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D&D 3E
Munchkin resolution 
16th-Feb-2006 09:26 am
mjbotdf
Not that I expect anyone cares anymore, but if you're interested as to how the whole Munchkin drama has played out, here are the appropriate emails:

DM,
I think I understand the issues you have raised. I see several solutions to the problems you have mentioned.

But first I feel I should mention something. The whole card thing wasn't about greed. I don't care if I have the card or Shwika or Attila the Hun does. It was about not liking idiotic behavior on Stormwind's part being rewarded. No matter what he does, he can walk away unscathed. I like the idea of the card being buried a lot better. So the actual motivation was to spite fate, not to satisfy greed.

Here are the solutions I came up with In order of most to least extreme:

1) New character. I retire Khadgar and play Stormwinds shocker lizard instead. Although extreme, this does solve all the issues you mentioned. The shocker lizard is not offensive to other party members, has no valuables to speak of, it is not socially advantaged, it is not overpowered, it will be unable to recruit armies and is very limited in its functionality. Also, it solves the problem of you having to introduce a new character.

2) Radical alignment change. He gets hit with a powerful cleric spell or visited by Bob Marley's ghost etc. that makes him go lawful. I could do this myself without any such event, but it wouldn't make sense and would seem wierd to the other players. Additionally, if he were to go lawful good then he could turn into mother Teresa and give away all his money and belongings and be on more fair ground with everyone else.

3) The book of Job solution. Take away the things you don't like. Maybe a competetor slanders him, burns down his house and hires thugs of his own to rob Khadgar, leaving him without station or assets. He can then rely on the charity of the university staff for the means to research a spell or two every now and then.

4) I homogenize Khadghar. To solve the current problems I can:
a) Stop trying to recruit armies or spend money on anything except wizarding
b) stop taking my share of party winnings since I already have too much
c) I bury the card with the intent of digging it up in 10 years when nobody is looking for it anymore and insure that all scrying attempts, including my own, fail. In the meantime Stormwind's ghostly parents can tell him where it is buried or something.
d) Find a reason to disarm the defenses on my house and stop socializing with aristocracy (though I'm still puzzled as to why these are an issue)

Solving future problems is the real issue. The only way I know how to do that is to play an uncomplicated character and stop doing plot sidelines. Yes I read your response, but the fact remains that you dislike every one of the sideline ideas I have attempted as well as the personality of the character. The best way I know to prevent future problems is to dissolve both.
This is what leads me to think that playing a shocker lizard may be preferable. It's totally uncomplicated, party friendly, and yet still mildly interesting.

Just let me know what is most preferable.
-Munchkin


After much eye-rolling, I told him to just roll up a new character.

DM,
I've been thinking about it and I think we can keep Khadgar. I've come up with a long list of ideas of how to get rid of or return the card. Also, I think I can cut down on shopping trips and spend money pretty exclusively on just wizard stuff now.

As for other things you don't like, rather than asking people to create new characters, I think it would be better to just state which behaviors you don't want in your campaign. It is perfectly reasonable to ban robbing, attacking or otherwise harming other party members. Also, if you don't want people to be evil, say so (be sure to define evil for us though).

As for the alignment problem, I think it may be more widespread than you realize. Khadgar was not the first person to try stealing from a party member, or even the second. He was the THIRD. In addition to Shwika brazenly robbing people, Stormwind tried robbing Khadgar FIRST! The only difference was that he was an idiot about it and failed.

As for being outright evil, I think Khadgar is no worse than Shwika, Stormwind or Thugwar. Thugwar (despite Khadgar advising him to let it go), beat an innocent man senseless because he felt like it. Stormwind hires people and marches them to their deaths. Stormwind recklessly but knowingly endangers human life at every possible occasion. Both Stormwind and Thugwar killed clerics when they should have run (again against the advice of Khadgar). Thugwar and Stormwind have commited murder, and Khadgar has not (nor was it part of the plan to do so). Shwika framed innocent people for theft and set kingdoms on a course for war. She doesn't care about people being killed, as shown by smashing the elemental gems. She wouldn't have had a qualm if innocent people were massacred. Actually, Khadgar is the only one to have shown an enemy mercy (Oroc). If he weren't there Oroc would have been killed in battle with all the others.

Thus, if I need to roll up a new character, I feel that so should Shwika, Stormwind and Thugwar. However, I don't think that is necessary. Just tell us what you want and we can play by those rules.


To which I responded...
Munchkin,

I feel like you keep missing the point.

Robbing someone isn't in and of itself chaotic evil. It *IS* chaotic, yes, but you can be chaotic good and still rob someone if you felt like it was helping someone else (ie, Robin Hood). So your argument there does not hold merit. Shwika and Stormwind are both kind of chaotic - I think Shwika even has it stated on her sheet. That was never something in dispute. As far as "defining evil," really now, having been a DM, you should have a pretty good idea what this means. If you are uncertain as e else has been playing, I direct you to http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dnd/20001222b - answer for the character in question.

Thugwar's fistfight with Bruce was not evil. He created an extensive background for his character, and while Bruce the Bear was innocent of the kidnapping, he has been guilty of a whole host of things towards Thugwar and his family. In addition, Thugwar's killing the cleric was not evil, as it was not premeditated. It wasn't the best or the smartest thing to do, but still not Evil. (And Khadgar didn't tell him not to; Khadgar was out flying around with the brazier.)

I would not call Stormwind evil. Yes, one of the teamsters on his expedition died, but he did not hire them with the intent to kill them - it was a most unfortunate accident. And as for "recklessly but knowingly endanger[ing] human life at every possible occasion"? Please, elaborate. The wereboar thing was kind of reckless, but he labored to protect the farmer's family, rather than running off and letting it eat them for dinner. In reviewing my notes, that's the only major reckless incident I have recorded. Also, he did not kill a cleric last session. A few of them got low on hit points, but no one died. Perhaps you would care to enlightenme on my oversights?

I won;t deny that those who run Shwika's organization are quite chaotic evil. However, I'm not sure that extends to Shwika; she is being compelled to commit these acts. Were she to refuse, she would be killed immediately. I suppose it's possible that she could be considered chaotic evil; however, she has not caused any bodily harm to party members.

Overall, however, the reason I have asked you to roll up a new character is not simply because your alignment is going down the crapper. It is because, after discussing with Thugwar and Stormwind, there's no longer any conceiveable way to keep the party together. As soon as you get back to Vanwisse, they're going to take you to a temple for questioning with a Zone of Truth or Discern Lies, and then that will be the end of it. It doesn't matter if Khadgar lives or dies; he won't be accompanying the party on any more adventures.

I'm a believer in letting you do what you want and letting you reap the consequences in-game. As a former DM, you should know enough to figure out whether it will be something that is helpful or harmful to the party as a whole. And don't say I didn't warn you that robbing Stormwind would be bad mojo. Remember, that's why you put the card back on him the first time!

My decision still stands - I would really prefer that you roll up a new character. I suppose Lauren can if she really, really wants to, but her character will still have good reasons to stay with the party (that I will not elaborate on at this time). Please let me know what you come up with. And if you are interested in exploring unusual character options (ie, a humanoid race found in the monster manual, or a race found someplace other than the core rulebooks), let me know and I'll tell you what's kosher.

-DM


If you read this far, I'm terribly impressed with you. : At any rate, he should have a new character next session.

I'm not looking for advice, really - your advice previously was fabulous and well-taken. But if you're in the mood to rant about annoying people and Munchkinness, well, here's your chance. :D
Comments 
16th-Feb-2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
Ah, I have been there as an assistant DM and I bailed out on the situation before it got ugly. I killed off the first munchkin and I was treated so coldly in real life that it was kind of scary.

Really, I wouldn't even let him roll up another character... Instead, have him sit in a few games and watch the others. Let him just take in the experience of being a part of the group without actually having a character. Then when he calms down and understands some, then he can jump in.

If you have your heart set on having a new character, reign this 'kin in! He wants simple, he can do simple. A dim witted LN fighter that FOLLOWS orders. Sometimes you just have to assign characters, other times you just have to let them move along.

And yes, I did read all the way through. I feel for you! Good luck!
16th-Feb-2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
There's a GOliath in my game. He's a fighter. He used to weild a Goliath-sized spiked chain. I put the Kaibosh on that. Now, he has a Goliath Great Hammer. He made Two Velociraptors into Gumbo. In one swing.

He's about a hiarsbredth from meeting Mr. Rust Monster.
16th-Feb-2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
Read all the way through. ;D No worries, I understand your situation perfectly.

Kudos to you, my friend. Kudos to you.

Munchkin nicely dealt with. Of course future characters may cause different problems, but hopefully that won't be the case. I couldn't have handled the situation better myself. Honestly, removing the character for in-game reasons rather than out-of-game reasons is the best way. If a cahracter is a jerk, he gets voted off the island and there may or may not be another sucker to replace him. ;D
16th-Feb-2006 07:43 pm (UTC)
Well handled, I think. Rather interesting (although typical) how he keeps trying to shift the blame from himself to others.

Good luck with his new PC.
16th-Feb-2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
OK, NOW I'll troll for advice if you don't mind...

DM,
I feel like you keep missing the point.
It is complete crap that Sweika can rob party members, and Stormwind can
rob party members and I have to roll up a new character when I do it.

Hello, didn't I say that ROBBING WAS NOT THE PROBLEM???

If this was a problem you should have said so the first time, or even the second time. I'm not rolling up a new character if they don't have to.

Furthermore, They have NO in-game reason to suspect Khadgar. They have
only meta-game thinking that you encourage. They know only what you have
told them OUTSIDE gameplay.

Which is SO untrue. Stormwind didn't know, but Thugwar came up with the Zone of Truth bit before I let him know what was going on. The only people who knew about this card were the party members - certainly not humans in a distant land.

Even if they were allowed to do what you are saying he would just use the card to never have arranged to have stolen it in the first place.
Wouldn't using a one-use magical item be counterproductive anyways? I mean, it would disappear or stop being magical, and Stormwind would STILL find out that some bad voodoo's been going on.

There's plenty of other games worth playing. I've tried being pretty
reasonable and flexible about this, but if you are bent on killing my
character then we can play something else.
Sincerely,
Munchkin


This seriously makes me want to quit being a DM. *cries* And if he goes, his wife will go, and then we have half a group. So I'm not keen on the player leaving. Help?
16th-Feb-2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Well, if he wants to be childish about it, then I say let him go. It's a pity about his wife, and it totally screws over the rest of the group.

If he has no problem with leaving other people out to dry simply because he wants to act like an infant, then that's really his problem.

Worse comes to worst, you can rework the game so that challenges call for less people. I've had great experiences running a game with only two players before. It can be challenging, but rewarding. :)
16th-Feb-2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
You could try reiterating the points again, but I doubt he'll get it. He's just making trouble to make trouble at this point.

As to the card use in that circumstance, that's a DM call. You can rule it how you like, but I'd probably rule that if he used it to have not stolen it, then since he didn't steal it (in the wished-upon reality), then he therefore hadn't used it, and therefore it was still usable.

Having lost players to stupid things like this before, I can honestly say that your game will be MUCH nicer once he's gone. Even with only two players-- but they'll be two players that are enjoyable to play with. This will make the game more fun for you and for them.

And if you really are feeling shorthanded on players, recruit some new ones. There are lots of places around relatively locally that are good sources to find players. Or see if some of your other close friends might be interested.
16th-Feb-2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
Real life does sometimes make it difficult. We had a breakup in our game that almost threw everything we had worked for all to hell, but then we got one new player and everything was fine.

But seriously, he's taken this way beyond reasonable. If this were me, I'd realize what I'd done and make a character who was more reasonable in the party. I've done it before, for even less reason (I made a paladin in a world where the DM had made it IMPOSSIBLE to be lawful good (read: if we changed any major events, the world would collapse, so he would have watched evil and not done anything to avert it)so, I rerolled a vigilante type character who was amicable and fun, and the game went on as before). If he's not willing to try again, you're done with him.

#1 object of the game: have a good time..and you and your players are not.
16th-Feb-2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
Furthermore, They have NO in-game reason to suspect Khadgar. They have only meta-game thinking that you encourage. They know only what you have told them OUTSIDE gameplay.

Metagaming is often hauled out as a terrible sin against the game -- but the simple fact is that metagaming that makes the game more fun for EVERYBODY (instead of just one person) is a good thing.

There's nothing wrong with a player thinking "well, I should stand up and help that strangers, because he's a PC played by my friend."

There's nothing wrong with a player thinking "Ok, Khadgar is a greedy guy who'd like to rob party members, but it wouldn't be fun for the players if do. So, I'll just have Khadgar decide he wants these folk at his back, and not rob from them."

And, as much as your muchkin (sic) won't like to admit it, there's nothing wrong with a player thinking "I saw that player do things to my PC, so I'm going to have my PC be suspicous of him because of a hunch."


There are RPGs where it's player-vs-player, but D&D isn't one of them.
17th-Feb-2006 12:27 am (UTC)
If his character is breaking the game, he can't play it. Period. (And yes, I did read through the whole thing, though I'm not sure I understand all the campaign specifics). So either he can roll up a different character, or he can not play. It won't be fun for everyone else if he continues playing the broken character, so he can't do it.

And if he wants to leave and he takes his wife with him... well that's too bad. Maybe he should learn to play with others (or maybe his wife should stick around cause she likes playing. But if not...

My favorite campaign was with 3 people (two player and a DM). It was great because you could really focus on the character's goals without it detracting from the rest of the party's. Not to mention that encounters become more interesting when you aren't just going around the table having all 5 or 6 players attack the bad guy. Smaller groups give you flexibility and customization - and the games are often funner if you know and work well with the other players.

I'm usually one to try and make things work out (like I'm not going to kick out my powergamer, as much as I want to), but if he suggests it's time to quit, I say take him up on it. Don't let one bad player ruin your game.
17th-Feb-2006 03:12 am (UTC)
Well I think that hes said his own farewell.

Anytime a player of mine stated that there were other games out there, I smiled and opened the door and said "Good, cause your not playing in this one anymore."

My advice (coming from over 20 years gaming and DMng) kick the bastard out and if his wife goes, so be it. You can always get more players or work with the group you have right now. Smaller groups allow you as a GM to grow and learn more of the rules and nuances of the game.
17th-Feb-2006 04:54 am (UTC)
*Deleted original and reposted to correct coding error*

I have to agree with armygrnt502 on this one. I think he can go and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

If his wife leaves, that her choice, of course. I haven't been following this from the beginning - is this a face-to-face game or a play-by-email game?
17th-Feb-2006 06:33 am (UTC)
Face-to-Face. Munchkin is my hubby's best friend from junior high times, and Stormwind is my hubby's old college roommate. It's them, their wives, hubby, and me.
18th-Feb-2006 12:46 am (UTC)
*sigh* That makes it quite a bit harder. You can't just stop emailing him and take him out of the group. As hard as it is, I have to say I think that he may just not be compatible with your gaming group. Sounds like it'd be best to cut your losses.

The other reason I asked about the email game is because I would volunteer myself to fill his shoes if that were the case...unless you're in Seattle and then we could arrange it face-to-face anyway. ;)
17th-Feb-2006 02:35 pm (UTC)
I think I missed something. Why did the PC's who got robbed not kill the Munchkin outright? It seems to me that at least they wouldn't go adventuring with someone who robbed them.

I'd give him a chance to stick around, but never forget that munchkinism is two ways: if they player did it, the DM allowed it. With the next character, you have to make damn sure he doesn't start down the same path. Is he really going to play a shocker lizard? Never happen in my campaign. I restrict it to the normal races, unless there's a really compelling reason not to. We had a hobgoblin, but that was it. And he was really an outcast.
17th-Feb-2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
The PC who was robbed wasn't robbed by him outright, he was robbed by a band of thugs hired by Munchkin. He & other PCs tracked down the thugs to their hideout, where they discovered that thugs were hired by a human "with a funny accent". Given that the only missing item was the card that only the PCs knew about, and they were well aware that Munchkin can cast Disguise Self and Alter Self, Thugwar heavily suspected Munchkin. They weren't going to be able to prove it til they got home and found a cleric to Discern Lies on him, so there was no justification for attacking him immediately.

I suppose the biggest failing in all this is my noobish, naive assumption that I can let the players do whatever they want and just let them reap in-game consequences. Now that there are in-game consequences that totally hose Munchkin over, he's getting all kinds of upset.

No, he's not really going to play a shocker lizard - that was just something stupid he came up with when he was upset. A new character would probably be a an elf cleric.
19th-Feb-2006 02:40 am (UTC)
MARK OF JUSTICE!!! But one that is cast on him by GOD, so he can't just buy a Remove Curse...
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