Real Men Don't Play Fantasy Role-Playing Games

By Jeff Okamoto, Sandy Petersen, and lots of USENET folks

The whole thing started around 1983 or so. Sandy Petersen told me of a party at Pacificon at the Dunfey Hotel in San Mateo in which the idea came up of classifying the different styles of role-playing. They came up with four different types, which are explained below.

They had come up with a few of the "Favorites". Sandy had thought up some more and I took the task of coming up with even more.

I first posted Real Men to USENET in early 1985. Since then, I have gotten very good feedback from assorted people and I have incorporated some of the best "Favorites".

Contributors include Perry Caro, Chris Guthrie, Rick Heli, Robert Allen, Ken Kaufman, and Merlyn LeRoy, to name a 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 Role-Player

The intelligent cunning type who tricks the constable into letting you all out of prison.

The Loonie

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

The Munchkin

Need I say anything more?


Favorite FRPG:
Real Men play AD&D
Real Role-Players play RuneQuest III
Loonies play TOON
Munchkins play anything by TSR
Favorite SFRPG:
Real Men play Star Trek: The Role-Playing Game
Real Role-Players play Space Opera
Loonies play a variant Spawn of Fashan
Munchkins play anything by TSR
Favorite 1920's RPG:
Real Men play Gangbusters
Real Role-Players play Call of Cthulhu
Loonies play a very variant Spawn of Fashan
Munchkins play anything by TSR
Favorite SHRPG:
Real Men play Champions
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players play in Glorantha
Loonies play in Southern California
Munchkins play wherever has the most magic items
Favorite Magazine:
Real Men read The General
Real Role-Players read White Dwarf
Loonies read comic books
Munchkins read anything by TSR


Favorite Dungeon Activity
Real Men fight Red Dragons
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players shoot Crossbows
Loonies shoot Twinkie Bazookas
Munchkins shoot whatever gives the most plusses
Favorite AD&D Spell:
Real Men cast Fireballs
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players cast Heal Body
Loonies cast Face Chaos on the Crimson Bat
Munchkins cast Timestop
Favorite AD&D Psionic Ability:
Real Men use Body Weaponry
Real Role-Players use Shape Alteration
Loonies use Sea Anemone Hypnosis
Munchkins use Assume Godhood
Favorite Alignment:
Real Men are Lawful Good
Real Role-Players don't use alignment
Loonies are Amoral Silly
Munchkins are whatever gives the most plusses
Favorite Religious-type Character:
Real Men play Paladins
Real Role-Players play Clerics
Loonies play street preachers
Munchkins play Demigods
Favorite Non-human as a PC:
Real Men play Dwarfs
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players like Cacodemon
Loonies like Spiro Agnew
Munchkins like Satan's grandfather
Favorite God:
Real Men worship Humakt/Orlanth
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players love Repulsor Rays
Loonies love Radioactive Teeth/+3 Kleenex
Munchkins love Uru's Hammer
Favorite Potion:
Real Men drink potions of Superheroism
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players wear rings of Free Action
Loonies wear rings of Smurf Control
Munchkins wear rings of Infinite Wishes/the One Ring
Favorite Stick (ie, Rod/Staff/Wand):
Real Men wield staves of Striking
Real Role-Players wield staves of Healing
Loonies wield staves of styrofoam
Munchkins wield staves of Deity Power
Favorite Armor:
Real Men wear Plate Mail
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players wear Gloves of Dexterity
Loonies wear THE Glove of Michael Jackson Charisma
Munchkins wear Gauntlets of Infinite Ring-Wearing
Favorite Boot:
Real Men wear Seven League Boots
Real Role-Players wear Boots of Stealth
Loonies wear house slippers
Munchkins wear Boots of Infinite Speed
Favorite Type of Mount:
Real Men ride heavy war horses
Real Role-Players ride palfreys
Loonies ride sheep
Munchkins ride heavy war tyrannosauri
Favorite NPC:
Real Men like Tarl Cabot
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players have Owls
Loonies have Slugs
Munchkins have whatever gives the most plusses/Ancient Red Dragons
Favorite Kind of Elf:
Real Men like the Pini's elves
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players read Robert Asprin's "Thieves World" series
Loonies read Robert Asprin's "Myth" series
Munchkins read E. Gary Gygax


Favorite Spell:
Real Men don't believe in magic
Real Role-Players cast Elder Sign
Loonies cast Summon Smurf
Munchkins cast Control Cthulhu
Favorite Monster:
Real Men like Deep Ones
Real Role-Players don't like any of them
Loonies like Master's of the Universe Slime
Munchkins like Azathoth
Favorite Type of Character to Play:
Real Men play Private Investigators
Real Role-Players play Professors of Ancient Egyptian Archaeology
Loonies play Red Indian Sex Maniacs
Munchkins play Magic-Users


Favorite Science Fiction Weapon:
Real Men use Laser Pistols/Blasters/Light Sabers
Real Role-Players use Stun Guns
Loonies use Thermonuclear Hand Grenades
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 Role-Players negotiate with the refugees from the evil Empire
Loonies hitch a ride with Vogons
Munchkins invade the home planet of the BEM and enslave them all
Favorite Science Fiction Movie:
Real Men watch "Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi"
Real Role-Players watch "2001: A Space Odyssey/2010: Odyssey Two"
Loonies watch "The Three Stooges go to Mars"
Munchkins watch "Star Trek-The Motion Picture/Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan/Star Trek III-The Search for Spock/Star Trek IV- The Voyage Home"
Favorite Method of Space Travel
Real Men use Hyperspace/Warp Drive
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players 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 Role-Players read Arthur C. Clarke
Loonies read Bored of the Rings/Doon
Munchkins read E. Gary Gygax
Favorite Monster
Real Men like the Alien
Real Role-Players like the Moties
Loonies like the beach ball from Dark Star
Munchkins like E.T.


Favorite Bar to Hang Out In:
Real Men hang out at the Vulgar Unicorn
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players like Jericho
Loonies like Bat-Mite
Munchkins like Galactus
Favorite Modern-day weapon:
Real Men use .44 Magnums
Real Role-Players use Walther PPKs
Loonies use water pistols
Munchkins use Infinite-Repeating Uzis
Favorite Actor:
Real Men like John Wayne
Real Role-Players like Claus Kinski
Loonies like Curly
Munchkins watch Saturday-morning cartoons
Favorite Actress:
Real Men like Racquel Welch
Real Role-Players 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 Role-Players like George Lazenby
Loonies like David Niven
Munchkins like Roger Moore
Favorite Card Game:
Real Men play Gin
Real Role-Players play Bridge
Loonies play Fizzbin
Munchkins cheat at Poker
Favorite Music
Real Men listen to Bruce Springsteen
Real Role-Players listen to 14th century madrigals
Loonies listen to Weird Al Yankovic
Munchkins are too busy watching their Favorite TV program
Favorite Convention Activity:
Real Men "Do the Dealer's Room"
Real Role-Players go to the seminars
Loonies play video games
Munchkins run and shout and cut in lines


Favorite Character type:
Real Men like Troll Sky Raiders
Real Role-Players like Dwarf Troubadours
Loonies like Windling Warriors
Munchkins like Verjigorm
Favorite First Circle Talent:
Real Men like Fireblood
Real Role-Players like First Impression
Loonies like First Impression too, but use it on themselves in the mirror
Munchkins like starting with 3 ranks in Melee Weapons
Favorite piece of starting equipment:
Real Men like a spiked mace
Real Role-Players like Last Chance potions
Loonies like dwarven mine rations they can't eat anymore
Munchkins like Theran Behemoths
Favorite type of adventure:
Real Men like crawling through kaers and going mano-a-mano with Horrors
Real Role-Players like trekking across Barsaive and thwarting Questors of Dis
Loonies like paddling out in inflatable sea horsies to paint graffiti on the sides of T'skrang riverboats
Munchkins like taking over the Theran Empire
Least Favorite of the Passions:
Real Men think Raggok is a perversion of all that's good and holy
Real Role-Players are revolted to the core of their souls by Dis
Loonies like the idea behind Lochost but think it doesn't go far enough
Munchkins think Garlen is a wimp but like free healing too much to say so out loud
Favorite place in Barsaive:
Real Men want to live on Sky Point and hold it against all comers
Real Role-Players want to go to Blood Wood and join in the palace intrigues
Loonies take their boogie boards and go surfing on Death's Sea
Munchkins want to got to Thera and stare down the Sphinx ... and win

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License and is Copyright © 1985 Jeff Okamoto.
Jeff Okamoto / / 5 April 1996