I don’t usually re-blog other people’s posts, I think this may actually be the first time, but this one made me want to.
When I was roleplaying in SL Gor, I really hated the combat element. Not just because I was dreadful at it, but because I like stories and good roleplay allows the creation of great ones which I felt the combat spoiled. I played the local tavern keeper, which gave me a safe place to create those stories, because taverns are traditionally “safe-zones”.
Header image: An old screenshot from 2019 showing a griefer dressed as a Star Wars character,abusing the combat system right outside my tavern in the safe zone.
I’m not sure how I feel about the term “true Gorean”, because Gorean is a fictional term (I’d compare that to calling yourself a Jedi Knight or something) but in this case it refers to role-playing realistically in relation to Gor story-world lore. If the requirement is to have actually read some of the books, then I meet it and what a feat that actually is and shows a players dedication.
I’m glad my old friend Mariko is advocating for a less combat-oriented community, it was a contributing factor to my departure as the nearby panther tribe became more focused on combat than stories.
On the rare occasion I was in the tavern on Friday night or at the weekend you couldn’t concentrate for the noise. I had panther camps on three sides of my location, so there was a ridiculous number of combat meters flooding local chat with messages about who shot who. Which apart from being very annoying, from a story point of view, it was information I’d have no way of knowing from within the tavern compound.
I know meters aren’t going anywhere, too many people like them and non-creative, combat-focused “pew-pewer” players use them to initiate stories by starting fights. It would be nice though if this wasn’t the focus of roleplay in SL Gor. So I invite you to read what Mariko Marchant, a long-time and respected member of the SL Gor community has to say on the matter:
Well if you are a true Gorean and you read some or even all the books of John Norman would you expect that a craftsman, a weapon maker in a city would have a document with the standards a weapon should have to be approved? I ask myself, approved by whom? There is no such […]
My introduction to SL Roleplay was via the community of groups and locations collectively referred to as “Gor” in Second Life. Maybe this wasn’t the best introduction I could have had to SL Roleplay, but it’s what I got.
There are lots of criticisms of the books written by John Norman set on the fictional mirror-Earth planet called Gor, on which these locations are based. Criticisms include bigotry and sexism to just start with, but I’m not talking about that here. Lots of others have debated and discussed these issues better and at greater length than I would.
What I’m talking about is the actual style of how roleplay interactions happen in SL,how people communicate. Regardless of which variant of SL Gor you play, GE(Gor Evolved) or BTB(By The Book), whether there is much difference is debatable. Either way my experience was of a casual un-structured dialogue.
It wasn’t until I left Gor and started RPing elsewhere that I came across “Post Order”. I talked about this briefly before in a previous post, but it basically means taking turns. Sounds sensible, polite thing to do right? Actually it can be infuriatingly tedious. This is where I think my 18 months in Gor was probably a bad introduction to roleplay.
I just responded straightaway to someone, like you would when having a regular conversation. Nobody said “that’s not how we do it” or “wait your turn” once. If I’d had to stick to post order over those 18 months, I probably wouldn’t have lasted a week.
Does this make Gor players rude or lazy? I’m not sure, there are no doubt some people that may think so. But when I was playing there, it certainly wasn’t tedious and stories moved at a decent pace. Instead of sometimes having to wait as long as 40 minutes for everyone else present to make their posts,which makes advancing a story very slow indeed! (I was once actually able to go make my dinner, eat and do the dishes before it was my turn to reply in a post-order roleplay location.)
So while Gor has a bad reputation, it’s this casual and easy way of playing that makes it so easy to slip (fall?) back into it again with little difficulty. But it can be a bit like a trap too, it makes you think in a rather odd way, which I really can’t describe. A friend recently said:
“All ex-Gor roleplayers need a form of cult deprogramming.”
I actually agree with this, the early posts of this blog were exactly that for me, getting it out my system.
It occurs to me that a reason post-order is rarely used in Gor is combat. There is quite a lot of fighting that goes on using weapons and damage meters, not a situation where you’d take turns. I did my best to avoid combat if at all possible, being very bad at it.
This is one of the things that gives SL Gor a bad reputation I think. There are some groups that are only interested in doing combat activities, these become derogatorily known as “pew-pew” players rather than RP with storyline.
I had in mind lots of website references I used to use while playing there that I would link here. But not surprisingly a lot of them have vanished now. Not surprising because the words people were saying even when I started there in 2016 “SL Gor is dying”. Well if you keep saying it, don’t be surprised if it does. But it’s not dead yet,though it definitely shrunk. The region (private island) that I spent most of my time on disappeared not long after I left.
A few days ago I received a message via group notice from one of the old groups I was in, to say they had moved. This isn’t surprising either, this particular band has moved 5 times now in my memory. As a result of regions closing and having to find a new home. I usually go visit them when this happens to go say hi and have a catch-up. This time around its what led me to write this, because I slipped so easily back into character it was almost scary. Which is precisely my point.
You can certainly drop into any roleplay situation in SL, you’d just get added into the post-order and in most cases be welcomed. However it’s not conducive to a relaxed conversation,because it takes so long to say anything and relay an in-character update while still responding to the others present. That is what’s different about Gor Roleplay.
To demonstrate that there is still some life in Gor I was able to find a couple of blogs that are still active and current, telling stories of roleplays that have taken place. I’m sure somewhere there maybe more, based on the length of the list of active grups linked below.
In a previous post I visited the Tavern outside the walls and another time I had explored inside the city with potential plans to move there.
The decision has now been made for me however, the forest homestead is closing due to funding issues. So everyone based there is moving to the Lydius region, which is Full region rather than Homestead.
So I paid another visit to the City to explore housing and character role opportunities.
So I approached the gates of Lydius to find them surprisingly open and a guard sleeping in the doorway.
I stated my business and intent to find new lodgings and perhaps run the Inn or Tavern. When I mentioned I already had girls that could work in there in various roles,(which is true I’m still in contact with a couple of them from my old Tavern) he seemed very interested in showing me the places.
The potential issue here however is the differences between an Inn and a Tavern in Gorean lore. Lydius is a BTB (By The Book) region, meaning it’s supposed to stick strictly to the lore.
In Gorean lore the only females you’d find in a Tavern would be those on their knees serving drinks, dancing mostly naked, or on their backs in curtained-off alcoves. Taverns are basically male-only drinking dens. So having a female proprietor would be most irregular.
On the other hand an Inn is a much more respectable establishment. More suited to providing accommodation to visiting merchants or similar.
Neither place is currently used often, mainly due to lack of proprietor and serving girls.
I have to decide if I want to take on the role of innkeeper or not. It may be dependant on the availability of my former serving girls, (or recruiting new ones) since no place can be run properly without them.
As I mentioned I would in a previous post I returned to the Taluna continent which is styled to represent the Southern Jungles of the planet Gor.
It is made up of 7 regions and they are described as follows:
Here, dwell the tribes of the:
• Toki Aka’am Taluna,
• Veck En Taluna,
• Wa Ngao Taluna,
Here you will find refuges:
• Korat Trading Post,
• Village of Korat.
Seven lands comprise the Taluna Continent. Three are Safe Lands, places for healing, rest, and learning. There is no forced collaring and absolutely no threats of violence will be tolerated in Safe Lands. These are:
• Jungles of Gor
• Korat Cove
• Jungles of Mist
The remaining four lands allow full Gorean role play. Prior to combat and capture, some Role Play (RP) must be conducted. These are:
• Jungles of Schendi (Southern Jungles)
• Jungles of Ushindi
• Jungle of Sheba
The Korat Trading Post is a non-combat Safe Zone (as all trade points are, by Gorean custom). All taverns are non-combat.
I arrived at the Kort Village landing point since that was the landmark I had from years past.
I wandered up into the village where I saw various gorean food props for sale
among a number of straw huts
There is also a 2 storey building that seemed a bit out of place. I wandered around but that was pretty much all there was to see here. I headed back down to the dock where I had arrived. Where I found a small boat that I’d missed when I arrived.
Sitting in this ferries you along the coastline to Korat Trading Post
(Remember to stand up as soon as you arrive or the boat will vanish and drop you in the water!)
I entered the main trade area where there were a number of trade carts as you cross through the main area before you come to a number of buildings including a tavern and a healers premises. You can see here there are a number of signed entryways heading into the jungle.
The fact there is a second seaward entrance, makes me wonder which way the region owners actually intend for you to arrive. But either way these places provide plenty of opportunity for RP for those that don’t want to play “pew, pew” with bows and arrows in the jungle.
I headed to Lydius again to try and give it a better explore and see if I could meet anyone new. This time I opted to enter via the safer seaward side (docks are always safezones in SL Gor).
This way I might explore in relative safety.
Beyond the dock gate I found quite a sizeable area of land
I headed for the gates of the city, but they were unsurprisingly locked.
Since there was evidently no-one home I decided to explore the other buildings in the area, one of which turned out to be a tavern.
Inside a girl was dancing for her Master
I went and introduced myself and joined him in a vacant chair
His girl by the name of Roxanne, made me a drink while I chatted with the man,Dirk.
I talked with him of where I was based across the river and of my recent encounter at the other city gate. He told me of who I might contact to get a key to the city gates and that there were homes available inside, so I may consider that.
He then escorted me safely to the city gates since he was returning to his home inside.
As I mentioned in my last post one of the risks of being female in SL Gor RP is the risk of being captured. I experienced a prime example of this very recently.
To the rear of the tavern building I’ve adopted is a bridge leading into the woods.
Crossing the bridge takes you into the next region over and through the woods is a path leading to a city, by the name of Lydius.
Previously I’d had a look around but not RPed with anyone there, however my friend Sigmond the Healer is based there.
I could see on the map there was someone there at the back of the city, so I thought I’d go knock on the door and say hello.
However while I was stood knocking on the gate, someone came up behind me. I turned to greet them and it transpired they did not have my best interests at heart. Below is a transcript of the RP.
[04:40:51] Maddock Bracken (maddock) found himself in the company of fortune this day . . a lone woman inside the gates could be a challenge . . but here, he found one outside the gates, alone and unknown . . he closed upon her, thick dark hands reaching to grasp her
[04:43:26] Ava Delaney (avadelaney) takes a step back ” looking at his outstretched hand “What are you doing? I’m not some wench you can lay your hands on, I live in the fort just to the north”
[04:44:47] Maddock Bracken (maddock) paces her as she steps back . . the firm gate and stone wall soon making itself a barrier to her escape, leaving her words unanswered, he locked a firm grip upon her arm
[04:45:39] zCS # [Mod] Estinie Resident [RP] logged into the region.
[04:45:40] Long Range: Estinie Resident [94m]
[04:46:43] Ava Delaney (avadelaney) thinking since she’s agains the gate she may as wel try getting someones attention again and hammers the wood “Anyone home!”
[04:47:02] East Gate Door L shouts: AvaDelaney Resident knocks loudly at the door ♫
[04:47:33] Maddock Bracken (maddock) grabs the other arm, pulling them behind her, he wrenches them into the small of her back .. drawing out rope
[04:47:46] Ava Delaney (avadelaney) shouts: Anone Home in there?!
[04:47:50] Rurik (Estinie) shouts: Coming!
As soon as Rurik announced himself, my would-be captor departed with great haste. No exit RP, like maybe “hears the voice of the guard and backs away” or something, he just ran. Given the contents of his profile he only had capture and more on his mind. This is the kind of behaviour that gives Gor RP a bad reputation. To say I was fortunate in IC terms that Rurik came along is quite an understatement. Because despite his dubious intentions, my would-be captors actions would have been legitimate in the RP setting.
I was once captured when I was new to Gor, it wasn’t much fun, but was a bit of a mix up due to my newness and was resolved rather promptly. It was shortly after that time I switched from playing a fair-game panther girl character to Free Woman Inn keeper.
While my assailants RP was mostly legitimate it would have been debatable. Free Women in Gor have a high status and given the location, he was being very reckless.
For a comparison to the real world, it would be something like abducting a minor celebrity from outside a police station at gun point when there’s a SWAT team inside. That’s the level of nerve (or stupidity).
That’s not my ego regarding the value of my person, it’s based on the way Free Women are depicted in the Gor book series. Here are a few quotes to illustrate my point:
“A free woman is inordinately precious. She is a thousand times, and more, above a mere slave.” (Players of Gor, p.92)
“For example, there is no higher person, nor one more respected, than the Gorean free woman.” (Hunters of Gor, p.311)
“A free woman may often make a man angry with impunity, she being lofty and free, this latitude is seldom extended to the slave.” (Blood Brothers of Gor, p.221)
Additionally a comment from a Gor Reference site:
“Free women are rarely raped unless it is leading to their direct enslavement. Even a Slaver who enslaves a free woman will treat her with courtesy until she has been branded.” (Taken from this page on Gor-now.net)
So as you can see, my assailants actions were questionable at best.
The next stop after the Ikeri became surprisingly convoluted. I intended to visit the camp of a tribe I had known as the “Veck ‘En”, however as with other places, the landscape had changed quite a bit. I followed the path from the arrival point, but I ended up at waterfront.
It’s common for a trade area with a bell being what you arrive at first when approaching such a camp. I could see where it was but there was no immediately visible way of reaching it without getting wet. However the camp was clearly empty.
So at this point what I had intended to be an IC (In-Character) meet with whoever may now inhabit the camp, became an OOC (Out of Character) tour of the nearby regions.
An old friend by the name of Angel was in the nearby camp of the Wa Ngao, she TPed me across to her.
She then took me on a tour of the nearby places, given my character history as a Tavern Keeper, first stop was the Drunken Oak Tavern. Accompanied by a not-so-suble “which is currently without a keeper” remark which I found rather amusing.
When I posted my Tavern Fire RP (which can be found towards the end of Part 1 of my Gor story) via Notecard among the SL Gor community I had a number of offers of Taverns that were in need of keepers. So it shall be interesting how many I get as I attempt to re-connect with people.
Then we passed through her tribes territory
Until we came to a border crossing in to the neighbouring tribes territory, the Sa Jesuil.
By this time I admit I was rather lost, the camps and a trading station cover 4 regions in a 2×2 square layout. The paths in between the various camps zigged and zagged in an irritatingly pointless fashion, except perhaps if they were like that for defensive purposes I thought. When I queried this, I found out that a lot of the areas were non-combat, RP only.
Once we were out of the maze and back to one of the docks, there was a sign, showing which areas were combat or RP areas.
I think to do this place with it’s numerous and varied inhabitants justice and make sense of it, I shall have to return. Next time however starting from each of the 4 regions landing points. The fact it has large RP-only areas quite appeals to me, since one off-putting thing about Gor RP for me is the constant risk of capture. For many players in SL Gor combat,raiding and capture RP is their main draw to it,but not for me.
Following on from my last post I’m continuing the search for my friends and allies. First stop was the Ikeri tribe and their En (leader, Gorean term for First) by the name of Sky.
On my second attempt to visit there was one of the tribe bonds met me outside.
She invited me inside and we talked for a little while as she served me a drink.
She was the only one there at the time, though it was quite early in SL time, so I went and returned a little later. When I returned the place was lot busier.
Third-time-lucky, Sky was around this time
I chatted to her and the other huntresses as the place began to fill up fairly quickly.
I had quite a surprise however, there were two bond girls and the second turned out to be one of the friends on my list of people to track down! It turned out that shortly after my tavern burned the nearest tribe, of which she was a member, disbanded. She was captured by one of the Ikeri and liking the place, she stayed.
I stayed around and chatted for a little while, surprised at how many were appearing, but there was mention of an incoming raiding party, so I made a hasty exit so as not to be caught up in the fighting. Although given the number of panther girls in the camp, I’d probably have been quite safe sat in one of the huts while they fended off the intruders.
This last week I decided to revisit some of my old friends in SL Gor.
It has been almost two years since the Tavern Fire storyline that preceded my departure from the Gor RP community, but I hadn’t cut ties completely. I’d kept a few good friends on my list and remained in a small number of inworld groups on mute.
The events described happened over the space of roughly a week but have been re-arranged and summarised for easier reading.
As a brief recap, I had left one community where I had run a large tavern, which accidentally burnt down one night.
I moved to different forest location where I took up residence in an outpost hill fort,from where I became a roaming trader. This got extremely hard work and just not fun anymore, so just stopped going there or any other SL Gor places.
My story resumes with my return not immediately to the fort, but to the nearby camp of my old friend, Dani.
I was, as expected, welcomed with open arms by Dani who was glad to see me after such a long time.
We sat and talked of old times and what I might do now. I would have been welcome there, but I prefer a proper bed and walls when I sleep these days, plus my complete ineptitude with weapons would make me a liability if the camp was attacked.
So I met with Sir Courgan who offered me a choice of two homes in the fort, being aware of my character history suggested maybe I could mind their local drinking establishment.
I chose one of the offered huts and promptly made it my own
Once I was settled into my new home I decided I needed to begin tracking down my old friends and acquaintances ICly.
(Meaning while I could look them up in SL and see from profiles which bands or affiliations they were now part of, in RP terms my Character didn’t know these things, so I needed to find out.)
I thought a starting point would be to ask Dani what she could tell me, so another trip into the woods was required.
When I was leaving the fort I found an unusual scene at the bottom of the hill, a group of Dani’s huntresses gathered around a man on the floor. I recognised the man as a former acquaintance by the name of Castor. (I really wish I’d remembered to get a snapshot of this amusing scene, but alas no.)
I thought he might appreciate my aid and be of use to have around if running the tavern so I bartered for him, a cheap bottle of ka-la-na wine and he was mine. I left him at my hut in the fort an continued on my way.
On my arrival I was met by rather agitated Dani.
She informed me that one of the women was “going a little nuts and hearing voices”. I admitted this was well beyond my rudimentary first aid skills, but I had seen a well-known healer by the name of Sigmond in the area and said I would mention it if I saw him.
I then had a pleasant chat with Dani while another huntress listened drinking her morning cup of black wine (gorean coffee). However Dani didn’t have much information for me and the visit was cut short by an intruder in the forest and I was safely escorted back to the village none the wiser about the location of any of my old friends.
I met up with the physician, Sigmond, a couple of times over the following days
I told him of the sick panther girl as I told Dani I would, one of the huntresses even dared to enter the village to give him some more detailed information, although she claimed to have been hunting and following her prey.
Towards the end of the week the girl that was with Sir Courgan when I met him,by the name of Ame visited the Tavern. Keeping it clean and tidy is among her regular tasks apparently. While she was there a local warrior by the name of Sorin paid a brief visit long enough to make introductions.
In my further attempts to reconnect storylines with old friends I paid a visit to the Ikeri tribe that were my neighbors when I had my old tavern.
Their leader,Sky, my friend was not there at the time, but I met a pair of twins who assured me they would inform her of my visit.
Well those were the events of the week, which were fun to rp, I think there will be a bit more to come!
I heard from some of my older friends that I have yet to reunite with IC that things have changed a bit in my absence. Apparently the concept of IC info (like my character knowing where her friends are now) are concepts not often followed and not many are interested in long-running storylines. I hope this is a misconception or an exception, because I love a good story that runs for a while.
I’m going to stay around a little while longer and see how things play out. I hope roleplay here isn’t as dead as some are suggesting, but from what I’ve seen this week I’d say it’s still got a pulse!
If you want to read about my previous Gor history click HERE to read from the beginning.