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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I'm making a new thread for this topic because I think it is too practical a matter for the Establishing Background Lore thread, where Yeti brought the topic up, and because slaves are a major character type. I could have posted this long ago, but as is my habit delayed because I wanted to further polish up my post. It's been four months now since Yeti brought up the topic, so polishing be damned.

How I see it:

House Telvanni

In Telvanni lands, pretty much anything goes in terms of slave ownership. Usually, however, only Telvanni wizards are rich enough to own slaves, (most of the population is composed of bugherds and maybe egg miners), and Telvanni wizards tend not to focus much on agriculture or other typical economic pursuits. As a tendency; Therana does own an egg mine on Vvardenfell afterall. There would probably not be any plantations in Telvannis.
Typical uses for slaves would be as household servants and test subjects.
Examples: the Festival Slave Market in Tel Aruhn, Vistha-Kai in Tel Fyr, Ra'Zahr in Tel Branora, the slaves in Abebaal Egg Mine, Falura Llervu.
Of course, we may end up going in a completely different direction with House Telvanni when we get around to redoing Telvannis.

House Redoran

Slavery is no longer practiced in Redoran lands for the most part.
House Redoran's meagre economy cannot support a large population of slaves; it has enough trouble supporting the Redoran lower class. Generally, the lower class is numerous enough to exploit what resources there are, rendering slaves unnecessary.
As for household slaves, Redoran probably do not employ them for a number of reasons: the only slaves House Redoran would have easy access to would be captured Nordic and Orcish bandits, who probably make poor household slaves. Redorans would probably not be willing to buy slaves from House Hlaalu at this point, and House Dres is simply too far away. Redoran are also simply culturally geared towards independence, and Redoran councillors might be uncomfortable relying on the services of a lesser.
I do not know of any examples of Redoran slaves in vanilla Morrowind.

House Hlaalu

Hlaalu slaves would work on plantations and serve as trade goods. Slaves might rarely serve as household slaves or even entertainment, (an Altmer slave in Suran has an attached, inactive dancing script. I'm not sure if he was supposed to be able to dance or if it was just an oversight), but I can't think of any examples off the top of my head of household slaves in vanilla Morrowind, while vanilla Hlaalu are shown to employ commoners as servants.
It's possible that Hlaalu abandoned the practice of household slaves in most places to appeal more to outlanders, but that the economic advantages of slaves as cheap labour and trade goods outweighed such concerns, which is why they are still present, if often out of sight. It is also possible that Hlaalu, as a conglomeration of originally lowly merchant Houses, simply never picked up the habit of employing household slaves. It is also possible that they are simply affluent enough to afford paid servants, who are typically more reliable, and as such see little reason to employ slaves around the household. The last reason seems the most convincing to me, especially because slaves are very easy to turn against their masters, which is an important consideration for a House as prone to intrigues as House Hlaalu, but I think all three are valid.
Examples: the Arvel and Dren Plantations and the Suran slave market linked above.

House Indoril

In Indoril lands, slaves are the exclusive property of Indoril nobles, just like land. (Barring the Temple, in the latter case). Just as Indoril nobles allow the locals to live on their lands to work the fields, they allow the locals to make use of their slaves to enable them to work larger tracts of land than they would otherwise be able to. I think House Indoril should make very heavy use of slaves, especially in Alt Orethan, to illustrate Morrowind's economic dependence on slavery.
Another question is whether House Indoril should employ household slaves, and what role they would serve in a household. I think that, if only to contrast with House Hlaalu, House Indoril would employ household slaves, but they would probably also employ servants; slaves might do menial tasks around the house, and more rarely Altmer slaves might possibly act as instructors, scribes, clerks or somesuch, though I'm not too sure on that.

House Dres

As for Dres, I think that's pretty well established, though I'm not sure if Dres would use household slaves. I'd say they probably would, to further illustrate Dres dependence on slavery.
Post Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:39 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Matin Sanguine
Developer
22 Aug 2012

Location: Australia

Gnomey wrote:

I do not know of any examples of Redoran slaves in vanilla Morrowind.


Just off the top of my head, but it is possible to purchase slaves whilst playing through the third and final phase for completing the Redoran stronghold in vanilla . The context is that the player needs to attract women to the stronghold, and one of the options being to simply buy some (though it should be stressed that this is simply one of many options to complete that particular quest; it's all up to the player's discretion).


Otherwise, I can't really think of any other instance where slaves are used by House Redoran.

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Post Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:49 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Ah yeah, thanks for pointing that out. In that case, though, they're not really used as slaves; they are actually freed so that they can serve as wives to the settlers of Bal Isra. I do find it interesting that the Redoran questgiver actually suggests buying slaves from Tel Aruhn, though. It suggests that House Redoran is pretty lax about those matters, though the questgiver might just be an exception.
Post Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:12 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

I think the conflicts between the Great Houses are too often portrayed as too similar to the situation between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. They are part of the same society, and even conflicting houses wouldn't swear off all contact with their peers in another one. The Redoran should still trade with the Hlaalu, for instance.
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Post Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:45 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

That's a good point, though if we're going with real-world analogues I rather think of modern USA and Russia dropping sanctions on each other, teetering between hostility and cooperation.

I do think the characters would play a big role here, though. While the Hlaalu would not want to close off their avenues of trade, some of the Redoran councillors might just be bitter and reckless enough to do so. These particulars naturally need to be sorted out in another thread, or several. My conclusion on the Redoran (lack of) use of slaves wouldn't really change due to just that factor being different.
Post Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:42 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

I agree with your take on the Redoran -they should not make a significant use of slaves. With that said, I think it is important to note that, as traditionalists, they should still support slavery as an institution of Dunmer culture.

Other than the Great Houses, I remember an Ashlander in Morrowind saying that they once kept slaves, but don't anymore. There is, however, this quote:
Ashlander Morrowind Lore topic wrote:
We claim the right to raid other Ashlander tribes -- and non-Ashlander settlements -- for booty and slaves. It is our way.

I imagine the Redoran's attitudes would be similar: they preserve the right to take and hold slaves, but simply don't exercise it as much.

I do seem to remember a smuggler cave in my Verarchen NPC claim, so perhaps a smudge of slavery could exist in certain areas.

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Post Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:13 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Yeah, I agree with all of that. I thought I remembered a line in Morrowind in which the Redoran said that, while they don't use slaves themselves, they support their right to do so, or something like that, but tracking it down proved to be too troublesome.
Post Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:17 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Dreadnautilus
Member
25 Nov 2014



Thought: Many Khajiit slaves in Morrowind come from Elsweyr-based trafficking rings. They kidnap Khajiit and taken to Senchal, where they are smuggled in ships to Tear. Racist Dunmer take it (along with those Argonians selling their own children mentioned in the Argonian Account) as proof of the inferior morals of beast races, as they damn their own kind for profit.
Post Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:11 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Telvayn
Member
28 Jan 2014



There is one bit of dialogue in Morrowind which talks about the Houses in context of slavery (and largely fits what already was said)

Brallion, Sadrith Mora's slave trader wrote:
The Dark Elves have traditionally permitted enslavement of Humans, Orcs, Argonians, and Khajiit, and mistreatment of these races is not recognized as a crime, other than as a crime against property. Slavery is not now practiced in Summerset Isles or Valenwood, and its practice is on the wane in Morrowind. By terms of the Armistice, Morrowind defines its own laws and customs, and slavery remains legal. Slavery is uncommon in Redoran and Hlaalu Districts, common in Telvanni, Indoril, and Dres Districts.
Post Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:26 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Thanks, that's probably the dialogue source I was thinking of. I thought I remembered Redoran NPCs having a line to a similar effect, but haven't had much luck in finding it.

Edit: I'm not too sure about the Khajiit supplying Morrowind with slaves. I'd think they'd have more profitable ways to use their criminal energy; or even more lucrative ways to use kidnapped Khajiit. Imperial ships would probably patrol for that kind of stuff, and rounding Black Marsh is probably not the most pleasant voyage one could undertake. Either way, the idea has pretty much already been used for the Argonians.

A snippet of something I basically pulled from my nether regions while on IRC, which I realized should probably be posted here:

The Indoril do distinguish their slaves. The beast races are especially unpalatable and mostly kept out of sight of the nobles, but also the most numerous. They are mostly lent (or leased) to Velothi towns to help with labour and such. The human races, in the rare instances where they do appear, are used essentially as slave soldiers or – if they have the skills – craftsmen, as they’re perceived as being ill suited to hard labour, but one doesn’t want to see them around the lord’s household either. Elves are perceived as the least unpleasant of the other races, and one can just about get away with having them in the lord’s presence. They’re still at the bottom of the barrel, though, as far as household status is concerned; even lower than any Velothi who work on the estate. Dunmer slaves are rare, but relatively sought after. There’s still an insurmountable stigma due to their being slaves, but they’re not bad to look at, at least, and their presence generally doesn’t offend any tender sensibilities. They might even be trusted henchmen, in some unique instances. The Indoril don’t ever enslave Dunmer themselves; they use Dunmer slaves, but don’t contribute to their number. However, slaves are always looked down upon, and are not treated well, even if they act as tutors.
Post Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:49 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Terrifying Daedric Foe
Developer
26 Aug 2010

Location: England

If a female Dunmer (or any non-beast race for that matter) slave gave birth to a child would that child also be a slave?
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Post Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:47 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

I'd say yes. A slave is property of the owner, so all that comes out of it is righteously also property of that same owner. When an African slave who was property of a European owner got pregnant (of the child of the owner or otherwise), that child was born into enslavement by definition.
Post Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:45 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



Not always. I attended a lecture on slavery in Brazil, and learned about how slaves could actually own their own slaves within their system, and would actually work special jobs to earn real money, which they could then trade for slaves, who they could then lease out to earn more money to buy more slaves. Under this system, the slave would often "own" his own children, rather than his master owning them. It becomes complicated. I think complicated systems actually can work quite well for Dunmer slavery laws, since Dunmer are weird and very "other".
Post Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:13 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

I doubt it any Dunmer would allow their slaves to have slaves. Though your facts are interesting, slaves in Morrowind are at the bottom of the barrel and treated accordingly. Other Houses may see it differently, but Indoril slaves for example, are exclusively property of nobles, just like land.
Perhaps the Hlaalu might have different views on slave rights, and one may, in unique circumstances, even allow a slave such extraordinary priviliges, but it wouldn't be a regular thing. However, Telvanni, Indoril and Dres slaves wouldn't even dare dreaming of it.
Post Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:38 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



Would the Redoran let their slaves have slaves? They're the most likely in my opinion, since their relationship with slavery is completely different from every single other house.
Post Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:13 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Redoran mostly don't have slaves. One could argue because they value independence and prefer to do things themselves, or one could argue because they're simply too poor to create a proper niche for slave labour; they have enough cheap local labour to make do.

I don't think slaves owning slaves would make too much sense for Dunmer society. I'm not sure whether the child of a slave and master would be a slave, but -- except perhaps in Hlaalu lands -- the child would certainly not be legitimized, and would likely be sent far away/banished so as to remain out of sight. That would probably be the social convention, anyway; individual families and characters may have their way of handling things.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:45 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Telvayn
Member
28 Jan 2014



Gnomey wrote:
I'm not sure whether the child of a slave and master would be a slave, but -- except perhaps in Hlaalu lands -- the child would certainly not be legitimized, and would likely be sent far away/banished so as to remain out of sight. That would probably be the social convention, anyway; individual families and characters may have their way of handling things.

Since the children are supposed to take the race of their mother, I can imagine that in a situation, where the master is male the child is treated as would any other slave-born (so, a slave), while if a female master would get pregnant, getting rid of the pregnancy before birth would be the preferred option (so the bloodline isn't tainted by the blood of a slave), possibly getting banished in some cases.

Marandahir wrote:
Would the Redoran let their slaves have slaves? They're the most likely in my opinion, since their relationship with slavery is completely different from every single other house.

How would the Redoran slaves (in those rare cases these happen) earn enough to get slave? They're not getting paid after all.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:55 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Telvayn wrote:
if a female master would get pregnant

Reading this strongly reminded me of the TR book The Mistress, where, in a play, a female master goes at it with her Khajiit slave boy. I had a laugh reading it, but don't see much reason for implementing such stuff into the game in other ways than books - plays in books in fact.

Edit: On second thought, such an event could make for a nice little quest line.
Post Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:30 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



It was just a thought.

It's good to explore these angles.

On another note, since it's possible for the player to deal in slaves, does that mean that non-Dunmer are allowed to practice slavery in Morrowind? I thought the wording of Armistice granted the protection of slavery to the Dunmer specifically.

Could there be some sort of a political conflict about upstart foreigners operating slavery businesses and competing with Dres or Hlaalu interests?
Post Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:41 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Slavery is allowed in Morrowind, not just for Dunmer. (Naturally meaning Dunmer outside of Morrowind can't own slaves). Foreigners can own slaves; in fact, in vanilla Morrowind the Caldera Ebony Mine does just that.
So in short, yes, there is room for political conflict.

An idea I had for Andothren was that one of the rich Imperials there owns slaves because he can, to the disgust of most of his fellow outlanders. (In fact, I suggested that the corrupt Balmora magistrate mentioned in Morrowind dialogue but not present in Balmora, Nolus Atrius, actually 'governs' from his manor in Andothren, and that he is the slave owner in question).
Post Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:00 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Telvayn
Member
28 Jan 2014



Gnomey wrote:
Foreigners can own slaves; in fact, in vanilla Morrowind the Caldera Ebony Mine does just that.
So in short, yes, there is room for political conflict.

Caldera's mine is run by House Hlaalu. Still, there is no reason to think foreigners can't own slaves, when one (factionless) owns a slave market in Sadrith Mora.
Post Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:20 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



Yeah, that's why I asked. The words of the Armistice seems to refer specifically to the Dunmer of Morrowind (and thus excluding Dunmer outside of Morrowind and possibly other peoples in Morrowind), and Caldera Mine seemed to get away with it through the Hlaalu-Imperial cooperation. But the Telvanni Slave Market breaks with that. My question was more if that's a case of the Telvanni being sort of "anything-goes" and the officers of Imperial law not actually punishing non-Dunmer slaveholders due to corruption in Telvanni lands, or if it's because the slave law had been expanded to anyone in Morrowind being allowed to own slaves.

Especially if it's unclear and hazy rulings, it could be open to some interesting intrigue. And I like the idea Gnomey has to Andothren.
Post Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:39 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Kalvitto
Member
23 Jan 2015



All Vanilla

The Andrano Family has 13 living members.
Is the largest Family in the Game. (i think)
Significant influence to House Redoran.

*Selvura Andrano - Camonna Tong in Gnaar Mok
*Gorenea Andrano - Necromancer in Sud
*Drayn Andrano - A Slaver in Zebabi
*Boldrisa Andrano - An Agent & Oathman to House Redoran
*Serer Andrano - A Noble & hireling in HH at Ules Manor

Potential contentions for an Underworld Slave theme, possibly even a Dark Slave theme.
Post Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:15 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Telvayn
Member
28 Jan 2014



Marandahir wrote:
My question was more if that's a case of the Telvanni being sort of "anything-goes" and the officers of Imperial law not actually punishing non-Dunmer slaveholders due to corruption in Telvanni lands, or if it's because the slave law had been expanded to anyone in Morrowind being allowed to own slaves.

The latter - Helviane Desele (factionless Breton) has a slave that without a shadow of doubt belongs to her. The same holds true for Fenas Madach (Breton, owner of the tradehouse in Gnisis, a Thieves guild member) who has an Argonian slave for a servant.
Post Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:20 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

The Caldera Ebony Mine is run by the Caldera Mining Company, which is an Imperial company. "The Caldera Mine[sic] Company is chartered by the Emperor to extract ebony ore from rich underground deposits here." They are allowed to operate there because they got permission from House Hlaalu, who as I understand it take a cut of the profits. House Redoran took offense because it is their territory, not House Hlaalu's, and as such House Hlaalu is in no position to give the Caldera Mining Company permission or to take a cut of the profits.

As for the Armistice, keep in mind that we do not actually have the text for the Armistice, so I don't know where you're getting that information from. There has been some discussion on the Armistice here, but the conclusion on slavery appears to be that Morrowind -- not Morrowind's Dunmer -- essentially opted out on the ban on slavery.
Post Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:50 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Telvayn
Member
28 Jan 2014



Gnomey wrote:
The Caldera Ebony Mine is run by the Caldera Mining Company, which is an Imperial company. "The Caldera Mine[sic] Company is chartered by the Emperor to extract ebony ore from rich underground deposits here."

You need an Imperial Charter (which to common folk could seem to by a charter given directly by the Emperor) to do any ebony mining at all.

Raw ebony is one of the most precious substances in the Empire, and most of the continent's deposits are here on Vvardenfell. Raw ebony itself is an extremely hard, durable, black glass-like substance, said to be the crystalized blood of the gods. Raw ebony is protected by Imperial law, and may not be mined or exported without an Imperial charter. Ebony smuggling is a profitable but dangerous source of illegal wealth on Vvardenfell.

Quote:
They are allowed to operate there because they got permission from House Hlaalu, who as I understand it take a cut of the profits.

The Company is run by Hlaalu members and the mine itself is guarded by Hlaalu guards. Officially the Empire gave the charter and send in money, but the details were Hlaalu's to make (which is all that matters for the discussion at hand, since they would be free to send in their slaves).
Post Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:41 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



I got it from the UESP's page on Morrowind:Slavery, which isn't canon, and I'm not sure where they got it from. So there's that, too.

But as Telvayn says, I do wonder if Caldera Mining Company is actually a Hlaalu Corporation subsidary with an Imperial Charter for mining.

In any case, it seems the Breton holding a slave means it applies to everyone in Morrowind.
Post Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:53 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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