Munchkin (role-playing games)

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For other uses, see Munchkin (disambiguation).

In gaming, a munchkin is a player who plays what is intended to be a non-competitive game (usually a role-playing game) in an aggressively competitive manner. A munchkin seeks within the context of the game to amass the greatest power, score the most "kills", and grab the most loot, no matter how detrimental their actions are to role-playing, the storyline, fairness, teamwork, or the other players' enjoyment. The term is used almost exclusively as a pejorative and frequently is used in reference to powergamers.

The term was applied originally to young gamers by older players,[1] presumably because the connotation of being short and ridiculous (like the Munchkins in the book and film The Wizard of Oz) made it an apt label for the childish gamers it was applied to. However, before long it came to refer to anyone who engaged in a juvenile gaming style no matter their height, age or experience.

Munchkins are often accused of twinking or roll-playing, a pun on "role" that notes how munchkins are often more concerned with the numbers and die rolls than with the roles that they play.

A more neutral use of the term is in reference to novice players, who, not knowing yet how to roleplay, typically obsess about the statistical "power" of their characters rather than developing their characters' personalities.

A game master who constantly awards players large amounts of treasure or powerful magic items without proper backstory or justification can also be called a munchkin master. Such campaigns are sometimes called 'Monty Haul' campaigns, after Monty Hall, the host of Let's Make a Deal. In these games the players are considered munchkins for having gained powerful characters without having earned these advancements or having proven their mastery of the game.

In France, the munchkin is known as a Gros Bill (Fat Bill or Big Bill), from the nickname of a Parisian player who played with roleplaying game author François Marcela-Froideval. Marcela-Froideval later wrote an article about this type of player with colleagues Didier Guiserix and Daniel Duverneuil in the leading French roleplaying game magazine Casus Belli, causing the widespread use of that nickname among French powerplayers.[2]

In gaming certain rule(s) exist to combat a Munchkin ruining the experience for other gamers. Specifically the rule(s) should be made clear to beginners so that the pitfalls associated with listening to a Munchkin's antics can be avoided.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gribble, Nathan (1994). "The Munchkin Examined". Interactive Fantasy (2). 
  2. ^ Marcela-Froideval, François; Guiserix, Didier; Duverneuil, Daniel (1981). "Devine qui vient dîner ce soir". Casus Belli (4).