Slavery in B5 Universe

El Cid

Mongoose
Slavery in B5 Universe

I posted a message on the Centauri thread about a slave race under the Centauri.

See Below:

August, there is a description of a "docile" reptilian slave race on one of the first planets that the Centauri colonized.

In my Thursday evening game I had one of these creatures stow away on a Centauri freighter and make it to B5.

Our heroes found the creature and discovered that it was an escaped slave.

They were spotted by station security and the status of the creature was the subject of a trial before the Ombudsman (sp?).

I had a die roll to decide which way the ruling would go.

Do you have any thoughts or insights about escaped Centauri slaves making their way to EA space and how the justice system would rule?

Also, I had the creature look like a Raptor in my game but from the few words about them, I get the impression they are plant eaters vs meat eaters. Is there anything else you can tell us about them?

Sidney

And August was very prompt in his reply:

Ah yes, the reptilian slaves from Centauri space...

They do indeed look like raptors (in a way), but they have mostly blunt teeth and they are plant eaters (primarily), though they have developed a taste for meat due to their exposure to Centauri cooking.

It is taboo in their culture to kill sentient life, which is why they have been slaves for so long, and it is unlikely that this will change any time soon. The Centauri have efficiently spread rumors of their 'blood thirsty natures', making it difficult for them to get any aid from other races. You should definitely work that into your game if you get the chance; the reptilian will have to prove his good nature, though this is fairly easy to do if anyone tries to communicate with him.

As for the ruling, it should depend. How many Centauri are spending money behind the scene to bribe the judge? If the slave gets a fair hearing, I would probably say it will be ruled emancipated by location, much as the slaves in the US were often (though tragically not always) freed by getting into the North.

Take care, and hope this helps,
-August

So I’ve been thinking about how to handle slavery in the B5 Universe.

Currently, I have 4 former slaves.

A PC Centauri dancer who was freed

A NPC Centauri male doctor who was born a slave as one of the two racial variants in the Centauri book and is considered an escaped slave.

A NPC Centauri female doctor who was enslaved by a more powerful noble house and is also considered an escaped slave.

A NPC human business woman who is wanted in Centauri space for murder, piracy and being an escaped slave. Her parents were murdered by some Centauri and she was made a slave at age 6.

What are your thought on slavery, laws and extradition of people who have outstanding warrants for crimes they are accused of in other races space?

Sidney
 

Dag'Nabbit

Mongoose
El Cid said:
Slavery in B5 Universe
I posted a message on the Centauri thread about a slave race under the Centauri. See Below:....
What are your thought on slavery, laws and extradition of people who have outstanding warrants for crimes they are accused of in other races space?

Sidney

Every Race/State will have seperate laws regarding slavery and its application. It should probably be handled in a similar fashion as our nations handle conlflicting laws between their states. For most citizens this means that when you travel in a foreign nation then you must abide by their laws. Thus most Centauri could not own/operate slaves while inside a nation like the EA that outlaws slavery.

However, their are those with special priviliges/dispensations, like diplomats with diplomatic immunity. These individuals will be allowed to do pretty much as they please, but if they flaunt that which is uncomfortable, let alone illegal, will cause their endeavors to be met with much more resistance simply because they have pissed off their host nation. They may even be kicked out of the nation if they push too far.

Now, the Babylon 5 Station has an even hairier situation. Each government is allowed to do as it wishes as long as it: 1)doesn't violate their own laws, 2)doesn't involve another species/government, and 3)doesn't put the station and it's citizens at risk. These reate a lot of gray areas involveding legal issues and a great deal of headaches for station security.

Extradition is going to be a specific issue that is dealt with on a pre-established basis with each individual stellar-relationship. As with the nations today, an Extradition/Non-Extradition Treaty will be in place between most of the known Stellar Nations. It will only get ugly when it involves nations that don't have a treaty established.

There go my 2 cents.
 

Graknor Stev

Mongoose
Honestly why don't you make it into one of your campaign's main plots or sub-plots.

I mean I've had a few players who would have jumped on the occasion to play such a campaign.

Let's say they run away to the Brakiri or other race and ask for assylum. Will that state act as Canada did with the african americans and help the underground railroad? Or will it just turn them away or deliver them to the Centauri? The Narn might harbour them, but to further their goals and piss off the Centauri.

The Mimbari... hey might or they might not depending on some obscure and strange philosophical point or something like the prime directive. Although they have been known to harbour runnaway telepaths back in the days of the Psy Core, so who knows.

Maybe a group of raiders or Drak would help the slaves escape and give them some colonies, only to build a nice slave pen for their empire, and so on.

My two creds.
 

El Cid

Mongoose
The issues you both bring up are the ones I'm trying to handle in my cmpaigns.

I am using 21st centry earth as my baseline.

Sidney
 

Dag'Nabbit

Mongoose
Then were our suggestions helpful? Toss out some specific issues/conflicts you are having and I might me able to be even more helpful. If you are just looking to debate the various legal issues then en'garde, and have at the!
 

El Cid

Mongoose
Loose the dogs of war!

The first case was the reptile alien stowing away to B5 and what ruleing would be most likely?

The second case has to do with escaped slaves who killed their master in order to escape. Now they are wanted for murder in say, Centauri space, would the EA turn them over to the Centauri?

Sidney
 

redlaco

Mongoose
1. According to the show, there would be a great deal of discussion over that, but in the end, most of the command staff would try to find a solution in favor of the former slave, at the condition that it doesn't create a big diplomatic feud. They (B5 officials) respected the law, but tried to serve moral and ethics above all. So if the law would not serve justice and moral, they would bend it a little sometimes. In fact it happened quite often...

2. Usually, EA would not risk to upset Centauri over a few individuals. If the slaves would have taken refuge on Babylon 5, then see no 1 above. Sinclair, Sheridan, Ivanova, Franklin, even Garibaldi would try their best to find a way to help them after making sure they were decent people who acted on legitimate defense... You rarely saw the same dedication to justice from the rest of the EA officials who were presented as political hounds more than ethical people. That was my perception anyway, it's an over-simplification I know. It served to put the spotlight on the heroes who often bent immoral orders from above to serve justice.

No clear way to handle it as we thread on moral dilemmas, where shades of gray rules the day.
 

Dag'Nabbit

Mongoose
El Cid said:
Loose the dogs of war!

The first case was the reptile alien stowing away to B5 and what ruleing would be most likely?

This could be as sticky as you want it to be. Maybe the alien just ran into the party and asked them to help it get off station. They could help for reasons of good will or good economics; it's entirely up to them.

That's besides the point though as I believe that you are involving the station command. Before I get into this I need to know a few things.
1. Who are this slave's masters?
2. Who was involved in escaping the slave to B5 as well as how they did it?
3. The slaves attitude and behavior once it arrived on station. Specifically did it piss any one off or gain any new friends?

El Cid said:
The second case has to do with escaped slaves who killed their master in order to escape. Now they are wanted for murder in say, Centauri space, would the EA turn them over to the Centauri?

Sidney

A couple of questions here on this.

1. Who is currently president of the EA?
2. What are the slaves telling the EA about the circumstances of the alleged murders? Remember, in the EA it's innocent until proven guilty.
3. Have the aliens received any form of asylum from non-governmental organizations? (ie. the church)
4. How public is this case?
5. Are their any groups that know of the case that are endeavoring to help the escaped slaves run and hide. I haven't read anything on it, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were independently funded groups out their who were trying to set up underground railroads in order to help slaves escape.

That's all I can think of for now so let me know, and I'll give you a decent answer.
 

El Cid

Mongoose
Dag'Nabbit said:
El Cid said:
The first case was the reptile alien stowing away to B5 and what ruleing would be most likely?

This could be as sticky as you want it to be. Maybe the alien just ran into the party and asked them to help it get off station. They could help for reasons of good will or good economics; it's entirely up to them.

That's besides the point though as I believe that you are involving the station command. Before I get into this I need to know a few things.
1. Who are this slave's masters?
2. Who was involved in escaping the slave to B5 as well as how they did it?
3. The slaves attitude and behavior once it arrived on station. Specifically did it piss any one off or gain any new friends?

El Cid said:
The second case has to do with escaped slaves who killed their master in order to escape. Now they are wanted for murder in say, Centauri space, would the EA turn them over to the Centauri?

Sidney

A couple of questions here on this.

1. Who is currently president of the EA?
2. What are the slaves telling the EA about the circumstances of the alleged murders? Remember, in the EA it's innocent until proven guilty.
3. Have the aliens received any form of asylum from non-governmental organizations? (ie. the church)
4. How public is this case?
5. Are their any groups that know of the case that are endeavoring to help the escaped slaves run and hide. I haven't read anything on it, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were independently funded groups out their who were trying to set up underground railroads in order to help slaves escape.

That's all I can think of for now so let me know, and I'll give you a decent answer.

1. Who are this slave's masters?

The reptile is one of the creatures described in the Centauri book. My best guess is that the master would be either a great house or the Centauri government.

2. Who was involved in escaping the slave to B5 as well as how they did it?

It simple snuck onto a Centauri ship and barely survived the trip by hiding. Think about some of the stories of folks stowing away on an airplane or ship here on earth.

3. The slaves attitude and behavior once it arrived on station. Specifically did it piss any one off or gain any new friends?

Ran for its life when spotted by one of the Centauri crew as they were off loading the ship but wasn’t seen by the dockworkers. Met one of the PCs in downbelow and was able to speak in Centauri.



1. Who is currently president of the EA?

Clark. This takes place in season 3. Also, what do you think would happen if Santiago was president and the events were in season 1?

2. What are the slaves telling the EA about the circumstances of the alleged murders? Remember, in the EA it's innocent until proven guilty.

This one has more variations depending on the PC or NPC.

Gem’Toth (human female) Parents and rest of xenoarchiolgy expedition murdered by Centauri and she was enslaved at age 6. Of course the Centauri deny any involvement with the deaths and make up a cover story about how the human child was acquired. After more than 2 years, Gem shoots the captain of the Centauri ship to make her escape and is adopted by a Narn she saved from the Centauri. This is during the time that the Minbari look like they are going to kill every human they can find. She has dual citizenship Narn/EA.

Second group includes humans, Centauri and a Drazzi. Gem has been captured by the Centauri and this mixed group goes in the rescue her. As they are on a Centauri freighter, they are discovered as having helped Gem escape. Firefight on freighter with some of the freighter’s crew being killed. They make it to EA space. Charges are filed by the Centauri house including murder, helping a murderess escape, piracy, kidnapping, etc.

3. Have the aliens received any form of asylum from non-governmental organizations? (ie. the church)

Nope.

4. How public is this case?

It is in the public record by not a major news item.

5. Are their any groups that know of the case that are endeavoring to help the escaped slaves run and hide. I haven't read anything on it, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were independently funded groups out their who were trying to set up underground railroads in order to help slaves escape.

I’m thinking that there is an anti-slavery group in the EA. Gem has her Narn father to call for help. Of course we’re in the middle of the War of Retribution and the Narns are getting their butts kicked. That’s about it.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
El Cid said:
Situation 1)
Slave's Masters: The reptile is one of the creatures described in the Centauri book. My best guess is that the master would be either a great house or the Centauri government.

It simple snuck onto a Centauri ship and barely survived the trip by hiding. Think about some of the stories of folks stowing away on an airplane or ship here on earth. Ran for its life when spotted by one of the Centauri crew as they were off loading the ship but wasn’t seen by the dockworkers. Met one of the PCs in downbelow and was able to speak in Centauri.

This one will be as simple or compicated as you and the players want to make it.

The first point here is that the Great House/Centauri Government would go to a great deal of effort to retrieve their runaway. If they did not then they would lose a good deal of face for not being able to control events within their own house. The flip side of this is that they may not advertise the fact that they do have an escaped slave in order to try and recover the slave with no one the wiser. Keep themselves from losing face at all.

The rest is where it's entirely up to you and the players. The player who found her is the key. I'm assuming that he tells the rest of the group. If even one member is part of the station crew, then they will probably tell their chain of command. If they don't then they are looking to get into some awfully hot water. If they don't inform the station crew of what they have, then they have a small window of opportunity to get the slave off of the station and somewhere safe from the Centauri. The only crux here would be getting her past security onto an outbound ship, as well as avoiding the Centauri who spotted her. This Centauri may or may not be looking for her. This depends on what her owner did in response to her running away.

This one will get really tangled if the crew is brought into it, simply because then it will be official that their is a runaway slave on board the station. Depending on the makeup of you group this could mean they have very little direct influence on what happens if they are not station staff; if they are staff their involvement will depend on what the command group decides. Since this will be a very politically charged decision it will not be left in the hands of any less then Sheridan and the command staff.

Bits o' Nastiness (my phrase for all the traps I sometimes throw in my campaigns to snag my players): maybe there are Centauri bounty hunters chasing her; she bumped into Lennier who noticed her fright and observed her conversation with the party member (Brings the Minbari in as a possible out for her, but may also involve Delen); you use her to invoke a connection to one of the players (her mannerisms remind one of them of a little sister...); her masters have some sort of hold over a player and use this to coerce them into turning her over to them or else...;and there are many more. These are what I use to open end quite a few things in my games.

El Cid said:
Situation 2)
President of the EA: Clark. This takes place in season 3. Also, what do you think would happen if Santiago was president and the events were in season 1?

2. What are the slaves telling the EA about the circumstances of the alleged murders? Remember, in the EA it's innocent until proven guilty.

This one has more variations depending on the PC or NPC.

Gem’Toth (human female) Parents and rest of xenoarchiolgy expedition murdered by Centauri and she was enslaved at age 6. Of course the Centauri deny any involvement with the deaths and make up a cover story about how the human child was acquired. After more than 2 years, Gem shoots the captain of the Centauri ship to make her escape and is adopted by a Narn she saved from the Centauri. This is during the time that the Minbari look like they are going to kill every human they can find. She has dual citizenship Narn/EA.

Second group includes humans, Centauri and a Drazzi. Gem has been captured by the Centauri and this mixed group goes in the rescue her. As they are on a Centauri freighter, they are discovered as having helped Gem escape. Firefight on freighter with some of the freighter’s crew being killed. They make it to EA space. Charges are filed by the Centauri house including murder, helping a murderess escape, piracy, kidnapping, etc.

Asylum: Nope.

Publicity: It is in the public record by not a major news item.

Non-governmental groups: I’m thinking that there is an anti-slavery group in the EA. Gem has her Narn father to call for help. Of course we’re in the middle of the War of Retribution and the Narns are getting their butts kicked. That’s about it.

Yep, this is gonna be a pickle.

Gem will probably not be able to gain any helpfrom her father unless he is actually on B5; then he may be able to lend her some support. Although how substantial that will be is entirely up to plot.

The fact that her perdicament is public might very well draw the media into the game. With Clark obviously supporting a Earth/human first line of policy making this could result on government support for helping a human resist the despicable designs of an alien race that still practices slavery. However, this may also swing in the other direction if Clark simply wants to have it all pushed away so he doesn't have to deal with the aliens at all. He may even see Gem as an alien having been fostered by a Narn. Note: Clark may not even be involved in these decisions, but his advisors and appointees. No matter which decision is made, they will stick to their guns.

This would be the idea until it was found out that the group killed a few Centauri helping her escape. Then the Centauri would be calling for blood. Especially with them winning the war and the fact of the non-aggression treaty between Earth/Centauri. At this point it's up to you as the GM to figure out how much pain you want to hand the party. Do you attempt arrest them and put them on trial? For the crimes mentioned are very serious and probably have the penalty of memory wipe. That's if they are not extradited to Centauri space.

That could be even more fun though, as the ship they are on his attacked in transit by a Narn vessel or maybe even ships controlled by the Rangers or their contacts (Daddy's help comes through). Then you can take them on a rebellious plot line if you like.


If Santiago were still president, I think the government would definitely seek to free Gem, but might still have to prosecute the group for killing the Centauri. However, they may be able to get off with the idea that it was self defense, even though they were breaking the laws of local space when the action occurred.


Now, I didn't go through all the details because I wouldn't get it right. It's your group and your game. You're gonna have to figure out what will be the motivating factors for the NPC's and governments, the PC's will then go in an entirely different direction.

Good luck and let me know if I answered all of your questions.
 

El Cid

Mongoose
Thanks for your thoughts.

I have my own ideas and it is good to be able to get someone else's ideas.

I hope you picked up some ideas for your own game from this as well.
 

El Cid

Mongoose
The real problem children are the Centauri. They would have a greater chance of being turned over to their own government.

Sidney
 
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