In August 2016 a friend by the name of Empathy persuaded me to come visit a Gorean sim with her. I was extremely hesitant and wary, the little I had heard of “Gor” wasn’t very positive. So I grabbed some cheap suitable attire (cringeworthy on reflection) and went along. I was introduced to a group of “Panthers”, which I am later to understand as a shortening of “panther girls”. Women that have fled the male dominated society of Gor in favour of a life in the forests, called so because they often wear skins of the forest panthers.
They seemed very friendly and welcoming (despite the bows and knives they all carried) inviting me into their camp. This was the band known as the Sha’Kar Arani tribe, led by a woman named Mari.
I visited a few times over the following weeks and was made a junior member of the tribe.
I spent a bit of time there, learning how things ran, until I got in my first fight. I was with another member of the band not far from the camp when a guy turns up, she exchanged some minor insults with him but he appeared to have been leaving. Somehow an arrow was fired and things escalated rapidly, ending up with both of us bound and being led to his home.
I should clarify here that these sims use a combat system called Gor Meter,or GM for short. Once you have received a number of hits from compatible weapons you’re “unconscious” and your avatar drops to the floor and you are unable to move. You can then be bound and led on a leash. So when I say “being led” it was exactly that, no choice in the matter.
This was a real potential deal breaker for me, I found it a very unpleasant experience. So I started spending less time in the camp and more in the dock safe zone.
After being in sl gor a few months (approximately November 2016) Mari could see I wasn’t enjoying being a Panther, so she came to me with a proposal. She asked me if I would like to take over running of the tavern, since it was currently without a Keeper, I jumped at the chance.
At this point in writing this post I had a major case of de-ja-vu and realised I’d written a very similar piece in 2017 for the Gazzette of Gor blog and used that to revise some of this account.
I then wrote up the beginnings of a backstory for Ava’s presence in the forest:
Raised as a tavern keepers daughter in the city, I fled a unsuitable match and was found by a tribe of panthers as a teenager. I learned their ways but when the chance presented itself to take on a disused tavern I seized it with both hands, abandoning the primitive Panther life. Opting for a safer and more comfortable life than a panther camp.
A couple of months went by after taking the position the En(Mari) and Tor (like a tribe tutor) came by and said they had a gift for me. The En gave me a Huna feather, making me full member of the tribe, not for the usual reason however. Normally a cub is made a panther after demonstrating skill in combat or such like during a raid, which in my role as tavern keeper I didn’t participate. I was bestowed the feather for showing dedication and enhancing the general roleplay (rp) experience for everyone. It deeply warmed my heart, I had not expected it, I had just taken on the role with sincerity and enthusiasm. For the most important of reason in SL, it was fun!
Around February 2017 the Sha ‘Kar Arani disbanded. This wasn’t such a disaster as it might have been. If I recall correcry it took just a few days for a new tribe to rise from the ashes; The Shekinah Arani.
I was proud to be one of the 6 founding members of this new tribe. So much so that I wanted to celebrate it by making a tribe tattoo for the members. I took the Phoenix emblem and made it into such. There were discussions of size and location on the body, but the final decision was on the thigh:
The next month, on 17th March 2017 I replaced the small simple tavern with new larger two-story building. This allowed a lot more people to fit inside improving roleplay considerably. The number of visitors inside the tavern went from occasionally double figures to 30-40 visitors a day.
Having invested in this new building and settled into the role,some more appropriate clothing was in order. In my former attire of leathers and cloaks I had been mistaken for a panther on a couple of occasions in the old tavern. I needed something distinctive that set me apart and made it quite clear who was in charge there.
The quiver of throwing knives I had worn before was stowed under the bar for when traveling afar. A coiled whip hung from a thong on my hip instead,the simple presence of which was sufficient deterrent for most would be troublemakers. For those that it wasn’t..I had a set of stocks.
There had always been other buildings around the tavern location. A blacksmith’s forge, a healers hut and similar. Some extra buildings that people could use for accommodation were added and the area became a small village outpost.
The docks of sl gor sims are always safe-zones, allowing for people to arrive safely if their intention was only rp. This safe zone was extended to encompass this outpost village, making the area roleplay only.
There was an article written about this significant change published on the gazzette of gor blog,which you can read HERE and I recommend you do. It is a great example of rp in the tavern and I really wish I had more examples.
Since the tavern was going so well I wanted to add something to the RP, a little realism when buying food,drinks and accommodation in the tavern for example. I came up with the idea of a coin system. There are existing trade and bartering systems such as G&S, but these seemed over complicated for what I wanted to achieve. So I made some coins with the tavern name on one side and my name on the other.
I distributed some of these among the locals to try out the principle, as well as leaving some scattered across the sim, but there wasn’t sufficient interest and I didn’t have an infrastructure to back it up.
Also as part of this same idea for increasing RP, I made my own Elation Tavern branded barrels and casks of drinks to trade. These containers were scripted for realism with different ones containing different numbers of drinks. They would also notify me when they were empty so I could RP another visit. These clearly didn’t catch on either, since I never received any “container empty ” type messages from the samples I gave out.
Given the number of storylines running through this time period I did consider posting the rp’s. However given just 5 minutes of chat could generate several pages of text, a morning of rp would be a tedious read!
However I’m now regretting that choice, since it leaves large gaps in this tale for the time period in which I was most active. Perhaps I shall post those later if I can find records.
In the first weeks of December 2017 it was agreed rather quickly(in an hour according to this post , but I’m unsure of the exact timescale), that Shekinah Arani would be merging with a tribe called Forest Moon.
Rather than recounting all the events here, I will just say that I wasn’t too happy about the situation and made me feelings well known,perhaps excessively so. Bodi wrote an article about the merger which you can read here.
Several of the founding members of the Shekinah Arani tribe moved on to different places in the following weeks. I remained as the tavern keeper, however I created a tribe flag with the name Last of the Shekinah and adopted that title occasionally. It was meant mostly humorously while conveying how I felt, not everyone found it amusing.
I felt that summed up the situation, I was one of the last of the founding members. Others just left quietly, but when I’m upset, that is not me. Perhaps I over reacted, having invested too much emotional attachment into this tribe that had been going about a year.
Having recently re-read the chat logs of this time, I think I have some answers for questions raised at the time. I was asked several times, how come despite not living in the tribe camp, but in the tavern for at least a year, why was I so hung-up on the Shekinah Arani name, when others were not?
I didn’t have an answer at the time, but now I think the answer is actually in the question. It was exactly because I hadn’t lived there that I held it so preciously. I still had the proud glow of being a member of a tribe I’d been a founder of. Despite being just across a sim from the camp, I wasn’t close enough to be aware of possible discontent or other negative issues. So I was as proud of the tribe as I was at the time of founding, naive to any issues that may have existed prior to the merger with Forest Moon.
Despite this change of the tribe, in the larger scheme of things it really didn’t change too much. I remained as the tavern keeper of Elation,rp continued at the tavern, but numbers began to dwindle.
Life in Gor drifted along, locals came and went. I helped out my friend and former tribe sister,Bodi,who had left and was trying to run a tavern elsewhere, since custom had slowed down at my own.
This became known to my tribe and was considered a betrayal,rather than just helping Bodi out, because the place was near the Zima panther camp. This actually made me consider moving there, since I don’t appreciate being thought of as a traitor, but I stayed out of loyalty. At least I would have, but the decision was taken out of my hands, I was removed from the group.
I had already written the beginning of a roleplay storyline for this situation if it arose and here it is:
Ava sits at a table in the darkened empty tavern. Nursing a bowl of paga, having long lost track of how many it was, as she tries to drown the accumulation of recent and past hurts, betrayals, accusations, insults and slights from all corners of her life. She puts it to the side, or tries to, not noticing the bowl fall from table and spill it’s nearly full contents across the floor. The trickling liquid reaches the base of a full barrel of the potent drink.
Ava picks up a candelabra of three candles and heads to the back stairs up to her room. As she bumps into the door frame on her way out, one of the candles falls loose and lands on the wooden floor amongst the liquid. It doesn’t register what is happening to Ava until she hears a roar and a flash of heat and light and she is thrown from the building out the back door.
Ava staggers across to the safety of the river bank. She stands there a moment in shock, when another loud roar sounds from the tavern as the other barrels catch fire. She instinctively takes a step back and falls into the dark river and is carried away by the fast current. Before she loses consciousness from the cold she thanks the Priest-Kings she’d sent her girls to help at another tavern the night before and hopes an ikeri sentry from their vantage point above the tavern had seen her fall.
Only the Priest-Kings know where,when, or even if Lady Ava will wash up on a river bank somewhere.
I sent this in a notecard to every En,band leader or significantly active player that I knew in SL Gor. In the hope that someone would show interest in continuing the story. I was overwhelmed by the response.
To be continued…