Ogrek Psychs the Munchkin
First published: August, 1992. Posted Online: November 14, 2005.
Ah, metagaming. Sometimes you just can't help it. Sometimes there's a badly-designed ruleset just sitting there, beckoning your axe to come down.
First, some stuff we wanted to have up and announced before last weekend: Our Top Comics button finally has a vote incentive. It's a nice one-panel send-off for the FriNn, and was sent to Steve Jackson Games to use in promos and ads for the book. Webcomics List was down for a few days, so we've listed the comic that's (still) the incentive there in our archive. We'll get a picture of Jif(f) and Yamara up there in a day or so. Not a great one, but different. And this "Γ" thing that we've had a link to over in the left-hand nav bar for the past few days. There's comics there now. Go read them. They have awaited you for decades. Their hour is nigh.
So it always bugged us that vampires in AD&D drained levels rather than blood. Oh, sure, you can write the blood and spooky into the dungeon adventure, but that's not really going to scare a munchkin, is it? Lose some hit points, get infected. Pshaw, some low-level cleric spells will patch that up. Getting a Remove Curse would be the biggest hurdle. A traditional Dracula would be pretty easily outclassed.
But draining levels? The terror! The sacrilege of stealing our precious hard-earned symbolic degrees of stature!! #@¢& worrying over the bodily fluids, them vampires are unnatural and unholy.
Of course, the designers' solution to "make vampires scary again" simply invites further hacking. Tempt the monster with what it wants. Apparently, in this case, eh, it wants your symbolic degrees of stature. So what, then, does a level actually taste like? Could an aroma of an experience level be recreated to lure a vampire? If the vampire isn't particularly hungry, can it just snack on a few points here and there? If it gorges on too many levels, will it throw up?
This is why, when we came to design CºNTINUUM, we kept the rules simple and highly realistic. Stuff like going into shock and bleeding. How long it takes to learn something. Common sense, already.
This whole class-based kill-and-rob munchkin-o-centric mechanic simply implodes on itself after awhile.