Shattered Swords of Hyboria
I am posting this again to remind everyone my particular views on slavery in the Hyborean Age.
Slavery, in all of it’s various forms, exists in the Hyborean Age. Howard included it in just about every one of his stories set in Conan’s world.
Here is a fact about how most see slavery in a campaign: We (and I have been just as guilty of this) tend to imagine the American South’s version of slavery when considering this subject in a gaming context.
Yes, that form exists in Hyboria. But the MOST COMMON form of slavery is that which was pursued by the Roman empire.
Slavery is a social status, as well as a social condition. Look at Stygia and Zingara. Slaves can own land, marry, become high administrators, etc…yet they are still slaves.
Some sell themselves into slavery (particularly in Stygia) to pay off debts (debtor-slavery) or to provide for themselves and their family.
Zingaran treatment of slaves (particularly male slaves from the black kingdoms) is closer to southern model. But even in Zingara, there are important differences. The slaves belong to the HOUSEHOLD, not the individual. If the property is sold, the slaves go with it.
Slavery is EVERYWHERE. Even in Aquilonia.
In the Hyborean age, being a slave owner does not automatically make someone evil.
What does this mean for your characters?
Simple. You may find yourselves at the start of an adventure as a slave (hey, things happen…it may be a plot device…deal with it). Your character may find him (or her) self the owner of a slave.
Only your character can say how he or she will react. All that I ask is that your characters reactions be thought out and articulated.