Godmodding, Metagaming and PowerplayingWhat They Are and How to Avoid ThemA Documentation by Jewelclaw of the RPG-D
Rules against godmodding, metagaming and powerplaying are likely some of the most common rules to be instituted onto RP boards and RP, yet very rarely do they appear to be described in a fashion other than 'Don't to this, because it is bad', or when they are described they are contradictory and confusing. This guide aims to clarify the three terms in the simplest way possible in order to enhance the role playing experience.Godmodding
Godmodding in its simplest terms is controlling another player's character without their permission. By imposing your will on their character without their permission, you are gaining 'godlike' or 'divine' powers, hence the origin of the term. Godmodding can be as basic stating that a character is holding a drink in their hand at a party, or mentioning a type of clothing a character is wearing. It can also include actions, such as Character A swinging a punch and breaking Character B's nose. In this scenario there was not any opportunity for Character B's player to respond to the action, maybe their character dodged the punch entirely or got a black eye instead, perhaps it hit but not strong enough to actually break their nose. By stating the end result of the action, the player of Character A is removing the ability of Character B's player to contribute to both the scene and the mood of the thread.
Avoiding godmodding is rather simple, the easiest way to do so is to leave an opening for the other player to respond to. For example this Shaking her head, Jane frowned at Steve, clearly disgusted by him. "You've had enough, you drunk," she snapped as she reached out and snatched the glass out of his hand.
could easy be changed to this Shaking her head, Jane frowned at Steve, clearly disgusted by him. "You've had enough, you drunk," she snapped as she reached out, intending to snatch the glass out of his hand.
Only a few words were changed, yet the second one isn't godmodding because it gives Steve's player the chance to respond and decide what happens next.
The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to avoid godmodding is to give the other player the chance to respond to the action.Metagaming
The easiest of the three to define, though likely the hardest to avoid is metagaming
. This term comes from the Greek word meta
meaning 'about' or 'beyond'. Hence to metagame
would be playing with knowledge beyond the scope of the present game, plot, or scene. This knowledge can be gained various ways, either through historical research, threads that occur at a time later than the one that is currently being worked on, informational topics posted on the board itself, or chatting with other players about their characters and gaining knowledge about them, as well as other ways.
Unless a player keeps every single detail of the plot and character under wraps and does not let it progress to the next major event until all the past threads, storylines are complete so the board or story can move forward together, all roleplayers are at some point privy to information as the player
that realistically their character
would not yet know in game
. This could be as simple as commenting on a pregnancy that isn't common knowledge/announced to the public yet, or having a character be angry that their partner was having a clandestine affair, all the way to having a character avoid going on a mission that ended in failure despite hopes in the beginning it would be successful.
The most important thing to keep in mind to avoid metagaming is that just because you the player know something, doesn't mean your character will.Powerplaying
Powerplaying is when a player manipulates their character's abilities, powers or skills so that their character always has an advantage in the situation. This could be as simple as always knowing the best spell, or having a black belt in every type of martial art known to man. Powerplaying is most often confused with godmodding, and while the two are quite close, the difference between them is that godmodding is more controlling the other players character, while powerplaying is focused on your own character and manipulating the scene through them.
Any experienced RPer will tell you that the most believable characters have strengths and weaknesses, and if they don't then they face the dreaded title of Mary/Gary Stu. No character can ever be the fastest/strongest/bravest/smartest/whateverest all the time, and saying they are is powerplaying. This is most often found in battle threads and physical contests when it is often left to the player to determine the effectiveness of attacks and extent of damage given. No one wants to play with a a character that always wins! No matter how awesome your character may be, there will always
be one out there that is better.
The most important thing to remember when trying to avoid powerplaying is keeping in mind that no one is immortal, and they all have weaknesses, as well as keeping the bounds of reason in mind.Conclusion
Avoiding godmodding, metagaming and powerplaying is far simpler than it sounds, the easiest way is when in doubt ask the other player. Remember the saying about assuming things, 'it makes an ass out of u and me'. It doesn't take more than a second to zip them a PM and see what they thing about the action you're planning. This will prevent confusion and will prevent any hurt feelings that may arise from one player 'controlling' another players character. Also, remember to give an out. Never post with a definitive action, always give the other person the opportunity to decide if they want the action to be complete by using words like 'attempt', 'try', etc. By following these simple steps you'll be able to avoid the most common pit falls of RPing.