Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Houri class

I have mentioned in the past that I am a fan of the "Bad Girl" trope.  I get the appeal.

Well the fine folk over at Dangerous Brian have revised the Houri class from White Dwarf,

It is an interesting take and a class that I think has it has a place in some games.  Obviously other think so as well.  We have a group very similar in Sisters of Rapture and the infamous Book of Erotic Fantasy (now from White Wolf).  From Mongoose we have Nymphology and The Quintessential Temptress.  Yes, I have actually purchased all of these.

But the question I have is, is there enough for the Houri to actually do in a game about killing things and taking their stuff?

I can see the houri as a particular type of thief or even magic-user, but not enough to have them as their class.

Though to be fair, I did have a group of assassins called "The Red Assassins" that used guile, seduction and charm to get their jobs done.  The great thing about them is that no one know who they were exactly.  The Red Assassins came from all walks of life and every profession (not just the oldest one), it made them effective and invisible.

Now what might be interesting is expand of the Arabic and Islamic myths of the Houri and make them some sort of Jann/Human or Nymph/Human crossbreed.  Maybe then Houri is a race that has certain powers at different levels.  Hmm.  An interesting idea.  Maybe it can be more like a nymph-like race that is suitable for characters. One thing that must be part of the race is their large, doe-like or gazelle-like eyes.  Though there is a certain squik factor of creating a race for the sole purpose of sex.  Though I suppose that Star Trek did give us the Deltans and Betazoids, each with strong sexual themes to their cultures.

If we further expand on the race/class idea a logical next step would be to try this for Basic era D&D.  Maybe I'll try that sometime.


Alexis Smolensk said...

I really like the idea of the nymph/human crossbreed. I see this as a much better 'monster' class than as a character vehicle.

I should give this some thought.

Porky said...

Funny you should mention sexuality and aliens. There's an interesting article on Farscape not so far away, at Musings of a Sci-Fi Fanatic. Might be worth a look.

BlUsKrEEm said...

I had a Nymph class in a BX game once. It was heavily base doff the Hercules & Xena RPG version of the Nymph; Basicaly the class gave bonuses to reaction rolls, and when in the character's home environment (depended on what type of dryad) they would also get bonuses to saves, movement rate and +10% Xp. It was one of my favorite home-brew classes, but the player thought it was to passive to be any fun.

Tony Bro001 said...

I agree with you on it's limited potential in a "killing things and taking their stuff" type game. But in a more involved Arabian campaign this could definitely work. There's a couple of options you could explore:

Give her a secret agenda where she has to essentially seduce her way to the target in order to succeed. It could be a personal goal or as part of a clandestine mission for another patron. The other PCs in the party would definitely have to be in the dark. It would require quite a bit of work for the DM and you'd need a sympathetic and mature Player as the Houri, but it would be quite fun.

You could dual class her if there's not enough for her to do in a roaming wilderness or dungeon bash. But I'd like to see the look on those minions faces when she tempts them round the corner into the waiting arms of he rest of the party. Remember Uhuru's dance of the fans in Star Trek V.

Dangerous Brian said...

The Houri was originally designed as an NPC class. Sort of a "femme fatale" foil for PC's. True, the utility of the class in a dungeon bash might be someone limited, but their various healing abilities make the Houri a useful secondary healer. Likewise, some of the class's other abilities allow they Houri to function in a "support/buffer" (if'll you'll pardon the pun) in a similar manner to the bard.
I do agree that the class is probably most suited to games with a certain "Arabian" or "Sword and Sorcery" flavour. Look at some of the female characters in Howard's Conan tales. They would certainly qualify as Houri. As would certain influential historical figures such as Cleopatra or even period fiction characters such as Milday Duwinter.
It was the example of fictional characters such as Annora and Saffron from the Firefly TV series that really had me thinking of the class as a viable PC choice.
Say what you like about Saffron or Annora's combat abilities (or lack thereoff. On more than one occasion however, their abilities to manipulate or distract men (and women) allowed their allies to get the drop on their opponents. And as for games involving political intrigue? Well, I can't think of an existing class better suited to poltics or espionage. Whether as a PC or an NPC villain.

Dangerous Brian said...

@ tony

Oh yes. Just think what a Houri/thief, a Houri/Magic-User or even a Houri/Assassin could do with a little imagination? Perfect campaign villain -and a perfectly playable dungeon-bashing character concept as well.

Woolshedwargamer said...

A little late to this party but....
Back when this class was first published in the early 80s a friend of mine and I played twin Houris (well, one Houri and one Gigalo). One female and one male (we were a male and female gamer) and we played the opposite sexes. It was an urban campaign and by the Gods we had some fun playing those characters.