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To own slaves means that one has the monetary means to purchase and subsequently provide for them. Thus, a tanner from the Craftsman District or a peasant from a fiefdom village isn't likely to own another person. People who are likely to be able to own slaves include, but are not limited to:

  • royals
  • nobles
  • merchants
  • bankers
  • richer rogues

Backstory

For centuries, it was illegal to for Tortallans to own slaves. However, in the twenty years that Jonathan V was king of Tortall, slavery was unbanned and brought back into fashion. Jonathan would send back strings of captured Tyrans and later Marenites, to be sold as slaves to Tortallans and then to Carthak. When Richard I took the throne, he made it known that he opposes slavery. However, as there a good many in Tortall who have adopted the custom and oppose the loss of their investments, Richard must go through the legal avenues to free slaves.

Master to Slave relations

Slaveowners must care for their aged and infirm slaves, but free lords do it only if they feel like it. Masters usually do not treat valuable slaves badly; valuable property gets treated as valuable, whether it’s human or otherwise. The master provides a home, clothes, food and shelter.

A slave must do virtually anything that their owner/master bids them to do. That is the nature of slavery.

Freedom

If a slave can scrap up the money to buy its freedom, it may do so - that is part of the slave contract. In recent years, since Richard I has taken power, the practice of purchasing slaves' freedom and then requiring them to work off their debt has been revived. The Crown, though its coffers are depleted, has a small portion appropriated to buy the freedom of slaves whenever it can spare to do so.

When a slave bond is bought for the purpose of freeing said slave, the slave must work off his or her debt. If s/he has children and dies before the debt to the Crown is paid, the debt’s written off and the children do not have to pay whatever remains.