Tag Archives: courtesans

[Update] Time to Get back into the game!

Too Damn High!
I know, I know damnit!

I’ve been really tardy in getting on with things lately. Though the networking amongst the local gaming community has been useful I’ve been so knackered recently that I haven’t really had the time to get on with things.

However I intend to prioritise the following…

CID: This really needs finishing but I’m kind of stuck on the boring bit (Combat.) It should prove to be a winner and once done it will get me back in the game with a core game that’s NOTHING like anything I’ve done before.

Novel: Again stuck though strangely not on a boring bit. I’ll be sure to give Hattie the utterly insane story she deserves as soon as I can though.

Supplements: I may work on the Courtesans “Monster Manuals” (Eligible Gentlemen and Scandalous Ladies) as having a book chock full of pre-made admirers has obvious advantages.

Card Support: DriveThru Cards has been up for over a year and I still haven’t got round to doing something for it. Currently I’m thinking a “monopoly money” type thing for Courtesans or Doxy with a one use special ability on the filp-side much how the 2GMs 1Mic Crew use cards.

Miniatures: They exist !!!! Seriously though please consider getting one even if only a one off purchase. What I really should do is a new set of painted ones using my new and improved skills.

So once again sorry for my screwed up headspace and all it has done but I hope to be back on form soon.

[Courtesans] First Time for Everything

Court Cov FINAL

I’ve been reading the 18th Century Classic Fanny Hill again recently and it occurred to me that there is a way I could improve the Courtesans rules set slightly…

No its not necessarily to do with sex scenes you delightful perves you…

Instead it is about in-experience. The number of actions the Courtesans system could incorporate is almost limitless and it is somewhat easy to see a situation arising where a Player Character is trying out something for the first time. She’s no mere slip of a girl at 18 but she may not have ever, for example, ridden a horse, or shot a bow or danced around in a giant cream pie

Okay scrap that last one that was weird… but the point is the charmingly awkward first time is both a hindrance and potentially an additional delight for an admirer. As such I present the following optional rule.

First Time for Everything
If she wishes to attempt a Pleasing Action that involves an activity she has never tried before a Courtesan is at a -1 penalty to her Dice Roll. However if she overcomes this penalty and succeeds her Margin of success counts as 1 better than it actually is.

Example: Hazel the Upstart has never ridden a horse before, being a City Girl with everywhere being in walking distance so she’s a little nervous when her Admirer Lord Prescott suggests a ride round his estate. Her initial Prowess roll is at a -1 Penalty however as she still manages to pass the roll by 2 she counts as having Succeeded by 3 taking an additional point of wealth from her lover’s giggling at her tangling herself up in the reins

Click the picture to get yourself a copy of Courtesans: Sex and Society in glorious paperpack goodness!

[Opinion Piece] Princesses vs Courtesans

This is an old article from the Courtesans Blog I think has added relevance in the current climate of antipathy toward the horrific injustice of inherited privilege. This is Dedicated to the Republic Campaign for a fairer United Kingdom

Princess

I’ve seen a lot of posts on here recently about Princesses being a good archetype for young women. I respect these posters enough to keep them on my friends list but I feel I must make the effort to provide the counter argument.

Or more accurately completely and utterly destroy this total fairy tale fallacy that far from being positive, I consider toxic to modern society and the cause of women’s equality.

Now in my responses to these posts I put forward that a Courtesan is a better role model than a Princess. “OMFG” you cry “how can you rate a whore higher than a princess?”

Simple, Courtesans are independent, intelligent, socially savvy and brutally honest. Contrast that with an airheaded, naive Princess who claims to be in love with some random stranger just so that she has access to his power and fortune once they are married. Happily ever after? Yeah right!

I think its best we illustrate with a couple of examples. Two women roughly a century apart: Both named Catherine both involved with a future King (well assuming we don’t dump the Royals any time soon) one a Courtesan the other… well Duchess but a de facto Princess really.

So let us have a look shall we?

Kate Middleton
We’ll start with the modern Princess.

Km

Oh dear what an unfortunate picture. Surely there is something that better reflects her true nature? From the wedding perhaps?

Edit Fail

Perfect!

Anyway she is supposedly the “legitimate” Royal squeeze and after that parade of pomposity called her wedding she is idolised across the world by poor deluded little idiots.

This is complete bullshit.

Okay let’s start by debunking her supposed virtues…

She is hailed as “common Kate” the daughter of a pair of “small business people.”

I’m sorry but multi million pound turnover is not a small business and millionaire heiresses are not common. Hell I reckon all the negative press about her being “common” was engineered by the Prince’s PR people to generate sympathy.

Now let’s look at her other trump card the “romance of the century.”

More bullshit I’m afraid. That infamous Canadian made for TV Movie is probably the least subtle parody in the history of hitting people over the head with metaphorical sarcasm hammers.

Hammers!

Yet some people are stupid enough to buy it hook line and sinker.

Back in the build up to the wedding I posted a parody article on the Postmortem Studios Website that suggested the whole thing was a fix.

It was definitely a parody in terms of the idea that extremists or the security services may have been involved (very Mohammed Al Fayed) but the idea of the Tory PR machine manufacturing the Wedding is hilariously plausible in an obscene Yes Minister/Thick of It way. After all the whole farcical event was the perfect smokescreen for killing AV and beginning the process of killing the Welfare State.

There may well have been some affection in the past but the on off nature of their relationship, the way the wedding was timed and the string of former boyfriends and girlfriends of both makes it doubtful this is really “the love story of the century.” A love story at all is possible but nothing special if it is.

So what good can I say about not so common Kate? Not a lot. Seeing as she is a millionaire it wasn’t too hard for her to get the qualifications she does have and she doesn’t seem to have done anything momentous or contributed to society in any meaningful way.

Looking pretty and having good PR is not a qualification for the kind of idolatry she’s getting at all.

Now on to a Catherine more worthy of our respect…

Catherine “Skittles” Walters
Skittles
Catherine Walters or “Skittles” as she was affectionately known by her friends was also associated with a king in waiting. Prince Bertie would eventually become Edward VII. However she obviously never married him and by some accounts never even slept with him. There’s was a truly respectful relationship between good friends.

Of course this relationship was, in contrast to that between Kate and Wills, reviled, despised then forgotten by all but historians and history buffs like me.

I don’t think this is just because Skittles was a Courtesan connected to most of the British establishment (including 4 time Prime Minister William Gladstone) I think when it comes down to it the real reason she was hated and has been airbrushed from popular memory is because unlike Kate she was A PROPER COMMONER.

The illegitimate daughter of a dock worker and a washerwoman from Liverpool: How can you possibly get more common than that?

Anyway the point is she made her way up from nothing. You may not agree with her methods (even if they are somewhat obfuscated by the prudishness of the age) but this is nonetheless admirable.

What’s more she may have disguised her accent and learnt the ways of the upper classes including horse riding which she is renowned for…

Skittles Riding

However she never converted from the still unpopular Catholicism and was an active supporter of the radical wing of the Liberal Party including the Suffragist movement (non violent women’s suffrage campaigns in stark contrast to the more famous Suffragettes whose methods bordered on terrorism. In fact it was them who invented suicide bombing. Fortunately the exploding handbag failed to go off.)

Skittles was a true commoner, remarkably honest and free of spin: she never stopped pushing for other working class women to have the power and wealth she wielded without having to follow her daring path.

She was also far more powerful and influential at her height than any other woman of her age including the Queen the age is named after: Victoria. Personally I’m going to start calling it the Skittles age from now on: Partly because it is more accurate but mostly because it sounds awesome.

Skittles is an exceptional role model of strength of character, intelligence, political activism and above all being her own woman. “Common Kate” on the other hand started with millions, has gained even more millions and her net contribution to society stands at precisely fuck all!

Courtesan beats Princess hands down.

Answering the Obvious FAQ
I know this question is going to come up so I’ll answer it in the article.

“Would you want your daughter to be a Princess or a Courtesan?”

Well leaving aside the fact that I think having children in this grossly overpopulated age is criminally irresponsible (see previous posts) if I was that stupid and I had that choice Courtesan would win out hands down.

Courtesans were strong, intelligent, honest, cultured and above all were not tied to the success of some idiot of a man.

Even idealised Fairy Tale Princesses are royally fucked up in the head. I mean let’s have a look…

*Cinderella: Child abuse victim who threw herself at a stranger purely as an escape route.

*Snow White: Not quite the innocent she’s made out to be in the original story. The relationship with the Dwarfs is positively creepy and you get the impression that the whole thing was a conspiracy by the little madam to kill her poor step mother who, in getting older was losing the looks that unfortunately still seem to dominate women’s perceived worth today.

*Sleeping Beauty: Until the prudish Victorians got their hands on it, it wasn’t a kiss that woke her up. She married a man who sleep raped her.

*Rapunzel: If your hair is really that long and durable tie it to something and abseil down. Don’t rely on a passing prince.

And that’s just the 4 most iconic.

You do get the odd Royal Bride worthy of respect. Shahrazad of Arabian Nights was clever and brave enough to survive an insane homicidal dictatorship and eventually change it for the better.

My artist Mastersilverwolf commented on a photo of me with my book Courtesans: A Roleplaying Game of Sex And Society and said that it was “like a proud father.” Well he’s right…

Me with Courtesans

This is the closest thing I have to a daughter. She’s a Courtesan and I’m very proud of her.

[Release] Courtesans Classic Edition

Classic Edition Front

Kittiwake Classics presents a special Print Edition of Ian Warner’s Courtesans: A Roleplaying Game of Sex and Society.

Packed with new art, re-edited text and less soap-boxing the Classic Edition of Courtesans will be hitting the wider market with a bang.

Click the picture to go to the purchase page.

You can also download a special pack of character sheets HERE

[History Farce] Fanmail is Awesome

Court Cov FINAL

Any author will tell you fanmail is awesome and it is but to us game authors what is especially awesome when we get fanmail that not only confirms our games are being played but tells how people are house-rulling them.

With the permission of it’s author Chris K I hearby reproduce my latest piece of fanmail for all to see.

Hi Ian,

I recently bought Courtesans ( there was a money-off coupon in Autopsy 4 ) and found it an enjoyable read and a fun game. Thanks for writing it. The subject is one I had already read a bit about while researching another game . I too have Katie Hickmans book, and can recommend Joanne Richardsons’ “The Courtesans” and Lisa Hiltons’ “Athenais – The Real Queen of France”

I ran through a couple of Seasons solo ( roll dice for every choice – please, aid or intrigue? D6. Type of pleasing? weight by good stat and D6 it. ) before playing a game with the group. It quickly became a competitive orgy of backstabbing and outrageous behaviour, and was great fun, if a bit near the edge at times.

The following ideas came up, and I have attempted to codify them. What do you think of them? ( I tend to overwrite things, but perhaps you could work out how to use the ideas ). The group sex idea is because we felt that the rule for pleasing two admirers didn’t quite capture the naughtiness and scandal of the thing ( and is partly inspired by Cora Pearl serving herself up as dessert for six gentlemen to outdo a rival who had bathed in milk and been dried lasciviously by her maids to tease and entertain a group of her admirers ). Hope you don’t think me rude – I’m not trying to say that there was anything wrong in the game, it’s just that we tinker with stuff as a matter of course and want to share our ideas, yes?

Again, thanks for the game

Cheers; Chris

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Kinky

This counts as a deception feature in an admirer.

The Admirers desires are irregular in a Scandal producing way. They will need this Scandalous Pleasing Action performed once per season at least to remain a Visiting Admirer. The nature of this kink is such that it is worth a point of Scandal if revealed. Any Courtesan successfully indulging this kink gets +1 to their margin of success for resource earning. Sex acts other than those pertinent to the Kink are made at -1.

The nature of the kink will vary, but ranges from the Capital Crime of anal sex to the embarrasing vice of transvestism.

{ Perhaps the Kink should be indulged at least twice per Season if they are Keeping the Courtesan? }.

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Limited Funds

This counts as a deception feature in an Admirer.

The Admirer has a cap on the amount of Wealth that can be extracted from them in any one season. This may be because they are on an allowance, are dependent on earning a living, or have fixed income of another sort. For whatever reason, once the cap is reached then only non-Wealth Resources can be earned from them until next Season.

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Actions:

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Blackmail

Description: A Courtesan may, through desperation or meanness of spirit, blackmail one of her Visiting Admirers. She threatens to reveal the salacious details of their encounters if she is not bought off. The attempt at blackmail will cause the Admirer to immediately Scorn the Courtesan whether or not it succeeds.

Attackers Statistic: Spite of course.

Defenders Statistic: Pliability plus Landladies dice.

Resource Options: Usually Wealth, although other favours can be extorted. A successful Blackmail attempt gives resources equal to the margin of success plus 1 for every potentially Scandalous Action that has been shared between the Courtesan and her (now ex-) Admirer. A failed or revealed attempt costs a point each of Reputation and Legend, plus a loss to those resources equal to the margin of failure ( divided between the two ). A failed attempt imposes a -1 on the number of Admirers generated by any futrue procurement rolls. People don’t like that sort of thing.

Scandal Infliction: If the attempt at blackmail fails the margin of failure is suffered as Scandal. If another Courtesan discovers the blackmail it may be used to inflict a point of Scandal. Repeated instances of blackmail earn an extra point over and above the points for the action itself. Each instance of blackmail that the Demi-Monde is aware of reduces the number of Admirers generated by a Procurement by 1.

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Orgy / Group Sex

Description: The Courtesan entertains several Admirers at once.

This needs to be set up in advance by inviting the participants with individual Pleasing Actions ( and stating at the time that the invitation to the prospective event is being extended ). These Actions are at -1 to the Courtesans dice, due to the shocking nature of the proposal ( this modifier is reversed to +1 by a Group Sex Kink in the admirer ). The date for the meeting must be set in advance and must be in the same Season. If an Admirer Spurns the Courtesan before that Turn they will not attend, and if fewer than three attend the Action fails and must be resolved as a Sex Act with a -1 modifier ( due to disappointment ).

To carry off this Action the Courtesan must make a successful Sex Act Pleasing Action on each Admirer present, taking resources for success as usual from each. She will, of course, be Spurned by any Admirer she fails to please. ( If Kinks are in use then any Admirer whose dice shows 1, and does not already have it, gains the Group Sex Kink )

This Action may be performed by more than one Courtesan at once. Any additional Courtesans must be invited as per Admirers, and do not count as participants for Scandal. Each Courtesan may invite her Admirers to the Orgy. There must be at least one more Admirers than Courtesans present.

If this Action is successful any Courtesan taking part in it gains a point for each non-Courtesan participant over one, to be taken in Legend and/or Reputation.

[i.e. Annabelle invites Bernice to help host an orgy, and they both invite 2 admirers. They each Please the Admirers. In addition to the resources from the Pleasing Actions the girls gain 3 points in Legend/Reputation each. If Clarabel spys on them and tells the Town the girls will take 4 points Scandal each for the event plus the points for any scandalous acts that occurred during their orgy]

{ Perhaps you will want to run this like a Gambling intrigue and compare one roll from the Courtesan against one roll by the Landlady modified by each Admirers Pliability.}

Statistic: Prowess.

Legend Justification: Rumours of a debauched party can only enhance your legend. ( although sordid details are another matter…)

Reputation Justification: The Town will be agog at the audacity of such of a thing! There is likely no other topic of conversation.

Wealth Justification: If any sex act has a price, this one likely has..

Influence Justification: Participants will be willing to little favours for you after a night like this, if only to keep you from telling…


Scandal Risk:
Oh..My..God.. So Utterly Scandalous! Even suggesting it is worth a point of Scandal. If it actually occurs it is worth one point per non-Courtesan participant, plus another for any illegal sex act ( i.e. anal sex, woman on woman, S&M….) . This only counts as a breach of a Kept Mistress contract if the Keeper is not a willing participant.

[WB20k] Features and Bugs

Nurse Tracey

Features and Bugs are minor special rules that allow further customisation of Warriors to make them individuals rather than random grunts.

They cover many areas of the rules changing how Warriors move and fight as well opening up new creative tactical options.

For those of you coming over from the Roleplaying game these abilities are not as powerful as Path Features but they are infinitely more customisable and characterful.

Each Feature costs 10 points to purchase and each Bug refunds 10.

Warriors have 3 slots of each.