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> Twinking and You, Inspired by a discussion in another thread
ElFenrir
post Sep 12 2008, 04:07 PM
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So, in all of this, once again I ask...what is twinking? I'm actually thinking of writing an article on this for a 'zine I write for.

Thing is, everyone's kinda got a differing opinion of it. To some, twinking is flat-out being a munchkin-in my opinion, this is going to harsh. I always considered a munchkin in a class of their own-AKA a douchebag who wants to ruin fun at the table for everyone else and ''win the game'' no matter the cost. I won't even be discussing them here.

To some of you here-what do you consider twinking?

Say character A is an elf gunbunny adept-takes the soft-max Agility, maxes Pistols, takes Improved Pistols, specializes, and perhaps gets a personalized grip and smartlink. Character B is playing a dwarf magician; they soft-max Willpower and Logic, take Magic 5, get a power focus, and pump up Spellcasting and specialize in their choice of spelltype. Character C is a face who soft-maxes Charisma, takes adept powers, Kinesics, improved social skills, etc.

IMO, these characters are simply trying to be great at what they do. I never considered twinking and ''being awesome at something'' the same thing-but in addition, I never really thought twinking was bad necessarily.

In my mind, it goes from ''being awesome'', to ''twinking'' when the character starts to sacrifice a whole lot of stuff to be uber awesome instead of just awesome. Those three characters above, if made in that way, still have plenty of room to branch out(the gunbunny could make himself pretty nice in close combat as well, the dwarf could be a good techie on the side, the face also a hacker, for example.) Character A might hard-max Agility, take Aptitude, and the like. B might max Magic, hard-max Willpower, and the like; C could do the same thing.

I have that recent character I made, whom I wanted to be a techie who could take care of himself if a fight broke out. Since he's a changeling with Satyr Legs, I put a couple adept points into getting him some combat abilities, and took advantage of the fact he got a pretty nice kicking power bonus, has claws, and there is the Kick Attack maneuver. Likewise, a bit into Great Leap/Imp Gymnastics/Running takes advantage of his leg bonuses, as well. Is that twinking...or just taking advantage of something you have? Is it twinking to make ''The Poisoner Assassin'', whom uses mad Adept powers in getting Natural Immunity, and then make a Dwarf so you get the bonus to make him more resistant to toxins, so he can pull the ''hehe...I poisoned BOTH glasses!''

So where does ''twinking'' come in with you guys? Do you look at it as the same thing as ''wanting to be awesome?'' Is there usually great sacrifices involved? Does it involve ''creative rules interpretation?''

Just curious. We talk about twinks a lot, and started to discuss it in the Troll Tank thread, and judging by what folks say, it means something different to everyone.
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Magus
post Sep 12 2008, 05:12 PM
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(IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
I love twinkies! That soft and delicate yellow spongecake filled with that yummy sweet cream filling
Oh God that is so awesome.

When I twink out It is with the intention of making a God in mortal flesh. My pornomancer adept was a prime example.
I wanted to be able to command the board as in a game of chess with my voice alone. I did it, and it was not so fun. I soon retired him as an NPC face.
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paws2sky
post Sep 12 2008, 05:24 PM
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For me, the big difference is how far you go in building your character.

If you're making a characeter who's supposed to be really good at something, a specialist, you ought to soft maxing the linked attribute, max your skill, take a specialization, and getting a modest additional bonus (+2 or +3), either from magic, implants, or an equipment bonus. With that you should be looking at a 14-16 dice pool. You're extremely at what you do, but there are still a few people who are better. This, IMO, is not being twink-ish.

Compare to the character who breaks the 20+ dice pool mark, with maxed exceptional+optimized attribute, max skill, specialization, skill aptitude, maxed equipment bonuses, and so on. These characters squeak out every last possible trick to completely max their dice. There is no one better. You can't do anything else, but dammit, no one is better than you! And if something new comes out that lets you squeak out an extra die or two, you're all over it like flies on shit. Congrats, you are now a twink.

Hope that makes sense.

-paws
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Coldhand Jake
post Sep 12 2008, 05:47 PM
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I think it really comes in, not at the points value, but at the player. When you build "THE ULTIMATE SNIPER LIKE THAT GUY ON GHOST IN THE SHELL OMG", and crank and fine-tune your stats till you are, in fact, the best... how do you bring that to the table? Is it "This guy's based of Saito in GitS, he's got a cyber-eye, and satellite uplink, and enough military hacking progs to make it an autosuccess, and he drops over 30 dice to snipe ur ass." This is the guy who lords his build over other ranged combatants, casters, and anyone else he -percieves- getting into his area of expertise. And gods forbid you call his roleplay into question, becaue suddenly his seven-foot-long genitalia-substitute is poking your character in the chin like it's a bad porno. This is a munchkin, of the worst caliber.

Now, the exact same build can cross a table, and you get the player behind it going "This is Saito, yes, I know he's a ripoff, but I really liked the character and I'm not really that good at names or coming up with new character ideas on the fly. Mike helped me build this guy,(points at the munchkin) so he's alot like the original Saito. He's human, Japanese, dark-haired, and pretty quiet, one of those guys really focused on the job, and his obvious cyber probably isn't making him feel any more socially confident. He's a trained special forces guy, and can handle himself up close, and can stay quiet during an interrogation and study the target for signs of lying, but don't expect him to face. When we do runs, he'd prefer to handle any gunnery or sniping jobs, as that's where his skills are."
-This- player has the exact same sheet in front of him. But he knows how to bring a powerhouse concept to the table without stepping on toes, and saves his braggadocio for the NPCs, looking for sniper battles and high-intensity gunnery scenes. He's playing the character, not the sheet. You'd never know he was playing a complete twink build until those dice hit the table. If he's not trying to turn every fight into dragging out the damn sniper rifle, he's not outshining the whole party with that fat dice pool.

Attitude is everything.
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Tarantula
post Sep 12 2008, 05:50 PM
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Twinks and munchkins have the same kinds of characters. Twinks have them because they want to be the best at what they do. Muchkins have a different attitude, and want to beat everyone else at it.

Its all in the outlook/methodology.
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ArkonC
post Sep 12 2008, 06:20 PM
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QUOTE (Tarantula @ Sep 12 2008, 07:50 PM) *
Twinks and munchkins have the same kinds of characters. Twinks have them because they want to be the best at what they do. Muchkins have a different attitude, and want to beat everyone else at it.

Its all in the outlook/methodology.

QFT!
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Cain
post Sep 12 2008, 06:25 PM
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QUOTE (Tarantula @ Sep 12 2008, 09:50 AM) *
Twinks and munchkins have the same kinds of characters. Twinks have them because they want to be the best at what they do. Muchkins have a different attitude, and want to beat everyone else at it.

Its all in the outlook/methodology.

Got it in one.

It's not the min/maxing that twinks out a character. I've seen characters with 20+ dice who still came out well rounded, and I've seen much weaker characters that were still twinked out. It's all in the outlook, and attitude.
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Squinky
post Sep 12 2008, 06:43 PM
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I am sometimes called a twink or munchkin by my group (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

I sometimes have to stop myself, because things can go too far.

My name is Squinky....And I am a powergamer.... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

My main problem I have is this, when people tell me my character is too Uber.

If you were a person who put their life on the line, wouldn't you seek out this gear and upgrades? Wouldn't you want to be damned good at what you do?

So, I just get going down a path, and I have to actually make myself stop. Sure, I can make that cyborg with 40+ armor, but do I really want to?

I never sacrifice character for numbers, but I do tend to spend days building a character, and cross referencing them to death.
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PlatonicPimp
post Sep 12 2008, 06:44 PM
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No, no, he's got the right Idea. Both Twinks (which one possible etimology of is a corruption of tweak) and munchkins use the same skill set, but one uses it for good, the other for evil.

I can attest to this. I am a twink. Unashamedly so, and I'm damn good. At my FLGS, I swept every catagory of the first powergaming competition, and tied for first in the second. They simply cancelled the third when they saw my character build. When my friends tried their hands at game design, they brought their systems to me for me to break. In the game that gives you cancer, I once had a dwarven bard character build turned away from the table for being too powerful. A Dwarven Bard.

To me, Powergaming is an efficiency game. As a twink, I look to get the most out of every single resource a game gives me. For example, again in cancerland, the artificer class gives you a homunculus as a class feature. It's stats are so damn low that I don't think it could take a cat on, and it doesn't even provide feats for free like a spellcaster's familiar. But I found uses for that little guy, more than once bypassing carefully laid GM plans with creative use. That, to me, is twinking, not getting the highest number you can, neccessarily, but making full use of every resource you can get your hands on.

A munchkin always goes for the "best" character builds. You'd never catch one playing a technomancer pre-unwired, they'll always come to the table with the AR-hacking Street Sam, or the Pornomancer. You could almost always find their character build online somewhere as an example of where the rules break.

But as a twink, I choose a character type or role, and then put my powergaming to use to make what might otherwise have been ineffective into something awesome. Like a Homunculus that maps the dungeon while we sleep. How can my weakness become strength, how can this minor resource be turned to my advantage?

I'd love a twink as a player in my games. My GMs always loved me. Because My characters were always interesting, but never sacrificed effectiveness for it. Because I knew the rules better than them but fairly applied them, allowing them to concentrate on storytelling more. Because in the end, the good GM wants the characters to succeed, and I could make sure that happened. And because I usually gave character creation tips to the other players that tightened their character builds too.

Thats twinking and me.
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ReverendMo
post Sep 12 2008, 07:02 PM
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Pretty good point about everyone seeing it differently, I've had some very interesting debates (read: arguing and bickering) with numerous players in many different games over this. Apologies in advance to the long posting, just trying to be detailed.

In my mind there are three main types of twinking, most relating to the player and their relation to the group. Power level is a big portion of it, but I've seen huge differences cause no trouble and small ones bring down games just due to how the player handles things.

The first and most common type in my experience is the uber-specialist: Similar to the munchkin, this is the player that will do their best to start out as the de facto world-reknowned internationally famous superstar at X second to none. NPCs and other players are expected to laud and heap respect upon this twink for their epic-ness and the mention of their name causes their foes to hide in a corner and drek themselves. This type of twink can often be identified by the player attempting to justify using X for *everything* as well as frequent comments about how anything rated below a 5 is trash and/or a waste of time/nuyen/karma that could've gone into X instead. Not to be confused with a "normal" specialist that similarly focuses primarily on X but also has some skill elsewhere that they use, for example your Satyr tech specialist with some combat ability or perhaps the Sam with a bit of hacking who tries to crack the door code *before* jumping into blowing it to hell.

These guys can work in high-powered games, but can be a real problem if there's two with the same/similar focus or if a real challenge comes up as they often go ballistic trying to outdo/destroy anything that dares to not respect them enough.

The second type I admit I'm often guilty of: the long-term twink. We're the folk who make decent to sometimes really patheti-sad characters power-wise in exchange for the Advantages that, should the game run for a long enough period, can make the character sickeningly powerful. For example, a Pistols Street Sam with maybe two skills at 3, two attributes at 4, the rest 2<, but the Increased Max Attribute Agility, Increased Max Skill Pistols, etc. This type is rare as it takes patience to become a Master at whatever, and often starts with a lot of drawbacks: not as skilled, squishier, etc. Most twinks can't handle being not-the-best, let alone long enough for this method to pay off. Fortunately these twinks often work well with groups, especially as the char won't live long enough to become epic without help.

This type of twink can be difficult to spot because they're not usually overtly-twinkish and again usually try and work well with the group. Also often a hardcore roleplayer (because few others would willingly nerf themselves right off the bat). Can cause some trouble should the game last long enough for Advantages/Merits/etc to start really kicking in, but tends to take a long time.

The third and final type of twink is the Twink-of-All-Trades: Almost wholly created by the Rules Laywer, as few others truly know the ins and outs well enough to pull this one off. This would be the Full Mage with Biocompatability, Type-O System, social/mental boosting bioware, the hottest deck they can get their hands on with matching programs and Pilots, etc. This is the one that can singlehandedly replace over half the team, if not all, due to diligent minmaxing and often attempts to do just that, not noticing how many other toes they smash into dust.

That's my view and list, again sorry for the length hehe
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ElFenrir
post Sep 12 2008, 07:28 PM
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Oh, no problems. I mean, I'm glad I got these responses. Many of them really sort of also agree with my point of view.

I like to twink, judging by the description. I like to have a damn effective character. But yes, yes, and yes-it's attitude. I don't make someone awesome at X to beat the team-if it fits said character, it fits. Hell, you can have a great roleplayer at your table who doesn't try to outshine everyone with their awesomeness(like the GitS two examples), and the ''munchkin'' of the group might have LESS and be whining, moaning, and carrying on about it. In this case, the twink is much more welcome at my table, while the munchkin is not.

Interesting mention of the ''long term twink.'' Not really noticable right off the bat, but give them even something like 50-75 karma and watch.

The way I end up twinking is:

A. I like to be particularly good at something. If not awesome at one thing, really good at two things. I'm a ''hybrid'' kind of fan.

B. I always take character into consideration. If they have a drawback in my head, they have a drawback on the paper. Weaknesses aren't a bad thing with a character. I don't believe that you HAVE to gimp a character somewhere ''because you feel bad'', but realistic weaknesses are just fine.

C. I like lots of little rounding skills. Sometimes, after getting ''the biggies'', my skill lists look impossibly long due to the list of 1(+2)'s and 2(+2)s and the like. On the surface, when a character has this, they can indeed look overpowered(especially with a couple strong Attributes to back them up.) But even a character with a 5 charisma and all the social skills at 2(+2) isn't outfacing the team's face anytime soon. Help them? Certainly, and one of the awesome benefits of a face having friends good at social skills with the helping rule(group twinking!) Be able to fend for themselves socially if need be? Sure. But they aren't taking over their job. Likewise, the combat mage who'se physically adept with 4's and good skills in guns and his fists probably isn't taking Frank the Sam's job, but he's not going to have to run and dive in a dumpster when the first shots are taken-nor will he have to risk draining himself by only relying on spells.

I guess I go ''ok, so what are the top 2-3 things this character is going to be good at?'' And tweak up the appropriate attributes and skills from there.

Oh, and:

QUOTE
It's stats are so damn low that I don't think it could take a cat on


You do know what cats do to people in cancerland. It'd be a miracle if a homonculus could take on one. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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Nkari
post Sep 12 2008, 07:33 PM
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Im with platonicPimp here.. I LOVE rules.. I LOVE experimenting with diffrent builds.. I spend days sometimes getting every point out of a character.. because if shadowrun was real, I would do the exact same thing in the real world. I try to find uses for everything, and I try not to over specialice in one thing, but I make sure that I am damn good at what my main focus is, and try to be good at atleast 1-2 more things.. this is where I find 400 bp a bit to little, I prefere 450 bp.. then I can spend another 50 or so bp on secondary skills, I still only use 200 bp for stats etc..

I hate ppl who overspecialize.. thank god my gaming group have zero clues on how to build shadowrun chars.. =))
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Naysayer
post Sep 12 2008, 08:46 PM
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I think attitude is definitely a big part of it, as is intent. Striving for an effective character is no crime. This is a game, and the numbers are a part of this game. The schtick that only a crippled build with horrible stats is a viable roleplaying character has been up so many righteous butts that we shouldn't ever pick it up again.*

To me, there's nothing wrong with fiddling around with a build to squeeze out a die or two for skills that you feel fit your character, even if you pay for those with an allergy to latex. At least as you don't go overboard with it, but I always assume a certain common base of sensibility until proven otherwise.
That's not really twinking to me, though, more like thorough tweaking.
Twinking, or "bad" tweaking, to me starts when the character starts taking the back-seat to the numbers, and/or if the character begins lacking consistency. Personally, I get a bit annoyed at things like picking a certain race only for the stat-bonus, like going for elf with a shaman build only because of the charisma-boost. This goes even more for builds like the ork-gunbunny with minimum strength - I know you don't need strength to shoot your guns, and I know 3 is at least average strength... for a human! But to all your ork buddies, you're a wimp! It gets even worse if all other physical stats are through the roof. You have the stamina of a raging bull, can outdraw the devil, but couldn't out-punch a kitten? That's not a character, not a person, that's only numbers, and they don't make sense and I disapprove.
That, to me is twinking out, the bad kind, the one that has a bad rep, and rightly so.*

*Of course, if you play this way and have fun, more power to ya! It's a game, it's all about the fun, yadda yadda let's have a hugout!
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venenum
post Sep 12 2008, 08:49 PM
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QUOTE (Nkari @ Sep 12 2008, 02:33 PM) *
Im with platonicPimp here.. I LOVE rules.. I LOVE experimenting with diffrent builds.. I spend days sometimes getting every point out of a character.. {snip}


That is how I define a twink. Someone who plays with the numbers, yet may not always take the most uber set. I am a Twink, I will always crunch the numbers on a character, yet not nessecarilly take the strongest one becuase I like to roleplaye.
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Wasabi
post Sep 12 2008, 09:00 PM
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IMO a munchkin is an adversarial twink who detracts from others enjoyment of the game.
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Gast
post Sep 12 2008, 09:01 PM
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As long as the group's fun, everyone can be a die hard powergamer or a brilliantly balanced and believable roleplayer in there. It's just awkward to enter a con group with a balanced character and realize too late that all the other guys are total machines. Different characters for different playstyles, I'd say.
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Cain
post Sep 12 2008, 09:30 PM
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QUOTE (Wasabi @ Sep 12 2008, 01:00 PM) *
IMO a munchkin is an adversarial twink who detracts from others enjoyment of the game.

There's a lot of problem players and munchkin-types that aren't super-twinks. In all cases, it's attitude and willingness to share the limelight that separate good players from bad.

One type of munchkin I've encountered, I like to call The Drama Queen. They like to think they're roleplaying; but their goal is to sit on top of the social heap, in and out of game. Their characters come in all stripes, but they're frequently not min/maxed heavily. In fact, some will deliberately nerf their characters, so that they can look down on powergamers, and refer to them as munchkins. The Drama Queen will always hog the spotlight at every chance he gets, and to hell with the other players.
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Shiloh
post Sep 12 2008, 09:36 PM
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For me, "Twinking" and "Munchkinism" and "Minimaxing" are different things.

"Twinking" is where one character of yours provides an unexpected advantage to another character for no readily apparent reason. Obviously this definition doesn't often apply in Sadowrun, and 'm kicking myself for slackly using it in that other thread.

"Munchkinism" is the pursuit of "power" without regard for other considerations, mostly that the munchkin's definition of power is very narrow and concerned directly with conflict.

"Minimaxing" (aka powergaming) is the careful application of the rules to make a character that's "the best", often "the best [something in particular]" but also, just "the best at everything in general that can be achieved with the points available. So they might not be the *best* gunfighter, or face or meleeist or driver or hacker, but they're a *close second* in all those, maybe.

Munchkinism is a problem because of the world view of the player: when they find that the minimaxer is only 1 or 2 dice short of their inefficiently munchkinned character, and that their munchkin focus isn't actually useful for 95% of the game, they can become disillusioned with the game.

Minimaxing is a problem when only one player achieves it, since they can dominate play time by being active, effectively and legitimately, in almost every scene, or because they're the most obscene single-focus monster out there, and can find ways to make every problem a nail to their very effective hammer.
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Pendaric
post Sep 12 2008, 10:38 PM
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For me a twink is someone that manipulates the character creation rules to effect the 'great build effect'. What consitutes twinking is defined by the group the palyer is in. A 'all about the drama' ganger game with a character who is solid runner may term that character's player a twink. Conversly a game with the uber runners with every character min max to absolute stats would deem such a character a waste of points

It is how, where and why you place points on the sheet and of course in which game.
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TKDNinjaInBlack
post Sep 12 2008, 10:39 PM
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To me, twinking, munchkining, minmaxing, and powergaming are all the same. They're all synonymous. They just describe the act of using the system to max out an aspect of a character. These builds can create some pretty interesting characters and can sometimes make the roleplaying lots of fun for the group. But this depends on how the player acts with his character. This brings me to my real point about this.

Most of the time a player powergames, it's not any fun for the group. This is because the skill or ability they always max out is the one skill they use for everything. And for everything I really mean the cure all, end all [i]EVERYTHING[i]. My first game we had a street sam who could shoot anything he wanted with his automatics skill and kill it dead. Didn't matter what it was or how armored, even if he tried to bypass the most hardened amounts of armor, he'd still do it. I forget how many dice he rolled, but it was around just under 30. It was actually pretty awesome. Gunfights became "How many men could he drop before the rest of the team got to act." But that's just it. Everybody else always played second fiddle to him. Soon, he was using guns for everything. Open doors by shooting through them instead of letting our B&E ninja get in, blasting drones instead of letting our rigger/hacker hyjack them, threating and shooting contacts instead of letting our face negotiate. Hell, he even made our mage useless by beating most mid level spirits' immunity to normal weapons. Everything was about him and how awesome he was at this skill and when he had enough of ruining our game, he got bored because he couldn't improve that one skill anymore and left. Our GM who was so flustered didn't know what kind of enemies to throw at us anymore and we in general couldn't salvage that campaign.

It doesn't matter what skills are minmaxed, because it could be any. The Pornomancer that makes all contacts do what he wants. The Adept Hacker that cuts through systems and makes the team do absolutely no work because he disabled everything. The Mage who binds force 12 spirits to conceal the team so they can't be seen as they walk up and take what they want or makes his spirit kill whatever he needs dead. Having the skills to god game isn't the problem, it's the abuse of those skills that take away from the other players that is the problem.

Cain brings up an interesting point about "sharing the limelight." That's the key. Keep things equal and fair amounts of play time for everyone involved, and you'll have a successful game regardless. It isn't PvP, it's cooperative. Someone hogging the role playing sure treats it like PvP with the idea whoever can take up the most time with their skill wins.

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Stahlseele
post Sep 12 2008, 11:23 PM
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i, myself, am one of the most twinky character min/maxers . . but if you call me power-gamer, i will be very cross . .
i do those things, because, damn it, if i am going to play someone who risks his very life doing what ever he does, he had better be good enough in his chosen field of experience to stay frigging alive long enough to make any progress and to have a good shot at realising his life's goal even without the GM coddling me/my character . . if i build a samurai, hell yes, he will have fragging huge success chances with most everything concerning anything combat related . . if i make a face, he will look innocent enough to charm/swindle a frigging dragon out of something he wants . . and the mage had better roll out with the huge shiney effecty that bring much joy/chaos(depending on which side of the magical effects you happen to be located) without dropping unconscious or better, even dead . .
but i usually tend to keep to the background, even WITH such characters . . i don't NEED to let my Giant of 3.5m size, armed with a PAC and a Vindicator to kill everything in sight . . it's enough to have him STANDING AROUND LOOKING LIKE A GIANT ARMED LIKE A SMALL TANK . . if i don't need to roll a single die in an entire run, because the rest of the group managed to keep the run stealthy, then so be it, i am happy for them . . i usually play to play with my buddies, not to run a certain kind of game . . but if i DO get to roll dice in whatever my character is supposed to do? yeah, i wanna mess with the big guys and have a decent enough chance to actually get away with it . .
and i won't stop at twinking/min-maxing such things either . . once i had a character that rolled 20 to 30 dice in his chem-tech skills . . with a target number of 3 in most cases . . or the athlete who can do almost anything with his body due to a target numbr of 2 and up to 20 dice too . . it may not be doing him anything good, but if i get to do what i want to do, i want to do it GOOD!
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toturi
post Sep 13 2008, 12:55 AM
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To me, there is no such thing as powergaming, munchkining, twinking, etc. There is none. There is however RAW-legal or not and GM-allowed or not. I tend to encourage my players to build effective and efficient characters. But making games unfun is a property of the person and the people(his fellower gamers and GM) he interacts with.
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Voran
post Sep 13 2008, 01:34 AM
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Lets see...I'm not exactly sure where I picked the term up, but for me, Twinking was a situation where you either set it up so you're getting loads of stuff (either through narrative) or through a former character that would set you above the general starting guidelines for a 'new' character. This evolved from games where GMs had you write backstories, and you had players who tried to write in they're royalty, or bazillionaires or a hundred other reasons why they end up with extra gear, magical lewt, awesome mutant powers, etc. As MMORPGs evolved, it turned into "Yeah I'm using my lvl 70 orc hunter to twink my newbie chars" you give them gold, or stored lewt suitable for their level, or stuff you bought in the auction house.

Min/Maxing, Powergaming, Munchkinism are kinda related, but also potentially separate. It's possible to have the whole spectrum, or have one without the others, you can even skip steps entirely.

Min/Maxing is where it starts. Generally speaking, this isn't too bad. Its optimization of your character or build. That being said, you're not really intending, or wanting to intend, to develop a perfect character able to survive and thrive in all situations. I prefer characters with an overall balanced build, with some focus in whatever areas I've chosen to 'specialize' in.

There's a subset of Min/Maxing that starts towards powergaming/Munchkinism. This is when you start looking beyond optimized and start looking at, "how much can I sacrifice to get a really good boost and still not be impaired?" Its more of a mindset issue, as ultimately the mechanics are the same the general min/max optimizer uses. At this point, you start taking OOC factors into play: "Eh, we're not likely to play this campaign more than a year or so, real life time" where you can start throwing together characters like...well...frankly, the RIFTS Juicer char, chemically/nano/etc augmented supersoldier, with a limited lifespan. Who cares if the char only will live 2 or 3 years in game? I'll just make a new one.

A next step in the evolution of the scale is another mindset switch. Generally, at least until you had things like pre-designed character builds (d20 had it, look at the WoTC boards, you'll see "Character build to level 20, or level 30", all MMORPGs have it: "How to build your Hunter to level 70". At this point, you no really longer care about the experiences of the game as much as the xp it gives you to fill out your build. 4th ed DnD isn'ts quite as bad at the moment, the way they changed classes and multiclasses and prestige classes. But 3x and before, you had stuff like Fighter 2/goober 5/ninjah4/technomancer 3/demigod 6, all designed in a precise order before you actually played the game. You step away from the experiential (so to speak) and focus more on the mechanics of experience and build. In this case often, you're 'happy' because you've created a combat monster/master of all trades/can one shot greater gods kinda char.

Whats interesting is that from what I've seen as you get more into the scale, you also get more defensive and protective. You take sorta a reactive stance, not really experiencing or 'growing' anymore, in a way, you NEED things to turn out a certain way, because you need to survive long enough to complete your build. The gamers I've been in groups with that tend to do this, also tend to react poorly when the GM, or the peers of the group start going, "Dude, isn't that a bit much?"

Whats fun is back in the day in college, while some of us were taking psych, it was fun to point out all the defense mechanisms we saw (or did ourselves) when asked uncomfortable questions. Rationalization and projection tended to pop up alot.

Best I can tell, a powergamer is a mindset thing. It becomes more munchkin as you start incorporating stuff like min/maxing to an extreme, as well as a couple other factors. Powergamers want to win. Winning, in general, is cool. We all like to win. Powergamers need to win. These are the guys that pull in creative interpretations of rules, or rules exploits to twist a game system to allow them to do things that the designers probably didn't intend. Powergamers want to be the best, be acknowledged as the best, and rather dislike it (and can sometimes be seen screaming foul or hax or GM cheat!) when they come up against something better, more capable than them, or immune to their chosen approach.

A variation on this is...hmm...ah, the guys that want to be the Snipah! or super-ninjah!, or take an obscure method of killing that per game mechanics has less defense against, on the OOC knowledge that generally the game mechanics means they can more easily whack/kill/succeed vs most potential threats. Yet these can also be the ones that get all bent when the GM throws it back at them. Whaaaat? NPCs can't snipe us! Whaaat? The NPCs ambushed us while we're sleeping and we never got a roll?

Now in general, I do kinda find this gm behavior kinda heavy handed, but its often a good point. PCs that powergame are the ones that really don't like it when GMs take the tactics the Pgamer has used and flip it back on them.

Munchkins. Munchkins cheat. They abuse game systems willingly. The munchkin is not above dice-cheating, or writing stuff onto their sheet when no one is watching. These are the guys you don't trust to roll dice, and have to come up with stuff like "YOU need to roll THESE dice in THIS box, or they don't count" or "You no longer get to keep track of your HP, since you 'forget' to mark them off on a regular basis".

A munchkin can be a powergamer and can be a min/maxer. But they don't have to be. Munchkins are potentially a subset of the 'newbie player' who simply ends up cheating cause they don't know better. Its not really their fault, and as a Gm these are the ones you go gently with, reminding them of rules or responsibilities such as marking/keeping track of their character, until the behavior either changes or becomes habitual/problematic.

When you get a combination of a munchkin powergaming min/maxer, ugh. that just sucks. You now more often than not, have a lopsided character build specifically designed to destroy all opposition (combat, social, technical, magical, whatever their focus), who uses loopholes and "Well, it doesn't say you CAN'T do it" as well as someone who'll cheat even when the rules say they can't do it.

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It trolls!
post Sep 13 2008, 01:53 AM
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To me, twinking is the process of going ridiculously deep into the details of the ruleset to achieve a minor bonus. For example, instead of just buying the essential analysis + encryption programs for your commlink at chargen, the player starts grabbing customized agents and programs with lots of options and redundant systems for nearly every single piece of gear that has wifi access - on his shaman - just because there might be a chance that one day an enemy hacker will break into his maglock passkey and print insults on the display, thereby ruining the whole run.

Edit: I might also call my definition "Dumpshock Disease"
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Fyndhal
post Sep 13 2008, 02:10 AM
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First off, I've not read the thread as of yet. I will once I complete this post, then if needed, I'll edit or delete if I'm being redundant. I want to write up my thoughts independent of others first, though.

Twinking, in MMO terms, is giving a beginning character equipment or resources beyond what they would normally have access to on their own. This requires outside assistance in the form of existing more powerful characters, guildmates or the "Real Money Transfer" services.

In a PNP game, I don't really think Twinking is a huge issue, since GMs have complete control over it.

There are two other terms which I believe are more appropriate to PNP games: Powergaming and "being a munchkin." These two are very similar, and are differentiated mainly by how extreme the practice of Min/Maxing a character is taken and the intention of the player involved.

Powergamers tend to over min/max a character. While nearly all players min/max to a certain degree (most characters are meant to be better than average at something!) a powergamer takes it one (or more) steps further. A character with a Body of 5 and a base Strength of 1 (Cybered up to 5) is almost certainly in powergamer territory. If something is hard to justify from a "realism" standpoint, but is mechanically within the rules -- that is powergamer territory.

Munchkins are basically Powergamers with a bad attitude. They'll "forget" certain rule limitations or outright lie about things to get things past the other players and the Game Master. They aren't concerned about the "health" of the game, only in being the best/most powerful.

EDIT: Looks like I'm in agreement with most folks, although terminology is a bit off. Good to know!
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