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2/07/2019

Role-playing Rants: Min-maxing is bad and you should feel bad about it (or else I will make you)

Hell, the 2019 really went of well, didn't it? My last post was made almost a month ago! That said I did had a lot of work and am still struggling with some personal stuff, so you know... it happens.


That said I do plan to return to more frequent posting and will actually write another one next week, to make for my absence. Today, however, I would like to address a rather serious ailment, which can be found in many a RPG groups, including mine - min-maxing.

Min-maxing is probably one of the worst, and the stupidest, things that can occur around a gaming table. It is an absolute travesty and a thing that should never, ever happen. Why? Let me tell you.

Although this picture sums it up pretty nicely
A lot of people playing these games, be they newbies or hardcore vets, have this strange mindset about going to war with their GM's. Oh yeah, I'm not even kidding. After all, the Gamemasters are often too harsh, not treating their players well enough, being unfair when it comes to making verdicts and so on, and so on. Yeah, it's a just a bunch of whiny stuff most of the time. I've quite a lot Gamemasters in my lifetime, and not once did I thought: "fuck this guy, I need to teach him a lesson". Sure, I sometimes disagreed with some of them, but never treated any as my enemy. Unfortunately quite a lot of people do just that, and it's just wrong. Wrong and dumb. Why? Again - let me tell you!

I've already written about a certain toxic mindset at the table, and why it can fuck the right off. Now, going to war with another person, who's there to just enjoy a couple of hours of rolling some funny shaped dice, is simply vile. Ok, so the big, bad GM just told you that no, you can't automatically spot a hidden enemy. No, the fact that you're stereotypical Badlands Ranger with a sad and tragic backstory, can't detect others without rolling, sorry. Everyone should abide by the rules, and no one is exempted from sticking to them. However, the player with the bad ass Badlands Ranger begins to think about the huge injustice, done to his beloved and completely unoriginal character. He begins to plot and scheme, thinking about some ways to exact his revenge on the tyranical GM.

He reaches for the perfect tool - the min-maxing protocol. He frantically searches the rulebook for the best way to make his Badlands Ranger into an ultimate BADASS. He sniffs out the strongest item combos, buying double best quality-crafted axes and a dwarven rune of making-you-run-really-fucking-fast. He, naturally, writes on various online forums, letting people know about his master plan, gathering ideas, collecting intel and generally acting like a complete, fucking bellend.

He makes his damnest to let his Gamemaster realise just how badly he fucked up and that a retribution is coming, swift as the wind and deadlier than a woman's scorn. "You wanted a war, you bastard? Well, I'm going to give you one!"

Oh no, whatever shall I do?
It never works.

It never works because you can't win against a Gamemaster. First of all - RPG's are not some stupid dick waving contest. They're meant to bring fun to everyone at the table, making them forget, for a few hours a week, about their problems and life chores. I know that I've written this once before, but for fuck's sake - a game night is not some arseholes' personal therapy session where he can let off some steam, at the expense of his friends and their fun.

Second of all - you must be really insecure and have a mentality of a manchild to even consider going against other people in your group, in such a way. News flash - the GM has more guns than you. You've managed to give your Badlands Ranger those two best quality axes? Surprise! The next goblin tribe has these as well, and they outnumber you 5 to 1. You've acquired that much coveted rune of making-you-run-really-fucking-fast? Well it just happened that the evil wizard has a gizmo which turns off all of the runes in a hundred mile radius! Managed to up your Ballistic Skill to more than a 100, by using a combination of stat abuse and a few arcane items? That's cute, this elven assassin NPC has the exact same combo, but he can also spot you much easier, has Fate Points (more than your stupid Badlands Ranger) and there are three of them, instead of one. Whoops!

Yeah, care to tell me how exactly did you though that this is going to go your way? A GM has the power of the Golden Rule on his side and he's the one who creates the world. No one, and I do mean -no one - can win against that. No matter what kind of bullshit rules he will pull out of his ass to achieve that task, it's impossible. Mainly because the GM also has access to these rules, and he can make new ones, just to fuck with that stupid Badlands Ranger and make his life miserable. In all honesty, if someone goes full min-max to show the Gamemaster that he's better, it's not only his right but also his duty to show him his place. The hard way. So that the next time our little dare-devil friend will dispense with stupid ideas, and just concentrate on making a cool, playable, chill character, which will provide him and his friends with many hours of good, solid entertainment, instead of a toxic atmosphere at the table.

I don't mind strong characters. I like seeing my players' heroes gaining experience, becoming better at what they do and achieving success in all of their endeavours. That's what's great about RPG's, is this sense of progress and making yourself better with every new quest. I love that and it will always be one of the main reasons why I love playing these games so much. What I hate, however, is some douchebag trying to prove that he's better, because he made a really special snowflake of a character with maxed-out stats. That I can't and will not abide. Not now, not ever. Toxicity of any kinds is not welcome at my table, and yes, I know that by shoving this kind of character into dirt, I'm probably making the same mistake, as its creator. You know what - sometimes you need to get your hands dirty. If it means that a person will realise his error and make sure that next time he won't make the same, stupid mistake, I'm all for that. Even at a cost of being a killjoy and a tabletop fascist.

Deal with it or find a new hobby.

Oh, and for the record - I've never seen a min-maxed character being role-played that well. They're almost always shallow, uninteresting, one-dimensional bores with no personality, traits or anything unique about them. I guess that people who make these "heroes" put all of their creativty and strength into making sure that their little snowflake will have the best, possible stats and gear. Making him, you know, interesting and cool to RP (which is kinda the point of these games) is not as important as giving that Badlands Ranger the sword of absolute fuckery +1.

Until next time, after I let off some steam.

My name's not Bennett, but I will, thank you!
Xathrodox86

P.S. I actually really like the Badlands Ranger profession from the 2nd edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. They're awesome and really fluffy. I'd probably like to play as one, someday.

4 comments:

  1. Love your rants, mate. 😉

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    1. Thank you Matt. :) They can be a bit rambly at times, but I do write from my heart. It's all honest, if that's actually a good thing. ;)

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  2. Almost everyone I’ve seen build their own character chooses to optimize. I’ve been thinking about this the better part of a year now. Those who don’t optimize (a nice way of saying min-max) seem to get overshadowed by those that do. I think this may be a symptom of a personality clash and not a problem with actually optimizing.

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    1. Well they're only overshadowed crunch-wise. They can (and usually are) heaps better in the RP department. Which, in my opinion, is what these games are all about. Not just about rolling dice and having the biggest Strength stat.

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Thank you for the comments. :)