Coffee and Dice: Power Player or Roleplayer?

Which Are You? Power Player or Role Player?


(c)2007 by Wayne Reynolds


    In this article, I’ll be sharing my knowledge of the difference between a power player and a roleplayer. These two gamers are always at the gaming table in almost any tabletop RPG group. Most likely you are one of them or close in between which is a good spot to be in my opinion.  So, let’s start with the question of what these two players are.

  • Power Player: Someone who is adept at making their characters the best they can be (in the terms of damage output). They believe that stat-patted characters are by far the most useful and most sufficient part of the party. They can often be arrogant to the roleplaying world around their character. That’s a very broad terminology of a power player whose character is built for slaughter or aka murder-hobo.


In Magic: the Gathering, a Power Gamer is called “Timmy”


This is not the only power player though just the most often seen.  They often challenge the DM/GM on their creativity and usually undermine the party to “break” the game. Which in some games are wanted so the DM/GM can become better but trying to break a game out of the book, is very unnecessary and not needed. They make the game become DM/GM Vs Player when most DM/GM’s are only storytelling and making you heroes.

  • Roleplayer: Someone who designed the character as they seen from their imagination who they can well, roleplay with. They are not concerned for stat patting and most are generally aligned with the party’s interests and are in the game for story and character growth. They are living the book not seeing how to break a DM/GM campaign or in other cases trying to harm the party based on the typical “My strength is 30, I will crush your character if you say no.” Roleplayers are what makes our imagined gameplay thrilling and best of all, alive.

Boromir One Does Not.jpg

These players give the emotion involved in the game. Two examples for this is when in battle instead of just rolling to hit then rolling the damage they give a description, they go into theater mode with their attacks instead of just rolling a die. The other example is when they are talking about the game as their character they use the emotion of how the character may be feeling at that time etc.

The summary is, power players stat build for their effectiveness in combat, they tend to bring an MMORPG (Video Game reference) into the Tabletop gaming world which usually if not always disrupts or stops a campaign’s progression. Which usually involves zero emotion and only ultimately useful in a combat scenario where most DM/GMs end their character. Role players bring life into the game and bring what tabletop gaming is all about. To become a hero… well hopefully, either way, they take your mind away from reality and into another world that is another life, not another video game.

    So, which are you, Adventurer? Do you bring stats to the table, or do you bring life to the table?


This has been Coffee and Dice at Boggsimus Games; I’m Joshua Graham I will see you at the gaming table!


Twitter: @SirD20Nerd

On the Cover: Magic in Eberron by Wayne Reynolds for Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons Eberron Setting. For more Wayne Reynolds, check out his website.


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