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I know there's supposed to be a grey area, but Taboo's just a word game, shirley?

The following discussion is on whether sex between two people who are both below the age of consent is a worse thing to roleplay than, say, insane satan-worshipping psychos who murder and torture using chain saws.
No it's not - AFAICT it's mostly about whether ChiarkPerson and/or ElliottBelser need to grow up or not. --Rachael
You're right.  I was probably being overly optimistic since I would find the discussion of taboos in roleplay more interesting than the discussion of maturity-masks-anonymity-community-'how best to discuss things constructively with differently-constructive people'.  Either way, it is better here on its own page than on RolePlayingGame --DR

It has been refactored here from RolePlayingGame

<a variety of examples from the BlissStage RPG> --ElliottBelser
You like the game about the paedophilia-powered robots. We get it. --ChiarkPerson

I continue to use examples for Bliss Stage because that's the Indie-styled game that most people on this site are familiar with.  I'd use examples from Primetime Adventures, Spirit of the Century or Sorcerer if I thought that anyone but me would have a clue what I was talking about.

Honestly, I'm finding your vitriolic, frothing hatred of the theory rather puzzling.--ElliottBelser
You won't.  But some advice: complaining about it is a pointless, boring waste of everyone's time.  Better just to ignore him if he goes off on one, and just reply to the bits of posts where he makes an actual point.  -- SGB
n-r: does it not bother you even a little that your friends are forced to say this sort of thing about you? Are you not even the tiniest bit ashamed that someone two thirds your age can consistently demonstrate better impulse control than you? - MoonShadow
The guy two-thirds my age likes roleplaying underage sex and mentioning that at every opportunity. It would take a lot for me to be impressed with his impulse control.
Moon: FWIW, I it's not n-r who has forced me to say this sort of thing about him, and it's not even particularly about n-r.  It's just a more polite way of saying "FFS, stop being so thin-skinned and boring" and if I choose to say that by appearing to side against n-r, then it's only because I know n-r is grown-up enough not to take offense at that.  If you'd like me to say what I think without sugar-coating it, I can; but we already have n-r for that.  Feel free to delete these three comments before the US wakes up. --SGB
It would, however, be rather easier for everyone to discuss n-r's actual points if he could keep the vitriolic hatred under control. --AC
OK, but pointing that out is boring and unhelpful - if it were going to help, it would have done so some time in the last eight years.  And criticising n-r because of the way he chooses to make his points, while at the same time putting up self-congratulatory pages like Idiolect about how other people choose to make theirs, is arrant hypocrisy. (though I'm not sure that the people who do the former and the people who do the latter actually overlap)  --SGB
"if it were going to help, it would have done so some time in the last eight years" - are you another one of the people who think n-r will never grow up, then? I was not expecting that from one of his staunchest defenders. - MoonShadow
The "growing up" that's failing to happen is learning how to deal with people who don't behave as you'd like - if you don't change someone by nagging them for a year, you're not going to change them by nagging for another seven.  You accept that that's the way they are, and either you avoid them or you adjust your expectations.  If someone says stuff in a way you think is rude, you stop talking to them, or you learn to mentally subtract their rudeness from what they say (and by all means from your opinion of them as a person) and you get on with life.  You don't bang your head against a brick wall for eight years.  Stubbornness is childish in both parties; rising above it is growing up.  --SGB
So in other words I should have just given up on him and banned him rather than pursue a policy of letting him know when his behaviour is unacceptable and asking him to change? Fair enough. I will add your vote to the tally. - MoonShadow
No.  I am not advocating either of those, as well you know.  I'd recommend a policy (if you'd call it that) of rolling one's eyes and looking at what people say more than how they say it - to you and to everyone.  You, Moon, are quite good at that already; you tend only to wade in fairly late on in the proceedings, and you very rarely do so by wading in with nagging.  My vote is for you to carry on as you have.  -- SGB
It's very hard to maintain this stance when the other party fails to reciprocate, and becomes harder with time. While I myself can take it, just rolling my eyes has never been my policy when n-r's vitriol is directed at others, and if it appears that way, it is a pity - it means I have been way too soft all this time, and does go some way towards explaining why things have stagnated for quite this long. N-r *has* noticeably improved - these days he actually bothers to make points as well as just telling other people to shut up because they are not qualified to speak; this improvement, together with the fact that I know he *can* be civil (he is pleasant enough in real life, and I have never seen him insult you, M-A or Rachael online) has hitherto been giving me hope for the long term. What you may not realise is that I have been parrying calls to block him from one party or another for pretty much as long as he's been around. Defending his presence here is a hard and stressful task when he behaves like this. Each fight is a little harder than the last. I do wonder whether I am just fooling myself when I hope a time will come when people can be nice to each other. - MoonShadow
You have my sympathy - and you're right, he does increasingly do more than just snark; so take reassurance from that.  I don't mean to defend him here, it just seems that way because I'm asking his detractors to shut up.  What I'm saying is that he is at most 50% responsible for the arguments, and if other editors would just step back and not automatically go on the offensive as soon as he (and only he) phrases something in an abrasive way, then most of the arguments would never happen.  If n-r shouldn't rudely tell people that they're wrong on the internet, then nor should people rudely tell him that he's wrong on the internet.  So while it's fine to call on n-r to be less abrasive, it's not OK to jump on him every time and say "you're rude, you're a terrible person".  The people who do that (and I don't include you in this, Moon) seem to think that if there's a problem (in their eyes), then it's the responsibility of whoever (again, in their eyes) caused the problem to solve it; not the responsibility of whoever has the capacity to solve it.  That is not growing up.  If they'd only see that if they say nothing, then the problem goes away; and then acted on that, then 90% of the arguments would never happen.  As you point out, n-r has given way a bit, but what other editors seem to have taken from that is that they should nag harder; not that they should give way a bit too.  That's what I'd like to see happen.  And *that* would take load off your shoulders more than any amount of nagging --SGB
Except that the result of this philosophy is that he goes around being offensive elsewhere until he gets someone to bite. -- Senji (and just to clarify, some of us don't mind having robust arguments with him)
So?  The only difference between that and what currently happens is that there would be less biting.  It's not (usually) the case that n-r goes around being offensive in order to provoke an argument; it's that he chooses to put his points across ("I don't like X") in terms that can cause offense ("X is idiotic") and people choose to interpret them in the way that causes them most offense ("You are an idiot for liking X").  If people stop and, instead of assuming that causing offense is the point, choose the less-offensive interpretation then a conversation can happen instead of name-calling.  And if they don't, then they're as much to blame for the ensuing argument as n-r is.  --SGB (and I like "robust" as a way of describing the resulting conversation)
Back in the days when I posted to usenet regularly, we used to have a saying "DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS", similar to signs in a zoo saying not to feed the animals. It meant that if you stop responding to bits posted just to get a reaction, they do it less.  The advice is also phrased "Don't wrestle with a pig: you'll only get muddy and the pig enjoys it.".  This is not quite the same as what I think SGB is saying which is you can treat someone as you'd treat a defective uncle who is only over at Christmas who farts a lot and keeps ranting about the Jew Menace.  Ignore the offensive bits and react to the substance (if there is any), and hold your nose until he goes away again. --DR
Part of the problem from my POV is that text on the wiki persists - people may go away, but the offensive spoor remains for all future visitors to see; and if nothing else it needs to be cleaned up. I want the wiki to be a collaboratively built house, not a collaboratively dug cesspit. - MoonShadow
The persistent nature of wiki vs usenet is a very good point and one I didn't consider. --DR
Usenet is persistent. See GoogleGroups?. --Rachael
Yes, I wondered if someone would say that. It's a little different, though. Usenet is more like a newspaper archive: no-one reads the old stuff unless they actively want to, well, read old stuff. At least part of the intent of a wiki, on the other hand, is to present to you any existing information on a subject when you broach it. - MoonShadow
Perhaps give people a free hand to just refactor anything ChiarkPerson says to make it less offensive while still retaining any actual substance?  For instance, he made an interesting point about dividing things into boxes lower down this page, that I want to respond to. --DR
That would be annoying while discussions are still going on, but it's not a bad idea for the editors as a group to make a habit of going back and seeing whether anything came out of discussions, and replacing the discussions with those results (if any) and maybe linking back to the discussion in the page history (while it's retained) on the understanding that anyone sufficiently interested to see how a conclusion was reached may have to be prepared to get what they wished for.  I'd suggest separate discussion and content pages, but I think the discussion/conclusion ratio is too high here for that to work. --SGB
Annoying to do or annoying for you if you are reading the same discussion and someone else refactors his post to remove the bile?  I had a go at refactoring one of his edits below to remove a bit of the hate, then responded to it (the one about (boxes and zen).  What do you think?--DR
You've actually changed the sense of it in the process (it's now a non sequitur, whereas before it was a response to a comment of Elliott's), although since you've also noted that it is no longer his original words, I was intending to let him deal with that himself rather than ruling from on high there and then. -MoonShadow
Specifically, BS asked about hatred of an activity, CP responded in a way that phrased it as hatred of people.  I refactored CP's reply to change it (mainly) back to being centred about the activity not the people who do the activity.  Subtle difference and a weak example, but the best I could find on this page that had not yet been responded to.--DR
Annoying to do if you are trying to read the conversation; far more annoying if you are the person getting rewritten.  If I thought that my name might get applied to whatever words people might choose to put in my mouth, I wouldn't feel I could say anything in the first place, or trust anything that had allegedly been said.  --SGB
That's an inevitable risk of using a wiki, though.--ChiarkPerson
Only if you use it with editors who do that sort of thing.  People here haven't, so we can sensibly have discussions. --SGB
This wouldn't be a general thing.  Just something done specifically to ChiarkPerson's postings, and after a joint statement by MoonShadow and SunKitten that it was ok to do to him in particular.  A 'hunting license' if you will.  The putting words in people's mouths is an interesting one since ChiarkPerson doesn't sign his posts and indeed the name is one we have chosen for him rather than one he or she has chosen for theirselves.--DR
It's one thing for anyone to be able to claim we've always been at war with Eurasia; but creating a second class of wikizens isn't something I'd see as even slightly a good thing.  (and can I repeat my request for a SineBot? for ToothyWiki?)  --SGB
I don't think it would be OK to refactor someone's words. I'd be very wary of doing that to anyone, and I certainly don't want it done to me, so on the whole, I'd be against it, although thank you for the consideration - SunKitten
I think it's fine to summarise what people said, so long as you report the result as your summary, not as what they said, and are willing to respect people's opinions if they say you got things wrong or missed something. In fact, once conversations this long are over, replacing them with a summary is necessary and how wikis are meant to work. This is different from censoring somebody's signed comments in place though. - MoonShadow
In practice now that you've done it I find that it makes me feel very unhappy. -- Senji
The trouble with just ignoring the trolls is it only works as a 0% or 100% policy.  n-r has actual genuine input that I wouldn't want to miss.  (This is also a problem on USENET of course) -- Senji
I suspect I fall into the category of those you're referring to above. The thing is, I really, really don't jump on him "every time". As MoonShadow says, he's been saying things that are abrasive, rude and offensive for eight years. 95% of the time I manage to avoid rising to his flamebait. It's not only him that I rise to - both you and StuartFraser have occasionally rubbed me up the wrong way enough to make me snap briefly at you (and I'm sorry for those occasions when they've happened). But he really is the cause of 90% of it. I fully recognise that my reaction to his flamebaiting isn't ideal, and I try to ignore him and "say nothing". But you're completely wrong about what happens if I say nothing. If I say nothing - as I have done 95% of the time, for eight years - he just keeps on doing it. It's not just me who he winds up: f2f discussions have found at least six people (out of the relatively small crowd of ToothyWiki visitors or sometime regulars) who find him this offensive and rude. He's responsible for driving more people away from ToothyWiki / ToothyChat than everyone else put together. Trying to "just ignore it" really doesn't work. As someone who believes that people can change and that nobody's irredeemable, I continue to believe that he could be less nasty, and that this would make the ToothyWiki a nicer place for everyone. --AlexChurchill
When you say it "really doesn't work", I think you have a different idea of "work".  For me, ToothyChat and ToothyWiki "work" when we can have conversations; so "just ignore it" works immediately, every time.  It sounds like for you, ToothyChat and ToothyWiki "work" when its contributors are reformed into nice, polite people, but I don't think that is what you mean: what do you mean by "work"? --SGB
A conversation where one person is engaged in ad hominem attacks and is persistently rude - even if no-one else is - is not a pleasant place to be. Therefore, it does not work. Never mind the reforming, I just want a conversation without aggressive nastiness. I don't know if that's what Alex also means by 'works', but it is true that when n-r is on top (bottom?) form, that section of the wiki is an unpleasant place to be. This is my wiki as much as it is MoonShadow's, and I don't like that - SunKitten
EditConflicting, I wrote this, which is basically what SK said: I mean quite simply "let the experience be a positive one". Let people get on with using the wiki or chat for fun or productive things. Let people use it without them coming away grinding their teeth. Make it a place where people are happy to stay. That's why the statistic of him driving people away is relevant. ToothyChat works when I'm able to enjoy the conversations there, which is about 75% of the time; it doesn't work when I get so enraged at blistering rudeness that I have to close the chat window or filter n-r out, which is about 25% of the time. Sadly [my ignore plugin] doesn't work on the Wiki. --AC

Also, you raise the issue of driving people away, which preempts the question "why does it matter if he is rude?"  While I think you're being unfair when you say "He's responsible for driving more people away from ToothyWiki / ToothyChat than everyone else put together" - the only one I saw driven away did it to himself - I'll accept that this could be a way in which rudeness prevents decent conversation.  But do you honestly think that attacking n-r over and over again causes fewer problems than saying "this is n-r; he's rude sometimes; don't rise to it" would? --SGB
The statistic about people driven away is genuine - I can name at least 3, but won't post names publically. As for attacking, I never aim to attack n-r, and to the extent that my comments come across as attacks, I've failed in self-restraint and I'm sorry. But I do continue to believe (sometimes despite the evidence) that n-r can have civil conversations, and make interesting points in discussions without leaving the wiki strewn with what other people have described as bile, vitriol, hatred and a cesspit. My aim in all comments of this kind to n-r is to try to persuade him to slightly alter his conversational style so that we can have interesting discussions, rather than him inflaming people in a way that seems deliberate. --AC
I don't know about three, but I think the one SGB's thinking of, I do kind of claim credit for getting rid of him. Possibly that's vanity, but anyone who wishes can feel free to thank me.  -- S.
He *has* slightly altered his conversational style, but the complaints have become more frequent, not less; you're retreating as he comes towards you, so why should he try at all?  The fact that you've recently had a go at him for doing something impolite, that was actually not done by him, within a few minutes of it happening, makes it seem that you're determined to find fault and so the real fault lies with you.  I'm sure you're not doing these things on purpose, but I do see them happening.  -- SGB  (This has come out ruder and more personal than I wanted but I can't see how to rephrase it)
I wouldn't assign any fault to AC. -- S.
In both cases they were just slips, so it's may just be positive reporting on my part.  Third-order fault.  Good grief. --SGB

The Idiolect page appears to consist of a dictionary definition (not surprising since it's a former WotD?) and a slightly self-negatory example.  Both were perpetrated by Emperor.  -- Senji
Click on the link at the top to see the pages I meant.  --SGB
You are so wrong I'm not even going to bother starting cataloging the ways.  (Let me compare them to a summer's day...) -- Senji

Oh, and I'm aware of the irony of wading in like this in order to decry wading in like this :-) --SGB

Some people think that the way to understand people and what people do (and especially art) is to divide it up into little boxes.  I feel that usually (and possibly necessarily, inherently in the nature of the exercise) they miss the entire point of the thing in the process. Coming up with a vocabulary to talk about things is good, classifying them is bad. An example from literary criticism is that it's very useful to be able to talk about focalisation and have all that critical framework at your disposal.  I can't stand people who say 'oh, that's third-person limited point-of-view' and think that by slapping a label on something they have done anything other than hinder their own and others' understanding of it. --ChiarkPerson as bowlderised by DR.
In Alice through the Looking Glass Alice finds herself in a garden where the way to get from A to B is to go via C which appears to be further away from B than A is.  In Zen and Taoism you have the idea that words themselves can get in the way.  This does not mean that words are not part of the path you must travel and that the best route is always to start by throwing away the words.  I agree with you that dividing things into categories (boxes) is not a satisfactory end point, but I do think it is sometimes a useful half-way house.  Before biologists had evolution and thought of species being fuzzy instead of well defined, they had naturalists who went out into untamed lands and tried to forge meaning from chaos by dividing what they saw into little boxes.  This does not mean we could have done without them and jumped straight to our current understanding of biology.  Do you find it useful to think of meaning as a path rather than a destination? --DR
You managed to rewrite the text there so that is no longer answers the point it was responding to. Which is impressive...--ChiarkPerson
Yes, I know you were responding to EB's saying he found your hatred of the theory rather puzzling.  I did leave in your "I can't stand.." phrase.  I just tried toning down the emotion a little, as an experiment, to hopefully make it more pleasant reading for others.  This is an experiment.  A proposed way to keep your (sometimes quite interesting) input on the wiki rather than MoonShadow and SunKitten doing something more drastic.  Question: Do you deliberately aim for the tone of voice you project over the wiki?  If so, why do you aim for a different tone than you use in RL face to face meetings?  Do you intentionally want to drive some people away?  How would you feel about others editing your posts to make life easier for MoonShadow and SunKitten so they don't feel like they are wading through a cesspit? --DR

No one's forcing you to play "That Sex Robot Game" or "That Game Which Has Dem Mormon Pallie Gunslingers," and I am certianly not suggesting that any other lens for viewing play or way of playing is BadWrongFun.  I mean, Shock: Social Science Fiction is a certifiably terible game and Dogs In The Vineyard is mediocre to fair, but unless Ron Edwards personally punched your mother in the face (not that I'd put this past that asshole, having dealt with him when he didn't have to put up an academic front: this is why I avoid [The Forge]), the violence with which you condemn this theory surprises me.  You don't like the theory.  You don't find it useful.  Fair enough.  I have, and others might, discover games or playstyles that they prefer over the current status quo because I'm discussing this game.

Also, nice ad hominem attack in your moniker "the game about the paedophilia-powered robots."  I humbly request that you cut that bullshit out. -- ElliottBelser
Um, the game does appear to involve robots that are powered by underage sex.  So it's more of an ad ludorum description than an ad hominem attack.  I don't see how it's bullshit.  -- SGB
Yeah, sorry - but that part is a valid (though harshly phrased) point.  I didn't actually spot the implications when the game was first described, but now it's pointed out to me and I am massively squicked.  --Vitenka
OTOH, discussions are usually best illustrated with examples. EB provides examples from a system he's familiar with that illustrates what he's discussing. n-r insults him for it and says "we get it". This does seem somewhat unnecessary. --AC
Not that he provided an example from the sex robot game this time. He just made sure to mention it, in a way that makes no sense to those not familiar with its rules about capitalised nouns (what is a Hope? no, I don't care). (and yes, I am getting fed up with constant mentions of the sex robot game) -- presumably the unreversed personage  --ChiarkPerson
I realized after I had gone to bed that it wasn't an "ad hominem," more of a strawman agurement.  Oops.  I may change that now, and I apologize for feeding the trolls.  I just got tired of it, and I won't let it happen again. --ElliottBelser

Another aspect of the problem is that I actually really don't want to wear a moderator's hat most of the time. If people start moderating other people heavily, there will be frequent disputes which will require resolution. If I myself start moderating heavily, I will need to be fair and impartial and actually think about what I'm doing, or risk worse flamewars / losing even more people. If people are going to be moderated a lot, they will want the moderation rules codified. This is all hard, and a lot of work, and will not necessarily even help - on other forums rather than helping I have seen it result in people engaging in brinkmanship, in gaming the rules as an intellectual exercise, in seeing how close to insulting someone it is possible to come without breaking the letter of the law; heck, it's fun, it's the kind of thing I might do if someone annoyed me enough in such a place. Also, I don't like being in a place with lots of precise rules about exactly what and how you may or may not say. I'd rather people just used their common sense. Hence the hands-off approach I have taken to date. I don't have any experience moderating communities with significant numbers of destructive strangers, though; perhaps if the wiki grows I may be forced to change - I am sure there is a reason why other places have all these written rules. - MoonShadow

Desperate attempts at on-topic comments below the line? :p --Requiem

I thought that some of the point of BlissStage was to Squick the players by providing them with a mechanical penalty for their characters not engaging in behaviour they (probably) find immoral OOC. I can see the merit in writing and, indeed, playing a game like that - but it isn't half offputting. --Requiem
Without getting into the whole argument above (I just check to see who wrote a comment and skip over any by CP after a couple made me physically ill from the bile, which works), Yes, precisely.  Bliss stage is the Hostel (or perhaps the Hard Candy) of RPGs.  --SoylentWhite
n-r makes you sick with bile and Hostel doesn't?? --Rachael
No, I haven't seen either film, I just know *of* them. --SoylentWhite
You can? Good, maybe you can explain it to me. I know there are people who think that there is merit in roleplaying characters who engage in activities which are morally repulsive ((loyal) Abyssal Exalted; Evil-aligned adventurers in D&D, Powers of the Dark, etc). I don't understand why. I don't see that sympathy with such characters or such actions is a laudable goal. --SF
You don't think finding the humanity in those some would call inhumane a useful exercise in empathy?  Maybe so, but it's a false analogy, regardless.  In Bliss Stage, it's a question of what extremes *good* people can be pushed to in extreme circumstances.  Lloyd is the closest to being actually *evil* in the game, but if it weren't for the war, he would likely be a normal, reasonably well-adjusted teenager. --SoylentWhite
I know RPGs aren't like films and I'm not allowed to join in the conversation because I don't know what I'm talking about, but JOOI, do you feel the same way about playing bad guys in theatre? --Rachael
So having answered your own question, why do I need to bother? RPG's aren't films. You aren't creating your part's dialogue or inventing their own actions in theatre. The actor playing MacBeth? is in no way responsible for murdering King Duncan, and couldn't prevent it if he wanted to. --SF
OK then, do you object to writing bad guys in fiction? Shakespeare is "responsible for murdering King Duncan", if you want to look at it like that, and could have prevented it; but I don't hold him morally culpable. --Rachael
So obviously when writing drama you need conflict. This leads to the creation of antagonists, who are frequently somewhat evil. In most RPGs, the person who provides this is the GM. (Amber 's palace intrigue style is an example of a slight exception, but even in a throne war there's often an external threat as well). I don't read books with outright evil protagonists, don't understand them and don't know why other people do. As an aside, you keep saying "object". I never said I objected to anything. I said I didn't understand and asked for an explanation. --SF
The merit in this: To experience emotional states, points of view and situations that you would otherwise not experience. To give an answer to the question 'What would it be like to be forced to [eat / torture / sleep with / whatever] my friends in order that [bad thing] did not come to pass?' --Requiem
I only said "object" once, but OK, I'll stop. I quite like evil protagonists. I'm considering writing one. It's interesting, dramatically and psychologically. It can even be educational and improving, by the use of contrast (see TheScrewtapeLetters?). --Rachael
Not all bad guys are entirely evil.  Think of Mr Bester from Babylon 5.  Clearly not a nice person, but has redeeming features.--Pallando
I don't find evil to be the problematic D&D alignment, it's chaotic.  But ignoring the D&D alignment system I don't think a purely-evil character would be interesting to play, just like a purely good one wouldn't.  The interest is in the shades of grey. -- Senji
The "Hostel" of RPGS?  Really?  I see it more akin to "28 Days Later," where horrible things happen to good people, forcing them to do horrible things. --ElliottBelser.
Yes, thematically it's more similar to 28DL, Bokurano, Cube, etc. I was referring to both 'Hotel' and 'Bliss Stage' as being aimed at squicking people out. --SoylentWhite
Right, and Hostel is torture-porn, so that makes this... porn-porn, only with thirteen-year-olds?
More like Lolita - the purpose is not to tillitate you but to disturb you and make you question your beleifs.  Drama-Porn? --ElliottBelser
Yeah, I've read Lolita, and I doubt that the game's author, you or any other person who runs it, or any of the players, are Vladimir Nobokov.
True: we aren't Vladimir Nobokov.  But we aren't exactly Larry Flynt, either.  I'm personally not running it for perversion potential -- I'd be horrified to see the game used for same on my watch.  I'm running it for morality play potential, for drama, and for the edification of seeing how good people react to having to do bad things.  - ElliottBelser
So why are you running a game about underage sex? Why aren't you running a game that explores moral dilemmas without having giant paedophilia-powered robots?
Because the other roleplaying games I know of where the rules support morality plays IMAO are DogsInTheVineyard? (which is harder to learn, a harder sell, and not as good) and, er...  well, I've had various bad experiences with Vampire, though I like the rest of the WOD just fine, especially Changeling: the Dreaming and Mage: The Ascention.  If I wanted to do straight adventure, I'd probably run D&D or Exalted: but I was in the mood for kicking someone's moral framework in the crotch.  (Or getting mine kicked in same.)
By 'kicking a moral framework', do you mean that it had to involve underage sex, in which case I'm afraid it does sound like shouting 'poo!' just to prove you can; or really exploring the moral issues you talk about below, in which case you could have done that in any game: I've played in games which had morality plays using the rules of Ars Magica, Over the Edge, I'm sure more I can't remember at the moment... moral dilemmas come from the players and the GM, not the system.
It didn't have to be underage sex.  It didn't even have to be expedient sex: the fact that it does deal with such doesn't bother me, and falls into the feature category for that reason, since sexuality is something I like having frank discussions about (as well as, unfortunately, immature jokes about).  I've tried to do this sort of thing in other games with mixed to no success: Bliss Stage is the only game where making those things the main themes resulted in anything close to the level of dramatic tension I was looking for. --ElliottBelser.
The rules for BlissStage naturally result in a tense, NeonGenesisEvangelion (and Evangelion [RahXephon byproducts])-styled story about various love affairs, doomed and otherwise, and I like the reward system in concept and (admittedly imperfect) execution.  I will admit to a higher Squick tolerance for underage sex (being barely out of my teens and -- just as long as an adult isn't involved (no, wait, check that: just as long as a gross abuse of power isn't involved, which is usually the case if an adult and a teen/child have sex) and I don't have to know the details.  And I like the nature of the canon areas that the game master is explicitly NOT allowed to define: the nature of the Bliss, of the aliens, and such. 
Yeah. You're still basically a kid. It comes across. You'll, hopefully, learn.
Nothing wrong with that.  Chuck Jones response to his art teacher's assertion that everyone had 10000 bad drawings in them that they had to get rid of was "Great, halfway there."  Seems relevant... --ElliottBelser
As an aside, Humanity rules in RPG'S just tend to be badly implemented, because the definition of "humanity" is always, and should be, contentious, and many game designers think that they need to be set in stone: I dislike Cyberpunk for the same reason.  I also have yet to try Ron Edwards game Sorcerer?, which deals with Humanity in an interesting way; if I ever do try it, I'll probably use a Dictionary of Mu campaign - high pulp sword-and-sorcery in the vein of early Conan the Barbarian. --ElliottBelser
I agree; so why use them? Why not just roleplay?
Because having good rules for these sorts of things have, in my experience, been far more conductive to play about those themes than games with no rules dealing with them (which are more conductive to it than games with rules that actively interfere). -- ElliottBelser.
(Oh, and to bring in a personal note, the tone of your first entries to the Wiki, the original page on this game and pages like IntimacyV among them, are why I didn't immediately race the the conclusion that you weren't at all excited by a game about underage sex but were in fact just interested in themes of wartime expediency. Looking back over those pages perhaps you can see why I got that impression?)
...ah.  IntimacyV in particular is a bit dodgy, yes: but to be fair most of my classmates in Culinary are perverts, we had just gotten out of a BlissStage game, and we were joking around, describing our own relationships (and the perceived relationships of our teachers) with the stats in BlissStage as a running joke that got out of hand.  I have rather... liberal additudes about human sexuality, but I honestly think that anyone under the age of 16 isn't old enough to be having sex, and 16-25 are sort of a period where you have to prove that you're mature enough and there's vast potential for abuse by people who are older than you, or with any form of power over you, really.  I apologize for the tone of that article.
Don't apologise. The only thing that suffered was our opinion of you. And, you know, first impressions and all that. Learn. You and your friends may be sex-crazed anything-goes types now, but you'll learn, and a lot of people already have learnt, and if you blunder around being brash and loud and shoving your attitude in people's faces, you'll just have more to regret when you look back.
Fair enough. -- ElliottBelser
Not wartime expediency, exactly, no: but wartime relationships and how they're affected by the horrors of the Bliss, the horrors of war, and the need for wartime expediency.  Does this make sense? --ElliottBelser.
All apart from the bit where you had to play the game about robots powered by underage sex. You couldn't just grab some rules from a random system like Over The Edge, Ars Magica or Big Eyes Small Mouth and play a game set in the Blitz, or in some alien invasion that you made up yourself without robots powered by underage sex which is, apparantly, the unique selling point of the game you actually did pick?
I've actually tried and failed to run that kind of game about wartime in several systems: the morality tales of such actually intruded on the fun of a Mekton Zeta game I ran that was supposed to be a fairly loving rip-off of Gundam 0080th Mobile Suit Team or Crest/Banner? of the Stars.  BS was the first one where I actually got out of it what I wanted: the focus that the rules provided were a tremendous help. 
If it really bothered me, I would have had the stopping point for the Bliss be the age of 25 or revised the requirements of the Intimacy scores to be more lenient (Int 5 would be "kissing" in that case, most likely): both hacks are popular in the BS fandom.  It didn't: mostly because I am in favor of including frank depictions of sexuality in my games.  I would have a definite problem with porn in my BlissStage, however. --ElliottBelser

Also, bringing it back to RPGs: SF, would you refuse to play a character with any moral flaws at all? If not, where do you draw the line? Would you play a character who is basically good, but does evil in order to achieve a greater good or by being manipulated into it? --Rachael
Sure, I've played tons of characters who are morally questionable (I don't think I've ever played an out-and-out hero - Adarisa tried, that's about as close as it gets). My original comment says "morally repugnant", and I used the stronger word for a reason. There is a difference between grey-hat and black-hat. --SF
Maybe I've got confused, but aren't we talking about a game in which teenagers sleep with other teenagers their own age? Something which goes on all the time IRL, and which both parties are usually happy about? And that's "morally repugnant" as opposed to "morally questionable"? "Black hat" as opposed to "grey hat"? --Rachael
I would also like to agree with Rachael in pointing out that, in the vast majority of cases, you have Thomas (16) and Evelyn (16) having sex, rather than the Authority Figure (40-50: probably mid-40's in our game) having sex with any of the kids (The thought would make Dr. S go into her happy place, I know that much).  Now, mind you, there are exceptions - including one in the one-shot that came with the first edition: Anna Lin (veteran, 17) by Jim Preston (Authority Figure, mid-40's) - which specifically wigged out both characters IC, and made them question whether or not they were good people at all...  --ElliottBelser.
Ah, but the system gives large mechanical bonuses to your 17-year-old lone-hero shacking up with your 13-year-old innocent-sweetheart, so long as he doesn't betray her trust by doing it. --Requiem
I don't see how the system's relevant. It's a game about the players creating their own imaginary underage porn. Whether the system rewards it or not is neither here nor there. -- no-reverse
Well, the author's intentions matter, no?  And one way we can judge the author's intentions is by looking at what he chose to have the system reward. --SGB
Well, maybe, but I don't think that there'd be any difference relevant to this discussion between this game, and another game about underage sex being the key to defeating the aliens where the underage sex wasn't part of the system, the players were just encouraged to roleplay it. Do you think there's a relevant difference between those two cases? As an analogy, I don't think there's a moral difference between a game where players are merely encouraged to roleplay brutal murders and describe their atrocities in detail, and one where experience points are given for detail of gore description. Both are torture porn games, Hostel in roleplaying form: the exact details of the systems don't, I think, matter.
No, I don't think there's a relevant difference between those two cases, although it's more obvious what's going on in the second case.  The relevant different is between those two cases and one in which you weren't encouraged at all; it was just an unintended consequence of the system and/or the setting.  But from what Requiem is saying, the author specifically meant for it to happen, and we can tell because decided to reward it in the system.  If he hadn't, we'd have to look deeper at the setting to work out his intentions (and I've no desire to do that, so thanks, Requiem) -- SGB
That said, Requiem hasn't said that the author doesn't give those large mechanical bonuses to all sex and just didn't think that players would want to have 13-year-old characters; so perhaps it is just the players.  -- SGB
Ah, I thought it was fairly obvious in the description first put on the Wiki page, before I saw the rules (and I still haven't seen the rules). But it sounds like we agree that what's important is that players are encouraged to do this, and that there are several ways they might be so encouraged, like through the rules, or through the background, or whatever. Is that fair to say?
Ah, I thought it was fairly obvious in the description first put on the Wiki page, before I saw the rules (and I still haven't seen the rules). But it sounds like we agree that what's important is that players are encouraged to do this, and that there are several ways they might be so encouraged, like through the rules, or through the background, or whatever. Is that fair to say?
Seeing as I just EditConflict''ed with the above three posts, with a post that says the same thing, basically yes. --Requiem

Right, I'm going to attempt a response to SGB about the intentions of the rules, as there is an important additional factor to consider.  Without getting too deeply into mechanics, after an interlude (interaction between 2 characters), a player (or the GM) can say the trust of one of their characters was broken by the actions within the scene.  The important thing to note is that there is a significant mechanical discouragement from doing this, but you are supposed to do it anyway.  So why would anyone ever do that?  Simply because it makes narrative sense.  It is clear from the full rules, that if you are playing to 'win', you're playing it 'not as intended'.
Are you playing it as intended if you roleplay the underage sex?
Actually, there is a huge mechanical incentive for Trust Breaks: whichever character was involved in one gets to have a free follow-up Interlude with any other character of that character's controllers' choice.  Just FYI.  --ElliottBelser

I think that there's a big difference, though, between a game in which sex happens offstage and onstage. If the characters roleplay interactions that lead to the teenagers having sex with each other, but don't actually roleplay the sex, does that still count as porn? --AC
I think there's a difference; I would have to be persuaded that it is 'big'. The Amber Spyglass has a teen-sex scene in it, however much it's not 'on-stage'; there is a difference between that and Japanese schoolgirl porn. however, I gathered (maybe I'm wrong) that this game encourages actually roleplaying the actual sex, rather than going into soft-focus and fading to the aftermath.
I think that's left up to the players? --Requiem
Okay, but having set up the game this way (and I don't mean the system, I mean the background) I don't think the author gets to act surprised that people are roleplaying the actual scenes.
Not in my opinion. It still creeps me the hell out. --Requiem


Remind me to put a Lines and Veils discussion into the theory section.  I'm fading to black the moment that Amanda / Lloyd (or whoever) decide on thier activities for the night, without getting into the details.

"Winning the game" as far as I can tell consists of a play-through where you resolve that the goals of the Resistance are obtainable - acheiving your Hopes in game terms (Yes!  We can defeat the aliens: we destroyed thier only jumpgate into earth space.  Yes!  We have discovered the cure for the Bliss, and you have reunited with your parents): losing would be your Hopes remaining ambigious or being dashed.  Except that "losing" is not a bad thing according to BenLehman?.  Hell, Bliss Out or messy Traumatic Deaths are the only way that these sorts of questions can mechanically reach resolution: each time a Pilot dies, either resolve or leave ambigious a hope:  each time a pilot Blisses, resolve a hope.

As for the intent of BenLehman?, he said of this game: "Someone commented on my inability to harm children and teenagers in my roleplay, or indeed in any of my narratives.  This was my attempt at exploring that."  (He also did say "No, you misunderstand, it's not a wargame, it's a sex game," so I'm beginning to see Chiark's point about it being a mite creepy: but again, not titilattion but thought is the intent.)

And I'd like to point out that Intimacy Building is NOT a given if characters have sex, in the slightest.  Trust Building, Stress Relief and Trauma Relief are all possibilites.  It's not so much about the sex, as the consequences of it.

"Okay, example of sex =! Intimacy 5:  You have wordless, rough sex with a total stranger just to get your latest trauma out of your system.  Trauma Relief.  Relationship stats:  Intimacy 1, Trust 2." - BenLehman?

Honestly, much of the early Forge games are based on breaking taboos.  Sometimes badly.  As far as I can recall, Dogs in the Vineyard was based on issues of faith, and a lot more of that game makes more sense when you realize the author is an ex-Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) - including the overemphasis on polyamory and polygamy.  Under The Bed is a game about children trying to kill the Monster Under The Bed before getting ripped to shreds by same.  There's an upcoming supplement for Spirit of the Century (20's-30's pulp: Indiana Jones, the Rocketeer, E. E. Doc Smith, The Maltese Falcon, tho that's a tad more noir) that the author described as "Two-fisted heroes delivering meaty punches to sexism, racism, and homophobia" that resulted in cheers from the fanbase and a large stream of converts to the system.
Yeah, it does rather seem that there's a large contingent of kids shouting 'poo!' as loud as they can, and then giggling, in the VP roleplaying industry, besides the arty-farty types (and sometimes they're the same people -- the roleplaying world has its Tracey Emins).

One of the more interesting taboo-breaking games inspired by RE's theory has to be Thousand Kings... because the taboo broken is one against open admiration: your character is you, as statted up by the nature of the compliments you receive from the other players.  I need to check this one out. --ElliottBelser
Hmm. That just hit one of my boundaries unexpectedly. I *never* play 'me' in an RPG. I broke that rule once in a Nobilis game and had to make the character into Not Me using his superpowers in the first five minutes so I could feel at all comfortable playing him. Anyone else have this boundary? --Requiem
Only in as much as I'd be afraid of making myself into a MarySue, or go too far the other way.  It would be fairly interesting to try playing as myself, though.  --ElliottBelser.
The late, great EricWujcik? ran a game for n-r, myself and a few others where you played yourself (at least to begin with).  It was good fun.  I don't really have a point to make, I just wanted to show off with a bit of namedropping.  --SGB
I didn't play myself in NotInMyBackYard?, (which is the Nobilis game R is talking about, I think) (well, except for the statement "There's nobody in Cambridge I hate, and I wouldn't make anyone I actually loved into an Anchor") when I had an excuse to. It doesn't mean I wouldn't, though, just that I've never done it. I lack a certain amount of plausibility as a hero. --SF

"There's nobody in Cambridge I hate, and I wouldn't make anyone I actually loved into an Anchor."

Who would want thier lover to suffer as an Anchor (I think this is part of the point of the game...)?  There's a reason the game specifies "schoolboy crushes you've lost contact with."  Also, to be fair, Alice Robinson is nothing like Alice ???, nor Thomas Adams like Thomas ???.  In fact, my reaction to Alice Robinson was "...way to destroy childhoods, Chessy," which Soy vigorously agreed with. --ElliottBelser

Refactored from the BreakingTheIce page:

Part of the point of BTI's creation was Emily Care Boss reportedly having this discussion repeatedly:

Emily: "Is your character male or female?"
Random Q. Gamer: "...male, of course.  Playing a woman would be too weird!"
Emily: "Of course?  You play elves all the time, I didn't think it was much of a stretch considering that."
Random Q. Gamer: "It's easier to get into the head of an elf."
Emily: HeadDesks
Well, obviously. Of course it's easier to get into the head of a fictional being. Who's going to say 'no, elves don't really think that way; you don't understand what it's like to be an elf at all'? It'd be easier to play an elf than someone of another ethnic background too. This is what the kids today are calling 'a no-brainer'.
I hadn't thought of it that way: good point.  (I was coming at it from the perspective that someone of a vastly alien species and culture cannot possibly be harder to roleplay than a female of the same culture and species as yourself, but YMMV.) --ElliottBelser
A vastly alien species and culture that you are making up. You really don't think that's easier than empathising with another real human being? Here's a hint: Nothing you (or I, or even Vladimir Nabokov) could ever make up will ever be as complex as another real person.
It's true enough that "Reality is stranger than fiction: Fiction has to make sense." --ElliottBelser.
That's not what that meant.

I beleive that Emily was more concerned with people not making the effort, which what seemed at the time to be a flimsy excuse (As ChiarkPerson demonstrated, it's not.)  ScottMcCloud?, a fairly prominent stateside comic book author and reveiwer, had a lot to say on this subject in his UnderstandingComics?:  "There is a real risk in offending and stereotyping the audience portrayed: but to say that white males cannot effectively write about black women, say, is a dubious assertion, and it's inevitable corrolary is downright toxic." - ElliottBelser
Not making the effort, or knowing their limitations?
Her issue was absolutely with gamers she knew not even TRYING to play women, other races, or otherwise getting out of their skin in that way; her issue was absolutely not with any ham-handed or offensive portrayals of same. --ElliottBelser
But not trying because they couldn't be bothered, or not trying because they were aware that they weren't capable of it?
(From a PodCast); she was annoyed at players 'excuses' as she saw it, thought that the reasons were invalid and designed her game to encourage trying it.  What the reasons really are isn't terribly germane.  --Vitenka
It's fairly germane to the question of whether her complaint was reasonable, though!
Not really.  She saw some behaviour and it inspired her to create a game that is in deliberate tension with that behaviour.  Whether that behaviour exists for a good reason or not doesn't change that it does exist.  Certainly she saw it as players being unwilling to test boundaries and explore.  --Vitenka
She saw some behavour and claimed that it was bad, or stupid, and so made a game to force people to play the way she thoguht they should play. Whether the behaviour was justified is quite important in deciding whether her game is an important tool for self-realisation and exploring oneself through roleplayng, or a cute frivolity. Guess which I think.

Don't want to reopen the argument, just want to link to [this] -- SGB

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