Some time ago I bumped into one of the more bizarre species of Second Life:
What the hell is that, you might ask yourself and so did I. I saw the thing called “Gor” mentioned in his profile and me being of the curious kind, I had to question him about it. The first thing he asked:
“Have you got time?”
“Yes”, I answered, not knowing that I was in for some serious lecturing about history and philosophy. So this guy who responds to the name of a 6-legged fantasy animal of sorts (Sleen) gave me an in-depth explanation about what is Gor and most importantly: what it is not!
I won’t bore you with the full version.
I rather give you a very brief summary of what turned out to become a one hour discourse, including quotes from the Gor- books. No, I don’t mean a summary of the content of those books, I am talking about literally quoting certain parts of them to make his point explicitly clear. Just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses quote bible passages, when they explain you that the end is near yet again.
So here is what I understood:
Gor in Second live is a re-creation of a world described in 30 (thirty!) fantasy novelles, written by an American Professor of philosophy called John Norman. The “Goreans” in Second life indulge in certain made up characters based on those books and role-play made up stories and plots.
This world, the way I understand it, is based on ancient Greco-Roman culture for the most part (see Spartacus or Hannibal for reference) mixed with a bit of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars Sci-Fi stuff and a serious amount of Marquis de Sade added to it.
Those books also promote the idea that women by nature are constantly craving for the strong hand of a Master who totally owns them and a heroic, super-strong and honorable view of the ideal man. Those of you who got tortured at college having to read Nietzsche might be familiar with the term “Ubermensch”.
You should get the picture now!
Apparently there are more than 300 SIMS dedicated to this sort of RPG. However according to Sleen, most of them are based on the Gor concept but do not portray the World of Gor as it would be “by the books” (seriously, he used that terminology).
He went on explaining what the differences between “by the book Gor” and Second Life Gor is. I understood, it essentially comes down to that women should not be able to choose a fighting role, unless they run around dressed in brief fur-mini skirts in some remote forests, avoiding to be captured and made slaves.
It seemed to be important to him, that it’s actually a certain forest (the Northern one!) they live in and NEVER in a desert. Don’t know about you, but to me that seems an obvious one, but he had a “thing” about this.
Of course I wanted some landmarks, desperately. I really needed to see this stuff. He actually offered me to show me around. Nope, thank you very much. I could not see myself yet another hour at virtual college!
So he passed me Landmarks. Well, a folder of landmarks to be precise. I have never seen somebody organizing landmarks like this. In that folder were several sub-folders named after regions of Gor and further sub-divided by languages and even further sub-divided as “by the books” and “evolved”. I did not dare to ask what the later means.
I asked if there is some kind of info place and yes, there is a place called “the Gor hub”. However he insisted, that this is not a good example to visit as it’s mainly a recruiting and shopping place of sorts and I would not get the picture If I would go there. Well, then why did he mention it to start with?
Have a wild guess to where I went first! Yep, that one!
After observing the place a little while, I asked myself if they are actually in role-play or not. The little I know about role-play is, that you communicate somehow (by means of a meter for example) whether you are in-character or not in order to make sure people know when it is appropriate to approach you for role-play and when it isn’t.
Yes, I did some Dark Urban role-play before and loved it, but that’s something for another article to come.
This wasn’t the case here. The line between in character and out of character was strangely blurred. In fact I got the feeling, these people think they are actually Goreans. Not the kind that live on planet Gor, but the kind that make the genre a lifestyle of sorts. Maybe I am wrong.
The people were however very friendly and with a good sense of humor – don’t know why I expected different. What caught my attention was this huge map on the floor of the planet Gor. Here you can pick up landmarks to different role-play sims. Unfortunately not all of them work – needs updating.
Overall it seems to be a good starting point if one would want to get involved in this type of RPG.
Here the SLURL
Here some links to further information: