Friday, January 23, 2009

Min/Maxer - They ruined rpg's for me

We have all played with one of those players and many of us are this player. Yes the player that will spend months looking up the best way to cheese a character. They have to have the best combination of weapon, gear, skills, and will do whatever they have to, to get it. The character may be dumb as a box of rocks not meaning any offense towards the box of rocks but usually is uglier than a sack of puss. I have not actually ever seen a sack of puss but I am sure if I did it would be pretty ugly. Well for me most of the time these types of players ruin the game for me.

You might at this point be swearing at me and throwing sharp objects in my direction. It just has been to many times that I have had a game ruined by someone that feels that they need to be the do it all character. They have min / maxed to the point that things get off balance. Almost becomes like the cold war with everyone in the game trying to build the biggest arsenal.

I used to play RPG’s once a week but because of a few bad circumstances I am now down to about one per month. We couldn’t figure out why our groups kept falling apart. So I opened dialog with several of the players asking why they didn’t want to play anymore and they all had the same to say. Certain people and how they played were ruining their fun. Having fun is the base reason I play RPG’s. Having fun, hanging with friends, and escaping life for a few hours is what RPG’s are for.

Granted this can be fixed in a lot of ways by the GM. He can focus the role playing around the other characters, give them extra gear (adding to the arms race), talking to the player (didn’t help in my circumstance), and the player could be asked to not come back (hard to do when you are friends with the person outside of gameing).

The solution we found was to end the campaign and to move on. A first time GM stepped up and started to run a game but did not invite the problem player. Have any of you had similar problems and if so what kind of solutions did you use.


Tara said...

Wow...I know a lot of people like this, especially in LARPs. I'm glad I'm not the only person who has had this kind of experience. I'm "just a girl" though, so I'm not "supposed" to be bothered by this. Ugh.

Psynister said...

I have had the problem in the past as well, but it's situational.

If you have a group of min/maxers, then it works great. If you have a group of roleplayers, then it sucks.

When I make a character, I often like them to be the best at what they do, according to their backstory. One of my favorite characters to play in 3.5 D&D was a Human Fighter who used a staff and min/maxed on two weapon fighting. He wore a robe over his chain armor and carried a spellbook that he used as his journal and art portfolio. He appears in almost every way to be a mage (including taking feats that give him mage-like abilities), but he's absolutely brutal in combat. Another favorite character to play in 3.5 is a halfling pick pocket with every feat possible spent towards maximizing his sleight of hand skill.

It depends on what kind of min/maxing you are actually referring to. A combat min/max is more likely to ruin your game than a skills min/max.

Kiashu said...

In an rpg the GM is there to offer the players a challenge, not the characters.

Challenges are of two types: obstacles, and complications. Obstacles are things to climb over, once you're over them that's that - usually they're dealt with by PC skill and player dice rolls. "Your daughter was kidnapped by the evil overlord, he says he'll kill her if you don't do as he wishes."

Complications are things which make the player scratch their head and wonder what to do. PC skills and the dice don't help in finding a solution, though they make help in putting the solution into place. "Your daughter has fallen in love with the son of the evil overlord, and begs you not to harm him."

Obviously, minimaxing is no help at all with complications, only with certain kinds of obstacles.

An interesting adventure will have a couple of complications, and some obstacles along the way to the solution of that complication.

Then, present obstacles the minimaxed character isn't optimised for.

If the minimaxer has done it for melee, someone fires at them from a distance. If they've done it for magic, their adventures enter a low-mana area. If they've done it for combat generally, present them with NPCs they need to keep alive and talk to. And so on.

But don't be malicious about it. Present a variety of obstacles. In this way, a variety of PCs get to shine.

Browncoat said...

If I didn't know better you were in my group! Though to tell the truth, I'll take limited good Role playing as opposed to crappy Role Playing all the time.