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Profession: Courtesan


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While reading through the Serenity RPG that I got as a part of DTRPG's Haiti Aid bundle,

I realized that a profession like the Companion would fit very well into my Varun setting,

too.

A professional escort, somewhere between prostitute and geisha, seems appropriate

for a remote colony world that has to deal with human desires, but wants to avoid a

red light area with its crime.

Since my setting's culture is based upon the culture of the real world India, the title of

the courtesans could be taken from the Indian mythology, for example Apsara for the

female ones and Gandharva for the male ones.

The main professional skill could be Courtesan, a Communication skill with a Base Chan-

ce of 20 %. Additional common skills could be Etiquette, Insight, Perform (Dance), Per-

form (Music), Science (Psychology) and perhaps a few Knowledge skills.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Why wouldn't those devout Hindu (or Muslim, or Sikh) colonists simply bring their wives (or husbands), who naturally are also mission specialists? Varun is a dangerous, nasty place despite the balmy climate and habitats are just being set up. No food, living space or patience for non-essential personnel.

Plus, based on your organizations thread, the Varun colonists will have plenty of visitors to keep them entertained. >:->

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Why wouldn't those devout Hindu (or Muslim, or Sikh) colonists simply bring their wives (or husbands), who naturally are also mission specialists?

From what I see of young, well trained professionals of any nationality, it seems that

no more than half of them are married at age 30, so I think this kind of personnel

could be considered essential, too. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Why must a red light district be associated with crime? The crime generally comes about when the activities are illegal. As a modern (and thus perhaps not useful) example, the city I live in (Canberra) has had prostitution legal for a long time, unlike most of the rest of Australia. It is restricted to brothels operating in the red light areas, which are industrial, not residential suburbs so just about no-one lives near the brothels. Prostitution anywhere else in the city is illegal. The (generally) girls are registered by the government, are employees with typical employee benefits or contractors and health checks are compulsory.

General crime in those areas is less than that of the city centre and nightclub areas, and while it would be naive to assume that organised crime is not involved with some of the brothels, the same would apply to the clubs in other parts of the city.

btw, local lore claims that the bumper season for those businesses is whenever parliament is sitting, and their busiest time ever was when Canberra hosted the World Council of Churches in 1992.

Regarding skills, perhaps massage?

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The (generally) girls are registered by the government, are employees with typical employee benefits or contractors and health checks are compulsory.

This is what I have in mind for my setting, with the difference that prostitution there is also a profession that usually

requires at least a basic training in some relevant non-sexual skills. Once prostitution is legal and a "honourable" pro-

fession, as it has been in many cultures throughout history, there is no more connection with crime than in any of

the other professions.

However, at least in my language there also would be no more "red light districts", this term is strongly associated

with crime in German.

Regarding skills, perhaps massage?

Thank you, a very good idea. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Historically, such a profession has been accepted in mainly-male fronteir/pioneer societies. So, a mining town in the Wild West or in the frozen wilds of Alaska would welcome a profession. It's only when the number of women in the society increases that the profession is downgraded and ultimately degraded.

In a futuristic SciFi setting, the asteroid mines would be a perfect place for such a profession. Largely employing men for a long period of time with no easy way to travel back to their wives/girlfriends or to find other female companionship, it would be in the mining company's best interests to employ a number of comfort-girls, courtesans or companions who would be well-paid and have good medical care.

Crime normally comes in to play when the profession is outlawed or the act is criminalised. Properly licensed companions would not attract a criminal element. However, given that there are only a cdrtain number of them and that they may charge a high price for their services or access to their services might be rationed, the criminal element might seek to introduce people who are not licensed, charge less and do not have the correct medical checks.

A courtesan who performs sexual acts would have the Perform (Lovemaking) or similar skill. One who merely acts as a pleasant companion to lonely men would have different skills. Perform (Massage) and Perform (Social Intercourse) might be useful.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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The BoEF's rules center around the skill Perform (sex), it has lots a material that could be converted to a non-D20 game with relative ease. A good Courtesan should speak several languages and have a knowledge of music, art, literature, politics, and religion. A Courtesan is not a hooker, she is a professional mistress, with all that implies, being able to entertain her client and his friends in public as well as in private...

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Historically, such a profession has been accepted in mainly-male fronteir/pioneer societies. So, a mining town in the Wild West or in the frozen wilds of Alaska would welcome a profession. It's only when the number of women in the society increases that the profession is downgraded and ultimately degraded.

That is true in Western societies. Part of the stigma attached being on religious grounds. In the East the situation was/is different. Rather than the "Sex is bad/evil, you should abstain" viewpoint you have the "sex is enjoyable and inevitable".

Crime accompanies prostitution partly due to the profession being illegal, but also because of the circumstances surrounding it. It tends to be a profession for the poor, and vulnerable, and that is what makes it a prime target for organized and semi-organized crime. Especially when some families sell daughters into a form of slavery.

In societies that has courtesans, they were quite a bit above the common prostitute.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Thank you very much for your ideas. :)

The BoEF goes a bit too far in a "sexual direction" for my players' taste, I think.

I intend to handle the Courtesan characters more like another character type

with high social skills, many contacts and some indirect influence, but without an

agenda like the Politician's political aims or the Priest's religious obligations.

My setting is rather science and technology heavy, with lots of Engineers and

Scientists and other "technological" professions and comparatively few profes-

sions that are not focussed on such skills, so I think a plausible and colourful

social profession could enrich it a bit.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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