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I'm bouncing off of @Samantha's post:

 

56 minutes ago, Samantha said:

I'm right there with you. We've had strict rules in place that no FC under 18 can be used, and we don't even allow character's that are under 18 regardless of the FC age. We're a mature site with a ton of mature topics and the thought of an underage playby or character makes shudder

 

but it's a sentiment I've seen many times and I don't get it. So I wanted to find out what's going on here.

 

Why do you or don't you have a revulsion towards an underaged character* being RPed on a mature forum?

 

I personally, have zero qualms about it, but I'm not putting these characters into sexual situations (gross) and it's not something I commonly foray into it. I've only RPed one child character recently and this was on a mature forum...but that doesn't mean every single thread is going to be in some way mature or edgy. I feel like maybe the qualm comes from people seeing that some creep could put an underaged character into a sexual situation? Or could take great delight in having their character involved in nasty business, not because it's yay-drama, but to push the envelope on how cool and edgy they are?

 

So yeah, I'd like to hear different thoughts on this!

 

* I get the playby aspect.

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I have seen and been on sites which have mature settings and allow for underage characters to be played. Does it bother me? Not so much, mostly because none of those characters were ever in or suggested they were in sexual settings. Some of the older teenagers (16-17) may have engaged in kisses - I didn't follow every single thread - but nothing that was overtly verging into the area of uncomfortable; at least for me personally.

 

II wouldn't personally have an issue but at the same time I also expect that to a degree underage characters might present a rather limited option in terms of threads etc. after all depending on how young you are creating this individual how much realistic interaction will they have on that board?

 

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Having restrictions for character age, even on a mature site seems rather silly to me. I can see why exceptions would be made for certain sites that have sexually focused content, but in my experience having mature content is a sidebar to most rp. Unless your site is totally dedicated to sexual content, or particularly abusive content or has in some way negated the need for most children (Such as a Handmaiden's tale Roleplay) why have restrictions?

 

How weird is it that there are never any children around in game? I personally prefer my RP to be somewhat realistic so having players at various ages is enjoyable for me. For our particular RP (Pern), having younger aged characters (Ages 12-19) is very necessary! 80% of the fun of playing at our site are Dragon Impressions and those usually only happen for anyone aged 12-24. 

 

We already restrict our player age to 18+ and have guidelines for making Mature posts (which are actually pretty rare). Not once in the two years our site has been up have we had any incidents with players becoming uncomfortable or upset because we have children and teenage characters running amok. Perhaps we've been lucky and not gotten any players that intend to use child characters for less-than-desirable purposes.

 

Honestly - my policy as an admin is give players the benefit of the doubt. Letting players make various characters from all ages and backgrounds is what brings role-play to life! Limiting players arbitrarily based off of fear that someone is going to be a creep is a poor reason to do anything. As admin - you have last say on a character's backstory and threads. If you don't like one, issue a warning or ban the use of that character. Unsaid rules of DON'T BE A CREEP are totally acceptable reasons to deny a character or user play.

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Alright, I have a couple of feelings on this particular rule. One is that I don't care. IF the forum doesn't allow child characters it is what it is. You're more than capable of NPCing younger siblings or children whenever you need to, it isn't like we lack imagination. We're writers, for God's sake. 

 

Second is, as a forum owner, I can see how you can fit children into a mature site, but I've also been around the ring of RP enough to know that there ARE sick fucks out there, and out niche corner of the world isn't particularly immune to them. Just because the vast majority of people wouldn't put them into that situation doesn't mean that no one ever would, and it's because of those fucked up people that you have owners of forums who are EXTREMELY weary of anything under 18 touching their forum with a twenty foot pole. That being said, I feel like if you own a forum that has adult content, but you keep the adult content to specific forums, or locations, but the rest of the forum is at a rating that a child character would make sense, it is entirely possible to allow them, therefore catering to a wider variety of people, but keep them away from the mature content.

 

The third is..I don't play child characters. I feel weird enough playing 18 year olds, much less climbing my fatass into the mindset of an actual child. NPCing them where they're needed is one thing, but I have YET to find a situation in which I -want- to play kids. I'm a grown woman, I tend to only join RPs if they are mature. I do this because I want mature RP, otherwise why bother with a mature site? Therefore I have no need of an underaged kid...simple as that.

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You're specifically playing on a mature board. Why would you want to play someone underage? Mature boards generally offer two things:

 

  • Smut. Which underage characters/players should in no way be involved in.
  • An older playerbase. Which, generally, don't want the teenage mentality around so playing a teenager eliminates that.

I won't allow anyone under 18 to be played because there's always that chance you'll get some idiot that decides their 16 year old jailbait character needs to fuck and it's hard to police everything that happens on your board. You have to protect your own ass first. We have kids, they're just NPCs and not allowed an account until they actually turn 18 in game. 

 

Most of my players are of the same mentality as some stated above: They don't want to play kids. And I'm sure that's as far as it goes for some people. 

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I am probably going to get hung for my unpopular opinion, but it is what it is.

 

I run a BDSM site, and no way in hell would I let children on that site, character or otherwise.

 

My other sites revolve around schools though, and while they're premium and do allow smut, it also isn't against the law to roleplay smut with character's that are under 18 (especially since the legal age of consent is under 18 in almost every country.). I do police how young character's involved in smut can be, but I don't go on a limb and say "No sex unless the character is 18+", since that's just not realistic and the age of the character shouldn't matter as much as the age of the player does.

Edited by SithLordOfSnark
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I like younger characters.  They bring a unique approach to life.  Even on boards with more mature themes, they can be really interesting.  It bothers me a little that so many people outright ban child characters because they are people, too, and they experience the world in wildly different ways but they're still a part of our lives.  I suspect, however, that as this part of the RP world becomes older, people begin to lose touch with the fact that they were once kids, too, and the idea of playing a younger character becomes foreign.  Add in the prevalence of premium services, and people start getting a bit paranoid.

 

I can’t recall a time where we had an issue with characters under 18 behaving in manners that made me uncomfortable.  Just the rare possibility that some creeper would come around and make their character do yucky things isn’t enough to make be ban younger characters outright.  Someone could come and post graphic porn in your advertising section, but people still have advertising areas open to strangers.  Someone could take advantage of doHTML and wreck someone’s board, but people still allow their members to use doHTML.

 

That said, I understand if people ban characters under 18 if the board is created intentionally for smut.  Or, of course, if the RP takes place in a world that doesn’t have younger characters to begin with.

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For me, it's the obvious thing that I don't want to have to police certain characters or members - and with an underage character, there are just things you can't do. There are things that would be completely off the table, smut, obviously, being one because to me that's just child porn and I don't want to be on or run a site that makes me feel uncomfortable. I think I've been exposed to or am aware of the absolute worst of the worst on the internet and I just don't want the possibility of something (or someone) like that on my site - even for the short time they'd be on there if they tried this because they'd be banned because I know for a fact I'd have almost every single one of my members in my PM about how this is making them uncomfortable. 

 

However, on a general RP note, it's just the fact that having a younger character is limiting. Yes, it would be plausible for a child to have been illegally turned into a vampire a century ago on my site and she's actually older than all the humans on the site, but her playby is 8, as a character. It could be interesting to explore a character that was turned before sexual maturity and has to live like that forever. However, for the most part having a younger character on a mature site would probably end up with you not being able to find many threads or worthwhile plots because why are people that are 25+ hanging out with a 15-year-old on a regular basis? It's not that younger people don't exist on my site, because they obviously do - just not as characters. Realistically, I feel like even if you remove the possible creep factor of having underage characters on a mature site, you're justified in restricting the age limit just for the simple fact that as an adult who runs in adult circles and all that, the chances are slim that you would have any kind of friendship with a teenager. 

 

Now, if my members wanted to do a past thread where they wanted to play out what happened to their character as a teenager with another character connected to theirs or wanted to do a one-shot about something that happened to them as a teenager, I'd be fine with that. 

 

Sorry - I feel like I just rambled, so if this is incoherent I apologize. lol

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@Samantha, as far as getting plots on a site with an underage character, it's do-able.  An idea that just came to me for a vampire setting would be an adult (human or vampire) who is trying to protect her child from the vampires.  Already my brain is coming up with all sorts of thread ideas that could be related to this, reasons why the vampires might want her as a child (turning her vs. drinking her blood vs. revenge vs. something else), why the child character might be involved in threads with grown-up vampires or vampire hunters, etc.  It might take thinking outside the box to make it come to life and I can understand how it might not be feasible to have 100 children on a site like this.  (Or would it be?  Now I'm thinking about an army of vampire children.)

 

Same with other things such as post-apocalyptic, real life, etc.  It would be hard if that was the member's only character because I agree that it might be more challenging to consistently find threads.  What if instead of "no characters under 18" it was "you cannot make a character under 18 as a first character" or "must have general purpose/direction for a character under 18 and must be discussed with staff" or something like that.  It would limit the number of them so it wouldn't be as challenging to keep track of them and make sure no one was RPing creepy things with kid or teenage characters.

 

I'm not trying to convert you or tell you how run your board, though. :P  I'm just giving you some other thoughts on the topic.  Ultimately I don't care how any one person runs one particular site.  I'm more concerned with it becoming a "trend" and that eventually there will be so many sites that don't allow characters under 18 that it somehow starts being a taboo subject.

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@Uaithne I understand where you're coming from, and I understand that there are certain plots or story arcs in which an underage character could have threads. Like I said in my post there is something interesting to me about exploring what a vampire's life would be if they were eternally stuck in a body that never reached maturity. And in your example, I could see that working on my site just as well if the child was an NPC played by the member who played the mother. 

 

And I can see how your suggestions could work in order to police a number of underage characters, but for me, it's just that I would feel like I would have to read every thread and monitor the character to make sure no lines were crossed that would make the majority of my members uncomfortable. It just comes down to the fact that the majority of my members, my staff, and myself are uncomfortable with the idea of underage characters on our site.

 

I completely understand how it would be okay on a site that had a high school setting or wasn't a mature site, but ofr our site, at least, I feel like the amount of monitoring/policing the staff would feel was necessary to do would become time consuming for the the staff and limiting for the members. What it comes down to for my point of view is that I feel like with underage characters there's a line that can't be crossed on a mature site and I also just feel that as a whole having an underage character would be very limiting, as the plots they would be involved in would have to be tailor made to include a character or be centered around that character.

 

I understand where you're coming from, although I've never played an underage character and I don't think I would ever do it for a couple different reasons. I think the taboo is starting to come from people feeling weary about what could happen if an underage character was on their site. I don't think it's directed at the people who will play underage characters - I think it just has a lot to do with the environment of the site and whether people deem it appropriate for a child to be there.  

 

(again, sorry for my rambling)

 

PS how to I tag people? D:

 

Edited by Samantha
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My site is PG-13, and it encourages characters of all ages. I agree with @Uaithne, @SithLordOfSnark and @Zahhy. You'll find children in most novels. A RPG is just a novel written by several authors, why wouldn't they be? 

 

@Samantha, besides plots between children themselves - mischief and play are always fun - there are a lot of opportunities for plots between children and mature people. Exploring the dynamics within a family, within master and apprentice, other kind of mentor and apprentice, is also interesting and bringing character development for all characters involved. Work scenes involve younger and older alike - I can't imagine any of my ships without the ship boys. The tribulations of first crush are also interesting to explore... 

 

If there are subjects in books, there are the same opportunities in RPGs too. And yes, I do write some ship boys and I like it. On another site, which is 18+, I have requested two younger ship boys (of course not having them in any mature scene - they will be about 8 and 10!), exactly to explore the new dynamics aboard: the responsibility of caring for a child (especially that the captain would have wanted children but his partner doesn't), how to bond with children who had been through a lot in life and aren't as trusting, for the existing ship boy who had always been (aboard and at home) the youngest, the fact that now he is a big brother...

Edited by Elena
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@Samantha, type the "@" sign, and then the member name.  But type the name slowly, and a drop-down box will appear with possible username choices.  As you type more letters, it will narrow down the options.  You'll have to click on the one you want or it won't tag.

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I... just RP in a mature setting, not all the threads are mature and certainly the ones with underage faceclaims/characters are not in mature threads. It's a world, one with many types of plots and characters so mature topics and underage can live side by side IMO. 

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I personally have no initial interest in playing or writing with a child character. That's not to say that a plot couldn't be pitched to me and I'd take it, but that's not my first go-to. But I don't have any qualms about a site letting in underage characters. Children experience mature crap every day, and I think limiting that limits your skills as a writer. It's underage writers I have issue with, but mostly because I can rp some smut and don't want to get in trouble for it.

 

But I also understand why people want to put that 18+ limit on their site. They feel uncomfortable with adult themes involving children, and I'm not about to go putting them out of their comfort zone when I can just as easily enjoy myself on an 18+ character site. Do I think it's silly? Yeah. But it's not that big of a deal to me, either. 

 

I also rp largely using celebrity faces, and it makes me uncomfortable using underage celebrities, due to questions of agency and identity. With an adult, they've put their image out there with the intention that it's going to be used for creative purposes, but with a child, it's less them making that decision than someone else making it for them. It's more of a moral argument for me, and I'd rather just not feel conflicted about it. So if I am writing a child, I'll usually go with just a description of them instead of a face claim.

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