Hello all you happy people! It is I, Josh Stoodley, here with more Fandom Heresies.
This week, we’re going to talk a bit about something I’ve seen online recently: the difference between Role-playing and Min Maxed character builds, usually in the context of Dungeons and Dragons but sometimes in regards to other role-playing games as well.
I’m going to start by saying right off the bat that I feel this is a false dichotomy. There are, in my opinion, four distinct types of character builds (and a lot of overlap between them; we’re going to focus on the main four today). They are, in no particular order:
- Meme builds: these builds have no unifying concept, pay no attention to class archetypes and are generally nonsensical. These include things like wizards dumping Intelligence for Strength, warriors using magic staffs or weapons they otherwise aren’t built for, etc. They usually require some metagaming to make work and are a headache for everybody at the table.
- Role-playing builds: These builds start with a character concept first, then build a class and stats around it. Sometimes this means a less-optimized build than the min-maxers (see below) but not necessarily.
- Min-Maxing builds: These are sort of the opposite of role-playing builds. They start from the stats and classes, then build a character around that. These can, but don’t always, result in a bland character that is good at one thing and one thing only.
- Cheese builds: these are builds that, like meme builds, have no rhyme or reason to them. Unlike meme builds, which are usually made to be funny, these are meant to abuse the mechanics as much as possible. These include, but are not limited to, multi-class dips that make no sense, stacking tons of irrelevant flaws to stack build points, etc. The key point here is that these builds are purely mechanical and make no sense from a character perspective.
We’ll now go into these character build types into further detail below. The key point I want to make here is, yes, there are bad ways to build your character. There are many, many ways to build a character that will piss off your DM, your fellow players and subsequently get you banned from the table.
The reverse is also true, however. There are many, many ways to build characters that are fun, that make sense from both a mechanical and RP perspective and will make you a valued member of your table.
Join me under the cut!
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