Godmodding differs from godmoding (one d). All godmodding is godmoding, but not all godmoding is godmodding. Godmodding specifically refers to character creation, skills, and certain situations. When pronouncing godmodding, “[t]hink ‘modifying’ [instead of] ‘mode’” to differentiate the terms (Godmodders).
Godmodded characters are often created by bad roleplayers. Godmodding is a common form of really bad roleplay that can be very harmful. This is exactly because forum roleplay allows for incredible freedom.
- Godmod (noun)
- Godmoding specific to character creation, skills, and certain situations.
The issue is the possibility of other roleplayers godmodding. “The average player just scales up his character’s power to match those of the godmodder. … [C]haracters go from backwater drifter with nothing but his sword to a great and ancient warrior descended from the heavens with his magical sword of supremeness to fight once again” (Godmodders). In fight-focused forum roleplaying games or those with very specific character skills, this behavior can be incredibly harmful. Unfortunately, it is also difficult to prevent (from an administrative standpoint).
Character Creation Godmodding
Character creation godmodding is the most frequent form of godmodding. In most instances, this form is very obvious. It is also most often employed by new roleplayers. It is possible to roleplay any of the following examples without godmodding, but new roleplayers may have trouble doing so.
Examples of Character Creation Godmodding
Example: In a medieval roleplay where the vast majority of characters are little more than poor serfs, a new player brings in a serf with impeccable English, books, clean clothes, and — oh, yeah: a longsword, and the ability to wield it with deadliness and precision.
Example: In an Ancient Rome roleplay, a new player brings in an eight year old character. Its biography mentions already leading troops in war, knowing three languages, and blacksmithing expertise.
Example: In a modern human reform school roleplay, Billy is the perfect student. He already knows advanced calculus, chemistry, and physics. He speaks four languages (including Latin), and writes dissertations for fun.
Avoiding Character Creation Godmodding
- Remember to balance your character’s strengths and weaknesses.
There’s no getting around this one. Every character should have flaws and strengths.
- Consider what is appropriate for your character’s age.
Age isn’t so hard when playing a human — the Rome example is pretty obvious, after all. Things get trickier when you’re playing something with a short or long lifespan. Balancing your character’s skills with their age can be tough. Pay attention to your RPG’s game information.
- Consider what is appropriate for the setting.
Above all, consider your RPG game’s setting. Whether or not something is appropriate depends heavily on the setting.
Skill-based godmodding occurs when a roleplay character advances an existing skill or learns a new skill. It is similar to to character creation godmodding.
Examples of Skill-Based Godmodding
Example: A modern human roleplay character with no musical experience becomes a guitar expert in less than a week.
Example: A slave roleplay character in an ancient civilizations game begins learning to read and write.
Avoiding Skill-Based Godmodding
- Remember how long it takes to learn something, and how intense some skills are. It’s just not possible to learn some skills quickly. Learning skills at a pace appropriate to the RPG’s flow of IC time is important.
- Consider what is appropriate for your character to know. It depends on the setting of your roleplaying game. Writing and reading isn’t serious for modern people — but for a slave, in an ancient setting? It may be a lot less plausible, depending on your RPG.
Essentially, situational godmoding ignores certain facts of the setting or individual character’s situation. Its intent is generally to advance the plot or to give an unfair advantage to one character.
Examples of Situation-Based Godmodding
Example: The classic example is the brutish, dumb character who becomes a mechanics expert in moments when it is convenient to the plot.
Example: A character’s leg was severely injured. A week after the attack, the character engages in another roleplay fight. In the new fight, he makes no reference to injury. He has godmodded super-healing powers.
Example: Two characters engage in a fight roleplay. One of the characters dodges every attack. The player refuses to allow their roleplay partner to inflict damage. This player is godmoding unrealistic speed and dodging ability. This is obvious bad roleplay and is generally very intentional.
Avoiding Situation-Based Godmodding
- Keep track of your roleplay posts and recent threads. This is the number-one step in avoiding unintentional godmodding of this type. You can refer for your older roleplay threads and see what happened recently. Refer to this in your new posts. This also makes your roleplay more interesting, giving you a cohesive story to write about. See RPG Post Logs for a variety of post tracking templates.
- Remember what is appropriate for the setting, again. Being totally untouchable is generally not appropriate (excepting Strong Consent RPGs).
Generally Harmless Forms of Godmodding (Mary and Gary Stus)
There are more harmless forms of godmodding, too. Characters who lack flaws and weaknesses may be considered Mary / Gary Stu characters. This isn’t to say your character shouldn’t have strengths or success. But when your character always knows the right thing to do and say, it can get incredibly boring to roleplay. It may also irritate fellow players.
While still bad roleplay, most roleplaying games won’t ban you for making a Mary / Gary Stu. Many will ask for application edits, though. RPGs you should avoid anyway will reject your Mary / Gary Stu.