Hello, all. Game development progresses at a steady rate, and I'm knocking down June release goals pretty regularly. Yesterday, for example, I managed to re-jigger the skill list as well as solve the whole "slave collar" issue. You now have to do occasional tasks for the slaver's guild in order to refresh your supply of slave collars, and can't progress on certain quests until you have slave collars to spare.
So I thought today I'd discuss part of the lore/fluff of the game, dealing with the legality of slavery. It's pretty clear to me that sooner or later this will need to be said in-game, because a lot of you are confused as to what role legalized slavery plays in the setting. But until then, you get this lecture.
Slavery is legal in the Middle Kingdom. Obviously, considering that the Slaver's Guild's market is a central fixture in one of the towns. The majority of slaves in the Middle Kingdom come from cases of bankruptcy and debt. Middle Kingdom law allows a person to sell themselves or a family member into slavery as a means of cancelling debt. For a person without assets, this might be the only option they have for debt repayment. The Slaver's Guild has sole right to accept slaves in exchange for debt cancellation this way.
Because of these factors, it's not unheard of to extort someone into debt, until they must sell a family member (or themselves) into slavery, and then purchasing the resulting slave. This was probably the end goal of the gang that kidnaps Alina and her little brother. Poor Alina gets taken for a slave anyway, though.
It's also possible to sell yourself into slavery, if you'd genuinely prefer that lifestyle. This is, effectively, what Meline and Florine do.
While the Slaver's Guild has sole right to take new slaves, they don't have a monopoly on the slave market. There exist a number of slave merchants who deal in the buying and selling of existing slaves. This is what Alim, the guy you get Doll from, allegedly does for a living- he's just bad at it, there is money to made there.
The Slaver's Guild also has the ability to import slaves from other countries. Of course, those other countries have different laws and practices regarding slavery. Kellos, the Middle Kingdom's military rival to the east, does not allow slaves to be collected because of debt but does use slavery as a punishment for crimes. Kellos slaves therefore tend to have an entirely different skillset, and are more frequently used as slave soldiers and bodyguards than as household servants. Because there is no central government for the lands across the northern mountain range, the Slaver's Guild conducts raids on nomad villages to forcibly collect slaves. This is what happens to Yamamaya.
Because these different practices result in slaves having very different skillsets, there does exist a global trade in slaves. Middle Kingdom slaves as prized as household servants, and as such are in demand in other countries. The Slaver's Guild is an international organization with a great deal of power and influence, but it doesn't have a monopoly on new slaves in every country either, and there do exist rival slave trading organizations.
So, what does this mean in terms of the hero? Well, he's not necessarily wrong for collecting slaves the way he does. It could be construed that he is an agent of the Slaver's Guild because he was given slave collars for the express purpose of getting himself some slaves. In that case, several of the slave girls he collects are willing or could be viewed as being collected in the repayment of a debt. The only slaves he acquires illegally are Randi, the item shop girl and Larelle (if he collars her without breaking her first). Now this doesn't mean he's a nice guy- in Larelle's case, he's guilty of kidnapping even if she accepts the collar eventually.
Anyway, that's that. Last week ended up being kind of crazy for me, so I never got around to replying to emails and message boards. This week will be different though, and I'll have lots of time to do that. You see, last week I lost my job. Don't worry about me, I'm in a pretty good place for it financially and it wasn't unexpected. This is not a call for more donations, I don't use those funds for myself anyway, but I said I'd keep you all abreast of any changes in my life that could affect game develop. The upshot is, I'll actually have a lot more spare time to work on the game than I used to. This could change very soon, depending on a couple of factors, but for now I'm happy to take advantage and get lots of work done on HC.
Talk to you again next week.