The Three Orders of Ardor
Play as sex workers and exotic dancers who are also holy warriors. They wear their battle scars with pride, and clothing removal is their metaphor for safe vulnerability. Sex work has not only been legalized, but is considered a sacred profession. Please note that sexual activity is obviously a sensitive subject matter. Players are in no way obligated to roleplay sex. Feel free to fade to black, or whatever the table as a whole is comfortable with. Sex should never be used to harm another character.
The Body of a Woman Is Sacred
Ladies, not only those of the Orders, can and will only “put out” when they choose to. It is always their right to choose, and their right to change their mind. Exotic dancing is like prayer. Sex, sensuality, and cuddling are a spiritual connection.
The Orders Are Not at Odds
The Three Mothers meet often to talk about the pride in their daughters, and how to better serve their Goddess and the citizens of Ardor. The Three Orders accommodate each other and help their fellow comrades when they are in need of assistance. This also means praying for and connecting with each other.
Glaives Instead of Swords
The Orders prefer staff weapons, which also serve as dance poles when one isn’t readily available. The Order of Artisans provide forges that cater to the needs of each warrior, where their armor, weapons, and footwear are fashioned. Because each warrior is given their own glaive, they are often decorated with personalized embellishments.
Ardor is a vibrant kingdom of craftswomen, performative artists, smiths, and renowned temples of worship. The kingdom is ruled by the Grand Mother, a snow owl folk, and the Mother of each of the Three Orders:
- The Order of the Searing Embers: Communes with the local populace, and offers wartime prayers
- The Order of Artisans: A collection of craftswomen, armorsmiths, and weaponsmiths
- The Order of the Figurehead: Communes with maritime voyagers and those that don’t have access to the mainland during their travels
The kingdom worships the Goddess of the Hearth, who represents warmth, lust, and compassion. Her sigil is a censer with a cone of charcoal and wisps of smoke above it.
With her personal guard, the Grand Mother traveled to the nearby villages that had been shamed for their carnal desires and accused of being hostile, despite being no more or less warlike than any other species, and invited them to a ritualistic celebration in a gesture of friendship. What followed was a season of dancing, indulgence, and guttural singing. The Grand Mother vowed that under her wings, both figuratively and literally, they would always have a sister at their side, and they would never feel ashamed again. That is when she first faced the other half of herself. The bitter, vindictive, brings-matters-into-her-own-hands half of herself.
What had once been a small settlement was now its own realm. Allies and distinguished members of society came to attend her coronation, but skirmishes soon followed amongst their adversaries. Cannonfire from an unallied kingdom claimed the Grand Mother’s wife. Alone, she went into the Cavern of Thorns, and no one asked questions when she reemerged splattered with blood that was not hers. She had separated from her other half within the cavern, and only one of them had come back. Those that had survived the battle flocked to the Grand Mother’s side to be a glacier as she mourned, but after the burial songs had been sung, her focus was on guest rooms, and instrumental accompaniments to pole prayers.
She takes it upon herself to make sure the temples of worship and dance stages are well maintained. While taking flights over her domain, she visits the villages further from the mainland to make sure their populations feel safe. Those close to her worry she busies herself this way because it distracts her from her grief. She left her twin, the God Mother, behind, who wailed and lamented alone in the cavern. Cheeks streaked with frozen tears, the Grand Mother’s “other half” gathered those in the alliance and beyond the lands of Ardor that shared her ideals. Tooth for a tooth, and that their enemies will fall by their teeth, or by their blade.
The Grand Mother’s palace resides in a grotto, which leads to open water and the vast sea of snow and ice. The populace of her kingdom consists of orcs and humanoids with the features of cold climate predators. Other than ships, swimming, and going on foot, the most common form of transport are snow sharks, because they can plow through ice, and arctic crocs, because they can move easily through deep snow.
Because revealing outfits would put them in danger on the battlefield, the holy warriors of Ardor instead wear bespoke soft armor, designed with a minimal amount of hard armor for greater mobility, and to ensure they still have points of contact while on the pole. While they do wear some metal plating, it’s mostly pliable chainmail and lightly padded armor. Not only for the reasons of ceremonial disrobing, they make sure the removal of the armor they forge is uncomplicated so it’s easier for others to administer first aid. During formal religious ceremonies, they wear a surcoat.
Why your swordwielders that thirst for fellow lesbians are in Ardor should be decided together as a group. PCs could be there to celebrate a holy holiday like the Festival of the Intertwined. It’s one of the most beloved celebrations of the year: a week of cuddling and comfort. You can be in Ardor for other reasons, such as being a member of an Order, in search of an introduction with an Order, here to participate in a pilgrimage, or here for a visit.
The Stranded Egg
The PCs have gotten word the Three Orders have been tasked with dealing with an egg found on a deserted iceberg off the mainland.
The Order of the Searing Embers has had a vision that the hatched creature will raze Ardor without the comfort of parental solace. Whatever creature that laid the egg is nowhere to be found. The Order is asking for help raising the creature in a supportive environment.
The Order of Artisans has seen the egg on a coat of arms belonging to a neighbouring orc village. Lucinda, an arctic wolf folk and a member of the Order, wants to lead a party to ask them the heritage of the egg, and not just because she’s in lust with the village leader.
A peaceful pilgrimage is on their way to witness whatever may hatch from it, but there are pirates close by that see a golden opportunity in a shell. The Order of the Figurehead is asking for reinforcements to protect both the pilgrims and the unborn creature.
The PCs have come to realize that sometimes, holy warriors aren’t the best at asking for help with personal dilemmas.
Pirro, a snow shark folk and member of the Order of the Searing Embers, has been courting the palace’s appointed emissary, Galena. She has a romantic evening planned, but she’s nervous about their date because she’s not the best at expressing her feelings.
Zahi, an orc and member of the Order of the Figurehead, is making an expedition to a frozen shipwreck out at sea, bringing bottles of flavored syrup and a pipa because it’s her custom to leave the deceased sweetened snow and a song. She doesn’t want to go alone this time.
The Mothers of the Three Orders haven’t prayed or sought comfort ever since the Grand Mother’s twin persuaded some of their daughters to join her side. They are disheartened because they lost ranks, loved ones, and some of their best artisans.
Felix (she/her): A mountain lion folk and a member of the Order of the Searing Embers. Felix was once a nomadic healer who made her living beyond the borders of the kingdom in search of rare medicinals that thrived in nearby lava lakes. She felt such an intense connection during sex that the Goddess of the Hearth called to her, and so she became a citizen of Ardor. Her studded armor looks like it’s been volcanically charred. The pole of her glaive is covered in the bite marks of warriors she’s had sex with, and the blade looks like molten rock smithed into a sharp edge. When on the field of battle, she brings scaly-foot snails she’s trained to cauterize wounds. While her methods are unconventional, many warriors have entrusted her with their lives.
Hamabe (she/her): An orca folk and a member of the Order of Artisans, Hamabe started her career as an apprentice for a cobbler who was often swamped with pole dance heel repairs. Her prominent contribution to the kingdom is the design of shoes and boots with buckled platform heels, so warriors could remove them to fight in sensible flats. Instead of a glaive, she owns a pair of gilded balisongs she keeps in her boots. In her spare time, she makes sculptures and stained glass depictions of pole prayers for the temples. The little sister of the Grand Mother’s late wife, she aids in preparing for war if an unallied kingdom should strike again. With the help of her apprentices, she hosts bake sales for raw materials and emergency funds.
**Viika (she/her):**A leopard seal folk and a member of the Order of the Figurehead. She is one of the most illustrious warriors, and one of the best dancers in the Order. Her armor is a dewy sea-blue with gold inlays. A string of snow shark and arctic croc teeth wraps around where her pearlescent pole and glasslike blade meet. There is scar tissue on her chest from when a narcissistic commodore broke her heart, but now she is in a loving relationship with two orcs. She met them while she was stranded during a snowstorm, and stumbled upon their outpost.
Kalyani (she/her): An arctic croc folk and a member of the Grand Mother’s personal guard. The Personal Guard’s uniform differs from the Three Orders in that they wear a crinoline cage over their protection. Her armor is pyrographed with a motif of flowers that grow within the kingdom. Because she’s not a woman of prayer, instead of a glaive, she has a meteor hammer that also serves as a censer. She doesn’t partake in sex, so she is especially pampered while being cuddled. She is one of the most acclaimed singers in the kingdom. The palace commissioned a temple with the finest acoustics so her voice would fill the frozen halls with song.
Staying the Frost
This move replaces both Entice and Emotional Support because it combines the two. Both intimacy and exotic dancing are part of what you do for a living, so you have both on lock. This could be you praying to the Goddess of the Hearth by pole dancing on behalf of a comrade. It could be one warrior opening up to another while sitting next to a crackling fire. It could be you dancing for a crowd. Roll +Heart or +Spirit, and if you are Smitten with them, add 3:
- 10+: Both of you can both choose 1 from both lists
- 7-9: They choose 1 from both lists
|Get lost in the moment
|Clear a Condition
|Give in to desire
|The Goddess gives you a task
If they’re Smitten with you, they may choose an additional option from either list.
Blowing on the Fire
When you’re with another swordwielder, you can use this move (with both players consenting) during several situations, such as having sex, cuddling, or while bonding during a quest. As you breathe in, your chest glows. Say something that troubles you or scares you. As you breathe out a gentle flame, say why you’re not troubled or afraid when you’re at their side. Each of you gain a String on each other.