Created By: Elle on March 4, 2012 Last Edited By: Elle on March 14, 2012

Sons of Slaves

A race has slave ancestry as a defining element of their culture.

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At some point in the past, one group of people enslaved another, and that enslaved group later regained their freedom. But their years as slaves have left a mark even on their free descendants, who aren't about to forget what was done to them any time soon.

As a possible part of a race's hat, or a facet of broader character development, Sons of Slaves have a higher likelihood of exhibiting a number of certain tropes. They may place a high value on things that belong to their traditional culture, especially if that culture is in danger of being lost otherwise, and put greater stock in group unity. Bonus points if that culture takes inspiration from Magical Negro and/or Magical Native American tropes. They have a higher-than-average chance of spawning ProudWarriorRaceGuys, especially if they bear a grudge against their former captors. And if Slave Liberation or a similar cause figures in a plot, expect them to be deeply enmeshed in it.

Examples

  • The Minmatar of EVE Online were invaded end enslaved by the zealot Ammar Empire several centuries ago in New Eden's timeline, and sucessfully rebelled against their masters a bit over a century ago. Though the Amarr (begrudgingly) recognize the young Minmatar Republic, many Minmatar are still slaves in the Empire, and their options for being freed are generally either by assimilating into the Amarr culture (where they will be second class citizens at best) or by force. Since, up until the Empyrean War, the two were officially at peace, this remains a hot political issue. Many freed slaves are fairly assimilated, but much of the Matari culture involves efforts to revive their tribal culture, and the Brutor especially tend to carry the Proud Warrior Race flag.

  • The Githyanki from the Planescape universe were once slaves of the Mind Flayers, and were led out by the hero Zirthamon, whose teaching and moral code became the core of their philosophy - very important in a universe, and especially on the plane of Limbo, where belief shapes reality.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • March 5, 2012
    Koveras
    • The Elves in the Dragon Age universe have a long history of being enslaved by the Tevinter Imperium. Although Tevinter still stands and practices slavery (with Elves as popular servants), most other nations officially give the Elves equal rights with the humans. In practice, however, no elf living in a human city is truly free from the social stigma.
  • March 5, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Alien Nation. The Newcomers were originally the slaves of another alien race. After they settled on Earth their past caught up to them: one of them started to manufacture an addictive and dangerous drug that their former masters used to pacify them.
  • March 5, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    The Fishmen in One Piece had been (and still are) captured and sold as slaves. A culture sprang up on Fishman Island, where they naturally come from, with deep bitterness against slavery and the humans who would capture them.
  • March 5, 2012
    chicagomel
    Truth In Television: The Hebrews, who still have very deep connections to the story of the Exodus and their slavery in Egypt.
  • March 5, 2012
    Jordan
    • In A Song Of Ice And Fire, the city state of Braavos was settled by people whose ancestors were slaves kept in wretched conditions by the Valyrian Empire. At present, Braavos is the only place in Essos that is adamantly anti-slavery, and they also hate dragons, since the Valyrians used dragons to impose their will on their subjects and slaves. There may be a shout-out to the Exodus story in that besides escaping to freedom, the original Braavosi did... something that wiped out Valyria in a single night.
  • March 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    In the backstory to the nineties nickelodeon show Space Cases, the Andromedans (Radu's species) were enslaved by the Spung during the Spung war with Earth. Basically, the Spung captured the Andromedans' eggs, containing their offspring, and held their hatchery ship (or something, it's never really elaborated) hostage, forcing the adults to fight the humans in the war against Earth. It's actually a pretty insidious strategy: "You will be our soldiers, or we will systematically murder all your offspring." It had the long-lasting effect of creating massive tensions between humans and Andromedans. If not for the Spung, Human-Andromedan first contact would probably have gone a lot smoother.
  • March 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Likewise, the Live Action Television series version of Alien Nation took the original concept of the film and ran full throttle with it, exploring the countless ways in which the Tenctonese Newcomers' slave past shaped their identity, culture and interactions with humans.
  • March 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Not sure if this also counts but in Farscape, Stark is a member of the "Banik Slave Race." Baniks, however, never collectively gained their freedom (they are still held in widespread slavery), so their identity as a "slave culture" is rather contemporary with the series, rather than being purely a part of their history.
  • March 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    The Bajorans from Star Trek The Next Generation and Star Trek Deep Space Nine also count: slavery was just one of the cruel practices inflicted on them by the occupying Cardassians. Post-Occupation Bajorans are portrated as the Trek universe's equivalent of both freed slaves and holocaust survivors.
  • March 7, 2012
    BlackDragon
    The Narns from Babylon Five used to be enslaved by the Centauri Republic, and only gained their freedom because the empire was in decline anyway, and holding on to the Narn Homeworld had become too expensive. To say that there is cold air between the Narns and the Centauri at the beginning of the show is putting it lightly, and the Narn cloak their every misdeed in wounded pride. "How can you blame us for destroying their unguarded, unarmed farming-colony when they bloodily enslaved us a hundred years ago?!?"

    ...of course, as the show goes on, the Centauri Republic returns to its former glory, culminating in a re-invasion and re-enslavement of the Narn Homeworld, somewhat proving the Narn's continued obsession with their bloody past justified.
  • March 8, 2012
    Bisected8
    • Argonians in The Elder Scrolls series were constantly raided and enslaved by the Dunmer...until Skyrim when the Dunmer's homeland was ravaged by a volcanic eruption and the Argonians decided to invade.
  • March 9, 2012
    cygnavamp
    • In the classic Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", Lokai accuses Bele's race of enslaving his race. Bele doesn't deny it, in fact tries to rationalize it by saying Lokai's race were savages. Does This Remind You Of Anything?
  • March 9, 2012
    pawsplay
    Although real life examples are probably not helpful, I think the description really needs to touch on the real life phenomenon in an intelligent way.
  • March 10, 2012
    fulltimeD
    ^Good point
  • March 10, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Gotta be careful though. The way this trope is usually played comes close to a Planet Of Hats. We wouldn't want to imply that that's true of any (much more complex) real life cultures.
  • March 11, 2012
    Acebrock
    • In Galactic Civilizations 2, the Torian Confederation is descended from slaves of the Drengin Empire. This history makes them very erratic and xenophobic, especially as the Drengin Empire has the tools to invade and re-enslave them.

    • The Falmer in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim are extremely hostile to any non-Falmer due to the slavery they suffered under the Dwemer.
  • March 11, 2012
    fulltimeD
    In an episode of the The New Outer Limits, the Dregosians were modified humans genetically engineered to mine on an otherwise uninhabitable planet. They rebelled against Earth and mainline humanity.
  • March 11, 2012
    pawsplay
    Primarily, I meant a little compare-contrast with the real phenomenon to establish that the way this is presented in fiction usually has little to do with real life slavery and colonialism.
  • March 12, 2012
    Chabal2
    Askeladd in Vinland Saga.
  • March 12, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @pawsplay: sounds good
  • March 12, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Live Action Television: First Wave: The Gua name for themselves means "power to overcome." They are an aggressive, militaristic species because at some point in the past, they were invaded and enslaved themselves, by another conquering group of aliens. Now they are doing the same thing to Earth to make sure that it never happens to them again.
  • March 13, 2012
    Elle
    I had real life slightly in mind when writing this, but I'm not sure about being able to mention it without violating Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgement. Any suggestions?
  • March 14, 2012
    VincentGaribaldi
    The reasons that the Abh from Crest Of The Stars form a sprawling interplanetary empire are attributable to their former enslavement.

    The Jaffa in the Stargate Verse were always ProudWarriorRaceGuys, and their rebellion doesn't diminish that.

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