Power Gamers vs DM (-11 to saving throws 0_o )

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Hey everyone,

I've been DM'ing for years and primarily in 4th edition, but I always seem to have an issue with the Power Gamer player role mentioned in the DMG 1.

Specifically, my current issue is with the Illusionist Wizard which specializes in psychic and fear key words.  He is a level 5 Wizard (Mage) from the essentials build with the Red Wizards of Thay Character Theme.  This gives him an innate -2 penalty to saving throws with any save ends condition he bestows on an enemy.  Pretty cool feature right?  Well couple that with 3 magic items (all heroic tier) which each add on a penalty to saves and enough feats to maximize his attack rolls against Will (approximately 70-75%% chance to hit).

Phrenic Crown = -1 to saving throws if Will was the target of the attack
Illusionist's Gloves = -2 to saving throws if the character had combat advantage with the attack
Curse Eye Tattoo = -2 to saving throws to any target creature within 10 when you spend an action point.

Plus once we reach paragon tier, there is a Paragon Path and Feat to incur an additional static -2 to saving throws each.  In other words, he will be able to reach a static -7 to saving throws, -9 with combat advantage, and -11 if an action point is spent.

Does this seem overpowered?  At least I feel it really is.  The ability to guarantee a -9 to saves with any daily and some encounter powers, or a -11 to a single saving throw with the use of the action point?  I hope I'm just viewing this from the wrong angle and that this isn't a gamebreaking ability.  What do the other DMs out there think?  The last thing I want to do is infere with a player's choices for his character.

My answer to this issue is making penalties to saving throws typed, but it didn't go over too well since penalties have never been typed.  Again, what do my fellow DMs think?

Thanks in advance for your opinions! ^_^
If you have an issue with a player's character, take it up with the player first. Tell him: "Cool, you've proven you can make life for my monsters miserable. Now please tone it down a bit, because I'm not having fun/finding it hard to create cool and challenging encounters for you guys."
If he's a normal person, he'll understand and dial down on the penalties or save them for when the party really needs it.
Svendj's got a reasonable solution.  Whatever else you end up needing to do, you'll at least want to talk to the player and find out what he's wanting to accomplish or trying to avoid, whether he's enjoying himself, what he expects and wants from the game, and so on.

There's a definite possibility that this "power-gamer" is over-reacting to a bad gaming experience from the past, fortifying his participation in the game with an extremely "defensive" character to protect himself from failures that are boring or otherwise not fun.  It can take some effort to rehabilitate such a player back into having fun with taking risks in the game, but whatever the case, you'll want to start by ensuring that even (especially) the failures in your game are fun, memorable, interesting, and entertaining, so that the players have nothing to lose by taking risks and failing (for example, great games of Call of Cthulhu can be memorable for the spectacularly awful ways that doomed PCs are killed off or driven insane by the unearthly situations they find themselves in: perhaps surprisingly, a great death or fate worse than death can give players bragging rights to stories they can remember and enjoy telling and hearing much better than their successes.)




Be sure to play to a variety of gaming styles when you DM a game.  There are more than just "role playing" vs. "gaming", and most players enjoy a mix of different types.  These styles range from beating the dice game, to playing the strategy and tactics, to putting on a fun show by acting in character, to telling an epic story about their character, to hanging out with friends and telling jokes or funny stories, to participating in a social experiment where they get to see what happens when they try to do things they believe they'd never get away with in "real life", to exploring  interesting and detailed settings and plots to see what unexpected new discoveries lay just over the next hill.  Building this type of character may just be this player's way to trying to survive grueling combats he doesn't enjoy, long enough to get past the combat and back to some aspect he does enjoy about the game!


This could be an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situation.  Assuming everyone is having fun right now, except that this player is hoping for more of a challenge for his one-trick-pony character:

One other solution that can work well might be to retool the default assumption of D&D:  that it's a series of bare 10'x10' rooms containing treasures guarded by monsters that are waiting around to fight the PCs to the death, until everyone on one side or the other dies from flying dice.  This character's negative-penalty trick will carry her pretty far in some very specific combat situations, but I'm pretty sure that this isn't going to do the character much good against traps and other challenging terrain, or against monsters that set ambushes that allow them to surprise the party with a little damage and then flee, monsters with goals other than fighting the PCs to the death, challenges, puzzles and non-combat situations that can be resolved through skill use or clever use of inventory items and environment, encounters that require the PCs to do something besides kill monsters to death to succeed, and so on.  Provide some variety to the encounters, and it requires some variety in the PCs, and there are other great benefits to presenting a variety of encounter styles, too (not the least of which is keeping the players interested!)
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I wouldn't say to ask him to change his character or anything of the like. Instead, curb the field from the other end. If the player is doing something that seems ridiculous, make the monsters have ways to fight back. Terrain, features, powers, items and other aspects can always give the monsters bonuses to saving throws that could offset his larger penalties by some, mitigate the length, or even very well negate the type of negative effects he's trying to utilize to their fullest. This can make some encounters a bit tougher for this character, where as others might have an average to easier time by design. A monster that can't be dominated or otherwise prevented from attacking the wizard might give the defender time to keep it locked down through marks and the like, especially if the monster has no sort of ranged attacks to pick the wizard off from afar with. Be sure to do the same for all characters in the party to give all players, the crazy wizard included, time to feel like the bigger dog of the pack with an encounter that runs smoother due to their specializations.

Happy Gaming
I wouldn't say to ask him to change his character or anything of the like. Instead, curb the field from the other end. If the player is doing something that seems ridiculous, make the monsters have ways to fight back. Terrain, features, powers, items and other aspects can always give the monsters bonuses to saving throws that could offset his larger penalties by some, mitigate the length, or even very well negate the type of negative effects he's trying to utilize to their fullest. This can make some encounters a bit tougher for this character, where as others might have an average to easier time by design. A monster that can't be dominated or otherwise prevented from attacking the wizard might give the defender time to keep it locked down through marks and the like, especially if the monster has no sort of ranged attacks to pick the wizard off from afar with. Be sure to do the same for all characters in the party to give all players, the crazy wizard included, time to feel like the bigger dog of the pack with an encounter that runs smoother due to their specializations.

Happy Gaming


This is a bit of a double-edged sword, since this means you're essentially punishing a player for playing his character. If most monsters suddenly have ways to automatically end save ends effects, your player will quickly see through that. So although it's contained within Toesama's advice, be really careful not to do this too often. 
Luckily, you can solve this problem on the DM side of the equation by changing your encounters. I'm guessing that you are building encounters like most people do - by the numbers and with the default assumption of total annihilation meaning victory (for either the PCs or monsters) and defeat meaning death. That, plus the binary nature of D&D will often lead players to optimization. "Failure is boring, so I don't want to fail." By changing your encounters to be goal-oriented for both monsters and PCs, players can still optimize as much as they want, but the challenge will remain the same. Look at the scene - what do the monsters want? What are they trying to achieve? What are the PCs' goals? Try to build encounters that center around those kinds of objectives and watch what happens. 

Also, do you have any particular stake in the outcome of a given fight? Do you need it to be something other than the PCs winning all the time? If that's the case, what does failure look like?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

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I can see YronimosW's points... all of them. As DM I've used most of them at least once. It is a bit of a relief for me that svendj brought up this question because with 5 players or 6 with the DM there are at least 6 critics at the table. Wethere they speak up or not, you can tell they have opions. Two of my tougher critics have started DMing there own games. One stopped preferring to be a player and I think his goal was reallyto be the perfect combatant. As the DM he could prove his point to the rest of my players and have practice runs to teach masterful combat for himself and the others. I suspect though that he learned the total party kill (TPK) is only a piece of the game. This guy could be responding to me trying to make the game challengin in the early part of the campaign. The other DM is still DMing, probably because he wants to be in control. He got in trouble when he was first playing. The others at the table felt he didn't know his character and wasn't taking advice. With him I tried a mixed strategy of ignoring, passing over, or ignoring. I felt at the time it was important to find a balance to what I felt he could take and not completely devasting. Showing my players I want them to have everyting, but I'm not just giving away the candy store.


I've always read that the DM is the master of combat. Can't remember the exact words I've read in blogs, but it implies I should know every piece of information. Truth is I don't, and when I learn the 4e rule, I can't remember when it is time to imply. I remember only that I could use the rule. I move on, but feel I've deprived the table of the experience. I am probably the worst critic at the table!


It has taken maybe three years to get to P3 and my group grew to 6 players, one who went to college out of state. I take comfort in the fact that I've got 5 regulars. I've always done the best I can. So basically I would second ToeSama and the others on the fact that there are other ways the monsters can fight back, and other aspects of the campaign in which optimized players can enjoy the game: story, puzzles etc).


You should check the errata documents; a lot of 'penalties to save ends' effects have been changed to only apply to the first saving throw.  Not sure if any of his are in that boat, but it's worth a check.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I've always read that the DM is the master of combat. Can't remember the exact words I've read in blogs, but it implies I should know every piece of information. Truth is I don't, and when I learn the 4e rule, I can't remember when it is time to imply. I remember only that I could use the rule. I move on, but feel I've deprived the table of the experience. I am probably the worst critic at the table!


If you mean that the DM should be the best combatant at the table, please forget that piece of 'advice' before you hurt yourself or someone else ;) Knowing everything that's going on at the table at all times is practically impossible for a single human being, even those who have mastered D&D combats. 

Instead, just go with the flow, be suitably impressed and excited when one of your players pulls off something cool or unexpected, and just let your monsters react to that in the best way they can. Iserith once taught me that the DM should not be the players' adversary - he should be their biggest fan. That's when magic starts happening at the table. 
Red Wizard feature only affects first saving throw as written; Phrenic crown is errata'ed to affect first saving throw (although the compiled errata document does NOT show what the change is...only that the property has been changed).
I've always read that the DM is the master of combat. Can't remember the exact words I've read in blogs, but it implies I should know every piece of information. Truth is I don't, and when I learn the 4e rule, I can't remember when it is time to imply. I remember only that I could use the rule. I move on, but feel I've deprived the table of the experience.

Whoa, yeah, no. You are not a computer. You are a facilitator and you are a human being. It's theoretically possible to get every rule right, but realistically even worrying about getting most of them right will stress you out and slow the game to a halt as books are consulted and interpretations are argued.

I've never seen a book say that the DM or GM is the "master of combat," but almost every roleplaying book I've ever read has explicitly advised that the GM should not bog down the game making sure everything is right, but should rule and go. The same thing goes for mistakes that or made or rules that are missed. Just move on. With practice, you'll improve to a level you're happy with.

As for the power gamers, let them have their fun, but slightly alter your encounters to put in goals that aren't necessarily achieved by wiping out the monsters. For instance, put in a parallel skill challenge that much be achieved in, say, 2 rounds. The even if the PCs take the time to lock down the monster, it might be something of a challenge for them to complete the skill challenge in that time, and if they fail the downside can be anything: including huge bonuses to saving throws for creatures the players encounter later.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Lockdown via saving throw *is* a valid approach for a wizard whose primary focus is on control effects (which is what most illusionists are about). As DevoDog noted, some of those bonuses only apply to the first saving throw and others are limited-use (the tattoo). Likewise, from the MV onward, most creatures for whom action denial is a problem (solos vs Daze/Stun, mainly) are built with recovery mechanics that bypass the need for a saving throw.

As long as the errata and stated conditionals are being applied, he's doing exactly what illusionists are supposed to do.
Thanks everyone.  Lots of great responses.  The errata for the items is enough to stabilize the items bringing back to an appropriate power level.
I'm not certain about this, but you might want to check whether all those effects actually stack. A lot of effects in 4E are "only the highest one counts".
I'm not certain about this, but you might want to check whether all those effects actually stack. A lot of effects in 4E are "only the highest one counts".



That is what I guessed as well, but supposedly bonuses are the only thing that do not stack well.  Penalties on the other hand stack more easily.
This isn't overpowered. Every one of those minuses comes with special criteria that has to be met. He also needs to hit with the spells in the first place and unless you inexplicably bunch all the enemies together he's not going to be able to shut down an entire encounter. The spells themselves are limited by being daily  or encounter powers. Then all he's good at is one very specific thing, controlling the battlefield which is what Wizards are supposed to do anyway. You're not broken if you're good at what the game says you're meant to be good at.

You're basing all of this purely on theory, it feels you've had no actual game experience with this character you just assume it's broken for some reason.

So my advice, don't worry about it you have no problem.
Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I wouldn't say to ask him to change his character or anything of the like. Instead, curb the field from the other end. If the player is doing something that seems ridiculous, make the monsters have ways to fight back. Terrain, features, powers, items and other aspects can always give the monsters bonuses to saving throws that could offset his larger penalties by some, mitigate the length, or even very well negate the type of negative effects he's trying to utilize to their fullest. This can make some encounters a bit tougher for this character, where as others might have an average to easier time by design. A monster that can't be dominated or otherwise prevented from attacking the wizard might give the defender time to keep it locked down through marks and the like, especially if the monster has no sort of ranged attacks to pick the wizard off from afar with. Be sure to do the same for all characters in the party to give all players, the crazy wizard included, time to feel like the bigger dog of the pack with an encounter that runs smoother due to their specializations.

Happy Gaming


This is a bit of a double-edged sword, since this means you're essentially punishing a player for playing his character. If most monsters suddenly have ways to automatically end save ends effects, your player will quickly see through that. So although it's contained within Toesama's advice, be really careful not to do this too often. 



You don't shut down the ability completely, you just pick and choose when the ability can be used.  For example, I am in a 3.5 campaign where we have an uber turning cleric.  The setting is fraught with undead, but not EVERY encounter is undead.  That being said, the DM usually does throw undead at us about 33% of the time, so that the player can use his character's uberness and then every so often even though the encounter is undead, there are undead highly resistant to turning Surprised.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Hey everyone,

I've been DM'ing for years and primarily in 4th edition, but I always seem to have an issue with the Power Gamer player role mentioned in the DMG 1.

Specifically, my current issue is with the Illusionist Wizard which specializes in psychic and fear key words.  He is a level 5 Wizard (Mage) from the essentials build with the Red Wizards of Thay Character Theme.  This gives him an innate -2 penalty to saving throws with any save ends condition he bestows on an enemy.  Pretty cool feature right?  Well couple that with 3 magic items (all heroic tier) which each add on a penalty to saves and enough feats to maximize his attack rolls against Will (approximately 70-75%% chance to hit).

Phrenic Crown = -1 to saving throws if Will was the target of the attack
Illusionist's Gloves = -2 to saving throws if the character had combat advantage with the attack
Curse Eye Tattoo = -2 to saving throws to any target creature within 10 when you spend an action point.

Plus once we reach paragon tier, there is a Paragon Path and Feat to incur an additional static -2 to saving throws each.  In other words, he will be able to reach a static -7 to saving throws, -9 with combat advantage, and -11 if an action point is spent.

Does this seem overpowered?  At least I feel it really is.  The ability to guarantee a -9 to saves with any daily and some encounter powers, or a -11 to a single saving throw with the use of the action point?  I hope I'm just viewing this from the wrong angle and that this isn't a gamebreaking ability.  What do the other DMs out there think?  The last thing I want to do is infere with a player's choices for his character.

My answer to this issue is making penalties to saving throws typed, but it didn't go over too well since penalties have never been typed.  Again, what do my fellow DMs think?

Thanks in advance for your opinions! ^_^



One little critter could help possibly stop this some: A rust monster.

Teach him from a in game perspective. Dealing with problems like this out of game is really awkward and mostly just results in hurt feelings. 

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

One little critter could help possibly stop this some: A rust monster.

Teach him from a in game perspective. Dealing with problems like this out of game is really awkward and mostly just results in hurt feelings. 

Yes, dealing with them out of game is awkward, but it's the mature thing to do. Throwing rust monsters and the like at him is going to seem petty and underhanded. It's usually implicit that players like to be challenged and expect the DM to do so, but players usually don't like or expect to be picked on. Treat your players like adults and earn their trust.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Rust monsters don't even have any way to affect any of the items mentioned.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

Rust monsters don't even have any way to affect any of the items mentioned.



Alright then, either make a housrule where rust monsters can. Or stop screwing around and put your foot down, they are playing in your game, not the other way around.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

One little critter could help possibly stop this some: A rust monster.

Teach him from a in game perspective. Dealing with problems like this out of game is really awkward and mostly just results in hurt feelings. 

Yes, dealing with them out of game is awkward, but it's the mature thing to do. Throwing rust monsters and the like at him is going to seem petty and underhanded. It's usually implicit that players like to be challenged and expect the DM to do so, but players usually don't like or expect to be picked on. Treat your players like adults and earn their trust.




Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

One little critter could help possibly stop this some: A rust monster.

Teach him from a in game perspective. Dealing with problems like this out of game is really awkward and mostly just results in hurt feelings. 

Yes, dealing with them out of game is awkward, but it's the mature thing to do. Throwing rust monsters and the like at him is going to seem petty and underhanded. It's usually implicit that players like to be challenged and expect the DM to do so, but players usually don't like or expect to be picked on. Treat your players like adults and earn their trust.




Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.


Well, you must be a hoot to play with. 

[cue rant]

Anyway, annoying and frustrating your players because they don't play the way you like to play is only going to result in empty tables.
Really, really think about this for a second: if you are a player in someone else's game, and the DM doesn't like your playstyle, how would you prefer he solved it? By making it impossible for you to play the game you want to, or by talking to you afterwards to see if you both have different expectations of what the game should be? If you can't come to an agreement, you can part ways as friends instead of one of you stomping out of the room, slamming the door when he leaves.
One little critter could help possibly stop this some: A rust monster.

Teach him from a in game perspective. Dealing with problems like this out of game is really awkward and mostly just results in hurt feelings.

Yes, dealing with them out of game is awkward, but it's the mature thing to do. Throwing rust monsters and the like at him is going to seem petty and underhanded. It's usually implicit that players like to be challenged and expect the DM to do so, but players usually don't like or expect to be picked on. Treat your players like adults and earn their trust.




Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.


Well, you must be a hoot to play with.

[cue rant]

Anyway, annoying and frustrating your players because they don't play the way you like to play is only going to result in empty tables.
Really, really think about this for a second: if you are a player in someone else's game, and the DM doesn't like your playstyle, how would you prefer he solved it? By making it impossible for you to play the game you want to, or by talking to you afterwards to see if you both have different expectations of what the game should be? If you can't come to an agreement, you can part ways as friends instead of one of you stomping out of the room, slamming the door when he leaves.


wow I find myself in total agreement with Sven. Scary (j/k happens often enough )

Sure people who annoyingly powergame can get under your skin, and nobody is claiming you need to like it, but turning it into a urination competion will do absolutely nothing to remedy the situation. It will just ensure everyone has a bad time. 

Few DM's are saints and I am sure most every single one has at one time fallen into this trap, I know I have.  Still, take it from us, do not fight fire with fire in a essentially cooperative game. It leads to nothing but burning ruins where a fun table once could have been.
To DME, or not to DME: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous powergaming, Or to take arms against a sea of Munchkins, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;
There's two issues at work there:

1.  "Power-gaming" as a gaming style, as just something the player likes to do to challenge herself.  You may need to read between the lines a little, but I think you can identify these players and what they want from the game during "Session Zero", if you can get them to tell you what their expectations for the game are.  These types of players may think of themselves as scientists or artists, engineering or sculpting the best character builds they can.  This, I think, is harmless:  change your expectactions of the game a little to accomodate this gaming style, and everyone can win.

2.  "Power-gaming" as just one of the ways that a genuine problem player uses to be a pest.  Problem players are not as common as some DMs seem to want to believe, but they are out there.  If you genuinely are dealing with a problem player and your best efforts to accomodate the player or rehabilitate him have resulted only in the problem player seeking new ways to cause problems, then you should probably eject the player from the game.  I think that in an ideal world, you would have already tried talking to the players out-of-game at least once before realizing that the problem player can't be reasoned with, that he's annoying everyone in spite of your best efforts to help him fit in, and that the problem isn't just you.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
Barring a straight-up annoying personality (which is an out-of-game issue anyway), powergamers are only a problem to the DM if the DM has a personal stake in the outcome of an encounter. If the DM has a stake in the outcome of an encounter, the DM has made the mistake. Thus, being upset at powergamers is essentially the DM's own damn fault.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.

Yep, players can get irritating sometimes, but dealing with it in-game has an extremely poor track record throughout the hobby. It's better not to game with people with whom you're not comfortable having an adult conversation.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

 I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.



Have you ever really thought about why you think this way? I mean, really examined it?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

One little critter could help possibly stop this some: A rust monster.

Teach him from a in game perspective. Dealing with problems like this out of game is really awkward and mostly just results in hurt feelings. 

Yes, dealing with them out of game is awkward, but it's the mature thing to do. Throwing rust monsters and the like at him is going to seem petty and underhanded. It's usually implicit that players like to be challenged and expect the DM to do so, but players usually don't like or expect to be picked on. Treat your players like adults and earn their trust.




Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.


Well, you must be a hoot to play with. 

[cue rant]

Anyway, annoying and frustrating your players because they don't play the way you like to play is only going to result in empty tables.
Really, really think about this for a second: if you are a player in someone else's game, and the DM doesn't like your playstyle, how would you prefer he solved it? By making it impossible for you to play the game you want to, or by talking to you afterwards to see if you both have different expectations of what the game should be? If you can't come to an agreement, you can part ways as friends instead of one of you stomping out of the room, slamming the door when he leaves.



Not trying to toot my own horn but I am a hoot. And there are plenty of people like me. If players constantly set characters up in a min/maxed from I will ask them to stop and if they don't they are gone from the game as simple as that. We are there to have fun, not for one person to over shadow everyone else. Min/maxers are the worst thing about this hobby, sure everyone want's a good character, but when you go out of your way to pick the best/most broken option and try to bend the rules to your character I get annoyed, it's a RPG not a MMO. Also yes I would attempt to adjust my on playstyle to suit the DM, if he/she isn't having fun, then no one else will, simple as that.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.

Yep, players can get irritating sometimes, but dealing with it in-game has an extremely poor track record throughout the hobby. It's better not to game with people with whom you're not comfortable having an adult conversation.



Thing is most people can't have adult conversations, even adults.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 



Not trying to toot my own horn but I am a hoot. And there are plenty of people like me. If players constantly set characters up in a min/maxed from I will ask them to stop and if they don't they are gone from the game as simple as that. We are there to have fun, not for one person to over shadow everyone else. Min/maxers are the worst thing about this hobby, sure everyone want's a good character, but when you go out of your way to pick the best/most broken option and try to bend the rules to your character I get annoyed, it's a RPG not a MMO. Also yes I would attempt to adjust my on playstyle to suit the DM, if he/she isn't having fun, then no one else will, simple as that.




What exactly defines fun?  Is it everyone getting along at the table, sharring stories and good times?  Why does that have to be exclusive to non-power gaming only?

If you could elaborate why exactly and in what situations these power gamers are over-shadowing everyone else's characters I'd appreciate that.

I mean this as not an attack just trying to understand your point of view.
Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.

Yep, players can get irritating sometimes, but dealing with it in-game has an extremely poor track record throughout the hobby. It's better not to game with people with whom you're not comfortable having an adult conversation.



Thing is most people can't have adult conversations, even adults.





When you say most people whom do you speak of?  I was wondering how many people you've spoken to that can't have adult conversations? 
Thing is you can't always do that. I lay the smack down on power gamers when i DM, I can't stand them. They eitehr change their ways or they are gone. One warning, thats it.

Yep, players can get irritating sometimes, but dealing with it in-game has an extremely poor track record throughout the hobby. It's better not to game with people with whom you're not comfortable having an adult conversation.

Thing is most people can't have adult conversations, even adults.

I can see why you might think that. Still, keep at it. An attempt at an adult, up-front conversation is far better than trying to teach someone a lesson or put them in their place purely with the rules.

(Not that I'm innocent of thinking that way. I was just talking about how I would have liked to yank the rug out from under some powergamers at an LFR game I ran, and part of my "don't make killing the monsters the only way to win" approach, is to slightly subvert the focus on damage output, defenses & healing. But being up-front really is the best approach, even if it's harder.)

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

(Not that I'm innocent of thinking that way. I was just talking about how I would have liked to yank the rug out from under some powergamers at an LFR game I ran, and part of my "don't make killing the monsters the only way to win" approach, is to slightly subvert the focus on damage output, defenses & healing. But being up-front really is the best approach, even if it's harder.)



Now that's interesting. I'd consider your solution less a subversion of powergaming and rather more correcting for the source of powergaming in the first place - D&D's assumed binary success/failure mode. I view that binary mode to be a flaw in the game that produces powergaming as an outcome rather than players just being jerks. Or is that six of one, half dozen of the other?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

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(Not that I'm innocent of thinking that way. I was just talking about how I would have liked to yank the rug out from under some powergamers at an LFR game I ran, and part of my "don't make killing the monsters the only way to win" approach, is to slightly subvert the focus on damage output, defenses & healing. But being up-front really is the best approach, even if it's harder.)

Now that's interesting. I'd consider your solution less a subversion of powergaming and rather more correcting for the source of powergaming in the first place - D&D's assumed binary success/failure mode. I view that binary mode to be a flaw in the game that produces powergaming as an outcome rather than players just being jerks. Or is that six of one, half dozen of the other?

Right, it's why some people don't consider powergaming and min/maxing to be dirty words. They figure it's what the game encourages them to do, and they're not wrong.

The approach I use if subversive when I don't let the players in on it in advance. I should expect that they expect that they win if they kill all the monsters and that if they spend every action on attacks they will accomplish that goal. If they kill all the monsters and then I tell them that they were only partially successful (or not successful at all) that's likely not to be well-received, even if a reasonable person would find the result interesting.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Right, it's why some people don't consider powergaming and min/maxing to be dirty words. They figure it's what the game encourages them to do, and they're not wrong.

The approach I use if subversive when I don't let the players in on it in advance. I should expect that they expect that they win if they kill all the monsters and that if they spend every action on attacks they will accomplish that goal. If they kill all the monsters and then I tell them that they were only partially successful (or not successful at all) that's likely not to be well-received, even if a reasonable person would find the result interesting.



Okay, I see what you mean. I also like your choice of the words "not wrong" rather than "right." Telling.

My supposition is that those who consider powergaming or min/maxing to be dirty words fall into one or two of the following categories: (1) Those who have a stake in the outcome of an encounter because of "plot reasons" and/or (2) Those who haven't figured out that alternative goals/objectives are a viable, possibly even preferable, way to run D&D encounters.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith



Not trying to toot my own horn but I am a hoot. And there are plenty of people like me. If players constantly set characters up in a min/maxed from I will ask them to stop and if they don't they are gone from the game as simple as that. We are there to have fun, not for one person to over shadow everyone else. Min/maxers are the worst thing about this hobby, sure everyone want's a good character, but when you go out of your way to pick the best/most broken option and try to bend the rules to your character I get annoyed, it's a RPG not a MMO. Also yes I would attempt to adjust my on playstyle to suit the DM, if he/she isn't having fun, then no one else will, simple as that.




What exactly defines fun?  Is it everyone getting along at the table, sharring stories and good times?  Why does that have to be exclusive to non-power gaming only?

If you could elaborate why exactly and in what situations these power gamers are over-shadowing everyone else's characters I'd appreciate that.

I mean this as not an attack just trying to understand your point of view.




(This is coming from mainly 3.5 and 4e experience) 
Power gamers in general take the the spotlight in normal combats. They try and be the baddest person out there (mostly by customizing their characters to the point of where they have no weakness, on the combat side of things that is). While doing this they can take the fun of dealing damage and feeling important in the party away from others. You truly feel useless when some guy is running around killing everything or stopping all of your plans just because he can. It gets worse when they multiclass into other classes, they then normally try to take over your role in the party and do it "better" because of their power gaming self. They also tend not to care what others think in terms of Roleplaying (this is just the common min/maxer, I know there are some that attempt to roleplay), most I've seen will completely ditch others plans and go straight to the: "answer or I'm gonna use my + over 9,000 attack bonus to own you" crap. And most I've seen wanna skip the parts where other's character may come in and play an important part in the story and go straight back to them killing everything. 

(Again this is personal experience, and experiences from friends) 

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 



(This is coming from mainly 3.5 and 4e experience) 
Power gamers in general take the the spotlight in normal combats. They try and be the baddest person out there (mostly by customizing their characters to the point of where they have no weakness, on the combat side of things that is). While doing this they can take the fun of dealing damage and feeling important in the party away from others. You truly feel useless when some guy is running around killing everything or stopping all of your plans just because he can. It gets worse when they multiclass into other classes, they then normally try to take over your role in the party and do it "better" because of their power gaming self. They also tend not to care what others think in terms of Roleplaying (this is just the common min/maxer, I know there are some that attempt to roleplay), most I've seen will completely ditch others plans and go straight to the: "answer or I'm gonna use my + over 9,000 attack bonus to own you" crap. And most I've seen wanna skip the parts where other's character may come in and play an important part in the story and go straight back to them killing everything. 

(Again this is personal experience, and experiences from friends) 



I don't know, I think we're getting into Stormwind Fallacy territory here.

Some people like making up effective characters, and some people like playing around with the character builder trying to find cool combinations and testing them out.  And, sometimes combat is more fun when you have a cool mechanical schtick.  I know I've been trying out a few combinations recently that have been a blast in combat (Human Scout with Throw and Stab, lazy warlord/bard, Seeker|Fighter with Deft Hurler) and turned out fairly effective.

Is there anything really wrong with that?  Does enjoying hucking a greataxe around a room for a fair bit of damage somehow make me a bad player?  Does it somehow invalidate the roleplaying I do?  Does it mean I don't have fun doing both?  I don't think so.

And, to some extent, picking effective powers and feats is the intuitive and natural way to build your character once you figure out your way around a character sheet.

Also, because of the diversity of roles and relative class balance in 4e, no character can take on every role.  Unless you're a bard, you only have one multiclass slot, and one multiclass cleric feat does not a leader make.  And while you can spread out over a couple roles, multiclassing and hybriding takes resources (feat slots, powers, ability scores) away from your main role.  Since no one can fill every role, everyone still does get some time to shine.  Your uber-optimized rogue might dish out a lot of damage, but the Mul Warden is a superstar at holding the line.  Just because someone's striker is deadly doesn't mean I don't get to have fun as a controller messing with team monster.  Also, these roles tend to work together - my heals and buffs as a leader may make my defender more effective.

And, a couple powergamers can have fun working together at the table, working out an effective combo between them or as a party.  If I'm dishing out radiant vulnerability and my buddies are all blasting the enemy with radiant damage, we're all in the spotlight (no pun intended).
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />IMHO, the only time when powergamers are a real problem are if they start bragging too much, or complaining about other players' characters.  But, I can count on one hand the number of people I've played with who did that.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
Power gaming isn't always bad. I play in an online game as an unoptimized, but still very good in combat Elf Paladin with Pact Initiate (The multiclass Warlock feat from PHB1). I shield my allies since I'm a protecting paladin, come up with various kooky plans, shoot crossbow bolts, slice  enemies, and I'm the face of the party with a high Cha and trained in Diplomacy and Bluff. He plays a heavily optimized Goliath Barbarian with a much, much higher HP then me, a better armor class, and various powers to knock enemies on their butts. He's a nice guy, and together we are the two more proactive party members, and I can be as useful as him in any situation except pure close-range slaughter.. What I'm trying to say is that an optimized PC dosen't mean he steals the spotlight, or is a jerk.
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While doing this they can take the fun of dealing damage and feeling important in the party away from others. You truly feel useless when some guy is running around killing everything or stopping all of your plans just because he can.



This is only true if (1) the DM's encounters are designed such that damage always means success and (2) the DM has a stake in the outcome of the encounter.

You, the DM, can control these two things which is why I point them out. Perhaps that'll help take the powergamer hate out of you.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith