Understanding Gamers: The Bad Guy and The Power Gamer


We have a new mini-department here at The Geeky Manifestos called “Understanding Gamers”. This is to help players not only understand themselves but also deal with and understand other types of gamers. Today we are starting with two well known types in gaming: The Bad Guy and The Power Gamer. Two types of players that are annoying by themselves, but worse when they are together.

The Bad Guy: Traits and Attributes
~ Player has decided to be the loner in a group of good people
~Bad guys usually are players that like to start problems with others.
~ Has a history of being a “chaotic” alignment, or doesn’t play their correct alignment as well.
~ Bad guys like to be drama starters, I’ve met Bad Guys who have thrown bombs into rooms to open the door and do other insane things, that a simple “spot” check would have resolved.

When you need to have a conversation with them:

~Conflict in gaming, is not always a bad thing. Many ideas and new thoughts have come thanks to conflict.  However, when the conflict is so negative that it makes the party unhappy or hinders progression of the game, then it is time to talk to them and let them know.

~ If the player takes their aggressive attitudes outside of gaming and into the regular world. This sometimes makes the party feel weird, especially if they do or say some really unacceptable things.

~ If at any time there are serious complaints from other people in the party.  If this happens, it’s best to utilize conflict management in order to help all parties come to an acceptable agreement.

The Power Player Attributes:

~ Utilizes the game rules to create a character that would be declared “unbeatable”.

~ Player/Character does things that inhibit the actions of other players, or discredits other players ideas and actions. In doing this, they further their own character’s power.

~ The Power Gamer usually makes the rest of the party feel inadequate and unable to do anything due to the overpowered character’s dominating presence.

When you need to have a conversation with them:

~ To begin with, you as the DM reserve the right to curb the player in the begining by checking their character sheet for any signs of overpowering. Some tell-tale signs are mutil-classing, multi-racing, having stats that are higher than average(usually more than three 16s or higher as  ability stats), weapons and armor choices. If you feel they are playing the system, you have to say “no.” and work with that player to make a better fitting character. If they do not, then they have the right to leave and you maintain a clear conscience.

~ If it happens later in the game due to an event gone weird, or acquiring of items you have the right and ability as the DM to either tone down the item or if possible, you can weave the revocation of the power into the story. If this happens and the player is unhappy about it, you can talk to them about it and explain why this happens. This is a more amicable way of keeping the game fair without drama.

~If that doesn’t work, you will come to the point where talking to the player about changing it up. If they are not happy about it, they are able to leave if they wish.  If they change it but continue to abuse the game system, you reserve the right to tell them to leave your table and not come back. Normally no one wants this, but you gotta do what you gotta do for the good of the others at your table!

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One comment on “Understanding Gamers: The Bad Guy and The Power Gamer

  1. Don’t forget the Rules Lawyer. This is the gamer that can be a PITA.

    One game I was in, the DM gave a player a magical rapier (a +2 rapier and a +3 when used in a sneak attack situation). All through the campaign, the player was using it and, at almost every use, the Rules Lawyer was questioning every little thing about what that player was doing. it finally got to the point where when the player was describing the situation, he would look over at the Lawyer and ask “If this is fine by you.”

    The DM difused the situation rather quickly (much to his credit), but it stuck in my craw. The DM allowed it, it wasn’t something that was totally broken or anything like that, and the Lawyer just couldn’t accept that.

    I do fully support the rules and such, but if it’s something that makes a player happy, isn’t totally broken, and enhances the story, then I’m all for it.

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