When does godmodding become godmodding?
I saw a conversation thread on RPG-D recently about godmodding which we’ve talked about so many times before on this blog. And it occurred to me that it means different things to different people. If you want to read the full thread go here but I’ve pulled out what I think are the most interesting comments.
So what is God modding again?
To me it becomes god-modding if:
1. It directly states my character’s actions; the exception to this rule would be anything that could be reasonably assumed, like my character following theirs into another room, or my character shaking their’s hand after my character offers their hand for the other character to shake
2. It directly states my character’s reactions; this includes steamrolling a thread without giving time for my character’s reaction in a situation where their reaction is important—I find this happens the most often with post splicing
3. It assumes my character is a certain way when nothing I’ve ever written with them would lead someone to that logical conclusion
Taking control of the *story* or the *characters*?
In my opinion, “god moding” is not necessarily about taking control of other characters, it’s more about taking control of the story (the diretion of a thread, or of the board as a whole) in a greater capacity than what other players can do or are doing.
This could take the form of controlling other characters, and thus forcing other characters to conform to the story you want, or it could mean playing a character who knows things that other characters don’t have access to/aren’t allowed to know (i.e. other character’s secrets, details about other character’s backstories, or details about the setting when you don’t have permission from the players or admins to know them), or taking actions that other players wouldn’t have been capable of taking.
It’s also worth noting that you can effectively control the actions of other characters without actually “controlling” them, too; if you write a post where your character is doing so much stuff, and taking so many actions, if your post encompasses enough stuff and a long enough period of time, you ARE denying the other character the ability to react. You are denying them the ability to have an equal impact on the course of the thread. Forcing another character into inaction is godmoding just as much as forcing them into a specific action is.
Where is the line when it becomes not-okay?
So, for me, God-modding is tricky. Usually I don’t consider it god-modding to do small actions like moving my character across the room. If you don’t know me or my character though, and you do this, sometimes I get a little irritated, but not usually. It’s when you write my character’s reactions, emotions, words, or do anything to them that I get PISSED
For me, it’s exclusively an issue of intention. I don’t really care if you want to pull my character somewhere, or put them in a (friendly) headlock, or overpower them for a reason that isn’t going to wind up life threatening or put them in some sort of harm. Really, this is between friends and relationships for my character — I hate having to write ‘[x] tried to grab [y]’s hand’ when they’ve been dating a couple months and it’s the sort of thing they’d do.
But if it’s, y’know, a fight scene or an attempt to break my character’s nose, then yeah, that’s where I draw the line. As long as I have the chance to get out of it (which I rarely do, since somebody has to lose, and most people I’ve been (un)fortunate enough to write with tend to be those who never want to see that happen), I’m okay with it.
The difference between godmodding and power-playing (or metagaming)
I’ve always heard all of these examples so far referred to as power-playing. God-modding to me is using information that you, the player knows, to drive your character’s actions. For example, if I made my character magically know that your character was lying just because you stated it in the narration. Or knowing things about something that happened in another thread that my character wasn’t present in.
–God-Modding is playing another person’s character, including their reactions.
–Meta-playing is when your character acts on something the character doesn’t know but the writer does.
It’s probably not too late to get involved in this discussion, go to the thread and get involved. Or let us know where you think the line should be about godmodding (or metagaming) in the comments below.