Pathfinder: The Fall of the Empire
Background on Slave Clans
Slavery is legal and practiced!!!!
Here is how it works *currently *in the Empire:
Only Empire Sanctioned Clans are allowed to create, purchase and sell slaves. Slaves are typically branded on the nape of their neck and sometimes ankles and shoulders. These brands are usually but not always magical and are “Soul Seared” which means that removing them is extra hard. A child born of a slave is also a slave.
Slaves are a luxury and only the excessively wealthy own slaves. As of 350 years ago there was an over abundance of slaves and the Empire had to levy controls that prevented everyone from enslaving each other. Also, a number of laws were passed that prevent from the slave owners from being “excessively cruel” to their slaves. The slaves are still considered property but require the local Magister’s or Noble writ to be Put to the Axe, never tortured unless committing a crime.
Slaves range from the upwards of 500 Thrones and have been sold for as much as 10,000 Oldies. Approximately the cost of 1 shore worthy 40 oar, 1 mast vessel. The number is dependent on the slave and is entirely subjective.
There are 2 ways to become a slave: 1) you are sold by your parents into slavery for any number of reasons. Such as paying land tithes, obtaining food, gold, or a promotion for a family member, etc. 2) You were captured in battle by member of a slave clan and willingly submitted in exchange of choosing death. When this is done all your property, and immediate family members, i.e. wife, husband and children are also subjected to that clans slavery agreement. Under these conditions the family is sold as one unit and are subject to decisions as if it was 1 unit of property.
Slaves can achieve freedom and can purchase their rights sometime by breaking up a family to separate slave units, thus increasing their value and sometimes freeing one of the children.
Dostelrius houses 5,000,000 citizens and over 1,250,000 slaves. Slaves function in forced military, on ships and foot, servants, sex slaves, hard labor, educators, gladiators, ‘mist’ fighter (I’ll explain that in a sec), pit dogs, tutors, teachers, and craftsmen. In other words they take on every role that normal citizens don’t want.
Pit dogs are gladiators whose master no longer trust them in the arena or on campus training grounds. Brutal to the death underworld pits that leave the slaves as animals if they survive at all. ‘mist’ fighters are unsanctioned casters that are added to the foray in the gladiator arenas. They rarely go to the pits unless they can do both.
There are 7 Sanctioned Slave Clans
- Gorh’s Clan of the Broken Wheel. A symbol of red and gold cog on the nape of the neck.
- Xafth’ Fire Cleansed Clan. A symbol of a black and red flame under a yellow cowl
- Temple Port’s Blackfish Clan. A symbol of a diving blackfish.
- Sharaya City’s Dogma Clan. Fanatically Imperial. Symbol of a noose on a cross.
- Sharaya City’s Yasheth Clan. Oldest and most powerful. A symbol of an upside down gold crown around a humanoid neck.
- Dostelrius’ Kabal. Cruelest. A symbol of a black twisted scourge, blooded and dripping.
- Dostelrius’ Clan Kraken. Ship trainers. A golden sun gripped by a purple kraken.
The Broken Wheel has its foot in the door from the nomadic raider from the east. There is some trickle down effect from the south but majority of its stock comes from the east. They pride themselves on “willing slaves”. Slaves here enjoy many privileges that are not granted to most slaves in any other clans. Often these privileges include education in a particular study. Anything from wine making to accounting to secretive casting.
The Broken Wheel often walks the fine line between legal and illegal and sometime slaves risk their lives in pursuit of their masters’ needs. As such there are many a spy that comes from this clan. Those with true skill are prized across the empire. Because the training is extensive and the eastern captives are in great demand the price for these slaves is high. Unlike some of the other clans, there are often fewer slaves in the Broken Wheel than masters.
The shrewed Clansmen, believe that flesh has endless potential and intend on maximizing every pence.
The Yasheth Clan is the oldest and most powerful. Its main strength is their main weakness, their bureaucratic machine is so vast and well oiled and that it, in many way resembles the better days of the empire. In it also lays a flaw, the inability to change.
The Yasheth possess the ear of the emperor and the Council of Eldars. In fact one of them sits on one of the seats and is one of the oldest surviving members of the Empire, nearly 3,000 years old. Yes he is an elf. His name is Sorayeb Goth ash’Yasheth and is the son of the founder of the clan. His name inspires awe and fear and its impossible that one of you ever even seen him.
The clan consists of almost 1,000,000 member slavers who function in every sort of capacities. Some belong to it in a similar way as members belong to the Free Masons 300 years ago in America. In returned they must act when summoned and without delay. They are given privileges above normal citizens of the empire.
They own over 3,000,000 slaves across the empire and have their fingers in every pie. The slaves can come from anywhere and be of any background! The Yasheth offer strict policies for buying back their freedom from their owners and that is made in effect by the long reach of the Imperial law, Yasheth power and etiquette. A slave knows exactly how much he needs to buy freedom and what they can do to earn it. In this way people who possess debt attemt to pay off debts by indenturing themselves to the Clan.
The Fire Cleansed take their stock from the South and from across the lake and the river. There are a few Eastmen but majority come south of the mountains. These slaves, like those of the broken wheel are considerably fewer than their western slaver clan counterparts. Because of this the slaves are treated with a certain dignity. Training and education is provided.
However, the slave’s demeanor is changed through their rebirth in the service of the fire and forge god, Kaus. They are rebirthed as fierce warrior acolytes. While their value increases drastically these break into three categories.
The Yarls: fierce warriors that use precisely controlled combat techniques that are aided by the warmth of Kaus. These warriors fight as one unit, on foot using special long spears and shields. It has been heard that 1000 of them took on an Elvish Host and by the end of the battle 89 remained and the Host turned tail.
The Wind Wisperer: These warrior priests have the intention of cleaning and disrupting the enemy lines. These soldiers are armed with whips and short swords, rolling around close to the ground, tripping opponents and sundering the fallen of their lives.
The wailers: the last of the trained guardians. These slaves are there to aid with the strength of the god, Kaus. Often with their hands on the backs of the Yarls and their symbols burning high above them.
The Blackfish Clan buys and sells slaves across the empire. The buyer will find the largest variety here at a cost. The Blackfish is a tightly run organization with a patriarch like efficiency resembling the hierarchy of mobsters. The owner is Jonter Blackfish, a self made privateer who inherited his title from the previous Blackfish, not related.
The Blackfish Clan plan to evaluate their wares through use and testing, but once a niche has been discovered decent training is provided to increase value. Slaves are treated relatively fairly but when punished, punished severely. Its most loyal slaves, those with more power and rights than most empire citizens, are marked with secret Clan insignias and often sport other clan affiliations or none at all for the purpose of infiltration.
There are approximately 50,000 slaves across the empire and a staff of well trained ‘privateers’ of approximately 10,000 or less. The clan is clever to solicit the favor of the empire and Temple Port nobility and often walks the fine line between belligerence and loyalty, serving their own needs above those of that they claim to serve.
The Kabal colects its flesh wares from the south, looking for mongrel men, half bred orcs and ogres as well as full bred and other oddities that attract the blood enraged in the arenas. They are the second oldest slaver clan and have long endured the shadow of the Yasheth, their main competitor and agitator. For the most part the head of the house hold are elves. These have little regard for the flesh of any race including their own and truly treat it like a commodity. Those that have come outside of the “prime” races, dwarf, elf, human, gnome and halfling, are treated as if they were sheep. The Kabal trenches over 100,000 staff across the empire and beyond. Approximately 40,000 staff members are located in Dostelrius. Approximately 250,000 slaves in the vicinity of the city and as far as the slaver’s market. So it is unlikely that you have come into any contact with the elves and at best have seen them in passing.
The Kabal makes a good deal of their money from the pits, the sex slaves and the breaking of military and shipping slaves to assure buyers that they will not run. Most never do but there are some that retain their sense of self. The Kabal specializes in breaking the will of their slaves. So their known for their cruelty because few have the stamina, strength and will to survive the brainwashing that is unleashed on a Kabal slave. Furthermore, part of their ritual is to repeat this process every so often and offer this for free to all who purchase their slaves. Because of this they have a diplomat in every town and city that has the ear and coin in the court.
There are marking and symbols to indicate rank, function, unit part and ownership as part of the design. As well as privileges. Privileges, once given, can never be taken away and not only increase the value of a slave. Ex: The red and gold cog on the nape of the neck may have a blue rectangular tab between the cogs; indicating that the slave knows sailing, or a blade; indicating slave knows combat, etc.
There are many slaves that have taken on primary roles and do a Noble’s accounting, Negotiating or fleet preparations. Some run entire estate and know more about their master’s treasury than their master.
As with anything, the initial intention of the conquering Elven Forces was to get cheap labor. As the ages progressed and the wars brought in more and more slaves there was often more slaves than masters by a thousand fold. It was not only impossible to control these numbers by so few but it was dangerous. Slaves, especially human slaves rebelled and slaughtered their masters. This happened more so when there was a food shortage and slaves began dying off.
Then partial privileges were granted to some slaves, giving them control over other slaves. Initially a good idea that quickly turn bloody. Slaves operating other slaves often became cruel and caused their subjugated lower counterparts violently against them and their masters.
As the number of elves diminished the need for trained servants turned a once ignorant slave into an intelligent, and often destructive force. This got out of hand at around 500 years ago. Slavers captured anything that moved and mishaps such as slavers that captured and enslaved a town were themselves captured by another band.
Causing The Slave Wars around 400 years ago. Slave armies of different clans clashed against one another yielding more bloodshed than result. Slaves looked to escape not serve their clans and eventually the Empire had to send 10 Hosts to interject. Nearly 300,000 soldiers, slaves and freedmen fell at the end of this battle. The largest sum in the last 1,000 years! After that the Empire had locked the amount of Clans that are able to own slaves to 7 and formalized the laws.
350 years ago the Empire experienced a series of plagues that wrecked the entire world. Emperors, citizens and slave fell dead. Not only plagued by the diseases but by a continuous strings of invasions new laws regarding slavery were created. Limiting the treatment of slaves and allowing them right to purchase freedom.