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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Children of Gor?

Now, I imagine this post might be somewhat controversial, but I'm going to do it anyway because it's my site and if you don't like it, there's obviously something wrong with you. Perhaps you should see a therapist or pull that broom from your ass.

Last week I wrote that the Gor universe could make a great setting to play with kids and, rather quickly, this delightful comment has appeared. So, to anyone who reads books in the form of wiki articles and forum gossip, because why waste time reading a book if you can read a few hotheaded comments on it instead, here's what makes Gor a great sandbox setting:

Flying: the heroes of the novels fly everywhere on huge birds of prey called Tarns. In my experience, few treasures are more valued by young players than the power of flight. For some reason, at least for me, flying on a huge bird of all things holds some special kind of magic.

Do you see these people? They're about to have fun...

Cities: the world of Gor consists of many hostile yet similar in architecture and organization warring city-states. These cities have a rigid caste system which makes it easy to recognize what a character is from a single glance, they're constructed of huge tall cylinders, turning almost any building into a potential dungeons crawl and because they're in constant war - patrons and missions are never lacking. Because the cities are so similar and scattered all over the world, it makes it easy to quickly understand how the world works and start making educated decisions rather than stumbling confusedly as is often the case with some of TSR's more complex settings.

This is not a playground. This is a city.

Home Stones: each city has a home stone that symbolizes its power and can be abused to incite the people into aggression or subjugation. Each home stone is jealously guarded by the rulers. One could make an entire campaign simply of stealing the home stones of hostile cities.

No Humanoids: This is actually a drawback. I deal with it by making all the cities mixed-race and completely lacking in racism. This is true to the spirit of the books as the hero constantly states that the people of Gor have enough reasons to fight without resorting to each others' skin color.

SPOILERS!!!
SPOILERS!!!
SPOILERS!!!

Priest-Kings: the true masters of Gor are intelligent golden insects with a fascinating and yet believable society. These insects live in a huge labyrinthine underground nest full of interesting rooms and technology, human servants and other interesting creatures ranging from the amusing to the terrifying. They have countless Machiavellian schemes against each other and hold many secrets. The strangeness of their culture makes the mere interaction with them fascinating.
For example, there are creatures called Golden Beatles living in the nest. These creatures eat priest kings and yet the priest kings do nothing to fight the "pleasures of the golden beetle." Why? There's something to investigate, as you rescue a six-legged friend from the clutches of one of these armored monsters...

This is not an over-sized ant. This is the smartest creature
in the universe AND an over-sized ant.

Bondage: yeah... let's leave that for later :)

Of course, you don't have to be on Gor to fly on birds...
Note: Don't use any of the actual names from the books, because kids might google them and find some stuff they really shouldn't. Just like with other adult works we love to steal ideas from (like 1001 Nights or Ninja Scroll), make sure to totally isolate the cool parts from the setting. Remember the cool Ogami Itto reference in Samurai Jack? That's the way to go!

37 comments:

  1. Gor is nothing original except in its smut.

    This is disgusting.

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  2. To clarify: While some of the concepts in Gor are neat (flying on birds, home stones, etc) they aren't really unique to the Gor setting. And the concepts that are unique to it, like bondage and horrifying treatment of women, are nowhere near appropriate for children. That is what I find disgusting.

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  3. Your argument is strong. Anonymous, if you want to get laid using the pro-feminist argument, it's probably more effective to reveal your identity. Don't you want chicks to find your sensitive blog!

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  4. It's kind of scary that you think the only reason you can find for treating people like people is sex.

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  5. Giant insect overlords = RAD. I'll get to reading Gor some day.

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  6. I don't think that's what OlmanFeelyus is saying - I think he's saying that's your motivation Anonymous.

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  7. (I apologize up front that I haven't read the Gor books, so I'll try not to make rash generalizations)

    The problem I see here is the idea that a thing is only it's worst attribute, and has no redeeming value otherwise. To suggest that Gor must be discounted entirely as a setting because of questionable sexual content is comparable to saying World War 2 should be discounted as a video game setting because of the genocide and racism. Because one contains the other does not mean it needs to be emphasized to make for a cool game setting.

    Games like Call of Duty reduce WW2 to "Axis vs. Allies" and everyone seems to be okay with that. Kids play games, get interested in the subject matter, and then as they get older, they pursue more information, realizing that there was a good reason the Allies were shooting at Nazis.

    Just because you might have an issue with a book's subject matter doesn't mean there isn't still content that can be mined for a D&D game. The concepts Uri mentioned make for a cool campaign setting, whether or not he calls it "Gor" or "Uri's Fly Adventurin' Planet". The kids will have fun, and maybe someday they'll read the books, and maybe they won't. And they'll likely be smart enough to make their own decisions on the content.

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  8. Hi, exposing minors to material that could be considered pornographic (like the Gor series) is a crime in many places. As such this blog violates blogger's content policy.

    To reenforce to anyone who may think Gor is innocent fantasy, here is a quote from a series he is advocating exposing children to.

    "When we are to be raped, and must serve you as slaves," begged the first girl, she who had been in his arms, "let me be the first to be raped, the first to serve you as a slave."
    "You will not be forgotten, my beautiful little slut," he promised her.
    "Thank you, Master, " she whispered.
    — Slave Girl of Gor

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  9. And here is a quote from the Bible:

    "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels [a] of silver. He must marry the young woman."

    Does this mean that all blogs mentioning the bible are violating blog policy as well? Does this mean that no part of the Bible is worthy of mention because some parts are objectionable? Does this mean that all works written in the Middle East or before the 18th century should be destroyed? Is there a single word about sex or feminism in the blog?

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  10. If you are seriously claiming that the bible's admonishments against rapists is somehow equivocal to the Gor series glorifying the rape of women. And that people being rightfully disgusted at your blatant misogyny are somehow advocating the destruction of all books, you are a beyond deluded, and probably should not be allowed near children in any way.

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  11. If you read the text and not the author, you'd see that I suggest specific aspects of Gor; flying mounts, cylinder cities, home stones and insect overlords.

    I explicitly state NOT to use the bondage, albeit with a smiley because it should be clear for an reasonable person that exposing kids to any manner of sexual contents is obscene and immoral.

    Now, do you find any of these *specific* points objectionable?

    If not, it's the same as saying Aladdin is not a suitable subject for a children's film because in the 1001 Nights black people are treated like chattel and women have no legal status...

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  12. The Bible and 1001 Nights aren't pornography; hope that clears some things up.

    You also don't posit anything about Gor being particularly good for young players except "flying mounts" and "Scattered cities," both of which can be found in many fantasy series that aren't rape porn. Have you ever watched Pirates of Dark Water, for instance?

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  13. Are you genuinely contending that the Bible is pornography?

    Will you be taking action to protect your children from it, in between RPG sessions set in Gor?

    The Goreans have a saying, “There are only two kinds of women, slaves, and slaves.” ~ {Kajira of Gor - 137}

    "Woman is the natural love prey of man. She is natural quarry. She is complete only when caught, only when brought to the joy of her capture and conquest." ~ (Hunters of Gor P 197)

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  14. The Old Testament is not exactly what most rational people refer to when they talk about The Bible, even if it is a part of it, because IIRC Jesus came along and God chilled right out and stopped murdering people for looking in the wrong direction and justifying slavery and wifebeating.

    Quoting the Old Testament is cheating, on either side.

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  15. ...Goreans, in their simplistic fashion, often contend, categorically, that man is naturally free and woman is naturally slave. But even for them the issues are far more complex than these simple formulations would suggest. For example, there is no higher person, nor one more respected, than the Gorean free woman. ...Goreans do believe, however, that every woman has a natural master or set of masters, with respect to whom she could not help but be a complete and passionate slave girl. These men occur in her dreams and fantasies. She lives in terror that she might meet one in real life. .

    --Hunters of Gor

    FOR KIDS! LITERALLY ON PAR WITH THE BIBLE!!

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  16. I have children. I game with children. I approve of the use of Gor material. I agree, the bible is probably the worst book you can read to a child. I would rather read Gor to my 10yr old son.

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  17. 'Nadu!' he snapped. She swiftly turned, facing him, and dropped to her knees. She knelt back on her heels, her back straight, her hands on her thighs, her head up, her knees wide. It was the position of the pleasure slave.

    --Explorers of Gor

    MAN I SURE WANT MY DAUGHTER PLAYING IN THIS GAME! THANKS SO MUCH D&D FOR KIDS!

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  18. "Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also."

    Genesis 38:8-10

    "This, your stature, is like a palm tree, your breasts like its fruit. I said, 'I will climb up into the palm tree. I will take hold of its fruit.' Let your breasts be like clusters of the vine, the smell of your breath like apples, Beloved. Your mouth like the best wine, that goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding through the lips of those who are asleep."

    Song of Solomon 7:7-9

    Also, for a person who hates the series, you seem to be awfully well-versed in it, almost a closeted Gorean :)

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  19. Then you are pretty disgusting because you're espousing that women should be treated as nothing but property and secretly want to be raped, they just say no till they realize that.

    Gor is a disgusting fantasy wank written by a creepy professor wherein college-age females are teleported naked to a world where they are quickly enslaved, raped, and learn that they actually wanted that all along.

    It's nothing but a sick power fantasy given to a publisher. And if Baen, who published John Ringo, ditches your series you know it's messed up.

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  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  21. And stop posting random quotes from Gor, I'm sure everyone got the idea. You guys are spamming by now.

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  22. Hey Urikson haven't we already established that the Old Testament is cheating? It's seriously chock full of the most disgusting things imaginable.

    I mean, it's sort of like Gor in that, but Gor's written by some guy who pretends to be a philosophy professor while simultaneously stating that women want to be raped and that if he is excluded from a convention it's because of a feminist conspiracy.

    Norman's a crazy, sick man who's got tenure.

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  23. Only a coward censors the truth to defend his actions

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  24. We could do this all day folks. _sigh_

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  25. No, you were flooding the same post time after time after I expressedly asked you not to do it.
    This is a breach of internet etiquette.

    You also talked smack of the Bible, which is highly offensive and uncalled for.

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  26. @scarlet You are violating the policy of blogger far worse than what @uri did. He said nothing of teaching the bondage and such to children. YOU are posting the smut. Please Stop!

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  27. He's saying that Gor is a good setting for children, and then getting angry when people mention that one of the most basic facets of Gor is treating women like subhumans.

    Please stop!

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  28. please stop posting smut in a setting about introducing smut to kids...

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  29. It's pretty fascinating how "these elements are really good for kids, generate lots of adventures, and are generally interesting aspects of an otherwise awful world" immediately turns into "you're glorifying rape" and "you're acting like women deserve to be treated subhumanly."

    Yeah, okay. You're absolutely right, that's what he's doing, alright. Before we get too finger-pointy about how awful Gor is as a setting, how about we go look at http://old.enworld.org/Inzeladun/conan/conan_images/rs1modulecover.jpg and other such classics? Because, I mean, classic D&D is totally a kid-friendly thing, right?

    What lessons does D&D teach, exactly? That it's okay to kill people because they're Evil, that it's alright to loot the dead because they were monsters? No, that's just stupid. The lessons in D&D - if you can call it a lesson at all - involve things like cooperation, narrative development, and generally working as a team to tell a cool and involved story.

    Just because these elements of murder and looting are there does not mean it's the lesson that's trying to be taught.

    In the case of Gor, I'm not a fan. I think it's a terrible piece of writing. But the elements that are interesting for a fantasy setting, the pieces that kids could and would enjoy, and heck - I'll admit it - I'd enjoy - are what's on display here. There's nothing here that talks about how women are subhuman and need to be raped, except where you've posted it.

    Basically, equating 'discussing Gor' to 'glorifying rape and pornography for kids' is about as logical as the people who claimed D&D causes you to kill people because it makes you crazy.

    If you're protesting to Gor, cool, I'll join you. Sounds like a trashy book.

    If you're protesting to somebody taking the time and effort to pull stuff out of these novels as subject matter for a fantasy game?

    Congratulations, you've...managed to stir up a pointless internet argument I guess?

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  30. Thank you sir, couldn't say it better myself :)

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  31. Listen, Urikson, you should probably stop talking about this. It doesn't matter whether your intention was to take the cool setting pieces and leave the misogyny behind. It doesn't matter whether Gor's setting pieces are original or not. What matter is that you have set yourself up as a defender of the Gor series, and as long as you keep defending it, in any way, shape, or form, you're going to get criticism for it.

    You seem to be under the (mistaken) assumption that because Gor has some cool setting pieces, it's okay to make a Gor campaign setting. The reality is that an adaptation of a work, such as a campaign setting based on a series of novels, is inseparable from the work on which it is based. Even if your setting guide never mentions rape or slavery, the fact that it has the *name* Gor is bad. You can't just remove what you want to remove and assume that it's gone forever. Human minds just doesn't work that way.

    So my suggestion to you, is that if you want to save face, you should apologize for supporting Gor and drop the subject. Then maybe you can get away with people thinking, "well, maybe he's not a crazy misogynist after all, just a guy who's too dumb to understand why Gor for Kids is unacceptable." That's the best possible outcome for you. The alternative is you can continue arguing and people will think "jesus christ, how can there be ANOTHER person on the planet who is as misogynist as John Norman?" I don't think there's quite enough evidence to convict you of that, yet, so please, please, PLEASE, for your own sake, STOP DEFENDING GOR BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

    Alternately, as a denizen of SomethingAwful, I should encourage you to continue saying stupid things for our amusement. The choice is up to you. (Sorry about the goon rush.)

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  32. I appreciate the sarcastic tone of your post ("("too dumb")"). I had read that part of your post. However, that was clearly backpedaling. It wasn't in your original post on the subject, where it should have been.

    I don't think you really understood my point. I wasn't really talking about the RPG here, I was talking about your posts. You're defending aspects of Gor, and because of that, people will perceive you as defending sex slavery, rape, etc. As long as you continue to do so, you are earning every piece of criticism you get. You just keep digging and digging that hole; you had better call for help while there's still someone willing to throw you a ladder.

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  33. I appreciate your concern for my reputation and well-being. In an age of cynicism and ego-centrism, such honest concern for a fellow human being is truly touching.

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  34. I just don't like it when people do colossally stupid things. It makes my brain hurt. So I try to stop you from doing them. It has nothing to do with concern for you. It's a moot point, though, because it doesn't seem like I've gotten through to you. If someone tossed you a rope to climb out of that hole you're digging, you'd probably just use it to hang yourself.

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  35. I just love the SA bunch; losers who think they're awfully clever because they can use the anonymity of the internet to talk shit about other people's work or ideas with no fear of repercussion. They cannot feel superior due to their non-existent achievements, so they try to feel superior simply by calling everyone else inferior. They are, in effect, the bullies of the cyber-age.

    Let me give you a friendly advice in return for yours - instead of looking at others, do something of your own. As the saying goes, those who can do, those who can't teach.

    With that I officially close this conversation. While you may still be stuck in Gor, I'd already moved to Russian folklore. See you there :)

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