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"Munchkin: One who, on being told that this is a game about politics and intrigue in 17th century Italy, asks to play as a ninja."

Remember that one kid in your childhood who can't spend a single pretend game of "Jedi vs. Sith" or something similar without repeating "Nuh-uh, I dodged it!" every time you land a single lightsaber hit on him, and makes up unfair One-Hit Kill attacks he insists are undodgeable at every chance he gets? When that kid grows up and becomes a roleplayer, you get this guy.

The Munchkin is the Tabletop RPG player who plays the game to win at any cost, even if that isn't the point of the game. Perhaps the most ridiculed Player Archetype of all time, this player is rarely interested in the story behind the game. The Munchkin's characters are usually either little more than extensions of his own personality, a completely blank ball of sentient death (known among roleplayers as "murderhobo"), or whatever personality would give him the most bonuses.

The Munchkin's motivation for adopting this attitude often stems from a mistaken belief that tabletop RPGs are like TCGs and e-sport videogames, where beating your enemies is the top priority and learning to exploit the most subtle nuances of the game's mechanics for competitive advantage is considered skillful. While this might be true for games that are all about winning, this attitude is fundamentally opposed to the spirit of most tabletop RPGs, where "winning" is usually secondary to just enjoying the experience of playing (assuming there's a victory condition to begin with) and there is ample freedom to enjoy this pastime in many different ways, such as imagining yourself punching everything and breaking stuff, imagining yourself doing silly things, or immersing yourself in your character and the campaign. This clash of values — the pro e-sports player focused on the end goal of destroying everything and winning, versus the rest of the roleplayers whose focus is the journey and the end goal is not entirely relevant to them — is what makes the Munchkin so widely reviled by roleplayers.

The Munchkin sees fighting monsters and solving puzzles only as a means toward more power, more gold, more stuff, more pluses. A Munchkin is not satisfied until he can kill a god with his +25 Dancing Holy Vorpal Sword of Flame. On a Critical Failure. Of course, exploiting the combat mechanics is only the most obvious avenue. Munchkins try to hunt for "XP for roleplaying" by being overly dramatic, and heaven help you if the game uses Ritual Magic — everything will stop until the Word Salad cooked up by the Munchkin is resolved. Anything that gives more pluses will be used and abused to the nth degree.

The Munchkin's ambition frequently outstrips his sense of fair play. Most of the time, he looks out for number one; the other players are little more than minor inconveniences to him, or obstacles on his path to ultimate power. As such, the Munchkin can manifest in one or more of these personas:

  • The Ninja Looter: Don't expect a Munchkin to share the spoils of an adventure equally. If he can't take the lion's share, he'll try to take the best stuff first, even if his Squishy Wizard obviously has no use for a holy sword compared to The Paladin. The Real Man in particular hates this kind of Munchkin for depriving them of payoff.
  • The Gamebuster: Min-Maxing taken to its upper limit. Any Munchkin character of this type is nothing more than a collection of powers taken for no logical in-story reason other than their combat effectiveness. Often includes blatant Game-Breaker abilities and power combinations that were never meant to be. Call him out on this and he'll call you a Scrub. Min-Maxing doesn't imply Munchkinhood, and indeed other Min-Maxers hate this kind of Munchkin for using the process as a means to an end rather than an enjoyable process in itself.
  • The Rules Lawyer: This Munchkin has memorized every loophole in the game manual and uses it to dispute every ruling by the Game Master - but only when doing so would be to his advantage. The Game Master's best tactic against this guy is Rule Zero: what the DM says, goes, no matter what page 54, column 2, line 41, word 5 of the book says. The Lawful Good variety of Rules Lawyer hates this kind of Munchkin for missing the point of having rules in the first place. Other players hate this guy for grinding play to a halt every ten minutes to argue over pointless rules minutia.
  • The Cheater: He never rolls where you can clearly see him, and he gets a distressing number of natural 20s. It's just his "lucky dice", he says. His character sheet comes pre-rolled with max stats. And he has an annoying habit of "forgetting" to write things down, like whether he's used up his spells for the day. Lawful Good Rules Lawyers hate this kind of Munchkin for not following the rules, while Min-Maxers hate them for trivializing the work they put into improving their own characters.
  • The Metagamer: We all metagame once in a while. After all, even if our characters don't know exactly what that orb with the eyes is, they've got the feeling that it's dangerous and probably shouldn't be charged head-on. But this guy seems to have read (and memorized) all the monster manuals and the published adventures, and is impossible to catch off guard. Once he sees that beast charging him, he immediately breaks out the creature's one weakness. Homebrewing is the best way to trip this fellow up. The Roleplayer hates this kind of Munchkin for breaking their Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
  • The Psychopath: If it has stats, it's there to be killed. For this Munchkin, violence is the first, last, and only solution to every problem. Even the most zealous Real Man knows when it's not time to fight, but not this guy. He'll take up any excuse to start a fight. If the party is lucky, this behavior will extend solely to the NPCs. If they're unlucky, these types will attack or even murder their teammates at the slightest provocation. The Roleplayer hates this kind of Munchkin for cutting off potentially interesting stories, or because willingly teaming up with someone so unstable is Out of Character for their own character. Also, psychopathic Munchkins like to hide behind roleplaying excuses to justify their bad behavior ("It's what my character would do!"), which offends more honest roleplayers.
  • The Murderhobo: The player with no roots or connections whatsoever, just a wanderer who runs around stabbing things. Perhaps this Munchkin simply wants the freedom to do whatever he wants without any other characters to stop him, and what he wants is usually to kill things and take their stuff. Or they assume that the Game Master will use the character's family and friends against them by turning them evil, killing them to force a revenge quest, or otherwise using them against them (because if they were GM, it's what they would do, or because all of their previous GMs actually did do this). Either way, his unoriginal characters can irritate both The Roleplayer and the Game Master, because they're left with so little to work with. This type of Munchkin is often combined with the Psychopath, which is where we get the descriptive moniker "murderhobo".
  • The Troll: This player isn't there to have fun with others; they are there to have fun at the expense of others. In a role playing game, they'll make the most disruptive character they can and cause as much havoc as they can, even at the expense of the other players (which isn't the same as the other Player Characters). They'll excuse bad behavior with, "I'm just playing my character!" In a competitive game, they'll use a mix of Metagamer and Game-Breaker tricks along with the above until no one is having fun. The Troll will take smack-talking way beyond any level the group is comfortable with until tempers flare. The only solution for these Munchkins is to tell them how the other players feel, then show them the door if they don't change.

Munchkins are a constant source of irritation for the Game Master, and will often be the direct cause of the Bolt of Divine Retribution or even Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies. He may be forced to employ some killer tactics just to challenge them. And if the Munchkin becomes the Game Master, bringing the same attitude to the other side of the table, he'll usually end up as a Killer Game Master.

A more pleasant brand of Munchkin may try to share his rule-bending benefits with the rest of the group, or may help other players (especially new ones) build their character by lending their knowledge of the game mechanics. Some will even purposefully break new games in test runs so GMs can know what to look for when playing it with other Munchkins. Some who are also The Roleplayer will act out the quirks they take for those extra points, even if this means their character is a complete Bunny-Ears Lawyer, which can be quite fun for all. A more audacious one (a cross with The Loonie) takes advantage of his knowledge and power to do incredibly crazy things that their fellow players will be telling their children about in years to come. And occasionally, you get a kind of symbiosis between a group of Munchkins and a Killer Game Master, with each side enjoying the way the other challenges them and requires their utmost skill and cunning to counter.

A Player Archetypes trope, along with The Real Man, The Roleplayer, and The Loonie. Can be "Stop Having Fun" Guys if they leave the other players in the dust and force them to play "their way." Note that these traits are stereotypes, and if any player actually has all of these, you should run far, far away. Also like the other archetypes, there is also some good to be had here, in that nobody wants to play a character that is so weak they make no impact on the world, even in the most plot-heavy games, and some Munchkinism is helpful in those cases where a DM is not careful to ensure that everyone is having a good time.

The name "munchkin" refers to the tendency of younger players to adopt this play style. Munchkins are, more than anything else, immature. They tend to grow out of it.

Compare Play the Game, Skip the Story, in which a video game gains an audience that's largely disinterested in the story and just wants to smash things and defeat anyone in their way. Whereas a Munchkin is a competitive person coming into a collaborative, role-playing community, contrast the Scrub, a similarly derogatory term for a collaborative, role-playing person coming into a competitive community.

Not to be confused with the small but pleasant folks who live east of the Emerald City, nor the pleasantly-wacky card game/tabletop RPG inspired by this Player Archetype. Or the breed of cat with very short legs.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • This is Sora's entire motivation in .hack//SIGN. He justifies it by claiming he is the only one actually playing the game for the sake of having fun while everyone else is taking it far too seriously. His lack of maturity is later explained by the fact that in real life he's only in fourth grade.
  • The series naming Goblin Slayer. He's not above dirty tactics or using spells for unintended purposes to kill more goblins. In fact, his usual modus operandi is to rig things so far in his favor that the dice simply have nothing to do but let his quarry be slaughtered, hence "he does not let anyone roll the dice". The gods of the setting are of two minds about this; some can appreciate it, others just get pissed off whenever he enters the equation, and smite him with bad rolls when chance can play a part.
  • In Little Witch Academia (2013), both Akko and Diana go through the "typical RPG" assignment, in which they must penetrate a dungeon to retrieve treasure, as Munchkins of different categories. Diana is Min-Maxed - she declares herself 'invincible' and mows through legions of terrifying monsters, determined to bring back the best loot possible even though the rest of her party urges her to turn back. Akko is an inept Psychopath who gets derailed trying to murder every little blob monster that happens to move her way, even though her party members remind her that killing monsters isn't even part of the assignment.
  • All of the "Big Five" characters (Lina, Naga, Gourry, Amelia, and Zelgadis) in Slayers qualify as min-maxed munchkins in any RPG system.
  • So I'm a Spider, So What?: Kumoko is an example of a Gamebuster, starting off as a weak spider-monster and spending most of her time EXP-farming to level up and grinding her abilities in to level them up and unlock even more abilities. She picks abilities that appeal to her "edgelord" sensibilities and evolutions that minimize her size and maximize her speed, which eventually results in her becoming one of the most-powerful entities in the world she was reincarnated into.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: An In-Universe example. Seto Kaiba'll do what he can to claim victory, no matter the cost.

  • Igor Olman from Dork Tower is arguably one of the best examples of this trope. Sample quote: "I kill Gandalf." He succeeded.
  • All the main characters (except Sara) from Knights of the Dinner Table exhibit frequent Munchkin behaviour, although they've improved over the years. Most notably, Brian is the archetypal Rules Lawyer and loves to exploit Game-Breaker abilities; Bob refuses to back down from any fight even when at a massive disadvantage, calling the other party members cowards if they don't back him up and accusing the GM of cheating if he loses, even when against ridiculous odds; and Dave is obsessed with stats, considering his Hackmaster +12 sword to be his most prized possession because it has a +12 on the end. All three also abuse pretty much any NPC in their path, including stealing from beggars and using hirelings as human shields, all the while maintaining that they are Lawful Good for stat bonus reasons, and they never accept the various consequences of these actions as being their own fault, even when Sara is spared them due to having distanced herself from the actions of the others.

    Fan Works 

  • Cass in The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. The humor value of some of his antics (attempting to kill the Big Bad with a lightsaber and dynamite—in a Medieval European Fantasy setting) might put him in the Loonie category, except for the fact that he seems to be doing them for perfectly serious reasons.
  • Lando in Knights of Badassdom is a major Rules Lawyer, but isn't above resorting to outright cheating when he runs out of loopholes to exploit (he goes as far as to claim a non-existent protective spell to keep himself alive in one encounter). It's eventually Lampshaded after he's killed by the real-life succubus accidentally summoned by another LARPer, and his remains are found by his party.
    Gunther: One cannot cheat death forever.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Community entitled Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the group tries to play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Pierce immediately takes on the role of the munchkin, starting off as a psychopath and ending as a cheater.
  • Dwight on The Office (US). In the episode "Murder," he and everyone else in the office play a murder mystery dinner party game set in Savannah, Georgia. He draws the Butler character but immediately abandons it to play a hardass detective.

  • The Intercontinental Union of Disgusting Characters is a RPG Mechanics 'Verse novel about Disgusting Characters — that is, munchkin PCs.
  • The Brightest Shadow is a high fantasy series where the destined Hero destroys everything in his path. In addition to being a murderhobo, his power is illogical within the context of that world, serving only to lead him to victory.
  • There Is No Epic Loot Here, Only Puns: Discussed by Quiss and Ruli, who tell Delta about the "Calculator" adventurers, ignoring everything but the numbers.
    Ruli: Doesn't matter how good a weapon served you, doesn't matter how many times a shield got you through a dungeon, doesn't matter if your spell stone was a gift from a dear friend, Calcs will toss it all away at the slightest chance of more power.

  • While Justin and Clint of The Adventure Zone play preconstructed characters included in the 5th Edition starter kit, Travis decided to roll his own. His starting ability scores were suspiciously high. The Dungeon Master later nerfed him quietly between episodes to bring him to the level of the rest of the party.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The card game Munchkin is all about this, with cards such as "Whine at the DM" and "Convenient Addition Error" (the "error" in question being adding 2 and 2 and obtaining 22) allowing you to gain levels. In fact, as the catchphrase, "Kill the monsters, Steal the Treasure, Stab your Buddy" indicates, the whole point of the game is backstabbing (if you're a thief, literally) your way to victory.
    • It's telling when the rulebook opens with telling you to roll for turn order, then argue about it. It also includes a Rule Zero for dealing with any questions or obscure situations that the rules don't cover: the players are to come to a consensus by arguing very loudly about it.
    • There is a roleplaying version of the game, basically a variant of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition, and another for Star Munchkin. Feats are openly called "Cheats" instead, and many of them involve breaking the fourth wall; for example, one feat is "Be the Gamemaster's significant other," and has actual in-game benefits for this. Another is "Feed the Gamemaster," and grants the player rerolls in exchange for offering the gamemaster pizza.
    • The company also published the satirical Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming, covering useful and critical information such as how to cheat at rolling dice, manipulating the GM, How Every problem Can Be Solved With Bigger Guns, and weapons such as the rapid-fire miniwand, capable of firing dozens of fireball spells per second.
  • Warhammer 40,000 manages to make the game quite difficult for Munchkins to play by making basic Troops units an essential requirement for winning two of the three base scenarios, and making infantry squads much more powerful than tooled-up characters. The Tyranids and the specialist Space Marines generally have enough strange special rules and loopholes (at least in the Dark Angels and Black Templars rules that are still an edition behind) that a Munchkin can still have fun, they just have to work at it.
    • Munchkins these days tend to gravitate towards easily-abused Codexes, min/max the wazoo out of their lists, and take entirely too many powerful units; the favored armies are Necrons and Imperial Guard for their easy access to airplanes.
      • The Grey Knights are another one due to their weakest unit being the Terminator, which has a 5-in-6 chance of ignoring damage, or if the incoming fire can ignore the armor save (that'll mostly be with weapons primarily intended for taking out tanks) a 1-in-3 chance that is close to impossible to negate; along with their units being designed to drop right beside the enemy, and immediately lock them in combat.
    • Of course, context is everything, and Munchkin style lists are practically mandatory at the more serious tournaments, like the Grand Tournament and 'Ard Boyz. Indeed, everyone attends with the expectation that everyone else is trying to go all out for victory, so it is considered poor form to turn up with a "fluffbunnie" list that fits a particular background, because it will usually be tabled quickly and thus disrupting schedules and giving your opponents no practice.
    • With the advent of "Unbound" lists (army lists with no requirements) most people took this to the logical munchkin level; finding one unit that is good at almost everything, and spamming the hell out of it as long as they have the points. The most common joke is "how many Riptides are you gonna field?" as Riptide Battlesuits are considered to be generally all good around (their only real weakness before was that you had to buy 2 troop choices first and it could not hold objectives, both of which Unbound Armies absolve). In general, most tournaments do not allow Unbound Lists in them. Those that do quickly learn why most others don't. Unbound is designed for "beer and pretzel" home games with friends where competitiveness isn't really an issue or big Apocalypse mode matches where the entire point is to bring as many of the super heavies and titans as possible along to have ridiculously big games capable of lasting days.
    • Any discussion of how to munchkin Warhammer - with or without the 40,000, classic Fantasy Battles or the latter games sequel Age of Sigmar - is very time-bound. A single new book or FAQ can stomp flat a broken army or change a meta entirely. When adding examples, it's best to say when the list was a munchkin's dream.
      • Case in point, early 8th Edition (which saw a major rules overhaul that was made to avoid the ridiculous bloating that had occurred since the 2nd and 3rd editions back in the 90s) Imperial Guard lists were dominated by large Conscript blobs capable of overwhelming most things through sheer firepower and number of melee due to new rules making it so that even a pathetically weak S1 attack (humans are S3 for comparison) capable of damaging titans capable of busting cities if the dice fell your way, leaving the tanks to Heavy Weapon Squads and to Infantry squads with AT weapons. Conscripts were nerfed by making it difficult to issue fire twice when standing still orders to them and made them more likely to retreat.
  • An amusing anecdotal etymology: In the early '80s, a Parisian player nicknamed "Gros Bill"note  became infamous for this style of playing, to the point of becoming legendary among French roleplayers. As a result, the French term for "munchkin" is "grosbill".
    • The term also describes Badasses and God Mode Sues in fictions.
  • The game 1000 Blank White Cards basically revolves around this if you want to win. The final blank in the deck is usually the card that wins the game. You need to expect this.
    • That said, 1000 Blank White Cards is the sort of game only a Munchkin would want to win, since the only rule (aside from the premise) is that the guy with the most points wins-as the website points out, what's the point in making a card that says you get all the points, if the next guy makes a card that demands you eat your "I get all the points" card? As a consolation prize, the website offers an extra win condition for those who can't fathom the notion that you can have fun playing a game even if you don't win-if there are more of your cards in the pile at the end than anyone else's, you win.
  • Old World of Darkness rules were partly invented to avoid munchkinism but in fact ended up generating two system-specific types of Munchkin:
    • The "tortured" character who avoids traditional munchkinism but is instead a being of pure Wangst and taking up all of the game's "spotlight" time as a result. Since Storytellers are "suggested" to reward role playing with XP, this wangst can turn into player wangst when their "deep performance" isn't rewarded like they expect.
    • The "ugly alcoholic baby midget ninja" who takes on a monumental number of relatively mechanically-inconsequential character flaws (being short, being a child, being ugly, being an alcoholic or drug addict etc.) in order to pick up a game-breaking combination of advantages. Which is not actually allowed by the rules, though.
    • Not everybody knows about him nowadays, but the original World of Darkness does have its very own metaplot munchkin character: Samuel Haight. (And he broke the rules to get that way, make no mistake.) But considering he ended up as an ASH TRAY IN HELL (Wraith shadowlands, actually), most players are kind of disinclined to follow his route. (WoD's way of saying Munchkin = BAD?)
  • There is the famous story of Old Man Henderson, the only character to ever win Trail of Cthulhu. For starters, his backstory was 320 pages long and justified all of Henderson's very diverse set of skills. The reason it was so long was explicitly so that nobody (particularly the Killer Game Master whom Henderson was specifically created to piss off) would ever bother to read the entire thing, allowing Henderson's player to edit it as much as he wanted and give Henderson whatever skills he needed at the time, justifying it by pointing to it in his backstory, without the GM being any the wiser. Eventually, he didn't even need to edit it anymore, since everyone else at the table had stopped bothering to question Henderson's skills and just assumed that he knew how to do whatever he was trying to do, and that it was in his backstory somewhere.
  • Exalted is literally made for the Psychopath, since the titular Exalted (usually the PCs) were specifically made for the purpose of killing the Creators of the Universe - and succeeded, despite the fact that the Primordials could not die. Also, Min-Maxing is practically mandatory, since character creation uses a different point-buy system than the experience points used in-game. There's also a whole character class - the Eclipse Caste, and its equivalents - whose special ability is the ability to learn to use the magic of other beings, which lends itself to meta-gaming and rules lawyering, to the point where they were forced to create a new keyword - "Native" - specifically to prevent some of the worst abuses.
  • The original version of Hackmaster was specifically designed to encourage this behavior, with admonitions against changing a single rule or fudging a single die roll, and directly positioned the Game Master as the opponent for the players to outwit and defeat. It's full of vicious little traps like weapon maintenance and honor points that almost require players to be munchkins just to survive. Given that this is the game the Knights of the Dinner Table play, examining the rules show that the person playing the game wrong is actually Sara.
  • The notorious World of Synnibarr is designed for min-maxing, with characters who make the right choices (and get the right random roles) to walk out of character creation as virtual gods. The rules also permit the players to override the Game Master, demand compensation from the GM for their own failures, or insist on going over the GM's notes after the game to prove that nothing in the game session was improvised. Only a munchkin would ever play it, and only a fool or masochist would ever agree to run it.

    Video Games 
  • In massively multiplayer games, there exists the opportunity for higher level players to give lower level players gold and items the lower level players would not normally be able to acquire, with characters benefitting from this being called twinks. From the era of MUDs on.
    • World of Warcraft twinks dominated Player Versus Player battlegrounds in the lower level brackets, often frustrating more "average" low level players. One famous twink had a dodge rating of 120% at level 10. Blizzard really ought to know better; Diablo II had level restrictions on enhancement items way back in the late '90s.
      • Twinking in World of Warcraft was eventually trumped in a patch which made battlegrounds give experience, so players would eventually level out of their preferred bracket. That same patch also added the option to turn off experience gain, but doing so results in being placed in an entirely separate bracket from other players of a similar level. So it's munchkins only vs. other munchkins and casual players vs. casual players.
    • EverQuest had one egregious example overlapping with griefing on a roleplaying server. When you died, you lost experience, and would actually lose a level if your experience dropped enough. However, you would not lose any new powers, though they might be scaled back to the lower level. In one notorious case, a level 50 character killed himself all the way back down to 20, then went around decimating other level 20s with his greatly expanded power set. This case caused a change preventing such massive de-leveling. Now that's some dedicated powering up.
    • Kingdom of Loathing's ascension system lets you replay the whole game from the beginning, and there are many benefits to completing the game quickly, so pretty much all players fall into this trope to some degree. Skilled softcore players are especially ridiculous: they'll equip loads of purchased super-items to make themselves as overpowered as possible, use underhanded combat tactics (chaining various reusable stunning items/skills to immobilize the enemy for an unfairly long time, attacking with a shield because it hits more reliably than weapons, etc.) to defeat enemies which they have artificially beefed up to earn more experience, stock their storage lockers with every item they could conceivably need so they won't have to actually play the game to get them, and so on.
      • Even Hardcore (which doesn't let you take anything from your previous runs into it) has its munchkins - people who will plot out exactly what skills will shave turns off of their time and stock their terrarium with rare and valuable familiars, which they will then milk of every possible advantage until they bleed. And they mock and insult anyone who dares to play Softcore as they do it.
  • MapleStory has an extremely large portion of the higher-leveled community who are pretty much like this. The MMORPG itself has a plot, but virtually no one cares about that aspect of the game even though it is quite decent. The community originally wasn't like this, until the economy started going crazy and the game owners added tons of overpowered special equipment for the majority of the higher-leveled players who have extreme amounts of cash (which essentially neglects every one else); as opposed to the originally rather fair gameplay.
    • Some games have even easier twinking. In Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst, the only equipment with level requirements are frames (aka armour) and barriers (aka off-hand shields). But in addition to these basic items, the game featured units, with varying purposes, and MAGs, whose stats would augment that of their owner when equipped. Some units were especially powerful in the early game, such as Centurion/Ability, which boosted five of the player's six stats by 30 points each. Since they lacked level requirements, these rare and powerful units could be used at level 1, as could MAGs which had been raised to level 200, their maximum. (Conversely, some of these units — like Centurion/Ability — had limited use at higher levels.) A level 1 HUmar is no real threat, but when equipped with four Centurion/Ability units and a level 200 MAG, they become an unstoppable death machine until Very Hard difficulty.
      • Also of note, it's entirely possible, through the use of MAGs and Units, for a level 1 Ranger type character to use any gun in the game, including the most powerful ones.
    • Due to the use of skills rather than level for item requirements, Anarchy Online was particularly notorious for twinking. It crossed into lampshade territory as almost the entire player economy was based on twinking and even casual players would be using gear at least a few levels higher than them. This was severely curbed, as equipping high-level items early on depowers it to the point where it can actually be worse than something in line with your current level.
    • A case could be made that MMOs don't even try to discourage munchkin-style roleplaying. Sure, items have minimum level requirements, and the most powerful gear requires you to bring down raid bosses for which you'll need the second-most-powerful gear to even attempt, but the basic style of play is oriented toward making your character constantly more powerful. Players will even deride other players for not playing like munchkins. The trick-and-trap or intrigue-based adventure of a pencil-and-paper RPG is completely absent.
      • Technically, there are such things as "roleplaying shards". And they are specifically marked as such, not vice versa. So grinding/munchkin is the default mode.
  • This is Lampshaded in Planescape: Torment, when talking to an "Elderly Hive Dweller". Upon beginning dialogue, one of the lines used by her is "I'll bet ye've got all sorts o' barmy questions!" (she mimics your heroic stance) "Greetin's, I have some questions... can ye tell me about this place? Who's the Lady o' Pain? I'm lookin' fer the magic Girdle of Swank Iron, have ye seen it? Do ye know where a portal ta the 2,817th Plane o' the Abyss might be? Do ye know where the Holy Flamin' Frost-Brand Gronk-Slayin' Vorpal Hammer o' Woundin' an' Returnin' an' Shootin'-Lightnin'-Out-Yer-Bum is?"
  • The Einzberns in Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero are solid examples. Generally, they seem to have a penchant for summoning the most powerful servants available, such as Angra Mainyu in the 3rd war (only he wasn't what they expected), King Arthur, the most powerful Saber-type Servant, in the 4th war, and Heracles, who they MinMaxed despite the fact that he was already very formidable without it. Specifically in his case: sacrificing all his sanity points for a boost to all stats, even though he would be much more dangerous with his mind intact despite the slightly lower stats, seeing as he's Heracles and all. His Master Illyasviel von Einzbern is just as badly minmaxed, her creators having modified her body so she has enough mana to continuously feed his energy-expensive mad enhancement ability. The process they used stopped her growth before hitting puberty and shortened her lifespan to less than 20 years. Additionally, they stole her childhood in order get the two of them to bond, thus earning her his total obedience. Ironically, they always lose. And even if they did win, their attempt of this in the 3rd war would turn their victory pyrrhic at best and Fuyuki City completely destroyed with magecraft revealed at worst.
  • Implied lampshading in Diablo III: Diablo uses illusions (formed by physically manifested parts of his violent psyche) just to insult the player. The most poignant one is Captain Leonidas, who calls out the heroes for being on the side of good, yet fighting for, in order: wealth, violence, and the chance to be a total dick to the people around them. THIS IS YOU, PLAYER. The player character shrugs it off but it's obvious who the real target was there; you literally butchered thousands of demons, grinding for experience points and generally not considering the lives you just saved over the loot you just earned, outright ignoring people in distress just to kill a goblin with a sack of moolah, selling and recycling weapons that soldiers gave you in thanks or with their dying breath, and all this time did you even consider the fact that heaven is LITERALLY BURNING? You'll play anyway.
  • In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Little Mac has a long-standing reputation for being dominant in For Glory mode (where his aerial weaknesses are offset by the guaranteed flat stage). He also has the lowest win ratio of all characters; Sakurai blames munchkins playing as him because of his reputation for this.
  • One facet of Undertale's multi-layered story is a criticism of this style of playing. The No Mercy/Genocide Route involves the player killing every other character they encounter just to raise their stats, and the entity called the Fallen Child is essentially the incarnation of the "Psychopath" mindset.
  • Minecraft is ostensibly a game about exploration and construction ("mine" and "craft") with a side of Survival Horror. In part because of its pure-sandbox roots, though, players are rarely averse to using scummy tactics to "win" (both literally and in the form of acquiring excessive quantities of valuable items). The most common is "strip mining," where instead of spelunking through monster-infested caves to get ore and loot, you simply tunnel your way to nearly the bottom of the world, where diamond ore spawns, and dig long tunnels and/or grid patternsnote . This is usually more efficient than caving and almost always safer, though it's pretty monotonous. More enterprising players will build farms—not just crop farms (an intended part of the game), but also monster farms, which trick the game into spawning enemies directly into your custom-built deathtrap, generating endless loot and/or experience. They're not shy about exploitable bugs, either; one of the most common (seemingly an Ascended Glitch at this stage, as dropping water onto static lava gives obsidian while doing the opposite gives solid stone but mobile lava and mobile water touching gives endless cobblestone) is arranging lava and water in a particular way so that limitless cobblestone can be mined out of their intersection point.
  • Borderlands 2, in the Fight for Sanctuary DLC, has a hidden recording of Claptrap trying to play Bunkers & Badasses with Tina being the GM (itself a reference to her titular DLC). Claptrap inmediately becomes a cheating Munchkin, declaring ridiculously overpowered attacks without even rolling for them; he gets kicked from the table within just a few seconds.
  • The willingness to be this is arguably the biggest predictor of success in NetHack.
  • Moon: Remix RPG Adventure: The Hero from "Fake Moon" is the quintessential murderhobo: he sees wildlife as EXP, loots people's houses, and cares little about the world around him save what he can directly benefit from. Just about everyone and everything hates him for the trouble he's caused, but they leave him be because he's too strong to be dealt with normally. He's eventually revealed to have been an innocent boy possessed by a cursed evil armor. By the time this twist comes, though, he's long gone, leaving only the empty armor behind.
  • Inscryption: The Technician vs. Performer dynamic between Leshy and P03 come to light in Act 3, where P03 performs a Hostile Show Takeover and becomes the game master in Leshy's place. P03 is obsessed with card meta, barely caring about the presentation of the card game you're playing (unlike Leshy). No matter what your deck is like, it will always tell you that your deck is garbage. If you beat it, P03 blames the loss on RNG.
  • Baldur's Gate III plays straight and deconstructs the "murderhobo" and "psychopath" variants; played straight in that, cutting off potential questlines and getting in a lot more fights aside, there is nothing preventing you from playing the game in this manner. Where the deconstruction comes is in the form of a Player Character exclusive origin, the Dark Urge. An amnesiac who is constantly beset by the desire to slaughter whoever happens to be closest to them at a given moment, you will ocassionally have to make skill checks to avoid succumbing to your base impulses, and both the party and potentially the Urge themselves can react with appropriate horror at your innate desire to kill. Finding out in Act III that the Dark Urge is Bhaalspawn, a child of the Forgetten Realms' resident god of murder, shows just what kind of corruption or influence would be necessary in-universe for a person to behave like this, much less treat it like a game as most Munchkins of these varieties do.

  • The Order of the Stick
    • This strip shows off a very good example of a character a Munchkin would make, and a very good example of how a smart Game Master can deal with it. The example given is quite possibly illegal (depending on your interpretation of the rules for "attacks of opportunity"), but also relatively mundane, considering that the spell system of Dungeons & Dragons is widely considered to be a Game-Breaker in its own right. (It should be noted that the tactic in the comic doesn't work, as described on the discussion page.)
    • Behold a "Roleplaying" Munchkin at its shameless moment.
    • Though he lacks an actual player, Belkar Bitterleaf is something of a parody of this character type, in terms of how they'd seem to another person in-universe. He has no objectives in life apart from wanton murder, theft, and hedonism, and is mostly only on the side of the good guys because they're good at keeping him pointed in the right direction. Multiple comics have joked about how he barely has any understanding of what the group is doing at any given time, because he only cares about getting into fights. This even manifests in his approach to his own class, Ranger, where he ignores nearly every ability it provides except for the Dual Wielding, evidently because things like tracking, wilderness lore, taming animals, and spellcasting were too lame and boring (which, ironically, makes him one of the weaker members of the Order overall). After he finally kills someone he really shouldn't have and faces consequences for it, he starts shaping up a bit, though it's initially just out of recognition that pretending to care about what everyone else is invested in is often enough to keep them from bothering him. His Character Development is in large part about how he stops being this.
  • The embodiment of the Munchkin is the character Red Mage of 8-Bit Theater, who only cares about items based on their stat increases, is a huge Twink and thus (initially) wouldn't use a spell that aligns him improperly to save anyone's life (including his own, at first), and thinks he can manipulate the laws of the universe by shifting the numbers on his stat sheet and avoid damage by forgetting to write things down (though this often works). Also, a while ago, he revealed he is the Last of His Kind, because every Red Mage was a munchkin, and as the dragon Muffin sums up, "they stupided themselves to extinction".
    • Ranger is also a solid Munchkin, considering his choice of classes (to be precise, Ranger and Ranger) his constant abuse of the rules ("Moreover! As a Ranger/Ranger, I can dual-wield my dual-wield!") and his strange family (every species is in his genealogical tree).
  • Darths & Droids turns R2-D2 into this. To be exact, his form comes from taking so many gadgets and abilities, offset with lots of flaws and downsides like lack of height, no arms, and inability to speak Basic. However, R2's player frequently ignores the latter drawback, claiming it only applies when he's "talking in-character". His "win at all cost" tendencies are further displayed when he temporarily becomes the Dungeon Master and so lures the other players into a cruelly designed obstacle course (represented by the Attack of the Clones refinery), where all the players struggle to even survive while he just flies past on rocket boosters. Of course, he is a lawyer out of the game, so this is to be expected...
    • This strip finally calls it by name and shows Pete's reflex to the word (even in a The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reference).
    • The name is also referenced (albeit indirectly) in this strip that takes place in an Alternate Universe where the group is playing a campaign based on The Wizard of Oz instead of Star Wars. The Wicked Witch of the West was min-maxed out the wazoo.
    • Their Rogue One adaptation. Pete manages to create a blind monk, who is empathically linked to a human familiar who is deaf and mute. This allows Pete to effectively have an entire plethora of "disabilities" with no in-game effect (because the blind monk speaks and hears for his familiar, and the familiar can see so well the monk can aim a bow with his help), allowing him to purchase a ridiculous number of advantages, like a backpack minigun for the familiar, and martial arts skills enough to take on Force-Empowered beings for the main player character. Of course, the DM mentions bumping up the difficulty of an encounter later on to make up the difference, and anyone who watched the film knows exactly what this means...
    • The main reason Pete remains tolerated in-universe is his firm refusal to engage in Player Verses Player and primarily keeping to power gaming rather then out-and-out munchkinery. When called on his ignoring of R2-D2’s inability to speak anything other then binary, he works out an entire droid language and codes an app then later uses it to give hints when Nute Gunray takes R2 over. Petes at least, has never stooped into outright lying about the rules, using trick die or Gaslighting his group.
  • All of the PCs from DM of the Rings (the precursor to Darths and Droids) have some Munchkin aspects (most notably an obsession with treasure), but Legolas is the biggest one of the group.
  • In Erfworld, the main protagonist, Parson, plans a game designed for a munchkin to play, where he would keep cheating against his players until they could figure out a way to cheat against him and win. When he gets summoned into a war based RPG Mechanics 'Verse, his munchkin skills and extensive use of Loophole Abuse effectively make him a transcendent military genius.
  • Cory (Zoro) and Luke (Luffy) from One Piece: Grand Line 3.5. Given that the GM designed parts of the game with this in mind, this makes Natalie's life rather difficult.
  • Protagonist of Weregeek was suspected of being "natural-born munchkin" at his first Dungeons & Dragons game. And for good reason.
  • Played for humor in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. The Twinks are gang of munchkin characters described as:
    Dan: Troublemakers! They have many names: Trolls, spammers etc. Or gamers who god-mod and are "unbeatable." They go about and cause havoc, not thinking about the future!
    • Given that the comic was based off an RPG chatroom, it might be a jab at munchkin players.
  • Minmax the Fighter from Goblins. Among other things, he traded his ability to wink and his ability to rhyme on purpose for two extra feats.
  • The three players of Full Frontal Nerdity fit this archetype to one degree or another, with Nelson taking the cake. The most notable example of this behavior was when they managed to finagle their way into ruling a kingdom after a simple intro quest and using its massive resources to fund expeditions netting them ungodly power-ups.
  • Homestuck:
    • The alien Vriska Serket is of the "Gamebuster" variety, who takes time out from being a Killer Game Master to be a Petticoat Seagrift in the "extreme role playing" game FLARP. She has all the levels. All of them.
      And that's before she even gets tangled up in the mythology of the setting. When it became time for her to fight real monsters for real odds, she started equipped with Rocket Boots and enchanted dice, and was one of the few characters to make the sacrifice to become a Physical God.
      While early story arcs with her tend to focus on the negative aspects of the trope, later chapters start to explore the benefits of having such a person on your side: when your opponents are so powerful that the laws of fate itself bend to their whims, having someone around who can and will screw with the rules to gain any possible advantage is actually pretty helpful.
    • Eridan applies too, under "psychopath". What little we're shown of his time in SBURB has him bitching that no one seems to want to come to his world and help him deal with all these murderous angels. Karkat points out that the angels wouldn't have been murderous at all if Eridan hadn't automatically assumed he was supposed to kill them, or at least, having discovered that he gained no benefit from killing them, proceeded to keep killing them anyway. Apparently, the fact that it takes over a minute of sustained fire from one of the most powerful weapons in his strife specibus to kill one of the angels didn't tip Eridan off that his time would've been better spent doing literally anything else.
  • Resonance Ben from Keychain of Creation deliberately cultivates Resonance (a Walking Wasteland curse that all Abyssal Exalted have) and uses it to make necrotic attacks. No sane GM would let him do such a thing in the game proper.
  • Mike from Something*Positive is the worst kind of munchkin. He was also an abrasive Jerkass before some positive Character Development. Now he's just kind of a Jerkass and a munchkin. One Deep-Immersion Gaming arc had him showing up late, because he wanted to design "balanced" (read: all stats maxed out) characters for everybody despite being told beforehand that the GM would be doing this, and he announced the campaign just wasn't working and they should just use his characters instead...10 minutes into the actual game.
  • Minus the outright cheating, Joe Chaos from Another Gaming Comic counts. Unlike most other Munchkins, though, he tries to keep the rest of the party optimized - not just himself - and is perfectly friendly when not at the gaming table.
  • Sydney, the main character of Grrl Power is a huge one (when she plays RPGs), as seen in the first couple panels of the comic. Since she also has real superpowers, this could be foreshadowing.
  • Wesley keeps asking for superpowers in Larp Trek. Geordi eventually breaks down and lets him play a shapeshifter.
  • Coelasquid makes mention in her comic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things that she played her Warden as this...and ended up with a racist, hedonistic douchebag that sexually harassed his entire team.
  • Larry Leadhead, about the adventures of a tabletop wargaming club in Canada, is full of people who are, to greater or lesser extent, Munchkins dedicated to working the very letter of the rulebook, and to hell with the spirit. Dave is the quintessential Munchkin in this club.
  • Enryu from Tower of God has been described as such by the author. When the goal of the story is to advance through each Floor of the Tower by passing the tests made by the Guardians of said Floors, Enryu decided to kill the Guardian of the 43rd Floor. You're not supposed to do that; no one- not even Jahad, is supposed to be capable of doing that. Now, with no Guardian, Regulars do not take a test there.
  • Lita Harper from Cheer! has no scruples about using I Have Boobs, You Must Obey! to manipulate her Game Master both in the game and in real life, even as her younger sister April derides the hapless GM for being such a hormone-addled wimp.

    Web Original 
  • Pretty much all players in Acquisitions Incorporated, shown brightly in the 3rd series finale, but visible through all games (surprisingly, almost avoided by the one least experienced with RPGs, and playing the most self-obsessed character - Mike Krahulik and his character Jim Darkmagic). In some cases, this can be explained by the party being chaotic evil/neutral, as wealth is their sole motivation.
  • Puffin Forest actually inverts this trope. In a Star Wars game, Ben played as a smuggler with an addiction to death sticks, which he used to calm his nerves, even though they made him worse in combat. The GM actually used some pretty contrived Railroading to cure the character of the addiction, despite the party, including, Ben being okay with it.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "D&DD," Dexter is a Munchkin, and unfortunately, the Game Master. As GM he's a Cheater, making the Big Bad invincible and ranting "I am the Game Master, you are my pawns!" at the frustrated players. Once Dee Dee takes over, she tells him to make a character; Dexter starts describing "Gygax", an absurdly overpowered Magic Knight in Scary Impractical Armor with a soul-stealing sword...and instead Dee Dee makes him "Hodo, the Furry-Footed Burrower", whose only skills are digging and playing the mandolin. When he complains, the other players shout "She is the Game Master, you are her pawn!"
  • The titular protagonist of Tigtone is essentially an archetypical Murderhobo who lives solely for doing quests and always solves problems in the most violent ways possible, both when it's efficient and when it isn't. It's even shown that a truly peaceful world would be actively nightmarish for him since there would be nothing for him to do to the point that the first Season Finale has him use an artifact to plunge the world into post-apocalyptic anarchy in order for it to always be filled with quests.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Munchkin


The Roll Player

Roll Players are tabletop gamers who draw emphasis on the "game" aspect of the game over the story.

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