Courtesan Guide

Courtesans are highly respected in Terre d'Ange. It shows in the way noble families offer some of their children to become part of the Night Court. They dedicate themselves to Naamah, and it is a sacred service, as it makes them follow Naamah's example, worshiping Her through their assignations with patrons. Patrons were originally limited to royalty and high nobility on Mont Nuit in Elua, but with recent tendencies to have more salons throughout Terre D'Ange, they cater to lower nobility as well, if they have the coin. As respected as courtesans are in Marsilikos, players of courtesan characters must be aware that outside of Terre d'Ange they are most often viewed as little more than prostitutes, selling their bodies for money. The comparatively open d'Angeline lifestyle runs contrary to the more traditional views of most other countries, which often explains a rather sceptical if not demeaning attitude, non-D'Angelines may have towards Naamah's Servants.

Picking Your Canon

Choose one of the existing salons for your courtesan character, or… come up with other suggestions, as for example an existing House of Mont Nuit in the City of Elua, or a noble who has bought the marque of your character. Whatever your choice, you need to determine the direction of Naamah's Service the character will pursue.

An overview of Salons in Marsilikos and basic outlines of their House Traits can be found here.

See here for a more detailed view of the original Thirteen Houses of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers in the City of Elua.

Determining Rank

At which point on the path of becoming a fully marqued courtesan is your character? Whatever you choose, there is the following information to keep in mind:

  • Novice: Your character starts at a point some time before their debut is to happen. Novices need to deal with harsh IC restrictions, as they won't be often allowed to leave the salon, and if they do, only in the company of a (possibly NPC) chaperone and a guard. They are not allowed to engage in any amorous activity whatsoever. They can most often be found attending to visitors to the salon, merely by taking their cloaks, or by providing drinks and conversation. Their aim is to catch attention of possibly interested parties in winning their debut. The debut often takes place on the sixteenth birthday of a novice, sometimes later.
  • Adept: Your character has already had their debut. They are in the process of earning their marque. You can determine the point of how far they already are. Even Adepts are still bound to restrictions: They are not to leave the salon on their own. Marsilikos is a port town, and full of perils. An NPC guard will usually suffice. Adepts are not allowed to show their unfinished marque in public. They must not engage in amorous activity outside of assignations, with one exception: On Longest Night, they are allowed to follow Elua's Precept without the need for a contract. Adepts will usually be 16-20 years old.
  • Courtesan: With the marque completed and acknowledged by the salon's mentor or a head courtesan, the new courtesan has the option of leaving the salon, or to remain, thus helping tutor novices in the ways of the salon. By staying, the courtesan continues to serve Naamah according to the rules and canon of the salon. Depending on when they debuted and how long they took to complete their marque, courtesan characters will be 18 years and older; in rare cases 17, whereas 16 is nigh impossible.
  • Head Courtesan/Dowayne: To lead a salon, experience is required. Courtesans of such position will be at least 25 years old with 5-7 years experience after completing their marque. They will often have been mentored by the former Head Courtesan, with occasional responsibility of the salon in the Head Courtesan's absence.

Skills and Attributes

Generally, members of the Night Court will have a Presence of no lower than 3, while a 4 will be more common. Just like concepts of nobility, courtesan concepts are expected to have Politics at least at 3, as this covers general knowledge of courtly etiquette and also a general understanding of noble Houses and titles.

Skills depend on the salon. The Lis d'Or puts emphasis on Composure, Arts, Performance, Politics, and general cultivated air in their interactions. They are trained to be perfect companions on courtly occasions and are privileged in this regard, that they are often indeed attending parties at the Palace.

The Coquelicot salon will have high skills in Empathy, Medicine and Persuasion to be used before using the gift of Oneiromancy, in the case of Gentian canon assignations.

The Glycine salon has its focus on Seduction and Persuasion, but also Gambling and Economics.

The Rose Sauvage meanwhile will have a variation of skill sets, Perception and maybe Empathy being the only common skills to the three traits. Mandrake will have a high Intimidation skill, whereas Valerian and Alyssum usually have their own more twisted way of Persuasion. In Alyssum in particular, a high Subterfuge skill is not unheard of, due to the need to re-live the loss of innocence with each assignation.

Please keep in mind that some of these skills may be boosted further by advancement, see House Traits below.

Choosing House Traits

Each salon of courtesans has certain skills that are particularly used on a regular basis. There are points in a life when these skills grow stronger, namely after their debut and after completing their marque. Which means, an adept gets to pick one trait/level from the list below, and a fully marqued courtesan gets to pick two.

Trait/Canon Benefit per level Salon
Alyssum Subterfuge +2 Rose Sauvage
Balm Medicine +1 Coquelicot
Bryony Gambling +2 Glycine
Camellia Presence +1* Lis d'Or
Cereus Politics +1 Lis d'Or
Dahlia Composure +1 Lis d'Or
Eglantine one performance specialty/art form +2 Lis d'Or
Gentian Persuasion +2 (Opening the Mind to Dreams) Coquelicot
Heliotrope Empathy +2 Coquelicot
Jasmine Seduction +2 Glycine
Mandrake Intimidation +2 Rose Sauvage
Orchis Performance +2 (Mood Lightening) Glycine
Valerian Body +1* (Endurance, stamina) Rose Sauvage

*) Attribute bonus will require trait level 2 to take effect.

The Question of Origin

Members of the Night Court are usually recruited from different origins, such as talented beautiful commoner children, children of courtesans, but also children of nobility. Noble families would usually offer their children rather to Mont Nuit in the City of Elua than to the local Court de Nuit. Even so, a concept of a noble courtesan in Marsilikos is indeed possible. Just keep in mind that, within the salon, their standing will be determined through their rank in training, and noble and commoner courtesans will be considered equal within the salon.

On Assignations

The nature and duration of assignations varies. Most would take place within the salon, especially when adepts are contracted. But even adepts can be contracted for services performed elsewhere, at the private quarters of a patron, for example, or as escort at a social function. Duration can range from a few hours to days, or even longer term contracts. As for longterm contracts, there are two kinds, exclusive and non-exclusive. While the former is logical in how it can come about, born out of a strong and demanding admiration of a patron, the latter is often used for reasons of convenience. If a patron knows he'll wish to see a certain courtesan on a more regular basis, the conditions can be laid down once in a contract. This also facilitates assignations at short notice.

There are few things to keep in mind though:

  • An assignation needs a contract to be agreed upon, signed by both the patron and the Servant of Naamah. If a sharper canon comes into play here, the word of Signale must be written down in this contract as well.
  • Fully marqued courtesans do their own contracts. Adepts need a Second or the Dowayne to handle the paperwork for them.
  • Patrons should be of noble birth or sufficiently wealthy and influential.
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