Just this week I ran into a distant co-worker in the hallway and noticed she was wearing a lanyard that said, “Miskatonic University.” So I struck up a conversation (we had chatted before on a few strictly work-related projects) and it turns out she’s a huge gamer and plays a “Call of Cthlulu” game every week. She said most people don’t notice or don’t realize the reference. So there we go; I’ve got another gamer to geek out with after my next Con. On with the show:
“You might be a munchkin if…” part 2.
There are many ways to be a munchkin, so I figured since I was on this kick it’s my job to provide you the reader with the best and most thorough guide to identifying munchkins. Here’s why this may be important: a) some of my blog hopefully makes more sense and b) munchkins exist everywhere and can show up in any hobby or sport that you love. Oh, yes, the tendency of one towards munchkinism is rarely confined to one aspect of their life. I suspect you know more munchkins than you think, and I’d watch out before inviting them to be your Bridge partner.
The majority of role-playing games allocate points for vital statistics for a character (generally split into physical and mental attributes). This is how hit points are generated and often the basis for skills and/or talents. How does that tend to play out?
1) Real Wo/men – Heavy in physical attributes and physically oriented talents and skills, short in knowledges.
2) Actors – Mostly balanced with leaning toward mental attributes and knowledges.
3) Crazies – Nearly random distribution, odd talents, skills, and knowledges, leaning toward knowledges and the social attributes.
4) Sociopaths – Mostly balanced, leaning toward social attributes and talents (especially subterfuge), then skills.
5) Munchkins – Max out the stats most useful in combats, minimize the other stats, then whine about your stats to the GM and ask to reroll to try to get higher stats; then complain throughout the game about your “crummy” stats, especially when you fail your rolls.
The majority of role-playing games involve quests to get stuff. This is true of a lot of video games as well. You quest for stuff to get better stuff to go on harder quests to get even better stuff and on and on until you’ve maxed out all your stuff and even found the Gotterdamerung. Given that munchkins are greedy, what happens when they are presented with sweet, sweet, loot?
Ideal Melee Fantasy Weapon:
1) Real Men – Hackmaster +12.
2) Actors – Vorpal War Fan (“vorpal” means a critical hit results in a beheading, as in “the vorpal blade went snicker-snack“).
3) Crazies – Salad Fork, +3 against lettuces.
4) Sociopaths – Sword of Soul-Stealing.
5) Munchkins – Mjolnir, Slaughter, or Excalibur.
Ideal Ranged Fantasy Weapon:
1) Real Men – Heavy crossbow.
2) Actors – Composite bow of elemental damage (any will do).
3) Crazies – Marbles and a slingshot, or rotten tomatoes.
4) Sociopaths – Longbow of Slaying.
5) Munchkins – AK-47 (no, that’s not a typo; munchkins care not for the vageries of genre restrictions).
1) Real Men – Summon Monster.
2) Actors – Lightning Bolt.
3) Crazies – Rod of Wonder, all the way.
4) Sociopaths – Phantasmal Killer.
5) Munchkins – Wish.
Note 1 – for those not savvy to ways of D&D, a Rod of Wonder is essentially a random effect generator. Many GMs use pre-made tables, but some custom make tables. Such things are not to be used lightly. In one campaign, a simple act of arson (by the lawful good paladin!) in an underground city led to a rather complicated series of random effects that culminated in a Meteor Swarm. Did I mention we were in a cave? Yeah.
Note 2 – Wish is exactly the kind of spell you think it is, but without the kindness of the big blue genie in Aladdin. Oh, no, this is old-school Wish created by a genie who’d been confined for ten thousand years to contemplate his revenge on humanity for imprisoning him. The X-files had an episode on this once.
1) Real Wo/men – Juvenile to Adult metallic dragon.
2) Actors – Griffin.
3) Crazies – Shetland pony, donkey, or perhaps a large dog.
4) Sociopaths – Pure white horse, pure black horse, or skeletal steed.
5) Munchkins – Sleipnir, Apollo’s Chariot.
1) Real Wo/men – Giant’s Strength.
2) Actors – Ring of Protection, as high as it will go.
3) Crazies – Teleport Randomly.
4) Sociopaths – Power Word Kill.
5) Munchkins – the One Ring.
1) Real Wo/men – Bull’s Strength.
2) Actors – Fly.
3) Crazies – Polymorph Self.
4) Sociopaths – Improved Invisibility.
5) Munchkins – Instant Godhood.
Some games allow for speciality powers, boosts, or abilities, although this is usually balanced out with a character having to take some kind of flaw.
Favorite Power (in games with superpowers):
1) Real Wo/men – True invulnerability, super-strength.
2) Actors – Energy manipulation, telepathy.
3) Crazies – Elongation, magic.
4) Sociopaths – Shadow generation/control, energy/psychic vampirism.
5) Munchkins – Omni-anything, continuum control.
1) Real Wo/men – Stamina, constitution. Last wo/man standing wins.
2) Actors – Wits, wisdom, intuition. Quick thinking in all situations.
3) Crazies – Charisma, charm. Why else would anyone go along with your craziness?
4) Sociopaths – Manipulation, intelligence. Evil is easier when someone else takes the blame.
5) Munchkins – Whine to the GM about how unfair it is to have only one power-up, beg to have more than one, then pick one and whine every time it doesn’t apply.
1) Real Wo/men – Curse or geas. Gives the character incentive to change the world.
2) Actors – Tragic past (naturally).
3) Crazies – Fears of common things like spoons, the need for crucial components like live lobsters to make magic/powers/items work, or limited magic/powers like it only works on guys named Phil (poor Coulson).
4) Sociopaths – The need for crucial components like human blood to make any magic/powers/items work, or addictions to dark and dangerous things (drugs, vampire blood, etc.).
5) Munchkins – Whatever gives the most bonus for the least actual effect on the character, not like it will be played much anyway.
Hopefully a pattern starts to emerge – munchkins want it all, they want it now, and they’re going to whine when they don’t get what they want. Part 3 is upcoming soon…