Granny Weatherwax has broken up with her husband, who she discovered had been cheating on her with various women all through their 40 years of marriage. After killing him, she drowns her sorrows in the bottle. In her drunken stupor, she decides to place a curse on all wizards, in a foolish and misguided attempt to punish them for her agony and teach all cheating husbands a lesson to stay faithful to their wives.

Witches and wizards are commonplace in society, and use their mana to perform magical spells. Anyone can use magic, and most people recieve some form of training in school. Unfortunately, there are no spells for birth control. Conceiving a child comes with consequences for both parties. The female suffers the usual physical affects of pregnancy, but her magic remains unaffected. For the male, however, it is the opposite. Although he suffers no physical effects, his mana supply is drained depending on where the fetus is in development.

At first, the drain is miniscule and barely noticeable. Over the nine month period, his mana supply continues to decrease. This leads to a significant drop in magical ability. Naturally, the more babies in the oven out there attributed to him, the more his mana decreases. After a child is born, his supply slowly increases over the next few months to where it was.

1000 years later, the curse is still in effect. Would putting a consequence on men during pregnancy force them to remain monogamous and prevent infidelity among them?

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    $\begingroup$ Knowing human nature, I can't see them being faithful. Although it really depends on the kind of story you want to tell - you can spin it however you like. At the very least, there would be higher class "escort" services that guarantee no...mana drain. A really pessimistic and sociopathic rendition could have male wizards go completely off the hook and just kill partners, so they themselves suffer no ill effects. Or you could go with everybody living happily ever after. Probably with a slight hiccup here and there. At any rate, this seems like it's story based. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 15 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ This is at the same time story-based (because the curse can have any effect as needed by the story) and opinion-based (because anybody can provide several different answers by assuming different socio-cultural positions). And "monogamous" does not necessarily mean "having only one sexual partner"; it means "having only one spouse": the confusion between the two is a very recent phenomenon -- until the middle of the 20th century it was perfectly normal for men to have one wife and many casual partners, as long as they did not bring them at home. And "prevent fidelity" is a great Freudian slip. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 15 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ Doesn't this mean the secret to defeating your Wizard foes is to send them a succession of fertile females armed with love potions? Or, steal their condoms, put the contents into stasis, and then artificially impregnate a large number of slaves at the same time against his will? $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jan 15 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ If you want a "monogamy curse" - once a male has had sex for the first time, he becomes unable to "stand ready" without being in physical contact with that person until their death. Like your curse, this still doesn't stop them cheating in every other way though. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jan 15 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ If this is the same Granny Weatherwax from the Discworld Series then she would do nothing and move on and only veiw it as an insult. $\endgroup$ – Michael H. Jan 15 at 17:23

I could see it going either way, really. You've stated that there are no spells for birth control, but there are always non-magical ways. Their reliability would largely depend on your setting. Keep in mind though that abortion could as well be used as a method of "birth-control", but again it depends on the morals, tech and culture of the world you're working with.

This setup could make husbands more faithful, but I personally doubt it. I rather imagine people would develop better birth-control, look for ways to decrease their fertility and/or libido, resort to other forms of sex or would not marry at all to avoid the trouble altogether, etc. Since they are mages, in theory they could even work out a way to grow fetuses outside female body. People tend to find loopholes in just about everything, especially after so much time passing.

My suggestion is to make this curse work only on guys who've impregnated women with whom they have an affair with and/or to whom they aren't married to. I think it would give them more motivation for staying faithful instead of just avoiding having children.


1000 years later, the curse is still in effect. Would putting a consequence on men during pregnancy force them to remain monogamous and prevent fidelity among them?

Some men yes, others no. Boys will be boys and there's always a temptation. When the motivation is strong enough then necessity is the [not father] of invention.

  • Peep shows, burlesque and strip bars would boom.

  • There would be contraceptives sold in every corner shop, sheath sellers mingling with the matchmakers and hawkers of pies.

  • Every town would have regular visits from travelling sailsman in the guise of mysterious travelers from foreign lands offering their "Foolproof Misconception Oil" rub in a bottle. 3 for 2 on a thursday.

  • Sex manuals would be written and copied and spread around detailing tricks for reducing the chances of a "hit" , songs to sing to the Sperm to beguile them away from the egg.

  • Herbs and talismans to hang, and prayers to Arcane demons or Gods (imaginary or not).

  • Prostitutes offering leg scissors and passers by a helping hand with their issues.

  • With those who stay faithfull, the angst of it all - perhaps the therapists would thrive too - offering advice how men should put their energies into good hard productive work. "Sublimate, you must sublimate old fellow".

  • Support groups would boom, for those who deal with their frustration through liquor or addiction to animal porn or overeating bread.

  • Frustration with women in general would make all male clubs spring up, manly persuits would thrive male on male agression and cruelty would increase, the "just guys together having a laugh" syndrome would blossom.

  • Rumours of fetishes and those that service them would spread, money would change hands, stilettoes would change noses.

On the whole, it'd be like any city on Earth now, pretty much.


I believe the only effects of it to be a reduction in birth rates, since conceiving a child would be detrimental for the father until it's birth (/death?) which would usually be 9 months, a significant amount of time.

Contraceptives could become more common in addition to increased abstinence or even castration to prevent the reduction in mana, especially if mana is an essential part of work or life in general.

Alternatively, non-heterosexual relationships may become a more popular/accepted form of romance.

It would certainly increase the likelihood of conceiving wizards to be loyal to a degree, since they will have considered the consequences (assuming they were in their right frame of mind) of having a child. Wizards of a less loyal conviction may not want to deal with the consequences.

Should you want a darker twist to your atmosphere, prostitution would have to adapt to their customers. (Potentially upsetting content ahead.)

This may result in having female prostitutes intentionally impregnated by non-wizard customers (if not directly resulting in oophorectomy ) to prevent conception by wizard customers, or having male wizard prostitutes as seed-banks for couples wanting to have a child, but the husband being too important to lose his mana.

All in all, I believe it could result in more stable families, but would not be an effective means against 'cheating'. The resulting changes in society at large could however be highly interesting, allowing a writer to discourse in all manner of topics around relationships and the more sinful nature of some humans should it be desired.


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