I want to start a mature and calm discussion with you guys about powergaming.
As a broad definition, I mean min maxing where the system permits it, competitive mindset in what it is set as a cooperative game, and character building around a set of skills and stats way more than around a character concept.
I don't like that. As a GM, my games tend to privilege the story, and the relationship between chars and the world. I don't see powerful, high level, or well built chars as a problem per se, I just see them as a problem the moment they stop being a character and start being nothing more than a boardgame pawn, or a self-insertion as best, of its player.
As a player, I tend to try and learn the lore of the world I'm in, interact with it, and the other PCs. I try to improve my character given the chance, of course, but I try to stick to a concept, and at most choose a specific iteration of that concept to create character development, and an overall interesting character.
I dislike powergaming because it shifts the focus over something else entirely, which resembles more the tuning of a car than the telling of a story. In fact, I guess the story becomes quite irrelevant, a mean to have XP and thus character advancement. The rest of the party becomes quite irrelevant as well, because where the system allows gaining skills without a theoretical limit, the powergamer will try and fill the holes and weak points of his character, making other characters redundant.
Concluding: it hogs the spotlight, it ultimately creates bland and uninteresting characters, and it weights over the quality of the campaign. Also, in some iterations, forces the GM to waste time over balancing encounters over a more complex set of variables (not only different in quality, but with large gaps too). And not only over a "fun and spotlight for everyone" criterion.
>TL,DR Do you think powergaming is a bad way of roleplaying? Yes? No? Why?
Thanks for your contributions.
>mature and calm discussion
>on /tg/, about badwrongfun™
I did explain my point of view, you have a lot of space to do it yourself.
Please do, I want to know, I'm not interested in baiting or other memes.
Also, I already stated powerful characters are not a problem as for themselves. They become a problem under other circumstances.
To clarify it more on "bland characters": if all I do in game is hunting for the best bonuses, or the best in slot gear, or whatever this means in your setting, **without thinking about giving a three dimension, flaws, and personality to my character**, it just becomes identical to another char sheet with the same numbers on it.
At least this is what I think, and experienced so far.
You are shitting in the same place you are eating.
It's not the best course of action if you'd wish to discuss something here one day.
If it's just TEH LULZ you want, the Internet has it plenty without the need to come here. Don't waste your time.
Lack of characterization isn't a problem that's solely inherent with min-maxing. That's a false correlation. Bland characters happen because players don't give them characterization, not because of stats.
...what bothers me about your post is that you want to talk about Power Gaming, yet posted Timmy. While Timmy's card says that he is a Power Gamer, he isn't, not in the context that you're using here.
Timmy likes big creatures and big effects. Craw Wurm, Mizzium Mortars, etc. Often it is thought that Timmy is "bad" at Magic, but he isn't necessarily. Rather, Timmy just prefers to build decks where every single card will have a notable impact on the game state all by themselves - or at least will help him accelerate towards his cards that can do that. Timmy likes Black Lotus because it gets you 3 entire mana in one turn! That's BIG!
Spike...Spike likes to win, and Spike is the power gamer in the context you're using. Spike doesn't care how he wins, as long as he wins. Spike's decks are less defined by the cards that are in it than by the cards he refuses to play because they're "bad", "weak", "not worth it", etc. Not every card that Spike plays has to have a big effect, but it does have to somehow move him closer to victory, and he has no time for people who play cards "because they're fun/cool", and actually is almost offended by the concept. Spike likes Black Lotus because it lets him win that much faster.
OP, you fall extremely prey to the Stormwind Fallacy.
An optimized character, or a character with a design schema, does not have to sacrifice characterization or purpose in a story.
One's ability to roleplay and one's ability to optimize and construct a character build in a game structure are completely diverged.
OP talked about that.
>I don't see powerful, high level, or well built chars as a problem per se, I just see them as a problem the moment they stop being a character and start being nothing more than a boardgame pawn, or a self-insertion as best, of its player.
Presumably, if you can handle both roleplaying and rollplaying, the character's fine - if you can make an OP character lovable, that's great. But is such a thing even possible for the average player? Surely you can only have so much skill in one or the other?
It's not some sort of advanced science that requires years of study.
Constructing efficient characters is trivial once you play a system a few times.
Any good roleplayer can manage it.
Sure, in reverse, someone who prefers to spend their time twinking the system may have issues learning to roleplay right, but those are what we call That Guy. It has nothing to do with minmaxing or optimizing, but is a flaw of their character that would apply even if they did not optimize.
Well, powergaming is implied to take building a character as efficiently as possible to an unhealthy degree, to the point it's not fun to play alongside.
And a player could be a That Guy if they focused entirely on roleplaying to the point of ignoring important stats, and being a hindrance to the party and annoying them with constant attempts to roleplay instead of just fight.
The real point is that most people tend to focus on one or the other. Someone who really likes roleplaying probably won't get into the mathematical side of a game much, or attempt to learn all the rules; someone who's learning all the rules and doing the math probably doesn't want to focus on roleplaying.
>The real point is that most people tend to focus on one or the other
That's a sweeping generalization with nothing really to back it up. If anything I have only ever met one player who focused on roleplay to the exclusion of everything about his character (he demanded to play a monk in 3.5 for example despite all warnings against it) and everyone else I know balances characterization and construction properly.
I'm not saying they can't make a decent character - it's just that more often than not people put more focus on either roleplaying or making a character. I've never met a player who I judged to be holding both equal.
So wait - you use your experience to make a point, it's legitimate. But if I use my experiences to make a point, it's not legitimate?
We're both only working from our experiences here, and that's been clear from the beginning. Neither of us can possibly know how 'most people' actually play, simply because we could never come in contact with a majority of people who do play and learn their playstyle. Even if we literally knew every anon who came on /tg/ and how they played, that'd still be only a fraction of total players.
Well I had a dude who tried to play a fighter in pathfinder. He was a great role player but the constant exclusion and uselessness he felt during gameplay just made him give up and kill of his fighter. He rolled a Druid next and min/maxed it to hell and back three times over to the point he was a undetectable large elemental with at-will spell casting and a 3d6 CON drain touch attack.
OP, it sounds to me that when you GM you have players who aren't on the same page as you. If you've tried sitting them down and talking to them about the point of your gaming sessions and that has failed, consider getting new players to fit what you want. There are a fuckoff larger amount of players than there are game masters.
On a side note, look up something called The Same Page Tool. It's an article that leads into a survey to get an idea of what a player/group wants out of a game.
>TL,DR Do you think powergaming is a bad way of roleplaying? Yes? No? Why?
"Depends on the group" is the only correct answer here. Yes, I get it that YOU, personally, don't like powergaming in the specific sense that you're addressing. But that doesn't mean that it's bad or wrong or unfun. If everyone at the table is having fun despite - or because! - of it, then it's the right way to play for those people. Sometimes mindless dungeon crawling can be a great way to unwind after a stressful week as long as everyone is on board that.
I'm sorry to have bothered you, I just chose it after a quick google search for a pic related and colorful enough to allow me to follow the thread in the catalog.
Thanks for the fun facts about Magic though, they are helpful and informative. I never played it myself but one player of mine does quite frequently. I guess now I have another way to convey the concept of power gaming to him, I'll just talk about Spike. :)
I am lucky to be fianced with a natural scientist. She says that anecdotal experience is not considered valid for proving or disproving something. Which is true.
Thing is, this is not natural science, and I don't really think there is a branch of academic that scientifically analyzes tabletop roleplaying games behaviour. At least, not yet.
I guess anecdotal experience is all we have.
>Being effective = being a bad roleplayer
This is usually called stormwind fallacy
Anyway, I don't mind optimization or minmaxing (in fact, depending on the system, some character concepts might need a lot of that) but when it's carried to the infinity and beyond to the point of breaking games, yeah, that's fucking annoying
Timmy in D&D, for example, is the player who looks at the rogue sneak attacks and thinks is the most powerful thing ever when in reality is a rather poor feature that 90% of the time doesn't affect the encounters.
You know, I completely agree with you, and I even wrote it in the OP.
What I would love you to do, is try to explain this player of mine that he really should not base his character evolution ONLY on the hunt for bonuses, but he might take character concepts, and development, into consideration.
I did try, and I failed.
Power gaming as roleplay concept is mostly a myth OP. The only system I can think of where you actually can do it to any real degree is 3.5 and mostly because their so much crunch to the system (between all the splats and magazines) but even then its pretty easy to counter. Simply outlaw crunch you don't want to use OR put in something in your game to counter whatever specific mechanic the powergamer is overly reliant on (as they invariably are). Our resident that guy made a self insert weaboo fightan elf that just as long as he fought "defensively" he gained +9BAB, AC, and +4d6 to all of his attacks. Solution? Put in an innocuous NPC that he picked a fight with that just so happened to be an orc rouge barbarian with a blurrstirke bastard sword (can't fight defensively vs it) Rolled init, orc won, 1 shot the little fuck. Dude rage quit the group much to everyone collective joy.
Really though if your player you shouldn't worry about how the other players choose to game, that's really your DM's jurisdiction. And if your the DM you gotta keep in mind what kind of player's you have and design accordingly. This video will help
>also EC is great in general
Without a bit of powergaming, the story can't progress because thr group wipes. I at least explain my rangers min maxing by saying they preferred to live alone, so their charisma is always dildoes, for example.
Funny things, the most broken and overpowered character I did literally stole 0 spotlight, he was always behind the scenes, controlling the battlefield or the conversations, it was a wizard, of course, and while the fighter thought he was the king, it were my haste and enlarge who made him the king, it were my summon monster who made the rogue shine, it were my fogs and webs what made enemies wait while my team prepared, etc. Being uberpowered doesn't mean stealing the spotlight, it also doesn't mean being less of a roleplayer, I usually gained more extra XP due roleplaying because my character's personality and backstory were complex which had nothing to do with my character sheet.
They are building up effective characters. They are not breaking the game, or ruining the fun for others by playing competitive in a cooperative game, which is what I'm trying to address.
If powergaming is not the right term, what is it?
Please, the guy who fucked him up was martial, plus the party was only level 4 where that kind of shit was game breakingly OP. One of the other players in my game was rocking a Knight (from PH2) and was great.
>implying the book of weaboo fightan magic is martial
What if one player, or a minority at the table, wants to play as powergamers and the rest does not, or just want to play in a relaxed, more narrative way?
I don't know if that's important, but I'll just say that dungeon crawls are not our usual type of games. We do that, once in a while, when it fits the story. I can understand that power gaming philosophy may better fit the dungeon crawl, I just don't guess it's the case of my group.
Also the ORK was cr 3. I was merely pointing out that a true powergamer generally relies on one broken mechanic completely, in this guys case it was he had to fight defensively and not wear armor. And at lvl 4 was hitting for 6d6+ I forget, with a +14 to hit and 26AC.
I never optimized or minmax or whatever you call it on the first characters, first I test the game, I found many GMs who said "I want a heavily roleplaying game" and ended being meatgrinders of the highest degree, that's why, first I test the game, then I decide what to do next, if it ends being surprise meatgrinder that's an invitation for me to break the game or at least force the GM to use DMfiat (God throws a meteor at you or whatever) to defeat my group.
>thinks weaboo fightan magic was gud
Alright desu sempai, i must now commit sepiku for great shame at having lost to hiry honorobru otaku neckbeard
What's the difference between optimization, powergaming and min/maxing?
My stance is thus:
In order for powergaming to be a real problem, at least three failures have to occur.
1) The system has to fail. Not in the "hurr durr I expect perfect balance [whatever your definition of balance]," but in the sense that, if your system is designed well, then powergaming produces cool results, and the cool options produce powerful results. That's higher standards than most of /tg/ applies to systems, so it generally happens without anybody realizing there's alternatives.
2) The player has to fail. Fail to read the proper optimization level to fit in the group, usually, but other failures can occur, such as failure to understand how much/little characterization the group wants, etc. This is probably the most common failure point people actually blame.
3) The DM has to fail to correct the above when it occurs. I don't expect DMs to "reform" powergamers right on the spot or any nonsense like that; it's not the DM's job to teach players how to not shit the bed--but by the same token, it's also not the group's job to put up with a bed-shitter ("but he's a friennnd"). Just a simple "Hey, cut it out." followed by removal of the player from the campaign/group.
Then, and only then, can Batman McWizardpants actually do damage to the game.
When I got to play, which was close to never I played mainly Barbarians, Knights, and fighters. I would occasionally mix some lock in there cause I liked the utility and loved roleplaying a grimdark spell-fighter (ya know a real one) but I mostly played martial.
Look no one is arguing that Magic wasn't broken as fuck in 3.5, there's a reason I don't use that system anymore. But as for power-gaming 3.5, older versions of shadowrun, and to some extent pathfinder are the only systems you can actually do it in. As in make a char so laughably bullshit OP it literally breaks the game. As in our weaboo fightan elf that literally could not be killed in a fight at that level unless you put in something specifically to fuck him over. Btw the Knight in that group would have graped that ork.
As for why BoWFM was bad, it was completely inconsistent with D&D 3.5 aesthetics. Was poorly written, and figured the best way to deal with magic being OP in 3.5 was just to do away with martial all together and just make everyone magic. Plus it enabled the MOST annoying fuckers to start weabing all over the place.
>muh katana infused with the power of derpy doo will cut through your gaijin baka bear with ease!
>WHAT DO YOU MEAN I DIED KATORU DESU SAN CANT DIE!
>ya know a real one
Duskblade works better
Also sorry you had shitty groups with shitty plaers, that has nothing to do with ToB though, but with how shitty 3.5 was, ToB was the solution we needed, could be have done better? probably but in a better world we wouldn't need to fix martials.
Optimizing a character is stupid. Anyone who has sat in the DM's chair knows that, because they scale the battles up and down not according to the level of the party, but to the power of the characters. If you're level 5 and swing like a level 7 character, the DM will throw level 7 monsters at you once he realizes level 6 monsters are too easy for you.
So, the endless chase for bonuses becomes meaningless, outside of one other aspect: being stronger than the other party members.
Everyone wants to be the strongest, but it is the optimizers who are stupid enough to actually pursue that. Instead of using their knowledge to balance the party, they compete to grab as much spotlight as possible, which is precisely why people hate them.
And, ultimately, it comes down to a matter of priorities. When forced to choose between something that fits their character and something that makes them stronger, they choose the latter. It is that kind of sacrifice that says "your 'optimizing' has resulted in a stronger, but worse character."
Calling them completely divergent is simply lying. They are intrinsically related, and pretending otherwise simply confirms that you play at a lower tier of roleplaying. That's fine, because you prefer a deeper focus on exploring the mechanics, but it doesn't make sense for you to try and lie about it.
>Character being good at their job is stupid
Unless you meant minmaxing hard, if that's the case use minmaxer or powergamer, optimizers only search for a character who does his job well, effective.
I make the stats and then the character who'd have ended up with such stats.
I don't min as much as I max though. I mean that I put a few points in skills that people would have in the setting even if they're practically useless.
Not so true in 5th Edition. And it's equally true that Timmy likes things like Wish (because of the huge in-game effect it can have), or Leadership or some other effect that gets him lots of followers. Again, Timmy likes big effects, but this isn't necessarily synonymous with being bad at the game.
Timmy is associated with bad MtG players because every player starts as a Timmy, or nearly every one, anyway. They go for big cards with singular effects because they don't understand the rules well enough to get good combos going and can't yet intuitively tell which cards are good and which are bad.
A Timmy that's been playing for years, though, is just as skilled as any Spike or Johnny. Speaking of...
There's one more deck-building archetype: Johnny. Johnny likes combos. he likes cards interacting with other cards to achieve big effects. Three cards are the minimum. Johnny if he could would build a deck where every single card plays into every single other card to produce a huge effect, and he loves it when he's the first to realize the combo. Johnny doesn't particularly care if he wins or loses; he just wants his combo to go off. Johnny likes Black Lotus because it gives him three mana for free to help him pay for the cards in his combo.
So those are the three archetypal deckbuilders in Magic: Timmy, Johnny, and Spike. There's two other player archetypes - Melvin and Vorthos - but they're not concerned with deckbuilding or the game itself to any great extent.
I'm on a roll now.
Timmy likes Johnny because when Johnny's combos go off, they tend to produce huge effects, which Timmy loves. However, the individual cards that go into Johnny's combo can be small or easy to disrupt, and the entire combo can be ruined if that happens. Timmy likes Spike because Spike can help Timmy find Big cards that are likely to help him win, but he dislikes Spike because Spike isn't fun to play against.
Johnny likes Timmy because Timmy often comes to Johnny looking for help getting his big cards out, which usually requires combos. However Timmy's about getting singular cards out, not the combo itself, which bothers Johnny. Johnny likes Spike because Spike tends to appreciate Johnny's combos, but he also dislikes Spike because Spike doesn't like combos unless they win him the game, and because Spike isn't fun to play against.
Spike despises Timmy because Timmy just wants to have fun playing big cards, rather than winning. Spike dislikes Johnny because Johnny tends to build bad combos just to see what they look like rather than because they'll help them win. Spike basically likes only other Spikes, and yet at the same time, dislikes them. Because, again, Spike wants to win, Spike only has fun when he's winning, and the biggest threat to him winning is other Spikes.
anon here, who the fuck is virt. Also 4.0 was ok IMO. Was way to rigid and allowed for next to no agency in how you made char, but the combat was pretty sound. If anything it should be the system of choice for those who hate powergaming so much as its pretty much impossible to do it in 4th E.
>Duskblade works better
I would rather use spell-likes than spells, also duskblades aren't grimdark.
BoWFM was uneeded, uninspired shitty splat and you should feel bad for liking it. Overall my groups have been pretty good, but I've never met a player that was into that book who wasn't an obnoxious weeb.
Melvin and Vorthos are orthogonal to the other archetypes; they're a question of what you aesthetically appreciate about the cards. Melvin likes the mechanics (and thus is more interested in cards with interesting or complex effects) while Vorthos likes the lore (and thus is more interested in cards with good art and flavour text).
Semantics aside, he's made a very good point that describes exactly why you cannot play to beat a game that is
>run by an unappealable judge with absolute power over everything that is happening
You cannot because it's futile. It's not a video game.
Melvin was never really fully developed or explained much by Wizards, or rather, I think they were trying to hard. Basically Melvin likes cards whose effects correspond to their flavor. Form of the Dragon is his iconic card, as it basically turns you into a 5/5 Dragon with Flying. The problem with claiming Melvin as a player type is that he really doesn't build decks. He concerns himself only with individual cards, which isn't something you build a deck around.
Vorthos also isn't a deckbuilder, but for different reasons. Vorthos is in the game for the story. His favorite cards are every Legend, and he is LOVING Planeswalker cards. This, too, isn't really a deckbuilding thing, though a player who, while playing a game, creates something of a story out of the progression of the game, can be said to have Vorthosian tendencies.
What you're referring to as "powergaming" is what many people would refer to as "powergaming to excess" or "powergaming and not roleplaying."
Powergaming, as I see it (and how many others seem to see it) is simply making a powerful character. Not necessarily TOO powerful, not necessarily more powerful than anyone else.
There are two main problems that can happen with powergaming.
Number one, one player does it notably more than the rest of the group, but if the player isn't a jerk he'll stop once he figures out it's happening.
Number two, one or more players make powerful enough characters that the DM has problems challenging them, in which case you can solve the problem by either having the players tone it down or by having the DM step up the challenges (either tougher monsters or just bumping up the stats of the monsters they face).
The only problem with the "powergamers" you describe are that they don't roleplay, which is something that can and does happen with people who make weak characters.
tl;dr it's quite possible to roleplay and have a powerful character, powerful characters can still be challenged, and you shouldn't have any real problems with powergaming so long as all players do it to approximately the same degree.
Slightly related question. How bad is it when I choose to fuck up my characters combat capabilities to pursue a certain combat style?
In specifics, I want to create a half-orc monk who throws EVERYTHING in combat. I wanted to go for improvised weapon mastery and throwing feats to get more damage out of each throw, quick draw to actually throw a weapon each turn an loot every piece of scrap I can fit in my pockets to have enough ammo.
Not that anon, but your issue isn't that he wants big numbers. It's that he ONLY wants big numbers.
There's something going on with him that makes him not care about roleplaying an interesting character, and that right there makes him likely not a good fit for any roleplay-heavy group.
So basically, you shouldn't be here to discuss powergaming, you should be here to discuss not roleplaying.
Then that player is not a good fit for your group, same as one roleplayer who doesn't build very effective characters would be an annoyance to most tables full of players who build effective characters and don't roleplay much.
If this guy is a friend I get that you may want to try to salvage things, but at the end of the day if he and the rest of the group don't have compatible playstyles then you shouldn't be playing together.
Depends on the person you're talking to.
My friends and I treat them as being like this:
Optimizing is making your character more powerful in some way, though we usually assume that one is optimizing toward some goal (I want to be good at tripping bitches and then stabbing them when they're down, for example).
Powergaming is trying to make a powerful character.
Min-maxing is making one aspect of your character more powerful at the expense of another.
All 3 tend to go hand-in-hand, and none are inherently bad or inherently "too much."
That said, it seems like a lot of people view min-maxing and/or powergaming in a negative light, while only a few view optimizing in a negative light (and most of those I've seen have been on the Pathfinder forums, which are all kinds of fucked up).
Thank you for your answer friend, and for your clarification, even though that always depends on the definition each one gives for the matter at hand.
And that's why I too gave mine, after all.
Sometimes I wish we could work with something more scientifically organized
Another problem I recognize, as I said in OP, is that while when all the PCs are at the same level the GM just needs to balance an encounter around the the chance to shine for as many players as possible (differences between classes/careers/archetypes accounted, ofc).
With one PC having a noticeable edge over the rest of the group, GM needs to come up with something that is challenging for that PC and still interesting for the rest of the group without resulting in TPK (or viceversa good for the group and not boring for the power gamer), on top of all the rest.
What's the point of the thread then really? OP is just complaining about bad roleplayers not power gaming.
I can optimize any mechanical idea, then back engineer a great backstory and personality for it, or go the other way around (my usual method).
The only issue I have is overly similar personalities between characters (they're too much like me), but that's a me issue, totally unrelated to game mechanics.
This really just seems like pointless poorly directed complaining.
Semantics and definitions aside, do you think choosing character development/advancement based ONLY over bonuses and number increasings, and not ALSO over more narrativistic concepts that enables the character to be more than carefully crafted numbers over a piece of paper, is a good way to play roleplaying games?
Do you think it is a problem?
If you think it is, do you have any solution to that?
I specifically tried to give a broad definition in the OP just for people to avoid focusing on labels.
>things that make the most sense in-universe
Not always the same thing, chum. It's clear that what the first anon was saying about a "lower tier of roleplaying" is pretty spot-on for you.
>The only issue I have is overly similar personalities between characters (they're too much like me)
You can try a random backstory/personality generator. There's a ton online. Decide on one and take the first random result whatever it is, it'll budge you out of your comfort zone by forcing you to make it into a workable character story.
>Concluding: it hogs the spotlight, it ultimately creates bland and uninteresting characters, and it weights over the quality of the campaign.
So I've got many years of RPing under my belt. And I've seen this opinion alot. I've kind of come to the conclusion that It's just people that are Uncreative.
One of the most enlightening moments was when I landed in a drop-in-store group back in my early 20s which were your general high school to university power-gaming-munchkins. After soon ditching that group I found another group that was hosted in the DM's basement. This was so casual to hard-core power gaming that they barely even recognized they were doing it. Second thing this did was roll with the ludicrous traits and abilities they had. If a cleric in this second group would pick up a feat called desert-wind-strike would they would then come up with a creative way to have that breath life into their character, and have it become a part of him. And that whole spot light thing NEVER happened in this 3.5 game because everyone had thier overpowered role. The DM loved it because he could throw "Cool monsters" at us every fight like liches and dragon with personalities, instead of "boring thugs" like Orcs and Dire-animals.
It was quite the contrast. The by far and away most roleplaying creative group I EVER RPed with was also power gamey. Group fell apart due to moving and marriage.
Powergaming and Character Life are two Very different and completely unrelated things. As insulting as this sounds people who get caught up with mixing the two are probably not as creative as they like to believe.
>Semantics and definitions aside, do you think choosing character development/advancement based ONLY over bonuses and number increasings
Statistical advancement of your character can be entirely independent of your backstory/RP. Obviously it has a link to how you tackle problems, but that shouldn't be super relevant.
The rest of your sentence honestly isn't readable, so no comment.
> Do you think it is a problem?
It's a problem with the player if they ignore non-mechanical aspects of their character, unless your group is all about that.
>If you think it is, do you have any solution to that?
What, people ignoring the purely roleplaying aspects of their character?
Probably explain to them that motivations, background, and personality are also part of creating a character. You can opt to tie those things in mechanically, or not, but you should include them when playing with a gaming group that actually does RP. I've played with people who just ignore everything about the game other than the combat aspects of a session, and it's not much fun. The problem is with that persons attitude not meshing with the group though, not that there's something bad about building powerful or optimal characters.
The point is that anyone can do it either way. Nothing at all stops you from playing a three dimensional interesting character with a well developed background and distinct personality who is ALSO power gamed to shit, and likewise you can power game such a concept to hell and back without ruining it.
Meaning the issues is people just declining to include a actual character concept.
Additionally, if power gamed to hell characters seem a bit too similar it's probably due to a restrictive system or a lack of creativity. In 3.5/pathfinder I don't think I will ever be able to try all my OP as hell character builds in my lifetime. Many other systems are at least equally complex.
If you've got someone who just plays the same shit over and over, either tell them to do something different for a change, or just create a setting that doesn't include their favored shtick and let them optimize for something different.
Generally, there's no reason that building power gamed / optimal mechanical character designs have lead to the same thing over and over.
I'll try that next game I play in, thanks anon.
Pick your fights wisely if you can.
As a monk you have the speed to cross rooms or over terrain quite easily, so it shouldn't be hard to find and access new vantage points or piles of junk.
You may end up doubling as a party pack mule, since all you will be carrying is bags. STR is used for some throwing weapons, and so long as you don't actually wear any armour you're carrying, you can keep the speed bonus. You could end up doubling as a party forager, but other classes can already do that.
We can assume you have some throwables on you as standard, but here are some scenarios:
In cities, obviously marketplaces or taverns are your playgrounds, but that's what you would expect from a throw everything build.
In the forests, look for large branches, stones, poisonous snakes, beehives, gasseous fungus (assuming they exist) and throw them at your enemy. Climb trees and use them as vantage. If you find a bear trap, throw that. You can retrieve arrows for your ranger too, assuming you can find them.
In the plains, you're reliant on grass, maybe some snakes, and stones outside of anything else you are carrying. Try to take the fight elsewhere, like a nearby wood.
Dungeons vary, but a typical bandit's cave will have a crate or two. Plucking torches out of their wallholds and throwing them can make it harder for them to see you as well as it being attack action, but that's not always a good idea if you need the light. Tables and chairs are an obvious tool, but in small corridors, a table would make a nice blocker. You can snap the legs of and throw them too from behind cover.
I could go on, but throw everything monk isn't that spectacular. It's hysterical and you can reliably cause chaos since you can in many cases change the landscape of the play zone and move difficult terrain around as an attack action, but it's not that great.