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    Canonfire :: View topic - Legality of Slavery in the Flanaess
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    Legality of Slavery in the Flanaess
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu May 27, 2004 8:21 am  
    Legality of Slavery in the Flanaess

    I'm looking for canon material (or at least as close as I can get) regarding the subject of slaver in the Flanaess. I know that the "Slavers" is a good resource (for abductees), but it doesn't address how the rest of the world looks at the subject -- Baklunish, Olmans, Aerdi, etc! What kinds of slaver are acceptable and where? Who's buying them? Are there guilds? What gods (of any alignment) would have slavery in their portfolios? What is the going rate (in g.p.) for a slave sold at auction? I assume that education, health, skills, and beauty have some qualifying factors. Where does the City of Greyhawk draw the line on what is slaver and what is not? What are the legal ramifications for a captured slaver? I am more concerned with the legal end of this question than I am the moral. Is an indentured servant a slave?

    Any help would be great. Thanks
    Zephirum Ibn-Zayn Al-Zehara Hajji Ghazi Magi Idea
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    Thu May 27, 2004 8:47 am  

    Here's a pretty good discussion on this exact subject if you're interested.

    http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=97693
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    Thu May 27, 2004 8:56 am  

    Just taking a stab at one thing you asked in particular, about the City of Greyhawk. Looking at The Adventure Begins, it has slavery or procurement of slaves listed as a Minor Crime in Greyhawk. Minor crimes range from hard labor for a time of weeks, to years, with fines set at a percentage of the criminals worth up to 1,000gp. I don't think there was actually any in depth discussion about slavery in particular and its aspects in Greyhawk though.
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    Thu May 27, 2004 3:04 pm  

    Some disjointed thoughts:

    The City of Greyhawk - a city run by thieves - is surely willing to wink at slave trading for the right price. I recall in some portion of the boxed set it mentions some Rhennee trading in slaves with Iuz at Admunfort.

    Aerdi has always struck as a Romanesque country, and Rome was a huge buyer of slaves. In Ivid the Undying, I recall mention of gladiatorial arenas in Eastfair - surely the gladiators are slaves (don't recall if the gazeteer stated that they were slaves, though).

    Iuz of course uses slave labor - usually those he has conquered. I distinctly recall reading in Iuz the Evil that he used dwarven slaves in his mines. The reference to slave trading by the Rhenee indicates that Iuz also buys slaves.

    I doubt the good nations of the central Flanaess would condone slavery, although it might be part of their past. (Perhaps Nyrond used the immorality of slavery to encourage support among the common folk for independence from Aerdi, as Lincoln did in the Civil War.) I do recall mention in the Marklands that slavery was rearing its ugly head again in the more desparate parts of Nyrond after the Wars, which makes me think that slavery is condemned in this land. (At the same time, ancient cultures thought of slavery very differently than we do today - as long as you enslaved the right type of people, good nations might be OK with it. Perhaps some countries use captured humanoids as slaves. Maybe the Yeomanry has some enslaved giants used to help build fortifications. Adri woodsmen might use captured Aerdi soldiers as slaves.).

    And, of course, the Scarlet Brotherhood uses savages as slaves in large numbers, and I assume uses non-Suel as slaves whenever its serves their purposes. I would also surmise that the Suel Imperium and the Oeridians were major user of slaves. Both peoples had their darker sides and both were expansionist. I don't think there's been a major empire in all history (including modern history) that did not grow great on the backs of slaves (Greeks, Romans, Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians, British, Americans, to name just a few).

    Finally, I believe the slave trade was a major part of the Sea Princes' economy before the Wars.

    As for gods with slavery in their portfolio, how about Zilchus? Business is business, after all.
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    Thu May 27, 2004 3:24 pm  

    Good past thread Abysslin.

    Anyhow, slavery is rampant in the Flanaess to be sure. For every country that doesn't practice it I am sure there is one that does. My gut says 50/50. Iuz would be the perfect god of slavery, being his portfolio is oppression.

    On a side note, to plug my own future CF articles, slavery is mentioned in the LGG as one of Ull's top exports.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu May 27, 2004 3:28 pm  
    More disjointed thoughts

    Some additional disjointed thoughts:

    The Yeomanry and Keoland are dead set against slavery, that has been their bone to pick with the Sea Princes all these years. Although there are some isolated pockets of Keoland that House Neheli still practices a limited type of indentured servitude. (see the Living Greyhawk website for Keoland for details).

    As far as dieties that would tolerate slavery, my pick would be Bralm. Alsthough she would most likely have a different take on the practice. She would see that every person has thier place, and some people are fit only to toil (like drones and workers in a bee hive). Bralm has been described in the Scarlet Brotherhood accessory as having worshippers among slave overseers, so this would fit in. Certainly, this is a more LE aspect of Bralm, but even her LN aspect may at least tolerate the institution.

    O-D
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    Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:09 pm  

    Thanks to everyone for their help, especially the Despotrix. Hardby rules,...er, I mean you do.

    Zephirum
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    Fri Jun 04, 2004 1:56 am  
    Re: More disjointed thoughts

    Osmund-Davizid wrote:
    Some additional disjointed thoughts:

    The Yeomanry and Keoland are dead set against slavery, that has been their bone to pick with the Sea Princes all these years.


    Well, Keoland's beef with the Sea Princes is more derived from the fact that they are a bunch of pirates led, originally, by a dishonored Keoish noble. They also hold vast expanses of fertile land that Keoland would love to own.

    The Yeomanry is pretty anachronistic, and I try not to apply their morality to the rest of the Flanaess.
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    Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:46 pm  
    Slavery in all its forms...

    What I like to do is check page 94 of the Gygax 1E DMG. There, he mentions serfdom, slavery, and peasantry. Serfs cannot leave their home area where they work, and could be sold or traded like slaves, although it's much less common than open slavery. Peasantry might often have people not being allowed to wield swords or maces, in some circumstances.

    Slavery, as I see it, is legal in Greyhawk, Dyvers, the Sea Princes, the Sea Barons, the Lordship of the Isles, all three Barbarian kingdoms, Stonehold, possibly the Wolf and Tiger Nomads (don't remember at the moment), Iuz, the Horned Society, the Great Kingdom and its successor states, Nyrond (only Aerdi prisoners could be sold and kept in this way), in some parts of Perrenland, the Scarlet Brotherhood and its puppet states, and the Bandit Kingdoms. Other countries like Keoland might have some sort of indentured servitude for debtors or other people, but these are generally given special protection, especially in Keoland.

    Serfdom likely applies to all of the above countries, the more conservative regions of Keoland, Sterich, the Duchy of Urnst, Gran March, Bissel, and the more conservative areas of Furyondy. They may not be badly treated as compared with real-life peasants, but they don't enjoy much better status.

    Peasantry probably applies almost everywhere except the most chaotic and/or egalitarian nations-any barbarian or nomad people, Geoff, the Yeomanry, Sunndi, Veluna, Highfolk, etc.

    As plainly be seen, the Flanaess is not the most enlightened place in the multiverse.
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    Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:36 am  
    Re: Slavery in all its forms...

    CruelSummerLord wrote:


    As plainly be seen, the Flanaess is not the most enlightened place in the multiverse.


    Why would it be? Its a gritty medieval-esqur setting in a fantasy world.
    You're going to have all sorts of nastiness .. and on the flip side some enlightenment such as Veluna, Furyondy, maybe even the more indepedent states like The Yeomanry, Sterich, the Ulek States, etc.
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    Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:20 pm  

    Quote:
    Slavery, as I see it, is legal in Greyhawk


    According to the CoGH box set, slavery and the procurement of slaves is a minor crime that can result in 2 weeks to 2 years of labor or fines. The severity can also vary depending on the magistrate.

    So...its not legal technically, but given that its a minor crime and if 50% of judges can go easy on the slave owner its probably either...

    A) socially acceptable and only prosecuted if the person enslaved is important or if the slaver in question expands his slave labor force(indentured or not) enough to threaten guild work.

    or

    B) socially unacceptable and not practiced enough in current days to warrant harsh persecution and as a result slipped in severity to a minor crime. Also there may be loopholes to protect foreigners who bring their slave entourages with them into the city, like a merchant from Zeif or even Iuz's ambassador!

    Also Cruel overlooked the Pomarj where the Slavelords dwell. The whole Slavers assesory was a campaign from Dyvers to Hardby to the Wild Coast and beyond to stamp out slavery and in those regions the people who assist the Slavelords.
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    Sat Sep 04, 2004 9:22 am  
    Slavery

    Hello Everyone,

    Slavery, gee the word conjures up one of the worst facets of humanity or does it? For the inhabitants of the ficticious game setting we all love and enjoy, I doubt it. Generally speaking, I would assume that slavery is an accepted form of trade and consequence in Greyhawk. A lord from Ahlissa decides to gather a force and raid into the neighboring Nyrond lands. The gains could be wealth, iron, food, slaves and/or women. The risks could be death, maiming or...slavery if things go bad. I can't imagine a ruler being besieged by a raiding force, overcoming the raiders and then imprisoning them for a while only to let them go to return another day. The psychology of the imprisoned would be "Boy, when I get outta here, I'm gonna make the Nyrondese pay for locking me up." Never mind the fact he invaded Nyrond first! Confused

    Now I'm not saying that slavery is accepted everywhere or considered a good thing. Who knows, he who trades IN slaves one day may be traded *AS* a slave the next day. Shocked Slavery may very well be considered a social necessity. This is a very base example: I have too few people to farm the land, mine the ore and build the roads. Gee, the guys next door are in the same plight, but we don't like each other at all. Hey, I could run over there conquer a village and give the people a choice, they can be slaves or put to death. If they say put to death (fine, I'll just take their food), I kill them to prevent them from 1) seeking revenge and 2) raiding me for food next season. If they accept slavery, I'll work them like dogs, but at least my people (which is my primary concern) will have farmed land and mined ore to bring in trade. The slaves will at least be fed and may one day be allowed to be serfs.

    A noble from the Kingdom of Nyrond may have a deal with a slave trader. The noble needs an army to protect his villages. He buys slaves from a slaver. In return he makes a deal with the slaves, who happen to be from.....Ekbir or some far off place. Fight for me and you might die, but you might live long enough to earn your freedom. If the men say "Um, no, that's a crap deal" then the noble just puts them to work in the mines to help increase trade. Not a pretty picture by any means, but it could easily happen.

    A city might have slave auctions once a year. For a month, traders may bring their normal wares and up to 20 slaves for auction. This brings all the local traders as usual, but also brings people who need bodies to toil and be menial labor. So not only do you have the average trader coming in, but you have more people coming in who may make long term trading contracts, guild deals, etc. Once again, not pretty, but the practice of slavery may be accepted in an country or city. I think people would treat slaves as more of an investment than anything else. If I spend what little money I have on slaves, I will make sure they are capable of work, b/c that's what I need them for. I may mistreat them, but I certainly won't do it enough to prevent my (sigh) investment from paying off. Now there will be cruel people who will brutalize slaves for the sole purpose of being able to, but that is beyond this discussion.

    There is also the promotion of child slavery. A noble attacks certain villages, with the primary mission of stealing children. He steals children who are much easier to corrupt and indoctrinate. After a while, if you've been told that slavery is your lot in life, you will believe it. This prevents the villages from seeking direct and immediate revenge. Now said villages lack children, lose a source of future manpower and future security. A terrible ordeal, but that's how I believe slavery might work in Greyhawk. Finally, I doubt that slavery exists on a large scale. A village may have no slaves. A town might have a few. A city might have hundreds. A capital city might have thousands, but I doubt the slaves will be massed in any way to become a force. Children born of slaves will become slaves, so there's no need to constantly import slaves. I suspect that slave sales go up after natural catastophies, plagues and wars.

    In reality, slavery is, well, I believe I lack the vocabulary to express just how wrong I believe it to be, but then again, I have grown up all my life believing in life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness. In reality, slavery is simply wrong. In our fantasy setting we enjoy, slavery may be a cog in the social machine that makes a kingdom run.

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    Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:23 pm  

    Serfs could not be sold or traded as slaves. They had very specific rights in that matter. The paramount being a right to a very specific amount of land to work. This was a critical issue that separated them from slaves. You could not legally force a serf to do something else, or deny him a plot of land to work on. The thing is, that was well near the ONLY right they had. In everything else they were as close to a slave as you can get, barring those resale rights. Of course if the land they worked was sold, they went along with it, as the new owner still had to let them work it according to their old privileges.

    Above all remember that a slave is simply not as economically productive in the long run as free men.
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    Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:11 pm  
    wow

    Wow, Abysslin, I followed your link to the WOTC board. Don't let me do that again. They need hall monitors, kindergarten teachers, prozac or something.

    Samwise, I have to tell you, though i sometimes disagree about your interpretations of history, they should be rebutted not bashed. I cannot believe you return to the wotc forum for the unecessary and venomous bashing. To each his own.

    I would remind everyone that slavery is a big word, with many conditions being covered by them. The Roman empire had an enormous slave population for most of its history; however, slavery was the norm, being a citizen was the exception, and exceptional. Many prosperous people were slaves, and they often had slaves of their own. Though some instances saw brutality like that so often linked with the American South, it was often quite different. Though not respectable, slaves often led lives like the middle class in later societies. The Ottoman empire was often run by a slave, the Vizier.

    Remember, slavery is a specific legal condition, not necessarily an indicator of economic achievement. The history of sharecropping demonstrates this grisly reality.

    As you apply slavery to the WOGH, you can make it as varied as history. I imagine a slave in Aerdy running the lord's household, while in Pomarj, I imagine that it would be as brutal as anything we generally describe herein.
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    Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:46 pm  

    Well Anced, I share what I know with people willing to listen. If someone wants to discuss things with me, great. If they feel better just trying to insult me, that typically says more about who is right than anything else.

    As for now . . .

    I would also remind you that in the Roman Empire there were several major Servile Wars where slaves rose up. The most famous of these of course being the war against Spartacus. The slaves who rose up in these wars were most certainly not treated well, and had little to lose facing cruxifiction for rebelling.
    Also I think you are confusing freedmen with slaves. Virtually no slaves were prosperous, or anything approaching it. There were however more than a few obscenely rich and powerful freedmen. Freedmen, while not citizens, and possessing significantly fewer rights, were also definitely not slaves.
    And even more, do not confuse not being citizens with not being slaves in the Roman Empire. While most people were not citizens during the Republic, they still were not slaves. During the wars that ended the Republic and led to the Principate, starting with the wars of Marius and Sulla, continuing through Caesar and Pompey, and beyond, citizenship was extended to gradually cover everyone who wasn't an outright slave.

    And yes, in the Ottoman Empire slaves often gained great power. The Mamelukes and Janissaries both began as slaves and ended as rulers. Despite that power they were still slaves. Torn from their families, forcibly raised in another faith, forced to serve as soldiers, subject to any punishment desired at any time.
    Likewise with the various slave Viziers. Also bear in mind that many of the Viziers were Eunuchs to prevent them from trying to seize the throne for themselves or their progeny. Power indeed, but at what price?

    No, in the long run, no matter how endurable the lives of some few slaves in some few places and times may have been, the institution as a whole remains dehumanizing and counter-productive. And I for one consider it an obligation to always keep that simple fact in the forefront when discussing the issue or presenting it in game. For every slave major domo running a household there are ten thousand being whipped to death in the fields, mines, brothels, and worse places. That is what slavery means for a society.
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    Wed Sep 08, 2004 7:13 pm  

    A canon source not mentioned is the original boxed set. The thinner pamphlet had encounter tables and frequencies that included Slavers.
    You could extrapolate the percentages, compare to darlenes map, and have a good Idea who's into slaving. Or, looking at the same source under the center map for rescources and alignment you could DM the moment and say all the regions that are white -don't slave, grey- may slave, Black- slaves

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    Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:57 pm  

    Ivid the Undying mentioned widespread serfdom in the Great Kingdom.

    In RW Russia, the legal status of serfs was so low that is was de facto slavery. In Western Europe, it tended to mean that you owed obligations (labor mostly) as part of your rent.

    As Anced Math pointed out the conditions of slavery varied from culture to culture. Court Eunechs, Viziers, and Janissaries may be technically slaves, but they are really state officials. They are really a seperate category.

    I bring these up to illustrate that these terms are broad categories. What they mean in Aerdry and what they mean in Keogland.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:10 am  

    Bah!

    Slavery is an important part of Greyhawk.

    It provides ready plotlines and adventure ideas.

    If it soothes one's sense of history, it could even provide ample roleplay opportunity as the PC's society wrestles with the need/morality of slavery.
    PC's could try to sway public opinion, conduct a clandestine campaign against slavery and slave holders/suppliers, and so on.

    It's dramatic and can make for good gaming. So, it's in.

    Doesn't mean that Keoland has a slaving fleet or Nyrond or Furyondy for that matter. War prisoners, criminals, the destitute poor could all provide a pool of forced labour or slaves. A person sells themselves into slavery with the agreement that five years of servitude will erase their debts or crime. Or that their sons will be allowed as tenant farmers on a small plot of land upon the servitor's demise. And so on.

    Let's not let our real world sensitivities interfere with good gaming...
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:08 am  

    Well said esilv

    As I read this thread and the companion wizard board thread and the fierce discussion it produced...never one to back away from a heated debate I was prepared to jump in with both feet.

    - historical and cultural reasons
    - different societial perceptions of slavery found in GH
    - various souces and markets for slavery within GH
    - slavery practised in mature economies
    - the efficient use and benefits of slave labor over free workers in large plantation system agriculture
    - economic value of the slave workforce vs the societies acceptance of the brutality and fear slavery enshrines
    - importance of industrial advances that revolutionized the value of labor which is lacking in GH

    BUT

    I realised it was all meaningless, slavery provides another avenue for adventure and flashpoint for conflict to some cultures within the gameworld as well as a alignment problem for the players to resolve.

    It reminds me of a famous theological dispute that raged for centuries :
    How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    After several lengthy complex arguments...someone came up with a simple solution.

    As many angels that want to dance on the head of the pin.

    SO

    How much slavery exists in GH ?

    As much as the DM wants to exist.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:23 am  

    Well, on the account, what else provides a ready source of adventures?

    Rape
    Torture
    Abuse of Children
    Genocide

    Those all look pretty good. Shall we include them as core elements as well? Shall we discuss them as blithely as we discuss slavery?

    The question remains not if slavery exists, but how it is portrayed. To use it as just another adventure hook is to do a disservice to those it has affected, and those involved in the game.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:47 am  

    Samwise I don't want to argue but isn't that a bit extreme

    Just because in my GH slavery exists doesn't mean I excuse or condone it in real life Exclamation

    Anymore than when I tell the DM, my CHARACTER fighter kills someone with a sword or my thief steals someones purse means I excuse or condone murder and robbery in real life.

    GH is a fantasy game where anything is possible from heroic deeds to the darkest of evils if you don't feel comfortable having slavery in YOUR game don't have it but please stop trying to impose your morality on GH as a whole.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:20 am  

    Samwise, you must not big a fan of A1-4, huh?
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:50 pm  
    Morality

    I've included rape, torture, abuse of children, and genocide in my campaigns.

    Not by the players of course, but still... We use a number of "mature" topics. If anyone feels uncomfortable, we're responsible enough to let it slide and take another storyline.

    It's worked out pretty well, too.

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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:55 pm  
    Re: Morality

    Telas wrote:
    I've included rape, torture, abuse of children, and genocide in my campaigns.


    Same here, When I was younger It was much more prevelent., sometimes raunchy. A troll rushing to slay the party is less colorful than a troll with a boner rushing at the party.

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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:46 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    Serfs could not be sold or traded as slaves. They had very specific rights in that matter. The paramount being a right to a very specific amount of land to work. This was a critical issue that separated them from slaves. You could not legally force a serf to do something else, or deny him a plot of land to work on. The thing is, that was well near the ONLY right they had.


    In western Europe, yes. As a subsequent post said, serfs in russia had even less rights. I believe that serfs could be bought and sold in russia, which is the subject of _The Lost Souls_. (Doestievsky?). This does blur the distinction between slaves and serfs.

    Samwise wrote:

    Above all remember that a slave is simply not as economically productive in the long run as free men.


    That is standard neo-liberal cant, and I believe it in most cases. Certainly slaves have the incentive to work as little as possible, have no incentive to care for their tools, etc. Free men should be more productive in long-term productive industries. But I would be willing to bet that slave labor is more profitable in dangerous occupations, like mining or galley rowing. Free men tend to place a high value on their lives and require greater rewards than slaves for risking it.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:52 pm  

    I didn't want to get into this but why not?

    Rape, Torture, Genocide and Abuse of Children are part of GH Canon and not just mature home games.

    A main villian Iuz is a Demi-God of oppression and he and his priesthood relish torture.

    SB has forced breeding programs even hints of monster / humanoid breeding experiments, force infanticide and if necessary will practise genocide to reach it's goals.

    Turrosh Mak is a Half-Orc and encourges the breeding of more do you think Orcs are putting on their best suits and "dating" the farmers daughter with daddy's approval?

    The Great Kingdom has raised torture and genocide to a fine art for centuries under the imperial house of Naelax and it looks like atleast in some forms will continue in both successor states.

    Even the "Good" people of the Rovers see nothing wrong with raiding stonehold killing the men and carrying off the women and children for forced marriages and forced adoptions or do you feel the rovers asked their permission before carrying them off?

    Do I want to hear in graphic detail Iuz's notion of fun, SB medical experiments, the conception of a half-orc in the Pomarj or Aerdi imperial inquisitor session the answer is NO.

    GH much like are own Dark Ages could be pretty dark and I would like to keep it gritty and unpleasant remove the villians right to rape, torture, pillage and plunder and evil is pretty thin on the ground.

    Personally I would rather risk being offended by GH then play in a disney sanitized version of it.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:28 pm  

    Crag:
    A bit extreme? I don't think so. If you read what I wrote instead of assuming things about it, I think I was quite clear. That slavery exists in GH is established. What remains is how it is presented. If that presentation includes it in such a way that player characters engage it in without a second thought, especially if it includes a "benign" form of slavery like the happy major domo running your estate or somesuch, then you are giving approval to the concept.
    And yes, I've included all those concepts in my games as well. As a means of identifying the villains and the extent of their depravity. I would not use them as activities for the player characters.

    Abysslin:
    I dislike A 1-4 in general because of its quality. As for its presentation of slavery in general, it is generally acceptable, if a bit weird in its overall set up.

    Kirt:
    I have no idea about neo-liberal cant. I am talking pure economics. All slave economies have been weaker than free economies historically. In all cases slavery created or extended a drain on the regular economy. Even serfdom and various lesser forms of feudal obligation had to go before the economies of Europe could take off. If you'd like to tell me of a slave economy that worked I'd be happy to hear it. I can not think of a single one in any of the history I have ever read.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:40 pm  

    Samwise wrote:

    Kirt:
    I have no idea about neo-liberal cant. I am talking pure economics. All slave economies have been weaker than free economies historically. In all cases slavery created or extended a drain on the regular economy. Even serfdom and various lesser forms of feudal obligation had to go before the economies of Europe could take off. If you'd like to tell me of a slave economy that worked I'd be happy to hear it. I can not think of a single one in any of the history I have ever read.


    I think we need to be clear about the scale we are talking about here.
    In your original post you said that a slave was not as productive as a free man. I took that to be an argument about different industries, not the whole economy. All I am saying is that I bet there are certain industries or occupations in which slave labor is more efficient or profitable. I am not making any argument about slave economies vs. free economies.
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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:15 pm  

    Rome was a slave economy. Also a military economy, hard to have one without the other. No one could match Romes economy for 300 years.

    In Sparta, toddlers were taken to the barracks for the rest of their lives where homosexuality was encouraged, they were the best troops of their era.

    Slavery has been around as long as war has.
    I like to use it to show the flavor of an area.
    Huge difference from Chendl to Rookroost.
    Sets the mood when good characters travel incognito to bad lands and hear the whippings and the screaming. They aren't in Kansas anymore.

    Do you guys use black lotus or somesuch in your seedy redlight districts?
    Or pick up money fights in the alleys?


    Muscles
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    Fri Sep 10, 2004 1:29 pm  

    Rome originally did not have a slave economy. They also originally did not have a military economy. Both grew and evolved over time. But the military economy declined once past the Julio-Claudian line. However, Rome's economy was matched repeatedly over time. It required multiple wars to conquer the Dacians. The Parthians and Persians were likewise never conquered by Rome. And in the end, it was the slave economy that not only wrecked the city of Rome, but led directly to the Principate and the eventual collapse of the Roman Empire. So I am not sure that is a particularly good example.

    Sparta was very definitely both a slave economy and a military economy. And once again, it was the slave economy that resulted in the destruction of Sparta, as fewer and fewer people were able to qualify for full citizenship. While Spartan troops were good, they also eventually lost. And it is critical to remember that the Helots of Sparta were forbidden by law to even touch a weapon.
    I have no idea what your comment about homosexuality means in this context, or what relevance it has. Perhaps you wish to create a parallel to the Sacred Band of Thebes. They were considered even better than the Spartans. They also wound up dead when Alexander the Great came along.
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    Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:51 pm  

    Hey Samwise,

    As this is not a forum on either history, nor economics, I have kept my response breif, simplistic really. If you truly wish to debate the subjects with me, PM me and I will link you to some relevent boards where educators, students and enthusiasts debate the relevent subject matter.

    Modern economic theory suggests a holistic veiw on the creation and distribution of wealth. A state or region is far to complex to reduce to the simple slave economy we both have used to make our points.

    My point is that a century on either side of the year 1(please let's not debate the gregorian calander) Slave taking Rome was the most dominant force in the region. They did not destroy the gauls or the goths but that isn't the point is it.

    You said "I am talking pure economics. All slave economies have been weaker than free economies historically." This is simply a fallacy. Rome is an excellent example of a slave sponsoring state levering an artificially large labour force into empire. It is hardly the only one, but it is the most obvious.

    I am sure when Romulus and Remus suckled the teat of the great She-wolf that Rome did not have her 4:1 slave ratio that she developed in her heyday. Further, the downfall of Rome can in no way be solely(and hardly tangentally)be attributed to 'slaves'. Slaves didn't sak Rome, the Visigoths did. Roman slaves did not rise up and throw off the yoke of oppression when Hannibal crossed the alps. Slaves were an intregal part of Roman civilization. Like it or not, slavery was the norm.

    Sparta, like Rome waxed and waned. You can pick moments of weakness but this only shows the strength of your argument. When Sparta began her expansion she was a one-way juggernaught of supreme regional power for almost 300 years. After the defeat of the messinans her slave ratio was 10:1.

    When you say "While Spartan troops were good, they also eventually lost. And it is critical to remember that the Helots of Sparta were forbidden by law to even touch a weapon" I'm not sure of your point, other than to prove mine. The Helots were the conquered Messinae, which did not rise up for a century, then were put down when they did rebel, not to rise again, and for another century Sparta did nothing but expand and stabilize. This hardly is a state that is being shown to be weak by its use of slave labor. Historians often refer to Sparta a the most stable nation of the ancient world. It may suprise you to know that its government was highly complex and unique. A democratic timocratic monarchical oligarchy to be precise.

    Regarding the comment of the practice of homosexuality, I try in my posts to leave something that the reader will find interesting, and possibly use in their home campains.Knowing that the toughest fighters for 3 centuries in the ancient world were homosexual expands possibilities to the reader, or so I thought.

    Long live Greyhawk,
    Muscles
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    Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:41 am  

    No it isn't a forum on history or economics. But if people are going to make statements regarding history or economics, there are people like me who will challenge them when they are not accurate. I do the same with people who make outrageous statements about ecology.
    As for your comments:

    Yes a modern economy is more than just slave or free. Even an ancient economy was more than just slave or free. What derives from that is that an economy that is dominated and driven by one or the other will show the strengths or weaknesses I described.

    Rome did not lever an artificially large labor force into an empire. They used a regular, free labor force to build an empire, and then tried to use a slave labor force to maintain the heartland of that empire. Slavery in Gaul, Britain, and even Hispania was significantly less relevant than slavery in Italia or on Sicilia and Sardinia which served as part of Rome's granary.
    And while pure slave armies did not sack Rome, they were included in several of the armies that did. Indeed it was slave policies that led to the Goths rising up against the Roman Empire and their eventual sacking of Rome.

    I am also well aware of the complexity of the Spartan government. What remains is that Sparta did not dominate the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Their empire came and went in the blink of an eye compared to Rome, or even to Athens, never mind Persia. What remains is that is was the slave economy and the unchecked concentration of wealth in Sparta that led directly to its downfall. The armies that conquered the generation before were non-existent when it came time for Sparta to defend their empire.

    As for the preferences of the Spartans, I suppose it is interesting. Of course I am the one who wrote about Sacred Bands in GH, and how they come from the relationship between Hextor and Heironeous. (Maybe I should get Gary to dig that out of the GT archives and post it.)
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    Sat Sep 11, 2004 6:10 pm  

    My two cents,

    Slavery has existed since history has been recorded. Despite repeated attempts to abolish it, slavery continues in the 21st Century unabated. It is estimated that today more than 27 million slaves are held world-wide. While there are more people in the world today, that fact in no way diminishes the significance of this number for the blight of slavery in measured in intimately human, not mathematic, terms. To believe slavery an anachronism is foolish, just the trappings have changed - no routine slave ships coming into port, no publically held slave auctions, no overt government sanctioning. They say the devil’s greatest trick was making everyone believe he didn’t exist. Modern slavery proves the point.

    Slavery has, however, never been a simple matter. A very abbreviated look at the “peculiar institution” will illustrate the point.

    The ancient Egyptians are famous for holding slaves. Yet, from among the slave population could arise powerful individuals and groups. While the “average” slave is depicted as being beaten down and worked unstintingly, not all slaves were average.

    The Greeks, who gave us democracy, also widely held slaves. The home of democracy and slavery coexisted without an abolition movement.

    West African nations prior to colonialism and the Slave Trade, themselves practiced slavery. However, the model was one where the slave had substantial rights while still being held as property.

    The Roman Empire after the Punic Wars became another famous slave holding society. At times there were 3 slaves to every one free person. While slave revolts were not uncommon, despite the odds, the revolts were crushed, with few exceptions, in short order.

    Britain has never been a large slave holding society. Yet, Britain dominated the slave trade in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

    China did not abolish slavery until 1910. Until that time, millions of slaves were commonly held.

    Nazi Germany, infamous for its Death Camps, also practiced slavery. German industrialists were provided with slave labor by the Nazi government. Slaves were not confined to the stereotypical agricultural pursuits but worked in chemical, rocket and heavy industrial plants. It is estimated that there were 700,000 industrial slaves as distinct from persons held in Death Camps. This practice ended in 1945.

    With the Fall of the Soviet Union in the last years of the 20th Century, tens of thousands of Russian and Eastern European women have been sold into slavery to brothels throughout Western Europe.

    In Paris today, there are an estimated 3000 domestic slaves, usually imported from the former French colonies in North Africa.

    Presently, in Australia, thousands of women, who are sold into slavery in Southeast Asia where slavery has never been abolished, work in brothels.

    In the United States, the government estimates there are 100,000 persons being held in slavery. These slaves have been discovered performing agricultural work in South Carolina and working in sweatshops in the Northeast. In 2000, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act was passed by the Congress in an attempt to deal with this modern slavery.

    Slavery is not just the product of backward or primitive societies. It is also practiced in and by industrialized nations on a large scale.

    What about the Middle Ages in Europe? Did they represent the one period in history where slavery did not appear? Were they the historic anomaly? Were the Middle Ages in Europe that happy time when suddenly slavery disappeared for a few hundred years, only to immediately reappear when plate mail went out of fashion? No.

    Slavery flourished in medieval Europe. While the medieval period is broad and generalizations are just that, wide spread slavery could be found in any number of places. Sicily and southern Italy under Arabic influence had a large slave population. The Iberian peninsula, under Moorish influences, used slaves. In Swedish and Russian dominated areas, as well as the Balkins, slaves were made of ethnic minorities and subjugated peoples, distinct from “native” serfs. While Britain, France, Germany and the Northern Italian states did not have large slave populations, slavery was not illegal there.

    The difficulty may be in a too ready reference to plantation slavery in the Americas. Large numbers of slaves do not depend solely on a need for plantation labor. Defining slavery in these terms is to very narrowly define it.

    There is no need for self-appointed “history Watch-Dogs” or pseudo-intellectual “historians,” ready with a “challenge,” to condescendingly “share” their “wisdom” in the most obdurate and domineering fashion they can artificially puff themselves up with. Google slavery. Better yet, go get a book. These are as a cross or sunlight to the figments of medieval historical imagining which sees slavery as not fitting and which, just as the vampire, - sucks. Don’t be bullied into accepting anyone’s facts. Mine, his, that other gal’s. Looking it up was never easier.

    So then, what of Greyhawk. Obviously, it’s a fantasy setting. Its not history. It need not be history or follow any historic model. Or it can. Or it can mix and match. There is ample grist, historic and GH cannon for any mill and it can “make sense” within the confines of the setting or “historically,” as historic models for slavery are quite varied. There is a lot to choose from.

    Is real world slavery bad? Yes. But, GH, being a fantastic setting, need not adopt real world morals, ethics or philosophy. Fantasy literature is filled with slavery. If you would take something of that for your Greyhawk, slavery can be part and parcel.

    Slavery is common in my campaign. It is not confined to “evil” characters. Whereas “modern” morality would see slaveholders as inherently evil, Greyhawk is not inherently informed by such morality. Morality is relative over time. The slave holding Roman or Egyptian or Arab or Caribbean plantation owner did not automatically seem themselves as “evil” or even “bad” just because they held a slave. Morals were different in those times in so far as attitudes toward slavery goes. (And GH is a fantasy setting) Having said this, however, moral relativism is a slippery slope.

    As I see it -

    With Iuz’ rise to empire, slavery in the Northern Flanaess is a given. With the Scarlett Brotherhood still prominent in much of the South, slavery is a given. The Pomarj? Oh, right. Slavers modules. Sea Princes. Noted. Aerdi successor states? Is there an evil they don’t or haven’t practiced in the last 50 years?

    Domain of Greyhawk? I think this is a, pardon the pun, gray area, depending on how you read and emphasize the “canon.”

    I would think Nyrond would be against slavery but they come from Aerdi and they are still something of a mess right now.

    County of Urnst? History with the Bandit Kingdoms. Maybe don’t ask, don’t tell?

    The Duchy of Urnst probably is anti-slavery but they are Suel, our evil ethnicity.

    But then there are the “good” Suel of Keoland! Kinda like good drow. Here again, probably a gray area. In central, northern and eastern Keoland probably no slavery, I’d think. But in the South/Southwest could be a bit of “backsliding.” As the Yeomanry sees the rise of an abolitionist movement? Or do they degenerate the farther you go from Loftwick? I’ve heard stories.

    The West, if you follow an “Arabian” model, which I do, is probably slave country.

    Furyondy/Veluna and the demi-human dominated states are the only areas I see as absolutely against slavery. They hate Iuz and all he stands for.

    IMC

    GVD
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    Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:18 pm  
    Back to the original question...

    While all the discussion and debate on the r/w history and implications of slavery is informative and quite interesting, I wonder if we're straying a bit far from the original questions posed in this thread.

    That is, the request for canonical references to slavery in Greyhawk.
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    Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:51 pm  

    Nor GVD, is there a need for gratuitous ad hominem attacks. Particularly those attempting to cover themselves in generic anonymity.
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    Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:56 am  

    Samwise,

    You correctly understand my "watch-dog" aside to be directed solely to your immediately preceeding post. I wish it were gratuitious, then I would have felt no need to include such. I felt, however, that you came across rather heavy handed.

    Unfortunately, I believe I am guilty of much the same, despite my not naming you directly.

    I apologize to anyone who thought my "watch-dog" comment was directed at them. My "watch-dog" aside was directed solely to Samwise but couched in terms I hoped would be minimally offensive to a general decorum.

    To you Samwise, I also apologize. If I feel it necessary to object to your style (or substance), I will do so directly, going forward. Please note, I have no principled objection to your opinions, which are well stated. My objection is solely one of a, IMO, too-heavy style. If the facts are as you would have them, there is no need for the "challenge(s)" you spoke of unless you are looking for a fight. As historical "facts" are notoriously subject to interpretation, reinterpretation, new "discoveries" and greater or lesser exposition, it is famously easy enough to find things to fight about but seldom productively.

    In the context of a game, like the World of Greyhawk, I see history as the largest of gaming supplements. Rather than confine history to what would holdup in a classroom, treatise or symposium, I think history, in any guise or degree, is more useful for its myriad possibilities. IMO, its not purely the "facts" of history but the interpretations (right or wrong) as well, that can serve the gamer well. The gamer is only looking for a good game and if history, pseudo-history or total quackery serves a good game, then I am all for it. As was aptly noted, we are not here as historians.

    I'll take a different view if there is no game involved but that's one reason I like gaming and particularly serving as a DM - I get to play with history within a fantastic context. Its kind of like fantasy-football on a larger scale. Too close an adherance to any historical model in a fantasy game with dragons etc. is, IMO, problematic and likely only to limit the potential for a good time (unless you are looking for more of a simulation, in which case the dragons etc. become too readily nonesuchs).

    One common response that I have heard to the "out" of noting fantasy elements is to say that gaming is/can be history informed by myth and literature. I can readily accept that but respond that it is then not history at all under those terms. The mythological and literary tinkering with history renders that history something less than what the name would purely imply.

    But enough from me. I hope to have cleared matters somewhat.

    GVD
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    Tue Sep 14, 2004 10:54 am  

    An interesting debate! You guys have occupied my time for at least a couple of hours here at work, and I salute you! On a side note Sam, I think the Spartans MAY have hung around a *bit* more than a blink of an eye had the Greeks actually supported them... but that, as they say, is history...
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    Tue Sep 14, 2004 3:57 pm  

    GVD:

    Yes you have cleared things up considerably. And my response is made rather simple.
    If someone wishes to challenge me on facts I accept and respond. That is my nature and it will not change.
    If someone objects to my manner, they are free to say so. In general, I do not particularly care. I object to the manner of many people myself. I do not expect them to change to please me and I do not offer to change myself to please others. The only thing I do insist on is a degree of civility. If that is not respected then I am more than capable of replying on whatever level they prefer.
    Finally, when it comes to history, or indeed any aspect of realism or pseudo-realism in a game, most people are aware that I am strong advocate of the accuracy and quality movement. If you are going to present something in a game, present it in a proper manner. It does not take significant effort to research some element of history or natural science and make your presentation compatible. Yes, this is a fantasy game. So yes, we are going to have to handwave things like flying, fire-breathing dragons. We do not have to handwave things like how big an oak tree grows, where they grow, or what they can be used for. Likewise a presentation of some element of culture should be made with a proper understanding of how it functions (or functioned) in the real world. You don't have to be identical, but you should be both informed and creative enough to do better than the Olman in the Scarlet Brotherhood accessory. If not, accept that there are people out there who will find fault with your efforts because they do happen to know better, and who will hold it such high standards when reviewing it.

    So I hope I have cleared things up as well.
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    Tue Sep 14, 2004 6:11 pm  

    Samwise,

    I can appreciate your view of history, even if I do not share it in a gaming context, but I hope you will allow for the vagaries attendant upon any history the father back one goes. The "facts" or "accuracy" get harder and harder to nail down the farther back one goes, like jello to a wall in too many cases, and there are many schools of historic thought that each expouses a particular set of "facts" or "intrepretations" arising out of a set of given "facts." That is not to say that nothing is certain but that much is legitimately debatable unless we all read from the same source. Or we all watch Fox News - "Fair and Balanced." Wink

    I don't propose to ask you to change; you are quite clear on the point. My only thought would be for a certain tolerance for divergent viewpoints as having some potential merit or at least the possibility of merit. Too hard a line tends to foreclose discussion and I think we would want to foster discussion even if we do not particularly care for or care to adopt the positions expoused. In this line, there is less a need for "challenges" because we will more readily "agree to disagree" rather than fight over who gets the last cheese doodle. We can all variously fight dirty but who wants to and for what, a cheese doodle?

    I'm not sure if it is proper form in a thread that began about slavery but your comment on "how big an oak tree grows" especially caught my eye. One of the more, to me, memorable plants I've encountered in gaming is the Span-oak, described in the Naturalists Guide to Talislanta at p. 106. It is non-magical, non-intelligent and described thusly -

    "Span-oak is a giant species of deciduous tree which may attain heights of over two hundred feet. The limbs of this tree are strong and sturdy, and generally span a distance equal to the tree's height (hence the name, span-oak)."

    I'm nothing of a botanist but this tree strikes me as impossible for any true species of oak tree, giant or otherwise, or any tree that I know of. But it sure looks cool in the artist's sketch and is sufficiently memorable that as soon as I read "oak tree," I thought of the span-oak. I take it you would object to depicting an "oak tree" of this sort as violative of what we know of oaks?

    Assuming this sort of oak is practically impossible, if someone were to expouse such, I would give them a "pass" and, perhaps noting the botanical impossibility, still note that it is a cool idea and thus meritorious idea. This is what I mean by a tolerance for the possibility of merit.

    I'm not looking for an argument but attempting to draw out my point short of telling you to "change." You seem like a thoughtful enough fellow, I just have trouble with too dogmatic a presentation, whether I agree or disagree, as I'm looking for a creative exchange and not simply a staking out of positions. I'd rather not hold my breath and wonder do I really want to read something when your name is attached. That 120mph fast ball is not brilliant if the batters keep getting beaned.

    Anywho, I appreciate your response.

    GVD
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    Wed Sep 15, 2004 8:07 am  

    GVD:

    Indeed, many things are debatable. The thing to do in such a case would be to debate them rather than avoid any discussion. I support discussion.

    As for your oak trees, while several oak species are noted as averaging 100' in height or so, with a few specimens reaching 150'-170', I too would have to wonder about branches reaching the same distance out. I would suspect that is more likely in lone trees rather than those in a forest. I would also like to see just a bit more of the artist's conception.
    Still, that you took note of it is just the sort of thing I mean. If even someone who is not a botanist (and I am not one either, I have just researched the background) can wonder about it, imagine how someone who is a botanist would react at something that is functionally impossible. And before anyone says "But how many botanists play D&D?" take a moment and think about how many people with varying degrees take part in this website.
    However I have seen significantly worse, particuarly one of the adventure path modules that thinks a forest with a full canopy also has extensive undergrowth, while one with a partial canopy has light undergrowth easily accessible paths, as well as thinking that 300 years of regrowth following a fire means a forest is still "new". Never mind a botanist, anyone who lives outside a city should wonder what sort of bizarre magic is at work in that place! That is what I rant against. And with extremely good cause I think.

    As for the fastballs, they make sure people stay awake and pay attention.
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    Sat Oct 23, 2004 2:57 pm  

    I tend to agree with the 50/50 split of nations that use slaves. The city of Greyhawk specifically I have always ran as generally not liking the idea of slavery BUT Greyhawk is a mixing bowl and for the sake of their continued economy they permit the practice. In my campaign there are slave blocks set up in both Low and High Markets. In addition there are private slave auctions for the rare and much sought after "Pleasure" slaves. I have set up entire rules for figuring the cost of different slaves.
    If anyone is interested in them - email me. The economy of many countries would be destroyed without the use and trade of slaves.
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:01 am  

    yes, I've enjoyed this thread on slavery too. I've found the posts of GVD and Muscles particularly well-informed, reasonable and commendable.

    I think slavery in Greyhawk and many fantasy settings is a great idea. It provides so many opportunities for adventure and story, character backgrounds, villains and general ambience.

    With regards to deities of slavery; I think any of the evil deities would possibily promote or support slavery but actual patrons of slavery...

    Iuz (obviously)
    Hextor - as a god of tyranny - i think that LE is the most common alignment for those involved in nefarious slave industry
    the drow demi-goddess Kiaransalee is the patroness of slavery i think
    Bralm - would probably be involved with slavery

    i think any lawful god could be involved with slavery...even a LG god...an evil individual who breaks the law is fair target for slavery in a LG nation - but slaves in LN and LG environments are going to be treated better.

    Ok this post isn't as educated as the preceeding ones - but its just a few thoughts whilst I'm stuck at work
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:28 pm  

    This is a good topic, glad to see it back on track.

    In the LGJ wasn't there a hero-deity devoted to slaves-and/or-gladiators? I think he was half-orc or something.
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