Posted: Jul 6, 2018, 1:32am
So Godmodding is something of a hot button issue in the play-it-by-post roleplaying community. Like most terms used for contentious issues, the term "Godmodding" means different things to different people. For the rest of this post, I'm going to use "Godmodding" to refer to any action, statement, or thought that a writer writes for a character that is owned by another writer.
In my time involved in PbP roleplaying, I've encountered various degrees of things I would classify as Godmodding (using the above definition), and I thought I would share with you guys my thoughts on the matter by dividing those instances into three different catagories and provide examples of each. Without further ado...
Level 1 Godmodding happens when a writer writes vague actions or words for characters that are not their own. So if Bob is my character and Jill is someone else's character, I would be perpetrating Level 1 Godmodding if I wrote: Bob opened the door for Jill and closed it behind her once she entered the house.
Link of an example of this I've seen in a game I'm a part of. It was surprisingly difficult to find an example of this.
I personally think this type of Godmodding should be permitted, as it can be harder to write decent scenes with other people's characters without doing this. Also, this isn't really that invasive.
Level 2 Godmodding happens when a writer writes specific or detailed actions or statements for a character. Continuing the above example, I would be perpetuating Level 2 Godmodding if I wrote: Bob moved to kiss Jill, but she turned her head and said, "I'm not in the mood."
This is the most rampant form of Godmodding I've seen on Ongoing Worlds. For the most part, I don't think this is terrible, but I can see where some people might find this type of Godmodding to be frustrating. When one considers that most narrators are unreliable at best, a writer whose character is being Level 2 Godmodded can still make some small edits or contradict some of the implied details if the Godmodder does things with their character that the owner doesn't believe that they would say or do.
Level 3 Goddmodding happens when a writer writes thoughts or justifications for a character owned by another writer. Basically, if a writer writes something from the perspective of a character owned by someone else, they are perpetrating Level 3 Godmodding. So if I wrote: Jill hated it when Bob tried to kiss her, then I would be Level 3 Godmodding, assuming another writer still owned Jill.
Link to an example. Aubrey and Nicole are my characters in this particular game. As you can imagine, I was not terribly amused by this post.
This type of Godmodding really can't be justified in most circumstances, and even when it can, I think people should probably just resort to Level 1 or Level 2 Godmodding instead. The only time I think this should be done is if a character's owner gave someone explicit permission to write with their character, and the person writing with their character has no other characters involved with the Godmodded character from whom's perspective the Godmodder could write from.
For the most part, I personally think a balance between Level 1 and Level 2 Godmodding is fine, but I'd like to see what thoughts you guys have on the matter.