Although standing around and looking pretty for the benefit of one’s owner can certainly play a part in the portrayal of a slave character, that sort of thing is likely to quickly grow tedious for the slave-player. Variety is great – but clearly defined tasks are even better. The following approaches can serve as a solid starting point:
- Cues and tasks intended for the owner can be delegated to a slave, which has the simultaneous effects of making the master appear more important, and keeping the slave player occupied.
- Errands do not only provide some variety for the slaves, but also allow them to get away from their master for a while and quietly go about their own business.
- It is also perfectly appropriate to allow a slave to handle their master’s financial matters. Whenever there is business to be done, the dominus/domina can leave a slave to haggle while they themselves nonchalantly move on to attend to “more important matters” than mere mundane money. This is another opportunity to utilize code words – one might, for instance, simply say “I like that one” to indicate to a slave that they should make a purchase.
If the intent is to portray a certain sense of decadence, one should not simply use slaves for decorative purposes, but encourage them to shine alongside their masters. For instance, allowing your slave to feed you grapes can be the highlight of a scene. Non-verbal communication remains very important in such circumstances, as is remembering that one’s slaves might also want to eat or drink something on occasion. It might, for example, be a good idea to hand over one’s cup one too many times (to free one’s hands for very important purposes, naturally) in order to allow them to steal a discreet sip themselves. And if it seems like a certain conversation might take a while yet, and the slave is likely to get bored, one can always come up with an excuse to send them away to attend to other matters.
It is, in this context, once again important to communicate and define working conditions and tasks to be completed (serving breakfast, refilling the wine, etc.) before the start of the game. These (partially out-of-game) tasks are part of playing a slave, and can both be fun and be a great addition to the overall game experience. However, too much of this kind of work may quickly become frustrating for the slave player, hence the owner needs to take care not to assign more jobs than previously agreed upon.
One especially important point to address is the lending of slave characters to other people. This should generally be avoided, unless all parties can be reasonably certain that they are on the same wavelength regarding the three points mentioned above. A good excuse not to let someone else borrow one’s slave is, of course, how essential they are to the own household. “But who is going to clean my sandals?”
One should never delegate out-of-game tasks that are not visibly part of the game to one’s slave players. It might not suit your character to do your own dishes, but keep in mind that your meal was most likely prepared, served and fed to you by your slave player, so offering to do their dishes as well could be a nice gesture to compensate them for the work they are doing for you.