Bad Roleplay Guide

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Bad Roleplay

There are several bad roleplay behaviors common to many RPGs. They a= re often employed by those new to forum roleplaying games. This is because = these things are specific to roleplay, some to forum roleplay. It=E2=80=99s= no wonder newcomers don=E2=80=99t know all the ropes yet. However, bad rol= eplay also may come from experienced players.

While bad roleplay may seem harmless, it is at best irritating = to other players. At worst, it=E2=80=99s against your RPG=E2=80=99s rules. = Some forum roleplaying games ban these behaviors specifically. Other games = rely on the =E2=80=9Ctacit assumption=E2=80=9D that bad roleplay (metagamin= g, powerplay, godmodding) is never okay. Unless you=E2=80=99re cer= tain, avoid these =E2=80=9Ctechniques.=E2=80=9D

Introduction to Bad Roleplay

Absolute Bad Roleplay Guide?

Bad roleplay concepts are different in different games, styles, and grou= ps of forum roleplaying games. What is =E2=80=9Cpowerplay=E2=80=9D at one R= PG is referred to as =E2=80=9Cgodmodding=E2=80=9D elsewhere. This guide is = not intended as the be-all, end-all guide to bad roleplay. It provides a ba= sis for RPG administrators and roleplayers who wish to define bad roleplay = similarly. In short: there are many definitions for these concepts. You (an= d your game=E2=80=99s rules) may or may not agree.

Bad Roleplay and RPG Consent Level

The Bad Roleplay guide is designed for Strong Consent = roleplay games. Concepts such as powerplay may not apply at Non-Con= sent games.

The Bad Roleplay Umbrella: Godmoding

=== Definitions ===
godmoder (noun)
A roleplayer or roleplay character engaging in metagaming, powerplaying= , or godmodding.
godmoding (verb)
The act of godmoding.
godmode (noun)
Generally not used in forum roleplay, though characters may be referred= to as =E2=80=9Cin godmode=E2=80=9D in rare instances.

Godmoding refers to several types of bad roleplay as an umbrella term. A= ll godmoding attempts to shift the roleplay in the godmoding player=E2=80= =99s favor. In essence, godmoding is any attempt at giving a roleplaying ch= aracter an advantage that does not normally exist in-game.

The word comes from video games, where godmode includes =E2=80=9Cfeature= s such as invincibility, unlimited ammunition or lives, or similar power bo= osts=E2=80=9D (Godmoding). Forum roleplay players can=E2=80=99t use exploit= s or cheat codes to power-up their characters =E2=80=94 but certain rolepla= y behaviors can achieve virtually similar results.

Types of Godmodding and Bad Roleplay

Read on for specifics about the different types of godmodding and why th= ey make for bad roleplay.

  • Godmodding is godmoding specific to character creation, skills,= and certain situations (e.g., combat).
  • Powerplaying is godmoding by controlling another roleplayer= =E2=80=99s character without permission.
  • Metagaming is godmoding specific to the use of OOC knowledge in= roleplayed actions, behaviors, thoughts.
  • Retconning is godmoding specific to erasure or alteration of pa= st events..

Advantages Gained via Bad Roleplay

The advantages gained by godmoding in forum roleplay can be:

  • Against other players and their characters =E2=80=94 e.g., the super-po= wered beast-hulk who smashes any challengers in a fight, no matter what.
  • Against the game world and its realism rules =E2=80=94 e.g., the twelve= year old magician who can suddenly defeat a previously unbeatable enemy.
  • Against the environment =E2=80=94 e.g., the teenager in a high school t= own RPG who never references or writes about being in class and instead wor= ks full-time, despite a truancy policy being enforced in-game.

The Problem with Bad Roleplay

The problem? RPGs are a world built and played in by players. Everyone h= as to agree to the same rules about the way the game is played.

Bad Roleplay Reduces Sensibility and World Coherence

  • With the beast-hulk character, yeah =E2=80=94 sure, sometimes there are= unbeatable people. However=E2=80=A6 they are very, very rare. If unbeatabl= e or overpowered characters were allowed in RPGs, enough people would want = an overpowered character that it would unbalance the game. Anyone trying to= play a regularly-leveled character would quickly be beaten to a pulp. It a= lters the dynamic of the game.
  • In the high school roleplay, it raises questions about where the truanc= y officers are, and why they aren=E2=80=99t enforcing the law on this chara= cter. Especially if the truancy officers have been vigilant, this makes lit= tle sense.

Bad Roleplay Reduces Player Sense of Fairness

  • In the magic-based roleplay =E2=80=94 the most likely reason for the en= emy being unbeatable is to build a sense of danger and/or excitement. If th= is enemy played some role in the game, it=E2=80=99s not fair for a single p= layer to unilaterally decide to make a major change to the world.
  • In the high school roleplay, it=E2=80=99s not fair for this character t= o avoid truancy and gain monetary advantage over other characters. Everyone= else=E2=80=99s characters have to abide by the truancy rules.

Bad Roleplay Infographic

Is it Really Bad Roleplay?

Notes for New Players

Don=E2=80=99t worry about making mistakes. If you=E2=80=99ve accidentall= y done some bad roleplay, please don=E2=80=99t feel bad about yourself.= There are very few comprehensive guides to forum roleplay out there. = Every game is different =E2=80=94 some games are radically different. Your = mistakes don=E2=80=99t make you a bad person, of course! If an RPG administ= rator is being super harsh and mean to you because of a mistake, r= emember =E2=80=94 you may have found a Bad RPG. = You might want to hop onto a different game! No one deserves to feel stress= ed or hurt over what should be a fun hobby.

Notes for RPG Administrators

=E2=80=9CBad roleplay=E2=80=9D can be an honest mistake. It can be difficult to separate what you know from what your character knows, after all = =E2=80=94 metagaming can happen accidentally. Powerplaying, too, can happen= unintentionally. New players may not know powerplay exists. In these cases= , it=E2=80=99s not really bad roleplay =E2=80=94 it=E2=80=99s inexperience = or a mistake. RPG admins who wish to be fair and welcoming are well-advised= to differentiate between intentional and unintentional bad roleplay. Sorti= ng intentional from unintentional can be difficult for an RPG admin, but it= =E2=80=99s worthwhile in the name of fairness.


These sources are for all of the Bad Roleplay pages, including God= modding, Powerplaying, Metagaming, Retconning= .

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=E2=80=9CBunnying.=E2=80=9D Urban Dictionary. N.p., 7 Nov. 2009. = Web. 21 July 2013.

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=E2=80=9CGodmoding.=E2=80=9D Wikipedia. N.p., 27 Sep. 2009. Web. = 14 Nov. 2009.

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=E2=80=9CMetagaming.=E2=80=9D Wikipedia. N.p., 2 June 2009. Web. = 14 Nov. 2009.

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