Home > Play-by-post discussion > What is god modding and why is it annoying?

What is god modding and why is it annoying?

Mr Perfect

Often God Modders use characters that are “too perfect”

God Modders have been a burden of text based roleplaying games for a long time, and they can really annoy other members who like to develop their story gradually at a decent pace, only for the story to be taken on an unusual sidetrack or finished prematurely and undramatically. In this article we’ll explain what god modding is, why it’s annoying, and some possible solutions to stop these members from ruining everyone else’s enjoyment.

So what does God Modding mean in play by post games?

In play by post games there usually aren’t usually about statistics and experience points like more traditional tabletop roleplaying is, play by post games usually have more in common with collaborative storytelling. Each character is portrayed through paragraphs of description alone, and therefore the strength, skills and abilities of the character are open to interpretation through the storytelling, and not a number on a stat sheet.

This article has moved, you’ll find it here. You’ll also find more articles about god moding here.

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  1. S Llewellyn
    November 10, 2010 at 1:32 am | #1

    I’ve recently had an experience where I had to leave the game because the GM himself was the god-modder. None of the other characters on the game could ever cause any damage to a “boss” enemy, but then the GM in question would swoop in and save the day. His god mods were actually easy to track in their increasing abilities, as he’d clone himself once one time, twice the next, then 10, then fifty.

    I tried talking to him about it, explain what it’s doing to my character and the others’, but he wouldn’t listen so I had no choice but to hang it up to save my blood pressure spikes from becoming dangerous.

    I suppose that adds another question: what to do when the GM is a god modder?

    • November 10, 2010 at 7:53 am | #2

      That’s a very good point, I haven’t experienced that myself but I can definitely imagine it happening. The GM has the power to control the story so can easily take it a step too far and always put his or her character in the right place at the right time for every key moment of the plot, therefore saving the day!
      I guess the GM just has to play fair, or they risk losing all their members. I can’t imagine there’s much you can do as it’s their game, apart from talking to them and explaining what they’re doing is wrong.

  2. December 12, 2010 at 11:26 am | #3

    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. Here
    are a few handy tips I would employ.

    1.) 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.

    2.) Police the Offender’s 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.

    3.) Use Other Players to Communicate

    Speak with other writers on your game and ask them what they think. If
    they agree then have them also communicate with the offender and try
    to reason with them. If more than one of you is willing to approach
    the individual in regards to the problem then he/she should be able to
    see the issue a lot more clearly.

    4.) Instruct Your Players

    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.

    5.) 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

  3. December 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm | #4

    Thanks very much for the tips!

  4. Dave
    March 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm | #5

    Great article.

    Maybe the nature of freeform role-play attracts these types? Perhaps they take it too much as a personal character test?

    Whatever it is god-modding comes in many forms, all of them very annoying, and it isn’t about “winning or losing”, in a game context, it is about playing in the *spirit* of the game, and importantly having an even playing field to begin with so that power can shift from time to time to keep others interested without “them” involved in everything going.

    From being a “superman” character to taking over others characters to taking over whole story-lines to arbitrarily ignoring “ooc” or whining to gms like a three year old when they deem someone has “stepped out of line”.

    Of course if the gm’s are weak, or cliquey, these players work themselves into an indomitable position (perhaps becoming a gm themselves?), wherein nothing can get changed without their approval or until they themselves get bored and leave.

    Many players will come and go long before then however, as they take their turn to have their enthusiasm crushed….

  5. overlord agony
    August 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm | #6

    I think that its true that most godmoders are just inexperianced ive ben rping for 5 moths now and sometimes is still accsedently catch myself doing it so now i double check myself!i used to be really bad at it and id wind uo with people yelling at me and i didnt know why untill one nice roleplayer taught me what it was i was doing wrong so now im much better than i used to be. so next time you see a powerplayer dont go all insane on them just tell them what there doing wrong and they will fix it.

  6. rambobarnes
    June 4, 2012 at 12:59 am | #7

    question if someone has godlike abilites how is that god moding if the creator of a tv show or anime says this person can do this then y cant i do it in a rp such as in naruto the rukido sennin is the pennical of ninjas and is considered a god and has godlike abilites but if i play as him in a rp i cant use none of his abilites cuz it’s god moding bullshit if kishimoto says he can warp space ant time and erase existance then i can do it to in rp i’m not fina let someone tell me i cant use my characters abilites and they didnt even make the show just becuase they dont liek the characters or the abilites i’m using

  7. sithlordnergal
    June 15, 2012 at 9:41 am | #8

    Well, if you are playing as a cannon character like that, then likely the rp is based on that setting. Therefore the other characters will likely be able to counter it in some way. A very important point that was missed is the fact that godmodding is also relative to the setting. A character in one setting may not be a godmod, where as in another it could be. For example, say you have a character that is literally a God. Now, in an RP setting where all the characters are gods and goddesses he’ll likely fit in and, unless you went really over the top, will probably not be godmodding. Take that same character and put him in nearly any other setting and it would be God modding.

    Now, if you are playing a character from another show/book/game that has abilities like that, then you might want to think of adding some consequence for using that ability. Normally shows have some kind of thing to balance the super strong abilities out. If you made yournown character that has that ability then I suggest weakening it. For example, your character could warp and erase exsistance, but only on a small, precise scale. Like removing a single event or item. Every time they use it though, your character loses something that is difficult to regain. If they use it too often then they either lose themselves and become a shell of a person, or the power erases them.

    • June 15, 2012 at 10:23 am | #9

      Very good point! Thanks for commenting :-)

  8. January 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm | #10

    I realize this is a bit of a late post, but to whomever cares to listen here’s my little tidbit. :3

    Yesterday, and yes I mean that literally, I was accused of God Modding. I’m somewhat shocked by this and go to find out what they’re talking about. Here’s the section of the post that they’re mad about:

    –It wasn’t till then that she noticed just how scared the girl was, the one cowering of course. Evellyn saw this and quickly moved to her side, wrapping a wing around her, and laid a hand on her shoulder. “It’s alright now, you’re safe with me. That’s a promise. May I have the pleasure of your names?” She asks, looking from her to the boy there.–

    They’re mad, and claiming I God Modded, when I had my character wrap her wing around one of theirs. No death-grip, no super strong hold to which they can’t get out of, just my character comforting their’s.

    What’s the best way to deal with this? I’ve kinda lost all faith in this crowd at the moment; I’ve been on this site for several years and left because of these types of RPers. I mean, this is about as much of a God Modding maneuver as say… throwing a blanket over someone… >_>

    • January 25, 2013 at 7:28 pm | #11

      One persons god modder is another’s hero. There’s many different ways that someone can be accused of a god modder, one is by controlling another’s character, and another is to make your character far too powerful and anbelievably awesome. Unfortunately though some characters DO need to be awesome, or we wouldn’t have Jack Bauer or James Bond.
      Some people get snappy when others write their characters, in case they make them act or say something out of character, and call this god modding. I think actually this can be done in moderation, and often is incredibly useful at driving the story forward.

      In your example I can’t personally see any problems. It’s possible the character’s player is annoyed that you wrote their character as scared. Maybe that’s something they didn’t want you to state?

  1. December 13, 2010 at 7:43 pm | #1
  2. April 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm | #2
  3. May 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm | #3
  4. September 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm | #4
  5. November 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm | #5
  6. December 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm | #6
  7. January 18, 2013 at 3:35 am | #7

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