So... this is an interest check to see who might be interested in a group roleplay centered around the Midnight Court in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's legacy book-verse.
First I figure would be figuring out who wanted to play patrons, and who would want to play Adepts. Patrons should probably be moneyed nobles, or alternately other individuals with the money to afford the Midnight Court's rates.
Unlike the books, I figure we'd pretty much center play around the Midnight Court, the City of Elua, and related intrigues. Setting
I would not be requiring players to have intimate knowledge of the books; what you can pick up from the web would be fine. In fact, I'd recommend http://www.kushielverse.com/library.html
for reference. I will require that players display at least a cursory comprehension of the setting through online resources; if you're on E, you should also have access to Wikipedia and Google and have put some effort into learning about the setting.
A brief description:
The setting roughly mirrors rennaissance France, with some very important distinctions. Denizens of the realm refer to themselves as D'Angelines, and their primary religion centers around Elua. Elua was born of the divine blood of Yeshua ben Yosef (a Jesus analogue) mixed with the tears of the Magaline (obvious) in the womb of Mother Earth. Elua took issue with many of the edicts of the One God, and wandered the earth in exile and rebellion, persecuted by the Tiberian Empire (Roman analogue). In his travels, Elua gained Companions in the form of divine Angels who rebelled against the One God and his harsh edicts to join Elua in his wanderings. Eventually the Companions came to the land that would come to be named for them (Terre D'Ange), where they fell in love with the people of the land and made it their own, taking lovers amongst them. Eventually, the One God relented, and with the Earth Mother, created for Elua, his Companions, and their descendants a paradise for their souls in the afterlife. Elua's one and only command for his followers and descendants is to "Love as thou wilt," the central tenant of the religion. D'Angelines tend to be unusually beautiful, possessed of angelic features and grace.
Relevant to the focus of our storyline, among the Companions was Namaah, a female angel of great beauty and grace. In the travels of Elua and his Companions, she often lay with many patrons in order to provide for the needs of Elua and the other Companions, exchanging her body and her heart for what was necessary, to patrons both high and low. Namaah truly loved each of her patrons, and her service is still revered by all D'Angelines. As such, D'Angelines place little to no stigma on the practice or patronage of prostitution, and have even effectively raised it to an artform in the Midnight Court, or Mont Nuit.
The Midnight Court is situated in the City of Elua, capitol of Terre D'Ange. It consists of 13 Houses, each with a different area of specialty in serving the sexual interests of it's patrons. Each is centrally managed by a Dowayne, who oversees the operation and finances of each house. The servants of each House are known as Adepts, and they are highly trained in the arts of pleasure. Their services are highly sought after and command large sums for the House they serve, generally from the nobility, but also wealthy merchants, foreign dignitaries/nobles, and the occasionally lucky gambler or other average D'Angeline who wins a favor of some sort.
Adepts are generally indentured servants; most are raised by the Houses, who either take them in from orphanage, or pay debts incurred by their parents. Each Adept is expected to pay the House which raised them back the debt incurred in their upbringing, but the base sum paid to the Houses for their services are not counted against that debt; rather Adepts must earn their freedom by earning additional favors from Patrons. Progress towards this goal is tracked by means of an elaborate tattoo, known as Marques. Marques start at the small of the back, and are gradually embellished as the debt is repayed until it reaches the nape of the neck. When the Marque is completed, the debt is repayed, and the Adept becomes a free agent, though he or she may still contract through and remain at the House they originated from, though many go on to become courtesans of the noble court, companions to former patrons, or to enter more private lives.
Adepts are held in very high esteem in D'Angeline society, particularly once they have 'Earned their Marque.' In fact, some noble or wealthy families make a tradition of fostering some of their offspring with the Midnight Court, so not all Adepts are necessarily orphans or traded to the Houses to settle their parent's debts. Even the sons and daughters of wealthy families must earn their Marques. Adepts are not forced to take patrons against their will; D'Angelines consider any sort of unconsensual sexual coercion to be a violation of Elua's command, and most consider rape to be worse than murder, encompassing blasphemy in addition (in fact most D'Angelines refer to rape and sexual coercion as 'blasphemy' explicitly). Those raised by the Houses who would prefer to earn their freedom through means other than sexual service are given the means to do so.Roleplay concerns
This is very much sexually oriented roleplay, not simply sexually incidental roleplay. Group roleplay will probably center around various fetes hosted by the Midnight Court, and then lead to smaller group roleplay as people pair/group off from the fete in question. That said, the idea is for there to be courtly intrigue and plot which ties it together into something of an integrated dramatic story that continues to evolve.
There should be no Non-Con other than consensual non-consent (which some Houses do offer or even specialize in). Such would not be tolerated in the Midnight Court. The setting is low fantasy, so all characters are human for all intents and purposes (though most D'Angelines have a drop or two of angel's blood in them, some more than others). None of the PC's should be god-touched, etc., so we should be fairly low on the Exotic scale. Bondage and D/s will probably end up as a themes, as it can be a major theme of the books at times.
The setting does not particularly favor or oppose monogamy; some D'Angelines find they only have love for one individual, while others find love of some form, great or small, with more than one. To D'Angelines, marriage does not necessarily mean monogamy, though it can if the pair involved choose it to. Both are equally tolerated and venerated. However, I'd find it very tricksome to figure out how an Adept would operate in the Midnight Court as monogamous without a very wealthy patron; hence if you wish to play a monogamous Adept you should come paired with another player looking to play your patron, and we will work those details should it become pertinent. I even have a House recommendation for you.Characters
At this point, I have no particular plot in mind, as I tend to write to the player characters. I haven't determined where in the timeline of the books to place the story; my guess is that we will be playing a mostly D'Angeline centered story, and hence it may be most appropriate to place the story before the events of the books.
At current, I don't think we should allow Dowayne PC's, or PC's of the royal family. The Dowaynes will of course be part of the story, but I see their use as primarily to weave the storlylines of the player characters together; I have similar views re: the royal family, but they will likely be less a part of the story than the Dowaynes. Helpful info
If interested, please let us know if you're interested in playing a patron or Adept. In addition, if you have a particular interest in a particular House (either Mount Nuit or noble) please also elucidate as to that interest. I'm not up for doing serious character sheets yet, but if you'd like to play a non-noble patron, you should also elucidate as to how your character would afford the hefty sums commanded by the Midnight Court.
It would also be helpful to know (a) your sexual preferences in roleplay partners, and (b) how open you are to switching off partner pairings over the course of roleplay. Basically, I will be trying to get to get an idea of what we need player wise to hit critical mass. For now I'm thinking one player, one character, but may change my mind, particularly for players looking to play both a patron and an Adept. More or less I'm concerned with players finding appropriate pairings/groupings to retain interest and activity.
Another interesting idea I had is that some of the patrons may in fact be married to each other, or if not married perhaps have relationships/affairs with other patron PC's outside of their patronage of the Adepts. Nobles or a Adepts may be related by blood in addition. If you'd be interested in such additional tie-ins to other characters, indicating that would also be useful.