11. That Ugly Little 'G' Word

Mr. Danya
Joined: September 22nd, 2006, 2:13 am

February 14th, 2008, 1:03 am #1

As we step foot on the new soil of V3, I find myself receiving questions about god-modding from more than one handler on the forum, and thus, have decided to write a short little guide to help some of you become better acquainted with this word and the meaning behind it. Even from V1, SOTF has been adamantly set against god-modding or any variation thereof, but even so, it has still occurred, most of the time inadvertantly, from V1 onward. So, to those of you who are curious about what exactly this word means, I hope this guide will shed some light on that, and hopefully clear up some of those shades of grey for those of you who don't quite understand.

First and foremost, the word "godmod" has many different meanings. Listed below are the ones relevent to our roleplay.

1. Godlike modification.
2. To control another person's roleplaying on an internet forum or chatroom.
3. To control a character who is, for all intents and purposes, invincible. That is to say, no attacks or techniques will work against said character and s/he recovers instantly from anything that happens to him or her.
4. To use your character to decimate other characters without giving them the chance to fight back. For example, "Janie shot her crossbow at Marcus who dodged the close-range shot with ease before running up to her and ripping her arm completely off."

The definitions found on godmodding, unsurprisingly, define the most outrageous type of godmodding -- one in which the godmodding is very obvious to all parties involved. But, that isn't the only kind of godmodding. In SOTF, godmodding is defined as putting another player in a situation where there is no realistic alternative but to be injured/killed/etc. Everybody with me there? Yes, godmodding is writing "Tony shot Kenneth in the head" without Kenneth's handler's permission, but godmodding is also writing "Tony backed Kenneth into the corner of the room and fired his submachine gun." While you didn't say Tony killed Kenneth, Kenneth's handler has no alternative except to make Kenneth die unless he too godmods his way out of it by saying that Kenneth can dodge a round of submachine gun bullets at close range.

Godmodding doesn't always come from the character on the offensive, either. Say a random character comes into your topic and fires an entire clip of bullets at you. Your character swiftly reacts by running behind a tree to evade the stray bullets, although several pierce the bark of the tree around him. Is that godmodding? No. That, my friends, is character preservation. So how does your character -- the one on the defensive -- manage to commit godmodding during a scenario such as that? Well, there are two ways that it happens. Number one -- "All of Rodney's shots missed Pedro". But Meg, are you telling me that if some maniac comes in and starts firing at me that I HAVE to get hit or I'm not playing fair? No, silly rabbit! I'm telling you that if someone is firing maniacally at your character and they're just STANDING there, odds are, they're going to get hit at LEAST once. Lemme tell you, I'm a god awful shot with a gun, but if I fire enough times I'll eventually hit my target.

Keep that in mind when someone is shooting at you. A moving target is much more difficult to hit than a stationary one, so doing something so simple as saying your character ran/ducked/fell/whatever makes the dodge a lot more realistic than simply writing as though every single shot their opponent fired missed by a mile. One shot, sure, it's believable that they simply missed -- these are kids, not snipers, after all, but the more shots they fire, the more likely you're going to get hit if you're standing there staring dumbfoundedly at them. The second way to godmod while on the defensive -- and something that really grinds my gears, to boot, happens somehow along these lines:

Player 1: Matt ran at his opponent, knife at the ready, and lunged into the air, swinging his arm down in an arc and attempting to stab him in the shoulder in order to disable him.
Player 2: Johnson ran at Matt and executed an uppercut.

Complete disregard of the other person's action is a form of godmodding, and a very annoying one, at that. If you don't want to thoroughly and completely read posts and make sure that you understand what's going on, I'd suggest you not roleplay at all. But, what if that person's roleplay was unclear and you don't know what's going on? Well, that's what God made the PM box for. Ask them. Actions such as these are so very easy to correct, and a few words inserted or omitted can form a fine line between godmodding and simply roleplaying. If someone is running at you and jumping up to stab you, logically, you aren't going to run back toward them to try and uppercut them. Don't disregard your fellow roleplayers actions, or else you'll find yourself at a loss on roleplaying partners.

There are several other forms of godmodding, and for some of them, you don't even have to be roleplaying with another handler!

But how does that work, you ask? Simple. "Godmod". Godlike modification. If your character is injured, they're injured. Period. Statement. Declarative sentence. If Lora's ankle is broken it doesn't magically heal itself so she can fight her arch-nemesis Tammy. Her ankle stays just as broken as it was three seconds before she ran into Tammy. If you have a big, gaping bullethole in your arm, YOU HAVE A BIG, GAPING BULLETHOLE IN YOUR ARM. It hurts like hell, it affects your mobility, because, like I said, there's a HOLE. In your ARM. And it STAYS there. And causes PAIN. And... stuff. I see this a lot. I'm not telling you that every post you write after you get shot has to consist of "OMFG my arm HUUUUURTS!". What I am telling you, friends, is that an injury is an injury and should be a factor in how you roleplay. You're not going to be able to wield that baseball bat nearly as good with a jacked up arm as you did when you were all hunky dorey.

"Okay, so if I get injured, I need to factor that into my roleplaying." Correct. "What else qualifies as godmodding?" Well, the next version of godmodding I'm going to address is rarely referred to as godmodding on the SOTF boards. It is something that we here at SOTF have dubbed "mind-reading". The title of this offense is probably self-explanatory enough, and although this isn't as severe a form of godmodding as killing characters without their permission, it's by far one of the most frustrating types of godmods to have to deal with. Mind-reading is much like you could only assume it would be. Mind-reading occurs when a handler's characters mysteriously just 'know' knowledge they shouldn't have access to.

Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about, but some other people might be going "... Like what?", so I'll explain. It can be any number of things, really. For example, if Brent knows what went on during Richard and Ashleigh's date, even though he wasn't there and they stayed home and watched a movie. That's one example of mindreading. Why? Because Brent wasn't there. Another example of godmodding (that shouldn't be too much of an issue in V2) that was mostly presented during V1 was this one:

Gloria: "I know you!"
Chris: "Uh, me...?"
Gloria: "Yes, you're the guy that killed all my friends!"

Now, in V3 where all the students attended the same school and thus are at least familiar with one another, this dialogue wouldn't be a big deal. However, the scenario in V1 was often one where Gloria and Chris attended completely different schools and had never encountered one another before. Even if she knew that a guy named Chris killed her friends, she'd have no way of identifying him, and considering he didn't even tell her his name, she'd be shooting blindly into the dark. The main problem we should ever encounter in V3 would be characters knowing that so-and-so killed Student A before it was announced, and that's pretty easy to remember not to do.

Other examples of mind-reading include but are not limited to knowing what weapon another character has automatically (without the aid of announcements -- if Danya says that Kid #1 was shot by Kid #2, then it's pretty obvious that Kid #2 has a gun), being able to see through the facade another character is putting on (such as portraying themselves as a victim when they were actually a killer) provided that said character isn't described as being a bad actor, knowing specific details about a character or their past that your character has never been told (e.g. Carrie knows that Wesley raped his ex-girlfriend despite the fact that she didn't personally know Wesley, his ex, or anyone involved in the affair). Probably the most common one of these I've seen has been characters who can mysteriously see through others' facades, even though those other people were noteworthy actors. Unless your character is very distrustful of people in general or has a very, VERY keen ability to read the people they come into contact with, if Lisa tells you that the guy she murdered assaulted her and she killed him to protect herself, your character should have no reason to doubt that.

It can be hard not to mind-read when we as handlers see everything that goes on in the roleplay. Sometimes, what we've read passes over to our characters and they somehow manage to inherit the information. That's why we have to watch mind-reading. It's not something people actively realize they're doing a lot of the time. When you see Sara's thoughts and the whole time she's telling your character Gene her sob story she's thinking about the malicious way she's going to kill him, it's hard to respond to her words rather than what's going on in her mind, but the fact is that Gene would have no idea what Sara's really thinking, even if you as the handler do.

So, long story short, those are the most prominent examples of godmodding that I've seen over the past versions of SOTF, and those were the ones I felt needed to be covered for those of you who are curious as to what, exactly, godmodding is. I hope you've found the information within this tutorial useful, and if you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask. After all, that's what the staff is here for, and we're always happy to help! Besides, you never know, somebody else might be asking the same question you are.