I question regarding slavery in my game


Hey everyone, I know, slavery is bad, and I am not talking about modern day slavery.

However, I am working on a game set in the Roman like era. As such slavery was a rather common thing. In fact, the character you start out with probably had it worse than the general held slaves (working at bathhouses etc) or the household slaves (well, a large part of them). Of course, it was allowed to send your slaves out in the street and have them act as (you most likely can imagine, and if you can’t, that’s why I didn’t write it out).

Also, since the game is called the 6th legion you will be fighting in the legion. And a great way to make money in those days was to capture and sell prisoners of war into slavery. (also a great way to get uprisings within your empire).

So my question is something like, can I use it in my game. Not glorifying it, but not going to complain about it either because you just don’t know better. (them, you know better now, so no argument about modern day slavery. Please.)

The end. I will be of working now. So you don’t think I am running away from your reactions :grin:


I don’t think it’s a problem. Slavery was a big part of the Classical era, so if you feel like you need it in your game, go ahead and add it. If you want to play it safe and don’t want to upset anyone during the playthrough, I would add a simple warning at the beginning of the game.


It was a simple fact of life in those times and I can’t imagine anyone would play a game set in Ancient Rome and expect not to encounter the subject in some way or form. Indeed, a lack of such might even raise some eyebrows (mine, for instance) if it wasn’t in there at all.

The question is not whether you should include the subject, but how to go about it. That’s where you risk stepping on fragile modern toes. All I can suggest is to make sure you always allow the protagonist to play their role as if they were a modern person transported back in time to that era, with all our modern values and principles firmly in place (and appropriate options in their choices). You’ll take a lot less flak that way.


Honestly you should be fine using roman era slavery it’s up to you what you want to include though, some of thier punishments were 18+ in gore, so may not want to get too descriptive.

Also, you’re going to get a lot less flak from this era than say colonial America.


So long as you do it right, it should be fine


Acknowledging something is different than glorifying something. From the OP alone, I get the impression you’re not aiming to promote slavery in any form. :wink:


You would be doing your story a disservice by pretending it’s not there, since as you said it was rather common at the time. As long as you’re not glorifying it in some way, and you give the player the option to avoid participating in the selling or buying of slaves themselves, it should be fine.


Historical accuracy is perfectly fine and expected. Now if you were doing a modern piece where you espouse an entire race of people be enslaved in 2015 ala KKK-style, then me and my fragile modern toes wouldn’t be interested in reading it at all.


I think you can and should use it. You’ve explained how slavery was an important aspect of ancient Roman life and warfare, and if you want to keep your game historically accuate you should include it. You may give the MC an option to express their opinion on capturing and selling the POWs and possibly a choice on how they threat them.

In another WIP set in Ancient Rome, When in Rome, the MC owns a slave by default and can become a slave trader’s assistant. They also get choices to express their attitude towards slavery and treat the slaves better or worse. And in many military-themed games and WIPs the MC can engage in things like looting, pointless killing or extorting things form the defeated.

@TechDragon610 have you played Choice of the Vampire? It is set in the Old South, the backgrounds for the MC include being a former slave and being a slave-owner, they can become a slave-owner mid-game and if he’s white and male the MC can even join the KKK. Several NPCs are either slaves or slave owners.


Thank you all for your replies. It is pretty much what I thought and hoped for. But better safe than sorry in this case.

@TechDragon610 I read about some of the punishments, and I wasn’t planning on writing those out in all there gore. But even with a none slave they could get way to creative.


I recently replayed Knights of the Old Republic (a game from about ten years ago that had one of the first “moral choice” systems.) It’s set in the Star Wars universe, and you spend most of the game on planets where slavery is allowed. There are also characters selling themselves into indentured servitude.

There are no sweeping moral messages about slavery; you don’t get the chance to start an underground railroad or deal with the issue in any meaningful way. It’s just an institution of this time and place, one that’s too ingrained for you to change. When you do interact with slaves, though, you have the choice of whether to treat them kindly and attempt to help them, or abuse them. Although you don’t see a lot of them, there are enough clues to tell you that slaves have individual personalities and histories.

Slaves are people, slavers are people, there have been societies where the whole institution was taken for granted by the majority. As long as you get some choice about how to respond to it, there’s no reason historical slavery should ruin a game experience.


Oh yes, you should put slavery in the game. While people might complain about it being inhuman, etc., it would be better for the game to be as historically accurate as possible, regardless of how inhuman/violent/whatever.


Well I guess people are more tolerant to accuracy than I thought.


Thought of another hugely successful example - Fallout. In the Fallout games I’ve played, you can choose to sell people to slavers; in one game you can buy a companion. Somewhat different than historical slavery, but it didn’t prevent people from loving the games.


I agree that having it in there would be a benefit to your game through both accuracy standpoint, and a few new options for the story. Like buying an slave from an abusive owner and giving them a better life until you could legally set them free. When you have advanced far enough in the legion you could actually make it to where this is one of your defining traits, helping the slaves with horrible masters by buying them and employing them yourself. It could gain you fame as being kind, and it would give you all kinds of options. So yeah, its a good thing that you are doing this instead of trying to distance yourself from it. Keep up the good work, cause i love the game so far.


@Sashira Many works of fiction feature slavery and/or a lot of other unpleasant things, for example the cruel and unusual punishments mentioned above. As long as the author doesn’t glorify it, few people would criticize them for including it.