God Modding Syndrome
God modding is a form of game play where a player acts only in support of his or her own character’s superiority or success, regardless of reality/situation and game rules. This kind of game play can ruin any well thought out story plot, disgruntle other players, and can even close down a good game if not handled correctly.
As with any game, there will always be SOME forms of god modding, in game play and planning by players and GM’s, but only in specific situations. In certain circumstances some god modding symptoms may show up in game play and can be used in plots or by players within reason. However, it is best to not let GMS symptoms become persistent.
Now what is god modding syndrome? From our experience, god modding has many different symptoms, which can vary in degree of severity. Many have multiple symptoms. These symptoms can range from a mere annoyance to a full-blown infection.
So, let us enlighten you on the eight GMS symptoms.
- Invincibility Complex
This character does not, cannot, or will not suffer from any form of injury, sickness, adversity, etc., what so ever. Fifty thousand arrows are flying at this character, and they manage to dodge every one. No matter how large the fireball – regardless of how much that boulder weighs or how fast it’s falling – despite who’s doing it or how well they’re trained, they always manage to dodge it. Always. They’re a dancing butterfly capable of dodging, swaying, flipping (in full suits of armor!), or magically elude and/or skillfully avoid any form of attack because they are just that good.
This isn’t to say that a character can’t dodge things. Perhaps they are very powerful, and fighting a much weaker opponent. Even so, in the majority of most situations, characters will get hurt from time to time. Even the best of fighters in any battle can and will get minor injuries in battles. Just because a world is fantasy does not mean it is illogical.
- Enduring Heroic Resilience
The opposite of the Invincibility Complex, the Enduring Heroic Resilience is a character that is the master of defying death. So an arrow has struck them, but it only pierced through a lung. Hell, they’ve got two of those; they’ll do without it. They solider through, no matter how many foreign objects invade the sanctity of their body, no matter how much blood they lose, they endure and shrug off the pain. Or, on another level, they are injured and yet continue to completely ignore the consequences. That arrow lodged in their shoulder can’t prevent them from lifting their great sword! At this rate they might as well not have been hit at all.
Yes, it seems people who exhibit this type god modding don’t understand physical pain, how the body functions, or how injuries can hinder movement. They also fail to realize the inevitable state of shock their character would go into if they did sustain great blood loss. No matter the circumstance, logic still applies, and natural laws can’t be ignored. If you get shot with an arrow, it’s going to hurt like hell. If you lose lots of blood, you will eventually go into shock, and possibly die. That’s how the mortal body works, for any creature/race.
- Jack of all Trades
By far one of the most common symptom of GMS, the Jack-of-all-Trades is the best of the best. They are the best in their class, the student who defeated the master. They know all there is to know about any skill, have infinite power, and seem to know things that they shouldn’t. These characters don’t need to study or practice, they run on pure instinct. They can also pick up new skills from others – sometimes by only seeing them do it once.
Alas, this is not something that’s possible for anyone – as life shows us skills are things we develop with time and practice. It also isn’t fun being on the receiving end of a character and their ever growing set of mega skills. In these situations it usually intimidates other characters into submission when they otherwise wouldn’t, or it forces them to compensate and as they do –magically gain more skills. This creates a vicious cycle of inappropriate skill mastery. If players keep going this path, it makes things complicated and messy for any story plot.
- Inexhaustible Magi
This character has infinite magical energy. They can cast a thousand fireballs the size of a small house, and keep going. Nothing will slow them down; they never tire, because their magic pool is infinite or damned close to it.
Magic, at least in the DWRPG realm, is a mental and physically straining practice. Any character that uses magic is testing the endurance of their mortal coil, and can possibly die if they delve too far into expending those energies that they harness. Magic takes time and ones own personal energy to weave and hold together. A character can cast many spells, but they will begin to run out of energy at some point. Like running a marathon, some people can withstand the taxation on the body for a time, but even the most trained individual will become tired, eventually exhausted, and if pushing to far can hurt themselves.
- The Sixth Sense
This symptom occurs when a player gives their character their knowledge of the game, mechanics, situations, etc., and allows their character to react to this knowledge. Another common term for this type of god modding is metagaming.
Common examples are reading the thoughts of other characters, knowing something bad is going to happen, or just knowing that a character is evil and untrustworthy – just because they do. They are that perceptive. They are not surprised by anything; amazing mind reading masters and ever-knowing oracles. Sneak attacks and puzzles just aren’t what they use to be? Maybe it’s because there’s no risk of failure, and the reason they do it is that they just can’t stand the fact that their character could fail.
Some times it’s cool to have your character get that eerie vibe and whip around, to see they really were being followed like they thought. It understandable it will happen at times, though in most situations it is usually an intentional agreement between players. However, if a player ventures too far in to that realm and sees/knows everything coming, you are going to have angry players. It’s not fun playing with a know-it-all.
- Action Controllers
Action controllers will take over the thoughts, actions, reactions and/or outcomes of situations involving other characters or NPCs, without permission. They will essentially play another player’s character for the duration of their turn/post, and likely control them in a manner that is for their benefit. This could be simply taking over their thoughts, having the other character speak or react to the things their character says or does, or even injuring/killing the other character.
Unless your game allows for this, this kind of god modding should be dealt with as soon as it happens. A person with this type of god modding often has others symptoms accompanied with it, specifically the Jack-of-all-Trades.
- Spotlight Hero
The spotlight hero is the drama king/queen of the group, and wants the story’s focus to be on their character most of if not ALL the time. What makes them god modders is that these kinds of players can do crazy and stupid things to get it and keep it. It can be as simple as hijacking situations to turn the plot or scene in their character’s favor, to underhanded behind the scenes scheming by the character’s player.
At their worst, these kinds of players will create group friction. This is because they seem like they have good intentions of including others in their plot, but those characters are typically just a means to an end. They will form a sort of stage, and will over time only play with certain characters that bolster their character’s position, and ignore others, especially if those characters ever attempt to steal their stage.
When pressed or confronted about the issue they can and often will have their character step out of character, and perform actions that conflict with their character’s alignment/personality. Taking it a step further, they might convince other players to do the same to fit their needs. This is all for shock value, for all they crave is attention from other players, be it positive or negative.
These players will also typically show a lack of interest in plots they don’t run or don’t have the spotlight in, and often blame the GM’s or the players in that plot for their lack of participation or interest.
- Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
The wolf in sheep’s clothing is the player that thinks they are the exception to every rule, and pushes the limits, seeing what they get away with and whom they can manipulate to do it. They twist, turn, and bend the rules out of proportion, and then make excuses when they are either caught or told to stop.
Some even break the rules blatantly, and then claim that their personal life problems were influencing their character’s behavior. Sometimes they blame other players for their violations, claiming that they had no other choice to perform that action. They sometimes target a GM, claiming that the GM doesn’t like them personally and is just punishing their character because of it. Their excuses and reasoning can seem logical at times, especially to players they have enamored. This is often how they create problems in a game. These wolves might act like prey, but they are always on the hunt for an opportunity to cause problems. However, to those who pay attention, it starts to become obvious that they are doing these things on purpose. They are intent on sabotaging plots, or at the very least poke holes in it, all the while making excuses for their actions.
What makes these one of, if not the worst kind, of god modders is that they seem like great players; they like to get involved with active plots, they talk well, have good writing skills, and are influential with other players, and seem like an overall great person to RP with. They seem like the active and helpful player that all game masters are searching for.
Their influence is subtle at first, but slowly starts becoming a trend. They tend to cause arguments and problems just for the sake of drama, especially if their characters or ideas are involved. They like to be in control, and their ugly side starts to show through when that control is restricted or taken away from them. They can be extremely vengeful and bitter in such situations, which can lead to them trying to ruin plots, drag down or drive out other players, and devastate game morale.
Some may even go so far as to attempt to destroy the game itself. Sometimes they are called trolls. These kinds of god modders are hard to identify right away. They could be in game for months without showing their true colors. This symptom is often accompanied by one if not more symptoms.