God-modding

meaning and definition

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    What is god-modding?

    God-modding is a term used in text-based roleplaying games (RPGs) to describe a situation where one player takes control of another player’s character without their permission.

    This often includes dictating how the other character feels, reacts, or acts in a given scenario, effectively removing the other player’s ability to contribute to the story or control their character.

    God-modding is generally frowned upon, as it can lead to frustration and diminish the collaborative nature of roleplaying.

    The term originates from the broader concept of “playing God,” where one assumes total control over situations or other people. In video games, it can refer to using mods to control other characters illegally.

    In the context of RPGs, it specifically refers to controlling characters that one does not own, which goes against the spirit of the game.


    God-modding FAQs

    What can be done to prevent god-modding?

    To prevent god-modding, players should establish clear rules and boundaries before starting the game. Communication is key: discuss and agree on the level of autonomy each player has over their characters and the story. Encouraging and maintaining open dialogue can help address any instances of god-modding before they escalate.

    If the game already has written rules defining expectations and etiquette, it’s always a good idea to review those before beginning RP.

    How should one react if they feel someone is god-modding their character?

    If you feel that someone is god-modding your character, address the issue directly and politely with the player in question. Explain how their actions affect your gameplay and suggest alternatives that would be acceptable for both parties. If the game has established rules against god-modding, you can refer the player to those rules; they may not be aware that what they’re doing runs counter to the guidelines.

    If the problem persists, seek the guidance of the GM or moderator.

    Is god-modding ever acceptable in roleplaying games?

    God-modding is generally considered unacceptable in roleplaying games as it undermines the principles of mutual respect and collaborative storytelling.

    However, there may be pre-arranged scenarios or specific rule-based exceptions where limited control over another character is agreed upon by all involved parties. For example: while one character is under the magic spell or supernatural influence of another, as in a game with vampires.

    Can god-modding apply to non-character elements?

    Yes, god-modding can also refer to situations where a player unfairly manipulates the game environment or storyline to their advantage, bypassing established game mechanics or ignoring the narrative contributions of others. This can be just as disruptive as taking control of another’s character.

    Myths about god-modding

    One common myth about god-modding is that it is a necessary tool for advancing the plot when things seem to be stalled out or not heading in the desired direction.

    However, this is not true; collaborative storytelling and mutual agreement are far more effective and respectful methods for plot development.

    Another misconception is that new players are the primary perpetrators of god-modding. In reality, players of any experience level can be guilty of this behavior if they do not respect other participants’ autonomy and the established rules of the game.

    God-modding examples

    • A player writes a scene where another player’s character is hit by an attack, falls unconscious, and is captured, without giving the other player a chance to respond or defend.
    • During a collaborative storyline, one player decides their character single-handedly defeats the enemy and saves the day, ignoring the contributions and presence of other characters.
    • A player describes in detail how another character reacts with fear and changes their long-standing opinion instantly in response to a speech, without the character’s owner’s consent.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."