Good Powergamers in D&D exist!

Good Powergamers

Normally when we hear about powergamers we hear about the bad things that can come with them, and never about good powergamers in D&D. I will address how to deal with bad powergamers later, but powergaming is not a bad thing. Let’s break down what power gaming is and why it can be a good thing.

Good powergamers in D&D are those who will work with the group, not detract from the fun, and work with the dungeon master.

Powergaming in combat

Powergaming is when a player tries to min-max their character, make the best out of their character creation, and tries to use the tools at their disposal in the best possible manner. There may be times when a powergamer gets out of hand, but good powergamers enhance the game.

I wrote an article about improving combat which is fine and dandy, but spicing up combat is where you generally need power gamers in order for the party to survive. I generally try to improve combat, and many parties end up failing when they face these new and interesting monsters. Why is that?

Why do people fail at dealing with these new problems? Sometimes players make terrible decisions stat wise and end up crippling their character. Sometimes players are not able to make the best use of the environment and end up failing. Good powergamers in D&D help your party survive and make combat more interesting.

Without good powergamers, you will end up having to deal with lackluster combat and you cannot take your game to that next combat level. Strangely with no powergaming your game’s combat will suffer.

Roleplay

At first, many powergamers come from purely combat games like Warhammer or video games. They can come from any host of hobbies, but pure combat is the focus of those hobbies. If these players are used to combat and making the best out of it, then they will help you improve your game’s combat which is great but what about roleplay?

Many powergamers get a bad rap for not being able to roleplay and there is some truth to this. If you are just used to playing a game about combat and start playing a game that involves caring for a pet with your friends, you would be a little lost too. These players are introduced to a foreign concept and are jumping into a game with a strange new focus. They will not understand roleplaying at first, and this is okay.

Roleplaying isn’t something that many people just pick up right away. Generally, it takes some time to nurture that instinct and you can help them by making non combat encounters. If you make non combat encounters enough and give rewards for non combat encounters that are equal to or possibly better than combat, most good powergamers in D&D will see this and adapt. After all, they are trying to get the most out of the game so why not?

They are invested

If you have good powergamers in D&D they will look at the system and figure out what is the best option for their character. In addition, they will look and figure out what is the best thing to do in game and act upon it. How many times has your party floundered around not knowing what to do, or instead do something completely stupid that makes you question the intelligence of the people around you?

Good powergamers will get invested in many different aspects of the game that does not just involve their character sheet or other numbers. Remember how we talked about getting powergamers into roleplay? If they are invested in roleplay, your powergamers will become some of the most invested roleplayers in the party.

Good powergamers will make up new objectives and keep the party going forward. These people will make it to the game more often and be there for you to play with. Good powergamers are a blessing in disguise to a dungeon master, because they will also help with the rules if something is unclear. To be fair, good power gamers are not rules lawyers, but are instead rules advocates.

Rules advocates

Rules lawyers try to fight in order to get what they want under the guise of the rules. Instead are just trying to manipulate the dungeon master 90% of the time.

Rules advocates are there to help remind or tell the dungeon master and others about the rules. If the dungeon master says that he/she understands but isn’t going to follow the rules for x reason, then the rules advocate generally backs down (unless the reason is extremely poor like saying ‘because I said so.’). Rules advocates will even tell the dungeon master about a rule that would not benefit the advocate, which is a huge difference from a rules lawyer.

Many good powergamers in D&D are rules advocates and want the game to be played according to the rules so that they understand the world. This stops the players from feeling powerless and losing their sense of agency, which is awesome! Instead of guessing when you have crossed a line, the powergamer will most of the time tell you. This helps you run and improve the game so that everyone ends up having fun.

Being good with the rules is a great thing for the players and dungeon master as long as that person is not a rules lawyer, or too pushy.

Good powergamers are not pushy

Many bad powergamers have the tendency to impose their will upon others. “Jim, you are a warlock. You have to take the charisma bonus damage to your eldritch blast. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and shouldn’t play a warlock. This will be better than you being able to read any language since this is more applicable, and reading languages is worthless.”

That player may be correct. How many times does a player shoot eldritch blast as a warlock? I am pretty sure that the number of times eldritch blast is used is much higher than a warlock encountering a written language that they do not know, but that isn’t the point. A player wants to do something for roleplay purposes, and the other player should respect this.

A good powergamer will instead say something like this. “Jim, you are a warlock. You will most likely use your eldritch blast more than anything else. You might want to boost that instead of chancing us to coming across some unknown language. Besides, the wizard can use comprehend language anyway.” The player still says they want to read unknown languages, and the good powergamer lets it slide. A bad powergamer will keep pushing.

At this point, the good powergamer has given a suggestion while the bad one has more or less commanded that the other person fit the powergaming playstyle.

Good powergamers in D&D let others play their own way, and don’t force them to become powergamers.

They let others play

Why is your powergamer a powergamer? Is it because they want to be the best in the group? If so, then this is a terrible motivation since they will impose their will upon others. If your powergamer instead wants to play the best possible character that they can, this is good since they will want to help others, but let them play their own way.

Good powergamers realize that they are playing in order to increase their chances of success, but do not force this on others. If a player wants to make a rogue that has 16 charisma, 7 dexterity, and 6 strength because it is funny and they want to pretend to be a bard then all the more power to them. The powergamer will advise against this, but let it go so that the other person can play how they want.

Good powergamers in D&D let others play, but how can they help other players?

Helping others

Have you ever had that rogue who didn’t remember what abilities they had? Perhaps it was a ranger who never properly used hunter’s mark and forgot until it was too late. Good powergamers in D&D help others remember these small steps, and make your group do what they intended. A mere reminder is all it takes, and others in your group slowly start to appreciate the powergamer’s conscientiousness.

Powergamers can help players understand how a certain rule works. How many times have you had to explain the action economy? How many times have players just forgot how to play, or not understood simple rules that they should know?

A good powergamer is a great asset to the players and dungeon master, helping make sure that the game goes along smoothly. No one will end up mad because they just forgot their abilities, or should have done x but forgot about it. Powergamers can be a great asset.

More interesting games.

Your powergamers are not just assets for helping people understand the rules. Powergamers can help other players become competent. Remember those suggestions earlier and how a good powergamer is not pushy? Eventually, 3 or 4 levels later the player who refused the powergamer’s help may have realized the mistake. Their character is not doing well in combat, and would have a tough time beating a wall. Now they can come to the powergamer and ask to improve their combat capabilities.

Not only are they improving now, but that player in the future will make more competent characters while pursuing their own goals. This makes your entire party able to survive combat more effectively and lets you add spice to your combat.

Your fights and game can now be more interesting with you desigining more complex fights, and your players will surprise you in a good way in the future instead of surprising you with how incompetent these people are.

Conclusion

There are good powergamers in D&D out there, and these people are not bad for your game. Good powergamers are a huge asset and will help improve not only your players, but your entire game.

There are always bad powergamers, but they are covered in a different article.

I hope that this negative stigma against powergamers goes away in the future, and that only good powergamers emerge.

This has been Wizo and keep rolling!


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