Episode 7 - Powergaming

This week we discuss min/maxing and powergaming and share our opinion about when players take it too far. We also review Andrew Cawood's The World of Myrr Campain Setting as well as his other supplemental material for fifth edition.

Show Notes

Vorpal Sword

Weapon (any sword that deals slashing damage), legendary (requires attunement)

You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. In addition, the weapon ignores resistance to slashing damage.

When you attack a creature that has at least one head with this weapon and roll a 20 on the attack roll, you cut off one of the creature's heads. The creature dies if it can't survive without the lost head. A creature is immune to this effect if it is immune to slashing damage, doesn't have or need a head, has legendary actions, or the DM decides that the creature is too big for its head to be cut off with this weapon. Such a creature instead takes an extra 6d8 slashing damage from the hit.

5e Dungeon Master's Guide, Page 209

Excerpt from 2e DMG, page 68

Sometimes players resort to "min/maxing" when selecting weapon proficiencies. Min/maxing occurs when a player calculates all the odds and numerical advantages and disadvantages of a particular weapon. The player's decision isn't based on his imagination, the campaign, role-playing, or character development. It is based on game mechanics--what will give the player the biggest modifier and cause the most damage in any situation.

A certain amount of min/maxing is unavoidable, and even good (it shows that the player is interested in the game), but an excessive min/maxer is missing the point. Reducing a character to a list of combat modifiers and dice rolls is not role-playing.

Fortunately, this type of player is easy to deal with. Just create a situation in which his carefully chosen weapon, the one intended to give him an edge over everyone else, is either useless or puts him at a disadvantage. He will suddenly discover the drawback of min/maxing. It is impossible to create a combination of factors that is superior in every situation, because situations can vary so much.

Finally, a character's lack of proficiency can be used to create dramatic tension, a vital part of the game. In the encounter with kobolds described earlier, the player howled in surprise because the situation suddenly got a lot more dangerous than he expected it to. The penalty for nonproficiency increases the risk to the player character, and that increases the scene's tension.

When a nonproficiency penalty is used to create tension, be sure the odds aren't stacked against the character too much. Dramatic tension exists only while the player thinks his character has a chance to escape, even if it's only a slim chance. If a player decides the situation is hopeless, he will give up. His reaction will switch from excitement to despair.

FallWallTall's Explanation on Reddit

Cawood Publishing

World of Myrr Main Site

The World of Myrr Kickstarter Campaign

The World of Myrr Kickstarter Campaign