House rules for slave latifundia

Latifundia, from "latus", meaning extensive, and "fundus", meaning farm or estate, are featured in many fantasy setting, like Game of Thrones, Elric of Melnibone, and Warcraft. While ACK contains rules for settling slaves on domains (ACK core, 251-252), these rules seem better suited to representing settling slaves as tenants/sharecroppers/coloni/serfs than the even more brutal and exploitative practices that chattel slavery makes possible. Thus, I created these rules for my own game, in which bands of guerrilla beastmen struggle against dastardly imperialist dwarves.

Firstly, domains exploiting chattel slaves (rather than exploiting them as the equivalent of serfs or coloni) have a separate domain morale scores and levels; one for coloni and another one for chattel slaves. The slaves' morale score is equal to the colonorum morale score minus 1, or minus 2 or 3 if the slaves equal 50% or 75% of the domain's total population respectively.

Secondly, the proprietor may raise land revenue from the slave families. Every 1gp of extra income per family lowers the morale score by one and increases the number of d10s rolled for negative population growth by 1.

On average, each extra 1gp per family will cost 1,100gp in slaves. Thus, this system encourages the creation of large latifundia with thousands of slaves. It's also quite uneconomical. Like in the ancient Mediterranean, latifundia owners must take advantage of low slave prices or have access to war booty in order to function. A society in which latifundia owners are the dominant political bloc will engage in lots of genocidal wars of rapine and conquest, like the ancient Romans, in order to keep many cheap slaves in stock.


Posted this question on the Discord.

I don't have a discord account. Sorry. Maybe one day I'll do it. I prefer to limit social media in my life, so I have time to eat more hobbits!

I posted this on Discord at an attempt to get the people there to come here to the forums and join the discussion :-)

thanks, bruh

I haven't been able to find any super hard data on the number of slaves or land per latifundum, but a quick google search revealed that the smaller ones were around 600 acres (less than a 6' mile hex) while Petronius describes Trimalchio, a fictional character representing an imperial freedman who has amassed a vast fortune, as having an estate in which "on the 7th of the calends[6] of July, were born 30 boys and 40 girls; 500,000 bushels of wheat were harvested and 500 oxen were yoked." I suspect that the former figure is from earlier in Rome's history.

Math time. I've been hitting the dabs extra hard so bear with me. Please post any corrections.

 Assuming population growth of 70 peasants (or 14 peasant families worth) and births equal to 1d10 per 1,000 peasants, then Trimalchio's latifundium wouldhave been inhabited by about 2,545 peasant families. That's around 12,725 people.

(14/16.5)*3,000=2,545.45, 2,545*5=12,725people

If we look at his income, 500 oxen (20,000gp) and 500,000 bushels of grain (assuming one stone is 14 pounds and one bushel is 8 pounds, and that 80 stones of grain are worth 10gp then about 35,714gp) totalling 55,714gp, then it's about 6,964 peasant families, assuming that he receives 8gp per peasant family (6gp as average land revenue and 2gp half of services tax). That's 34,820‬ people. They don't call them big farms for nothin'.

Of course, the above assumes that slaves are being treated as peasant farmers. If we assume that the number of births are indicative of the actual population and that the extra income comes from the exploitative potential of chattel slavery, then Trimalchio is exploiting every slave family for a total of about 21.9gp, that's an extra 13.9gp per family. We'll round that up to 14 extra 1d10s in deaths per every 1,000. That's about 231 slave families or 1,155 slaves, equalling to about 46,200gp in slaves exploited to death. Naughty Trimalchio! This leaves 9,514gp to be spent on fancy dinner parties. If we assume that the slaves were purchased at 40% value (16gp), then profits become 37,234gp. Trimalchio hears of Boudica's rebellion in Britain, and cackles in glee. Soon the Empire will mobilize against her and the markets in Italy will be filled with cheap slaves . . . .