Wednesday, 17 July 2013

dystopian squalor of a slave district

McGravin  "I'm looking for a handful of scenes or vignettes to illustrate to my players the dystopian squalor of a slave district of my fantasy metropolis."

Well here you go. Trigger warning for everything.

Babies for sale, a mother begs you to buy her child.

Intelligent young slave left in charge of a boat or coffle of lesser slaves. Freedmen gather round surreptitiously and franticly trying to persuade him to break for freedom while he can. He is reluctant as he knows nothing about the world outside “my master is a good man”.

Crowd of 50 watching a man burn to death. Food stalls complaining as fatty smoke is being blown onto their wares. Executioner argues that the crowd is the only reason the stall owners have a job at all.

Group of silent, watchful and well-dressed teenage boys watching crowd pass by and pulling sticks out of a pot as slaves cross their view. When the short stick is pulled out they gesture to the slave, who walks over. They cut the slaves throat. No reason, just state-approved Kryptos random terror squad.

Steward-slave arguing with his slave about the slave his slave just bought. Combination of “where did you get the money?” and “You should be saving up for your freedom.”

Brief rain of dead crows and vultures as crow-killing gang of slave children pelt rooftop flock with slings. All rooftops covered with scavenging raptors unless somehow protected. Birds drawn by bodies and blood. Make a secondary weather system of black wings in the blue sky.

Gutters from windowless house are gurgling even though it is parching dry. If you investigate, its blood.

Stairs to raised door of Slavers GuildHouse are made of different sized humanoids. When they kneel or bend in synch they form a living stairway as you walk across their backs. Which they must do whenever someone wants to enter or leave.

Stall selling eggs of intelligent species. Heavily defended. Chain net to prevent sky access, heavy flags to prevent underground tunnelling.

Family being torn apart.

You can’t bump into anyone, no matter how clumsy you are. It’s their job to get out of your way. Crowds of slaves aren’t crowds to you, they melt away before you as you walk through.

Two men arguing over the price of an unborn child still in its mothers womb, over the belly of the mother.

Numerous sights and sounds of torture and mutilation. Too numerous to count. Whipping, waterboarding, bassinets, that thing with the rats, the rack. 1 in 5 people you meet have fingers or eyes or ears or lips missing.

You are surrounded by people but none of them will meet your eye. Socially its as if only 10% of the crowd was ‘real’.

Betting on knife fights
Child vs Dogs 30/70
Child vs Child (knives) 50/50
Child vs Child (hands0 30/30 and 40% expected chance of draw as not strong enough to kill each other bare handed.
Woman (bare handed) vs Woman (Pregnant with knife)  50/50
Woman (pregnant) vs Dogs 30/70
Pensioner (Blinded) vs Children  30/70

A mute slave with hand-board advertises self as trained breaker/torturer of other slaves. Sign includes prices and address of master for money to be sent to.

The Hot Boxes

Stalls selling hair of many colours.

Stalls selling replacement teeth (of all kinds including children)

Lots and lots of priests giving public sermons on the justice and righteousness of slavery.

A man being made to eat his own hand while bets are taken.

Polished skulls for sale, turned into inkstands, paperweights e.t.c.


  1. great - will be revising all my city tables to d100 soonish so this is great inspiration

  2. Triggers don't normally get me, but damn... a winner is you. This shit right here is how your city gets demons.

  3. That is by far the most disturbing blog entry I've read in a while. Maybe exchange some children for harlots for the OS feel.

  4. Everything I had hoped for and more! Thanks!