Writing Isekai MC not reacting to slavery

ForestDweller

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
6
Points
3
Do you think it's weird? What does that say for the character? A lot of MCs who are supposed to be nice guys don't really mind at all that slavery is around. Isekai authors tend to dislike "hero of justice" mc so maybe that's why they're so nonchalant about it?
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
75
Points
18
Depends on the timeline. If they came from a medieval period or further back, slavery isn't really something anyone cares about. It's a part of the world/society. Modern? Then it just depends on how strong MC is. If he's not world-changing strong, then it doesn't matter. What can he do either way? Plus, who wants to spend two pages showing an MC ranting about injustices when he can just date an elf in that first page and slay a dragon on the second?
 

HonestMistake

Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
48
Points
18
Honestly, slavery is usually just a easy means for the MC to build a harem. At least, in most of those stories. In reality, slavery is an issue that one guy can't really do much about. In order to stop slavery, the MC would have to wait till they at least have enough power to take on a kingdom. That usually doesn't happen till much later in the story, and by then the MC is usually dealing with some evil god out to destroy the world or something.
 

Thor

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2019
Messages
35
Points
18
Like Discount_Blade said, it depends on the MC. If he came from a timeline where slavery was something normal they wouldnt bat an eye. But someone who was born in modern days should be disgusted.

But even that doesnt mean that he could do anything about it. Mostly depends on his influence. If he is able to influence nation-wide policies then he should do something about it but before he is at that point he can only do small and local changes if any.

On that note, I really hate those novels where MC's from today buy slaves for their harem. It gets ridiculous when said slaves start to 'love' them because of reasons.

Fun fact: In Novel's with a slavery theme; 90% of Male Mc's encounter slavery and buy/free a random female slave and 90% of female MC's start out as slaves or are threatend into slavery.
 

Assurbanipal_II

King of the Four Corners of the World
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
294
Points
63
When we think about slavery, we think mostly about European black slavery in the manual sector throughout the 17th century to 19th century with its ethnical and sociocultural aspects while the far more complex slave system practiced by the Roman empire is largely forgotten.

Most novels try to emulate the former kind of slavery, which has been historically proven to be not only unreliable, but also unsustainable. Slavery in isekai is generally deeply dysfunctional when you think about it for a second and it is a wonder that slavery even exists.
 

NotaNuffian

Active member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
101
Points
28
I am writinag about slavery and MC might have to suffer for it, as for the eliminating slavery part, I am sort of playing into the Stockholm Syndrome Slaves where many slaves ended up trying to outright murder MC even though he just freed them from their mistreating masters.
Funny thing is how MC finds the human psychology funny, as he finds slavery repulsive not because he is a nice guy but because he was almost a victim of that and mostly someone suffering from bullying. So when he got the power, Doom's Blood Punch, he tried to "be the hero" and free the slaves, things go south reaaallllly quickly.
 

CupcakeNinja

NTR Deity
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
274
Points
63
Like Discount_Blade said, it depends on the MC. If he came from a timeline where slavery was something normal they wouldnt bat an eye. But someone who was born in modern days should be disgusted.

But even that doesnt mean that he could do anything about it. Mostly depends on his influence. If he is able to influence nation-wide policies then he should do something about it but before he is at that point he can only do small and local changes if any.

On that note, I really hate those novels where MC's from today buy slaves for their harem. It gets ridiculous when said slaves start to 'love' them because of reasons.

Fun fact: In Novel's with a slavery theme; 90% of Male Mc's encounter slavery and buy/free a random female slave and 90% of female MC's start out as slaves or are threatend into slavery.
Yeah but the point is that only very rarely do you have an ISEKAI mc who comes from anything but the modern era. And most of the time they are OP even early on. So thats kinda a bullshit excuse. We all know its just an easy way to get a harem like someone mentioned. Not for really any other reason.

I mean im only talking about OP mcs here, but the problem with them is that they are usually pansies. They dont use their power for any real good. Basically they are gods compared to the other plebs but they dont do anything. They could just as easily dethrone the current leaders, abolish slavery and force people to obey them. Sure, thats a tyrant's behaviour, but a good tyrant--yeah i know the irony there--can lead to a lot of prosperity. Why? Cuz they rule with an iron fist and that means if they had good intentions and have good leadership--or good enough sense to delegate to people who know how to lead their respective departments--then everyone could benefit. There are advantages to being harsh. It would work especially well if they are OP as fuck. No one would wanna fuck with them, or couldnt. Obviously this is under the condition the MC has the skill to lead a nation and doesnt act like a complete dick hoarding all the resources for himself. But yeah.

They could totally do all kinds of good, but they dont.
When we think about slavery, we think mostly about European black slavery in the manual sector throughout the 17th century to 19th century with its ethnical and sociocultural aspects while the far more complex slave system practiced by the Roman empire is largely forgotten.

Most novels try to emulate the former kind of slavery, which has been historically proven to be not only unreliable, but also unsustainable. Slavery in isekai is generally deeply dysfunctional when you think about it for a second and it is a wonder that slavery even exists.
I mean when you think about it, isnt slavery just an excuse to have people do everything for you for free AND be a dick? Sure its not sustainable. But that aint the point of it, really. If it was they'd be keeping the slaves healthy at least and not beat the fuck outta them, risking an uprising. I think its mainly just a way to release all you angers and cruel inclinations. Other than that and the cost cuts you gain, i dont see any legit reason for slavery.
 

ForestDweller

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
6
Points
3
What do you guys think of the excuse that the country couldn't survive without slavery? And how poor peasants and people in debt in general having to sell themselves / their children to slavery to survive? I've seen stories saying those reasons to be the "positive" side of slavery.
 

Ral

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Messages
103
Points
28
There is an easy answers to this: they are just not interesting and they are difficult to write write about.

What do you think why people here write these stories? If you know why, then it is easy to understand why writers don't bother with such kind of things. They are just not interested with such kind of stuff. Almost no one here (even the readers) is interested about that.

Not to mention, most people don't even know what slavery actually is aside from the sterilized versions. At most, you only see slaves being sold or working as maids or something. A lot of people actually don't see what is so bad about slavery.

There is also victim blaming at work here. If people encounter slaves in stories many would react thus: "why don't they fight?" "they become slaves because they are lazy" and other such things. Many people here thinks it is easy to escape such situations ("just fight") so if these slaves remain slaves, then it is their own fault for not doing anything.

If that is not bad enough, many actually want to have slaves (especially sex slaves). It is a fetish. I think that many writers who write OP protagonists are males and have a tendency to fetish-ize these kind of things and objectify women. Why do you think most slaves you encounter in these kind of stories tends to be beautiful women? You rarely encounter male slaves and almost never see children or ugly women. Why is that?

In short, most writers just don't care. They never really think about such kind of things when they write.
 
Last edited:

ForestDweller

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
6
Points
3
Mushoku Tensei has literal children being kidnapped to be sold as slaves with the heavy implication that some might actually end up being sold to pedos yet the MC is pretty chill about it all, even though he himself was once kidnapped as a kid. In fact, he even kinda lusted over the naked beaten up kids a little when he rescued them.

Guess isekai fans really don't care either.

Makes me unsure how I should put slavery in my story.
 

Ral

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Messages
103
Points
28
What do you guys think of the excuse that the country couldn't survive without slavery? And how poor peasants and people in debt in general having to sell themselves / their children to slavery to survive? I've seen stories saying those reasons to be the "positive" side of slavery.
Uhm . . . I might get flogged for this but this is kinda true. The country before and after are entirely different. The country essentially died and is rebuilt again. Things really get chaotic and in the process the country dies. Still, doesn't mean the country can't rise again (and they do) but it is understandable why many people (especially people in power and well off) don't want to do that.

And, yeaaah . . . in those times, slavery is actually better than just starving to death or be out in the mercy of whatever is out there.

There are also positions that it is relatively not that bad. There are actually slaves in a position of power for example or you might get favors from your master (like what you tend to see in these isekai stories).
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
75
Points
18
What do you guys think of the excuse that the country couldn't survive without slavery? And how poor peasants and people in debt in general having to sell themselves / their children to slavery to survive? I've seen stories saying those reasons to be the "positive" side of slavery.
Willingly selling one's self into slavery isn't exactly a rare occurrence in history either. While the vast majority of Roman slaves were acquired through war conquests, in the east, like China and Japan, many of these were of course through war, but it also wasn't uncommon for families to sell children into slavery for food, shelter, etc. Selling wives was practiced. I'm not sure how willing it was on the wives/child's part but oh well. Selling one's self into slavery was a thing as well. Often times, the poorer peasant/farmer's willingly went into slavery to a local landlord simply because that was the only way they would be fed.

Also, Africa has a fairly extensive history of slavery beyond just European. They warred amongst themselves and enslaved and sold slaves to others. Let's not forget that the European slave trade originally began with African warlords/Kings/etc. selling conquered/vanquished tribal rivals/enemies to European powers for whatever gains they could get. For guns and ammunition was the typical commodity initially.

That and Muslims in North Africa were practicing slave market trade since North Africa fell under their religious jurisdiction in the 7th century A.D.
 

flucket

Green Tea Bitch
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
195
Points
63
Speaking under the assumption you mean a basic "modern Japanese transported/transmigrated into another world": In most cases, if slavery is mentioned in novels it's almost always a contrivance to present a harem member, so the MC would be required to take this in stride so as to not allow the moral outrage to get in the way of getting his dick wet.

Personally, I think the question should less be about the mindset of the MC and more the mindset of the author. How many authors use slavery because they wanted to make a point using it, and how many just used it as a trend/an easy excuse to add a harem beauty? I don't think you need to necessarily have the MC try to be a one man army out to abolish slavery as an institution in order to express his distaste for it. Just being unwilling to participate in the system would be enough, but even the most benevolent MCs, like the one from a certain slime laundry story, always end up casually participating in the trafficking in slaves with little more than "well I'm sort of uncomfortable of course because I was a modern Japanese desu~ but this slave trader seems friendly desu~ so I may as well buy a slave~" as a counterpoint. The only instance I can think of where the buying of a slave had an actual purpose may be Shield Hero, where it was a decision made for character reasons - to show how low the MC had fallen, how willing he was to throw away all his humanity/civility, and his deep paranoia and distrust of others making him feel that a slave was the only thing he could "trust". Even though I don't care for the series, at least it actually made narrative use of the slave trade to make a point about the character's arc.

At the end of the day... rather than "slavery", you could set up a system of "indentured servitude" as part of your society, which is an important distinction, or actually make use of the slave industry to make a point or plot arc, rather than just a bit of fun flavour as a way to add a new big tiddy super submissive girlfriend or whatever else. The MC's laissez faire attitude toward an institution that should be so opposed to his set of values is just an extension of the author's desires and interests, in the end, in my opinion.
 

Ral

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Messages
103
Points
28
At the end of the day... rather than "slavery", you could set up a system of "indentured servitude" as part of your society, which is an important distinction, or actually make use of the slave industry to make a point or plot arc, rather than just a bit of fun flavour as a way to add a new big tiddy super submissive girlfriend or whatever else.
That requires a lot of world building which means a lot of work, work that most writers here don't want to do.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
257
Points
63
i don't really care about it much. they're just here mostly for fanservice purposes anyway.

maybe they're not reacting since deep down they support it, 'cuz in the modern world, you can't have people absolutely obedient to you and have to attend to your every needs. it was a good fuel for power fantasy, i guess?

i don't think most of them were supposedly good person, they would just do good things for their own convenience. like, when they rescue a cute girl, and say, "Every life is important." and proceed massacring the bandits, corrupt nobles, and everyone who offend them.

well, i guess they're not wrong, since they never mention it as "Equally important."

if they're like altruistic saints, it just made them seem boring i guess? i'd rather see a more 'flawed' character.

though yeah, i don't think slavery is a must in isekai. like if they're set in modern time, for example.
 
Last edited:

BenJepheneT

Wash™ your god damn Hands®
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Messages
826
Points
93
To put it in perspective to how much of a missed opportunity the slavery aspect of isekai novels are, back in ancient Rome, slaves gained increased legal protection, including the right to file complaints against their masters.


It's not that they're lazy to do research. This is one simple Google search. It's just that they've never think past the slavery part beyond "Gronk must fuck" and never even considered doing research.

I'm not saying it must be socially realistic or one-to-one and exact to how real slavery would work. Part of the charm in fantasy is that it's a fantasy; do whatever the fuck you like. It's just that they rarely evolve past the notion of simply selling a man. At this point, it's just a god damn pet shop, or a sex doll emporium.
 

Thor

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2019
Messages
35
Points
18
What do you guys think of the excuse that the country couldn't survive without slavery? And how poor peasants and people in debt in general having to sell themselves / their children to slavery to survive? I've seen stories saying those reasons to be the "positive" side of slavery.
Like you said, it would be only an excuse and not a real reason. Countrys can and did survive without slavery. Slaves were mostly used by people to enrich themselves. Slaves were free manual labor, the only cost is to feed them.

In regard to poor peasants who sold themselves, they actually didnt. It's was called indentured servitude. They would work for a fixed time without pay but in return they would receive food, housing and training. After the set time they would be free to do whatever they want.

People who sold their children or wives or whatever were just scum because you cant expect that they wanted to be sold.

Mushoku Tensei has literal children being kidnapped to be sold as slaves with the heavy implication that some might actually end up being sold to pedos yet the MC is pretty chill about it all, even though he himself was once kidnapped as a kid. In fact, he even kinda lusted over the naked beaten up kids a little when he rescued them.

Guess isekai fans really don't care either.

Makes me unsure how I should put slavery in my story.
I think even isekai fans care but most novels dont show slavery as the inhumane practice it is. If you want to put slavery in your story then just do it, in the end its you who decides how serious the topic will be.

To put it in blatant words, most authors use slavery to get their MC free pussy without putting work into building a relationship.
 

CupcakeNinja

NTR Deity
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
274
Points
63
There is an easy answers to this: they are just not interesting and they are difficult to write write about.

What do you think why people here write these stories? If you know why, then it is easy to understand why writers don't bother with such kind of things. They are just not interested with such kind of stuff. Almost no one here (even the readers) is interested about that.

Not to mention, most people don't even know what slavery actually is aside from the sterilized versions. At most, you only see slaves being sold or working as maids or something. A lot of people actually don't see what is so bad about slavery.

There is also victim blaming at work here. If people encounter slaves in stories many would react thus: "why don't they fight?" "they become slaves because they are lazy" and other such things. Many people here thinks it is easy to escape such situations ("just fight") so if these slaves remain slaves, then it is their own fault for not doing anything.

If that is not bad enough, many actually want to have slaves (especially sex slaves). It is a fetish. I think that many writers who write OP protagonists are males and have a tendency to fetish-ize these kind of things and objectify women. Why do you think most slaves you encounter in these kind of stories tends to be beautiful women? You rarely encounter male slaves and almost never see children or ugly women. Why is that?

In short, most writers just don't care. They never really think about such kind of things when they write.
now, i completely get what you are saying fam. Slavery in light novels isnt usually depicted in its truest sense. At most its normally a bit of sex slavery, a bit of beating. But not often do you find them being buried alive to accompany their masters or to guard positions of import for all eternity. You dont see them worked to death in salt mines or being used as lab rats, bait, as game to be hunted for sport.

But the absolute fact of the matter is the other side is right too. If they dont fight, it IS 100% their fault. Not for being slaves, but for continuing to be slaves. Its not like they automatically become free or anything, but if a person doesnt try to escape then whose fucking fault is it for staying that way? Theirs. I totally get that they may feel its hopeless, but at the same time they cant just sit with their thumbs up their asses and take being abused or treated like objects without AT LEAST trying to stand up for themselves and plan a way out. You can call it victim blaming all you want. Sometimes it is, however, on the victim to decide whether to keep being a victim or not. Saying otherwise is just bullshit. Someone walks up to you and punches you for no reason and you just let them beat you to a pulp without ever trying to defend yourself. Who decided to let that happen? You. You cant control other people's actions, but you can control yours. Whether you win or lose is besides the point

No one is saying its easy. Or fast. But come on. Its your life. You REALLY dont like something, stand the fuck up and at the very least try to change it. You may not succeed, but at least you can say you did all you could. THEN its not your fault. Maybe you weren't up to the task. Not smart or strong enough. We cant blame you for that. You can, however, be blamed for laying down and taking whatever people throw at you without ever having attempted to fight back at all. Unless you dont have any hands or feet or are mentally handicapped what excuse do you have? None.

People always say to take responsibility for your actions. But you know what, pal? You need to take responsibility for your inaction too.

That said, not all slaves are equal and slaves who were made into slaves for committing crimes for no good reason other than being a dick deserve what they get.

Also yes most authors here probably wouldnt write about that kinda stuff. I probably wouldn't, or would at least gloss over it, but thats just due to the nature of my stories just being about having a good time. I wouldnt call stories like that boring tho. I mean thats just a subjective view, after all. At most it just doesnt fit with what a majority of readers here are looking for.
 

AliceShiki

Magical Girl of Love and Justice
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
431
Points
93
Mushoku Tensei has literal children being kidnapped to be sold as slaves with the heavy implication that some might actually end up being sold to pedos yet the MC is pretty chill about it all, even though he himself was once kidnapped as a kid. In fact, he even kinda lusted over the naked beaten up kids a little when he rescued them.

Guess isekai fans really don't care either.

Makes me unsure how I should put slavery in my story.
Just try to make it meaningful if you wanna write about slaves.

Like... Make it feel like something horrible. And if the MC is isekai'd make them feel like they're witnessing something else.

And if they buy a slave, make them instantly free the slave, don't make them keep the slave as a slave and being called "master" and whatever.

Just... Make it somewhat realistic. You don't need to go deep into it, but at least make it not a ridiculous explanation to get a free love interest.
 
Top