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Old October 12th, 2015, 08:36 PM
BwapTED BwapTED is offline
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Default Slavery in Traveller ( need not be OTU)

Possible jobs/roles for slaves:

Labor force for low tech worlds
( robots may not always compete, spending on relative costs, local know how and infrastructure, etc. )

Gladiators any TL

Concubines, dancing girls, and so on, any TL

Test subjects?

Soldiers, given appropriate conditioning and training

Service workers of other sorts

What else?

Has anybody here made much use of slavery or other forms of unfree/ bonded labor in this Traveller games?

I'm thinking of making an ATU in which slavery is fairly common.

Last edited by BwapTED; October 14th, 2015 at 08:50 AM.. Reason: otu to atu
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Old October 12th, 2015, 09:21 PM
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One of the Honor Harringon series deals with Far Future Slavery.

IIRC genetically engineered skilled labor was a lucrative market.
So you need your TL 12 air raft repaired, but live on a TL 7 world. You can wait while a tech comes from another system at great time and expense. Or you can buy a repairman of your very own.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 09:25 PM
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Then we have the whole "cybernetic being slavery"---Robots who are considered independent life forms in one empire and constructs and therefore not independent life forms in another.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 09:35 PM
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Has anybody here made much use of slavery or other forms of unfree/ bonded labor in this Traveller games?
sure. whereever you find humans, you'll find some level of slavery.

the judy's too could be classified as slaves.

once ran a vargr npc who was fleeing her vargr master.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 10:00 PM
Meteoric Assault Meteoric Assault is offline
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I can see indentured servitude for colonial passage and settlement, and the demand of labor could create a class of 'invitro' workers.

Last edited by Meteoric Assault; October 13th, 2015 at 03:08 PM..
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Old October 12th, 2015, 11:39 PM
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Pretty much the gamut as you've pointed out. I've used various forms of a slavery, not just US-style Antebellum Slavery, but Greco-Roman Slavery in my campaigns, as well as bonded servants etc. As well as the "AI escaping from its human masters" trope a couple of times, and usually have a strong genetic engineering one in the mix as well.

As a fascinating look at how a very high Law Level society uses slavery (and torture) try reading the Judiciary novels by Susan R. Matthews. Very, very well written and a great example of a very high law level society with a twist.

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Old October 12th, 2015, 11:59 PM
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Well the 3I has strong Anti-Slavery laws, only one world has a dispensation and it's so heavily regulated that the practice is in a death spiral, only held on to as a piece of cultural heritage on this one world.

don't think the modern Joes can get their head around the idea, Darians can understand the concept, but dislike it, the Aslan conciser the practice unworthy and without honor.

not saying it doesn't happen in the 3I, just that it happens off book and is hidden.
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Old October 13th, 2015, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
I'm thinking of making an OTU in which slavery is fairly common.
Periodically these kinds of threads come up and there is a relevant point that should be noted: The 3I outlaws chattel slavery. There's other kinds of bonding that may be considered slavery but the definitions are ambiguous so the 3I doesn't involve itself in it. However, the 3I is also a big place and the people who are enforcing the laws few; so I actually think a lot of worlds could get away with chattel slavery for a period of time or even a long period of time under the correct circumstances (mostly if they're quiet about it and can pass it off as part of their culture).

Apologies in advance to the moderators if this skates too close to that "we shouldn't discuss this" but a large area of slavery is "sex" slavery of all kinds; the picking up "wives" from one world (this may be a high-pop world with few opportunities or low-tech worlds where people want to go somewhere more high-tech) - essentially like mail-order brides. Those who sign up for it may not end up on Capital or some glittering Tech Level OMG world that they were hoping for and are more likely to end up on those atmosphere 0 worlds and sold off to the masses of lonely workers who have plenty of money but little way to spend it. The slaves might be kidnapped or they might "volunteer" under fast-talk or similar false advertising. They might be sold by their own families. However, in some cases, the slaves might very well know pretty much what they're in for but decide that an uncertain fate is better than the situation they're in. There a wide variation on this kind of practice that I think the reader can easily conjecture, but I won't get into it because it would definitely be breaking my own personal "taste barrier."

Another example of slavery I've thought of and believe might be pretty common in the Traveller universe would be "technical slaves" or "science slaves." The 3I has wide differences in TLs; discussions of why these large disparities occur and the realism of their distributions are not part of the discussion here -- only that it happens. A world trying to bootstrap itself up (instead of simply buying into Imperial-style capitalism and bound up the TL ladder from TL "low" to TL12) might adopt a kind of autarky with minimal interference from the Imperium. In the range of TL2 to about TL7 (maybe TL8) they have an enormous demand for skilled workers (beyond that, increasing mechanization means that skilled workers vanish and you have unskilled workers + computer assistance making up an increasing part of the workforce); workers such as machine shop technical workers, people who can work steel smelters and repair them, and so on. Typically a world at a given TL in this range needs workers one or two TLs higher. I can imagine a pretty steady flow of slaves - using TL12 technology, it's probably not too hard to kidnap such people from TL2-TL7 worlds, transport them to worlds that need them and turn a very pretty penny doing it where they'd operate machines, train the locals on how to use them, and repair them and so on. Or the "doom trade" might be completely legal - there might be "economic migrants" of this type; as your own world moves from TL7 to TL8 and your machine shop skills become irrelevant against CAD/CAM technology, you might sign on with a trader who'll take you to a world that's TL6 trying to get to TL7 where your skills will be in demand. Once you get there, the ship operator takes fee for transporting you from the government there and now you have to work 20-30 years to pay off the "debt" to the government and you're not free to go anywhere until you do.

Beyond that, a lot of the traditional roles for slavery simply would not justify the costs of transporting the slaves themselves. While it's cool and cinematic to have thousands of people toiling away in terrible conditions to do work, slavery is basically only economic under certain conditions. In the Traveller universe, if a realm can pay some slaver (in jewels/gold/credits) to transport humans from one world to another, that realm could just as easily hire someone to bring over some gosh-wow TL14 "fusion-beam driller and CG heavy lifter" (basically a TL14 backhoe and crane) that could do the work hundreds of slaves over years in a few days or even a single week and it'd ultimately be cheaper to rent such a machine than it would be to buy chattel slaves. ("You guys need the "Great Wall" and a "Grand Canal" made? Is that it? I could throw in a few Great Pyramids for the fee you're offering or I could just work here for a month and give you back half your fee.").
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Old October 13th, 2015, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
Possible jobs/roles for slaves:
I'm thinking of making an OTU in which slavery is fairly common.
Adventure 6 documents a situation where the party is shanghaied and put into an arrangement that's functionally slavery to mine asteroids by hand. The notion of someone being roofied and kidnapped into servitude to make up the numbers in some labour-short environment (e.g. shitty atmosphere) is a form of slavery.
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Old October 13th, 2015, 07:33 AM
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We join you now on this Editorial Edition of Net-7 News, with your Anchor-rat, the Pakkrat:

My game just came off a sub-plot where the crew of the Ares discovered a mass Low-berth cargo container filled with four female and two male identical Darrian twins, (or were they clones?) smuggled into their cargo hold Armory. Each were found packed in like sardines and wearing a TL 15 circlet with micro-miniature electronics. These circlets erased short- and mid-term memory in the brain but left basic survial skills intact, (e.g. reading, writing, basic math, speech, language, etc).

The three Darrian crew on board the Ares, though detesting such crude modalities could not fathom what the 'sextuplets' were to be used for since none of them, upon reviving, could remember what they were before awakening.

Now, were the sextuplets really twins, cloned females and cloned males of twin Darrians? Were they test subjects? Cloned organ sources? The applications could be endless.

My point is that though we can use 'slavery' as a catch-all term to pluck on the heartstrings of the player-characers, the Far Future can use any number of workarounds for the leagalisation of such unknowns as the above example.

Let us not forget that in some polities, slavery (even if it is upward-mobile, graduating to freeman citizenship), can be legal and even seen as gentle social uplift for those who cannot or will not mesh with whatever world they currently reside. Some polities might see this as a service to better those enslaved for such upward graduation during service. One such polity, to name an example, was the Society of Equals in the fan-made Sourcebook: Gvurrdon Sector, (before Mongoose wrote their more-virginal version).

Another polity, further Coreward in Knoellighz Sector, that I am currently developing features highly valued and carefully treated 'slaves'. Six million TL 15, scientific clones on Dzagok (Knoellighz 2436) serve, somewhat blindly, the 'privateers' from UOSA (Knoellighz 2237) in a clon-ish need to be helpful and solve problems and such. They are being taken advantage of, to be sure, but each clone scientist is given safety, security and is returned to Dzagok when the given project is completed. UOSA Syndicate Privateers do their best - as privateers and as Corsairs - to provide the materials the clone scientists request for each project and the needs of their cloneworld Dzagok. Is this slavery in the Third Imperium's eyes far to Rimward? (For more information, search "Ascendancy Pact" on the wiki.)

Two examples of how slavery can be seen as a social uplift service rather than an atrocity of civilization,

Reporting from Serue (Knoellighz 1221), this is the Pakkrat.

P.S. Another society where sophonts might be considered 'enslaved' might be Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726), but that's more sexism due to need for survival. YMMV

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