Monday, December 19, 2011

Slave/Servant Background Table

Do I really need a reason to post this?

Watched the 1959 version of 'The Mummy' starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee over the weekend. I had DVR'd it thinking it was the 1939 original. However since it was Cushing and Lee, I won't complain.

The best part of the movie is the conversation that the hero (Cushing) has with the "evil" Egyptian about the removal of relics from Egypt. I'm sure that to a 1959 audience, Cushing's argument that the relics belong in a British museum made sense, but to modern eyes it is the Egyptian who is in the right.

In fact, it is very easy to view this movie completely reversed from its original intent. Cushing and team of his ham-fisted "archaeologists" blasting their way into tombs that have survived unmolested form 4,000 years, yanking out only the artefacts that have ascetic or curiosity value and promply sent them off to be shipped, chipped, sunbleached, manhandled and breathed all over by millions of bored British school kids.

These rich morons scientists steal the body of the High Priestess and then have the nerve to be outraged when the current High Priest and the Undead guardian of the tomb try to get her back. The movies was much more fun, on the whole when viewed as a revenge thriller where the Mummy is mad as hell, and not gonna take it anymore!

All this is not really relevant, but I was watching the ancient Egyptian scenes with all the references to 'Nubian Slaves' and it got me thinking. Slaves and Servants are usually just background pieces, but they are still people with hopes, dreams, talents and secrets. This is probably utterly useless, but I came up with a chart should a GM ever need a quickie history/story point for a slave or servant.
Roll 2D20
2. Beloved King of a faraway land who was betrayed by an evil relative. A band of adventurers are out looking for him
3. A hated Emperor who was deposed. Any native of his land will try and kill him on site.
4. A crazed psychokiller who has been preying on the neighbours.
5. Is in love with one of the master's children. The slave is loved in return, but certain to be killed or sold if they are caught.
6. Is having an affair with the master /master's wife
7. Is a powerful mage who has been cut off from his power by a rival.
8. An extra dimensional being/alien here to study humanity
9. An exiled and amnesic god
10. The master in disguise who posses as a slave out of some eccentricity or to evaluate guests
11. Is proud to be a slave
12. Is a vampire or werewolf
13. Is a spy for a rival house or merchant.
14. A simple fisherman who was captured by pirates
15. Is traumatized by seeing his wife killed and his children stolen
16. A captured soldier
17. An addict
18. A convert to a dangerous new cult
19. Possessed by a demon
20. He who was foretold in prophesy
21. A Hero character in the middle of a story point (picture Conan or Farfid/Grey Mouser)
22. Bitter and about to betray their master
23. An immortal
24. A ghost
25. The last of his kind
26. Cursed to serve the family until the curse is broken.
27. Indentured and looking for any way to pay off their debt.
28. Educated
29. A talented artist
30. A eunuch
31. A talented swordsman / martial artist
32. Sibling to one of the party.
33. Most loyal servant to the family, no matter what happens
34. A prostitute on the side
35. Knows a terrible secret
36. The most beautiful person in the world
37. A carrier of the plague
38. A time traveller from the future trying to stop a disaster
39. Knows the location of the treasure
40. A genie ready to give a wish to the first person who says 'Please' (because who says please to a slave?). 

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