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the original Guide To Munchkinism

REAL MEN, REAL ROLEPLAYERS, LOONIES AND MUNCHKINS
By Jeff Okamoto, Sandy Petersen, and lots of others

The whole thing started around 1983 or so at a party at Pacificon at the Dunfey Hotel in San Mateo in which the idea came up of classifying the different styles of roleplaying. They came up with four different types, which are explained below. Special credit goes to Perry Caro, Chris Guthrie, Rick Heli, Robert Allen, and Ken Kaufman, to namea few.

The Real Man
The tough macho type who walks up to the attacking dragon and tells him to leave before he gets hurt.

The Real Roleplayer
The intelligent cunning guy who tricks the constable into letting you all out of prison.

The Loonie
The guy who will do anything for a cheap laugh, including casting a fireball at ground zero.

The Munchkin
Need we say more?


PLAYER RELATIONSHIPS

REAL MEN

Real Men think they're brothers in arms.
Real Roleplayers hide behind them.
Loonies harass them with stupid suggestions.
Munchkins say "I'm a Real Man, too!"

REAL ROLEPLAYERS

Real Men protect them, on the off chance they may come up with something useful.
Real Roleplayers sigh with relief to know they're not alone, and then get their characters involved in love affairs and death feuds.
Loonies harass them with stupid suggestions.
Munchkins say "I'm a Real Roleplayer, too!"

LOONIES

Real Men ignore them.
Real Roleplayers sometimes harass them back by taking a stupid suggestion and making it work.
Loonies declare a pie fight at 20 paces . . . and cheat.
Munchkins try to imitate the jokes, and fall flat.

MUNCHKINS

Real Men attack them on sight.
Real Roleplayers trick them into being cannon fodder.
Loonies make reasonable-sounding suggestions that will get the Munchkin killed in an amusing way.
Munchkins query, "What's a Munchkin?"

GENERIC

Favorite FRPG

Real Men play AD&D
Real Roleplayers play RuneQuest III
Loonies play Toon
Munchkins play anything by TSR

Favorite SFRPG

Real Men play Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game
Real Roleplayers play Space Opera
Loonies play a variant Spawn of Fashan
Munchkins play anything by TSR

Favorite 1920's RPG

Real Men play Gangbusters
Real Roleplayers play Call of Cthulhu
Loonies play a very variant Spawn of Fashan
Munchkins play anything by TSR

Favorite SHRPG

Real Men play Champions
Real Roleplayers play Superworld
Loonies play an extremely variant Spawn of Fashan
Munchkins play anything by TSR

Favorite modern day/spy RPG

Real Men play James Bond, 007
Real Roleplayers play Justice, Inc.
Loonies play an unrecognizable variant Spawn of Fashan
Munchkins play anything by TSR

Favorite Post-Holocaust RPG

Real Men play Twilight 2000
Real Roleplayers play The Morrow Project
Loonies play an extremely unrecognizable variant of Spawn of Fashan
Munchkins play anything by TSR

Favorite King Arthurian RPG

Real Men play Chivalry and Sorcery
Real Roleplayers play Pendragon
Loonies play a variant of Spawn of Fashan so variant it shouldn't be called Spawn of Fashan anymore
Munchkins play anything by TSR

Favorite World/Setting

Real Men play in Greyhawk/Sanctuary
Real Roleplayers play in Glorantha
Loonies play in Southern California
Munchkins play wherever has the most magic items

Favorite Gaming Magazine

Real Men read The General
Real Roleplayers read White Dwarf
Loonies read the last few pages of Dragon/comic books
Munchkins read anything by TSR

FANTASY

Favorite Dungeon Activity

Real Men fight Red Dragons
Real Roleplayers bluff the Ogres
Loonies tell dirty jokes to Green Slime
Munchkins do whatever gives the most experience/rip each other off

Favorite Melee Weapon

Real Men use Broadswords/Bastard Swords/Pole Axes
Real Roleplayers use Rapiers and Main-Gauches
Loonies use Stage Knives
Munchkins use whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite Thrown Weapon

Real Men throw Spears/Javelins
Real Roleplayers throw Bolas
Loonies throw their friends' magic items
Munchkins throw whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite Missile Weapon

Real Men shoot Long Bows/Composite Bows
Real Roleplayers shoot Crossbows
Loonies shoot Catapults loaded with offal
Munchkins shoot whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite Improvised Weapon in Barroom Brawl

Real Men use bare hands/tables
Real Roleplayers use chairs, chair legs or pokers
Loonies use plastic Pepsi bottles or toothpaste
Munchkins use, you guessed it, whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite Improvised Thrown Weapons

Real Men throw Munchkins (can you blame them?)
Real Roleplayers throw beer mugs, pool balls and rocks
Loonies throw Nerf frisbees
Munchkins are too busy running from the Real Men/Whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite AD&D Spell

Real Men cast Fireballs
Real Roleplayers cast Find the Path
Loonies cast Otto's Irresistible Nose-Picking
Munchkins cast Smite Ruler and Transfer Loyalty of Populace

Favorite RQ3 Spirit Spell

Real Men cast Bladesharp 10 on their swords
Real Roleplayers cast Demoralize on their foes
Loonies cast Befuddle on their friends
Munchkins cast Fireball

Favorite RQ3 Sorcery Spell

Real Men cast Dominate Human on others
Real Roleplayers cast Damage Resistance on their familiars/themselves
Loonies cast Dominate Human on themselves
Munchkins cast Meteor Swarm

Favorite RQ3 Divine Spell

Real Men cast Berserker on themselves
Real Roleplayers cast Heal Body
Loonies cast Face Chaos on the Crimson Bat
Munchkins cast Timestop

Favorite GURPS Magic Spell

Real Men don't use magic, but they'll let the mage cast Hawk Flight on them so they can pursue the foe
Real Roleplayers cast Lend Language on the strangers they meet
Loonies cast Mystic Mist in the town square
Munchkins cast Enslave on the city guard

Favorite AD&D Psionic Ability

Real Men use Body Weaponry
Real Roleplayers use Shape Alteration
Loonies use Sea Anemone Hypnosis
Munchkins use Assume Godhood

Favorite Alignment

Real Men are Lawful Good
Real Roleplayers don't use alignment
Loonies are Amoral Silly
Munchkins are whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite Religious-type Character

Real Men play Paladins
Real Roleplayers play Clerics
Loonies play street preachers
Munchkins play Demigods

Favorite Non-Human PC

Real Men play Dwarfs
Real Roleplayers play Morokanths
Loonies play a Dwarf-Elf halfbreed
Munchkins play whatever gives the most plusses/Demi-gods

Favorite Undead to Summon

Real Men summon Ghosts
Real Roleplayers summon Wraiths
Loonies send in an AD&D troll wearing a sheet
Munchkins summon Cerberus

Favorite Way of Extracting Information from the Goblins

Real Men torture them
Real Roleplayers cast Legend Lore/Telepathy/Mind Read
Loonies tell puns to them
Munchkins peek behind the GM's shield

Favorite Demon/Devil

Real Men like Asmodeus
Real Roleplayers like Cacodemon
Loonies like Spiro Agnew
Munchkins like Satan's grandfather

Favorite God

Real Men worship Humakt/Orlanth
Real Roleplayers worship Issaries/Lhankor Mhy
Loonies worship Hare Krishna
Munchkins worship whoever gives the most plusses

Favorite Miscellaneous Magic Item

Real Men love Adamantine Claws
Real Roleplayers love Repulsor Rays
Loonies love Radioactive Teeth/+3 Kleenex
Munchkins love Uru's Hammer

Favorite Potion

Real Men drink potions of Superheroism
Real Roleplayers drink potions of Animal/Plant Control
Loonies drink potions of Jell-O
Munchkins drink potions of Deity Control

Favorite Ring

Real Men wear rings of Elemental Control
Real Roleplayers wear rings of Free Action
Loonies wear rings of Smurf Control
Munchkins wear rings of Infinite Wishes/the One Ring

Favorite Stick (Rod/Staff/Wand)

Real Men wield staves of Striking
Real Roleplayers wield wands of Healing
Loonies wield rods of styrofoam
Munchkins wield staves of Deity Power

Favorite Armor

Real Men wear Plate Mail
Real Roleplayers wear Elven Chainmail
Loonies wear Horse Barding
Munchkins wear powered armor a la Starship Troopers

Favorite Helm

Real Men wear a Helm of Brilliance
Real Roleplayers wear a Helm of Telepathy
Loonies wear a Helm of Blindness (``Works great against medusas'')
Munchkins wear a Helm of 360-Degree Vision with Force Field

Favorite Shield

Real Men don't use shields (can't wield a two-handed weapon)
Real Roleplayers use a Kite Shield
Loonies use a panty shield
Munchkins don't get the previous joke/use a Shield of Automatic Parry

Favorite Glove/Gauntlet

Real Men fight bare-handed
Real Roleplayers wear Gloves of Dexterity
Loonies wear THE Glove of Michael Jackson Charisma
Munchkins wear Gauntlets of Infinite Ring-Wearing

Favorite Footwear

Real Men wear Seven League Boots
Real Roleplayers wear Boots of Stealth
Loonies wear house slippers
Munchkins wear Boots of Infinite Speed

Favorite Mount

Real Men ride heavy war horses
Real Roleplayers ride palfreys
Loonies ride sheep
Munchkins ride heavy war tyrannosauri

Favorite NPC

Real Men like Tarl Cabot
Real Roleplayers like Medea
Loonies like Doctor Who
Munchkins like Darth Vader/Teela Brown

Favorite Animal to use as a Familiar

Real Men have Black Cats
Real Roleplayers have Owls
Loonies have Slugs
Munchkins have whatever gives the most plusses/Ancient Red Dragons

Favorite Kind of Elf

Real Men like the Pinis' elves
Real Roleplayers like Tolkien's elves
Loonies like Santa's elves
Munchkins like Storm Giants with pointed ears

Favorite Kind of Dwarf

Real Men like Tolkien's Dwarfs
Real Roleplayers like Glorantha's Dwarfs
Loonies like the Seven Dwarfs
Munchkins like Earth Elementals with beards

Favorite Food to take on Expeditions

Real Men bring along burgers, fries, milkshakes, and pizza
Real Roleplayers bring along iron rations
Loonies bring along Froot Loops/aluminum rations
Munchkins bring along whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite Fantasy Author

Real Men read J.R.R. Tolkien ``Lord of the Rings''
Real Roleplayers read Robert Asprin's ``Thieves' World'' series
Loonies read Robert Asprin's ``Myth'' series
Munchkins read E. Gary Gygax

When they encounter a sleeping dragon

Real Men wake it up and THEN attack it.
Real Roleplayers sneak away quietly.
Loonies tie its shoelaces together.
Munchkins have their 34th-level thief backstab it with their +17 Sword of Slay Anything, and then put all its treasure in one backpack and run away.

Favorite Town Activity

Real Men drink ale in the tavern and start bar fights.
Real Roleplayers drink wine in the tavern and talk to everyone.
Loonies order watermelon daiquiris and start food fights.
Munchkins say ``What's a town?''

SCIENCE FICTION

Favorite Science Fiction Weapon

Real Men use Laser Pistols/Blasters/Light Sabers
Real Roleplayers use Stun Guns/Tanglers
Loonies use Thermonuclear Hand Grenades/Tripod Flamers
Munchkins use whatever gives the most plusses

Favorite Method of Handling Alien Monster

Real Men drive off the Bug-Eyed Monsters invading the Earth
Real Roleplayers negotiate with the refugees from the evil Empire
Loonies hitch a ride with Vogons
Munchkins invade the BEMs' home planet and enslave them all

Favorite Science Fiction Movie

Real Men watch the Star Wars films
Real Roleplayers watch ``2001 A Space Odyssey/2010:Odyssey Two''
Loonies watch ``The Three Stooges Go To Mars''
Munchkins watch the Star Trek films

Favorite Method of Space Travel

Real Men use Hyperspace/Warp Drive
Real Roleplayers use suspended animation
Loonies use the Infinite Improbability Drive
Munchkins push the button and it goes

Favorite Star to Put a Colony Around

Real Men colonize Beta Lyrae
Real Roleplayers colonize Alpha Centauri
Loonies colonize Cygnus X-1
Munchkins colonize wherever gives the most plusses

Favorite Science Fiction Author

Real Men read Isaac Asimov
Real Roleplayers read Arthur C. Clarke
Loonies read Bored of the Rings/Doon/Hitchhiker
Munchkins read E. Gary Gygax

Favorite Monster

Real Men like the Alien
Real Roleplayers like the Moties
Loonies like the beach ball from Dark Star
Munchkins like E.T.

Favorite Variant Human

Real Men play Heavy Worlders
Real Roleplayers play Light Worlders/Spacers
Loonies play Sex Androids
Munchkins play Enhanced Humans with all the advantages

MISCELLANEOUS

Favorite Bar to Hang Out In

Real Men hang out at the Vulgar Unicorn
Real Roleplayers hang out at the White Hart
Loonies hang out at the Big Bang Burger Bar/Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Munchkins hang out wherever they don't get carded

Favorite Superhero

Real Men like Batman (The Dark Knight)
Real Roleplayers like Jericho
Loonies like Bat-Mite/Flaming Carrot/Cutey Bunny
Munchkins like Galactus

Favorite Modern weapon

Real Men use .44 Magnums
Real Roleplayers use Walther PPKs
Loonies use water pistols
Munchkins use Infinite-Repeating Uzis

Favorite Actor

Real Men like John Wayne
Real Roleplayers like Klaus Kinski
Loonies like Curly
Munchkins watch Saturday-morning cartoons

Favorite Actress

Real Men like Raquel Welch
Real Roleplayers like Adrienne Barbeau
Loonies like Phyllis Diller
Munchkins are far too young to know about Sex

Favorite Actor to play James Bond

Real Men like Sean Connery
Real Roleplayers like George Lazenby
Loonies like David Niven
Munchkins like Roger Moore

Favorite Card Game

Real Men play Gin
Real Roleplayers play Bridge
Loonies play Fizzbin/Fungus and Fruitbats
Munchkins cheat at Poker

Favorite Music

Real Men listen to Bruce Springsteen
Real Roleplayers listen to 14th-century madrigals
Loonies listen to Weird Al Yankovic
Munchkins watch MTV

Favorite Magazine

Real Men read Soldier of Fortune and argue about whether the ads are real.
Real Roleplayers read the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and argue about the point value of disadvantages.
Loonies read National Lampoon and bitch about how it's gone downhill.
Munchkins read comic books and argue about whether Spider-Man should have married MJ.

Favorite Convention Activity

Real Men ``Do the Dealer's Room''/hang out in the con suite
Real Roleplayers go to seminars/hide in their rooms and play games
Loonies play video games/do hoax zines
Munchkins run and shout and cut in lines

Favorite Gaming Awards

Real Men vote for the (new) Charles Roberts awards from 3W
Real Roleplayers vote for the Origins Awards
Loonies come in at the end of the Origins ceremony to vote on the Silver Hatchets
Munchkins vote for the Strategists Club awards

Favorite Type of Dice

Real Men like 20-siders
Real Roleplayers use three 6-siders
Loonies use 30-sided for everything
Munchkins have them all, and like to roll as many as possible

CALL OF CTHULHU

Favorite Spell

Real Men don't believe in magic
Real Roleplayers cast Elder Sign
Loonies cast Summon Smurf
Munchkins cast Control Cthulhu

Favorite Monster

Real Men like Deep Ones
Real Roleplayers don't like any of them
Loonies like Masters of the Universe Slime
Munchkins like Azathoth

Favorite Type of Character to Play

Real Men play Private Investigators
Real Roleplayers play Professors of Ancient Egyptian Archaeology
Loonies play Red Indian Sex Maniacs
Munchkins play Magic-Users

PARANOIA

Capsule Opinion

Real Men think the weapons are OK, but hate the background.
Real Roleplayers think the campaigns are too short.
Loonies think the game isn't funny enough.
Munchkins don't think the game is supposed to be funny.

Favorite Service Group

Real Men like Armed Forces.
Real Roleplayers like Tech Services and CPU.
Loonies like R&D.
Munchkins like IntSec.

Favorite Secret Society

Real Men like Anti-Mutant, Frankenstein Destroyers, and PURGE.
Real Roleplayers like Free Enterprise and Sierra Club.
Loonies like Corpore Metal, Death Leopard, and Mystics.
Munchkins like Psion.

Favorite Mutant Power

Real Men like Adrenalin Control.
Real Roleplayers like Hypersenses.
Loonies like Project Total Chaos.
Munchkins like characters with the works.

Favorite Weapon

Real Men like cone rifles.
Real Roleplayers like laser pistols.
Loonies like chainsaws and anything from R&D.
Munchkins like Plasma Generators.

Favorite Target

Real Men shoot Commie Mutant Traitors.
Real Roleplayers shoot the Munchkins' characters.
Loonies shoot anything fragile-looking.
Munchkins shoot anything in sight, starting with the other PCs.

Favorite Mission

Real Men like to hunt down Commie Mutant Traitors.
Real Roleplayers like to try to survive the briefing.
Loonies like to place themselves under surveillance and report hourly.
Munchkins like to attack a rival Alpha Complex.

TFOS

Capsule Opinion

Real Men can't understand the game at all.
Real Roleplayers think the game is silly.
Loonies think the game is about them.
Munchkins want to play their 700-point Champions character.

Favorite Character Type

Real Men play Near Humans.
Real Roleplayers play Humans.
Loonies play green fuzzy blobs that drip slime.
Munchkins play Deities.

Favorite Powers

Real Men have Superspeed, Monster Out, and Superstrength
Real Roleplayers have Teleport, Deep Freeze, and Talk to Aliens.
Loonies have Bounce, Summon Pizza, and Telephone.
Munchkins have all of them.

Favorite Knacks

Real Men like Shoot Big Raygun and Flying Saucer Piloting.
Real Roleplayers like Figure Things Out and Look Cool in Shades.
Loonies like Weird Science and Eat Anything.
Munchkins like Do Anything I Want.

Favorite Weapon

Real Men like Zap Guns.
Real Roleplayers like Duplicator Guns.
Loonies like Goop Guns and Boy/Girl Guns.
Munchkins like AT-AT Walkers.

Favorite Transportation

Real Men use flying saucers.
Real Roleplayers use the Number 42 Crosstown Expedience Route.
Loonies use Rocket Sneakers.
Munchkins use Battlestars.

CHAMPIONS

Capsule Opinion

Real Men think this is how the world *should* be.
Real Roleplayers think there's too much combat.
Loonies think it's a great system for simulating reality.
Munchkins think starting characters don't have enough points.

Favorite Character Type

Real Men like Bricks.
Real Roleplayers like Mentalists.
Loonies like Cream-Puff Projectors.
Munchkins like visiting Gods.

Favorite Power

Real Men like Damage Resistance.
Real Roleplayers like Telepathy.
Loonies like Instant Change with the advantage Usable on Others.
Munchkins like Autofire Find Weakness.

Favorite Attribute

Real Men like Strength.
Real Roleplayers like Ego.
Loonies like Comeliness.
Munchkins like Speed.

Favorite Disadvantage

Real Men like Berserk.
Real Roleplayers like Psychological Limitations.
Loonies like Dependency on Spinach Egg Noodles.
Munchkins like Unusual Looks.

Favorite Power Limitation

Real Men like Always On.
Real Roleplayers like Limited Uses.
Loonies like Activation on 8-.
Munchkins like Focus and Multipower.

Tactics in Hostage Situations

Real Men demonstrate what'll happen to villains who injure hostages.
Real Roleplayers create an illusion of the hostages getting away.
Loonies taunt the villians.
Munchkins waste the villians with their 10d6 Autofire Armor-Piercing Ranged Killing Attack, and use Regeneration Usable on Others to heal the injured bystanders.

FANTASY HERO

Capsule Opinion

Real Men like how expensive magic is.
Real Roleplayers don't like how expensive magic is.
Loonies like the bizzare disadvantages you can create.
Munchkins like the crossover from Champions.

Character Type

Real Men play Dwarven Knights.
Real Roleplayers play Elven Mages.
Loonies play Halfling Knights.
Munchkins play their Champions characters.

Favorite Spell Limitations

Real Men wish there weren't any, so magic would be even more expensive.
Real Roleplayers like Gestures, Incantation, and Concentrate.
Loonies like Side Effects.
Munchkins use the Champions rules.

Favorite Spells

Real Men like any kind of magic greatsword.
Real Roleplayers like Percieve and Illusions.
Loonies like Dominate usable on Self Only.
Munchkins like Blast, Variable Advantage, Reduced END to zero.

GURPS

Capsule Opinion

Real Men think there aren't enough combats.
Real Roleplayers think there aren't enough supplements.
Loonies think there aren't enough disadvantages.
Munchkins think there aren't enough hit points.

Favorite Advantages

Real Men like Combat Reflexes, Strong Will, High Pain Threshold and Toughness.
Real Roleplayers like Charisma, Danger Sense, Empathy, Literacy and Voice.
Loonies like Luck, Absolute Timing and Unusual Background.
Munchkins like Magery 3, Patron (Superman), and PK (80).

Favorite Disadvantages

Real Men like Gigantism and Berserk
Real Roleplayers like Sense of Duty and Poverty
Loonies like Severe Delusions, Severe Phobias, Split Personality, Total Pacifism and Berserk - all at the same time.
Munchkins like Enemies and Dependents (for the points).

Favorite Skills

Real Men like Brawling, Two-Handed Sword, Broadsword and Shield.
Real Roleplayers like Acting, Bard, Detect Lies, Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, Merchant, Savoir-Faire and Streetwise.
Loonies like to use ALL skills at a default level of 5.
Munchkins like Fast-Talk GM and Whine.

Favorite Combat Spell

Real Men don't use magic.
Real Roleplayers cast Blur and Flash.
Loonies cast Create Object (cream pies) and throw them.
Munchkins cast Armor, Shield, Invisibility and Deathtouch.

Favorite Non-Combat Spell

Real Men still don't use magic.
Real Roleplayers cast Major Healing.
Loonies cast Drunkenness on the other PCs.
Munchkins cast Linking spells on everything they own.

Favorite Supplement

Real Men like Horseclans and Ice Age.
Real Roleplayers like Space, Horror and Japan.
Loonies like Toon.
Munchkins like Fantasy, Horror and Autoduel - in the same game.

Supplement Most Wanted

Real Men want Wild West and World War II.
Real Roleplayers want Illuminati.
Loonies want Pet Rocks/Creeks & Crawdads.
Munchkins want Supers and Mecha, to add to their Fantasy/Horror/Autoduel game.
Copyright Thomas Rupp