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Jedi_Shadow
19 November 2002, 10:28 PM
Hi all, I'm miffed.

How many of you out there know what godmoding is? For those of you who don't, it's a style of play where just about anything goes. You want an army of Sith going up against Clone troopers, godmode it. You want to see Anakin and Darth Maul go at it? Godmode it.

Also, godmoding can be making your character so overly powerful that the gamemaster has to try and come up with ways to shield your existence from the rest of the Star Wars universe. The kind of questions like, "Why didn't this guy just lead the Clone Wars/blow up the Death Star/save Han Solo/destroy the Empire/subdue the Yuuzhan Vong? Characters so powerful the Gamemaster has to come up with another Sith master who puts the emperor to shame (incidentally, why isn't that guy the Emperor?) and has his own army of deranged dark Jedi.

Where's the originality, people? What is it that makes us love the Expanded Universe? It's the continuity; it's the fact that the Han and Leia and Luke are the same ones we saw in the movies. They wouldn't do anything out of character, and the plot fits seamlessly with Lucas' main plotline. And that is the element that I always enjoyed in gameplay. No matter what we did or where we were, we knew that somewhere else in the universe heroes such as Han Solo or Luke Skywalker could be found. Boba Fett was always scary because he was Boba Fett. When we saw mandalorian armor, we knew that could mean only one thing. Not every crime lord was a Hutt, or had a pet rancor, or lived on Tatooine. Not every hero was over 6 feet tall, nor were they strong in the Force, nor did they sport superarmor (I can count the Jedi in the movies who wore armor on one finger), or command an entire planet of warriors.

My challenge to any and all who read this thread is to evaluate your campaigns. Do you find your characters in the category of godmoders? If so, I invite you to do anything in your power to fix it. I promise that gameplay will improve. Your characters will begin to seem more like real, original members of the Star Wars universe, and not some rehash of a previous template hero you read about in a comic book.

Seghast
20 November 2002, 12:07 AM
We have such issues, but we handle them within the storyline.

Our resident Sith is more powerful than the late Emperor, but, being the Emperor's illegitimate son, he was locked away in one of the Emperor's hidden fortresses soon after birth. His training was very controlled, and he was kept in line by use of ysalamiri. It was only nine years after Endor that he finally managed to escape his prison, kill the ysalamiri, and begin his bid for power.

He was met by a young Jedi of equal power.

Jedi X, trained by Master Skywalker, was, as it turned out, a bioweapon left over from the Clone Wars. He'd been in stasis for years (the research project that had created him had been destroyed before completion, and a few of the existing weapons were placed in stasis like X; the rest were promptly destroyed before they'd even seen the light of day one time), released eight years after Endor, and then trained in the Jedi Ways under Master Skywalker. It soon became apparent he had massive strength in the Force, which, as it was found later, was the result of genetic tampering within his DNA code (including an artificial increase of midi-chlorians).

That was our explanation for these two "Gods."

Both supposedly died, but Dais came back (transfer life essence + clone body == immortality, kinda). X himself was never truly dead; only MIA, presumed dead.

Dais is still the bad guy "God", attempting to rebuild the Empire. X, who has come to realize his full power, stays out of the fight, allowing the galaxy at large to assume he's still dead. His reasoning is simple; with great power comes great responsibility (Spider-man, anyone?). It's not morally right for him to wipe out all of the Empire. Besides, such an act is likely to lead him to the DarkSide, and then we'd have to fight against him (and no one wants to do that). Besides, the people won't be able to rely on him forever. He will die eventually. It's time someone else steps up to the plate and realizes their power, their potential. It's time the galaxy has a new hero to look up to.

His name is Ryo, oldest son of X.

X watches from the shadows, as the gaurdian angel of Ryo and his squad, rarely interferring (actually, never interferring as of yet). Ryo is still growing in power, so he isn't a "God" yet, meaning his best bet is to avoid Dais (easier said than done).

That's how we handle/explain godmoding amoung the Jedi/Sith ranks. Those are the only two (three, when Ryo finally achieves greatness) that are godmoded.

Non-Jedi characters are, for the most part, pretty average, I guess. At first we made them outrageously strong, but now we enforce stricter limits, because things were getting too easy for them. Yeah, the older characters are strong, but not invincible. We put them through the proverbial "ringer" on a regular basis. The inside of bacta tanks are slowly becoming a much more common sight to these guys.

If the non-Jedis start getting too confident about their power, we toss them against Dais or his former apprentice, Xerda. That knocks their egos down considerably, taking away from their godhood and reminding them that they are sill mortal.

I take part in two Star Wars rpg groups; one with these powerful characters, and one with much weaker and more average characters. Personally, I find it's more fun with the strong guys. They have their own sets of problems which are in ways more difficult than what the average guys face. The strong characters have more personality, deeper backstories, and live in a universe that's much more fleshed out.

The strong characters add character to the game itself, to their galaxy. To me, their galaxy and their adventures are much more real, with their delimmas being more dramatic and captivating.

With decent backstories for characters and the galaxy they live in (and a good GM or two), godmoding isn't a problem. Things are thought out in advance before tossing them into the game, giving logical reasons for why this so-called "God" didn't do this or that with his great power.

It all comes down to how much thought the GM(s) have put into the storyline, how much thought the players have put into their characters backstory, and how well everyone interweaves those things together. Properly done, godmoding is hardly, if ever, a problem. Are some missions too easy? Yeah, because the occasional adventure of being absolutely unbeatable is fun. Are some missions overly difficult? Definitely. Strength and power can always be overcome by luck and skill, two things in which the Empire is starting to excel at.

If your story and characters can combine into something that's more of a work of art, a tapestry, then godmoding will not be an issue. If you merely throw something together with no forethought, yes, godmoding can cause lots of problems, and things can spiral out of control very quickly.

RPG campaigns shouldn't be a mere story of good and evil, strong and weak.

RPG campaigns should be something Grand Admiral Thrawn would want in his collection.

Jedi_Staailis
20 November 2002, 05:02 AM
Godmoding has never been a problem in my campaigns. I'm a stickler for continuity, so my players have never become more powerful than the movie heroes. In my opinion, when that happens, you aren't playing Star Wars. I've had some characters who have gotten very powerful, but they generally were second string to movie characters

Only the most advanced and powerful characters even got to play on the galactic stage, and they usually interacted with known Star Wars heroes. For example, one Jedi character who was suffiently advanced played a major role in stopping a plague that was sweeping over the galaxy. But even then, the story had other movie heroes integrated into it so it felt like that was part of the continuity. Even such plotlines as this are extremely rare in my games, as I typically run things on a smaller scale.

Perhaps this is just me, but I would find myself very frustrated as a player in a game that broke continuity. I'm playing the game because I want to play Star Wars, not because I want something that's kind of like Star Wars. Obviously, if godmoding works for a certain group, then they should go with that, but I know it would never work with me or my game group. Especially when bringing in new players, I think it's essential to stick to the continuity.

Fred Getce
20 November 2002, 05:38 AM
How could you have Godmoding in a campaign?

IF any, ANY of my players tried to uber their character up by creating this awesome background where their parents were really Sith Masters who turned back to the light, or they are the love child of Han solo ad some call girl in the CSA or they...

Well it ain't going to happen, or I might say "Fine", but throw them a curve ball and turn it against them during the campaign. My players, well most of them, know never NEVER, give me something to work with or I will "screw" over their character. I don't mean I will target their characters from the start, but I do play all my campaigns with realism on what the NPCs do. No player can use uber game knowledge (like just because you are a relative of Governor Tarkin does not mean you got a tour of the Death Star during construction no matter how well they made up the background data), and thier actions always have an opposite and equal reaction to them. If you want your character to be the unknown child that is heir to a kingdom on some planet, fine and you know about it and actually plan on "reclaiming" your throne, than your enemies know it too; and they are out to get you before you can try to usurp their power. I ain't going to buy the whole "I was kept a secret" thing just because you wrote it in your background (in fact I probably won't allow the whole inheritance thing anyway), so you can "surprise" your parents killers when you attempt to destroy them in vengence.

Now if it is a GM who is doing this or setting up a character for this than as far as I am concerned that is in my opinion a poorly run game. No offense to any one, but I have seen many, MANY games run where the GM is out of control with his storys and campaigns, like allowing the characters to kill Elminster, or Darth Vader, or Sauron, or Great Cthulhu or allowing a character to be linked to the Skywalker family just because he created the background for it or something that you never planned on in your campaign but allow even though it is completely bogus as if you had your arms tied behind your back is just plain old poor bad form for a GM. Now I used to do this in the past (well way in the past) but now I no longer save players from themselves and I let the dice roll well they may.

Jedi_Shadow
20 November 2002, 09:18 AM
Jedi-Staailis and Fred Getce hit the nail right on the head. It's all about continuity. A gamemaster should always have continuity in mind. A background of stretched justifications does not make for good story. How many illegitimate children can Boba Fett, or Han Solo, or even the Emperor have? If your Jedi character is as powerful (or more) as Darth Vader, why doesn't he go cut him down? Why wait for Luke Skywalker? I can't buy the 'it's not his destiny' crap. Heck, if every Jedi knew his destiny, Qui-Gon would have never have wanted to train Anakin. He would have left the kid on Tatooine to be happy with his mom. Yoda would never have commanded the clone armies, because he knew what destruction they would cause in the long run.

Let's keep in mind that all our characters have their own wills, and goals, and desires. They're free to choose their paths in life. If a character want's to overthrow Jabba the Hutt's crime syndicate, he can do all he wants, but he's not going to get very far.

KenobiJim
22 November 2002, 09:44 PM
I've been in a campaign where Godmoding was very common - destroying canon in the matter of another guy destroying the DS I at Yavin IV. Many other interesting things heppened as well - too many to mention.

As a GM I've done a non-canon, mega-Godmoded story arc. Everything went, and history changed. It was fun. And it still felt Star Wars to us. It was a heroic, science fantasy game with the elements that gave it the unique feel and look of SW.

My other game was an all-pilot game which was very canon and well-structured. Nothing untoward happened that affected the actual history. It was fun. And it still felt Star Wars to us. The elements that were familiar to us were all there for us to see and enjoy.

I am not a very good Devil's Advocate (I don't believe in Devils...), but I think it's possible to go both ways in this case. As long as the players and the GM agree on the style of play, that's all that matters. If they agree in the beginning to either style of play before hand, then it's part of the GM's job to help maintain that style. If the style is canon and a player wants to rip into it, the GM has sanctioned power to take the wind out of that player's sails. If the style is open, then the GM need not worry about canon and set the script on fire. If the GM tries to canonify an open style game, then it's up to the players to remind the GM what was agreed upon.

The game belongs to the whole group of players, not the GM more or the players more. All need to be happy and satisfied. But I believe that either view is valid. It should be one of the things that the groups agrees upon before starting a campaign.

farr0095
23 November 2002, 02:13 AM
I think that KenobiJim put it very well. It's about how you want to run the show. I've thought very hard about putting together a campaign where the heroes are sent to Naboo instead of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. I personally think that using Ep1 as a game script would be a lot of fun. Heck, maybe Darth Maul even wins in the end and that changes things.

Not trying to hijack this thread, but you could even look at it from the point of view of humourous campaigns -vs- non-humourous campaigns. Which is better? I'd say it depends on the group you play with. Which has the real Star Wars feel? Again, depends on the group you play with. I think GodModing is the same manner.

Another non-hijack attempt, but GodModing is what EU is all about. And I personally think that the RPG is all EU. Strictly speaking, none of what we do can be canon, as it doesn't come from the proverbial horses mouth. Where did an alien Grand Admiral come from, GodModing. A much debated GodModer (if I can even use that word :?) is Kevin J. Anderson. Note, I have nothing against him, he's actually a very nice guy. But he makes up superweapons like they are Christmas cookies. And like Christmas cookies, we eat them up.

All in all, I'd say press on how you and your group will enjoy the fun. then again, like Fred put it, if my players tried to come up with some insane background, they might want to know that it can come back to bite them. :D That's too much fun not to be had.

Seghast
23 November 2002, 04:07 AM
Finally! Some people that more or less agree with my POV.

Godmoding doesn't destroy the feel of Star Wars unless the GM allows it to. Remember, it was Vader himself that said "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed; the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."

So can characters be obscenely powerful? Yes, especially Jedi. Does it destroy the feel of Star Wars? Only if the GM allows it to. Does it sound absurd? Maybe, but then it's also absurd that an idiot like JarJar could ever be a Senator, so...

Poof's Padawan
12 December 2002, 05:45 PM
For one thing I hate it when people just make the most powerful character they can. Sure it might be cool for a bit but it gets old and takes away from the game. SWRPG is one of those game were it's behind the scenes of the movies. Otherwise it just change everything we know. For example I know a bunch of people that might wanna have a podrace with Anakin. We would have heard of them in the movies. I like to try and keep the heroes out of "camera view" it makes it more fun for everyone.

Ardent
12 December 2002, 11:28 PM
Our characters tend to build and build in power until something just explodes and we want to do it all over again. Occasionally literally.

Characters who exceed the power of the canon characters are, quite frankly, obviously meant to exist. Otherwise this would be a 10-level system with Luke still beign 16th and Han still being somewhere between 10th and 14th.

Heroes are heroes. Just because you're more powerful does not make you more capable or more famous than any of the canon heroes. Frankly, if you have characters cresting 15th that are still played irresponsibly with a "campaign continuity be damned" sort of attitude, then the issue lies with the GM, not godmoding itself. By the time our characters hit 12th or 13th level they're at the points in their lives, and careers, where everything has "sunk in." They've stared the bullet down and they're not about to take a dive just because Luke "Fancy Pants" Skywalker is supposed to win this fight. The thing is, it's got to be done responsibly. 20th level NJO Jedi are more than feasible, and with a little adaption they fit well into the existing storyline (SPOILER: although, admittedly, our erstwhile heroes managed to fend off the invasion of Ithor and deflect the final backstab -- however, nobody but myself had read the book so nobody else knew how the battle was supposed to unfold).

Like all other things, it boils down to the capabilities of your GM to deal with the issues that arise.

Sabre
13 December 2002, 10:41 AM
I'm generally opposed to godmoding, and run my games in such a way that it doesn't really fit. Because of that, I end up stamping it out a lot. Sometimes I'll lose a player or two because they wanted a godmoding campaign, but I don't mind. What I tend to see when I play in or run campaigns where players get to do whatever they want is that people lose interest fast when they don't see their character being challenged, or the GM loses interest because they have to continually think up bigger and stronger enemies for the players to knock down instead of telling the stories that they want to tell. Maybe it does have a place in certain types of campaigns where the players are meant to perform impossible feats on a regular basis. But when you run campaigns with this much power, it's hard to justify keeping it on a small scale. So you end up going on huge galactic scale adventures, and I think you lose a lot of opportunities to explore the smaller details of the Star Wars galaxy, or the fun of running a game where nobody has heard of your character and you can't power your way through any situation.

Darklighter
19 December 2002, 11:31 AM
From what I've read so far, we more or less agree that the campaign needs to be balanced against the powers of the characters. Godmode campaigns (or not) become a matter of taste for a certain style of play.

My personal taste does not extend to the Godmode (or munchkin) campaign. I have been a player more often than I've been a GM and I've seen, and experienced, where the 'godmode' becomes a problem. Let me relate one example that stands out in my mind.

I'd entered an online (D6) campaign with a Jedi student. I already knew I was going to be playing a character that was a little more powerful than just a beginning Jedi, but the difference wasn't, IMO, too pronounced. However, what followed was ridiculous.

Some other players had characters with incredible skill levels, and the NPC's, friendly and unfriendly, were incredibly powerful - but somehow undeserving of notice by the rest of the Star Wars universe. Part way along, the GM decided my character wasn't powerful enough, and boosted his stats. I was not happy, but I stuck it out. In the end, my Jedi, on his first mission, was rammed into situation after situation in which wild and ridiculous powers were used, the choices narrowed, and the story dominated by his godlike NPCs. The campaign collapsed.

While I was never openly critical of this GM, when he started a new game that seemed like it could be interesting, I approached him about entering the game, but also discussed with him, in as positive terms as I could frame them, my concerns and my goals as a player. I did not want to start with a super character. I wanted to start with a character that had to grow and develop, and that this was a process I enjoyed roleplaying as a player. He had seemed unhappy with how the previous campaign developed as well, and replied that he appreciated my bringing my concerns to him, and that, yes, he felt this campaign would be different in terms of the powers of characters and NPCs. Since then, the campaign has started and gone along fine, and while there are a couple of very powerful NPCs, they are behind the scenes and definitely toned down. On the whole, things are better, and more balanced.

Now the point has been made, but I'll repeat it: the GM and the players all need to agree on the style of play, and need to do so at the beginning of the game. Otherwise you get a lot of problems. And this player likes taking the 'everyman' and roleplaying his development.

As a GM, I never want to run a Godmode campaign. I don't like god-like characters, and I won't have them in my game. I want the characters to have earned what they have, from skill levels to equipment, and to solve their problems with their brains. From my experience, there is a tendency in Godmode campaigns to solve problems with brute power. Anyway, when the characters do become powerful, it's through their own acts, and they will have the chances to affect the outcomes of whatever SW conflict happens to be occurring in their sector of space - but they won't do it because they're the long-lost son from Anakin's first affair. ;)