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.
- Gazette of Gor – Written in part by players that I was involved with.
- The Good Gorean – Which features a recent list of all the active Gor GE groups and locations.