Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons: Dealing With Power Gamers

As a Dungeon Master should you fear the power gamer in your group?

As controlled as you may be with player selection, what happens if one creeps in, or if a player, tasking that powah evolves into one? Role playing vs. roll playing. Perhaps a definition of a power gamer first. I define a power gamer, and your own definition in the comments below is also welcome, as a player who only sees the game through the raw meta of the character sheet.

What race/class/skills/attributes can they combine to maximize the highest results on the dice checks, even if they mane ZERO sense in the narrative of the game. True, numbers and formulas power Dungeons & Dragons, but that is against the backdrop of a setting, be it Mysteria, the Forgotten Realms, etc. that have customs, history, and in-game laws that should influence what a character can and can’t do.

Player characters are and will be VERY powerful in the game- a level 20 wizard as an example, a builder of worlds, but even they are not gods. As a Dungeon Master we should walk a very fine line, I know I try in all my games- I want my players to have full control over their characters, playing and growing them as they see fit.

Play what you want to play, and let’s see where this crazy game leads us. BUT there is a line I draw, perhaps when I have to intervene… I can deal with a player that want’s to push the power against me, or test an adventure, as long as it does not interfere with the enjoyment of the other players at the table. We all enjoy D&D in our own way, and making sure that is accessible for each player is important to me as a DM. So how do we tone down the power without calling the player-in-question out?

Can we do it in a way without them even knowing? I manage it like this… Whatever they are power gaming with, I’ll lead the adventure in a different direction in the moment to “power” them down.
They are min/maxed in combat, hitting with a +20 to attack each time…

…take a break from combat encounters for a bit. They have +20 for intimidate, and auto-pass racial bonuses, go right to some combat encounters…

How do you deal with power games as the Dungeon Master?

At what point do you have to remove them from the table?

Join my tactics mailing list and receive weekly tactica articles sent directly to your inbox.

* indicates required