Slavery in Golarion


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


Even the general lore is pretty clear about a handful of countries' stances on slavery, eg. Cheliax and Katapesh staunchly in favour, Andoran fiercely opposed, Absalom sort of conveniently on the fence.

What I'm wondering is where some of the other nations of the Inner Sea region lie on that spectrum, particularly Taldor (harder to make an educated guess than the ones with more predictable alignments).

What are your thoughts? Not just for Taldor, feel free to weigh in on others (especially neutral places) if you want. Thanks for your insight!


From what I can tell, slave-holding is really "the assumed default." The only places where it's outlawed are Andoran, Galt, and the River Kingdoms. And two of these are in a constant enough anarchy that if you aren't flagrant about it, you can probably still get away with anything short of a full-fledged auction block.

What varies, quite a bit, are attitudes about slavery. The Lands of the Linnorm Kings, for instance, don't really practice it per se, but they do have indentured servitude for crimes and debts. And there's an element that wants to also go back to raiding the south, which includes taking slaves. While Taldor definitely has slaves, they seem to treat them better than, say, Cheliax.

But there's a lot of reading between the lines involved. Except when the place is being overtly cruel and destructive about it the text is often vague. I suspect this is intentionally so - it lets GMs determine just how much they want a potentially sensitive topic influencing their games.


Qadari has slaves.

Taldor uses serfs

multhune uses slaves and a in x amount of years they can become free

Nidal uses slaves

Kyonin semi apposes slavery, any elf slave that sets foot in Kyonin's borders gets his/her freedom and woe to the slaver who tries to re enslave the elf.

the river kingdoms strongly appose slavery as most of them are escaped slaves, say what you want man but I live free.

Lastwall, not a whole lot is said on the country, and neither is mendev but I'd imagine they dont use slaves....

numeria might use slaves and all but I cant say as well....


oh and I forgot

that darkland city under that one port in Taldor uses slaves and is a major slave trader port

most drow cities use slaves

the undead ruled country, just about everyone is a slave....

nex, the lower classes are no better than slaves

Druma likely may see slaves just as merchandise and not much else

Grand Lodge

A decent rule of thumb is to look at the country's alignment. If the alignment is Good assume slavery to be illegal. A neutral country may have indentured servants (which is essentially slavery), and any evil country certainly will have slaves.

Depending upon how strong the central government is, slavery will exist in every country, regardless. The question becomes how illegal it is, and how secret it has to be.

I guarantee you even Andoran has pockets of illegal slavery hidden about.

Also slavery might be racial. Halflings are very often enslaved (indetured servants rather) even if other races might not be. Certain races do not make good slaves, such as elves (who tend to run away) and half orcs (who may be difficult to control). Dwarves are good slaves since they tend to obey authority.

But specifics....

Nex, Belkzen, Brevoy, Cheliax, Druma, Geb, irrisen, Isger, jalmeray, Katapesh, Linnorn Kings, Molthune, Nidal, Osirion, Qadira, Razmiran, Sargava, the Shackles, Sodden Lands, Taldor, Thuvia, Ustalev, Varisia (in Korvosa and it's holdings anyway)

These are where I would expect to find slavery or indentured servitude practiced in some capacity. Some more open than others. It's actually the majority of countries in the Inner Sea region.


Andoran, Kyonin and the River Kingdoms are the biggest forces opposing slavery.

Rahadoum, Cheliax, Qadira and Katapesh are the most prominent places where one can find slavery. It's not exclusive to those places, however.


One of the major Mwangi tribes is heavily involved in the slave trade as well, if I'm recalling correctly (no book in front of me).

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Slavery is probably pretty prevailant in the inner sea region. The abolitionist countries we were treated too (River Kingdoms and Andoran) were treated much like the exception and not like the rule.

However, I think it is worth noticing that the life of a slave in Cheliax is probably a whole lot different than a serfs life in Brevoy. Throughout most of the more medieval societies, most slaves probably are more akin to "second to third class citizens". Not being free not automatically means having someone whip you to sleep at night - most slaves probably live not so much differently from someone who is free, they merely lack the ability to leave their residence or take up another job. If i had to guess, only the more openly evil are that abusive. For most others, slave(-like) workers probably are as much part of their societies as nobility.

BTW: Where is it stated that Kyonin is abolitionist? Not meant as an attack, but I can't recall a reference.


Can anyone tell me how much slaves cost? This came up in my game tonight as a good aligned PC heard about the slave trade in Sargava and I think he was going to go buy and set free as many as possible, but I didn't even have a guess. A couple of hundred gold pieces? A couple dozen?


Slave prices were given in the Adventurer's Armory. You can find them here.

It's an interesting situation, and you could have an NPC (or three) get into a debate with him about the ethics of it. From one perspective, they have natural rights and deserve to be free; so he should do whatever he can to free them, legal or not. From a second perspective, the law keeps us all safe from predation, and so it would be unwise to weaken it with vigilante actions... even when it supports immorality. From a third perspective, paying for slaves provides a financial incentive for the taking of slaves; so he would actually be enabling the immoral industry, contributing resources for the capture and sale of more sentients. From a fourth perspective -- the prevailing one in realms where slavery is legal -- it's a law of nature that the strong shall dominate the weak, who are lucky to be kept safe by their betters. And there are more.


Sir Jolt wrote:
One of the major Mwangi tribes is heavily involved in the slave trade as well, if I'm recalling correctly (no book in front of me).

That would be the Bekyar tribe. The Bandu sub-tribe regularly raids nearby villages and colonial settlements, making them one of the few things that Sargavan colonials and Mwangi natives are in hearty agreement against (Sargava: The Lost Colony, pg. 6).

TerraNova wrote:
BTW: Where is it stated that Kyonin is abolitionist? Not meant as an attack, but I can't recall a reference.

That's in Elves of Golarion. Their attitude is not so much nuanced as simply racist: no elven slaves. But what the rest of you do to each other? Eh, whatever.

Pg. 20 wrote:
While the elves of Kyonin do not generally condone slavery, what non-elves do to each other is hardly their concern, even within their borders. Slavery is tolerated within Greengold, though slave trading is not. Elf slaves who reach Kyonin’s borders are unconditionally freed, and woe betide any master who attempts to reclaim them inside the elven nation.


I am pretty sure that most, if not all the Mwangi tribes are at least partially involved in the slave trade.

As for the elves, I find it absurd that their "default" alignment is Chaotic Good when they behave in such a manner.
Should be Chaotic Neutral instead. Hell, this makes me think they deserve whatever tortures the drow want to give them.


I strongly disagree about the Mwangi. The slave-taking of the Bekyar tribe is explicitly treated as different by the rest.

Heart of the Jungle, pg. 12 wrote:
Perjoratively called "flesh-merchants" by other Mwangi peoples, they nonetheless find extensive business with less scrupulous Avistani merchants...

You have the Bonuwat as the group most commonly encountered by foreigners, since they live along the coastline (with the Ijo sub-tribe in Desperation Bay); and the Zenj (such as the Bas'o) are the most common people encountered in the Mwangi interior. Then there's the Kalabuta -- which Kalabuto was named after -- and even then, they identify mostly as Zenj. (I don't know what group the Mulaa belong to, the halfling Song'o are their own thing, and the Mauxi don't live there anymore.)

The slavers include the Bekyar tribe in general, and the Ombo sub-tribe of the Bonuwat (mainly out of Senghor). Then there's the halfling Hazh'a tribe in the Kaava Lands, capturing people to sacrifice to Zura, and the cannibalistic Kybwa'ka tribe of Zenj east of Lake Ocota. But every tribe is different, and it isn't fair to paint them all with the same brush.


People are individuals, regardless of tribe.

I'd say that applies to humans in Golarion as much as it does IRL.

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