I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about Min-Maxing lately, and there’s a lot of people all for it. I’m a numbers guy, so I can fully appreciate the time and effort it takes to create these works of art. I’ve seen players spend days creating the perfect character, thumbing through feats, planning out exactly how they plan to level up their character. I was somewhat guilty of this as a player, and for good reason. There’s always something gratifying about creating a rogue that does more damage than the fighter. I enjoy being that guy sometimes.
To the rest of the party, however, you’re kind of a dick. Sure, they may be stoked about you getting that massive hit on the green dragon that you were fighting, or that you cleared out a room of goblins on your own…or they are probably a little displeased with the game after hearing about your 60+ points of damage at level 5 when they are rolling a D8 and hoping for 8 damage. It comes down to the famous line from Jurassic Park:
If you are the only one min-maxing in your party, you’re probably going to find the party revolting against you at some point in time. In the case of also having newbies in your game, they are probably going to lose interest in the game pretty quick if they are the weak ones. I’ve been guilty of this more times than not. I find that the story somehow revolves around my character since I’m the most excited one, due to how well my character is doing in the game. I eventually saw the fallout of this as other players became disinterested. Around this time, I began to see the error of my ways and focused on creating more realistic characters.
I had a DM that focused primarily on min-maxing. If he ever played, he played a min-maxed character every time. When I played with him, we ended up competing, and it was fun until it really wasn’t anymore. The whole point about RPGs, in general, is to play as a group. It’s not about your individual desire to build the most badass character that ever walked the world that was created in your DM’s mind. It’s your job to make a character worth playing. Sometimes that comes with disadvantages, but that’s all good in the world of make believe. You get to explore what it would be like to be a one-eyed pirate or a swashbuckler with six fingers who killed Inigo Montoya’s father. Or, you could be Inigo Montoya.
I once played a mute character. This was probably the most fun our party had at this point due to how involved everyone had to be because I literally did not say a word for hours on end. Maybe it was fun just because no one had to listen to me. I’ll never know, but that campaign lasted longer than many others I’ve been in. If you look at long time players, there’s a reason they don’t have the most powerful characters ever-it’s more fun to play one that is interesting and more difficult to play than one that is overly powerful. In the case of min-maxing vs. true role playing, role playing is going to get you a lot farther than min-maxing will for full enjoyment, no matter how much damage you miss out on. If you are like me and roll your dice terribly, then you’ll get more out of it this way as well.
© 2016, Randy Schmidt. All rights reserved.