Development Credit: Faith
Sex sells, there is no doubting that. But seduction does much more than that. In order to understand seduction, it must be clear what it is to seduce. An individual can seduce another with promises of power, thoughts of amassing wealth, considerations of joining political families or, sometimes, with sex. Seduction is the art and skill of making another want something ~ and a true master of seduction can make them want it more than anything else. More than that, true seduction can make its target addicted, taking a basic desire and turning it into a long term need, never satisfied and where the seduced is always looking for their next fix.
It is worth noting that the casual selling of sex is a very blunt instrument in comparison to the precision tool of seduction. A character with a high seduction skill can wrestle information from a tight-lipped guard captain or make a regular informant out of the head of a criminal organization, depending on how the skill is used. Of course, courtesans with this skill are highly sought after and there have been situations where individuals have killed each other for the pleasure of buying time with, or buying outright, individuals skilled in seduction.
Seduction vs Persuasion
There is, undoubtedly, some overlap between these two skills but there are far more differences than similarities. Persuasion is the art of persuading someone to do. It is to convince them, to urge them or to somehow persuade them to do something specific. Seduction, on the other hand, is to corrupt, to change or enhance their fundamental desires for. One might persuade someone to do something incredibly brave or honourable, but the art and skill of seduction is much more likely to lead people away from their morals or beliefs; it is a darker skill when used in that way. Of course, seduction is also the skill and art of being physically attractive and 'seductive' to another, which may or may not be a nefarious act, depending on the context.
The novice seducer is able to make their target want something, but when they do it is a much more obvious and far less subtle than perhaps they would like. The person on the receiving end of this is likely to know that they are being seduced into wanting whatever is on offer and the seducer needs to be obvious. Even if it is something that the target might actually want, the outcome of this seduction is as likely to be unsuccessful as it is to work, it is an unsubtle approach most certainly. Furthermore, any success on the part of the individual attempting the seduction is very short lived and will not have any longer term effects, because there is no indication that this is the choice of the target and the seduction is very obvious.
Competence in seduction means that one is able to make ones target desire something or someone successfully. This does not mean that sex must be involved, far from it, but most of the time the target still knows that they are being seduced into desiring the thing or person in question, but they are much more likely to still succumb. If what is on offer is something that the target would normally enjoy, the seduction is likely (maybe 90% success rate) to be successful, however it is short lived and will have no lasting impact in terms of being addictive. At this level of skill it is very difficult (less than a 25% success rate) to seduce someone into doing something that they do not have any level of desire for. The seducer is realising as they progress through this level that the trick to successful seduction is making the target believe that they are in control, that it is their idea and that the power resides with them. This is the trick to true seduction and the sooner this is realised, the better the seducer gets.
An expert in seduction understands what people want, why they want it and how to manipulate their actions around that desire. At this level, the individual with the seduction skill is starting to be able to make an unwanted or unattractive option appealing to their unwitting target and that target is starting to believe that they are the ones in control. The expert seducer understands that it is this which is key; the target has to believe that they have won, gained a victory or achieved a prize. Upon achieving this level of skill, the seducer is almost always likely to be successful if the desired outcome is one which they would normally find appealing. If what is on offer is something that the target is very prone towards enjoying, wanting or desiring then the expert seducer might start to see longer term effects and mild to moderately addictive impacts.
The master in seduction is a force to be reckoned with. They are able to make the most unattractive thing or person appear attractive and can seduce the most hardy souls into believing that they are getting what they have always wanted. The master seducer can make an unwanted thing or person appealing and make their target want it, long term. For the majority of things on offer, the individual can bring about long term and addictive need, it is only the most unattractive of outcomes which the seducer still finds difficult to make their target addicted to. Furthermore, the target is almost entirely convinced that they are in control, that it is what they want and that they, in fact, instigated the interaction. By the time that the target realises that they are utterly controlled it is almost always far, far too late.