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 Post subject: Slavery
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:32 pm 
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Even though approximate practices like taking hostages or the possession of heimin by samurai class exist in Rokugan, in general the Emerald Empire has not known the institution of slavery. This is in stark difference to the experience of the Ki-Rin who have encountered it early on in their travels, and have themselves fallen victim to it on some occasions, most notably when the khadi sorcerers of Laramun enslaved the Otaku at the end of the 3rd century.

Slavery has been widely practised across the world of Burning Sands, most notably in the Senpet Empire, the Ivory Kingdoms and in J'li'lu. It is important to note, however, that peoples hailing their ancestry from Hanif tribes, themselves victims of captivity, have been less keen to make slavery the axis of the labour relations in their societies, though even they have often embraced practices like paid servitude or corvée. In most cases individual people or even whole tribes were forced into servitude for the purpose of extracting their labour, in mining, agriculture or in household chores. The demand for slaves has early on precipitated slave hunting and slave trade, with commercial hubs developing robust slave markets. In additional to more professional Senpet slave hunters or pirates, many nomadic tribes have developed customs related to raiding others for slaves or even selling some of their children or youth into slavery. In more civilised societies like Yodotai or Senpet ones, enslavement could be a result of outstanding personal or family debts.

Slavery wasn't necessarily a lifetime or entirely ignominious experience, and at least some of those captured or sold into slavery as youths could hope for manumission in their adult lives. Apart from goodwill of their masters, this could also be treated as a reward for accomplishments. One such practice is that of gladiators who could work off their debts by successful arena fights. This practice, while popular in the Yodotai Empire and elsewhere, in general has not been something the Ki-Rin even remotely picked up, themselves practising martial competition for sport, like in bariqu wrestling. The other two have gained more tracking.

First of them is concubinage of slaves, both men and women. It's not unheard of for the Ki-Rin to purchase a spouse or a concubine. One of Shinjo's paramount laws was the ban on inbreeding, which has driven the Ki-Rin to ever pursue newer bloodlines to marry into their community. Attrition inherent to their travels has been amplifying pressure on robust fertility rate and other means of replenishing their numbers. Once more monogamous traditions of Rokugan began to wane, both the demographic imperative and greater immersion in the customs of the Burning Sands has led to acceptance of wider families, with possibly many spouses and concubines that often lived in semi-haremic communities. One important difference was that while in other societies of the sands a concubine would often remain nominally a slave, the wandering Ki-Rin, known as the Unicorn since the second half of the 5th centutry, were considering inclusion into the community as a manumitting experience, though a new member of the family still had to go through a period of transition, often ended by rites of passage and adoption of the new name and new identity. The quickest and most common way to do so was marriage, and concubines that didn't find prospects to marry in the family which had initially adopted them could be legitimately wed to some other members of the Clan after some time, the future of their children decided consensually by the parties concerned. While it were mostly men who sustained such extended families, after the onslaught of the Otaku in the battle with the Shadow in 442 their successors the Naoko were given the privilege to claim male concubines even if it interfered with other haremic communities. While the extremely convoluted family relations that emerged from those practices have made internal matches that would not violate Shinjo's law even more difficult, it only increased the drive to seek spouses outside of Clan.

The Ki-Rin that founded the Tarkhanate, however, have indigenised to a a greater extent in their endorsement of slavery. The extended harems of their elite often comprise young slaves, purchased or personally captured, both men and women, of unsure future and status in addition to spouses and formal concubines. Those harems are mostly at exclusive disposal of their master. The elites of the Tarkhanate have thus inherited from J'li'lu something their Unicorn cousins have largely avoided: intense infighting and rivalry, making the harems of the Tarkhanate environments for the prettiest, fittest, wittiest and most ruthless in their pursuit for position. Those that emerged successful, in securing marriage or other means of manumission, were usually prized contributions to the bureaucratic machine of the Tarkhanate run by the Ide after they have embraced their new identities. But the integrity of the harems, both in terms of preventing violence and in guarding exclusive rights of their possessors, required introduction of eunuchs. That tradition, in turn, while completely absent among the Unicorn, have been one of the foundations of the Tarkhanate itself.

Military slavery, the practice of devsirme, had been known in the Sands before. They tribes of Ayst had long served as providers of youth to be enslaved and trained by their masters as faithful warriors, guardians and military commanders. More for the sake of preventing their ambition to build up the power of their own families than to save harems or daughters from slipping into adultery, the young males were often castrated before they could be manumitted and realise their potential. After the conquest of Aqahba and the fealty of the Aysti tribes in 442, Moto Hulagu, the heir of Moto Ariq, decided to reform the practice using the newly acquired manpower and create a corps of such slaves as his trump card both in the conflict with the Sheel and in inevitable succession games with his siblings. The Mamluks, trained to use Merenaese gunpowder weapons, proved their mettle and made a difference during the war with the Sheel as well as indeed helped Hulagu secure his claim on the Tarkhanate. The war had only swelled their numbers with the enemy captives. Emergence from slavery for their accomplishments meant adoption of Moto or Ide identity, depending on their future paths, and Hulagu often preferred to put loyal Mamluks in key positions of his empire rather than his envious blood relatives.

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The game does not envisage letting PCs play slaves even if it would somehow appeal to them, though such an option for Servant advantage will be offered. But they can play former slaves, now fully integrated into either the Tarkhanate or the Unicorn Clan, using the above write-up as guidance how to go about it. This is one of the easiest ways to play a gaijin.



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