Monday, February 14, 2011

Love (and Sex) in the City

The City has a holiday analogous to our Valentine’s Day, celebrated in the winter month of Gelid. Hearts’ Day, or Lovers’ Day, has its origins in ancient, pagan fertility feasts, and is a time when wise thaumaturgists know the powers of the eikone Doll are at their strongest. Her manifestations walk the earth, manipulating the lives of humans to induce love--or at at least lust or passion.

People who don't directly interact with Doll, tend to commemorate the day by exchange of heart-shaped cards and gifts with their sweethearts.  Male adventurers, like chivalrous knights in stories, are known to vow to win some prize or achieve some great deed for their inamoratas.  No doubt the tendency of adventurers to imbibe in large quantities contributesd to this behavior.

In general, sexual mores in the New World resemble our own world’s in the first half of last century, though the presence of magic has led to some differences. Coercive magic or charms, for example, are technically illegal in most jurisdictions, but such laws are infrequently enforced. People tend to be somewhat cautious about taking drinks offered from strangers, and the most prudent wear some sort of minor charm as a defense. Luckily, most such magics are of short duration and tend to only have a shallow emotional effect.

Prostitution is illegal in the City and in most places in the New World, but that doesn’t stop it from being commonly practiced. Higher class prostitutes tend to employ thaumaturgical or alchemical aids to enhance their appeal, and the pleasure of their clientele, particularly those of exotic tastes. Some of these enhancements are extraplanar in origin, coming from the lust laboratories (and sometimes the pain dungeons) of the Hell Syndicate.

Unwanted pregnancy is, of course, a concern. The usual barrier methods of contraception are known. Purely biochemical female contraception is understood in theory, but is at this point not feasible. Alchemical or thaumaturgic methods exist, but their use is nontrivial as the dosage must be varied based on astrological influences and the like, so failure rates are high.

Venereal disease also looms large. Healing magics can ameliorate the effects, but prevention remains the best policy. Militaries, in particular, view this as a serious threat to readiness, though different nations address the problem differently. Some promote abstinence, while others have instituted programs of education, provision of condoms, and alchemical monitoring.  In the Great War, some particularly fiendish (though not terribly effective) attempts at biological warfare used prostitutes carrying alchemically-wrought infections to strike at enemy troops.


The Angry Lurker said...

This is very interesting and strange (love) that is.

Pierce said...

The City is super cool! There are so many interesting story threads and so much adventure potential.

Pulp Herb said...

Dude, Surgeon Sage has provided me a Valentine's Day card for the rest of my life.

Trey said...

Thanks guys.

@Herb - I can't take credit for that one. That's an actually WWI era message for U.S. soldiers.

Jack Guignol said...

Surgeon Sage doesn't know a good time

Trey said...

That's the army for you.