Wednesday, May 6, 2009


These days Kenshi and me spent some time on Gor. Rented a house there in Silver Tree (and still waiting for it to get ready, so that we could finally move in, but the landlords are too busy getting captured all the time, so we wonder what for we are paying rent at all...). I'm always looking forward to go there, but most of the times after a few minutes we're both upset and disappointed. Yeah, I know... Tiger is having some temper and getting upset easily (there's a reason, why Kenshi and me are "Tiger & Dragon". Yin & Yang. Temper & Patience.), but also my dragon gets angry a lot of times. Almost every night we returned to our earth-home upset and disappointed. So I thought it's time to write some things about Gor in Second Life.

So, first of all: I can't hear it anymore this "This is Gor! Deal with it!". Gor does not really exist. It's based on the books of John Norman, a philosophy professor and bad writer. The idea of "counterearth" - a planet that is on the opposite side of the sun, so it never could be seen from earth - isn't his. It was a theory of Pythagoras about 600 years B.C. (And you can be sure, that Norman as philosophy teacher knows about that theory).
Norman's books were (are?) influenced by the spirit of the age ("Zeitgeist") and often an offence against it. He started to write them in the middle of the 60s. A time where women's liberation started. The old chauvinist glorified a world, where men rule and women have the only desire to submit to them, even Free Women aren't worth much and always on the edge of becoming kajirae - slaves -, either forced to or by free will (or just abducted from Earth because of their inner desire to submit.). So, most of it is wishful thinking of the author.
It was also the time of Vietnam. While american soldiers fought in a mean and evil and not at all glorious war (well, how can a war be "glorious" anyways?) and the flower power movement preached love & peace, Norman glorified the image of the honorable splendid warrior.
Anyways. No, "this" is not Gor. This is the 21st century. This is a pixel-world. This is Second Life. This is a Roleplay. And in my (and Kenshi's) humble opinion it's pretty bad RP with most players. At least with those who play Free. Kajiriae usually are the much better RPers. There's no wonder I prefer to talk and RP with excellent emoters and RPers like Misha Hellershanks and other kajiri... NOT because of sex, but just because they are the better actors.

So, here's some SL-Gor-points, that drive me nuts:

The attack-first-ask-later philosophy

Not a single day, you won't get attacked by some strangers without any reason or RP before. The other day Kenshi and me went as envoys for a trade to a SIM. Before we even could say "Tal" we were already attacked. Or yesterday about six people raided ST without any reason or point of sense. People I never seen before and prolly will never see again. And the only thing you can think is "WTF?!?" - If Gor for you is only fight and battle and capture, why don't you go and play World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy or whatever?

The lack of manners

Some players think to be "Gorean" means to show chilly manner or bold behaviour or no manners at all. - The other day Kenshi and me joined a group of about a dozen people - Free Men & Women and some kajiri -, we greeted with a friendly "Tal" and none, not a single one ever answered. Well, it happens that you're busy and maybe not recognize new arrivals, and the "Tal!" here and "Greetings!" there can be annoying too and thwart a chat/RP, but all 12???
Well, maybe they just don't like me/us and ignore us therefore? But it happens to others too. I recognize it all the time: New arrivals are ignored. Maybe it's an american thing? Europeans seem to stand to ceremony more then Americans. I often recognize a lack of manners with the Americans not only in Gor.
So, if I'm not even greeted back, how do you expect me to RP with you? I don't feel like interacting with you anymore. And yes, I'm arrogant/self-concious enough to tell you, that it's YOUR loss, not mine.

Another misconduct is the poofing right in the middle of a talk. One moment you are talking to a person, the next moment he just poofs with a "... attack at XY" or a "...have to go!" or nothing at all. That's just boorishness in general. And bad RP in particular.
The question is: How do you know, that there's an attack at XY or that a friend of yours is captured? Where's the dove that brought you the news? Why don't you run to the docks to catch a ship or at least jump on a tarn? - No, just poofing without a word is bad manners and bad RP.

The lack of a storyline

The SL-Gor could offer a large variety. There could be interesting, fascinating storylines and roleplays.
We started one as Mick and me became Dark Warriors after our death. It was a good RP with Bac Compton aka "The Dark Lord", who's an excellent RPer, emoter and actor. It was dark, passionate and romantic... or at least could have been. But we finally gave up on it under the pressure of others and because "our lord" couldn't be online enough as a result of RL-issues.
(However, "The book of Mammon" isn't finished - I just don't have the time to continue - but you may recognize reading it, how a RP with good players can be. )

Well, instead of planning storylines and follow a certain code of conduct, most of the times it's just pointless fight - capture - trade. What's with the relationship between the cities? Diplomatic negotiations? Official statements, public notice, announcements, bulletins, manifesto?

You never know who's friend or foe. At the beginning I thought, it's just me, because I'm new and don't know the who's who. But after almost five months of Gor I recognized: The others don't know either. One day you fight against the XY-outlaws, the next day they fight at your side against others and the day after that they raid your city. So you just think again "WTF?!?"

And many people don't keep their role. One moment they are merchants, the next moment thiefs and then you surprisingly meet them as kajirus/-a somewhere. Or they are killed and continue with their lives the other day as if nothing happened. Or they get captured and tortured and the next day they meet their capturers and torturers and hold small-talk with them as if nothing ever happened. Or... or... or... Where's the consequence and logic in all this? It often seems to me, that most people just play their role for the few hours they are online, and the next day it's all forgotten. New day, new RP. *sighs*

Endless OOC-discussions

Oh my! Sometimes I don't know, if I should laugh or cry or just scream. Okay, it happens to everyone - me too. Sometimes an OOC comment is just needed to clear the continue of the RP. But most of the times it's an endless discussion killing every fun for everyone. So, try to keep it to a minimum. I made some mistakes too (*heh* Bac can sing a song of that), but the longer I'm on Gor, the more I try to avoid OOC and try to RP it, if there are issues. Or go into OOC-mode to clear things as quick as possible so that all can return to the storyline.

Confusing Safe Zone with OOC

Safe Zones should be as small as possible. And SZ does not mean, that you are out of your role. They are meant as neutral zones for negotiations and trading, but most of the times they are (ab-)used for small-talk out of character. You're an outlaw? Well, then don't expect me to treat you like an honorable man, just because you are in a SZ! (Okay, one of Magistrate Franziskus' characteristics is, that he always tries to keep good manners, even if he's captured, tied up and naked with an arrow sticking in his bumm...)
On the other side, Combat Zone does not mean that you have to fight. Especially not with no reason and no introducing RP (see point #1!).

Slaves in Gor

Oh, this would be an article for itself. There's so much to write about kajiri and especially about the Free treating kajiri...

As mentioned before: I prefer RP with slaves, because most of them are the better RPers. They know how to emote. They learned. That's the big difference. A slave is supposed to learn, to read notecards, to visit slave-classes. They learn (or know) how to express themselves. And I often feel sorry for them, because often it's pearls thrown before swine. For instance: While a (good) slave knows the meaning of a good serve, 90% of the Masters don't have the slightest idea of it and think, it's just fun to get his paga or whatever as quick as possible.

So, it's not slaves that drive me nuts (except outlaw-slaves, which is in my eyes a contradiction at all; why should someone be an outlaw = following no rules at all, but a slave at the same time? Only force-collar would be acceptable, but then it wouldn't be a slave in the "Gorean way" = in devotion to it's Master and with the inner desire to submit to him, just a forced, resistant slave in the ancient way, who just submits under the pressure of the whip. Misha wrote a good article about this "special kind" of slaves), it's the way of the Free treating them.
There are different kind of (so-called) "Masters" who drive me nuts:

1. Those who ignore slaves most of the time and treat them as not-to-be-taken-serious RPers. - Maybe that's "Gorean", but for SL it's a big mistake! For the RP they are much more fun then the oh so "important" warriors. Try it and you will be surprised how much more entertaining it is then to speak to most of the Free.

2. Those who feed their pathetic RL-egos with humiliating slaves in SL. - What to say about those? - Some players even "invent" rules just to get a slave punished or humiliate it. The other day a dumbass complained, that my beloved boy didn't tell him the name of it's Master (actually he did after certain tries to RP around this). It's a Gorean rule, that a slave doesn't speak a Master's name. Bad thing is, that this complaining person was a slaver of a big city. He really should know better! --- Or another example: To use a slave greeting with "Tal" as reason to punish him. Ridiculuous! "Tal" is also used by slaves in the books, just without the hand-gesture. It just means "Greetings" in Gorean language. - Or the third-person-thing. There's no prove for it in the books. That it is mentioned here and there, doesn't mean, that it is a rule. It's more often mentioned, that slaves talked in first person without any consequences.
So, Masters who search for the slightest reason to complain and whine about a slave - don't bother me. I'll look in the other direction, if the boys and girls kick your ass verbally or literally!

3. Then there's the other extreme: Those who treat slaves like free. - Okay, we are all equal humans behind the screen, but IC don't act like it. I had a slaveboy (released now), who was just a pain in his ass. There was no devotion at all and his manners can be called "bad" in normal socializing, but inacceptable for a slaveboy. I could have dealt with it (if I would have had time and energy), so I don't complain about him; but the bad thing is: His behaviour was supported by other Free treating him like a Free who just casually was on his knees (if he was at all). Be aware: A slave is a slave is a slave.

4. The sadists. - Goreans are rough, but respectful and with a certain codex.... against other Free. But how about the handling of a slave? That he is on his knees, doesn't mean, that he is delighted to be the victim of your sadistic cravings! There are enough BDSM-subbies which match your desire, but don't assume, that every boy likes it.

5. The OOC/IC-confusers. - Often in consensus with #2. There might be some Gor-slaves, which made submission to their lifestyle, but most of them haven't. It's normal social behaviour to tell someone, when you have to go afk for a while or something, but don't expect a "slave" to ask for permission about RL-stuff. Treat the person behind the screen with the same respect you want to be treated with.


I mentioned it in an article before. - Using OOC information for RP, using tags for RP, using profiles for RP, using IMs for RP, changing the "history" to fit the RP..... --- No can do!
What didn't happen in RP officially didn't happen to me. Even if you are one of my best friends OOC - if I haven't met you yet IC, then I do not know you and do not know your name and you don't know me or my name!
Especially as "Mammon" I recognized a lot of that "cheating". Things like "I see in your eyes who you are!", when I'm all disguised with cloak and mask and my eyes switched from their natural color to glowing red??? No!!! IMs like "I'm captured at XY. Come and get me free!" - Nope! When you don't RP it, I don't know it IC and therefore I can't (or won't) act for it.
Maybe I'm too much of a hardliner, trained by some months in a SL-college, where everything was stritcly RP? Maybe it's silly and foolish, that Kenshi, Mick, Teso and me even RP informations, when noone is around and we know the information anyways from OOC-talk? But that's what RP means: PLAYING YOUR ROLE!


Well, I could continue a while with the things that bother me at SL-Gor. But I spend four hours complaining now. I don't know, how long we will continue doing this mischief to us. It could be a good, interesting and entertaining place with wonderful designed landscapes and cities. and - yes! - some interesting people/characters... But returning to earth every night in anger and disappointment isn't much fun...


Jordyn Carnell said...

this was a very informative post about Gorean RP.. I'd understood this pretty much from our talks.. but I'm glad you wrote the post so that the broader world could read and understand too.

Jem Jemison said...

I do enjoy reading your views