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Old 09-19-2022, 05:36 PM   #11
Anthony
 
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
The Church is the faction that would be in favour. At least the part that isn't the Templars.
That's more along the scale of 'good start' than a sufficient faction (playing the role of, say, the Quakers).

If we look at the real world history of abolitionism, it generally started in areas where slavery wasn't particularly economically important to start with, and even then was often pretty slow -- a very common model was to ban new slaves (slaves could not be imported, children of slaves would be born free and have the rights of citizens) while not freeing any existing slaves (who were often quite valuable property). Freeing slaves and ending slavery in areas where slavery was actually economically important took a lot longer and frequently involved violence.

So is there something equivalent to that in Megalos? There could be, it's not like the actual economy of Megalos is clearly explained anywhere.
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One problem is that I'm not sure where serfdom comes from on Yrth. In the early days of the human settlement of Yrth there would have been few places for serfs to flee to but plenty of settlements happy to take people in and not enquire what their status was back on Earth.
That seems to depend quite a bit on what the area was actually like post-Banestorm. If fleeing your settlement meant you got killed by marauding beasts it's a lot easier for the local military authority to go "your price for protection is your labor".
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Old 09-20-2022, 06:05 AM   #12
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Actually it is strictly forbidden to release anyone from slavery in the empire. the only person who can is the emperor himself, if asked by the owner. A Ok is very rarely given.

First you have to make it legal that a master can free his own slaves, if he wants to.
Yes, I knew that: I should probably have said explicitly what I understood the state of Imperial Law to be in the first post.

And you can justify a reform of that law on purely economic grounds. It would function as a carrot to the stick of punishment and would bring in some actual tax income on the fees paid to the bureaucracy (as opposed to the outright bribes on the rare occasion the current system is used).

I think that the Emperor would know that changing too fast was a bad idea. He would have some access to the records of how things changed on Earth and since he has enough problems keeping the factions of the Empire together he would want to 'make haste slowly'.

My idea for a campaign is that things get away from him and he finds himself forced to change things faster than he wants to.

As for the weakness of the Church, maybe not so much. They could bring one of the two great fighting orders to the table as well as the magical resources of the Thomasite Order and a large part of the Imperial Bureaucracy. The local 'FBI', the Michaelites, are also technically under the Church.
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Old 09-20-2022, 08:41 AM   #13
johndallman
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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My idea for a campaign is that things get away from him and he finds himself forced to change things faster than he wants to.
Do you have a method for the PCs to be aware of these political forces? The trick with getting player buy-in for this kind of stuff is their awareness of and sympathy for the Emperor's position. Otherwise it can look as if the GM is changing things in an arbitrary manner.
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Old 09-20-2022, 10:42 AM   #14
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Do you have a method for the PCs to be aware of these political forces? The trick with getting player buy-in for this kind of stuff is their awareness of and sympathy for the Emperor's position. Otherwise it can look as if the GM is changing things in an arbitrary manner.
It's a follow on from my last campaign.

The players were agents/investigators for one of the Imperial Magistrates that have been sent out to deal with the backlog of Appeals to the Emperor that has built up while the Demon Usurper was busy ignoring all that boring stuff.

At Terridar they encountered a case that had arisen out of the current manumission law (Only the Emperor can do it) and the downright abusive behaviour of the Earl Of Teridar in offering manumission to the champion of the Emperor's Birthday Games and then not actually sending in the petition (it's cheaper that way) and just saying the Emperor had refused the request.

This got them entangled in an attempt at a mass slave revolt and the intervention of the Templars who wanted to gain a foothold on the mainland.

And one of the PCs afterward passed a proposal for reform on to his boss, the Magistrate, who passed it on to his boss The Emperor.

So they are there at the start and can see the effects as they travel around the Empire on circuit. And naturally, life being unfair like that, the good results will get attributed to the Emperor and the bad to the damn fool who thought it up.
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Old 09-20-2022, 03:46 PM   #15
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Actually it is strictly forbidden to release anyone from slavery in the empire. the only person who can is the emperor himself, if asked by the owner. A Ok is very rarely given.

First you have to make it legal that a master can free his own slaves, if he wants to.

This first step is not such a big problem, because people who have hope to be rleased , work normally harder, and the masters are not unhappy because nobody orders them to set valuable property free.

Slavery is heriditary in the empire, changing this can be a step to reduce slave numbers, but it is also likely that children are just dumped in the streets at night to die. Because the owners have no monetary reward for raising them.

The usual ways of freeing slaves in history have been discusssed here. So I want repeat them.
Can a slave own himself?

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Yes, the first unexpected reaction would be from the serfs! "Why are you giving Those People Over There the chance to be free when we aren't?"
Interesting to see serfdom and slavery coexisting - which I don't recall happening historically. How do the two interact?
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Old 09-20-2022, 04:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Interesting to see serfdom and slavery coexisting - which I don't recall happening historically. How do the two interact?
We had such a situation in history, in the last phase of the roman decline people were forced to keep their partents job, and peasants were legally bound to the fields they ployed. This was the historical birth of serfdom. Still a lot of people kept slaves and both system went hand in hand for some time. Slavery in the west was even legal to a point were serfdom was no more.

In the worly of YRTH both systems make much sense, serfdom brought over from earth, because it was the middle ages were the banestorm first occured, and slavery. a nation like Megalos or other warmongers will have a steady supply of prosoners of war, which makes slaves cheap and easy to aquire.

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Can a slave own himself?
Interesting question, which borders to the philosophical. In old history slave were allowed to have property including other slaves. But a slave owning himself would be a free person, because no other person owns him. a slave has by definition a master who has to be another person or in certain cases intitution. A lot of slaves in the late roman time were owned by the church - who was not a good master. In the time before slaves could be owned by the state, temples or just movable inventory of a farm or manufactory, or being owned by a singel person.

Last edited by Willy; 09-20-2022 at 04:48 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 09-20-2022, 04:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Can a slave own himself?
In Megalos, presumably not. Plenty of slave systems made it at least theoretically possible for the slave to buy their freedom, but you wouldn't see that in combination with laws forbidding freeing slaves.
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Old 09-21-2022, 05:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Interesting question, which borders to the philosophical. In old history slave were allowed to have property including other slaves. But a slave owning himself would be a free person, because no other person owns him.
Note that there are often multiple classes of "free". A freed slave is often not considered the equal of free born proles, let alone actual citizens. He might not even be that. A slave who owns himself is still in principle bound by the laws applicable to slaves - can't testify in court, can't marry or have legitimate offspring, if killed by a real person that's not a crime as long as they pay the owner (who being dead here can't very well accept the money, and legally he couldn't have any heirs, so....)

Incidentally the usual attempt as gradually abolishing slavery is to convert it to indentured servitude - that is the slave is freed after a fixed number of years. Another commonly proposed attempt is to allow anyone to buy the freedom of a slave at the price their master claims them at on the tax rolls, which from the point of view of the state is nice because it discouraged underpaying your taxes too. Neither of these have a great history of success, but no slow emancipation schemes really do.
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Old 09-21-2022, 05:33 AM   #19
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

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Can a slave own himself?
No.

But I could see a situation where a company or other corporate body owned a slave and that slave was in effective control of the corporation because the real owner was missing or indifferent to its running.

It might be possible for the slave to issue orders that the company manumit the CEO. But it might not be wise to draw attention to this anomaly in the law.
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Old 09-21-2022, 02:54 PM   #20
Alden Loveshade
 
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Default Re: [BANESTORM] Ending slavery in the Evil Empire

The Secret Masters won't let me give any specific details on the Pyramid issues coming from the last Pyramid Scheme. But in my article I describe one of my Yrth PCs who, in game play, had both servants and slaves--but for the article I only mention servants.

I'm going to tread perilously close to a different edge. Based on GURPS Banestorm, the most popular holy books brought in by humans describe how to treat slaves and, by some interpretations, who can be enslaved. They do not speak against slavery itself. So many if not most religious authorities may well be against the change (as happened more than once in our Earth's history).

And, as has been mentioned, there's the economic issue. In America's history, the majority of support for slavery was from people and areas that depended on them economically. Those people and areas that opposed slavery generally did not have an economy based on slavery.

So you'll probably have a lot of religious folk, nobles, wealthy merchants, and, of course, common people, opposed to the whole "free the slaves" idea.

I do wonder if the Underground Engineers, who typically came from a society without slavery, might get involved in the "free the slaves" movement.

EDIT: In retrospect, I have serious doubts that stating Underground Engineers "typically came from a society without slavery" is canon as per GURPS Banestorm. That could come from Third Edition, or, probably more likely, from an interconnected Yrth campaign that's run in different forms since Third Edition.

But even with my goof, I think there's a good chance some of the Underground Engineers might get involved (those who are more concerned about keeping themselves secret likely wouldn't).
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Last edited by Alden Loveshade; 09-22-2022 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Correction to statement about Underground Engineers
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