Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

For the Rules, Character Workshop, and other general discussion of the game.

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Graybeard » May 10th, 2012, 4:16 pm

Alberich wrote:
Graybeard wrote:Well, that fate might await misbehaving women (and not just slaves, but also wives, as in that rescue Therese was introduced doing). However, my vision of the sex slaves is for something quite different: it would be a positive role for the women, in its own weird, Gorielian way.


It still feels strange to have a clan full of old-fashioned machismo and family pride willingly put its own daughters into any kind of prostitution role, even an elevated one.

Several comments here. First, the hetaera role wasn't exactly a "prostitution" role, nor were the pre-WWII geishas; there was a lot more to it than that, and sex wasn't necessarily even part of the job description, although to be sure, it usually was. Second, maybe it feels strange to us, but it wouldn't necessarily feel strange to them. Switching universes and roles to the world of the late Frank Herbert, think of the way the women of the Bene Gesserit would happily harvest sperm from wherever they needed to get them in order to fulfill the Bene Gesserit goal of breeding a Kwisatz Haderach, even if they were part of otherwise normal, loving marriages (consider Margot, Lady Fenring). To them it wasn't strange; it was just doing their job.

Third, and maybe most important as it bears on some other aspects of Goriel we need to think about, we still don't have a clear sense of how big and all-encompassing a "clan" is. If it approaches being the size of a "tribe" in modern clan-oriented cultures, then its membership would be not merely the big kahuna, his spouse (spice), and those descended from him; it would also include the big boss' kid brothers who weren't powerful enough to establish their own clan, and their male offspring and families, and possibly also the big boss' male cousins and their families, maybe all the way out to second or even third cousins. Under these circumstances it would hardly be atypical for some lower-status clan guy who was cursed (as the Gorielians would view it) with having fathered a dozen daughters to figure out that the best future prospects for the younger daughters would be in this sex-slave role (we really need a name for it). You're right, few direct descendants of the big chief would be likely to do this. But there are plenty of other eligible women in the clan, probably. (Or not, depending on how all-inclusive the clan is; again, we need to examine this.)

Alberich wrote:I can well believe that, humans being what they are, a subset of enslaved "kept women" originally from outside the clan could rise in status to something like what you describe, by pleasing the right men. Or do you think she should start her career in the "elevated" status, based on some attribute she had when she entered that position?

The use of more distant nieces offers a natural way of deciding how "elevated" the status would be. "Outsiders" coming in by trade or capture would get incorporated at a level appropriate for the ... "attributes" :evil: they bring in.

Alberich wrote:Having the higher status be a promotion (granted by the chief or his designees - or, if you prefer, by an official of the PM's who is naturally influenced by the chieftains) would create a dramatically interesting tension related to the Sisterhood's work - since some of the women they'd approach for recruitment or rescue then must decide between trying to get out of the whole degrading business, or staying around to try to elevate their status within it.

Right, although the Sisterhood would be careful to only approach women who either want out and/or are in terminal danger -- they wouldn't want to tip their hand for the sake of a woman who might turn them down, or worse, expose them.

Let's come back to the question of child-bearing later, if it arises, but yeah, there are a whole pile of related questions on that count too. Fun building a society, isn't it? :)
----
Image
Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
 
Posts: 6710
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico, Estados Unidos

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Alberich » May 10th, 2012, 4:38 pm

Graybeard wrote:Second, maybe it feels strange to us, but it wouldn't necessarily feel strange to them. Switching universes and roles to the world of the late Frank Herbert, think of the way the women of the Bene Gesserit would happily harvest sperm from wherever they needed to get them in order to fulfill the Bene Gesserit goal of breeding a Kwisatz Haderach, even if they were part of otherwise normal, loving marriages (consider Margot, Lady Fenring). To them it wasn't strange; it was just doing their job.


True. I only read the first book, but I remember the BG's were playing a very deep game - thinking on multi-century timescales as they bred themselves for that purpose, probably longer than anyone in Goriel is thinking, but I take your main point - we can make them that far alien without losing the fun.

Graybeard wrote:If it approaches being the size of a "tribe" in modern clan-oriented cultures, then its membership would be not merely the big kahuna, his spouse (spice), and those descended from him; it would also include the big boss' kid brothers who weren't powerful enough to establish their own clan, and their male offspring and families, and possibly also the big boss' male cousins and their families, maybe all the way out to second or even third cousins. Under these circumstances it would hardly be atypical for some lower-status clan guy who was cursed (as the Gorielians would view it) with having fathered a dozen daughters to figure out that the best future prospects for the younger daughters would be in this sex-slave role (we really need a name for it).


That...does make sense. Kind of like really desperate men (I read about such in postwar Japan) who'd resort to prostituting their wives...if the clan is not too tightly-knit on the "support" side, which it doesn't need to be for anything we've said, then I can see them tolerating that fate for the cousins further out...especially if the clan-born girls were guaranteed a higher status than a common outcast tramp. (That would imply that the whole clan doesn't swoop in to avenge every minor outrage against every member, which might be lucky for our valiant band.)

Yeah, okay. That works for me.

A name for 'em - maybe there's a Russian term we could press into service? (I never studied the language and would have to search opera libretti to find something, but perhaps you know one?) Or we could go with "emeralds" 'cause it's a step up from a jade...
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1840
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Graybeard » May 10th, 2012, 4:45 pm

I think we're converging here, although I'd love to hear from the other people who are playing female characters -- Rose is unlikely to run into the most significant cultural shenanigans, seeing that she's "married" to the "clan chief," but situations for the other women may be ... complicated.
Alberich wrote:A name for 'em - maybe there's a Russian term we could press into service? (I never studied the language and would have to search opera libretti to find something, but perhaps you know one?)

The Russian for "Hetaera" transliterates as "Getera," plural "Geteroi" (I think -- my Russian is utterly rudimentary despite having traveled extensively there). That should work.

EDIT: I missed your very amusing "Emerald" suggestion. Transliteration of the Russian term for that is "izumrúd". Take your pick.
----
Image
Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
 
Posts: 6710
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico, Estados Unidos

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Alberich » May 10th, 2012, 4:48 pm

Agreed and agreed!

EDIT: Oh, I think "Geteroi" definitely rolls easier off the tongue than "izumrud" -- "emerald" (in English) might be a good nickname though.
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1840
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Sareth » May 10th, 2012, 5:45 pm

Okay, I'm tracking. I went a little far afield there but these last few post put me back on the mark, I think.

Graybeard, I am right on track with what you are saying. I think we should go for the slight elevation of sophistication and culture in order to make such a class feasible. As you point out, women in such positions can actually achieve pretty good lives and garner a surprising amount of power in their own right. I also think this feeds into the idea of larger clans that feed into tribes. The larger the society, the more it can sustain an elevated society. They can still be very bound to resolving things through aggression and combat while maintaining a strong society (*cough*Spartans*cough*). I like it!

Alberich, I started getting a bit off topic and fixating a bit much on historical and current precedents. It's an occupational hazard for my profession. I think most of my stuff above fixates a bit too much on issues not likely to come up anyway. I am definitely going to agree with Graybeard on the aspect of selling family women into this role. Think about it like this. First, if you are low on the totem pole, your daughter is not likely to fetch much of a prize. But if you sell her into the Geteroi class, she stands a pretty reasonable chance of becoming well off and living a good life. It's even a prestigious position, so you're doing her a much better favor than if you wound up marrying her off as the fourth wife of your nearly broke third cousin who pissed himself during the last mock battle. If you're amongst the higher ranked and wealthier leaders you might consider it as well, because being a close relative of a very successful such woman reflects well on you. You've generously given her into the service of society, allowed her to have one of the most respected roles a woman can have, and contributed to the arts and cultures that are often fostered by this class. Also, you can probably learn all kinds of interesting things about rivals when she comes over for dinner.

Of course, all this assumes that we are going off the models that Graybeard mentioned. I'm not really familiar with the Greek example Graybeard mentioned, but I'm fairly comfortable discussing Geisha. Geisha were almost never bought on the common slave market. Instead, they were typically sold by their own families at a very early age (as early as five). Most of them came from poor families who not only did not need the extra mouth to feed but felt this would probably be the best chance for the girl to ever become anything more than a beggar. Though these girls were bought slaves with high expectations, and some of the training and preparation could be a bit... brutal... By the time they had become competent to work they could discuss politics with the nobility, arts with the artists, honor with the Samurai, finance with the merchants and hold their own. In fact, performing in these areas was not just possible, it was expected. Geisha were expected to be poets and painters, to be just as honorable as Samurai, be good with money and business, and prepared to be a sounding board for the nobles. Oh, yes, and by the way, have amazing sex.

To my mind, I can see Gorians actually reserving such a role for their own women and keeping "imports" as mere sex workers. Having that degree of training, of education, and influence shouldn't be given outsiders. So you'd still have plenty of just plain sex slaves without any of that training or respect. Some of them would be the daughters of really desperate people who couldn't sell to those highly placed for some reason, some of them would be imports, and some of them would be cast outs (some of whom sold themselves after being cast out, because at least it means some protection and food in the belly). Really successful members of this level won't be nearly so prestigious as a Geteroi, but could probably actually make a decent living off it and may even earn enough to buy her freedom and establish a quality bordello in partnership with her former master or some such. It's not a position of respect, but it's a stable one.

As to female characters, Jamie is... well... Jamie. She's going to find herself scrawny ass deep in shit and scatter that shit in the direction of everyone she comes in contact with. Don't worry about her, worry about Goriel. Lillith, on the other hand, is going to be pretty uncomfortable with things, though I can see her actually curious about Geteroi and becoming friends with some. She'll keep her tongue and temper unless provoked beyond what she can bear, but she's going to be interesting. I look forward to it.
Image
Image
User avatar
Sareth
RPG All-Star
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: August 23rd, 2007, 8:54 pm

Previous

Return to OOC Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron