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Menhir

About slavery

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Hello everybody !

How to enslave a captured enemy ?

Beat him, chain him, threaten him, deport him, and all kinds of disgusting things, okay !

But how to cut him off from its magic ? How the Lunars do that in their slaves farms ?

Thanks for your comments !

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There are slave collars (described in Cults of Prax p114)

Quote

J. SLAVE BRACELETS, ETC.

These magical devices sap the wearer of available Power, thereby
insuring their passivity and greatly reducing any chance of
escape. The Power so removed dissipates onto the Spirit Plane.
These shackles originally were of dwarf make, but humans since
have learned the skill. They can be bought for a minimum of
3050 Lunars per set from a manufacturer, but cost more when
purchased from a middleman.

[...]

Edited by metcalph

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Also, a slave's magic is likely to become pretty crappy without access to proper shrines and worship, one would imagine. 

And further, the Orlanthi are unusual in the amount of magic a regular joe has access to. Many cultures leave higher-level magic to the professionals.

Specialist cults would also have enslavement magic (perhaps most common in Fonrit). 

Edited by Akhôrahil

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9 hours ago, Menhir said:

Hello everybody !

How to enslave a captured enemy ?

Beat him, chain him, threaten him, deport him, and all kinds of disgusting things, okay !

But how to cut him off from its magic ? How the Lunars do that in their slaves farms ?

Thanks for your comments !

There's a bit about the enslaved Maboder in The Coming Storm/The Eleven Lights.

The cult of Ernalda the Slave is popular amongst the thralls. This is Ernalda in her aspect as a prisoner of the Emperor’s Court, before Orlanth freed her. She teaches endurance and forbearance to her faithful.

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11 hours ago, Menhir said:

But how to cut him off from its magic ? How the Lunars do that in their slaves farms ?

Drugs.  There have got to be herbs, mushroom, or other drugs that cut one off from the ability to focus on casting spirit magic or achieve a connection to the gods.  I picture something like "forkroot" from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

It's by far the easiest approach as you can keep a larger populace disconnected from their magic than via expensive enchantments (e.g. slave bracelets/collars) or expensive unenchanted iron.  Of course, there may also be magics/sorcery which can achieve such effects too and may be useful in initially capturing a slave.  E.g. a sorcery spell might require: Separate + Man + Magic as the technique and runes to employ.  You could increase duration to prolong for a day or so, but probably gets too draining to do for long if you have a lot of slaves.

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Removing the caster's focus inhibits their Spirit Magic casting (requiring an additional round of casting); this might involve surgical (or not-so-surgical) removal of tattoos in some cases. Separating an Initiate from their Rune Magic is harder, but without Worship ceremonies, they're only going to get to cast each Rune Spell once, and you'd expect they'd've fired off most of those to avoid having been enslaved in the first place. Sorcery takes a lot of MP for 'really dangerous' stuff; separating them from their MP enchantments (more tattoo removal, in some cases) might suffice to ensure they can't do much with their Sorcery (and also reduce what they can do with Spirit magic) beyond give (possibly painful but probably not decisive) notice of their uppitiness. Guarding potentially-magical slaves wouldn't be as easy as keeping 'mundane' slaves in line.

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Defiantly the drugs - it's the cheapest, most scalable, simplest, "low-tech" way of doing it.

Less technological societies often have a wide range of herbal and traditional methods of utilising the natural world around them.

People also spend a lot of effort in working out how to get "out of their heads" - combine the two and that's the easiest method.

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This an uncomfortable subject but I am curious to know how people approach this. My gang of players are... very likely to rescue slaves and the mechanics of how it works in Glorantha is kind of amorphous. Knowing how things work is a good way to help them figure how to circumvent the system.

Orlanthi thralls are quite different from Lunar (or Praxian) chattel slaves, of course.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

My gang of players are... very likely to rescue slaves and the mechanics of how it works in Glorantha is kind of amorphous.

A good example is the Salt Mines covered in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure.  There the slaves are largely in a place they can't get out of readily.  They've likely used up all their stored Rune Magic, can't get anywhere to replenish, and spirit magic doesn't last long enough to do much good.

For the slave farms like that in Colymar lands, right in the middle of Orlanthi territory, I'd probably use a combination of non-magical chains to limit movement (running away), drugs to suppress magical focus/concentration, and maybe a slave collar for a rune priest/lord.  Damage their spirit magic foci in some way as well.  They certainly could be rescued, but there will be hindrances (and pursuit).

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Most people only have magic for livelihoods, so it’s less difficult to enslave them. Confiscation and destruction of items, separation from children (hostages), destruction of shrines and temples, ritual cutting of tattoos and patterned scars,  prevention of worship, laming, blinding, amputations and execution of troublemakers, the aged and the disabled. Drugging may be used for a while to stop worship and magical renewal (but not for too long as it is relatively high cost). Slave bracelets will only be used on extremely valuable prisoners and hostages.

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What are the usual spirit magic spells useful to ordinary people?

As a (single) parent, I'd definitely have things that help with cooking, cleaning, and something equivalent to caffeine ready. As a storyteller and poet, something that helps me perform or keep scads of words accurately memorised. I imagine farmers would have things that keep animals calm and cooperative, and heal and strengthen crops, or scare away/exterminate vermin and predators. Some of these might be cleverly used against oppressors, however.

Are there some that are so mundane that they aren't in the rules?

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Also remember that Spirit Magic requires a focus. In HeroQuest terms, Spirit Magic is something you have, and you take that away from enslaved individuals. Tattooed foci will be defacedd, material foci removed from their possessions. Tattooed enchantments won't fare any better.

The ultimate seal is probably a ritual where the slave is offered limited freedom in exchange for joining a slave cult, with POW donation etc., at least in societies like Fonrit, or taking a vow backed by punitive sorcery (which would be the Vadeli method).

Orlanthi thraldom is probably less severe. Lunar prisoners of war are likely to receive slave bracelets and/or collars until dispatched to their future owner, who then will demand a punishment-backed oath to be relieved of those magical shackles.

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Of course the Hendriki have a hostility to slavery... and that is where my PCs are from.

I'm pretty sure that they have work-arounds to all these approaches.

Do the Orlanthi really respect oaths made under duress? There is presumably some sly way to quibble over them.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

Of course the Hendriki have a hostility to slavery... and that is where my PCs are from.

I'm pretty sure that they have work-arounds to all these approaches.

Do the Orlanthi really respect oaths made under duress? There is presumably some sly way to quibble over them.

All oaths are made under some duress. That's how peace settlements are negotiated, people offer ransom or wed into unfavorable clans.

Whether someone points a blade to your throat or whether you are deeply inebriated, an oath is something you have to keep in some way.

Oaths made under duress usually have limiting clauses like "as my god allows me" or similar.

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Do the Orlanthi really respect oaths made under duress? There is presumably some sly way to quibble over them.

They could always man up and die. They don't have to give in.

If an oath is acceptable enough that it's preferable to death or suicide then it's acceptable. No weaseling. At least that's the Humakti in me talking.

Edited by simonh

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given the cost of slave bracelets and the ubiquity of slaves in Glorantha I doubt they see much use.

Slavery is an integral part of many Gloranthan cultures and while some resonate with our modern view (shackles & cruelty) others are closer to a caste system with obligations of the owner where life as a slave may be preferable to that of a beggar. Community is the most important survival technique, keeping you head down in return for protection, food and shuttler is often all that is required. Slaves are cheap and culling the few bad apples to keep the rest in line is all it will take.

There is also the separate issue of enslaving a group versus the individual. Our society is very individualistic which is often reflected in our PC's being vagabonds and what makes them heroes. We'd think nothing (in a game) to start a slave revolt without too much concern for for those killed in the process or the aftereffect. The new rules start to look at their with Passions, so Honour, Loyalty or Love (Family) could be used to either way. The motivations to keep a community in check are very different from that of an small group.

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40 minutes ago, simonh said:

They could always man up and die. They don't have to give in.

If an oath is acceptable enough that it's preferable to death or suicide then it's acceptable. No weaseling. At least that's the Humakti in me talking.

Quite. Your word is your life. Unless it isn't, and you don't mind being thought of as an oathbreaker. How severe an oathbreaker you're considered is probably a function of both the 'reasonableness' of the oath and its context, and the attitude of the considerer towards oathtaking.

Given the Sartarite attitude towards foreigners/enemies and the law, for example, I don't imagine there'd be much disapprobation from your community for breaking an oath made to a Lunar, especially under duress, and more fool the Lunar who didn't comprehend that the oath would be void as soon as the duress became inoperable.

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1 hour ago, Psullie said:

given the cost of slave bracelets and the ubiquity of slaves in Glorantha I doubt they see much use.

Slavery is an integral part of many Gloranthan cultures and while some resonate with our modern view (shackles & cruelty) others are closer to a caste system with obligations of the owner where life as a slave may be preferable to that of a beggar. Community is the most important survival technique, keeping you head down in return for protection, food and shuttler is often all that is required. Slaves are cheap and culling the few bad apples to keep the rest in line is all it will take.

There is also the separate issue of enslaving a group versus the individual. Our society is very individualistic which is often reflected in our PC's being vagabonds and what makes them heroes. We'd think nothing (in a game) to start a slave revolt without too much concern for for those killed in the process or the aftereffect. The new rules start to look at their with Passions, so Honour, Loyalty or Love (Family) could be used to either way. The motivations to keep a community in check are very different from that of an small group.

I agree with the above. It's all well and good to start a slave revolt if you're a bunch of chained-up, desperate war captives with little to lose - but what if your entire clan/tribe/city was enslaved, and revolting means that, quite likely, a punishment army will be dispatched to kill everyone - including your wife and children. Simple slavery might be more acceptable than that.

This also depends on if there is a real market for individuals slaves, in the sense of what we find post-1492 with the transatlantic slave trade, where individuals rather than local populations were enslaved, and bartered off in a proto/early-capitalist manner. Given that much of Peloria is densely populated due to already-present local population, there might not be that much point in importing individuals slaves, for example. Better to use the slaves in the areas where they were subjugated to build and maintain the frontier.

58 minutes ago, womble said:

Quite. Your word is your life. Unless it isn't, and you don't mind being thought of as an oathbreaker. How severe an oathbreaker you're considered is probably a function of both the 'reasonableness' of the oath and its context, and the attitude of the considerer towards oathtaking.

Given the Sartarite attitude towards foreigners/enemies and the law, for example, I don't imagine there'd be much disapprobation from your community for breaking an oath made to a Lunar, especially under duress, and more fool the Lunar who didn't comprehend that the oath would be void as soon as the duress became inoperable.

The attitude of "outsider aren't moral entities" does seem to prevail in many areas of Glorantha, as it did in real life. Hence the enormous importance of collective agreements (Shadow Tribute, etc.) essentially making it possible to give aliens a place in the moral schema.

You see similar things in the real world. A friend of mine did fieldwork on a small island in the pacific, and she was adopted into a household (complete with a ceremony) that allowed people in the local community to "make sense of her" beyond her just being a stranger who no one could really figure out.

Of course, murdering her or selling her in slavery was never an option to them, but you catch my drift.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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8 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

What are the usual spirit magic spells useful to ordinary people?

Repair is the king.  Farmers, craftsmen, housekeepers, pretty much everyone has uses for it.  Heal would be second as it's generally useful but not needed as often.

Others would tend to be more occupation-specific.  Hunters, for instance, could use Mobility, Farsee, the missile spells, maybe Slow, etc.  (And in Prax, of course, there's the Peaceful Cut, though that's more a skill than a spell.)

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Given that "magic makes the world easier to negotiate because you have spells, but more dangerous because so do your foes," pretty much anyone will be at a disadvantage in the world if they don't have a decent selection of Spirit Magic.

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2 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

Repair is the king.  Farmers, craftsmen, housekeepers, pretty much everyone has uses for it.  Heal would be second as it's generally useful but not needed as often.

Others would tend to be more occupation-specific.  Hunters, for instance, could use Mobility, Farsee, the missile spells, maybe Slow, etc.  (And in Prax, of course, there's the Peaceful Cut, though that's more a skill than a spell.)

People from certain occupations, like a Hunter, are less likely to be compliant slaves, since they can escape more easily.

Note there is an Ernalda the Slave subcult in HQ, but not an Orlanth the Slave... He's Orlanth the Outlaw, the 'escaped slave/rebel'. A good reason to only allow Barntar (and not any other Thunder Brothers)... Ernalda the Slave however clearly also has a tradition called 'incite rescue'. I guess woman escapees would gravitate toward Vinga, who's also not fond of oppression.

However I could imagine a Humakti being bound by an oath, and serving as the new master, including fighting revolts and rescue attempts... that's pretty sad.

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4 hours ago, womble said:

Quite. Your word is your life. Unless it isn't, and you don't mind being thought of as an oathbreaker. How severe an oathbreaker you're considered is probably a function of both the 'reasonableness' of the oath and its context, and the attitude of the considerer towards oathtaking.

Given the Sartarite attitude towards foreigners/enemies and the law, for example, I don't imagine there'd be much disapprobation from your community for breaking an oath made to a Lunar, especially under duress, and more fool the Lunar who didn't comprehend that the oath would be void as soon as the duress became inoperable.

If you read between the lines, Hendrik the Free probably broke an oath when he betrayed Palangio and became an outlaw. His people reject slavery (and usually thralldom) so they do have a nuanced view of forcible oaths. 'Tyrant' is a recognized mythic role in Orlanthi stories and those stories tend to go in the same way.

 

Edit: However, later things come to a head with the Shadow Tributes; Hendriki rejection of Heort's promises perhaps stems from the same individualism.

Edited by jeffjerwin
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6 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

Repair is the king.  Farmers, craftsmen, housekeepers, pretty much everyone has uses for it.  Heal would be second as it's generally useful but not needed as often.

Others would tend to be more occupation-specific.  Hunters, for instance, could use Mobility, Farsee, the missile spells, maybe Slow, etc.  (And in Prax, of course, there's the Peaceful Cut, though that's more a skill than a spell.)

Low level (probably one only needs a single point) Bladesharp would be very high up. All those common-use tools need constant sharpening and attention if you are a farmer or crafter.

"Kill Vermin" (aka Disruption) might be popular too.

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