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Munchkinism is dead?

Saw this on RPG.net:

I think this reflects a significant cultural shift in the hobby. My impression is that, back in the day, if what the text says a class is good at and what the mechanics mean a class is good at were out of whack, it wasn't a big deal - you were expected to play to the former, and exploiting the latter was decried as "power-gaming" or "munchkinism". That doesn't happen anymore, unless you're playing with a whole group of grognards; playing your character the way the mechanics for his class suggest he should be played - regardless of what the flavour text says - is no longer stigmatised.

I don't think this meets the the abuse of both the at table social contract and the rules that I qualify as munchkinism. It's definitely power gaming, which is very annoying (Paul, je te regarde) but a valid play style as long as it doesn't upset the enjoyment of the other players.

I always saw Munchkinism as part and parcel with Monty Haul games. Munchkinism is a play style that needs to be encouraged by the play group, starting with the GM & then the other players.

And there's so many games that one game's Munchkinism is another game's standard play style (D&D Munchkinism is Exalted's casual play).


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2012 02:57 pm (UTC)
My thought with D&D, AD&D, and AD&D 2nd Ed., was that you played the former (what the text said the class should do) and exploited the latter (what the mechanics allowed a class to do) in such a way that you didn't get labelled as a meta-gamer, power-gamer, or munchkin (e.g., don't over do it). I've tried 3rd ed. and skimmed through 4th ed., and it seems to me that the focus is more on a table-top miniatures style of play that relies on the exploitation of minutiae within the rules (i.e. Advanced Classes and Prestige Classes which require specific skill trees to attain and lead to very little in the way of character development).

Find a system that works, be it d10 InterLock (R. Talsorian), d20 Dynamic (Third Eye), Chaosium's Percentile, Old School D&D, d20 (WoTC), d6 (Westend Games), or Savage Worlds. Every system can be exploited in some way, but so long as everyone at the table is having fun, no play style should be wholly discouraged...except, as you have pointed out, when when it interferes with the enjoyment of the other players...
Sep. 13th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
What's odd is that with my current play group, the least fun I had was in a Mage game where another player manipulated the rules to step pretty heavily on my PC's role.
Sep. 9th, 2012 12:06 pm (UTC)
Interesting analysis. That disparity between the style and the mechanical implementation was something I didn't think about for D20 as a whole. I think rules "abuse" will depend on how the game system is designed and if it's meant for that or not, so spot-on for the standard play style reminder.
Sep. 13th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've never played a game and gone "while the PC is good at this, he's supposed to do this".

Perhaps Toreador Martial Artists are the biggest example I can think of.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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