My new characters, Marr and Mary Alderton, will be keeping their own journal of their experiences and feelings about Deadwood.
The new Deadwood is an awesome experience -- there's a very real feeling about it that made me realize this is not the easiest place for someone to play a child, and brings more light to the problems folks have with child avs in places. It strikes me that if one wants to play a child in Deadwood (and this may translate to any sims in Second Life that are not child focused, but allow children), a typist needs to be sure to be realistic and responsible not only to their character, but to the effect of their character on their fellow typists who are attempting to role-play realistically.
Deadwood 2.0 isn't (necessarily) a hot bed of sex which is the thing that starts most anti-child alt people going. For those not convinced that people like me are 50 year old balding male pedophiles, there are those who worry that having us "creepy" child av's around puts a damper on their style in adult situations which aren't always tied into sex. And as I enter into the new Deadwood, which is excitingly close to that series I watched on television, I can suddenly see how having child avies around, while adding something positive, can also take away from the quality of role-playing.
Our new roleplaying town simply isn't the place for children to be found wandering aimlessly around alone. Nor is it a place where a woman would feel comfortable by herself. Hell, a woman might not even feel comfortable traveling with her husband, brother, father. It's rough and dirty and there's no nice and familiar place for a woman to stay.
An adult female avatar can probably find a way to survive alone, for a little while anyway. Realistically, she would have to find support fast - whether with a man, an employer or a group of people. We have a number of typists who like to play tough gals, intelligent and the ancestors of today's liberated (pardon the term) modern woman. It's a stretch that the sim allows -- we can accept the argument that many of the women who freely went to Deadwood would have been more outgoing, independent, intelligent, educated, free-thinking, etc. than the typical woman of her time.
Children are a different story. Children were not heading to Deadwood independently to seek their fortune. They would have ended up there by chance -- their parents or guardians moved there, or were on their way there, and the child followed. Any child - orphaned or not - will be spotted if alone and questioned by an adult, this being the nature of the characters and the typists who play in Deadwood. Some will want to know and tell the kids to scram -- some will want to know and get them back home - some may want to know and put the child to work scrubbing floors if the child has no protectors. Realistically, no young child would survive long alone, stealing food and finding places to sleep - but anyone who wants to play their child avie that way needs to remember to look lean and hungry, have roughed up clothes and to stay away from most adults who are going to question them.
Speaking as a sometime child avatar, I believe child avies need to take extra care of and have much consideration for their affect on those who would be their adult back up. They need to not interrupt adult story lines where an unescorted or unknown child would not be - they need to not disrupt role play by trying to be the center of attention. The way this sim is at this moment in time means a child avie cannot just jump in where adults are and start role-playing without realizing they are part of an ensemble that may add a burden to fellow role-players. I say this even though I think most of my friends will say "Oh, no, no problem," because my friends are really nice people who don't like hurting other people's feelings. A child avie needs to realize this -- your friends and some others (childavatar-phobes aside) may say it's OK when it might not be.
I'm not one who wants to play a child as part of a mommy-daddy family unit -- not my thing -- I prefer to play the independent loner child who is orphaned and whose care-takers are vaguely interested in them, so I can roam about like I want. In Deadwood 1.0, as a child avatar I could wander and come and go as I wanted - it was easy to find excuses to be hanging around most anywhere where adults were. My excuses of doing errands, or having a grandmother - aunt - parent somewhere on the sim worked because it had gotten more civilized and safe.
That isn't gonna fly in Deadwood 2.0, not for any child under 12, and probably not for any female child under 16.
At this point in the life of this developing little town, it isn't likely there would be abandoned or orphaned children yet. As Wyatt Alderton asked (in what "sounded" like an anguished IM, which reflected the thoughts of the typist) as he led his wife and children through town, "What kind of a man would bring his family into this?" Wyatt, of course, is the exception to most rules -- he's a visionary alcoholic entrepreneur who was probably convinced this was a good idea when it occurred to him. And though this was a question the typist was asking those playing his wife and children.. I think it might have been a thought that passed through the mind of the character when reality sank in.
There is some temptation on my part to have the twins sent back home to a safer world while the parents (Wyatt and Grace Alderton) go about their business. That is something realistic that could happen. I'm aware that their having twin teen-agers to worry about can put a damper on their roleplaying. Marr and Mary, age 13, clearly cannot wander around Deadwood unattended. The Aldertons wouldn't allow it - the girls (well, Mary anyway) wouldn't want to -- there's little for them to do yet that is appropriate for youngsters and most likely in the early days of Deadwood, there were few if any families.
But part of me wants to stick around and see how we can work this out so that the adult Aldertons don't have an albatross around their necks when their children are in Deadwood, spending their role-playing time worrying about and supervising the activities of their daughters.
For anyone considering playing a child in the new Deadwood, I'd have to urge some very serious thought about who their character is and how they are going to play a child without being a pain or burden to others - both those who are part of their storyline, and those who they may come across.
Clear and open communication, some thought and thoughtfulness among each other (child avies to adult avies and vice versa) can make sure everybody is doing what we all want to do in Deadwood - be creative and have fun.