I really like the feeling that you are building up here Geoff - the description of Isshum is the stuff that nightmares are made out of, and the bit about the prophecy of it being washed away is a nice touch. The eight fingered thing also fits in nicely with the lizards... I can start to see how they think. Very cold. Very reptilian
That's what I was aiming for. Mogreth is a nasty place, but it's not evil in the black hat/comical way. Its rulers really are inhuman, and they view their slaves the way many people look at livestock. What they do to their slaves is done with the intent of maximising their output. You can't cut off a slave's arm to mark them as property - that would make them useless - but the loss of two fingers is inconsequential to their minds, and the palms are a convenient place for brands. That way, you know that a person is a slave, and who they belong to. Brutal, unsentimental efficiency. About a third of urban slaves die before their first year is out, half within three. Due to the conditions, few slaves live to old age. Just to give you an impression of how many slaves Mogreth needs to take in per year to maintain its stock...
Chimpman wrote:As for slaves, I'm trying to think what kind the dwarves would come across - Antalians, elves, and giants from the north. Elves and giants again possibly from the Dawn Lands. Neathar and elves (those that broke off from Ilsundal's migration) to the west, and perhaps also Oltec or Azcan. I'm sure that the occasional unlucky (as in they didn't sell out their rivals first) dwarf or gnome would find their way to Isshum as well.
That sounds about right to me. Humans of all ethnicities would be the most common stock, followed by the highly desired giants (for their strength). Due to their magical talents and other abilities, elven slaves would be considered problematic. Very useful (and expensive), but also unpredictable as common labourers. Many elves wound up in the labs as a result. The sorcerer kings have probably tried to breed a desirable human slave race, too.
Chimpman wrote:We may be going in the same direction here, but the view I get of Taymor is that they might offer locals assistance from their current oppressors, only to step in as the new tyrants once the old are overthrown. At least that would be their plan. How do you see their stance on slavery? I can buy that they would not sell their own people, but would they buy slaves to send back to their masters at home? Everyone's got to eat after all.
IMO, the Taymorans stridently oppose Mogrethian slavery, but aggressively support their own system of indentured servitude (not the same thing at all, they would say). They probably have some sympathy for the plight of the slaves, if only because the brutal system under which they live could depopulate large parts of southern Brun, thereby depriving them of nourishment over the longer term. I can definitely see Taymoran factors buying slaves at the grand market of Isshum, and then shipping them to their masters. After all, who cares what happens to an Antalian barbarian? He should be grateful he didn't end up in the arena...
Also, the cultivated notion of Taymor as protector of humanity might be useful in inciting slave revolts in Mogreth (they do happen). Those that happen near the border offer an excuse to invade - for the protection of the slaves, of course.