Sargava, Mwangi tribesmen, and forced labor


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

Grand Lodge

Do the Chelaxian-descended colonists in Sargava use the Mwangi tribesmen, which includes the Zenj, Bonuwat, Mauxi and Bekyar, as forced labor on the pineapple plantations and the mines? Is the situation similar to the Belgian Congo? Do the Chelaxian-descended colonists hold the Mwangi as slaves? Does a system of apartheid exist between the Chelaxian-descended colonists and the Mwangi tribesmen? Is there a mulatto class, offspring of a Chelaxian-descended colonist and Mwangi tribesmen otherwise known as as mixed-ancestry or bi-racial people today, between Chelaxian-descended colonists and the Mwangi in Sargavan society?

Do the colonists utilized criminals from the Chelaxian Empire as forced labor, slaves, or indentured servants?

Has the treatment of the native Mwangi by the Chelaxian-descended colonists attracted the attention of Andoran?

Thoughts?

NOTE: My post is not intended to cause offense to anyone. I am just curious how close Chelaxian colonialism is to European colonialism, a period of racism, exploitation, and intolerance that would be considered morally reprehensible to our 21st-century values.

Grand Lodge

TritonOne wrote:

Do the Chelaxian-descended colonists in Sargava use the Mwangi tribesmen, which includes the Zenj, Bonuwat, Mauxi and Bekyar, as forced labor on the pineapple plantations and the mines? Is the situation similar to the Belgian Congo? Do the Chelaxian-descended colonists hold the Mwangi as slaves? Does a system of apartheid exist between the Chelaxian-descended colonists and the Mwangi tribesmen? Is there a mulatto class, offspring of a Chelaxian-descended colonist and Mwangi tribesmen otherwise known as as mixed-ancestry or bi-racial people, between Chelaxian-descended colonists and the Mwangi in Sargavan society?

Do the colonists utilized criminals from the Chelaxian Empire as forced labor, slaves, or indentured servants?

Has the treatment of the native Mwangi by the Chelaxian-descended colonists attracted the attention of Andoran?

Thoughts?

Well, slavery is legal in every Inner Sea nation except Andoran, and virtually all of the colonies founded by those nations. Especially Chelax. So it stands to reason that A) locals would be also used as slaves by the Chelaxian colonists where possible (cheaper than importing them) and B) Andoran wouldn't like it. Whether Andoran can do anything about slavery in Sargava is another entirely.

You might want to check out: Sargava The Lost Colony. It's the sourcebook for that country. You can also find a summary on the pathfinder wiki.

The city of Eleder seems to have a system of government at least vaguely similar to apartheid in place (although it's rapidly breaking down).

I doubt many Chelish criminals are imported considering Sargava broke away and pays pirates for protection.


TritonOne wrote:
Do the Chelaxian-descended colonists in Sargava use the Mwangi tribesmen, which includes the Zenj, Bonuwat, Mauxi and Bekyar, as forced labor on the pineapple plantations and the mines?

Some do, yes. The Bekyar, however, are seen more as "dangerous/kill on sight" kind of creatures instead of as humans (as they're dangerous demon-worshiping cannibals). The Zenj have almost lost their cultural identity, while the Bonuwat are seen as quaint and mostly harmless.

The "forced" is usually more economic than legal, however; the law has enough elements that prohibit most of the "natives"* from getting too uncomfortably high up the social ladder (or wealth) for the nobility as it is, without the need for mandating the "whole race"*.

* Note: these statements are racist, but made from the point of view of racist colonist-descended people. You can insert your own similar racist remarks here. The point is that while race isn't directly legalized, from what I recall, it effectively is for most people, which is good enough for the colonist-descended nobility.

TritonOne wrote:
Is the situation similar to the Belgian Congo?

I couldn't say for sure, however, in Heart of the Jungle (which is an excellent work and Paizo's official guidebook to the Mwangi - one I heartily recommend along with Sargava, the Lost Colony) it notes the following materials as good inspiration:

Fiction: Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, et al.) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World), John Peter Drummond (Ki-Gor, Lord of the Jungle series, et al), Philip Jose Farmer (Ancient Opar series, et al), Henry Richard Haggard (She, King Solomon's Mines, The People of the Mist), Robert E. Howard ("Xuthal of the Dusk", "Servent of Bit-Yakin", "Queen of the Black Coast"), William Henry Hudson (Green Mansions), Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book), J.H. Rosny Aine (L'Etonnant Voyage de Hareton Ironcastle)
Film: King Kong (1933), and Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1973)

That should give you something of a feel for what they're going for, even though it's incidental (aka the Jungle instead of the country itself).

TritonOne wrote:
Do the Chelaxian-descended colonists hold the Mwangi as slaves?

In many cases yes, but this isn't an absolute. There are many free Mwangi. It's important to note, however, that the "free" Mwangi don't have many rights and live in terrible conditions.

TritonOne wrote:
Does a system of apartheid exist between the Chelaxian-descended colonists and the Mwangi tribesmen?

From what I read and recall, it seems that the government consists of the white nobles electing a (so far exclusively) white baron of Sargava who holds the office for life. While the baron is in charge of government finances, the nobility more or less do as they please, and the continuance of the office of baron is in their hands.

The current baron is a decent enough, if ancient, guy. He's old enough to be an ex-cleric of Aroden, and set in his ways enough to have never chosen a replacement deity.

The real power in the capital city, however, is an extremely racist rich white woman named Lady Madrona Daugustana (called the "matriarch of Eleder").

In Kalabuto - the largest city - there is substantially more integration, racially, but there is still some amount of segregation. Mostly the integration is a result of necessity and numbers involved rather than preference of the white populace. The natives in and around Kalabuto tend to dress, think, and generally look (except for skin tone) Sargavan, although this is not the case in other areas.

TritonOne wrote:
Is there a mulatto class, offspring of a Chelaxian-descended colonist and Mwangi tribesmen otherwise known as as mixed-ancestry or bi-racial people today, between Chelaxian-descended colonists and the Mwangi in Sargavan society?

Especially in Kalabuto the answer is "probably". In other areas the answer is "probably" as well, but it's much more likely that they're shameful and hidden away. In our interpretation of Sargava, the paladin is actually the secret great grandson (and secretly an octoroon, though he doesn't look like it) of Lady Daugustana (whom I mentioned above; he's the product of a genuinely "loving" dalliance with a slave, before that slave ran away and was killed by her own father for it), but that's not canon to the best of my knowledge and memory. Still, it's rather likely to have happened.

TritonOne wrote:
Do the colonists utilized criminals from the Chelaxian Empire as forced labor, slaves, or indentured servants?

Not anymore, as Aberrant Templar noted.

TritonOne wrote:
Has the treatment of the native Mwangi by the Chelaxian-descended colonists attracted the attention of Andoran?

Not especially. Andoran is really far away and extremely disconnected from Sargava. They'd likely try to get along (as opponents of Cheliax) while preaching the good word, but the two countries likely wouldn't last long as allies.

TritonOne wrote:
Thoughts?

Many! :)

TritonOne wrote:
NOTE: My post is not intended to cause offense to anyone. I am just curious how close Chelaxian colonialism is to European colonialism, a period of racism, exploitation, and intolerance that would be considered morally reprehensible to our 21st-century values.

Cool. Cool. :)

EDIT: adding proper tags and one more concept I'd forgotten to.


TritonOne wrote:
Is the situation similar to the Belgian Congo?

It's likely not that bad yet.

Paizo Employee Editor

Tacticslion wrote:
The Bekyar, however, are seen more as "dangerous/kill on sight" kind of creatures instead of as humans (as they're dangerous demon-worshiping cannibals). The Zenj have almost lost their cultural identity, while the Bonuwat are seen as quaint and mostly harmless.

Just a quick note here—the Bekyar may be slave traders and worship demons, but they aren't cannibals, and they trade extensively with e.g. the Aspis Consortium (Heart of the Jungle 12). So while they're not great neighbors, they're treated as humans and interact directly with the world economy.

There are, however, human cannibals in the Sodden Lands (the Koboto people, ISWG 175) and in the outer islands of the Shackles (kuru—humans contaminated by Ghol-Gani spirits, ISWG 172).


Judy Bauer wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
The Bekyar, however, are seen more as "dangerous/kill on sight" kind of creatures instead of as humans (as they're dangerous demon-worshiping cannibals). The Zenj have almost lost their cultural identity, while the Bonuwat are seen as quaint and mostly harmless.

Just a quick note here—the Bekyar may be slave traders and worship demons, but they aren't cannibals, and they trade extensively with e.g. the Aspis Consortium (Heart of the Jungle 12). So while they're not great neighbors, they're treated as humans and interact directly with the world economy.

There are, however, human cannibals in the Sodden Lands (the Koboto people, ISWG 175) and in the outer islands of the Shackles (kuru—humans contaminated by Ghol-Gani spirits, ISWG 172).

Really? Huh, that's interesting. I really mis-remembered that, then (and I think I mis-played that in our game). Thanks!

Grand Lodge

I was wanting to add color to Sargava and Eleder for my campaign. Though I am very concerned if adding some gritty realism to Golarion based on European colonialism in the Americas and Africa will destroy the fantasy.

Sargava and the Mwangi Expanse seem like they were influenced by the historical Spanish Main and the Belgian Congo with the addition of fantasy elements from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E Howard, and HR Haggard. The Shackles influenced by legendary pirates, the Islands of the Caribbean, and pirate fiction.

Maybe I just don't want to go down that road. That things like forced labor, slavery, racism, and sexism go on, but we won't talk about that. How much detail do you add so that Golarion is a lived-in fantasy world and not create a Middle Ages/Post Classical/Early Modern (Age of Revolutions) simulation where life for most people was nasty, brutish, and short?


TritonOne wrote:

I was wanting to add color to Sargava and Eleder for my campaign. Though I am very concerned if adding some gritty realism to Golarion based on European colonialism in the Americas and Africa will destroy the fantasy.

Sargava and the Mwangi Expanse seem like they were influenced by the historical Spanish Main and the Belgian Congo with the addition of fantasy elements from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E Howard, and HR Haggard. The Shackles influenced by legendary pirates, the Islands of the Caribbean, and pirate fiction.

Maybe I just don't want to go down that road. That things like forced labor, slavery, racism, and sexism go on, but we won't talk about that. How much detail do you add so that Golarion is a lived-in fantasy world and not create a Middle Ages/Post Classical/Early Modern (Age of Revolutions) simulation where life for most people was nasty, brutish, and short?

One of the big things that both ameliorates and exasperates this is the existence of magic. The fact that magic exists, even though most commoners don't see or use it all that much, is actually really solidly game-changing.

While Sargava and the Mwangi are based on elements similar to what you describe, the actual brutality therein is both simultaneously more and less. This subtle difference makes a world (pun intended) of difference, to me, at least.


Tacticslion wrote:
Judy Bauer wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
The Bekyar, however, are seen more as "dangerous/kill on sight" kind of creatures instead of as humans (as they're dangerous demon-worshiping cannibals). The Zenj have almost lost their cultural identity, while the Bonuwat are seen as quaint and mostly harmless.

Just a quick note here—the Bekyar may be slave traders and worship demons, but they aren't cannibals, and they trade extensively with e.g. the Aspis Consortium (Heart of the Jungle 12). So while they're not great neighbors, they're treated as humans and interact directly with the world economy.

There are, however, human cannibals in the Sodden Lands (the Koboto people, ISWG 175) and in the outer islands of the Shackles (kuru—humans contaminated by Ghol-Gani spirits, ISWG 172).

Really? Huh, that's interesting. I really mis-remembered that, then (and I think I mis-played that in our game). Thanks!

There are two Bekyar tribes mentioned in "Sargava: The Lost Colony," pages 6-8.

The Bandu (Bekyar) are the raiders/slavers.

The Yemba (Bekyar) are the super scary cannibals.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Judy Bauer wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
The Bekyar, however, are seen more as "dangerous/kill on sight" kind of creatures instead of as humans (as they're dangerous demon-worshiping cannibals). The Zenj have almost lost their cultural identity, while the Bonuwat are seen as quaint and mostly harmless.

Just a quick note here—the Bekyar may be slave traders and worship demons, but they aren't cannibals, and they trade extensively with e.g. the Aspis Consortium (Heart of the Jungle 12). So while they're not great neighbors, they're treated as humans and interact directly with the world economy.

There are, however, human cannibals in the Sodden Lands (the Koboto people, ISWG 175) and in the outer islands of the Shackles (kuru—humans contaminated by Ghol-Gani spirits, ISWG 172).

Both good points Judy. I see the Bekyar as the Nigerian and Sudanese slave traders of the 1800s and the Chelish as the European merchants who buy them to advance their empire interests. I'm betting some ended up in Arcadia


Flynn Greywalker wrote:
Judy Bauer wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
The Bekyar, however, are seen more as "dangerous/kill on sight" kind of creatures instead of as humans (as they're dangerous demon-worshiping cannibals). The Zenj have almost lost their cultural identity, while the Bonuwat are seen as quaint and mostly harmless.

Just a quick note here—the Bekyar may be slave traders and worship demons, but they aren't cannibals, and they trade extensively with e.g. the Aspis Consortium (Heart of the Jungle 12). So while they're not great neighbors, they're treated as humans and interact directly with the world economy.

There are, however, human cannibals in the Sodden Lands (the Koboto people, ISWG 175) and in the outer islands of the Shackles (kuru—humans contaminated by Ghol-Gani spirits, ISWG 172).

Both good points Judy. I see the Bekyar as the Nigerian and Sudanese slave traders of the 1800s and the Chelish as the European merchants who buy them to advance their empire interests. I'm betting some ended up in Arcadia

I don't think the colonies as presented in Arcadia are large enough to really support slave trade. Also not sure how the numerically superior and fairly advanced Arcadian nations would look up the import of slaves to their shores.


Well it depends. We don't know if the Arcadians take kindly to slavery, but if they do, then they probably wouldn't mind some lucrative trade with the colonists.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Lost Omens Campaign Setting / General Discussion / Sargava, Mwangi tribesmen, and forced labor All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.