Thursday, March 12, 2009

1kXP-12 RMT Session 1

It's time for another doomed to fail initiative...Remedial Munchkin Training (RMT), courtesy of A Thousand XP to Midnight (1kXP-12).

Munchkin (n): a player who plays what is intended to be a non-competitive game (usually a role-playing game) in an aggressively competitive manner.

In the military, RMT (Remedial Military Training) is used for whiny misfits and arrogant problem children. The intent is to reteach them the basic tenets of their profession, to take them back to basics. At 1kXP-12, RMT is akin to that. We intend to give GMs/DMs and players the tools to whip munchkins back into shape.

Session 1 is a simple exercise. Strip them down, just like in basic training, so you can build them up the right way.

As I developed this, I drew inspiration from MMOs such as Everquest and World of Warcraft. Years back, a friend of mine recanted a tale of a drizzly day when his EQ guild's server went offline. Yearning to play SOMETHING, the group found a new server, created barbarians, stripped them to their leopard skin thongs, and raced across the map on foot. They trudged through zones too powerful for their unclad newbies, and dropped like flies. This naked barbarian footrace has become his most memorable moment of his EQ days.

I then came across a similar event in WoW. A group of 40 embarked on an odd quest: raid the 10th level NPC "Hogger" with 40 Gnomes at level one. A silly video of this not-quite-epic hunt is here. All I can say about it is, "Tread with caution through this poppyfield."

Now on to my exercise, which isn't necessarily for munchkins alone. Have your players create low level commoners with little to no special powers or abilities (D&D players, level 1 human commoners work great!). Then have them try to navigate a world or adventure made for heroes. I can guarantee three things:

1. Hilarity will ensue,

2. The players will dig deeper than ever to succeed, and

3. Nearly everyone involved will look at the game in a new light.

Frank, Natalya, and Jervesh have no idea that Gnolls are lurking in the grass...

The intent in this is to teach that player (and everyone knows that player) a thing or two about the game. This is for the character who isn't content playing a 'basic' hero. You know, the hero made from the basic rules? "That's not interesting (or challenging, or powerful) enough." Have them try to defend their hovel against a squad of orcs with nothing but a pitchfork and pot of stew, and see how much they appreciate the "weak" abilities a fighter holds.

This kind of game works even if you're not trying to teach a lesson. On many a boring day I find myself with gamer friends not sure how to fill a couple hours. There's not enough time (or we're missing key players) to run a serious game, but we feel the need to game.

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