Yep, it's been a while but I'm asking another Class question! (Recommended reading: Dancer's Role in Fantasy Society (RPG Classes))

Being a Dancer in Alendyias is rough; as a Support Class, Dancers are fast and agile (allowing them to escape and evade attackers) but lack any real offensive or defensive power. They are also frequently targeted by hungry monsters, and so they depend on the people they Buff for protection. But one thing caps it all: becoming a Mythos Maiden or Man (95% of Dancers are female, 5% male).

Any sentient mythical creature can, upon getting a pledge of fealty from a Dancer, binds her as a thrall, turning her into a Mythos Maiden. The binding happens automatically upon a pledge being given, followed immediately by the transformation. The new Mythos Maiden has powers relating to their new master, and must obey any command given by the creature.

This transformation occurs because

  • A) dance is an expression of culture and/or self,
  • B) because Dancers are connected to magic, and
  • C) because when a Dancer performs, she represents her client (or clients, as the case may be). The pledge of fealty is the magical equivalent of signing a contract to work for and represent the mythical creature, which only her new "employer" can dissolve.

The creatures that can create a Mythos Maiden are:

  1. Dwarves

  2. Merfolk

  3. Serpiens-Lamia & Gorgons

  4. Elves

  5. Orcs

  6. Goblins

  7. Trolls/ogres

  8. Fairies

  9. Dryads (and other Nymphs, such as Naiads)

  10. Taurians (minotaurs, centaurs)

  11. Felians (Sphinxes, Manticores)

  12. Dragons

  13. Vampires

My question is, How Can Dancers Keep Themselves From Becoming Mythos Maidens?

I know more information will be needed, so here it is, in convenient points:

  1. Who, Where, and When-The people effected are holders of the Dancer Class, as for where and when, it depends but I'll give some examples:

A. While traveling with her performing troupe, the Dancer (and her fellow travelers) may encounter a bridge troll, thieving Elf, "guardian" Sphinx, or a roving band of Goblins and/or Orcs (they are very martial creatures and tend to banditry). In fact, while traveling, a Dancer may encounter just about any MC on the list and have to somehow escape an enslavement attempt.

B. A dragon shows up at a town the Dancer is in and demands the traditional maiden sacrifice (typical dragon stuff; too bad the Dancer just happened to be there, right?....).

C. A Dancer tries to buy some exquisite jewelry, only to find out it was made by Dwarves (or Elves) and she'd have to buy it with labor, not money or treasure, because magical creatures can be every bit as jerky as people. This is, quite obviously, a trap.

D. A Dancer is hired to perform at some important event (a ball, perhaps?) and upon arrival, finds her employer is a vampire (or that a vampire or two is in attendance). Yet another trap, yes?

  1. A Dancer is not enslaved by agreeing to do just anything for a mythical creature; a pledge of fealty is an oath of loyalty, an agreement to follow an individual (at least, as far as I understand it). It's a kind of contract, in other words, and nothing else will trigger the transformation into a Mythos Maiden.

  2. The setting is the 'medieval fantasy' so common to RPGs; yes it's vague, but it's also understandable in that almost everyone (as far as I know) either knows what it is or can easily find out.

  3. Dancers usually travel one of four ways: in a caravan, in a traveling troupe (which may or may not be in a caravan at times), with a minstrel (or another Dancer), or with a party of adventurers. The trouble is, Dancers are usually traveling performers, and travelers are 60-99% more likely to encounter mythical creatures (or more specifically, monsters).

  4. Dancers may be able to bewitch sentient creatures; for more on that, please look at Men Protecting Themselves From Bewitchment.

  5. Most members of every "mythical" species knows about Mythos Maidens, and it's safe to assume they either want to enslave Dancers (by turning them into Mythos Maidens) or eat them (with elves, dwarves, merpeople, fairies, and nymphs being logical exceptions to the latter). Not every member of every species wants to enslave Dancers, but in every such culture there will be those who

A) are immoral and/or

B) think of humans as lesser beings and have no qualms about enslaving them.

  1. Exterminating the magical creatures is a no-go;

A) the human governments don't want to end up in a war against multiple other nations-too much risk, too much work, and too much likelihood of nasty casualties and

B) all the magical creatures have magic, and the ones who are behind this nasty business live in relatively remote locations and know how to hide and hide well, making extermination unfeasible anyway.

My answer criteria:

I'm looking for the following in an answer: protection methods, prevention and avoidance methods, and escape methods. That's only three things you need to put in. An ideal answer will cover the information above and cover each group of MCs (Mythical Creatures) individually and in numerical order.

As always, I appreciate your input and feedback; if there are problems with the question, please let me know so I can improve it. Please DO NOT downvote this question without an explanation. Thank you for your help and advice!

EDIT: Thank you all for your helpful answers; they were all useful, but in the end, I chose the answer by The Square-Cube Law.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ This may seem to be a silly quibble in the grand scheme of your world... but the impact on whom, when and under what circumstances? You've given us a detailed background, but little context of the actual question as it stands. If you want to get an answer relating to your whole world under any circumstances, then that's huge, really broad and probably unanswerable in this scenario - you'd also need to have told us in clear terms about all the species, in unfeasible detail. Can you narrow it down a bit? (FWIW, please tell us when you publish, I want to read the finished product). $\endgroup$ – A Rogue Ant. Jan 28 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ Good point @Tantalus' touch., I will do my best to narrow it down. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ I put "Who, Where, and When" in italics; is it good or do I need to add more information? $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 4:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ there is a bit of a lore gap in your question. This would either be a problem for any class, that could be enslaves. Or you need some explanation as to why the dancer class is somehow the only class susceptible to this enslavement "curse". If we don't know why dancers are special, we can't really say how they can get around that. $\endgroup$ – Michael Mortensen Jan 28 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelMortensen, from my most recent edit: "This transformation occurs because A) dance is an expression of culture and/or self, B) because Dancers are connected to magic, and C) because when a Dancer performs, she represents her client (or clients, as the case may be). The pledge of fealty is the magical equivalent of signing a contract to work for and represent the mythical creature, which only her new "employer" can dissolve." $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 13:53

Enthralling prevention technique: marriage no jutsu

The solution to this problem is putting a ring on it. Become a mythos girl (or boy) to your significant other.

If the process of becoming a mythos person allows for only one enthrallment, you are vaccinated. If the process allows you to become a mythos dancer for multiple people, you have to obey all of them, right? Your spouse can preemptly order you to disobey new masters, so you can pull a Beetle Bailey on any smart*** who tries to trap you.

Ackbar's Exclamation

A Magic: The Gathering card, that allows you to redirect the effects a spell.

You need to keep a game board hidden on you, so use some dancer clothes that are large and loose. Place the Ricochet Trap face down in the spell & trap card zone. When somebody tries to enthrall you, shout "YOU ACTIVATED MY TRAP CARD!". Enjoy having a new servant.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a very creative solution; thank you! I particularly enjoy the idea of someone shouting something like Ackbar's Exclamation. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias the actual exclamation is a very famous phrase and a seminal trope. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Jan 28 at 14:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh! Is it a meme as well? I have a feeling..... $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ -10 points because MtG doesn't have trap cards or face down cards. Gee I sure hope someone got fired for that blunder. $\endgroup$ – Daron Jan 28 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron I was thinking of Hearthstone there :D $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Jan 28 at 20:02

Everyone Knows that a Dancer Doesn't Make Contracts

It doesn't matter who you are, King or Peasant, Friend or Foe, Dancer's don't make promises. Not just that they don't make promises they can't keep. Dancers don't make promises. Ever.

They say that Dance is too fluid and ever changing and make excuses about the fabric of magic making it impossible to predict how the dance will continue, but it's really a defensive mechanism. Dancers are taught from a very young age to make sure nothing they say is binding. They take lessons from legends of the Fey creatures who cannot lie and must then come up with creative ways to tell the truth.

Ultimately, there's only one way to turn into a Mythos Maiden, but a Dancer is no more vulnerable to it than anyone else - torture. Kidnapping and enslavment is a threat to everyone equally (maybe Dancers more than most), but it's still statistically a minor threat. And unless there's some magical way to block making such a vow, a kidnapped Dancer can only hope to be strong enough to die before they are tortured into giving an oath.

Edit: But How Do They Agree to a Performance?

The following conversation is between a Dancer and an Tavern owner:

Dancer - "Greetings my good man, I could bring in lots of customers to your tavern if you would let me dance on your stage. My prices are reasonable."

Owner - "You're in luck, my stage no longer has a regular dancer, and we have been sorely in need of one. I can offer you a bed, a meal, and whatever you can collect from the room."

Dancer - "That sounds excellent, and your tavern will sparkle when I dance in it."

Owner - "I expect you to begin dancing tonight by 3rd bell."

Dancer - "Surely fifth bell is more reasonable."

Owner, scowling - "You drive a hard bargain, but we need a dancer."

Dancer - "Then perhaps the dance will permit me to see you this evening. Farewell."

Note: No promises were made. Nothing that would traditionally be considered a contract was made. Nevertheless, work will be performed and payment rendered. If the Dancer doesn't show up to work, then they don't get paid and they'll earn a reputation for not completing their work and no one will ask them to do things. The social contract looks different for them, but it is the same guiding principle: people trust you because you prove you are trustworthy, not because you say you are trustworthy.

  • $\begingroup$ If Dancers don't make promises, then how will they make the arrangements required to perform for people? If they can't say anything binding, why would anyone trust them? It seems in this case the cure might be worse than the problem...... $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ I like this because dancers can trick people into thinking they've got a pledge, and then they can reveal the truth with this dance. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Jan 28 at 14:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good point; being tricky does not necessarily mean being untrustworthy. I'd say Brandon Sanderson's Hoid is (somewhat ) trustworthy, just marching to his own drummer. However, I must point out that a kidnapped Dancer would likely choose enslavement over death. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Ah: good job explaining your idea! Thank you, I'd +1 this again if I could. (Well, technically, I can tomorrow.....I'll do it then.) $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias I added an (albeit terrible) example of how a "verbal contract" can be made between two people without anyone making any promises at all. It's all about semantics. And I suppose most people would choose enslavement over death, which is why there are slaves. $\endgroup$ – SirTain Jan 28 at 14:57

You don't book a dancer. You buy tickets.

Contracts involving dancers are set up so the customer has fealty towards the dancer and not the other way around. If you want to organize a ball with dancers, you contact the local guild, find their next ballroom performance in a suitable venue, and book out all the tickets. This way none of the dancers are obliged to their clients. Rather both the dancers and customers are obliged to the guild.

This is of course a highly contrived fiction orchestrated by the guild. The typical arrangement goes like this:

Lord Fussybottom: Hello is that the local dancers guild? Hello, I am organising a wedding reception on June 11th this year, and wonder are any performances on your schedule for that date.

Guild Secretary: Let me check my schedule. . . stares at blank calendar. How many people will be in attendance?

Lord Fussybottom: Approximately eight million. No more, no less.

Guild Secretary: Let's see. . . scribbles on calendar. Ah yes indeed there will be a performance on July 11. Do you wish to buy tickets?

In all contexts not involving work there is not much to say. For example a roving band of orcs might force a dancer into becoming a mythos maiden against her will. But they could also force a non-dancer into slavery through the same methods. So the countermeasures are much the same.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for sharing your highly usable and admittedly quite funny answer! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 28 at 20:35

As an improvement upon The Square-Cube Law's solution, simply sign a contract with yourself. Order yourself to have the choice of ignoring any command you do not wish to heed. Add in a few thousand words to prevent loopholes, and you're good.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting solution! Yes, this is clever, and so simple! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jul 1 at 16:26

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.