In my previous Second Life (Yes, I know how weird this sounds) I was very much involved in Second Life Gor for several years. At the time, there were about 300 different Gor regions and the community was a quite strong one, despite of a lot of Sl Residents being in strong disagreement of the Goreans in Second Life.
At the time you could find heavy discussions about the topic in many, if not all, of the Second Life forums and related websites and blogs. I myself did maintain several Gor related blogs, educating people about what the Gorean world is actually about. Yes, I did read 10 of the Gor novels and I was a quite avid role player, portraying many different Gorean characters in several really cool story lines alongside with other very cool players and characters.
However, I never supported the Gorean „lifestyle“ at all. To me it was exactly what is what meant to be in the first place: A fantasy environment.
I left Gor years ago. Why? Simply because it became far too time consuming and I developed other interests in Second Life (such as the blog you are reading right now).
As you know from my previous post, I was thinking to start including some Gorean stories in Second Life Adventures as well. Gor is part of Second Life, hence there would be a some first hand experience about the topic here, for those interested in playing the genre. So I thought.
So off I went, to see what Gor in Second Life is like today. I did not expect to find it the way I left it, but what I actually encountered can be best described as the ruins of what Gor in Second Life used to be.
My first stop: a place called the Gor Hub.
This is a very old place where people from all over Gor went (in the old days) to recruit players for all sorts of roles and positions to be occupied. Merchants went there renting stalls or advertising space for their Gorean shops, selling more or less appropriate attire, weapons and other items which were aimed at making the experience more immersive.
One very special feature of the Gor hup, is a huge map of the fantasy planet Gor, giving people (especially new players) a bit of orientation, as to where is what on Gor. This map still exist, but the landmarks on it are pretty much outdated.
When I came there, Gorean role play was not a topic in any of the conversations taking place. Instead people were discussing, what is a good Master, a good slave and similar topics around D/s relationships.
Here a couple of statements from people at the hub:
“But if a girl is a brat constantly, or spoiled and doesn’t follow direction, she gets two options: Punishment and improvement or I’d drop the girl”
“Really though, there’s no such thing as legal slavery anymore. Nobody is really a “slave” or “Master” by lawful property rights. However, my slaves are bound to me mentally, they dread the thought of being without my guidance and presence. I teach them something every day and challenge them constantly, without the stimulation they feel empty. “
“But, some “masters”, more like amateurs, tend to spoil their girls and not teach them correctly.”
“But the Dom has a responsibility to correct it. If the sub gives up however, then the dynamic is over. Same goes for the Dom though.”
When I inquired about Gorean role play regions, I basically got told to look them up in search. Those people seam to use Second Life Gor as a fantasy-style background for their D/s relationships or as one did put it:
“BTB sims are heavily into the Dom/sub “crap” (term I used) just as any other Gor-themed sim, since that tends to be one of the main reasons people roleplay in this genre. “
It became obvious to me, that this is not the place were I can find “my Gor”, the Gor with all those exiting storylines, the Gor with adventures, politics, power fights and all the other stuff you read about in the Gor books (yes, that includes slave girls and sex). Instead this place apparently has been taken over by the BDSM and D/s community (No, Gor is not BDSM).
Ok, second try: Type “Gor” into In-World search and see what comes up
The result was equally disappointing. The search results consisted of a lot of SIMs offering either what is called “Gor evolved” and/or role play which evolves around obe specific region of planet Gor called Thorwaldsland, a culture based on ancient viking culture. Nothing wrong with that, if that is your thing – you will plenty of choice in Second Life.
It wasn’t however what I was looking for. I was looking for the big cities, something like prestigious Ar, the filthy streets of Port Kar, the glamor of Turia, the mysterious mountain cities in the Voltai .
None of that seams to be left at first sight. I looked deeper into it and finally I found something: The City of Tyros, apparently under construction. There used to be in the old days a replica (a pretty good one) of the Gorean city of Tyros. In the books a maritime power , based on ancient Carthage.
Off I went checking it out.
The start skybox was quite promising. This is the place were you get notecards with sim rules, and the backstory of the place. You also get there “observer tags” in case you want to just have a look around without actually engaging in role play.
I checked the rules and found them very reasonable. There was a clear distinction between OOC (out of character) and IC (in character) and the also available IC laws of the city did read very authentic as to what one would expect from a Gorean city.
The disappointment came when I Tp-ed down to the docks. The build has absolutely nothing to do with the island of Tyros as described in the books. Once again the developer made the assumption, that Gor is some kind of medieval genre. Happens allthe time, no idea why. The books refer clearly to ancient earth cultures, such as Romans, Greek, Phoenician just to name a few. In addition the quality of the buildings looked like cheap prefabs thrown together. To top it all up: The city was surrounded by palm trees and tropical islands – could not help but facepalm.
So if you are a builder of Gorean cities, regions or sims, please bear this in mind: Gor is not about medieval structures, cultures and builds, it is meant to be similar to very specific ancient cultures. So please stop all those castles, pirate ships and other medieval style buildings, this is not Gorean at all! It has nothing to do with it.
Ok, I dis-carted this one for me, moved on and found another one.
Now this one almost impressed me. To start with, at the landing point you get a description of what the city of Lydius would be like. This obviously helps new players a lot to get settled in the place and to understand the mechanics and type of environment they put their character.
Here is the short description of Port Lydius:
“Lydius is a port city controlled by the Merchant Caste. It is a city of contrasts, combining the roughness of the north regions with the luxuries and civilization of the cities to the south. For example, it is one of the only cities in the northern regions that possesses public baths.
Lydius contains a mint and this mint is the only one within a thousand pasangs of Torvaldsland. Many Gorean cities own or rent buildings in Lydius. Thus, the population of Lydius contains a diverse mix of different origins and cultures.
Much wood and hides are brought down the Laurius River to be sold in Lydius. The nearest major town to the east of Lydius is Vonda of the Salerian Confederation. One of the taverns of Lydius given in the books is the tavern of Sarpedon.”
For those, who want to have more explicit and detailed information about the city, they provide a notecard with actual quotes from the books about this city. You can read them here: quotes about the Gorean city Port Lydius.
On top of that, the give you list of Gorean roles that would be realistic in this city each one with a description of what would be expected from each character. You can find those here: Gorean roles.
The rules are fairly reasonable as well also with a clear distinction between Ic and OOC rules.
The sim owners went a few extra miles to make sure potential role players know what the score is and to help them to create and settle there character. Kudos to them, well done.
The I checked the actual build and once again, (/me sighs) very medieval style but at least far better quality and very detailed. Whats missing is this “port” atmosphere which would be typical for a PORT city. Also the only ship in the mini-port is actually not a Gorean ship. At least the surroundings of the city (wall paper of sorts) does actually look like a city on the borders of what was called the great Northern Forest in the books.
This region is actually an option for me. I might create a character which fits in there and see what comes my way. But before I actually do that, I will try to find other authentic Gorean BTB (by the books) regions and compare them.
I can not believe, that this is all that is left from what used to be one of the most active role play genres in Second Life.
If you know of (or even manage or own) an authentic BTB Gorean region in Second Life, please let us know about it here in the comments! I will visit all suggested regions, with the exception of GE Gor (Gor evolved).
/me points to comment section!