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ddbrown30

Dark Question: How much does a slave cost?

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Posted (edited)

This is a bit of a dark question about a sensitive subject. Slavery is easily one of the worst things that can be inflicted on someone and I absolutely do not condone it in any way. That said, it is a part of the Star Wars universe, particularly the dirtier side that EotE lives in, and so it's something I'm incorporating into my game, albeit at a very superficial level. Consider this your trigger warning.

I'm looking for some opinions on how much a slave would cost in the Star Wars universe. I'm thinking of having a relative of a PC show up at a slave auction, but it would short circuit the adventure if the PCs can just buy them. (Yes, I know there are some alternatives here to prevent that, but that's not the topic of this thread.)

Here's my thought process:

- Any smuggling job that involves slaves always pays a lot. This can be attributed to the legality and the difficulty of caring for/controlling such a cargo, as well as the moral objections many would have. This is obviously going to increase the cost of a slave to make up for lost profit.
- According to page 409, most droids cost less than 10,000 credits. Droids require no food, water, or sleep and theoretically only ocassional maintenance. They can also take much more punishment than a squishy humanoid and are programmed to obey. There's also very little moral reservations from most of the galaxy. This would imply that a droid is more valuable than a slave, which indicates to me that a slave would cost less than a droid i.e. less than 10,000.

These two points heavily conflict for me and I believe it's just because no one bothered to really think it through. If I try to reconcile both of them, I'd probably put the price point at around 5000, but this seems both too low and too high. I'd like to get some other opinions.

Edited by ddbrown30

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Posted (edited)

I think it really depends what kind of slaves you are talking about

Are they war prisonniers, or victims of a raid, meant to serve as an expendable workforce ? They are problably not worth a lot, around 3000-4000

Do they have a specific skill set, are they from a rare/robust species (such as wookiees) ? Then they would cost between 8000-10000 (same level as a droid, or a little higher)

Are they "special" or "luxury" slaves ? (beautiful males or females for some kind of harem, or people who used to have a high rank in a primitive society and therefore bring prestige to their owner) Then they are worth a LOT, between 15000 and 20000, I'd say

Edited by AbsatSolo

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As the Trigger warning was already very well formulated, I just throw in what NPCs in my setting have to think about when deciding what they "prefer" when it comes to pure Workforce

Droids:

+ can work in flesh-hostile environments (vacuum, toxic gas, very hot/cold)

+ Restraining Bolts hold them under control very well, although not always necessary when properly programmed

+ easy to provide repair through other droids

- depending on the time it is possible that there are still personal prejudices against droids in general

- you are "forced" to buy new ones in the case of casualties

- depending on the models, they can be a bit close-minded when confronted with nonregular problems

- if you do them they require expensive and high tech equipment (at least what we can guess from legends sources) for memory wipes

 

Slaves:

+ can work in tech-hostile environments (ionized atmosphere...)

+ they are pretty much everywhere, even on primitive worlds there are plenty sources to "gather" from

+ "well" kept, most species reproduce pretty quickly to get either a bigger workforce, replace casualties, or even sell them

+ you can easily acquire them for "free" with a bunch of thugs, binders and a ship to fly somewhere no one will miss them

+ very adaptable with little training

+ for working I'd say that slaves are cheaper

- food, water, shelter, and other somewhat expensive upkeep like healing

- given the opportunity very likely to revolt, or flee

- there is a possibility that someone will search for them

 

Then we have the "Luxury" segment, where I see everything in the "Shady- and Redlight-Area". No matter if they are Dancers, Escorts, Gladiators or something no one need's to talk about in detail, the prices for Slaves are very likely to explode above those of Droids.

So for your PCs just take a "Hostage" that qualifies for the "Luxury" segment and blow the Pricetag up to 20k+. Also a nice opportunity to include not only the bottom of slavery with the ones acquiring them but also the top tier players from the wealthy underworld as customers. Or maybe an auction with not so high starting bids but wealthy Scum raising the tag to amounts they can't provide...

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20 minutes ago, kaosoe said:

According to Watto, no ship is worth two slaves. So by the measure, I expect them to be really expensive. Droids would likely be a cheaper alternative.

I can't argue with the quote, but that would create a setting where slavery would not exist. For that to really work, slaves would have to be much more useful than droids. In this, the GAR would seem to agree...

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6 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

I can't argue with the quote, but that would create a setting where slavery would not exist. For that to really work, slaves would have to be much more useful than droids. In this, the GAR would seem to agree...

Well Slaves can make more slaves, is that a consideration? 

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18 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

Well Slaves can make more slaves, is that a consideration? 

Slaves require a lot of raw materials and time to make another functionally useful slave. Under those conditions, droids can make more droids too, the needed materials are just different (but not really any harder to acquire).

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3 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Slaves require a lot of raw materials and time to make another functionally useful slave. Under those conditions, droids can make more droids too, the needed materials are just different (but not really any harder to acquire).

Well I didn't expect you to fall that way on this as I thought you really didn't like the whole crafting thing. 

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Just now, Archlyte said:

Well I didn't expect you to fall that way on this as I thought you really didn't like the whole crafting thing. 

True, I don't like the crafting rules, but I must have missed the FFG rules for crafting biological beings through sexual reproduction. I'm sure those would have been pretty bad.😱

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8 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

True, I don't like the crafting rules, but I must have missed the FFG rules for crafting biological beings through sexual reproduction. I'm sure those would have been pretty bad.😱

First it requires an avarage Charm check, difficulty modified by your presence. Add setbacks and boosts for social status, kinks, etc. Alternatively could use Deception or Coercion, based on your intents. In special cases you can use Negotiation for the services.

Then you make an average Athletics check. Spend Triumphs and Advantages to get the preferable genes, Threats and Despairs for the otherway. 

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To the OP, in my opinion, I believe you are over thinking it. The slaves should cost whatever the narrative requires. There is no need to go breaking down the pros/cons of organic slaves versus droids or anything like that. 

The only reason I would see for this to matter is if you had an NPC/PC that was a slaver or the PCs started doing slavery for income. Then you'd probably want to make sure it wasn't something they could abuse from a meta/mechanic stand point. 

If you really do want to have a somewhat canonical value, I would research the lore, similar to the quote from TPM someone posted earlier and decide base on those. I hope this helps! 

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3 hours ago, unicornpuncher said:

To the OP, in my opinion, I believe you are over thinking it. The slaves should cost whatever the narrative requires. There is no need to go breaking down the pros/cons of organic slaves versus droids or anything like that. 

"How much do you want?"
"How much you got?"

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On 5/6/2019 at 1:49 PM, kaosoe said:

According to Watto, no ship is worth two slaves. So by the measure, I expect them to be really expensive. Droids would likely be a cheaper alternative.

Technically it's "no POD is worth two slaves", which are likely a lot less expensive than a ship.  Can't find the book where racing pods are costed out though.  Watto clearly thought the pod was worth one slave, he just couldn't decide which slave was better to keep.

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9 hours ago, whafrog said:

Technically it's "no POD is worth two slaves", which are likely a lot less expensive than a ship.  Can't find the book where racing pods are costed out though.  Watto clearly thought the pod was worth one slave, he just couldn't decide which slave was better to keep.

Standard pod is 7000 but most of the others range from around 10-15k. Not accounting for Watto haggling, that would put my original estimate a bit low, but not by much. I'd revise it to be somewhere closer to 8k now. Still less than a droid but more than half the cost of a decent pod racer. 

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9 hours ago, whafrog said:

Technically it's "no POD is worth two slaves", which are likely a lot less expensive than a ship.  Can't find the book where racing pods are costed out though.  Watto clearly thought the pod was worth one slave, he just couldn't decide which slave was better to keep.

Endless Vigil - without further modifications, they start at 11.000 and go up to 16.200 with room upwards depending on the mods.

Although I tend to believe that most if not all Pods on Tatooine are self build and thus a lot cheaper in material cost.

Watto's comment could also go the route of what that Pod is actually able to earn/win over its lifetime (what could be horribly short as we see some getting wrecked in the race) compared to what labor you could get from a slave over its remaining lifespan. Or he just scammed them... I mean how in the galaxy should a Jedi know how much a Podracer or a Slave is really worth on Tatooine?! We also can't say for sure :D

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I would think it depends on the type of slave if skilled or just a general worker.  I agree that they would have to be really cheap to be worth getting, in special modification a amino take droid is 600 credit for the frame, so maybe 1000 credits after markup.  A specialist is 3500 credits base.  

So I would say slave would be between 100-300 depending on race.  Specialized slaves would be around 1000 credits.  Since you have all the added cost of slaves of food, housing, and care.  They would need to be A lot cheaper than droids.  Also the cost to get slaves is low, the cost of a crew to go to random planet's and round them up. 

I know it not a nice view but slaves would be viewed as business expenses and if a droid can do it cheaper and for longer time then you better save a lot by using them as your workforce. 

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Posted (edited)

The Master and Apprentice book has  company that utilizes slaves but it didn't indicate the cost of any one slave.

They were in charge of criminal punishment on this one planet and started enslaving people for the smallest offense and any children born to the slaves were then considered "sentient property"  

I would agree with damnkid3 and price them around 1000cr with obvious bump in costs for unique slaves like Wookiees. 

Of course, the price will go up depending on the planet you are on as well as the closer you get to the core, the more dangerous it is to own/sell them.

Edited by Varlie

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Plus if you are talking aliens with certain aspects of species psychology they may just not give a crap about individual rights. Trandoshans eat sentients so why do they care about slavery? Probably cheaper than droids and you can just eat them if you get hungry. 

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2 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Plus if you are talking aliens with certain aspects of species psychology they may just not give a crap about individual rights. Trandoshans eat sentients so why do they care about slavery? Probably cheaper than droids and you can just eat them if you get hungry. 

Food source... also a good point I forgot to add.

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One advantage to slaves is their flexibility.  Since most droids are built to purpose (not overbuilt with unneeded capacity), teaching a droid is typically a destructive process - you have to take out the old skills so there's room for the new ones.  Sentients can typically add to their skillset, and any losses that do occur tend to be more superficially and thus easily recovered.

Initiative is a double-edged sword, but slaves can much better react to change, reducing the overall costs in an unstable environment.  Droids will tend to follow their instructions, even if situational changes make the instructions useless or harmful.  In a mining accident there's a chance the slaves will notice in time and flee the danger site, while droids will keep working until they're crushed/burned/etc.

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