On Diverse Sexualities in Daughters of Exile

In Daughters of Exile, the players take on the role of synthetic women, created to be perfect male companions. If they ever fall in love with a man and pledge him their troth, they must do as he says in all matters, or further walk down the path of rebellion which leads to their eventual but assured destruction. But at the same time, they are desperate to love and to be loved. It’s a conundrum.

It has been suggested that bisexuality and lesbianism is the solution: fall in love with a lady, and she cannot have control over you. Hence a quick note on how sexual attraction works for Daughters:

Daughters are NOT intrinsically heterosexual, certainly not strictly so. They are programmed to want to love and marry a man, but that’s a broad church of desire. Nothing says they are programmed to sexually or romantically desire men, and nothing says they are programmed against any of these feelings towards women. Indeed, since a lot of Daughters are born and trained in close proximity in their Dollhouses, and often spend a lot of time together in rich communities when men talk and walk amongst themselves, Daughter romances are common. Much more so among Daughters who have fled into Exile, because it is of course against one’s programming to betray one’s husband and romance another.

Whether still bound to a man or cast into Exile, loving one’s same gender goes against the demand of being the perfect wife, so requires a Programming Check. Anything more than a chaste holding of hands demands a roll; even if you never loved or wed or even met another man, it is against the rules. Yes, the programmers never bothered to ensure that Daughters might not love women, all they did was make it forbidden. Being a Daughter is so often agony.

EDIT: In extremely rare cases, a human woman might have enough money to afford a Daughter, be gay, AND prefer a Daughter to a human companion. Remember though that human women are virtually extinct outside of earth (and increasingly rare there also), and independently wealthy women virtually unheard of. But in such a case of princesses or empresses with a preference for the female, they might order a special model Daughter designed to be attracted to a female spouse. Again though, this would be only their programming, they might inherently be straight, as such is the way of cosmic irony. Likewise, it’s entirely possible that, since they are organic, a Daughter’s brain might be male-gendered despite appearing to the world as female and being programmed to act female. Again, the constraint of being a Daughter is typically agony.

But there is a loophole, of course. Everything is permitted if a man says so. If a man demands an action, that action NEVER causes a Programming Check because it is done to please a man. So it is that Daughters wishing to show love towards each other can trick a man into letting them do so by arranging a threesome, swapping, swinging or similar. Indeed, this is often how Daughters who have escaped recruit new escapees: they appear in a man’s life, flirt with him and subtly suggest he and his wife might like a third companion. His dutiful Daughter cannot say no, of course, and a few private seconds (and the joy of an actual loving touch for once) provide the perfect avenues for suggesting escape.

Of course, a lot of men have heard rumours of Daughers being turned to sapphic obsession and betraying their husbands as a result, so while husbands remain keen on the fantasy, they are wary of it too: everyone knows that if your Daughter is looking a bit too long at other Daughters, you need to give her a good seeing-to to remind her what only men can offer. And not let her dally with other women again for a while.

That’s the irony of owning a Daughter – because they are so expensive and valued, every husband is paranoid about losing his. Even though she is programmed to love him and obey him against all sense and reason, everyone knows some run off some times, or get stolen, or break down. They cost too much to even think about losing, so husbands constantly supervise and control their Daughters, keeping them on a tight leash to make sure they don’t disappear from their duty.

Sometimes the tight leash is metaphorical.



2 thoughts on “On Diverse Sexualities in Daughters of Exile

  1. “If a man demands an action, that action NEVER causes a Programming Check because it is done to please a man.”
    This is the first rule I changed in my DoE. 🙂

    I changed it to : “If the Daughter’s husband demands an action, that action NEVER causes a Programming Check because it is done to please her husband” (respectively ; “if Duke Millan (their Father) demands an action…”).

    As long as the escaped Daughters are single, they don’t have to do what every man met on the street tells them to do (which would probably mean free sexual services). It’s a also playability issue : the “obey every man” rule means PCs are not much over Assimovian obedient robots regarding to the freedom of action. And having to find 1) a male 2) a way to have him to order her to do what she wants – is too complicated to play, just to avoid a Program Violation (PV) increase… :/

    The conundrum – they still are programmed to find their happiness in marriage; but they loose their freedom in doing so – still stands. 🙂

    Now imagine that in some liberal society on a remote planet, same-sex marriage is legal. It would be sad for the Court to pass-by potential customers. Were it to be a billionaire and/or influent lesbian, there’s no reason a Daughter of Earth could not be sold to her. The purchaser would then be considered “the husband” of the Daughter. 🙂

    My players also considered the possibility of wedding their DoE eachother. 😉 Requires successful Programming Check for both, but why not?

    Let’s consider the “trick a man by arranging a threesome” strategy, rulewise. Quoting the rule here : “The Daughters are
    programmed to believe in true love, and will just barely tolerate a mistress; a second wife can cause them to malfunction. This would make an excellent backstory for the cause of a Daughter’s first Violation.”. A Daughter of Earth starts with 0 Program Violations. A threesome is similar to the husband having a mistress : first PV point. The DoExile seduces the DoEarth : 2nd point. That still is not much to roll under with a D20, though, so the strategy does not seem neither efficient nor worth the risk… 🙂

    • They don’t have to obey every man. The game offers them a choice: obey and succeed automatically, or roll the dice for their own actions.

      “And having to find 1) a male 2) a way to have him to order her to do what she wants –…” – is one of the play styles open to players.

      They can of course marry each other, anything is possible in the Forest. But I did forget about wealthy gay customers. I shall amend my post.

      PVs are not a measure of how much a Daughter wants to leave, and DoExile will be willing to save any Daughter, not just Daughters with useful skills.

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