"Imagine that you belonged to an immortal race, created by some other long lost race to be
the perfect servants... Right down to a code of conduct — a list of hundreds of rules of behavior — written into your very blood, that you could no more disobey than a mortal could refuse to eat or pee."
A race specifically created to serve another. Robots
are by far the most common in sci-fi versions and the biggest subtrope.
Some races will be happy with their situation
, some will be actively loathing their masters. Since they usually possess a certain amount of inherent loyalty they are generally treated better than a Slave Race
. They might be created with special limitations that prevent that they turn against their masters
. If not then they might eventually be subject to a liberation movement
, however, this might be tricky as they do not have roots they can go back to like the Slave Race
does. (Although Servant races that have existed for a while might have developed their own culture.)
May have some overlap with Henchmen Race
. While we do not have any real world examples, there are some disturbing parallels in history when groups of people have claimed that certain human races were intended by a higher power as this.
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Anime And Manga
- The Abh in the backstory to Crest of the Stars and its a big point in United Mankind's anti-Abh propaganda.
- DearS has the eponymous aliens, who imprint themselves on a master and follow their every whim. They are very Genre Savvy about it, though. While they try to become servants to humans, they're well aware that slavery is generally looked down upon on Earth, so they hide this while making first contact and go about enslaving themselves to humans very, very discreetly.
- Megalomania: The demihumans were created to be servants to the humans, but were treated more like slaves. They ended up rebelling against them and gaining their freedom, but they are still treated as third-rate citizens at best.
- Discworld: Golems were this. Then, in Feet of Clay, someone had a very interesting idea. Now they're quietly and peacefully having a revolution by all buying their freedom.
- Most client races in the Uplift universe. By galactic custom, client races are "indentured" to the race that uplifted them for 100,000 years, after which they are free to go and do the same to any upliftable species they run into. Patron species are often quite nasty to their clients. Earthclan—humanity and its clients, chimps and bottlenose dolphins—scandalized traditional galactic society by treating the uplifted species as equals, something only the more liberal clans (such as that of the Tymbrimi) came anything close to.
- The Sparrow: The Runa are happy to be this to the Jana'ata (or at least content with the situation, having known no other way in all their shared history as sentient species). Then the humans land on Rakhat…
- In this case, they also turn out to be a prey race, the primary food source for Jana'ata
- In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, Kevin even terms his animated paintings as slaves. He can compel their obedience, though they can show some independence and one even gives information as long as she was not explicitly forbidden.
- The Draka: After the Final War, the Draka genetically engineer homo sapiens into two distinct "master" and "slave" races. The slave race (homo servus) are physically identical to humans, but cannot function without instruction from the master race (homo drakensis).
- H. P. Lovecraft's Shoggoths from At the Mountains of Madness started as a servants to the Elder Things. They did not remain so, however.
- The Hork-Bajir of Animorphs fit this, but not courtesy of the Yeerks. They were created to serve the Arn by tending the trees on their homeworld, even though they never realized this.
- In John C. Wright's Count to a Trillion, this is planned. In fact, it's planned for the entire human race, to ensure that the aliens who come to enslave them don't exterminate them instead.
- In Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Cycle, the Edhel and Moredhel of Midkemia, the Elves and Dark Elves respectively, are found to be the only living members of an ancient slave race, with the Elves the garden and farm slaves and the Dark Elves the house and travel slaves. Later, it is discovered that the Eldar, the intellectual slaves, the loremasters and treasurekeepers, lived on under the polar ice in another world, and that the Glamredhel, offshoot Edhel supposedly destroyed by the Dark elves, still lived in a distant forest on Midkemia.
- Some people argue house elves from Harry Potter are this, servile by nature, while others contend they were probably enslaved by magic at some point in the past, and others wish to argue that their behavior arises purely from social conditioning.
- In Jack Vance's Planet Of Adventure series, each of the four alien races that live on Tschai have adapted humans to serve them. The four types of adapted humans each consider themselves vastly superior to wild, unmodified humans, but (of course) inferior to their masters.
- In Wen Spencer's Tinker series, the oni have several.
- Sonmi~451 and her fellow replicants in David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas are used not only as servants, but later on as food.
- Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons of Brave New World, who are programmed physically and psychologically for Happiness in Slavery.
- "Aberrations" and "Anomalies" are used for menial labor and as Cannon Fodder in Matched; the child inherits the status of the parents.
Live Action TV
- The Jem'Hadar and Vorta of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, though the Vorta aren't so much a Servant Race as a Middle Management Race; in their first appearance it was claimed that their homeworld was annexed by the Dominion, possibly semi-voluntarily, and that many Vorta were not at all happy about this. Given that it was The Mole saying all this it should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
- A more reliable recounting of the Vortas' origins suggests they were a primitive tree-dwelling race that the Founders uplifted and genetically enhanced to serve in the non-combat roles of the Dominion.
- The Tosk is also an example of this trope for the Hunters, though they fulfill a very specific purpose.
- Expanded Universe sources indicate that the Tosk were also designed by the Dominion, as a gift or reward for the Hunters' civilization to allow them to pursue their cultural passion. Both Tosk and Jem'Hadar possess similar inherent cloaking abilities.
- The Federation almost had one if the hearing in Measure of a Man had gone differently and Data declared property and mass produced. A running plot in the final episodes of Voyager involved the Federation desperately trying not to acknowledge that the creation and use of self-aware holographic characters amounted to much the same thing, even as a nascent civil rights movement began to take form.
- Doctor Who:
- The Ogrons play with the trope a bit, as supplementary material says the Ogrons aren't genetically engineered, but a race of hunter-gatherers variously enslaved outright, exploited through Cargo Cults or sometimes actually hired for wages to provide Dumb Muscle and/or menial labour for numerous more advanced species. Their first appearance has them working for the Daleks, however, who almost certainly play the trope straight.
- Also the Pig-Slaves of the Daleks. The Ood however, were a Slave Race to humanity.
- The Jaffa of Stargate believe their masters to be gods.
- They were originally created from regular humans, modified to serve as perfect warrior slaves and incubators for their masters' larval form while being completely dependent on them biologically.
- Although they had long taken pride in their role as a Servant Race to the Gods, the revelation that they were actually a Slave Race to a bunch of space worms with delusions of grandeur became a driving force for their rebellion.
- The Skitters on Falling Skies. They're other beings that were made to wear harnesses and transformed into Skitters.
- The Silicates and I Vitros from Space: Above and Beyond. Both Turned Against Their Masters - the former in open rebellion, while the latter was eventually the subject of a civil rights movement.
- Unclear case on Farscape. Stark calls his species the "Banik slave race" but no further elaboration is given to explain whether they were born that way or enslaved later.
- The Helot genetic upgrade from GURPS: Bio-Tech produces people that are humble, docile and non-aggressive. The designers claim this is just to help them function in urban societies.
GURPS Aliens contained a species of, well, aliens who had been genetically-engineered this way some time in the distant past. They are, if anything, more extreme than the Helot upgrades; they can't do much of anything without a master—and the setting makes slavery illegal. (Using servants of this species is tolerated by most governments, but it's considered a major dilemma, and all normal labor laws apply.) The species was abandoned by its masters long ago; the masters left complex instructions for maintaining a society, but eventually changing conditions made the orders inapplicable and many of them simply starved.
- The Slann of Warhammer, who created their own Servant Race. The Lizardmen, like the Slann themselves, were made by the Old Ones. They're both Servant Races, butt he Slann are far more intelligent, and ever since the Old Ones left have been in charge.
- In Exalted, First Age Solars created quite a few of these. Some were better-treated than others, with corresponding variance in loyalty now that the Solars are returning and the now-free races are once again coming into contact with their former masters...
- New Horizon: The Wafans (Wave Form Androids) were created as this. Being sapient and capable of independent thought, this didn't last very long.
- Prinnies in Disgaea, depending on whether you count them as a "race" or not. They're the reincarnated souls of thieves and murderers.
- Several examples in the Star Control universe, most clearly the Androsynth who have a grudge against humanity for doing this to them. Also, arguably, the Ur-Quan themselves, who were genetically modified into two subspecies while enslaved by Puppeteer Parasite. After their revolt, they modified those puppet masters into subsentience and now keep them on their ships as "Talking Pets" for translation.
- Geneforge has many servant races created by the shapers. Servant minds which are essentially living computers, Thahds which are large unintelligent humanoids built for manual labor, and serviles which are highly intelligent humanoids made for menial desk jobs. A good deal of the game is about the servile's struggles to either gain respect from the shapers, overthrow them, or assert their loyalty to the shapers.
- In Mass Effect, the geth were originally this for the quarians. They were built not to care one way or another, and everything was fine...until after some modifications they started asking questions. The quarians were slightly concerned at this, and tried a hands-on approach to sating their creations' curiosity. The geth reacted as you would expect.
- The drell have this sort of dynamic with the hanar. Though the hanar did not create the drell, they did save the drell from total extinction. Most drell see it as an obligation to serve the hanar in payment of this debt. For their part, the hanar treat their drell servants extremely well and care for them as best they can. Drell will also get very angry if this is compared to slavery: they wish it known that they entered into this deal voluntarily.
- The Norns of the Creatures series were created by the Shee, an entire race of absent-minded professors, to serve...tea. By the time the player gets involved, the Shee have long since left, and the Norns are practically extinct save for a small clutch of eggs. You mission is to rectify this, helping the Norns to survive both the environment and their own remarkable stupidity...or ruthlessly torment them for your own twisted amusement. It's your choice.
- In Halo the Engineers are this to the Covenant, as they don't get involve in fights, they keep their technology up and running.
- The fourth expansion of World of Warcraft, brings us the Saurok, and their literal masters the Mogu. To elaborate, after their conquest of Pandaria, the Mogu created the Saurok to police the enslaved races. Soon enough the Saurok realized that the Mogu had no way to control them, since they were given free will and fighting prowess in both sword and sorcery, so a few of their legions rebelled against their mogu officers. This caused the Mogu emperor to decree the ethnic cleansing of the Saurok race. However 2 Saurok legions were stationed in the Mantid lands at the time, and managed to hide there despite the Mogu sending many armies of Mogu and their slaves after them, arguably since the Mantid were not too happy of having the Mogu invading their territory. Eventually the Mogu never succeded in killing all the Saurok, who continue to harass the inhabitants of Pandaria in the present day.
- Furniture is treated like this in Umineko No Naku Koro Ni. The anti-fantasy reason they are like this is because their existence is just a figment of their master's imagination. They have no existence outside of the master's mind, and so naturally, they are created only to serve that master.
- For that matter, the word "furniture" as used by Shannon and Kanon doesn't even refer to one's status as a servant; it's a term used by Yasu to describe how his/her mutilated body means that he/she can't even be considered human.
- The Ferin of Terinu were a genetically engineered slave race for the Varn Dominion. The Dominion has also conquered other races for their service, and tried to do it to humanity as well.
- The Fae are described as this in Tales of the Questor and can also serve as an one example of what happens when a Servant Race loses its masters.
- Quantum Vibe features an earth society 500 years in the future that has a genetically engineered caste system, the lowest rank of which are the Associates. Most associates appear to be identically dressed dwarfish, bald, stooped men. They are apparently the working class of this century. But they can't do much about it because they've been engineered to produce pheromones that make everyone, including themselves, hate them.
- The immigrant Cyantians in The Cyantian Chronicles were created by a Dying Race of aliens called the Rumuah by splicing together human and alien genes (after purebred humans were found to be "unsuitable"). Though the Rumuah weren't just looking for servants, they also intended the Cyantians to be their heirs when they died out.
- Exotica Genoworks has created several new species with no intent of freeing them, though only the Fox Empire (pre-plague) and the Galactic Federation recognize their claims. The Wolf City-States and the Mounty Kingdom have taken in several refugees from their labs.
- Cyantians were also briefly a Slave Race when the Moulin Phedra (more commonly known as "Squids") conquered them a century and a half after the Rumuah went extinct. That time they rebelled.
- In the Chakona Space 'verse "Morphs" were created as slaves in the late 21st century, after World War III they were given their freedom due to the massive population crash. However, even in the 24th century there are a number of planets outside The Federation known as the Non-Aligned Worlds where Morphs are still property.
- In Orion's Arm most Splices, Provolves, and Vecs (sapient robots) were originally created for this purpose. However the Sapient Rights Accords signed by most hu-friendly polities granted them their freedoms, that and the rise of the Transapients and Archailects kind of rendered it a moot point when most modosophonts found themselves under the virtual thumbs of entities far more intelligent than themselves.