Written by: Vanatosis Arentire
Images by: Vanatosis Arentire
I am often asked, “What is role-play?”
Most people’s view on this is a bunch of nerdy types hovering around a table rolling dice and eating way too much junk food.
In reality, role-play is a form of acting and most people have done it without even knowing it. Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers, Doctor… These are all examples of role-play.
Basically, the definition of role-play is doing something, be it through spoken voice, tabletop game or even in computer simulations, which lets you take on the role of someone or something else. These articles are going to delve into the nuances of this art form, giving helpful tips and pointers to make your role-playing experience the most enjoyable one you can create.
When role-playing, it is difficult to go through a day without hearing the term … God Modding.
By definition, God Modding is the act of making your character virtually omnipotent, through actions taken or items used.
Basically, your character cannot be beaten at anything. This is far more common than one might realize. Most people aren’t familiar with role-playing a character with flaws. We have those in real life after all, who the heck wants them when we slip into virtual reality and become someone else?
How do you recognize God Modding either in yourself or other people?
Ask yourself this question, “Does this seem unbalanced at all?” Balance is a key part of role-play. As they say, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Ok, but what does this look like? Let’s set the scene… Two players are in a bar and have a disagreement. One, lets call him Preston, is standing, facing his opponent while she is sitting at the bar, her back to him, unable to see what he is doing. Let’s call our female combatant, Grizelda. She obviously thinks she has the upper hand and is choosing to ignore him. Well, Preston will have none of that, especially after the spat they’d just had. He raises his hand across his body and swings at her, the back of his hand heading for the back of her head. He leaves his emote open ended for her to further the role-play with her reaction to the hit, which is very good.
Grizelda on the other hand, will not lose. She will not allow the strike through. After reading Preston’s post, she blocks teh attack. This by itself is unlikely to be possible at that time, the realistic response would have been to take the hit and emote the results of it, saving a retaliation for another post. But, to make matters worse, Grizelda not only blocks, but astoundingly spins around with a martial arts parry and flips Preston to the ground. Once he’s down, she unleashes a lightening bolt into him and SHE emotes that he has been knocked unconscious. Worst of all … ALL of this was done in ONE post, leaving Preston NO alternatives, no room to role-play, no room to further the encounter, nothing!
THIS IS GOD MODDING!!! THIS IS AWFUL TO RP WITH!
God Modding is also done with items. A highly over-dramatized example (for in SL that is), might be a +5 Holy Vorpal Sword of Declared Opponent Slaying (no save). While this would be fine in a high-end D&D campaign, it really isn’t something that should be used in SL, in an RP sim. The same would go for the Potion of Instant Health, Stamina and Mana restoration.
While the above you would not likely see the above quite like that in SL (people don’t put those details in unless they’re trying to be silly), it has been seen where they’ve described their weapon or a potion to the extent of God Modding.
Remember … you are trying to be as realistic as possible when role-playing, even if it means losing from time to time. Realistic within the boundaries of the rules set by the sim that is … going beyond those rules is also God Modding.
So what’s so bad about God Modding? Well, first and foremost, it isn’t fair to the players who are abiding by the rules and emoting properly, and when it isn’t fair, it isn’t fun. No one likes to play with someone who cheats, or creates drama, or will do anything, including God Modding, to ensure they always win. It is so much fun to play with someone who will take a hit, who will go down and who, through these battles, will create rp grudges which will ensure that there will be future role-play as well.
Just be logical, close your eyes and see the scene and the other player’s emote in your mind’s eye and ask, “What would logically happen next?” Then emote it. It will not always be you winning, but in the end, outside of RP, you will be a HUGE winner because you will have ensured yourself future role-play and new friends!
Now, what can you do when you come across a God Modder?
Try talking to that person and see if that truly is the way that they intend to play that character. It is possible they just don’t know any better and will be grateful for the constructive advice, help and friendship that can be offered in an Instant Message. Ask them if they feel like their character is balanced. If they say yes, or worse, get snippy about it, simply write yourself out of the role-play. If they pursue the issue, bring it up to one of the sim administrators.
You are there to have fun, not be harassed!
If all else fails there is the ignore/mute option, simply not engaging with the character. I personally use this option as a last defense against things, but unfortunately I have found it necessary from time to time. It may alienate the other person, but they unfortunately do not see the situation they are putting you into and in such case, this just may not be the type of person you wish to associate with anyway.
I will say that most times a person is approached about the issue of God Modding; they are fairly receptive to try and change it. You will have those that will think that you are being unreasonable and “this is my character, you don’t know how powerful they truly are…” But most will either change their play style or ask for suggestions.
If they do ask for suggestions, don’t try to steer them in any sort of direction, as this is also considered God Modding. Just advise them to break their actions into smaller emotes, leaving them open ended, enabling the other person to respond in some fashion and go on from there.
One other form of poor role-play that can be considered God Modding is the using of OOC information in an RP situation, especially dangerous if one person is playing more than one character in your RP environment (and usually why sims will not allow that).
Sometimes they just forget that they didn’t learn this in RP, sometimes they just choose to use the info anyway in which case they’re likely to say “this char told my char in RP so I do know.” Very tricky. Some players are very good at keeping alts separate and distinct identities. Others need practice in how to walk the line of two or more characters. A good rule of thumb is to stick with one character for a while and develop it’s storyline to a point where you feel comfortable working with another. A fully developed character is harder to merge with a new one.
There are other examples as well, but this should give you a good starting point to work from. More articles on role-playing are slated for our future issues. Any suggestions on topics, comments or concerns can be directed to Roleplay Guide Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you all good role-playing and have fun out there.