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5E Are powergamers a problem and do you allow them to play in your games?

Corpsetaker

First Post
I've been a gamer for over 30 years now and in all the time I've been gaming I've tried to accommodate everyone's playstyle. Well I'm afraid I don't look at powergaming as a playstyle anymore, I see it as a problem. I no longer allow powergamers at my table, nor will I play in a game with them. Every time I have ran games with a powergamer it always, and I mean always, ended up falling apart. I'm not talking about someone who arranges their states to fit the race and class perfectly, I'm talking about those that really go out of their way to find every game breaking combo they can find.

I actually class this as disruptive behaviour and I do not tolerate it. I had been in a on going 5th edition game where we had a powergamer who ended up making all encounters a cakewalk and the DM started handing out magic items left right and center to try and balance things but it only ended up getting out of control, like it always has no matter the edition. I decided then and there that I had enough.

To me powergaming is just another form of disruptive behaviour and I will not allow it in my games anymore.

Anyone else have this kind of problem?
 

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5e has very few outright game breaking combinations. I've had a few optimisers, but never a powergamer as you define it.

I've generally found that if a player is being disruptive to the game in any way, whether through character build or behaviour, actually having an OOC chat with them where you point out the problems that they are causing will solve it.
If a player was made aware that they are impacting the other players' enjoyment of the game, but wasn't willing to change their behaviour, then that would be the point at which they don't get invited back. However its never actually come to that.
 

machineelf

Explorer
These kinds of threads start arguments, but yeah the real answer is to play the kinds of games you like to play with the kinds of people who like to play the same kind of play-style you do.

"Powergamers" as you define them can still have a lot of fun, and if they are, then fantastic. But I am similar to you, in that I prefer to play with players who put role-playing as their chief aim, and will even sometimes choose a less-ideal tactical decision if it fits in with the character they are playing. They still will choose benefits and new abilities that make them stronger of course, but that generally takes a second-seat to being in character and developing a story.

To each their own, however.
 


pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

I don't play with powergamers either. No point. I, as DM, can/will "always win". When I do, the powergamer inevitably gets more and more frustrated and outright angry. Usually they just stop coming to the game, but on at least two occasions I've had them outright stand up, throw papers on the floor, swear up a storm, and then loudly exit the room.

The easiest way to "get" a powergamer is to use his/her 'builds' against him/her. In 1e AD&D, the old "Mirror of Opposition" was always a fave of mine ever since I saw it in action in module L2, The Secret of Bone Hill. :) Still brings a smile to my face when one particularly obnoxious powergamer saw his 'double' step out of the mirror, and then heard me say "roll for initiative". He lost. And his OP character died in the first round, before even getting a chance to do anything. It was glorious! (Powergamers hate it when they have to fight equal opponents, overall, even more so when the player knows that the monster/NPC is his PC's Achilles Heel).

Had one overpowered 5e character in the second to last campaign; iirc, a 7th level Goliath Barbarian with ridiculous Str, Dex and Con (like, 20, 18, 20 or some such nonsense; we roll random stats, btw)...but had a 6 Int. He never really had a challenge, physically, (go figure!) until 7th level. Where he encountered an Intellect Devourer. Again, round one and a failed save and lucky rolling from the ID and POOF! Dead as a door nail. The player was a bit upset...but he knew it was only a matter of time before his Achilles Heel got the PC killed. Player isn't exactly a powergamer anymore...but he used to be. Still has the desire on occasion though. I guess it's like being addicted to something.

Anyway, yes. I see "Powergaming" as usually an indicator of someone who doesn't really play/share well with others. Not always, but usually. As I said, the Goliath Barbarian player used to be a PG, but ever since playing in my game (he started with the group in about 2001), he's evened out almost completely.

My thoughts on it is simple: If you are primarily a powergamer, go start your own group. No point in playing in a game where you are not going to have 'fun' the way you want, and no point in upsetting/annoying the players in a game that doesn't do the powergame thing. Different strokes and all that. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
I see what you mean. However, there may be different classes of powergamers, one who plays the game and contributes to the story and fun, and the other who is hyper competitive and doesn't play well with others. The first type isn't a problem. The second one surely is. That's the one you are probably talking about.

I've only had one such player. He was a rule freak who always wanted to out do everyone and win at all costs. He ended up having a temper tantrum when another pc got a magic item and he stopped playing. I think it was his personality rather than his powergaming that was the problem.

I won't ban powergamers, but I will let them know that they must play nice with others and my games are about story and character building rather than mechanical mastery.
 

Saelorn

Hero
Please don't respond unless you have actually read the post. Don't just read a sentence or two and then post a response.
Don't make unfounded assumptions.

It certainly reads that you define powergaming as, "Too much optimization"; you don't have a problem with optimization, in principle, or else you would object to perfectly arranging stats to suit race and class. That means you have an entirely arbitrary line somewhere that delineates between acceptable optimization and unacceptable optimization.

Without knowing exactly where you draw that line - which combination of feats and classes is okay, and which one is not okay - I can't say whether I allow that level of optimization into my games. I can say that I don't allow optimization to such an extent that it's disruptive... because it would be disruptive. Too much of anything is bad, because that's how you define too much. It's a meaningless statement. Is the optimization at my table more than what you would be comfortable with? I have no idea. Your rant is too vague to permit definitive conclusions.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
Let's be clear that just because you don't like powergaming doesn't mean your games are more about story. The game assumes a healthy balance of the two. I like the mechanics and story to go hand in hand, not one over the other.
 

Any player at my table who engages in any type of my imaginary p**** is bigger than your imaginary p**** type behavior is shown the door. Friendly rivalry is fine; power fantasy is not.
 

Powergamers aren't a problem. Jerks (which is a euphemism for something that rhymes with 'grassbowl') are the problem. A jerk roleplayer can be more disruptive than a jerk powergamer.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I do not invite players who have shown disruptive behavior and unwilling to change it into games. Any of the players can veto any additions of players and i am one of those with vetoes.

Sent from my [device_name] using EN World mobile app
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Powergamers aren't a problem. Jerks (which is a euphemism for something that rhymes with 'grassbowl') are the problem. A jerk roleplayer can be more disruptive than a jerk powergamer.
I agree with this sentiment, but with the observation that grassbowls seem to gravitate more toward being power gamers (as defined/relevant in the current discussion) in my opinion.
 

I agree with this sentiment, but with the observation that grassbowls seem to gravitate more toward being power gamers (as defined/relevant in the current discussion) in my opinion.

Perhaps. But obstructionist roleplaying can be even more disruptive to a table than extreme powergaming.

In a recent game for me I had one of those roleplayers who designed a character concept that was pretty much explicitly at odds with being an adventurer, then insisted on repeatedly choosing the most disruptive, least cooperative actions because "that's what my character would do". It led to PvP by the second session (initiated by the roleplayer, irate that the other players killed a monster than he had tried and failed to befriend).

Although in general I'm of the roleplaying > powergaming mindset, that kind of @#$% drives me crazy.
 

Phion

Explorer
I thought the question was relevant. Of course we all know that guy who only picks classes and features to show off and be the hero at the table through abusing the system, but would you say a person who optimizes their character to fulfil their character concept while remaining very efficient is a power gamer?

I ask this because I am frequently considered a power gamer at times because my characters have shown to be very efficient at achieving results. However I also place limits or restrictions on what my character will acquire as features/ multicasting based on what makes sense for their character. My characters tend to be able to contribute on all 3 of the pillars and if I am not skilled enough to directly resolve a matter with one side of my characters abilities in the pillars I know how bypass those situations by using a pillar my character is more proficient in. So in this regard, could a person be a power gamer by their play style and influence on games or is a powergaming purely mechanical based character creation?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Powergamer is a pretty broad term and can encompass a lot of behaviors.

Behaviors are:
Someone who builds optimized characters, but adheres to the rules (including house rules and rulings). This is fine, if it can be a little annoying. If something is really, truly, broken in my opinion I'll verify my understanding (see "rulings" below) or just house rule it. I don't go overboard with it, but there are a couple of spells in particular that just take the fun out of any encounter. Fortunately a lot of the power builds rely on an overabundance of long and short rests and it's easy enough to follow the 6-8 encounters between long rests with 1-2 short rests if you want.

The guy who constantly "bends" the rules, and then complains about my rulings when I override them. Don't be that guy. I don't want to double check every power, spell and ability you claim. I have to do that more than a few times and either you need to change how you play or you need to find a different game. It's one thing to occasionally have different interpretations of the rules or make an honest mistake (we all do it), but be open to correction.

The Bully. The person that is always pushing to get their way, overriding or belittling other people at the table, etc. No. Just no.

The whiner/pouter. When things don't go this guy's way or the DM rules what they're doing isn't correct they either throw a hissy-fit or or sulk. I get it. Sometimes we disagree with a DM's ruling or are disappointed by some outcome. Just try to be graceful about it, OK?

The Dominator. This is the guy who always has to be the center of attention, always the best at every role. It gets old and gets you not invited to the next campaign.

So those are some of the behaviors I see typically lumped in to "powergamer", usually in some combination. Add all of those together in one package, and no I don't want to spend my time set aside for fun/gaming with you.

But just building optimized characters that follow the rules, shares the spotlight, and is generally fun to play with? Not a problem.
 
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I thought the question was relevant. Of course we all know that guy who only picks classes and features to show off and be the hero at the table through abusing the system, but would you say a person who optimizes their character to fulfil their character concept while remaining very efficient is a power gamer?

I ask this because I am frequently considered a power gamer at times because my characters have shown to be very efficient at achieving results. However I also place limits or restrictions on what my character will acquire as features/ multicasting based on what makes sense for their character. My characters tend to be able to contribute on all 3 of the pillars and if I am not skilled enough to directly resolve a matter with one side of my characters abilities in the pillars I know how bypass those situations by using a pillar my character is more proficient in. So in this regard, could a person be a power gamer by their play style and influence on games or is a powergaming purely mechanical based character creation?

Yeah, I don't see an inherent problem with powergaming itself. It's when the powergamer belittles/complains because others don't share his (her?) values that it's a problem.

I get annoyed with powergamers for showing up with cookie-cutter builds, their smug little half-smiles when they do ridiculous amounts of damage with their cheesy combinations, and their utter absence of any kind of interesting/creative/original roleplay, but really that's my problem, not anything they are doing wrong.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I thought the question was relevant. Of course we all know that guy who only picks classes and features to show off and be the hero at the table through abusing the system, but would you say a person who optimizes their character to fulfil their character concept while remaining very efficient is a power gamer?

I ask this because I am frequently considered a power gamer at times because my characters have shown to be very efficient at achieving results. However I also place limits or restrictions on what my character will acquire as features/ multicasting based on what makes sense for their character. My characters tend to be able to contribute on all 3 of the pillars and if I am not skilled enough to directly resolve a matter with one side of my characters abilities in the pillars I know how bypass those situations by using a pillar my character is more proficient in. So in this regard, could a person be a power gamer by their play style and influence on games or is a powergaming purely mechanical based character creation?

I get this sometimes too. I don't scour message boards looking for optimized combos but my characters frequently end up being very "effective". I don't see a reason to artificially restrict my character as long as I'm not bending rules or doing something that's just annoying.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
I get this sometimes too. I don't scour message boards looking for optimized combos but my characters frequently end up being very "effective". I don't see a reason to artificially restrict my character as long as I'm not bending rules or doing something that's just annoying.

The problem is that the rules of the game are not airtight so sometimes people are bound to come across combos that stay with in the rules, but end up making the game fall apart to the point where all enemies start going after that one person. If you come across something that causes a disturbance in the game and you fail to do something about it then that's a problem. Just because something is "with in the rules" doesn't make it right. Being effective does not always have to be about damage. The object of the game is not about killing everything you can as quickly as possible.
 

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