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12 tips for dealing with a God Modder

Superman with Thor's hammer and Captain America's shield

God Modders can ruin a roleplaying experience for all other players, read my other article about godmodders here. But they’re most frustrating for the GM of a game, as they are the ones who have made the decision to totally ban these offenders, or help mould them into a decent player. The latter taking a lot more effort, and risking annoying every other member in the process.

For this article I’ve been helped out by several roleplaying veterans! Here are 12 tips for dealing with a God Modder:

1. Encourage them to have a good set of character flaws

As the GM you should be able to review a member’s character profile before they join, this gives you some time to work with them and help them to add in a few characters flaws so that the character is fallible and realistic.

Each character is like each person.  None of us are perfect.  So, in order to make your character as realistic as possible it is important to know their limitations, from the start.

Rich LeValley, Star Trek: Borderlands

Take him to one side and teach him the finer points of character development

SMAndy, GM of HMS Sovereign and Reapers Union

2. Set the rules

Make sure you state in your game’s rules that godmodding isn’t appropriate in your game.

All sims have rules, that’s a given. However it’s important to outline certain rules with EXAMPLES. So when you’re explaining in your sim rules that god-modding or ‘super hero syndrome’ is not allowed, include a written example (in character) and an explanation of the issues with this example. That should be enough to give potential players an idea of what NOT to do.

Vadm UvarUSS London

3. Distract them with mundane tasks

Give them opportunities where god moding doesn’t matter to the story.  Like a whole army goes after him, while everyone else saves the damsel!

SMAndy, GM of HMS Sovereign and Reapers Union

Maybe after they’ve got it out of their system, they’ll realise their story is boring and they’ll start becoming more of a team player.

4. Moderate their posts

Keep a very close eye on what is being written. If the God-Modder is reaching a point where he/she is breaking the rules then step in and edit the rule-break. Also include an ‘Out of Character’ addition to this edit that explains WHY it has been changed or deleted. The offender should be able to understand if there is a clear explanation of the problem in that tag.

Vadm UvarUSS London

5. Limit their abilities and resources

Work with your godmodder and add restrictions to the story that they’ll have to think up a creative solution to fix, without having to resort to using their godlike powers.

I’ve often inserted a flaw or limitation to the ability or tech creation to keep the stated item from going too far.  GM’s should try not to get nasty about it.  GM’s are also players, albeit controlling ones.  Redirect the play to prevent the god mode.

Rich LeValleyStar Trek: Borderlands

I’m sure there are lots of answers, but this is the one I have found the most effective: Limit their resources. Even in PBEM, you, as the game master, can limit what resources a character has at their disposal as part of the storyline. That would force the god-modder to search for more creative ways to resolve their delima without resorting to a deus ex machina.  What is the character to do when he/she is stranded on an uninhabited world and the shuttle is at the bottom of the ocean?

Liam Riskin, CO, Starbase Bravo (Taskforce 93)

6. Be responsible

As the GM of the game, it’s your responsibility to deal with the godmodder, as it might cause bad feeling amongst the other members of the game.

God-modders are typically easy to deal with, far easier than most GM’s will anticipate. Lack of response usually comes from a GM’s own unwillingness to criticise or insult another player, a simple flaw that has developed purely from their own sense of decency. You shouldn’t be afraid to face a player who is making life difficult for others. Unfortunately it falls under your list of many duties.

Vadm UvarUSS London

7. Teach them to understand the GM’s role

For those that are lacking in experience, I find there are a couple of ways to help them out. The first way is to teach them what the GameMaster/Host’s role is. They can see that this person has the responsibility of moving the story along, controlling the game setting/universe as they see fit. Thus, the player can see that, while they don’t have that level of control, they can still do what they want with their own character (for good or bad).

Josh Hrach, GM of USS Providence

8. Talk to them in private

Most problems can be solved by simply talking.

Talk to the Offender on a Casual Level. One mistake most GM’s often make themselves is the assumption that they need to impose their authority over their game. This is unfair. The game itself is a colaborative effort with a mixture of different players, everybody contributes and you should be willing to approach matters from their level. So find your God-Modder and have a chat with them. Via email, msn or private message you can convey your concerns, point out WHERE the issues are and explain (as a friend) how they need to be resolved.

Vadm Uvar, USS London

Make sure you talk to them in private however, so they don’t feel like they’re being bullied, to prevent this objective talk turning into a flame war as other members get involved.

Don’t call down your player in the open!  However, use private discussions with the player to validate corrections that  you make in-game.  They will appreciate you more, and you won’t undermine their writing  and creative skills with the group.

Rich LeValleyStar Trek: Borderlands

9. Make them aware they’re a godmodder

Show them this article, or our article explaining what a godmodder is, they’ll soon realise what they’re doing is amateurish and hopefully aim to improve.

link him to the TVTropes page on Mary Sue/Marty Stu

SMAndy, GM of HMS Sovereign and Reapers Union

10. Make sure they understand the limitations of the world

Make sure that they understand the gameworld that they are participating in.  Often times they don’t comprehend the nature of their environment, and so take items in it beyond their stated abilities.

Rich LeValleyStar Trek: Borderlands

11. Give them a partner/mentor

If your godmodding member isn’t playing with the team, force them to work together with another member.

If a player needs experience, one good way to help provide that is to assign a mentor to them. One way to do this is by assigning their character as an assistant in a department. For instance, on a Trek sim, your new player may be an assistant engineer. The player behind the chief engineer could be given the task of overseeing the development of this new individual.

You usually find your department heads to be your more mature and experienced players. Thus, having them focus on the players in their department not only can help build an in-character sense of trust and development, but also gives the player someone they can both look up to and ask assistance from.

Josh Hrach, GM of USS Providence

12. God-Mod Right the Hell Back

None of the above working? That’s fine, you don’t need to kick the offender just yet! Instead start returning fire with your own god-mod techniques. Make YOUR character (or a friend’s character) just as powerful and ‘Mary-Sueish’ as the offender’s. Make YOUR character solve all the problems, make your friends character suddenly develop random new skills and powers. Step right in there and screw the scenario up for the God-Modder. When this God-Modder finally complains to you, go back to step one

Vadm UvarUSS London

Make his enemy a god moder too.  write how the bad guy has shields that block all of his attacks, and see if he likes it

SMAndy, GM of HMS Sovereign and Reapers Union

If there’s one lesson that you can learn from the examples we’ve listed on this page it’s that the most important thing is communication. Whether you decide to punish them or educate them the key is opening a dialogue and just talking about it.