Power Gamers & Min Maxxers???

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Joe
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Power Gamers & Min Maxxers???

Post by Joe »

How do you deal with power gamers and min maxers in your game when you really are not one nor do you think in those terms?

I wish to spread an even amount of challenges across the board but I find that power gamers may cause undue hardship on others in the group if I raise my challenge too high.

Advice?

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gideon_thorne
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Re: Power Gamers & Min Maxxers???

Post by gideon_thorne »

Its been my experience that power gamers tend to focus around a single item, power or a class of abilities. The most effective way to deal with that, is to create situations that render these items or abilities not so effective.

Focus the encounters on those who are actually interested in developing a broad and deep character, not a one trick pony.
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bighara
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Post by bighara »

Also, remember there are challenges that frequently fall outside the realm of min/max-ing. Gathering important information from NPCs, solving puzzles, etc. It's hard to make a "power build" for those things.

If you are in a situation where you have a "non minmaxed" combat PC and a minmax in the same group, I recommend waves of attackers. It's been my experience that min-maxers tend to blow through the resources quickly (one encounter a day mentality). The fun part is to give them a fight where they plow through the grunts and -just when they think they've got it covered- the bad guys' leader types say "Hey! Stay back from that one in the chainmail! Hey, Evil cleric! Cast Hold Person on that clown! Ready Archers? FIRE!" Meanwhile the slightly less uber powered warrior is getting only nominal attention and might get a chance to shine a little.

I'm not saying unfairly punish the powergamer's character, but if the monsters/NPCs have a reasonable chance to assess the guys' threat level, they should be able to act accordingly.
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Post by Treebore »

I just have the monsters quickly realize the character is the biggest threat in the whole party and pile on him. "6 foot under" trumps any power gamed min-maxed PC.
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Post by serleran »

Ask them to leave, once I am bored toying with their egos.

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Post by Joe »

Quote:
I just have the monsters quickly realize the character is the biggest threat in the whole party and pile on him. "6 foot under" trumps any power gamed min-maxed PC.

Ask them to leave?

A bit harsh don't you guys think? I mean, we all get something a little different out of the game, and we all play it a little different.

I feel power gaming, though not my cup of tea, is still a viable way to approach the game.

It seems wargamers types can't help but approach the game from a perspective I can't even see, and probably can't help themselves.

I do understand the approach of having the monsters wise up quick and think thats a good idea.

I was looking perhaps for specific nuts and bolts ways that others have dealt with it, and so far I am getting have the monster focus on them, as an answer.

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for example

Post by boxcornersdiety »

Give a seasoned opponent inside info into which attributes said minmaxer has lowered. Enemy casters will more often have spells targeted against said attribute. In fact, the CK doesn't even need to know which attributes the char has as prime--its usually pretty obvious from the race/class combination and the powergamer's style of play.

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Post by bighara »

Joe wrote:
Ask them to leave?

A bit harsh don't you guys think? I mean, we all get something a little different out of the game, and we all play it a little different.

I feel power gaming, though not my cup of tea, is still a viable way to approach the game.

It seems wargamers types can't help but approach the game from a perspective I can't even see, and probably can't help themselves.

I do understand the approach of having the monsters wise up quick and think thats a good idea.

I was looking perhaps for specific nuts and bolts ways that others have dealt with it, and so far I am getting have the monster focus on them, as an answer.

Powergaming, at least by my definition, is a viable play-style. I have two such folks in my group. One is ridiculously good at math and crunching the numbers, the other -while no math slouch- has a gift for tactics and coming up with -as one of the other players put it- "Mercilessly Efficient" character builds. I kid you not, if anyone ever designs a game and needs to find its mechanic's "breakpoints" quickly; just give the doc to these two and they will find them in half an hour or less (and they WILL find them).
I would point out that "powergaming" "minmaxing" in my book. Powergamers can be minmaxers, to be sure. But they aren't identical. A powergamer likes the shinies. He wants the crunchy bits that let him get better at what he does. He prefers in-game rewards that let him become bigger and badder in-game. More XP, magic items, whatever.

A minmaxer pretty much only cares about the numbers. Disregarding things like character background or any internal logic for the PC. Things like how such a person would fit into the world or the campaign aren't really relevant to him. I've had powergamers make very efficient characters, but find a way for them to make sense within the game's context.

As far as "nuts and bolts" ways to deal with them: What are you after specifically? The advice re: monsters/combat is one way to deal with them, but what's your real goal? If I'm reading you correctly, you're not looking to "punish" but cope with them? If that's the case, there are three basic options:

1) Seleran's option: don't play and/or GM with them. Not necessarily an ideal choice. The guys I referred to above aren't bad guys. One is my brother and the other has been a friend of mine for almost 30 years! I've been gaming with both these guys since the late 70's/early 80's. They aren't leaving my table and I don't want them to. Also, some folks have a hard time finding enough players to make a group.

2) Expand your GM repetoire: Try to think like a powergamer. Devise more complex challenges. It doesn't have to be minmaxed monsters. It can be unusual situations. A fight on the storm-tossed deck of a ship. Ambushes in rocky ground where the monsters have cover and can do things like drop boulders or flaming oil on the party. One good way to do this is to ask to look at their character sheets now & then. See what spells and abilities they've taken and think about how to counter it. This may seem vindictive, but as long as you aren't trying to simply make a series of death-traps for them, and they have a chance to win, 1-2 of these kinds of challenges can push them a little and they'll be that much more stoked when they win.

The other advantage of making encounters more than "Walk up, smack monster, kill monster." is that you can reward creativity. A non-minmaxed PC might come up with an unusual tactic that has isn't covered by the rules. That's where the GM really goes to work. By letting players step away from the rulebook more easily, you can make the ideal build on paper less important. In the last C&C game I ran, one player played an elven illusionist. Not the first thing you'd think of in terms of effectiveness, but she (the player) was so creative in coming up with uses for those non-combat illusion spells, she saved the party's bacon more than once.

3) Talk to the players Tell them the issues you are having. Ask them what they think might help. You'd be surprised how willing most players are to come to terms everyone can agree to. You don't need to tell them to utterly change their style, but if you explain that that's not the kind of game you normally run and if you have to ramp everything up for their benefit, it might unbalance things for the rest of the party, not to mention affect the direction the campaign takes.

Out of curiosity, what kinds of minmaxing have they been doing? C&C is pretty balanced. I would think that as long as PCs are at or close to the same XP totals, and no unbalancing items are in the mix, then everyone would be pretty close in overall effectiveness.
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Post by jfall »

This is a topic that I have done a LOT of working with, and around for the last few years. Albeit, it was with D&D 3.5 , but in the end, it's what made me switch systems. So while the mechanics might not be relevant, the experience, and what we did to fix it, is.

bighara and Serleran have both touched on a solution that most GM, CK, DM's have quite likely thought about: Kick em out.

bighara (and others) suggest that this might be a bit too harsh a response to the egregious offender. (be it a Timmy Powergamer or a Min-Maxer) And I agree to a certain extent. Yes, there are a lot of surrounding circumstances that might not allow, or even warrant this option. For instance:

1. It's a good friend.

2. The pool of local gamers is rather shallow.

3. It's not disruptive.

It's this last point that's important in my case. Yes, you can work around these types of gamers IF the rest of the group is willing to do so. Or if the offending player is willing to do so as an alternative. In my experience, if the player is completely "blind" to the issue then no matter how much you speak to them about balance in the game and group chemistry, it's just not going to take.

Sadly, sometimes the best answer is to be rid of the problem. I might suggest that this is the last option, and in our case, it was. It took two years of cajoling, fiddling and finally just throwing our hands up and saying "no more", for a solution to be reached.
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Post by serleran »

Quote:
Ask them to leave? A bit harsh don't you guys think?

No. The game is supposed to be fun for everyone playing. That's sort of the point of playing, anyway.

But, because you don't like that answer, and its not a simple one to just do (most times):

Cut back the treasure, both in terms of magic items and gold. This will have the double whammy effect of reducing wealth and character power (levels, abilities, bonuses, etc...), both of which are vital to character achievement.

Then, tax them on what they have - use living expenses. Use realistic economies - you know, a party that infuses a local town with 847866 gold pieces is going to see prices increase (instead of 2 silver, it becomes 2 gold) because the gold is more available, and meaningless. Added to the lack of finding money, this will prevent the characters from getting anything useful, like healing and rest.

If they have "stuff" like horses and animals - attack them. Kill them off. Take out the familiar. Destroy the undead companions.

Have thieves that work... especially children pickpockets.

Attack to subdue. Or demand compensation for travel - this is useful in a lot of ways, say, from a dragon or the royal guard of Vindictiville.

Look at what is allowing this power... and remove its capacity to be used all the time. Use situations against the players. Make them use their "one-time abilities" quickly, and often.

Use curses. Its not a high level spell, but if you're preventing the party from getting lots of money, might be a while before anyone can remove it. Also, lots of spellcasting bad guys are prone to use it... and, if they do so as they die, make it even more powerful and less likely to be removed easily.

That's just some things that can be done.

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Post by Relaxo »

Good suggestions all.

Basically, just kill the heck out of them,
seriously, a few rust monsters, magic eaters, or people who hear about the power characters reputation for being super tough and powerful NPCs will show up trying to prove themselves.

strip away the gadgets and maybe pit them in a weird scenario they are totally unprepared for. not to be mean, but to be challenging.

One DM I had once had us (the characters) all teleported to a dimention where everyone had magic powers, so the PCs who weren't magic users didn't even register as lifeforms, we didn't 'have names" and weren't allowed to speak... it was very very freaky and I still have nightmares. (sob)

but seriously, how cool must it have been that I still talk about it like, 10 years later?
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Post by Moorcrys »

For those of us without an endless supply of new players to replenish the multitudes kicked out because they like to play a certain way...
If they're really annoying or jerks, by all means kick 'em out. If their idea of fun is the shinies and the tricked out build (although it's hard to trick out a build too much in C&C really, unless you the DM give them a ton of extra stuff or they happen to roll up a high-stat character in front of you) keep 'em and figure it out in my humble opinion.

My advice is to look for ways to give the *other* players a chance to shine. Pay attention to their characters and theme some storylines around their backgrounds, give specific traps, tricks, themed NPCs, monsters, to bring other characters to the fore. Change a couple of the pre-made module's encounters and tailor those encounters to non-min/maxers or powergamers in the party. You're not worried about the powergamer/min-maxer having fun -- they're usually having fun when they get their items or play their powerful character. It's the other guys you're thinking about, so find ways to help them feel unique, useful, and powerful in their own way. You can also trick out weaker characters a bit and give them some 'screen time' as well -- maybe the shy player with a wizard character finds a mysterious staff with interesting powers that seems to attune itself to him (along with encountering equally mysterious assassins bent on the staff's recovery). Maybe the guy playing the non-tricked-out rogue is approached by an NPC to infiltrate the local thieves' guild or sneak into a place only he or she can reach.

In other words I'd look to enhance and highlight the other players instead of penalizing the powergamers -- particularly in C&C where there's not a lot of variables to tweak in order to build super-powered characters (unlike say Champions or 3.5 using the splatbooks).
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Post by Gleemax Jr »

i would join their fun and ask them to round robin a session, with me playing their character. just think of what could happen with that.

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