4
$\begingroup$

Alright, while trying to figure out the cultural impact of my (Dnd-style) class system, I realized that there was a problem with the Dancer Class:

Bewitching Dance-This dance only works on a small group of people who can see the Dancer; three people max. This Dance also works best on men; it rarely works on women. Basically, it takes advantage of the user's charisma (and allure) and has a 99%-10% chance to work (95% at best, 20% at worst) and cause those affected to have decreased judgment. All those shows where the guy does something dumb for a girl? This is a perfectly good explanation for that. If it fails, there's an 80-20 chance they can't attack the Dancer, and there's a chance of them becoming smitten (99-5% for men, for women it depends on their orientation if you know what I mean....)

95% of Dancers are female, so this is essentially a question of how men can protect themselves from magical manipulation. Magical manipulation that derives its power from men's natural attraction to women! So, How Would Men Protect Themselves From Bewitchment?

Consider:

  1. The chance of Bewitching Dance succeeding is determined by how affected the man (or woman) is affected by their hormones/emotions. If someone is married and LOYAL, chances are they can't be Bewitched. On the other hand, a single man longing for female companionship? Chances are he's going to get Bewitched and smitten. Furthermore, 85% or more of men can't just look away when they see a Dancer using Bewitching Dance. The movements of this dance are hypnotic, magically and otherwise, so they hold someone's attention. And the longer someone looks, the worse their chances of not getting Bewitched become.
  2. There is nothing stopping Dancers from ganging up on someone and using Bewitching Dance all at once to increase their chances of success; granted, it's unlikely to ever happen because if it did work, he'd be Bewitched and possibly smitten with the group.
  3. Gay or asexual men are still affected by Bewitching Dance; I assume their brain structure is the same as regular people (because as far as I know, they are regular people) just not as much. Think 1/2 effectiveness.
  4. This is a fantasy-style setting, and here's my problem: a burqa-like garment seemed like a possible solution, but seductive or hypnotic movements still work even in such a thing. Additionally, blindfolding the men won't be effective, as there are monsters in Alendyias, like trolls or vampires, and men would have to defend themselves blind if using that strategy. Sure, they could take off the blindfold, but what if the Dancers planned the monster attack so they could use Bewitching Dance on them? As far as I can tell, clothing can't be the solution here.

Isolating men and women isn't an option either; in medieval times, women were often expected to help their husbands in their work. Since Bewitchment can potentially get Dancers out of any place they're imprisoned in, and society wouldn't want to give up the valuable buffs Dancers can give, they can't be killed or imprisoned either. So the solution will most likely be magical.

Finally, I have two other Classes who might be able to help; Enforcers, which administer justice (AKA make things fair); the problem is that their powers are derived from the law, either laws of morality (right or wrong) or the laws of the government and since you can break laws... Paladins derive their powers from their virtue, being able to manipulate light itself. It's possible that the Paladins could use their spiritual influence to give men better self-control, leaving them still vulnerable but able to choose whether or not they end up bewitched. However, since this enchantment is derived from virtue, lust will drive it away. In other words, it's useless for those who can't control their emotions.

Thank you, I really appreciate it!

$\endgroup$
16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can't the targets just...look away? Close their eyes? Sure, a normal completely unaware man might not want to and fall under the power, however you said protect themselves. I assume you mean they'd know about the potential to be bewitched by a dance. It seems logical to me that if I know that looking at something can make me bewitched, and I don't want to be bewitched, I'd...not look at it. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Jan 5 at 22:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for pointing that out! I forgot to add that this Bewitching Dance is naturally entrancing; some men can look away, but most get just a glimpse and end up staring. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 5 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ @VLAZ I think the issue comes from the fact that it's from a pen&paper game. For the sake of simplicity (and as I recall, it isn't really stated explicitly one way or the other), vision is basically a sphere and not a cone, only blocked by the environment. That is the case at least for derived video games. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 5 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, in my case, the characters are in an actual world, so vision would be a cone. The problem is that most men end up entranced from just a glimpse. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 5 at 23:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena It's a sphere because it abstracts away looking around, it doesn't mean that characters are able to literally see behind themselves while they stare forward. Moreover, I don't think a P&P RPG exists where you aren't allowed to say "I choose not to look <somewhere>" and voluntarily reduce the things your character can see. Outside some effect that binds your attention to a particular place, you should very much be within your right to avoid seeing everything. Otherwise your GM is doing a very bad job. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Jan 6 at 0:23
9
$\begingroup$

Aside from the non-answer of "it's magic problem, make magic to solve it", (D&D bards, for instance, can disrupt this sort of thing...) there are some totally normal things this mostly-male subpopulation can do.

Some simple, cultural countermeasures:

  • Female or Magic-User Chaperones for Men If a woman sees another doing the dance (and is unaffected), they can attempt to stop the dance or talk sense into the man. If a woman does the dance to her husband, it's really between them and is maybe a magical method for strengthening their marriage. :D
  • Ratify Major Choices Since the worst consequence is a friendly disposition and maybe some dumb-struck men, maybe this something society can let slide. This being said, forcing major choices to be ratified by another entity will stop random women being written into old guys' wills. Okay, that's placing a lot of power on the women of the family, essentially giving them power of attorney for the men in their lives, but this is how a lot of real-life families and societies work. Clan and family come before the individual- and besides, you cannot dance your way through a bureaucracy!
  • Embrace the Matriarchal Society Since the movers/shakers of the world are generally not affected, this becomes less of an issue.
  • Aid Money/Time Each person carries a set amount of aid money, and it is culturally inappropriate to ask for more than that.

There are also the common issues with Charm spells in Table-top rpgs- like what does "aid" mean? How far does "aid" go and is it the aid the charmer is expecting? This can vary from "take a bullet for me" to "give me a compliment"- that's all "aid". This is also why some re-writes of D&D rules of these not-full-mind-control spells/abilities sometime affect a creature's disposition to the charmer or attempt to establish limits.

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ Great answer! I like how this creates societal checks against bewitchment. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 5 at 23:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Add another: taboo. You can do the deed with your relatives and eat your fellow humans, but it is taboo so you don't. Place a social stigma/taboo to that activity and you have it available for PLOT! yet scorned....only carried away by foul archethypes. $\endgroup$
    – Gustavo
    Jan 8 at 18:17
2
$\begingroup$

First you could balance the power out by giving it a male counterpart or just making it available to both genders. Although it may not be in line with gender stereotypes, I see no reason why a male dancer or similar class would not be able to enthrall a woman.

Then there is how you determine your success range. A 20-95% chance to succeed may be your range, but depending on how your your system works, it would not be hard to make it so most targets in most circumstances are closer to the 20% making it only useful against people are predisposed to being manipulated by the opposite gender, or make it scale by level such that a 95% chance to succeed would require a top-tier legendary status dancer.

Another option would be to add a buddy system mechanic so that people who succeed resisting the power can still talk their friends down from being manipulated.

Lastly, since you said that dancers are a class, you can simply withhold this power until you reach a level that it becomes appropriately potent compared to other classes. A dancer can do more than just betwitch people, they are natural athletes; so, they may have many lower level abilities that are all about being able to run, jump, climb, balance, etc. with supernatural grace, plus they may have a lower level alurment power that requires them to interact with a target 1-on-1. Assuming your 500 levels scale similar in potency to most other RPGs, I would introduce this ability somewhere between level 200-300 and make it scale up or have more potent versions in the higher levels.

So generally speaking, common men do not need to worry about protecting themselves from dancers because so few women are good enough at it to be a real problem, and any men high level enough to be facing off against such a distinguished dancer already have equally potent abilities of their own so that they are still quite capable, even if they have to fight blind. A high level Mage vs high level Dancer: close your eyes and fill the room with fire balls. High level Warrior vs high level Dancer: close your eyes walk around throwing random wide arching strikes. etc.

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ This is very insightful, thank you! What would be the best time to introduce this power? I've decided to make the max level a relatively high 500. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 5 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias: it is really hard to say without knowing your system's mechanics, but D&D has a Lvl.6 spell called Mass Suggestion which is similar. But since you are think about this as a class, you might want to look at the Dominate Discipline from Vampire the Masquerade for inspiration. Instead of being a single power, it is more of a class which gives progressively better powers of mind-control the more you level up whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Dominate_(VTM). $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 6 at 3:15
1
$\begingroup$

Ah, girls, always making fools of us, such as tricking men into believing women are women.

If the men in your fantasy world are so afraid of catching the cooties, they can take a page from ultra orthodox men in our own real world and take the bird box challenge. You see, looking at scantly clad women (defined as: you can see anything other than their face (YMMV)) is sinful. In order to not sin, some young men will as far as wearing blindfolds where women may appear.

Hasidic men at an airport, wearing blindfolds

In order to not get lost amidst the sinful, tradition demands they be guided by an elder. The elder might be resistant to women's charms because, well, faith and old age.

Hasidic men, wearing blindfolds at an airport, being guided by an elder

The only way a woman would seduce these guys with dance would be through a lap dance, but the guys may be trained to resist that.

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ I just added some context; sadly, blindfolding the men won't be effective, as there are monsters in Alendyias, like trolls or vampires, and men would have to defend themselves blind if using that strategy. Sure, they could take off the blindfold, but what if the Dancers planned the monster attack so they could use Bewitching Dance on them? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 6 at 22:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Alendyias So what if they do? Any Dancer able enough to pull that off without herself getting eaten by trolls or vampires deserves the win IMO. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 7 at 7:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.