

If your argument is that this clear-cut type of choice never presents its self, then that is certaintly a possibility, but I'd say IME it happens numerous times in each and every campaign that I have been in.



But why is weakening a character needed to roleplay.


Its not. I used an example where option between the two occurs, and a player must pick one way or the other. It isn't required to happen, but it often does.

Also, I find it interesting that you choose to use the word "weakening" instead of "strengthing", as a character who obtains something new is actually getting stronger, and a character who does not obtain something new is staying the same strength, not weakening.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-26, 11:40 AM
Of course terms are debateable, but it is important to work off of one standard definition in order to communicate clearly. If we are both using the word "Hot", but I am referring to attractiveness of a person where as you are using it to refer to temperature, then our communication is hampered.

You have a point thier.


I would argue that they are. If I have you pick option A or option B, then they are mutually exclusive. You can't pick both. Therefore, if a scenario unfolds during a campaign where a player has the option of honoring the integrity of their character and not obtaining a powerful item, or obtaining a powerful item and throwing their character's integrity out the window, then the choices are mutually exclusive to one another.

Thier's our difference, I'd view going for the item to just be a munchkin mover rather that a powergame move

If your argument is that this clear-cut type of choice never presents its self, then that is certaintly a possibility, but I'd say IME it happens numerous times in each and every campaign that I have been in.

Yeah never seen it happen.

Its not. I used an example where option between the two occurs, and a player must pick one way or the other. It isn't required to happen, but it often does.

Also, I find it interesting that you choose to use the word "weakening" instead of "strengthing", as a character who obtains something new is actually getting stronger, and a character who does not obtain something new is staying the same strength, not weakening.


Ooh, I've learent something new about myself. Thank you.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-26, 11:46 AM
They may well use dice. They will probably just be rolling Bluff, Diplomacy, Sleight of Hand checks instead of attack rolls.

No, that's a powergamer with a diplomancer build. If a REAL roleplayer has to roll dice, he has failed.

Of course I'm talking about a nigh impossible to reach ideal of a roleplayer. In practice people fall into the category of about a 30/70 split between roleplayer and powergamer.

I am probably strategically a roleplayer, but tactically a powergamer. So I will avoid conflict as much as I can, talking and strategizing my way out. But if the conflict comes to me, I'll do my best to maximize my chances and weigh my options through a fight.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 11:53 AM
I would argue that they are. If I have you pick option A or option B, then they are mutually exclusive. You can't pick both. Therefore, if a scenario unfolds during a campaign where a player has the option of honoring the integrity of their character and not obtaining a powerful item, or obtaining a powerful item and throwing their character's integrity out the window, then the choices are mutually exclusive to one another.

If your argument is that this clear-cut type of choice never presents its self, then that is certaintly a possibility, but I'd say IME it happens numerous times in each and every campaign that I have been in.

This may or may not be a bright line in practice. What counts as 'sacrificing a characters integrity' can vary. Let's say I built a Paladin who carried his ancestors +2 sword finds a Holy Avenger. He could still choose to keep the old sword and wield the new because he knows it will help him preserve his family legacy and destroy evil. Of course, if a CN rogue found a Holy Avenger and decided to take a Paladin level and start acting LG all the time just for the bonus that would be different.

Also, remember, because it can happen multiple times, a player may with one choice opt for mechanics and with a later one opt for RP or vice versa.


Ooh, I've learent something new about myself. Thank you.

Glad to see another soul has reached enlightenment because of the OotS boards.


No, that's a powergamer with a diplomancer build. If a REAL roleplayer has to roll dice, he has failed.

Of course I'm talking about a nigh impossible to reach ideal of a roleplayer. In practice people fall into the category of about a 30/70 split between roleplayer and powergamer.


Honestly, I think you are talking about free form. A role player in D&D will be rolling bluff and diplomacy checks regardless if they are trying to convince someone or talk their way out of things, even if their modifier sucks and they are a tank. There is always room for the guy who tries to diffuse the situation but always says the wrong thing.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-26, 12:00 PM
Citizen Joe: Am I right in thinking that uou believe a roleplayer can't roleplay a violent or knowledgable character.

Winterwind
2007-12-26, 12:06 PM
Please don't take this the wrong way - I don't mean to slander your favourite RPG - but this got me curious.

In the roleplaying games I play, it actually would not even matter whether a person tried to powergame or not. Sure, they might be slightly more powerful than the people who gave the one somewhat magical item they found within six sessions to charity (yes, my players do that), and they would certainly outfight a similarly experienced character who did not dump all their experience points into combat-relevant skills and attributes, but so what? Then they might lose a bit less hit points in a fight against some opponent than their fellow adventurers and maybe take on three of them in succession, instead of merely two, but that does neither diminuish the impact on the story the other characters can have, nor does it give them a distinct advantage, because obviously the other characters used their experience points for something else, which will become useful sooner or later as well. And that magic item... meh, the GM controls what items the group obtains anyway, they certainly won't break the game, especially not in a world where magic items are rare and carefully designed.

Basically, everyone is free to try and create a character as close to his concept as (s)he wishes, for they will be able to meaningfully contribute, no matter what. I'm not even sure how to define powergaming in our games, for any skill point, no matter in which skill, may become useful at some point - somebody could optimise for a specific role, but no more, and that's perfectly fine - not every character is required to be able to defeat opponents, if the game is not centred around combat.

So basically, what I wanted to ask is... is the disparity in power between a powergamer's character and a non-powergamer's character in D&D really so big? People write here how non-optimising roleplayers could ruin the powergamers' fun by creating characters which are unable to contribute; to me, that's an unimaginable situation, for no system I know would allow for such a great power disparity, unless maybe somebody actively tried to un-optimise their character to an utterly ridiculous degree,.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-26, 12:09 PM
Yeah,, at high level a powergamed wizard will slaughter a normal fighter and kill a normal wizard.

For non-spell casters unless you use the big or really weak guns I don't think thiers that much.

Jayabalard
2007-12-26, 12:19 PM
Citizen Joe: Am I right in thinking that uou believe a roleplayer can't roleplay a violent or knowledgable character.I'm not sure how you got that; I thought he was pretty clear: a roleplayer doesn't need to roll dice to roleplay. Making a bluff or diplomacy check has nothing to do with roleplay.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-26, 12:24 PM
I'm not sure how you got that; I thought he was pretty clear: a roleplayer doesn't need to roll dice to roleplay. Making a bluff or diplomacy check has nothing to do with roleplay.

If a roleplayer rolls dice he's failed. Those two concepts need to roll dice.

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 12:27 PM
This may or may not be a bright line in practice. What counts as 'sacrificing a characters integrity' can vary. Let's say I built a Paladin who carried his ancestors +2 sword finds a Holy Avenger. He could still choose to keep the old sword and wield the new because he knows it will help him preserve his family legacy and destroy evil. Of course, if a CN rogue found a Holy Avenger and decided to take a Paladin level and start acting LG all the time just for the bonus that would be different.


This is the reason I didn't give a specific example; each example has way too many implications contained within them. Everyone tries to read between the lines or infer additional information not given in the example so as to prove their point.

Going by only what you have said for the Paladin, I wouldn't say there is anything wrong with opting to use the Holy Avenger. If you change the example slightly, by adding that the Paladin vowed on his father's deathbed to slay his father's murderer with the ancestreal sword for example, then perhaps there would be a problem with the Paladin opting to use the Holy Avenger.

As far as the CN rogue, again, going by only what you have given, I would say that is a pretty good example of a powergamer choosing mechanical power over the integrity of their character.



Also, remember, because it can happen multiple times, a player may with one choice opt for mechanics and with a later one opt for RP or vice versa.


But what is more important is WHY the player is making the choices. A powergamer may make a modicum of effort towards RPing in an attempt to appease his DM or group, but his true intentions are on accumulating more mechanical power.

If a powergamer LG character comes upon an option to do some horribly evil act that will reward him with +1 Knowledge [The Planes] checks, he will most likely loudly proclaim that his character would never dream of doing such a thing. In effect, he is weighing the mechanical advantage of +1 Knowledge [The Planes] against the arguments that he will have to endure at the hands of his DM & fellow players.

However, change that +1 Knowledge [The Planes] to Maximized Fireball spell-like ability 3/day, and not only will the LG powergamer character go for it, he'll try to convince the DM and the other players that the horribly evil act isn't really evil. And what is evil anyway? It isn't explictly spelled out in the rule books is it? Etc, etc.

I would still consider such a player a powergamer. On the other hand, a player that aquires mechanical power without sacrificing his character's integrity is a roleplayer.

It really is just a mindset, and it is incredibly simple when you view it from an objective stance. Individual instances of possibly sacrificing a character's integrity for mechanical power are open to interpretation.

As a DM it is incredibly simple to figure it out. When a player makes a decision for his character that I think is infringing on his character's integrity, I ask the player why the character is making the choice. If they explain it in a way that makes sense, they are all set. If they start pointing out the mechanical advantages and minimizing their character's background/personality/etc, then they are probably powergaming.



So basically, what I wanted to ask is... is the disparity in power between a powergamer's character and a non-powergamer's character in D&D really so big? People write here how non-optimising roleplayers could ruin the powergamers' fun by creating characters which are unable to contribute; to me, that's an unimaginable situation, for no system I know would allow for such a great power disparity, unless maybe somebody actively tried to un-optimise their character to an utterly ridiculous degree,.


Well, yes, the power disparity between an optimized character and an unoptimized character can be HUGE. But for me personally, that is not even the real issue. I can deal with power disparities as the DM, and I can still make the game fun and entertaining for the players.

For me, the entire purpose of the game is to RP, that is why I play D&D. If I wasn't interested in RPing, then there are several other games out there that do fantasy combat simulation better than D&D.

In this effort I always make sure that my players are aware of my high-expectations for RP, and then when they are aware of that and still sign on to play, I make rulings to maintain that high level of RP.

Roog
2007-12-26, 12:30 PM
For example, in a 1st level Forgotten Realms setting, the dwarf fighter guy and the elf wizard guy will optimize their mechanics and roleplay their mutual mistrust, right? No prob. But when you play race Random/template Whatever/ classX 5/classY 2/PrC A 2/PrC B 1/ PrC 10 C... do you really know your place in the world? Do the other players know it? More importantly, does the DM have any clue about it?

Why should the names of a PC's classes be important to their place in the world?

If the players have strong concepts of who the characters and their personalities, then they they can answer those questions without metagame infomation (class/template/etc).

Do you need to know the class (and prestige class) of characters in a book or movie to know who they are?

Tura
2007-12-26, 12:31 PM
For character generation, it depends on how stats are generated. A 32-point buy (or a decent roll) allows for a nice balance, but the history of AD&D is filled with dump fighters... And not because the player WANTS to play a dump character, or has a clue how to do that, or thinks it will make the game interesting, but because he wants to own in combat, aarrrg.

And when you play IC, it's a matter of choices, really. Seeing everything as walking XPs, doing something which conflicts with your moral code or your cultural perceptions just to gain an advantage in combat... those are things a roleplayer would never do, but a powergamer would be very tempted to do, and then try his best to justify. (Or, alternatively, wouldn't do and expect XP to award his roleplaying. :smalltongue: )

In my opinion, a good player simply knows where to draw the line and say "well, it would be to my benefit mechanically, but my character would NEVER do that."
[Conversely, the history of AD&D is also filled with passionate roleplayers who cause a TPK every other session or stop the flow of the plot and generally ruin everyone's fun because "that's what my character would do, OK?"]

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-26, 12:38 PM
Out of curiosity what would you rather play with.

A game hogging roleplayer with a weak character but can do combat or a combat hogging powergamer with a strong character you does roleplaying.

I'd choose the latter every time.

If you think that's an unfair choice make another one.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-26, 12:54 PM
A game hogging roleplayer with a weak character but can do combat or a combat hogging powergamer with a strong character you does roleplaying.

That isn't a roleplayer... that is a drama queen. Ideally, the roleplayer will draw everyone in.

VeisuItaTyhjyys
2007-12-26, 01:10 PM
But PCs don't need to be adventurers either, at least not in the sense that they are people who actively seek out a life where "every day is like an action movie", merely in the sense that they are people to whom adventures happen. They may just as well be just some warriors or wizards who, while having a few specific goals in their life, do not actually desire a life in danger, but find themselves confronted with a task which is too important for them to decline, even if it is going to be dangerous. Accepting the task nevertheless is what makes them heroes; that doesn't mean they meant for their life to turn out as a long and dangerous series of adventures and challenges, and they would rather sooner than later return to whatever it is they lived before.
Still, they'd want to be sure they succeeded at that very important task, wouldn'tthey?

They do not spend their entire time training. They are not the most intelligent or strong people around; they are just the people who were in the right place at the right time. Just because that would make him stronger does not mean a wizard is going to change his personality and habits and suddenly become paranoid, and he may not even expect to be involved into yet more dangers; that's metagaming, using the OOC knowledge that this character is a PC and hence bound to get involved into yet more adventures, while the character himself would actually expect to be finally able to return to his calm and secure scholar life.
PTSD? Besides, wouldn't he try and optimize himself during that one adventure. Now, he can't change how his stats happened at first level, but he can choose what spells he learns and how he acts during that adventure. If he wants to survive, which I would imagine he doesn, he's going to be cautious and defensive. A barbarian or paladin, not so much so, but you can't really optimize them very well.

Also, not everyone plays in such a grisly and horrible world where you can get a fireball into your face at each corner. A character who lives for a life of adventure and actively tries to prepare himself for it as much as possible is a perfectly valid personality choice to be roleplayed, but to say that better roleplayers limit themselves to this particular personality is like saying that better roleplayers always play vengeful characters, instead of forgiving ones - it's just one character trait, you may make it a part of a character's personality or not, both can lead to a believable character (that part was directed rather to CactusAir, not you).
Oh, I agree. I'm not saying it's the only way to go (or, for some classes, even a good way to go), but it is a valid way to play. I think it makes the most sense for wizards, as they've got a bit of a reputation for being power-mad, as it is, and being frail little dudes who can't even wear padded armour in a sea of danger should waken your latent paranoia. Crossbows are less scary to tough guys in full plate than they are to a wizard who isn't prepared for them, which is why I think most wizards would want to be prepared for them.


Or a fighter who used a lighter sword. Or you'll be picking weaker things to go after.
By picking the lighter sword, you're optimizing the best you can with the scores you have.


"Higher than 10" is not optimized. fighters with a strength like that would include quite a bit of unoptimized characters.
I said "or such is the idea." MCMAP is supposed to be the ideal hand-to-hand combat training, but it's honestly pretty useless.


people in the army become BETTER, not optimized.
I think we're using different definitions of optimized, here. I'm using it as making the best you can make with what you have, which, I think, is what most people in the real world do, as well. Most rock stars do have a lot of charisma. Most Doctors and Lawyers are usually intelligent (as a Law student, I also frequently take advantage of BovD cheese).


It might be like that, or it might be much more like being a cop, depending on your game. This is part of what I mean by " a narrow set of roles" ... non powergamers can play roles that cannot fit in the sort of game that you're talking about, characters that are definitely non-optimal.
Powergamers can play roles in worlds where characters don't have to be prepared constantly, I was just giving an example of a situation in which it actually makes more sense, at least with some classes, to powergame. A wizard who's obsessed with efficiency, Cheaper by the Dozen-style, would probably go for a greater teleport SLA, to get where he's going faster. A rogue who always wanted to be a wizard, but never had the money to go to arcane schools would abuse the hell out of Use Magic Device to make himself as much like a wizard as possible.

Tura
2007-12-26, 01:19 PM
Why should the names of a PC's classes be important to their place in the world?

If the players have strong concepts of who the characters and their personalities, then they they can answer those questions without metagame infomation (class/template/etc).

Do you need to know the class (and prestige class) of characters in a book or movie to know who they are?
Perhaps I didn't make that clear. I'll try again.
When I say "their place in the world" I don't mean who they are (you're right when you say that this is not a class combo - it's a concept), I mean how the others perceive them. What's their social status, or better yet, how their social status as Race X, Born in a mansion or hamlet in town Y is altered by their advancement as Class Z.

We all know how core races and classes are regarded, and can work out any combination of the above. We can even imagine ten rogues of same level, race and stats, who make each a completely different concept [role in the party, backstory, "place in the world"]. And the tools we have to imagine all that is the fluff, even if it's just a patent-free, generic fantasy setting. Give the DM any background you like for your character, he'll know what to do with it.

But when you have a Druid 3/Wizard 3/Mystic Theurge 2/Arcane Heirophant 10/Ghoul 1/Swarmshifter 1 (LA), HOW did that happen exactly? Even with a background story that somehow makes sense, the DM still needs to think through at least NPC reactions. [Disclaimer: I have in mind games I like, and games I like invest a lot on the setting as a whole, and not just a series of unrelated encounters. Other games, heck, most games, tend to more or less ignore that factor.]

Frosty
2007-12-26, 01:41 PM
In DnD, everyone, including roleplayers, need to roll dice. Otherwise, it's called free-form.

A fantastic roleplayer should not and would not be able to talk a a jailor into giving up the keys to the cells if the roleplayer's character is a CHA 6 and INT 9 Fighter with no points in social skills. The math *limits* what your characters can do, so you still need to roll the dice to see how far your roleplaying will carry you.

Granted, someone playing a big, dumb, ugly fighter may not attempt that conversation, which is fine. But then he may have to resort to violence, which is again, rolling with dice.

DnD involves navigating a world using a pre-determined rule-set. You gotta follow the rules or you're not playing DnD.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 01:50 PM
Why should the names of a PC's classes be important to their place in the world?


Well, the reason is that some classes carry social connotations with them that are built into the mechanics and the fluff. A Paladin is more than just a set of class abilities to be RPed under since there are RP requiements to keep the benifits of the class. Clerics are similar in that the particular gods they worship have a social meaning. A cleric of Pelor is going to be greeted very differently than a cleric of Hextor in a LG community.


I'm not sure how you got that; I thought he was pretty clear: a roleplayer doesn't need to roll dice to roleplay. Making a bluff or diplomacy check has nothing to do with roleplay.

Thing is though, influencing an NPC attitude requires those checks and the things said only count towards applying modifiers to them. If a character wants to talk their way out of a situation they would not normally be able to 99% of the time, by RAW, they are making those checks. Many DM's, including myself, don't rabidly enforce this and houserule/handwave it away but if playing D&D by the book on those even the Roleplayer will be rolling dice.


In DnD, everyone, including roleplayers, need to roll dice. Otherwise, it's called free-form.

*snip*

DnD involves navigating a world using a pre-determined rule-set. You gotta follow the rules or you're not playing DnD.

Or at least not following RAW.


I think we're using different definitions of optimized, here. I'm using it as making the best you can make with what you have, which, I think, is what most people in the real world do, as well. Most rock stars do have a lot of charisma. Most Doctors and Lawyers are usually intelligent (as a Law student, I also frequently take advantage of BovD cheese).


Thing is, most Rockstars do have lots of charisma. How many are just going to shows, practicing, and recording all the time? I can think of almost none that do so after they have 'made it', or crossed that 'good enough' threshold. How many of your fellow law students do Law Review, Mock Trial and Intern at the same time? It's possible if they didn't take time for anything else (considering law school this could include sleep). I know lots of lawyers that loathe taking CLE classes, even though it makes them more knowledgeable and better lawyers because they figure they already know enough to do what they have to do at a high level. Could these groups be better at their chosen professions if they spent all their time focusing on it? Probably. Do most of them do so? No, because they have other interests and priorities above becoming 'the best they can be' at their profession when 'good enough' will suffice to bring home the bacon/record deal.

Valairn
2007-12-26, 02:27 PM
Nope; I know programmers who don't have high school diplomas let alone collage degrees. I know people who had a high school diploma and a hobby interest in computers late in their adult life (no additional training) who wound up as programmers. I know people who graduated with a business degree who turned around and got a job programming, with no background in computers other than the training that the job is going to give them. Heck, I spend most of my time on things that are not related to programming. While I'm good at what I do, I'm far from optimized. Plenty of programmers are not optimized.

First and this is the most important point.

Every programmer who programs cannot program successfully without knowing how to program or have the ability to learn how to program. In here lies the heart of optimization.

Your argument in fact proves my point. None of these people followed the "traditional" methods for being a programmer. That in no way signifies that they are not optimized for the job.

I think you don't actually understand what optimization is. If you are playing a fighter and you are in combat, and you choose to draw your weapon, from that moment on you are playing an "optimized" fighter. You have chosen a fighters strength and are using it. That is optimization. You could stand in the back with the wizard and do whatever he does, it won't work, but nothing is stopping you from doing it. That would be unoptimized.

Optimization comes in tiers. There is low level optimization, fighters use melee, wizards cast spells, and rogues are sneaky. Medium level optimization, fighter uses power attack with a two hander, rogue uses feint to sneak attack more often, wizard casts save or suck/lose rather than generic damage spells. And high level optimization, Power attack, shock trooper, TOB maneuvers, + insert ridiculous combo here. Rogues multi-classing all over the place to get dirt tons of sneak attack damage. Wizards casting celerity + timestop etc....

You cannot actually play DnD without optimizing. At some point you will make a decision that "betters" your character in their primary role. And thus you have optimized. I used a key word, in my original post, slightly.

I'm talking a totally different ball game than you.

Riffington
2007-12-26, 02:30 PM
Why should the names of a PC's classes be important to their place in the world?

If the players have strong concepts of who the characters and their personalities, then they they can answer those questions without metagame infomation (class/template/etc).

Do you need to know the class (and prestige class) of characters in a book or movie to know who they are?

That's actually the entire point of classes: to pigeonhole characters into predefined roles. If you are going to tweak those roles a bit, it still works. But once you start saying "I need a level of Barbarian so my character can run faster"... why play a game with classes and levels at all? Why not play one where you assign more points to Running to improve your speed?

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 02:36 PM
I think you don't actually understand what optimization is. If you are playing a fighter and you are in combat, and you choose to draw your weapon, from that moment on you are playing an "optimized" fighter. You have chosen a fighters strength and are using it. That is optimization. You could stand in the back with the wizard and do whatever he does, it won't work, but nothing is stopping you from doing it. That would be unoptimized.


I would argue that you are completely unfamiliar with what the typical understanding of "optimization" means on a gaming forum. When a fighter draws a weapon and fights with it, that is no where close to the common definition of optimization.

When you reinvent the words, they can mean whatever you want them to be. However, if you're going to do that, and especially if you're going to call someone else out for misunderstanding your little-used definition of the word, you should spell out in clear terms exactly what you mean by the world in your initial post.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 02:40 PM
You cannot actually play DnD without optimizing. At some point you will make a decision that "betters" your character in their primary role. And thus you have optimized. I used a key word, in my original post, slightly.


So is there a difference for you bettween an 'optimized' character and an 'effective' character or are they the same thing?

I think most people when the term 'optimized' is tossed out tend to think about that upper tier of optimization you identified. When folks on these boards refer to a build, or part of it, as suboptimal, they aren't saying it's as bad as the fighter standing at the back, making noises and wacky hand gestures. They mean that it is not 'the best' or 'most powerful' it can be.

Kaelik
2007-12-26, 02:40 PM
Of course terms are debateable, but it is important to work off of one standard definition in order to communicate clearly. If we are both using the word "Hot", but I am referring to attractiveness of a person where as you are using it to refer to temperature, then our communication is hampered.

Of course it is important to be talking about the same thing. However, you are the only person who actually thinks in terms of that being the definition. It has become very clear to me over the course of my visiting this forum that the vast majority of people see powergaming as building the strongest character that for your concept.

That definition was put up a long time ago, and the meanings of things change. Perhaps when 90% of the forum operates under a different definition of powergame it's time for it to change.

In addition, if we actually used that definition, all roleplaing vs powergaming threads are pointless. Because either:
1) Everyone who makes powerful characters that fit their concept is roleplaying, and by extension 90% of people are "roleplayers" even if they spend all their time making their character ass powerful as possible, as long as they don't violate the concept. Or
2) There is a huge gap between "roleplayer" and "powergamer" where most people fall, this is the area where people (unlike Jaybalad) don't brag about playing weak characters because they avoid doing so, but enjoy playing certain concepts and playing the characters well.

Your definition makes Pun-Pun the only acceptable choice for powergamers to play. That's an incredibly narrow subset.


That isn't a roleplayer... that is a drama queen. Ideally, the roleplayer will draw everyone in.

And there we go. Like all people of the ROLEPLAYING>POWERGAMING!!111 crowd you redefine everything bad about roleplaying as not be a part of it. Roleplaying refers to the good applications of a certain type of playing, but bad applications need a different name so that roleplaying never gets sullied.

Well guess what, we do the same thing. Making powerful characters within the concept and not making the other players feel bad is called powergaming. Making other players useless or optimizing outside the concept is called Munchkinism.

In my mind:

Optimization is an action.
Powergaming is doing that in way that doesn't take away others fun and staying inside the concept.
Munchkinism is going outside the concept or ruining it for others.
Roleplaying is an action.
Good roleplayers do it in ways that don't hurt the other players enjoyment.
Bad RPs hurt others or RP horribly or don't RP the concept right.

This means RPing characters that when played in concept will still hurt the others is bad RPing. If the DM says, "I'm making a one-shot dungeon that is incredibly hard. Make your characters accordingly." And the RPer brings an incredibly weak character, well then the TPK is his fault and he ruined it for everyone else, just like the Batman Wizard who takes on BBEG alone while everyone else is arguing about tactics.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 02:53 PM
Well guess what, we do the same thing. Making powerful characters within the concept and not making the other players feel bad is called powergaming. Making other players useless or optimizing outside the concept is called Munchkinism.


What about those folks who create the powerful optimized build first and then try to patchwork the concept around the build they already have? Are they Munchkins or are they Powergamers?

Citizen Joe
2007-12-26, 02:59 PM
Here's the primary problem I see...

Powergamers seem to be under the assumption that 'winning' in an RPG is a good thing. It isn't. It means the end of the game.

Maybe it could be defined as:
Roleplayers want to play the game
Powergamers want to win the game
Munchkins want to win the game and play it too

Valairn
2007-12-26, 03:01 PM
I would argue that you are completely unfamiliar with what the typical understanding of "optimization" means on a gaming forum. When a fighter draws a weapon and fights with it, that is no where close to the common definition of optimization.

When you reinvent the words, they can mean whatever you want them to be. However, if you're going to do that, and especially if you're going to call someone else out for misunderstanding your little-used definition of the word, you should spell out in clear terms exactly what you mean by the world in your initial post.

Actually I'm using the definition of the word as provided by the Wizards Character Optimization FAQ. I would give you a direct link, but I can't access it here at work, I'll edit my post later. After all, if there is any de-facto standard to what optimization is, I think it lies there.

Optimization has its bad sides and its good sides. But that wasn't my particular concern at all. Role-playing is a GOOD thing.

But lets get one thing straight here, role-playing is just a different form of optimization, you are strengthening a characters personality, by giving it verisimilitude with its mechanics. That's wonderful, and all the power to you. I'm not saying playing sub-optimal characters are wrong, I'm saying that even a "sup-optimal" character is still optimized at least in some regard.

My problem lies in this sort of attitude, "I play unoptimized characters, because I'm a great role-player." Your ability to role-play is not a result of the level of optimization in your character. At times they are related, but correlation does not equal causation.

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 03:15 PM
Of course it is important to be talking about the same thing. However, you are the only person who actually thinks in terms of that being the definition. It has become very clear to me over the course of my visiting this forum that the vast majority of people see powergaming as building the strongest character that for your concept.


Clear to you perhaps, but I don't see any evidence that what you believe happens to be the majority belief. In fact, I'm not really sure why no many people are caught up on the term. It is quite obvious to me that the initial purpose of the word "powergaming" was to refer to problem players who put the mechanics over the story.

You seem to agree with me when you say that the meaning of the word has changed. But, it begs the question why someone would identify themself as a powergamer and then try to change the definition of the word.



That definition was put up a long time ago, and the meanings of things change. Perhaps when 90% of the forum operates under a different definition of powergame it's time for it to change.


Agreed. Maybe that means your numbers are just pulled out of thin air?



In addition, if we actually used that definition, all roleplaing vs powergaming threads are pointless. Because either:


Well, they are pointless in the effect that none of us are going to change each other's minds, but yet we still keep trying.



Your definition makes Pun-Pun the only acceptable choice for powergamers to play. That's an incredibly narrow subset.


I'd disagree. Powergamers want to play the game, they just want to have the most mechanical power as possible. If they achieved Pun-Pun, the game would effectively end, as no DM would continue running a game with Pun-Pun I am sure.



Actually I'm using the definition of the word as provided by the Wizards Character Optimization FAQ.


I'm not sure what exactly that is, but I'm going to take a guess. In the small niche of the forums that is specifically dedicated to packing the most power into a character, there is a FAQ that defines optimization? I think you can see how that is quite a bit biased.

Often times in those type of forums someone will say something like "I'm in a ECL 8 game and I'm going to be playing the tank. Give me a powerful build." The posters will then scour all books that are allowed per the question-poser and pick classes/skills/feats that synnergize with one another and allow of a good amount of power. Someone may pose a build and then another poster may "beat" that build by packing more power into it by taking a different class or feat or something else that allows them to qualify for something else faster/easier/what have you.

The focus is on making the most powerful character within the restrictions given. That's pure and simple powergaming.

Kaelik
2007-12-26, 03:17 PM
Here's the primary problem I see...

Powergamers seem to be under the assumption that 'winning' in an RPG is a good thing. It isn't. It means the end of the game.

Maybe it could be defined as:
Roleplayers want to play the game
Powergamers want to win the game
Munchkins want to win the game and play it too

"Winning the game" doesn't mean ending it. Powergamers have powerful characters. How does that end the game. That means they can start with a powerful level 1, and slowly become more powerful until they reach level 20 (or epic.) Rolepayers on the other hand die at level 6, or complain because high levels are too powerful, and so instead end the game at level 12.

This posts contains exactly the same amount of misrepresentation as yours.

Valairn
2007-12-26, 03:23 PM
I'm not sure what exactly that is, but I'm going to take a guess. In the small niche of the forums that is specifically dedicated to packing the most power into a character, there is a FAQ that defines optimization? I think you can see how that is quite a bit biased.

Actually you will find that the Char Op boards are full of some of the most creative and dedicated fans of DnD. They have their fun with mechanics, creating pun pun and the like, but they also understand limits. There are builds there ranging from literally "sup-optimal" all the way to OMGIPWNEDTHENOOBWITHMY6BILLIONDAMAGE builds. If you work with the people on the boards you can actually get really solid builds that are not power-gaming in the slightest.

I figure if you are gonna talk about something though, you should probably use the definitions the "experts" are using. And these guys are in fact experts, in every sense of the term. And in this regard I am using the correct approach to reasonable arguments. I'm going to the experts to see there take on the subject, before I go and make my own personal arguments. I would expect the same from others. If we want REAL answers, you have to start somewhere, generally that lies within the definitions of words.

I'm using a definition that's readily available to anyone, on a forum that is dedicated to the topic of discussion at hand, and is the forum supported by the actual owners of the product. I'm pretty sure that's as foundational as you can get in this situation.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 03:53 PM
@Valairn

The trouble with the definition of optmization you are using is that anything that even remotley does it's job can be referred to as 'optimized'. It maybe vogue over at Char Op, I dunno, but it begs for confusion on that regard.

I'm still curious about the Powergamer/Munchkin distinction. Most folks I know who call themselves 'powergamers' create the build first and the concept second. How can the build violate the concept if the concept was only made to fit the build? Wouldn't any powerlevel then count as powergamed rather than munchkin? Or if building it in that order, does it make everyone who goes build first a munchkin?

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 03:58 PM
Actually you will find that the Char Op boards are full of some of the most creative and dedicated fans of DnD. They have their fun with mechanics, creating pun pun and the like, but they also understand limits. There are builds there ranging from literally "sup-optimal" all the way to OMGIPWNEDTHENOOBWITHMY6BILLIONDAMAGE builds. If you work with the people on the boards you can actually get really solid builds that are not power-gaming in the slightest.


Woah, don't make this out to be me attacking people on the Char Ops boards. Once again, if you choose to powergame, that's your choice and if you have fun why shouldn't you?

Some people like powergaming, some people hate powergaming. If you like powergaming, and congregate with others who like powergaming, and then among all of you, you come up with a definition for powergaming, I'm sure its not going to generally make powergaming out to be a positive or at least neutral thing.

Same is true for the opposite. If you hate powergaming and congregate with others who hate powergaming and then come up with a definition of powergaming it is probably going to be a negative thing.

I would consider GITP to be pretty neutral on that aspect (Char Ops being the pro-powergaming type people and something like True Roleplayers being the pro-roleplaying type people).



I figure if you are gonna talk about something though, you should probably use the definitions the "experts" are using. And these guys are in fact experts, in every sense of the term. And in this regard I am using the correct approach to reasonable arguments. I'm going to the experts to see there take on the subject, before I go and make my own personal arguments. I would expect the same from others.


To use a D&D example, I'll bet that the clerics of Pelor (experts on religion) and clerics of Nerull (experts on religion) have VERY different definitions of words. They are both "experts", but since their bias is one way or the other, their definitions are of course going to reflect that bias.



If we want REAL answers, you have to start somewhere, generally that lies within the definitions of words.


I concur. That's while you see while we are here on the Giant in the Playground Forums I was using the Giant in the Playground Forum's definition of "Powergaming".



I'm using a definition that's readily available to anyone, on a forum that is dedicated to the topic of discussion at hand, and is the forum supported by the actual owners of the product. I'm pretty sure that's as foundational as you can get in this situation.

Actually, its not readily available to me because it is blocked by the filters :smallfrown:. Also, remember that just because the Char Ops board have their definitions, they don't represent the views of Wizards of the Coast, only some of its members that congregate there.

If Wizards of the Coast came out and defined a word, then I would agree that their definition would take precedence when discussing their game.

bluish_wolf
2007-12-26, 03:58 PM
Nah, munchkins don't even bother coming up with a concept. Before or after.

Kaelik
2007-12-26, 03:59 PM
Often times in those type of forums someone will say something like "I'm in a ECL 8 game and I'm going to be playing the tank. Give me a powerful build." The posters will then scour all books that are allowed per the question-poser and pick classes/skills/feats that synnergize with one another and allow of a good amount of power. Someone may pose a build and then another poster may "beat" that build by packing more power into it by taking a different class or feat or something else that allows them to qualify for something else faster/easier/what have you.

The focus is on making the most powerful character within the restrictions given. That's pure and simple powergaming.

You should spend more time there before you critisize. Most threads I've seen go something like this:

OP:Help me make a Dwarf who uses X tactic to do Y.
POST1:Random build with obscure Dwarf subrace and feats to do something similar to X.
POST2:POST1 is a loser, [more powerful build that uses a more stereotypically Dwarven subrace and actually uses X.] My build is better because it's stronger and fits the concept better. I am better then you in every way.
Rest of Thread: Argument between 1 and 2, occasional suggestions by others that completely violate the concept or are weaker then 1 and 2.

valadil
2007-12-26, 03:59 PM
Looks like I missed the roleplaying vs metagaming portion of the thread, but I'd like to throw this out there. A good roleplayer will at times metagame in order to make the game run better.

I've seen a lot of players take on a loner character. When played accurately, that character is self motivated and doesn't necessarily go along with the party. Sometimes they hold up the game. Sometimes they split off and form their own separate party forcing the GM to run a split screen game. Sometimes they go along with the group periodically announcing that this goes against what their character believes in. A good roleplayer will find an in character reason to go along with the group in this scenario. This kind of metagaming is done simply to make the game run more smoothly, and is more than welcome in all the groups I actively game with.

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 04:02 PM
You should spend more time there before you critisize. Most threads I've seen go something like this:


ROFL. Sounds about right to me, what part did I get wrong?

Kaelik
2007-12-26, 04:05 PM
ROFL. Sounds about right to me, what part did I get wrong?

The part where close allegiance to the concept presented is just as important as power.

Mark Hall
2007-12-26, 04:13 PM
I guess it's kind of a noobish question, but what's the difference between power play and munchkin?

A power player is someone who designs a character who that is mechanically powerful.

A munchkin is someone who uses the game to bully people. They build very powerful characters (sometimes within the rules, sometimes pushing the boundaries of the rules, often cheating or using "creative interpretations") that are powerful enough to push other characters around. They may decide they're going to be a bully for good, or a bully for evil, but they just want to push people around.

Deepblue706
2007-12-26, 04:16 PM
Roleplaying and Powergaming are not exclusive, but I've always preferred to play with "Roleplayers".

These are my definitions of the two concepts:

Roleplayer: Makes OOC decisions based on IC concept.

Powergamer: Makes OOC decisions and justifies them with IC actions (if at all*).

*:The last tidbit found in "Powergamer" is not to poke a jab at all Powergamers, but rather note that justifications are secondary to the character itself, and are not inherently required. Still, "Powergamers" that make efforts to roleplay will attempt (success can vary) to justify decisions.

What seperates both the "Roleplayer" and the "Powergamer" is the original intent. When you're building your character, is he a cunning rogue, filled with a dark past and a heavy heart, or is he a Rog3/Ftr1 who dual-wields daggers and then proceeds to be described in the same exact way as the previous example? The second example differs from the first because it first lays emphasis on mechanical build, then the character. If you're letting your character take the lead**, you probably won't be optimized. If you're deciding upon mechanics and then the character, you are a "Powergamer" in my eyes.

**: When I say "letting your character take the lead", I mean you're allowing the IC experiences you have to hold some sway over your character's growth. This sway doesn't have to be much, but I very much admire things such as a "strange" class change that is more impactful to the players, rather than the overall mechanical status of the character. For example, a wizard-based Gish suddenly taking levels in Paladin because of his IC growth is something that very few people will do, because it loses arcane spellcasting levels, gains spellcasting in a stat that a gish may very well dump. The Paladin also makes use of Charisma, which a wizard-based gish could easily neglect as well. The motivation against this class change is primarily mechanical in nature to a "Powergamer", while a "Roleplayer's" primary concern would be whether or not becoming a Paladin merely makes sense for the character, IC-wise. I'm not saying that neither considers the other spectrum, but rather that there is a flow of thought that brings a person from A, to B, to C - and the order of thought determines your status on this Roleplayer/Powergamer axis.

I do not believe being either is good or bad - I would consider myself both a Powergamer and a Roleplayer, as I sometimes make decisions based on mechanics, and sometimes make decisions based on what is [most] internally consistent of my characters. However, I think I may be more of a Roleplayer than a Powergamer, because my heart really isn't into making highly effective builds, [a result of myself more often having made decisions based on what is IC, rather than OOC] - but simply making a character that stands out. I do understand it is important to have a character that does a job well (and I make smart OOC decisions, if only upon whim) - but on the other hand, I do believe D&D is more of a social game rather than a mechanical exercise. Thusly, I find great amounts of emphasis on mechanics, to the neglect of the character and overall social experience of the game, to be shallow and inconsistent with the game's function - and therefore I discourage it. I believe many share these feelings, and only associate "Powergamers" (and not "Roleplayers") with great emphasis on mechanics because they are closer to The Line.

Now, The Line would happen to be the that of those who are not to be named (who I will thusly call "Munchkins" :smallbiggrin: ). However, many fail to recognize that getting close to The Line is absolutely meaningless - only crossing it is truly problematic.

Edits: all words found in brackets.

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 04:24 PM
The part where close allegiance to the concept presented is just as important as power.

Ah, ok, so when you say concept you're still referring to mechanics. Someone says "I want a guy who is good at Sneak Attacks" and then everyone tries to make the most powerful sneak attacker that they can.

Or someone says "I want a guy who uses a 2-handed weapon" and then everyone tries to make the most powerful 2-handed weapon wielder that they can.

The ongoing theme here is that mechanical power is the goal.

Indon
2007-12-26, 04:34 PM
Sure, you can powergame and roleplay at the same time... to a point.

But the more powerful you want your character, the fewer actual character options you have. You can optimize a dual-wielding fighter, but an optimized fighter does not dual wield, but instead uses a 2-hander. You can optimize a blast-oriented wizard, but an optimized wizard bothers with very few direct damage spells.

So either way, yes, you may well have to give up character power for character concept, or vice versa, simply because some concepts produce characters which are weaker or more powerful than others.

The Stormwind Fallacy is about how Powergaming does not neccessarily lead to bad roleplaying, by genericising characters, stripping away character personality options, and so on... but for the reason listed above, it quite clearly can do this. It's just not a guarantee, being dependent on the specific circumstance.

Kaelik
2007-12-26, 04:39 PM
Ah, ok, so when you say concept you're still referring to mechanics. Someone says "I want a guy who is good at Sneak Attacks" and then everyone tries to make the most powerful sneak attacker that they can.

Or someone says "I want a guy who uses a 2-handed weapon" and then everyone tries to make the most powerful 2-handed weapon wielder that they can.

The ongoing theme here is that mechanical power is the goal.

No I don't mean just the mechanics. The Concept includes personality, character likes and dislikes and everything else. Which is why if someone wants to play a Dwarven Fighter type character (specializing grappling or something) a Bear Warrior is not an option, because the character does not turn into a Bear.

The Personality has to stay the same as the OP wants it to. But that doesn't really come into play much, because 95% of mechanics are separate from the characters thoughts/beliefs/ect.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-26, 04:47 PM
"Winning the game" doesn't mean ending it. Powergamers have powerful characters. How does that end the game. That means they can start with a powerful level 1, and slowly become more powerful until they reach level 20 (or epic.) Rolepayers on the other hand die at level 6, or complain because high levels are too powerful, and so instead end the game at level 12.

This posts contains exactly the same amount of misrepresentation as yours.
I'm not saying that they WILL win the game, I'm saying that powergamers play towards the goal of 'winning' the game.

Roleplayers play the game with the goal of playing the game.

The problem becomes this:
Powergamer optimizes and becomes very good at something... we'll say fighting...
Powergamer character wants to shine so he drags everyone into fights
Powergamer gets bored because he is beating the adversaries so easy and is not getting enough loot
GM relents and sends group on tougher challenges
Rest of party either has to power game to keep up or gets killed.

Now if it is the reverse situation, where the roleplayer is the odd man out, then they will usually either bow out and leave the party or take it as a roleplaying challenge and start an inn or act as the faceman for the party or something along those lines.

Powergaming causes escalation and an arms race. That may have more to do with a Power GM that insists on challenging the strongest party member and ignoring the fact that the rest of the team would get crushed without him.

Frankly, the group is better off if they bemoan how hard things are and how they are always broke, when they are actually in pretty good shape rather than brag about it and challenge the GM to test them. That even works in character. If a town hires you to stop goblins from attacking the town, bemoan how difficult it will be and how expensive supplies and healing will be to accomplish the task... That way you'll look all the more impressive when you get it done... and you can ask for more money. If you're all like "Pfft! Goblins... I wipe out an army in my sleep!" The town is just going to point you at them and say "Have at it!"

Duke Malagigi
2007-12-26, 04:48 PM
What about those folks who create the powerful optimized build first and then try to patchwork the concept around the build they already have? Are they Munchkins or are they Powergamers?

They're called powergaming role-players. Dicefreaks has one of these. His screen name is Jaerom Darkwind as is his character. The basic concept was that Jaerom was a master of divine and arcane magic, psionics, stealth training, woodsman training and physical combat then built a very coherent back story around him. He later tacked on incarnum, maneuvers and a legacy weapon also successfully inserting them into Jaerom’s back story. The prestige class used was a heavily modified version of the chameleon titled red mage. Guess what he has an avatar of.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-26, 04:59 PM
The Personality has to stay the same as the OP wants it to. But that doesn't really come into play much, because 95% of mechanics are separate from the characters thoughts/beliefs/ect.

That seems to be the case only if the character is only somewhat defined before you approach the mechanical aspect. Preferred kind of weapon, perhaps part of the backstory, or fighting style can have a huge effect on the available mechanics.

Just to be clear on that example, you are saying a powergamer would accept that their backstory means that they will use throwing daggers and a munckin would change the backstory and have them use a twohander?


They're called powergaming role-players.

Wait wait wait... where did the role-player bit come from? I was working off of Kaelik's powergamer/munchkin distinction. I should have thought it would have needed to be one or ther other but somehow the roleplayer bit snuck in...

Also, has that build ever seen play? Strikes me as the sort of thing that would ruin a game.

Deepblue706
2007-12-26, 05:23 PM
One of you bastards better respond to my earlier post, that was a bitch to get right.

Kaelik
2007-12-26, 05:35 PM
That seems to be the case only if the character is only somewhat defined before you approach the mechanical aspect. Preferred kind of weapon, perhaps part of the backstory, or fighting style can have a huge effect on the available mechanics.

Just to be clear on that example, you are saying a powergamer would accept that their backstory means that they will use throwing daggers and a munckin would change the backstory and have them use a twohander?

I'm saying that if a Powergamer had a character, that for whatever reason, used throw daggers he would build the best dagger thrower. He might dip the exact right number of levels in Fighter/Rogue/Master Thrower, he might find some crazy PrC (Whisper knife?) that works well with the concept. He'll build a good Thrower.

A Munchkin wouldn't build a thrower unless he thought it was more powerful then the alternative. (Ubercharger or whatever.) Or he'd build a Thrower (using some cheating) that managed to kill everything in one round, making everyone else feel useless.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-26, 05:35 PM
One of you bastards better respond to my earlier post, that was a bitch to get right.

Your post came off as a wall of text, well beyond my attention span and thus ignored.:smallsmile:

Kaelik
2007-12-26, 06:00 PM
I'm not saying that they WILL win the game, I'm saying that powergamers play towards the goal of 'winning' the game.

No. Powergamers play toward the goal of having powerful characters. Which is fun in itself. They aren't trying to beat everything. They just want to have power.


Roleplayers play the game with the goal of playing the game.

So far based on your comments, your version of a "roleplayer" plays to avoid the game, you never want to enter combat (dice) you never want to make a diplomacy or bluff check (dice) and you never want to cast a spell (using evil mechanics to do something in the game). That's not playing the game, that's telling a story and playing a big game of "let's pretend," and if you are going to denigrate and avoid all the parts of the game that separate it from freeform, just play freeform. Then you can join an elitist freeform forum where they all talk about those losers that use mechanics because they don't have any imagination. And then we can have a productive discussion without you asserting that using all that material written in all those books is "not playing the game."


The problem becomes this:
Powergamer optimizes and becomes very good at something... we'll say fighting...
Powergamer character wants to shine so he drags everyone into fights
Powergamer gets bored because he is beating the adversaries so easy and is not getting enough loot
GM relents and sends group on tougher challenges
Rest of party either has to power game to keep up or gets killed.

The problems are twofold.
1)Powergamer optimizes.
Powergamer wants to do something.
Powergamer RPs a bit, then gets in a situation where fighting is needed (facilitated by the DM, because the DM plans for such encounters to occur.)
Powergamer beats adversaries easily. Powergamer levels up, Powergamer fights tougher adversaries (because a) that's how the game was designed, b) that's what the DM wants to progress the story, and c) in the process of beating on little things he attracted the attention of bigger things.)
Rest of the party has a grand old time. Either they enjoy the RP bits in between fights and then coast on the heels of more powerful players in combat, or they enjoy the combat and help out. Everyone is happy.

Note that it turns out very differently if you have a Munchkin, because they can't let other player have their turn.

2)Super Roleplayer (TM)* thinks he has a great imagination and is an awesome RPer (may be right, doesn't matter)
SRPer wants to focus everything on how well he pretends to be his character.
SRPer insists on going to random bars or "starting an inn" forcing every other player to give him his time to do whatever he wants while they sit around twiddling their thumbs (Because the Wizard who wants to go to the Arcane College isn't going to go to the bar or inn, unless he does it just to give SRPer his due.)
DM relents and spends a fourth of his time making one character happy and 3/4ths of his time making other people happy (divided evenly between the good RPers who want to do what their character would do (which is not sit in a bar all day) and the people who want to kill things, though these groups overlap.)

Notice how none of that happens if you have a good Roleplayer who recognizes that most people have better things to do then spend hours talking all day, and that some professional monster slayers just want to slay monsters, and that some Wizards want to test their magical prowess against the cruel world (or other Wizards.)

*This is my name for RPers who denigrate powergamers, and ruin things for everyone else by needing to be the focus of attention at all times.


Powergaming causes escalation and an arms race. That may have more to do with a Power GM that insists on challenging the strongest party member and ignoring the fact that the rest of the team would get crushed without him.

Maybe the Powergamer is just compensating for the mechanical inadequacies of the players who want to play "Let's Pretend" at an inn all day, so that the DM doesn't need to throw out all his encounter notes and tone everything down for the party of misfits.

Why not try RPing someone who is pathetic and weak, but hires a kickass body guard to do all his fighting for him?


Honestly, the biggest thing I see here is that we aren't playing the same game.

I'm Playing D&D, with Dungeons, Dragons, and a DM.

You are playing freeform, or a RP focused GURPS campaign with lots of talking, no combat, and a GM.

Valairn
2007-12-26, 06:02 PM
To use a D&D example, I'll bet that the clerics of Pelor (experts on religion) and clerics of Nerull (experts on religion) have VERY different definitions of words. They are both "experts", but since their bias is one way or the other, their definitions are of course going to reflect that bias.

I concur. That's while you see while we are here on the Giant in the Playground Forums I was using the Giant in the Playground Forum's definition of "Powergaming".

Here,

From dictionary.com:
op·ti·mize
1. to make as effective, perfect, or useful as possible.

Now possible is the deal breaker here. Some people define possible as whatever is possible within the rules, which if you take that extreme pun pun can be your next new character. Some people define possible as whatever falls within their character concept. Both are fine definitions for possible.

And I'm not talking about powergaming, I'm talking about optimizing, there's a big difference.

Deepblue706
2007-12-26, 07:15 PM
Your post came off as a wall of text, well beyond my attention span and thus ignored.:smallsmile:

I'm actually not surprised - most people don't want to bother with so much nonsense, especially when the poster has low internet-based CHA.

horseboy
2007-12-26, 08:02 PM
Roleplayer: "I finish paying my respects and being to wrap the body respectfully in order to return it to Lord Longname. Really, DM, couldn't you think of a better name than that?"

LOL! Lord Longname, I am so totally stealing this.

Winterwind
2007-12-26, 08:53 PM
One of you bastards better respond to my earlier post, that was a bitch to get right.Okay. :smallcool:


Roleplayer: Makes OOC decisions based on IC concept.

Powergamer: Makes OOC decisions and justifies them with IC actions (if at all*).I like those. Sounds pretty much like "Roleplayer: Does not metagame", "Powergamer: Does metagame" though. Also, does curiously not address the power level of the characters at all. But that's fine, at least a new approach. :smallsmile:


*:The last tidbit found in "Powergamer" is not to poke a jab at all Powergamers, but rather note that justifications are secondary to the character itself, and are not inherently required. Still, "Powergamers" that make efforts to roleplay will attempt (success can vary) to justify decisions.Where by "character" you mean the mechanical aspect of the character, right? Because else, we would arrive at an IC source for the player's decisions again.
Anyway, agreed, and I have played with such people myself already, too.


What seperates both the "Roleplayer" and the "Powergamer" is the original intent. When you're building your character, is he a cunning rogue, filled with a dark past and a heavy heart, or is he a Rog3/Ftr1 who dual-wields daggers and then proceeds to be described in the same exact way as the previous example? The second example differs from the first because it first lays emphasis on mechanical build, then the character. If you're letting your character take the lead**, you probably won't be optimized. If you're deciding upon mechanics and then the character, you are a "Powergamer" in my eyes. Which reminds me that I did not make one of my favourite statements regarding roleplayers and powergamers in this thread yet - and before you complain how I'm speaking of my own concepts, instead of addressing yours, hear me out first, for I find they bear a striking resemblance:

A roleplayer and a powergamer can create two characters which are absolutely identical mechanically. Let's take a very powerful warrior who is socially somewhat inept, for instance. The difference between the two is their intent - the roleplayer thought primarily about a certain archetype, a mighty hero, who saves people with his sword, but may stutter around a pretty girl (and is just as eager to roleplay the latter part as the former), whereas the powergamer was thinking primarily about how he can kill dragons the easiest, and which part he can sacrifice to the least detriment to his combat prowess. Same character, created with different intent. It's intent that distinguishes roleplayers from powergamers.


**: When I say "letting your character take the lead", I mean you're allowing the IC experiences you have to hold some sway over your character's growth. This sway doesn't have to be much, but I very much admire things such as a "strange" class change that is more impactful to the players, rather than the overall mechanical status of the character. For example, a wizard-based Gish suddenly taking levels in Paladin because of his IC growth is something that very few people will do, because it loses arcane spellcasting levels, gains spellcasting in a stat that a gish may very well dump. The Paladin also makes use of Charisma, which a wizard-based gish could easily neglect as well. The motivation against this class change is primarily mechanical in nature to a "Powergamer", while a "Roleplayer's" primary concern would be whether or not becoming a Paladin merely makes sense for the character, IC-wise. I'm not saying that neither considers the other spectrum, but rather that there is a flow of thought that brings a person from A, to B, to C - and the order of thought determines your status on this Roleplayer/Powergamer axis.See, that's one of the main reasons why I prefer skill-based systems to class-based ones. In a skill-based system, it's very easy to always have a character improve in exactly what is fitting storytelling-wise now, since rewards are usually instantaneous and can be applied with uttermost precision where they fit the most. And since skill points aren't as big a deal as levels, and there is no upper limit or slow-down in experience gain, it's not like you had to make a huge sacrifice (like taking a level in a mechanically sub-optimal class) to get the better mechanical representation of your roleplaying concept.


I do understand it is important to have a character that does a job well (and I make smart OOC decisions, if only upon whim) - but on the other hand, I do believe D&D is more of a social game rather than a mechanical exercise. Thusly, I find great amounts of emphasis on mechanics, to the neglect of the character and overall social experience of the game, to be shallow and inconsistent with the game's function - and therefore I discourage it. I believe many share these feelings, and only associate "Powergamers" (and not "Roleplayers") with great emphasis on mechanics because they are closer to The Line.Funny, I don't even believe in such a thing as "jobs" for characters. Nobody says a group must have a tank, a healer, a damage-dealer, a locksmith or any specific type of skill-monkey, unless the game is utterly challenge focussed. A player has no obligation to make a tank out of his fighter, only to create a mechanical representation as befitting his concept of his character (and this is not as much an obligation as a natural desire on the player's part). Whatever comes out as result, that's the character who will live the story about to be told, and a GM not tailoring the story (as much as it is in the GM's hands, anyway) for each of the characters seperately is not doing his job anyway, in my humble opinion.


Now, The Line would happen to be the that of those who are not to be named (who I will thusly call "Munchkins" :smallbiggrin: ). However, many fail to recognize that getting close to The Line is absolutely meaningless - only crossing it is truly problematic.Hmmm... not sure whether I agree here. Would you please make an example of what you understand by "getting close to The Line without crossing it"?

Tormsskull
2007-12-26, 09:38 PM
*snip*

I'd agree with pretty much everything in this last post. I could definitely roleplay a weak guy who hired a bodyguard, I could see that as being pretty fun. I could also roleplay the bodyguard to the weak guy as well, that could be fun as well.

Being what I consider a roleplayer, I think I'd be able to get into either role and bring it to life, making for a fun and interesting character for all of the players.



And I'm not talking about powergaming, I'm talking about optimizing, there's a big difference.


Interesting, would you mind expanding on that? Explain, in your mind, the difference between the two?

Valairn
2007-12-26, 11:56 PM
Powergaming has always struck me as playing DnD for the sake of the mechanics. Where you build your characters with mechanics in mind first, it takes optimization and applies it across the board, turning up every aspect of a character up as many notches as it can, and then laying waste to countless foes, I admit powergaming can be fun from time to time.

Optimizing, well I always figured optimizing was more of an action you took that benefited your character mechanically. More like the wrench for the mechanic's engine. Optimizing, at least in my eyes has always been, sort of like tuning an engine, you already have a car, even if its a clunker, and you take some time to change the oil, change the radiator fluid, may take it on a drive and fix any sort of other problems you can find, before putting it out on the road, where engine failure can kill you.

I hope that analogy makes sense. Powergaming to me is an end. Optimization is more of a means, regardless of what goal you have.

Even the most hard-core roleplayers optimize on at least some level, just because optimizing is something you just sort of do in DnD, while powergaming requires a meaningful effort and forethought, optimization is just saying, my fighter would probably be best with a two handed weapon, so I'll go with that.

Shrug.

Deepblue706
2007-12-27, 01:52 AM
Okay. :smallcool:

I like those. Sounds pretty much like "Roleplayer: Does not metagame", "Powergamer: Does metagame" though. Also, does curiously not address the power level of the characters at all. But that's fine, at least a new approach. :smallsmile:

Well, it's not about having a high power level, but rather, first being concerned about power, in general. For instance, you can be a Powergamer and choose Fighter for a class.



Where by "character" you mean the mechanical aspect of the character, right? Because else, we would arrive at an IC source for the player's decisions again.
Anyway, agreed, and I have played with such people myself already, too.

I mean that Powergamers that also Roleplay (if secondarily) will justify things, but sometimes other Powergamers won't - which could possibly explain why some people associate Powergaming with Not Roleplaying.



Which reminds me that I did not make one of my favourite statements regarding roleplayers and powergamers in this thread yet - and before you complain how I'm speaking of my own concepts, instead of addressing yours, hear me out first, for I find they bear a striking resemblance:

A roleplayer and a powergamer can create two characters which are absolutely identical mechanically. Let's take a very powerful warrior who is socially somewhat inept, for instance. The difference between the two is their intent - the roleplayer thought primarily about a certain archetype, a mighty hero, who saves people with his sword, but may stutter around a pretty girl (and is just as eager to roleplay the latter part as the former), whereas the powergamer was thinking primarily about how he can kill dragons the easiest, and which part he can sacrifice to the least detriment to his combat prowess. Same character, created with different intent. It's intent that distinguishes roleplayers from powergamers.

Yep.



See, that's one of the main reasons why I prefer skill-based systems to class-based ones. In a skill-based system, it's very easy to always have a character improve in exactly what is fitting storytelling-wise now, since rewards are usually instantaneous and can be applied with uttermost precision where they fit the most. And since skill points aren't as big a deal as levels, and there is no upper limit or slow-down in experience gain, it's not like you had to make a huge sacrifice (like taking a level in a mechanically sub-optimal class) to get the better mechanical representation of your roleplaying concept.

This is one of the major reasons I prefer playing GURPS.



Funny, I don't even believe in such a thing as "jobs" for characters. Nobody says a group must have a tank, a healer, a damage-dealer, a locksmith or any specific type of skill-monkey, unless the game is utterly challenge focussed. A player has no obligation to make a tank out of his fighter, only to create a mechanical representation as befitting his concept of his character (and this is not as much an obligation as a natural desire on the player's part). Whatever comes out as result, that's the character who will live the story about to be told, and a GM not tailoring the story (as much as it is in the GM's hands, anyway) for each of the characters seperately is not doing his job anyway, in my humble opinion.

I don't like "jobs" too much either - but I'm just kind of rolling with the preestablished idea that comes with the basic concept of D&D.



Hmmm... not sure whether I agree here. Would you please make an example of what you understand by "getting close to The Line without crossing it"?

I'm just saying as long as people are trying to roleplay, whether it be primary or secondary in their concerns, I just kind of accept them. I might greatly admire people who run wild with their characters, not being bound to mechanically superior traditions, and allow themselves to try something different - but, I really don't see anyone do that. And, I guess I don't mind so much, because I only care a slight effort is made to keep things going. It's one thing to play your standard THF Leap Attack/Shock Trooper Fighter with mediocre intrigue and somewhat interesting background, and it's another to be playing alongside someone who does absolutely nothing with their life but make "superbuilds". Sometimes, I even enjoy playing with bare-bones characters.

Actually, no. You got me. That was basically just an attempt at keeping people from yelling at me. Apparently, if you stray from certain opinions, you come off snooty and then you've got half a thread on your back. Then they put words in your mouth, and everything goes downhill.

But, in actuality, I don't mind it when people do advanced mechanical planning, etc - but I do mind it when I find that huge gaping hole in a character's personality or background, plugged up with 72 hours of hard contemplation on how a character can solo any reasonable encounter of appropriate CR. Some people argue you can do both - I firmly believe if you are doing both, then you should detract from the mechanical issues until you're mediocre in a battle, until your character itself comes off as something amazing. Really, I'd find another Hamlet to be more inspiring than "I'm a Fighter who ceases to do actual combat damage in battles because it is less effective than tripping them over and over again while other people stab them." I have to ask - why exploit such idiotic game design flaws anyway? It's not like D&D 3.x is a game where you actually have to try to make good characters to "win"...

Cuddly
2007-12-27, 02:19 AM
Here's the powergamer, epitomized:

"I'd like to play X. Can you guys give me a hand making X work?"

"Ok. Play a wizard. Here's a link to the Batman guide. You're welcome."

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-27, 07:41 AM
No it isn't.
Just look at the character ops on the wizard board.

Tura
2007-12-27, 09:39 AM
I think it's wrong to make generalizations. (Yes, I know I'm stating the obvious :smallbiggrin: , but I want to point something out.)

In some games, powerplaying doesn't hinder your roleplaying at all. Your intent may be "to build a powerful character", sure, but if (IF, I say, it doesn't always happen) you can combine it with good roleplaying which doesn't annoy your fellow-players and DM, who cares? Because that's where it all boils down to. Not to annoy anyone. Intentions are irrelevant.

But it some games, no matter how ingenious a player you are, you simply can't combine both. In some cases, sacrificing a bit of your mechanics' awesomeness is a prerequisite for a good story... And a good story, collectively created, is why some of us play in the first place.

Tormsskull
2007-12-27, 09:53 AM
In some games, powerplaying doesn't hinder your roleplaying at all.

That all depends on the definition of the word. If by powerplaying you mean explictly and restrictvely "tries to obtain mechanical power" then you are right.

But, if powerplaying means the same thing as powergaming, which is generally associated with the attempt to gather mechanical power at the expense of story/fluff/RP, then I'd disagree.

The logical snob in me says that when a word means something, that's what it means. When you say "But it doesn't have to" or "Maybe it doesn't" all you are doing is confusing the term.

If, as I suspect, the word "Powergamer" started off a a derogatory term for a player that ignores story/fluff/RP in their attempt to accumulate mechanical power, then it should remain that way.

If you use another word, like "Powerplayer(ing)", which sounds incredibly similiar to Powergamer, you can't blame people for making the association between the two.

I did suggest to the Common terms/abbreviations thread the "Optimizing" be made into the neutral term for obtaining mechanical power within a concept, but I don't think anything has been done with that yet. If that were to happen, then I think a lot of this confusion could be easily cleared up.

When someone means to say that they are a person who enjoys accumulating mechanical power while being restricted by their concept/story/fluff/RP, they can call themselves an Optimizier and we'll all know what they mean here @ GITP.

And when someone calls themself a powergamer but they really mean they are an optimizer, we can point them to the abbreviations thread.

Prophaniti
2007-12-27, 09:56 AM
*snip*I think I pretty much completely agree with Deepblue's asessment here. Now, can anyone tell me a way to get my players to WANT to make more OOC decisions based on IC development? None of them are horrible at roleplaying, we just always seem to end up doing nothing but metagaming...

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-27, 09:59 AM
I did suggest to the Common terms/abbreviations thread the "Optimizing" be made into the neutral term for obtaining mechanical power within a concept, but I don't think anything has been done with that yet. If that were to happen, then I think a lot of this confusion could be easily cleared up.

When someone means to say that they are a person who enjoys accumulating mechanical power while being restricted by their concept/story/fluff/RP, they can call themselves an Optimizier and we'll all know what they mean here @ GITP.

And when someone calls themself a powergamer but they really mean they are an optimizer, we can point them to the abbreviations thread.

That seems like a good idea, but people should really use the definitions before they're put in.
Can we all agree to use terms for ease of debate. (i myself disagree with them.)

Kaelik
2007-12-27, 09:59 AM
And when people refuse to allow you to dictate what a word means that you have no control over and instead point out every time this comes up that "Powergaming means [this] as per my definition, and the definition of a credible source of authority. And just because you write in the Common terms thread that a tail is a leg doesn't make it one."

What are you going to do then Tormskull?

Indon
2007-12-27, 10:11 AM
I think I pretty much completely agree with Deepblue's asessment here. Now, can anyone tell me a way to get my players to WANT to make more OOC decisions based on IC development? None of them are horrible at roleplaying, we just always seem to end up doing nothing but metagaming...

My group kind of half-and-halfs it, in my view. Sometimes, we say, "Oh, crap, this fight's going to kill us, we should probably run," and sometimes we say, "Well. This fight is probably going to kill us. Time to die gloriously, as our characters would!"

It seems to me that the difference is mental image; not just description, but also the very event. The players in my group play to game, and we play to tell a story, in a sense... but it's not so much the whole story we're looking for, as the opportunity to make really cool anecdotes about the story.

So, OOC, we might all agree on a TPK if our deaths were, well, cool enough. And if you can get a party to agree on a TPK, you can probably get it to agree on any number of other things for that sake.

Your mileage may vary.

Jayabalard
2007-12-27, 10:30 AM
First and this is the most important point.

Every programmer who programs cannot program successfully without knowing how to program or have the ability to learn how to program. In here lies the heart of optimization.

Your argument in fact proves my point. None of these people followed the "traditional" methods for being a programmer. That in no way signifies that they are not optimized for the job. Nope, none of the people I talked about were optimized for programming; they could have been better programmers given their situation.


I think you don't actually understand what optimization is. If you are playing a fighter and you are in combat, and you choose to draw your weapon, from that moment on you are playing an "optimized" fighter. You have chosen a fighters strength and are using it. That is optimization. You could stand in the back with the wizard and do whatever he does, it won't work, but nothing is stopping you from doing it. That would be unoptimized. Likewise, I suggest that you learn what the term means. Since the context in the situation is roleplaying games, and specifically powergaming vs roleplay, you might want to use a more relevant definition of the word "optimization" ...

Indon
2007-12-27, 10:33 AM
You know, it seems odd to refer to optimization in degrees. Optimization seems to be a binary attribute; you're either optimal for any given task, or you are not.

You can optimize for smaller or bigger tasks - you could optimize a Monk for grappling Halflings, for instance, vs. Batmanning a Wizard. Both are optimized characters - that Monk grapples the hell out of halflings. Of course, there's a bit of a power difference between the two optimized concepts.

But power-gaming seems to me to be more than optimization. It seems to be the desire for character power regardless of character concept.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 10:38 AM
I think I pretty much completely agree with Deepblue's asessment here. Now, can anyone tell me a way to get my players to WANT to make more OOC decisions based on IC development? None of them are horrible at roleplaying, we just always seem to end up doing nothing but metagaming...

I have found the 'Relics' in Complete Divine and the Magic Items Compendium are good for this. Give them a cool relic and they will want to take the true believer feat.



Can we all agree to use terms for ease of debate. (i myself disagree with them.)

Of course not. Don't be silly. We have been arguing semantics for the past two pages and I don't see us stopping. Once we have definitions we all agree on there really won't be anything to argue about. Basically we will end up with 4 terms defined, the two bad ones of which no one on the thread is (of course) and then all agree that the ones we are not suck. It will be something like this:

Annoying RPer: Drama Queen
Good RPer: RP first but not such that it ticks people off.
Good PGer: Mechanics first but not such that it ticks people off.
Annyoing PGer: Munchkin

Did I miss one?

Saph
2007-12-27, 10:40 AM
My group kind of half-and-halfs it, in my view. Sometimes, we say, "Oh, crap, this fight's going to kill us, we should probably run," and sometimes we say, "Well. This fight is probably going to kill us. Time to die gloriously, as our characters would!"

Yeah, I think most groups are like yours.

The fact is, powergaming and roleplaying are different things, and some of the time, they are going to conflict. There are going to be times where the optimal choice for maximum power is not going to be the optimal choice for roleplaying your character better. If your character has any kind of a personality, there are going to be times where what he wants to do is not going to be what makes him mechanically more powerful in D&D terms. This is why I've always thought the 'Stormwind Fallacy' is a bit of a con-job. It pretends there's no conflict, when sometimes there is.

How you deal with these conflicts - whether you'd rather your character be powerful or better-roleplayed - decides where you fall on the powergaming/roleplaying axis. Many experienced players will make their characters as powerful as possible within the limits of RP, but won't break those limits - they'd rather sacrifice power than act out-of-character. Personally, these are the kinds of players I like to have in my games. The ones I don't like are the ones for whom character power trumps everything.

- Saph

Kaelik
2007-12-27, 10:42 AM
Annoying RPer: Drama Queen
Good RPer: RP first but not such that it ticks people off.
Good PGer: Mechanics first but not such that it ticks people off.
Annyoing PGer: Munchkin

Did I miss one?

You missed the part where the whole point of this debate is that everyone wants to remove any possible word for your example of "good powergamer" so that all we can talk about is how roleplayers are awesome all the time, powergamers (Munchkins) are terrible, and half the people on the forum have no word to describe them.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 10:48 AM
The fact is, powergaming and roleplaying are different things, and some of the time, they are going to conflict. *snip*


Indeed. The only issues that seem to be alive on this are "does the player who breaks the character concept count as a powergamer or a munchkin?" and "Does planning the character mechanically first and then applying a personality to the build count as powergaming or munchkinism?"




You missed the part where the whole point of this debate is that everyone wants to remove any possible word for your example of "good powergamer" so that all we can talk about is how roleplayers are awesome all the time, powergamers (Munchkins) are terrible, and half the people on the forum have no word to describe them.

Funny... I thought the whole point of this debate was to parse out if you can powergame and roleplay at the same time. Pardon my misinterpretation of the title...

Jayabalard
2007-12-27, 10:49 AM
You missed the part where the whole point of this debate is that everyone wants to remove any possible word for your example of "good powergamer" so that all we can talk about is how roleplayers are awesome all the time, powergamers (Munchkins) are terrible, and half the people on the forum have no word to describe them.His definitions look ok to me.

I'd still prefer to play with roleplayers; that's the style game that I prefer.

Tormsskull
2007-12-27, 11:23 AM
And when people refuse to allow you to dictate what a word means that you have no control over and instead point out every time this comes up that "Powergaming means [this] as per my definition, and the definition of a credible source of authority. And just because you write in the Common terms thread that a tail is a leg doesn't make it one."

Well, each person is free to use whatever term they want of course, but for the pupose of clear communication, it seems that establishing a standard term is for the best.

I don't understand why some people are so married to a word. I mean, its the concept that you are really after, right? You are basically trying to say that putting mechanical power first as long as that mechanical power adheres to a concept is a valid way of playing the game. And I think most people are ok with that. That's what I think should be referred to as "Optimization".

On the further end of the spectrum lies the munchkin. To me a munchkin is always a problem player. They break the rules in their attempt to acquire as much mechanical power as possible.

Of course, there is room between my given term for an Optimizer and my given term for Munchkin, that being the type of player that attempts to acquire as much mechanical power as possible, disregards fluff/story/rp as unimportant, but clearly understands the rules of the system, and does not attempt to break them.

That is a completely separate type of player, in my mind, and as such needs to have a different name. That's the type of player I would call a powergamer.



What are you going to do then Tormskull?


Continue to fight for standardized terms? I dunno. To me it is simple as Problem = confusing terms, to eliminate problem, eliminate confusing terms.



You missed the part where the whole point of this debate is that everyone wants to remove any possible word for your example of "good powergamer" so that all we can talk about is how roleplayers are awesome all the time, powergamers (Munchkins) are terrible, and half the people on the forum have no word to describe them.


You'd have to define "good powergamer". Do you mean good as in they know the best ways to get the most mechanical power? Or good as in they are the best teammates to have when the DM turns up the difficulty meter on the campaign?

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-27, 11:28 AM
Using Tormskull's terms, I'd say that powergamers are bad but optimisers are good and though I'd prefer to watch or read a roleplayer, I'd preffer to game with an optimiser.

Would people prefer to play with a herb seller or powergamer.
I'm going to make herbseller a term if it kills me.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 11:44 AM
Would people prefer to play with a herb seller or powergamer.
I'm going to make herbseller a term if it kills me.

Arrg. I'm not usually picky about this stuff, but for the love of god could you use a question mark sometimes?

Ahem, back to the topic:

How about these:

The Drama Queen: Doesn't care about mechanics at all. Hogs the spotlight and spends half an hour talking to Random Dirt Farmer #17 before reverting to 'dark and brooding in the corner' mode.

The Actor: Will play any character regardless of power of build and make it interesting for the group without hogging the spotlight. Build is not particularly important so long as the key elements of the character are mechanically represented.

The Optimizer: Builds as strong a character as possible within a given character concept. This may mean a relativley weak character if the concept so dictates. Will not stray from or abandon the concept even if the overall power of the build could be improved.

The Powergamer: Likes to play characters that are powerful. May create the build before the concept or vice versa but always aims both for the build to be good and the character powerful. May occasionally stray from character concept to improve overall character power. Is not so powerful that they hog the spotlight nor do they seek to be.

The Munckin: Uses the rules (or breaks them) to create a build that totally overpowers and outshines the rest of the party. RP of that character and concept are utterly unimportant and mechanics are all that matter. Will pick on other players or show them up. Will mock players who have characters that are less mechanically powerful than theirs.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-27, 11:46 AM
See,ms good to me. Or do they?

Indon
2007-12-27, 11:56 AM
How about these:

The Drama Queen: Doesn't care about mechanics at all. Hogs the spotlight and spends half an hour talking to Random Dirt Farmer #17 before reverting to 'dark and brooding in the corner' mode.

The Actor: Will play any character regardless of power of build and make it interesting for the group without hogging the spotlight. Build is not particularly important so long as the key elements of the character are mechanically represented.

The Optimizer: Builds as strong a character as possible within a given character concept. This may mean a relativley weak character if the concept so dictates. Will not stray from or abandon the concept even if the overall power of the build could be improved.

The Powergamer: Likes to play characters that are powerful. May create the build before the concept or vice versa but always aims both for the build to be good and the character powerful. May occasionally stray from character concept to improve overall character power. Is not so powerful that they hog the spotlight nor do they seek to be.

The Munckin: Uses the rules (or breaks them) to create a build that totally overpowers and outshines the rest of the party. RP of that character and concept are utterly unimportant and mechanics are all that matter. Will pick on other players or show them up. Will mock players who have characters that are less mechanically powerful than theirs.

I like them. It's a good description of the continuity that both embraces how gaming and narrative can get along, and where they need disagree.

I think I'm square in the "optimizer" category - I've strayed to both Actor and Powergamer rarely, and about equally. I imagine most experienced gamers slide into the three center categories.

Saph
2007-12-27, 12:04 PM
See,ms good to me. Or do they?

Umm. Not sure, to be honest. 'Drama queens' don't really exist in my experience, at least not in the sense that this thread is using. They're mostly an imaginary creation of powergamers who want to make themselves look better by comparison. Spotlight-hogging players do exist, of course, but they're just as likely to be powergamer-types (although they usually aren't very good at it).

I've also yet to play with any 'optimizers' by AKA's definition. I've never seen a veteran player deliberately set out to build a weak character. Instead they fix the personality first, then pick the character's abilities within those bounds. It's a fine line, though, and you could argue it the other way.

- Saph

Talya
2007-12-27, 12:07 PM
Here's the deal:

A roleplayer who doesn't also concern themselves with the "crunch" of the game ends up being a poor roleplayer, just because their character ends up not being able to do any of the stuff they had in mind for them to do. Unless they want to play Don Quixote (a useless insane twit who thought he was a powerful knight), if you don't pay some attention to optimization and numbers, your character will not end up being the person you are playing.

Conversely, a powergaming munchkin who pays no attention to roleplaying ends up not being any character at all...they are a compilation of various stats with contradictory fluff that make no sense together. Some may pay roleplaying some lipservice, trying to justify it as "Well, the numbers on the page have no effect on the personality I am playing," but then they are no different than the person above...in that they have not built the character they are playing. The Character Sheet needs to represent what you are playing, the history and background and appearance and personality of your character is affected by that crunch.


The two concepts are not exclusive, however. The game was designed with this in mind. Optimizing your character is very condusive to roleplaying, so long as you optimize within boundaries that fit your character concept. Generally, a good roleplayer will still put character concept first, then try to build the most effective character they can within that design, but fluff and crunch are both weighted heavily when making character design choices. You might not make the most optimal choice for a feat, spell, weapon, or even PrC/multiclass level, but you will make the most optimal choice within boundaries set by your character.

For example: I've been playing in a campaign for two years where I am a former harem girl from Calimport, who devoutly worships Sune and is something of a zealot. She is a copper-haired Calishiite, unusual itself, and attributable to her Efreeti lineage; she has genie blood.

The lineage is handled by the regional feat "Bloodline of Fire." Suboptimal, it boosts spells with the fire descriptor by +2 levels in effectiveness (meaning she's often a blaster (right, because 'OMG blasters suck!') in combat), and gives her a +4 to save vs. spells with the fire descriptor.

We started at level 4.

I could have played a cleric, but it didn't fit her. She's not a convent trained priestess, she's an instinctive caster with magic in her blood. Sorceress fit better than even Favored soul. Still, sorceress wasn't going to give her the skill totals (or class skills) she needed to be trained the way her background as a harem girl would suggest, so she's multiclassed in one of the worst ways possible; she started as 2 bard/2 sorceror. Yuck, right?

Not so fast, I was still interested in making this character work, as well as fitting the feel of the design. So what was the plan?

Coincidentally, Bard grants whip proficiency, a requirement for the Sunite "Heartwarder" PrC in faiths and Pantheons. Because he liked the concept, my DM let me substitute an FR feat "Harem Trained" for the Mobility feat required by the PrC as well. And Heartwarder is amazing...apart from some effective class abilities (Spell penetration, greater spell focus: enchantment for free), the class gets +1 to charisma at every odd level for 10 levels. 2 years later, at level 14, She's 2 bard, 6 sorceror, 6 heartwarder. Her charisma, with equipment, is 30. So she's only got the spell selection and spells per day of a level 12 sorceror, but her DC on those spells is insane. She loads up on enchantments, defensive spells and evocations, She can reliably expect dominate person to function on a level 14 cleric opponent. Is she as powerful as a 14 wizard? No. But this character design simply doesn't work as a wizard. I wasn't building to be the most powerful character ever. Am I more powerful than a typical level 14 sorceress? I think so, yes. There are some tradeoffs, but based on the character concept, she's about as powerful as I can make her, while at the same time being very, very true to concept. Heck, she even has a "divine" feel to her class...her level 1 bard spell is "Cure Minor Wounds." (And she can cast a whole lot of level 1 spells with 30 charisma...and that Charisma will hit 34 by level 20.)

There's been a lot of stacking of abilities and trying to max out her power levels, but everything I've ever taken for this character was taken because it fit the concept. I've declined to use some amazing abilities and spell choices because I didn't think they fit her style, but that doesn't mean I've made an ineffective character. You blend concept and optimization together, and you end up with something special, that you --and others in the party-- get attached to.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 12:10 PM
Umm. Not sure, to be honest. 'Drama queens' don't really exist in my experience, at least not in the sense that this thread is using. They're mostly an imaginary creation of powergamers who want to make themselves look better by comparison.

I must disagree. They do exist. I've had them in games I run. Typically, they are newer players and after a while move into the middle categories or leave the game.


Spotlight-hogging players do exist, of course, but they're just as likely to be powergamer-types (although they usually aren't very good at it).

Hence the mention of 'outshine' in the description of the Munchkin.


I've also yet to play with any 'optimizers' by AKA's definition. I've never seen a veteran player deliberately set out to build a weak character. Instead they fix the personality first, then make the character as strong as possible within those bounds.


I have. I've done it myself. Rarely does it come up since playing a character like that is a negotiation with the rest of the group. They have to know you aren't going to be helpful in a fight etc. A character that's really weak will not fit into most games easily and needs to be planned with the DM. That's probably why you haven't seen anyone do it.

Saph
2007-12-27, 12:14 PM
I must disagree. They do exist. Typically, they are newer players and after a while move into the middle categories.

Could be. Usually when I see them referenced on these boards, though, it's a rather artificial-sounding attempt to create a counterbalancing category to powergamers. "See, it's not really a problem that I can solo a demigod at level 6, because the opposite is just as bad!"


I have. I've done it myself. Rarely does it come up since playing a character like that is a negotiation with the rest of the group. They have to know you aren't going to be helpful in a fight etc. A character that's really weak will not fit into most games easily and needs to be planned with the DM. That's probably why you haven't seen anyone do it.

Fair enough. The experienced players around my neck of the woods tend to be actors, powergamers, or (more often) a mixture of both. They'll come up with a strong build and then add a character and personality, or they'll come up with a character and personality and then try and strengthen the build, but none of them actively try to create weaker characters.

- Saph

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 12:28 PM
Could be. Usually when I see them referenced on these boards, though, it's a rather artificial-sounding attempt to create a counterbalancing category to powergamers. "See, it's not really a problem that I can solo a demigod at level 6, because the opposite is just as bad!"


That's true, but like the Munckins they do exist. They just tend to get mentioned a lot since each side of these arguments likes to push the other one to an extreme. I've never really run across a "I can solo a demigod at level six" munchkin either. I have had players that were munchkins, although not quite that bad and then moved into the center as they got more experience with the game.

Lolth
2007-12-27, 01:21 PM
OK, I stopped reading at Page 3, so if this has been said, forgive me:

There is no one right way to play. Period.

What there is, is a bunch of highly opinionated gamers who, generally, see Their Way™ as they Best Way™ (or, God forbid, the Only True Way™) and can, often do, go to extreme lengths to "prove" their points or "disprove" their opponents'.

Which very, very quickly goes from an exchange of ideas to a repetitive circle-jerk. (Sorry!)

The only Right Way™ for a game to be played is whichever way that group enjoys. And typically (not always), any given group that grew up together tend to stick to a similar style.

Majority rules, I guess. I would respectfully posit that it is the responsibility of any newcomer to any group to fit their style. And if it's not fun for the new player, to find a new group.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 01:31 PM
OK, I stopped reading at Page 3, so if this has been said, forgive me:


You are forgiven.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-27, 01:35 PM
Oooh... I know the solution... I will derail this into an alignment debate.


ALL ROLEPLAYERS ARE CHAOTIC GOOD
ALL POWERGAMERS ARE LAWFUL EVIL
MUNCHKINS ARE CHAOTIC EVIL
:smallsmile:

Indon
2007-12-27, 01:38 PM
So what's a True Neutral player who tries to maintain the Cosmic Balance between RP and character effectiveness?

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 01:42 PM
So what's a True Neutral player who tries to maintain the Cosmic Balance between RP and character effectiveness?

Fiction? White Text

Citizen Joe
2007-12-27, 01:44 PM
Huzzah! I derailed the argument.
/victory_dance

Indon
2007-12-27, 01:52 PM
Fiction?

How appropriate, just like TN characters in D&D.

Dorizzit
2007-12-27, 02:17 PM
Oooh... I know the solution... I will derail this into an alignment debate.


ALL ROLEPLAYERS ARE CHAOTIC GOOD
ALL POWERGAMERS ARE LAWFUL (Any)
MUNCHKINS ARE CHAOTIC EVIL
:smallsmile:

Fixed it for ya! :smallbiggrin:

On another note, holy crap! This thread really grew while I was away! :smalleek:

Tormsskull
2007-12-27, 02:52 PM
There is no one right way to play. Period.


Sounds like a canned answer to me.

Of course there is no right way to play. Whatever way you have fun playing is the way that you should play. Dot dot dotdotdot, Captain Obvious to the Rescue! :smalltongue:

The thing is, no one, from what I have seen, has been trying to tell other people how to play. People have been saying they enjoy playing one way or another. I've gone out of my way to try to specifically say that even though I personally do not like powergaming and I feel that it is bad for facilitating a good RP environment, it doesn't make a group of all powergamers bad players.

They just like to play the game in a different way than I like to play the game. Diversity is the spice of life and all that.

I think the real issue at hand in this thread is the confusion of terms. As an example, if someone said "I don't care for jerks", and someone else said "That's crap, I'm a jerk and I'm a great guy", well, most likely they aren't using the same definition of the word jerk.

So if we had one standard definition for the word jerk, both people could read that definition and then use it. Then, we all know where each other stands, and we can move on to discussing other more substansive issues.

Talya
2007-12-27, 03:13 PM
There may not be one "right way to play."

There are, however, several wrong ways to play.

Valairn
2007-12-27, 03:31 PM
Nope, none of the people I talked about were optimized for programming; they could have been better programmers given their situation.

Likewise, I suggest that you learn what the term means. Since the context in the situation is roleplaying games, and specifically powergaming vs roleplay, you might want to use a more relevant definition of the word "optimization" ...

According to your definition of the word, you win. Have fun with that.

AKA_Bait
2007-12-27, 03:44 PM
Sounds like a canned answer to me.

Of course it was. She stopped reading after page 3. But we have forgiven her for that now haven't we. :smallbiggrin:


So if we had one standard definition for the word jerk, both people could read that definition and then use it. Then, we all know where each other stands, and we can move on to discussing other more substansive issues.

I agree. Hence my attempt to provide some.


There may not be one "right way to play."

There are, however, several wrong ways to play.

Indeed. One should never inform a player that they failed a saving throw by hitting them with a baseball bat or setting fire to their pants; hilarious though it may be.

Indon
2007-12-27, 03:45 PM
Indeed. One should never inform a player that they failed a saving throw by hitting them with a baseball bat or setting fire to their pants; hilarious though it may be.

Read: LARPing is bad.

:P

Lolth
2007-12-27, 07:21 PM
There may not be one "right way to play."

There are, however, several wrong ways to play.

There really aren't. If a given group is enjoying themselves playing any given way, it's right.

timbuck_hunter
2007-12-27, 08:36 PM
Ever actually tried being a munchkin on purpose?

Freelance Henchman
2007-12-27, 09:39 PM
They will pick an obscure race, class and attribute combo maxing for DPS and then not roleplay their intelligence or cha of 8. (you should literally probably be pissing someone off almost everytime you speak)

Couldn't you interpret a CHA of 8 as someone who is very milk-toast and bland, i.e. as someone who is often not taken very seriously or easily ignored. Someone who manages to get people angry at him all the time simply by talking could be understood as high CHA as well, I'd say, "force of personality" and such.

Mark Hall
2007-12-27, 10:03 PM
They will pick an obscure race, class and attribute combo maxing for DPS and then not roleplay their intelligence or cha of 8. (you should literally probably be pissing someone off almost everytime you speak) Instead, they pretend the 8 does not exist.

You're confusing an 8 with a 2. 10 is baseline average... not especially nice, but not especially nasty. An 8 means you're a little bit abrasive, or don't put yourself forward. An 8 might be a little annoying, but not going to piss people off every time you speak... it can be overcome with a dull fighter's skill points (having an 8 intelligence, no charisma-based class skills, he can wind up null or positive, as he pleases in Diplomacy).

horseboy
2007-12-27, 10:39 PM
Ever actually tried being a munchkin on purpose?

Well, back in my mIRC days I was a part of the Temple of the Munchkin. But hey, that was Battletech, it doesn't count. Besides we had already received rewards for on-line roleplaying excellence. You've just got to know when it's appropriate and when it's not.

Talya
2007-12-27, 10:40 PM
There really aren't. If a given group is enjoying themselves playing any given way, it's right.

You just touched on why there are wrong ways, without even noticing it.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-28, 04:59 AM
Yeah, I thought low cha was like. "Eric who? Oh the one who adventures with the bard."

AKA_Bait
2007-12-28, 09:56 AM
There really aren't. If a given group is enjoying themselves playing any given way, it's right.

Tell that to the gerbils they set on fire instead of rolling dice! :smallwink:

Indon
2007-12-28, 10:33 AM
Ever actually tried being a munchkin on purpose?

Yes. But then I get to thinking what kind of character would have that kind of stats. Then I think, "Wow, that <feat/spell/skill> isn't appropriate for this awesome guy here," and get rid of it.

So I tend to end up, at best, at powergaming, and generally at optimizing.