D&D General How much trouble are the Slave catchers in for taking A 4 year old Crown Prince whose mother was A Escaped Slave?, which legally makes him a slave


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Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
And who, pray tell, are you?

"wands of detecting illegal aliens"?!? what kind of fantasy totalitarian regime are you assuming here?

The OP describe this country as a place that practices slavery, extend slavery to mixed couple slave/non-slave, and has groups of "slave catchers" operating openly to stop 4 years-old to check whether they are escaped slaves. Somehow, I confess, I didn't picture a vibrant democracy in the first place, at least until the OP gives us more details to fill in the blanks. Plus, having border control (or, if border are more porous, city gate checks) doesn't necessarily mean being a totalitarian regime in my opinion, but we're veering into politics.
 
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JMISBEST

Explorer
The OP describe this country as a place that practices slavery, extend slavery to mixed couple slave/non-slave, and has groups of "slave catchers" operating openly to stop 4 years-old to check whether they are escaped slaves. Somehow, I confess, I didn't picture a vibrant democracy in the first place, at least until the OP gives us more details to fill in the blanks. Plus, having border control (or, if border are more porous, city gate checks) doesn't necessarily mean being a totalitarian regime in my opinion, but we're veering into politics.
The slave snatchers didn't snatch the 4 year old to check if he was a escaped slave, rather the 4 year old's mother, who was, she's dead, is a escaped slave, this means that the country the crown princes mother comes from class's the crown prince as a slave

This means that The slave snatchers didn't snatch the 4 year old to check if he was a escaped slave, rather they had reasonable grounds to arrest him on suspicion of being the son of a escaped slave, which if their right makes him a slave

What happened is that the 4 year old's mother comes from a family were all male members have a distinctive birthmark that proves he's a male from that family, naturally he has the distinctive birthmark

1 of the slave snatchers got a good enough look at the 4 year old's distinctive birthmark for him or her, I haven't decided on the gender yet but the odds are it'll be a male, to be able to have reasonable grounds to arrest the kid on suspicion of being the son of a escaped slave

But what about his guards?, see below, and once they had him they used a spell that's unique to that country to confirm that he's the son of a escaped slave, which makes him a slave

In case your wondering how 7 5th level Thieves managed to get the better of 12 7th level Fighters? the answer is they didn't outfight them, they outsmarted them. Pretty good thinking for mere Thieves

They did this by arranging for 12 crooks they hate to do 7 muggings, the naive 4 year old send 10 of his guards to intervene, 5 of the 7 slave snatchers distracted the other 2 guards whilst the other 2 slave snatchers grabbed the 4 year old and used their knowledge of the cities back-alleys, alleyways, shortcuts, thorough-fares and backstreets to lose the guards
 

GreyLord

Legend
One country kidnapped another's crown prince while the King and Queen are still alive.

Well, that's a war. Doesn't really matter the whys and wherefores.

Absolutely. That's a declaration of War.

That was my first thought.

NOW...if these "slave catchers" were actually not sanctioned to kidnap the prince (or even if they were, the nation they are in does NOT want a war and disavows them) it is possible that upon finding this out they outlaw the slave catchers and send people to kill them and get the prince back...that I think would be believable.

Instead of the King wanting this, I think it would more plausible that the rulers of the nation don't WANT this incident and try to quietly get it better as quickly as possible. If lucky, they can get a small group to not make a lot of noise, kill the slavers, and rescue the kid and THEN tell the king of the BIG mistake and how they rescued the prince and killed those "illegal" slavers that did such a thing with no authority.

Edit: To make it easier to understand, though not 4 years old, imagine some other nation kidnapped the Vice-President of the United States to make her/him a slave. Think about how well that would go down.

Or imagine that some other nation kidnapped the Crown Prince's son to make a slave out of him...

Quickly realizing a mistake and handing the leader back is one thing...but keeping that leader and forcing them into slavery...yeah...I don't see that going well with any nation on earth for the most part. The more powerful nations the worse response most likely.

That nation that did the kidnapping may get a large condemnation from other nations as well.

NOW...it IS possible if that prince was a warrior prince and they weren't being held as a slave...but for ransom...there may be a different reaction as long as it follows the rules of chivalry/noble bargaining.

But straight up keeping them a slave when there has been no hostilities even declared yet...

Closest I think that happened was William and Harold...and he eventually let Harold go but the results still eventually led to War.
 
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Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Edit: To make it easier to understand, though not 4 years old, imagine some other nation kidnapped the Vice-President of the United States to make her/him a slave. Think about how well that would go down.

Or imagine that some other nation kidnapped the Crown Prince's son to make a slave out of him...

Quickly realizing a mistake and handing the leader back is one thing...but keeping that leader and forcing them into slavery...yeah...I don't see that going well with any nation on earth for the most part. The more powerful nations the worse response most likely.

The problem is that in the OP isn't in this exact analogy. Kidnapping evokes people of country B entering country A to take the crown prince, which I agree would most certainly lead to a war. In this case, the officials of country B don't know the child is the crown prince. He entered under a false identity (per the OP) and was identified as an escaped slave by a spell unique to their country. So as far as they know, they arrested John Doe, runaway slave, and not the crown prince of country A.

It would be extremely strange that country A would declare war upon country B (except if they were really looking for an excuse to do that in the first place) just because the King learns that his son organized a clandestine visit of country B and didn't get back because he got in trouble with the authority. If you want diplomatic immunity, you make official visits, not incognito clandestine visit.

The aptest analogy would be if the VP of the United States entered Canada under the name of John Doe and got arrested for driving under influence (since there is no more slavery, we must find an appropriate law-breaking substitute). His bodyguard would say the canadian police "this guy is the US VP" and the police would answer "year, drunkard, and I am the Pope" and take him to jail. I don't think the US would invade Canada. They most probably would send a diplomatic cable to Canada confirming it was actually really the VP and APOLOGIZE for him entering Canada under a false identity and doing DUI. I also don't see any strike team being sent to liberate the VP from the border's police station drunk tank.

Edit: to make the analogy even better, the VP should commit an offense that is illegal in Canada but legal in the US. I have no tangible example, but let's say he burn a Canadian flag while in Canada [assuming that flag-burning is illegal in Canada and that you can legally burn a foreign flag in the US].

The sanest resolution seems to me to send a letter to country B clarifying that the escaped slave is indeed their crown prince, offer a compensation for the damage done if any, potentially paying the price to pay the fine incurred and everyone goes on their merry way. And the slave catchers wouldn't be in any trouble for doing their job. It's only if country B refused to hand over the crown prince after that clarification step that a diplomatic crisis would happen, eventually leading to a war.
 
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aco175

Legend
A 4yo traveling alone with guards would have one of them or another retainer with them who is in charge and not the 4yo. Also the 4yo would not have the intelligence or wisdom to see muggings going on and keep sending guards off to stop it. The lead guard would generally refuse stopping a mugging to protect the prince and always we weary of a trap.

The child is traveling without his mother, who is dead, but was a slave at one point. This makes him a slave if he returns to this kingdom. He returns anyways but is a noble with guards and such. He is kidnapped by thieves who may just be looking for ransom money but see a birthmark. Does everyone in the kingdom know that males in this family have this birthmark? Is it on their forehead and they cannot hide it?

I'm still kind of lost.
 

The status with regard to the S-word is pretty irrelevant. I am pretty sure if Prince Harry tried to cross the US border from Mexico with a passport saying he's Joaquin Guzman, surrounded by heavily, militarily armed bodyguards, he'd be arrested and the UK wouldn't nuke Washington as a first response. Especially if the bodyguards violently resisted arrest.
It still doesn’t make much sense. It depends on random slave catchers somehow knowing that random person is a slave because they have a birthmark, while at the same time not knowing that the CROWN PRINCE on a nearby country has the same birthmark, and this mix-up not being cleared up at any point.

Gorbatchev was well-known for a prominent birthmark on his head. Can you imagine multiple people coming across him and going “Gorbatchev? Never heard of him ? But Maggie May of Fresno has the same birthmark, as did her son, therefore you must be her son Jimmy who is wanted for boosting cars!”
 

nevin

Hero
Kill everyone who fights, occupy the kingdom and then salt the earth of the capital city so that nothing grows there for 5 or 6 thousand years. Then in 40 or so years the child would be ruling them. If another kingdom do that to you requires the most vigorous destructive response possible to make sure they don't ever want to mess with your kingdom again.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
It still doesn’t make much sense. It depends on random slave catchers somehow knowing that random person is a slave because they have a birthmark, while at the same time not knowing that the CROWN PRINCE on a nearby country has the same birthmark, and this mix-up not being cleared up at any point.

I'd have a hard time suspending disbelief at several points in the OP's scenario. My first problem would be with the guards actually obeying the order to go into another country incognito, with the order given by a 4 years-old prince, without defering to the king (or using common sense and say no). It would be a terrible state if the whims of a child are obeyed without question...

Gorbatchev was well-known for a prominent birthmark on his head. Can you imagine multiple people coming across him and going “Gorbatchev? Never heard of him ? But Maggie May of Fresno has the same birthmark, as did her son, therefore you must be her son Jimmy who is wanted for boosting cars!”

Gorbatchev was a public figure. The 4 years old prince, much less and he probably didn't command a lot of interest. It's possible he didn't know about the mark. However, the OP confirmed that they used a spell to confirm his runaway slave status... but the odds of the guards recognizing the birthmark of a random slave when stopping him are very low in the first place. I am puzzled.
 

aco175

Legend
Is there a lucrative market for stealing kids for slaves and corrupt officials that determine that their parents were slaves, so they are too? Maybe a corrupt priest that 'talks' to his god to determine if a random child is a slave.

Seems that after a while of kids going missing that commoners would start to have less kids, or maybe branding them to prove they are not slaves. Likely that the slave kids would be branded first though. The system only works if the common folk are not pushed that far.
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I still don't understand how D&D is involved
🤷‍♂️ I don't even understand the initial question. A royal prince is a royal prince and that trumps pretty much any status the prince's mother had so the kid is a prince in which case the slavers are in trouble as is any kingdom sheltering them or the kid is a slave and would not have royal bodyguards in the first place.
 


Bagpuss

Hero
I really hope the scenario isn't the PCs being both slavers and child abductors.

Edit 1: Oh they are... well you do you, not touching this with a 10ft pole.

Edit 2: Okay... maybe I'll touch it just a little.

I imagine the slave catchers will be hunted not only by the country that the crown prince belongs to, but also the country they are from for being such idiots as to think starting a war was worth one slave boy.

Basically if they returned the boy immediately and apologised profusely they might just get away with life in prison, if they get caught with the boy just beheaded. If any harm comes to the boy them they will probably be hung, drawn and quartered.

If they manage to get back to their own country with the boy, then the authorities there will hand them over to their neighbour (see hung/drawn/quartered option) with apologies for the diplomatic incident.
 
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JMISBEST

Explorer
I'd have a hard time suspending disbelief at several points in the OP's scenario. My first problem would be with the guards actually obeying the order to go into another country incognito, with the order given by a 4 years-old prince, without defering to the king (or using common sense and say no). It would be a terrible state if the whims of a child are obeyed without question...



Gorbatchev was a public figure. The 4 years old prince, much less and he probably didn't command a lot of interest. It's possible he didn't know about the mark. However, the OP confirmed that they used a spell to confirm his runaway slave status... but the odds of the guards recognizing the birthmark of a random slave when stopping him are very low in the first place. I am puzzled.
He's not a runaway slave, his dead mother was, which is why the law class's him as a slave, luckily not a runaway slave

The king fell in love with her and married her without knowing she was a runaway slave, if he'd known he'd have bought her freedom, but she didn't know that, she never told him for fear of being returned, and now her 4 year old sons suffering the consequences
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
One country kidnapped another's crown prince while the King and Queen are still alive.

Well, that's a war. Doesn't really matter the whys and wherefores.

Yeah. Country A's laws don't apply in Country B. For Country A to try to impose their laws within Country B's territory would be a direct affront to B's sovereignty.

Unless there is some special political issue preventing it, such an act would call for reprisals. The specific individuals who did the kidnapping are less important than sending a message to Country A's leadership that such stuff will not be simply allowed to pass with no consequences.

Broadly speaking, war probably shouldn't be out of the question.
 

Bagpuss

Hero
He's not a runaway slave, his dead mother was, which is why the law class's him as a slave, luckily not a runaway slave

The king fell in love with her and married her without knowing she was a runaway slave, if he'd known he'd have bought her freedom, but she didn't know that, she never told him for fear of being returned, and now her 4 year old sons suffering the consequences

Yes but where do the PCs fit in all of this?

Also I can't imagine the slave catchers are stupid enough to try and kidnap the crown prince, even if they have some legitimate claim to him. I doubt they would even be brave enough to approach the king to suggest he pay something for the kids freedom. You write it up as a loss and forget about it, kidnapping is only going to bring way more trouble than he is worth.

If they didn't know he was the crown prince and snatched him when he had perhaps slipped secretly out of the palace to go swimming down by the lake and they happened to spot the birthmark. If they took him when they thought he was a nobody, that might make sense.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The slave snatchers didn't snatch the 4 year old to check if he was a escaped slave, rather the 4 year old's mother, who was, she's dead, is a escaped slave, this means that the country the crown princes mother comes from class's the crown prince as a slave

This means that The slave snatchers didn't snatch the 4 year old to check if he was a escaped slave, rather they had reasonable grounds to arrest him on suspicion of being the son of a escaped slave, which if their right makes him a slave

There is nothing reasonable about this. They did not have reasonable grounds.

What happened is that the 4 year old's mother comes from a family were all male members have a distinctive birthmark that proves he's a male from that family, naturally he has the distinctive birthmark

1 of the slave snatchers got a good enough look at the 4 year old's distinctive birthmark for him or her, I haven't decided on the gender yet but the odds are it'll be a male, to be able to have reasonable grounds to arrest the kid on suspicion of being the son of a escaped slave

See, a special birthmark is an old trope used in literature a lot. And it's usually to indicate royal or an otherwise "special" bloodline. But in slaves? Why would the slavers memorize birthmarks?

This is SO unlikely it strains credulity. Here is what you should do:

Skip the birthmark entirely. It's stupid, it doesn't work. Instead, have a mark applied to ALL slaves - a brand, a tattoo, something like that. This mark was hidden on the boy by his mother. BUT the mark also had something magical about it (in case of tempering), something the mother did not know about - and neither did his guards (more on them later) know about it. So a routine border check, which the guards thought would be no trouble, revealed the prince to be a slave, and he was captured.

You've already spoken below about a spell. Again, you don't need the birthmark.

But what about his guards?, see below, and once they had him they used a spell that's unique to that country to confirm that he's the son of a escaped slave, which makes him a slave

In case your wondering how 7 5th level Thieves managed to get the better of 12 7th level Fighters? the answer is they didn't outfight them, they outsmarted them. Pretty good thinking for mere Thieves

They did this by arranging for 12 crooks they hate to do 7 muggings, the naive 4 year old send 10 of his guards to intervene, 5 of the 7 slave snatchers distracted the other 2 guards whilst the other 2 slave snatchers grabbed the 4 year old and used their knowledge of the cities back-alleys, alleyways, shortcuts, thorough-fares and backstreets to lose the guards

Again, WAY too convoluted, and not believable either.

  • This is WAY too much trouble for slavers to capture a young boy.
  • Are they slavers or "the authority" (you spoke of "arrest" earlier)? If they are the authority, they don't need these shenanigans
  • A naive 4 year old is not listened to by his guards in matters such as this. If there is violence (muggings etc) they will protect their charge, not spread out.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
He's not a runaway slave, his dead mother was, which is why the law class's him as a slave, luckily not a runaway slave

The king fell in love with her and married her without knowing she was a runaway slave, if he'd known he'd have bought her freedom, but she didn't know that, she never told him for fear of being returned, and now her 4 year old sons suffering the consequences
Kings make the law, that is what makes them Kings. If the boy is an acknowledged Royal Prince that overrides any other status, and the boy is entitled to all the privileges of that rank.

If I were a King and somebody kidnapped my acknowledged son. I would treat it as the personal affront that it is and wreak bloody vengeance on any who touched a hair of his royal head or aided or abetted anyone that did him harm or malice. Because in a land of warrior kings that is what I would be expected to do and if I wanted to retain the loyalty of my liegemen and bannermen that is what I would have to do.
Now if you want to do something else go right ahead.
 

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