Kobold Society

The Kobold Society, or rather the Society for the Improvement and Integration of Kobolds, is tangentally anti-slavery, but more focused on being pro-Dragonborn.

A charity based primarily in the Empire, and supported (to a lessening degree as they spread internationally) by Imperial funding, the Kobold Society’s founding ethos is the support and rehabilitation of ex-slaves and abandoned slaves. To this end they run clinics, crude schools, soup kitchens, bunkhouses and workhouses, and generally attempt to ensure that former Dragonborn slaves (and down-on-their-luck freedmen) are not forced into a life of crime in the seedy underbelly of urban life or on the fringes of the rural scenery. The Society’s charter demands it rehabilitate Dragonborn primarily, though they are technically open to Uruk slaves as well – though Uruk do not have nearly so many barriers to entering free society as Dragonborn do. Their motto, on their founding two hundred years ago (from an alliance of several smaller, regional charities dating back centuries in some cases), was “Thieves in gutters to citizens in houses” – though as their reach has broadened beyond the Empire, where Dragonborn could become second-class citizens, they have moderated their motto to say “workers” rather than the controversial “citizens”.

The Society is scorned by Uruk supremacists as a ‘bunch of lizard-lovers’ or ‘uppity geckos’, since some of the Society’s senior membership are in fact Dragonborn themselves (though not the top echelons – that would be crazy!). However, even Supremacists tend to mute their public criticism, as the Society’s work is largely to the good – they do undoubtedly prevent many Dragonborn falling into criminal fraternities and being driven away from civilised life, and the existence of such a ‘safety net’ makes it easier for many a slaver and slaveowner to justify their continued activity.

This tension is evident in the society’s name; the “Kobold Society” carefully uses the neutral Imperial name for the Dragonborn race, rather than the more provocative “Dragonborn Society” that many nationalistic and supremacist Uruk would see as a challenge to Uruk hegemony.

They have pushed hard in many areas to expand rights for freedmen Dragonborn, particularly the right to own property and to be free from recapture as slaves within the borders of their adoptive nation, even if they cannot be citizens there.

The Society is large and wide-reaching, with a number of nations supporting them heavily in an effort to edge out more extremist views (particularly, the unreservedly anti-slavery views). Sadly, much of their private money comes from slavers and slave traders who point to its good works to say there is “no problem” with slavery as long as dragonborn are properly managed if freed; anti-slavery activists often accuse it of ‘selling out’, and the Society’s holdings have occasionally suffered attacks by the terrorist group, Twilight for Slavery

It is currently blacklisted in the Republic due to its funding from the Imperial government, though to what extent this is a tit-for-tat sanction (the Empire bans the Republic-based Mendalius Foundation on similar grounds) and to what extent a valid fear, is unclear. However, it is also true that some nations have fined it (or worse) after some of its members turned out to be using their workhouses and international connections to ‘launder’ runaway slaves into new identities, though the Society’s leadership dismisses these as isolated incidents by volunteers with poor judgement.

Worse for their reputation, some national branches have actually begun using their workhouses as factories for their branch’s profit; detractors from both sides of the debate say the Society is thus proven to be a ruthlessly exploitative chain gang setting up a new form of slavery, cloaked under the rhetoric. A few recent scandals have emerged suggesting that some branches, particularly in Imperial Pelargossia, might actually have been smuggling ‘problem’ dragonborn into slavery overseas in exchange for cash; investigations are ongoing both from the core organisation and from the Imperial government there. However, in the far east, authorities are often corrupt and – in the home of slavery – public opinion is uninterested in something so “understandable” as slave-trading.

Kobold Society

Fireborn: Dark Phoenix JtheC