Where I skim Tales of Gor

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Lofgeornost

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He was wrong, or likely, didn't know a thing about RPGs:thumbsup:!
He certainly didn't know anything about RPGs; I doubt he had ever even heard of them. He did know a great deal about Tacitus, though.
 

AsenRG

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Or fiction.
That, too.

He certainly didn't know anything about RPGs; I doubt he had ever even heard of them. He did know a great deal about Tacitus, though.
I suspected that would be the case - but I still disagree:shade:.

Also see: all the debate regarding historical settings. That's almost word-for-word one of the fallacies used in it:thumbsup:.
 

Lofgeornost

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That, too.


I suspected that would be the case - but I still disagree:shade:.

Also see: all the debate regarding historical settings. That's almost word-for-word one of the fallacies used in it:thumbsup:.
First, thanks for doing this thread; I have no interest in reading the Gor books or even the RPG treatment, but it's interesting to learn about it.

Second, I'm not seriously arguing that one cannot have a Roman game because of Tacitus or a Gor game because of Tarl Cabot, or whatever. I just meant that my old professor did think that Tacitus 'had all the good stuff in it' so to speak.

I think it is true that some books/films/tv shows etc are more tightly tied to the plot arc of their main characters, while others present more room for parties of p.c.s to do their own thing, so to speak. Any historical setting tends toward the latter, in my opinion, since in fact there were lots of individuals pursuing their own lives in those worlds without much reference to the activities of the movers and shakers. Some fiction tends the other way, though. For instance, the comic series Monstress, which I've recently read through. It's an interesting world, but most of the cool things about it are tightly tied to the main character, who is very much a special snowflake. I'm not sure there is enough there to allow a satisfying game in the setting if one did not focus on her.
 

AsenRG

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First, thanks for doing this thread; I have no interest in reading the Gor books or even the RPG treatment, but it's interesting to learn about it.

Second, I'm not seriously arguing that one cannot have a Roman game because of Tacitus or a Gor game because of Tarl Cabot, or whatever. I just meant that my old professor did think that Tacitus 'had all the good stuff in it' so to speak.

I think it is true that some books/films/tv shows etc are more tightly tied to the plot arc of their main characters, while others present more room for parties of p.c.s to do their own thing, so to speak. Any historical setting tends toward the latter, in my opinion, since in fact there were lots of individuals pursuing their own lives in those worlds without much reference to the activities of the movers and shakers. Some fiction tends the other way, though. For instance, the comic series Monstress, which I've recently read through. It's an interesting world, but most of the cool things about it are tightly tied to the main character, who is very much a special snowflake. I'm not sure there is enough there to allow a satisfying game in the setting if one did not focus on her.
Well, I haven't read Monstress, so can't comment. But IME, almost any setting, as opposed to adventure, allows you to do some interesting stuff:shade:.

There are possibly exceptions. I just can't think of any at the moment...after all, which setting doesn't have "lots of individuals pursuing their own lives in those worlds without much reference to the activities of the movers and shakers"?
Maybe some setting like Nobilis/Amber/Exalted, where everyone - at least from the PCs - is a mover and shaker? But then Exalted also has another several billions of people:grin:.
 

Lofgeornost

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Well, I haven't read Monstress, so can't comment. But IME, almost any setting, as opposed to adventure, allows you to do some interesting stuff:shade:.

There are possibly exceptions. I just can't think of any at the moment...after all, which setting doesn't have "lots of individuals pursuing their own lives in those worlds without much reference to the activities of the movers and shakers"?

The way I see it, it is largely a question of information. A setting for an RPG needs to provide you with useful information that can be employed in games.

In a historical setting, that information (typically) extends far beyond the lives and activities of a few top people, i.e. the people who would be characters in a novel if it were set in that world. So, for instance, if you want to set a game in Ancient Greece c. 400 B.C., there is a fair amount of information that you can use to figure out what society and life will be like for people besides Socrates or Alcibiades (to name just two people we know a fair amount about).

Fictional settings can provide some of that information—or not. It’s all a question of what sort of fiction it is and how it has been developed. Some stories focus so sharply on the protagonists that they give very little useful information about the rest of the people in the world, their societies, how they live, etc. Or (and this is the case for Monstress) essentially everything that is interesting about that setting is intimately bound up with the main character, her background, and her story. Trying to focus on the rest of the world and other people leaves you with (1) a lack of useful background and (2) no real idea what players might do in the setting.

So, yeah, in almost any fictional setting there is a fictional (and largely unseen) cast of thousands or millions in the background. But the fiction may not provide the information you need to deal with them, or really anything except the main characters in the novel/film/whatever and their stories.
 

AsenRG

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The way I see it, it is largely a question of information. A setting for an RPG needs to provide you with useful information that can be employed in games.

In a historical setting, that information (typically) extends far beyond the lives and activities of a few top people, i.e. the people who would be characters in a novel if it were set in that world. So, for instance, if you want to set a game in Ancient Greece c. 400 B.C., there is a fair amount of information that you can use to figure out what society and life will be like for people besides Socrates or Alcibiades (to name just two people we know a fair amount about).

Fictional settings can provide some of that information—or not. It’s all a question of what sort of fiction it is and how it has been developed. Some stories focus so sharply on the protagonists that they give very little useful information about the rest of the people in the world, their societies, how they live, etc.
Agreed! But isn't that why we have, you know, gaming supplements for said settings:shade:?

Doesn't matter what the setting provides, what the author thought of. If it's licensed, contact him or her for more info if you must. If there isn't, well, present your own ideas, labelling them as such, and point out how to use them.


Or (and this is the case for Monstress) essentially everything that is interesting about that setting is intimately bound up with the main character, her background, and her story. Trying to focus on the rest of the world and other people leaves you with (1) a lack of useful background
OK, that's a weakness of the source material. Though who knows...maybe a future issue might provide more? Or another story in the same universe?

Coming back to the thread, Gor totally has no lack of such info. Starting at book 1 and going onwards, it pays lots of attention to the society and nature of the world, and how the characters interact with both.
And since protagonists have been known to come from all walks of life, and some have impersonated other Castes, you actually have info about being a Warrior, an Assassin, a Trader, a War Captive, a slave, a Tarn Trainer, a Peasant, a Hunter, a Jailer, and so on.
The lack of social mobility on Gor is a myth that they teach to children, because the society wants stability (and ain't nobody wanting to have all Peasants leaving their jobs:tongue:).
And yet it is known to still happen. What does that tell us? Coupled with the fact that there was social mobility even in the Middle Ages, starting with "running off to the Free City":thumbsup:? (Hint: to me, Gor - like Earth - is based on persuading the population that this is the Order Of Things As They Are, Were, Shall&Should Be, OOTATAWS&SB for short. As Confucius said, only when tradition and ritual are inefficient is there need for laws to enforce the same things:angel:).

First rule for interpreting what John Norman says: don't listen to what he says, look at what happens in the world he depicts. Especially among secondary characters/NPCs, and how they react to it.

So, yeah, in almost any fictional setting there is a fictional (and largely unseen) cast of thousands or millions in the background. But the fiction may not provide the information you need to deal with them, or really anything except the main characters in the novel/film/whatever and their stories.
Again, gaming supplements are meant for this exact reason. Otherwise you'd have a rulebook which has exactly one sentence for setting description: "Go read the books, we don't know anything outside of those":grin:!

Now that I think about it, it would be kinda cool. Impractical, sure, but it would be so fun to read the forums afterwards:devil:!
 

AsenRG

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Tarnsmen are an elite group in Gorean combat, similar in prestige to a medieval knight or the trained samurai of feudal Japan.
A tarnsmen is anyone who can fly a tarn, the majestic "cavalry hawk" of Gor - and here it pays to remember that to Goreans, this cannot be trained - but it most commonly refers to those warriors who fight from tarnback. In the books, there have been plenty non-warriors riding tarns, but usually from the tarn trainers caste.
 

AsenRG

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Ubar is the entry for today. We're nearing the end!
"An Ubar is the leader of a city in times of war. The Ubar's power is absolute and they wear a golden chain with the symbol of the city to mark their rank."
(They're basically Roman dictators, with similar results:grin:! It's even in the name, IMO: Ub-Ar. Ar is the city that Norman uses as an expy for Rome on Gor. Ub easily comes form Uber. So, Uber Ar is what? First among equals, anyone?)

"Some Ubars continue their rule in peacetime, but rely on the loyalty of the warriors and their bodyguards in order to retain their power." We've never seen such people on Earth!

"An Ubar's sworn bodyguards are bound by honour to depose or slay him, should he ever act unjustly."
Well, Goreans apply honour everywhere:shade:!
 

AsenRG

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V is for...hmm, for Veils, Vosk League or Voyages of Acquisition:shade:?

Vosk League, of course! (BTW, Vosk is a navigable river).

Vosk League: The Vosk League is an alliance of nineteen Vosk Towns, joined together. Ar's Station was officially left out under intense pressure from Ar, but unofficially are still considered allies and brothers to the League.
The League formed to defeat the river pirates that dominated the Vosk and since throwing them off have come together for mutual defense and trade.
Also includes a list of the 19 other cities comprising the Vosk League, but I see no need to copy it here:thumbsup:.
 

AsenRG

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Wagon Peoples: The Wagon People claim the prairie land around Turia from the Thassa to the foothills of the Voltai range and north to the banks of the Cartius. They have a fierce reputation for raiding caravans but also raise large herds of bosk, living on the meat and milk from the beasts that they tend and follow.
There are four clans to the Wagon People, the Paravaci, the Kataii, the Kassars and the Tuchuks. The tribes meet once every 10 years. (Though I think the Gorean year is a bit longer).
The Tuchuk standard and brand is the four bosk horns, Kassars the three-weight bola, Kataii the bow and lance, and the Paravaci the bosk head, symbolized in a brand as a semicircle through a triangle.
Before a man of the Wagon People can be named, he must learn to use the lance, quiva and bow, and to ride the kaiila. Wagon People men wear scars on their cheeks, dyed and symbolic, given to them as rites of passage, while the women, unveiled, wear leather dresses and have nose rings. Few are litterate, preferring oral transmission of knowledge. Too, the men wear wind scarfs to protect them from the winds, which scour and dry.
They live in their huge wagons, carrying bosk-hide tents, which are quite luxurious inside, and scorn city dwellers. Once, they almost conquered Gor, reaching Ar and Ko-ro-ba, before being stopped by their armies.
Their warriors are organised in tens, hundreds and thousands (Or, Orlu and Oralu), and commanded by bosk horns and waved war lanterns.
 

AsenRG

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Amusingly, there's no entry under X.

Yellow Knives: The Yellow Knives are a tribe of the Red Savages. Amongst their number their most prestigious warrior society is the Urt Soldiers.

Please note: Savage is a compliment on Gor.

And last, for Z...an animal. I've skipped a great many of them, and almost skipped this one, too. But the flora and fauna of Gor deserve more attention, and they get it in the books.
So here goes...

Zadit: The Zadit is a small, tawny desert bird that feeds on insects. It is a welcome sight as it particularly likes to alight on Kaiila to eat fleas, ticks and biting flies that torment the beasts and their riders.

And with that, my "skimming" of the World of Gor is complete:shade:!
 

Acmegamer

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I'm not sure I understand. Do you refer to the zadit, here?
I enjoyed the thread so I made what I thought was a slightly humorous reference to the alias that Tarl Cabot used at one point if my memory serves me. I've not read the books since the early 80's and started reading them in the 70's. Apologies that my humor attempt went astray.
 

AsenRG

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I enjoyed the thread so I made what I thought was a slightly humorous reference to the alias that Tarl Cabot used at one point if my memory serves me. I've not read the books since the early 80's and started reading them in the 70's. Apologies that my humor attempt went astray.
Ah, yes, Bosk of Port Kar. Actually he uses it repeatedly, I just didn't make the connection, and assumed you mean regular bosks (which would be capitalized since it's the first word in the sentence:shade:).
Apologies, it was my mistake for not getting the reference:thumbsup:!

Also, little fun tidbit which I'm not sure appears in World of Gor:
Gorean is written/read "as the bosk plows", that is, first left to right, then right to left on the next line, and you keep alternating:grin:!
 

Acmegamer

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Ah, yes, Bosk of Port Kar. Actually he uses it repeatedly, I just didn't make the connection, and assumed you mean regular bosks (which would be capitalized since it's the first word in the sentence:shade:).
Apologies, it was my mistake for not getting the reference:thumbsup:!

Also, little fun tidbit which I'm not sure appears in World of Gor:
Gorean is written/read "as the bosk plows", that is, first left to right, then right to left on the next line, and you keep alternating:grin:!
I have a vague memory of this thing about the reading/writing of Gorean, now I'm wondering if I read it in an interview with the author some years ago or some forum post/thread. I need to pick up the books again at some point. I lost a rather large library of books some years ago due to water damage in a storage unit. Rebuilding the library has been slow going.
 
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AsenRG

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I have a vague memory of this thing about the reading/writing of Gorean, now I'm wondering if I read it in an interview with the author some years ago or some forum post/thread. I need to pick up the books again at some point. I lost a rather library of books some years ago due to water damage in a storage unit. Rebuilding the library has been slow going.
It's always sad when books perish:shade:!

Also, that part isn't from an interview or forum, it's from the books themselves, starting with the first IIRC.
 

Bill Reich

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Ah, yes, Bosk of Port Kar. Actually he uses it repeatedly, I just didn't make the connection, and assumed you mean regular bosks (which would be capitalized since it's the first word in the sentence:shade:).
Apologies, it was my mistake for not getting the reference:thumbsup:!

Also, little fun tidbit which I'm not sure appears in World of Gor:
Gorean is written/read "as the bosk plows", that is, first left to right, then right to left on the next line, and you keep alternating:grin:!
Ancient Greek was written like that. Or so I remember. Remember reading about it. I wasn't there.
 

AsenRG

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So, guys, I'm curious...did anyone who was unfamiliar with Gor (or familiar from the pop-culture notoriety) change his/her opinion on the setting?
Ancient Greek was written like that. Or so I remember. Remember reading about it. I wasn't there.
I've said it 1234567890 times already: Gor is John Norman's take on a fantasy world inspired by Ancient Greece, Rome, the Vikings, the Zulu, and the Arab(ian Tales, I suspect), with added "benefits" to make the characters' lives a bit easier...like, I don't know, immortality, advanced medicine, reversible lifetime birth control, artificial light, and air transport:tongue:!
In light of this, and the fact that Goreans were Earth humans, and the culture is explicitly modelled after the "classical world" - up to and including the slavery (a part of the classical heritage many people want to forget about, it seems:devil:)...well, any similarities in the way Gorean and Ancient Greek are written, are probably not accidental!
Too, such makes total sense given Norman's classical education:thumbsup:!
 

Bill Reich

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So, guys, I'm curious...did anyone who was unfamiliar with Gor (or familiar from the pop-culture notoriety) change his/her opinion on the setting?

I've said it 1234567890 times already: Gor is John Norman's take on a fantasy world inspired by Ancient Greece, Rome, the Vikings, the Zulu, and the Arab(ian Tales, I suspect), with added "benefits" to make the characters' lives a bit easier...like, I don't know, immortality, advanced medicine, reversible lifetime birth control, artificial light, and air transport:tongue:!
In light of this, and the fact that Goreans were Earth humans, and the culture is explicitly modelled after the "classical world" - up to and including the slavery (a part of the classical heritage many people want to forget about, it seems:devil:)...well, any similarities in the way Gorean and Ancient Greek are written, are probably not accidental!
Too, such makes total sense given Norman's classical education:thumbsup:!

But it seems to be more of a monoculture than anything we've ever had. There were other societies much different than Greece, many of them, and some very important to the modern world. The Han were out there, the Greeks may have even known about them. Central Asia had societies very different from Greece or the Han. From what I remember, and I only read a couple of the books, it gave me the same feeling that whole planets with the same ecosystem do.
 

AsenRG

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But it seems to be more of a monoculture than anything we've ever had. There were other societies much different than Greece, many of them, and some very important to the modern world. The Han were out there, the Greeks may have even known about them. Central Asia had societies very different from Greece or the Han. From what I remember, and I only read a couple of the books, it gave me the same feeling that whole planets with the same ecosystem do.
Ahem, that's really not true...
Tahari has a different culture. The Barrens another. Shendi yet another. The Wagon People yet another. Arguably the peasants who've mastered the longbow have yet another, and Port Kar is different enough - though linguistically the same - that it should count as a different culture, really (though it's been assimilated, in part). And then there are the Pani, and Torlvaldslend, and the northern hunters...I'm probably missing some people, too.
And all of the above are different from "mainstream Gorean" culture, though.
However - keep in mind that a) Goreans are the descendants of people who have been brought to Gor by the Priest-Kings. They didn't depopulate the regions they visited, either. So there are less cultures than there were on Earth, indeed! The Priest-Kings didn't make it a point to replicate Earth on Gor, it was to them an experiment (coupled with planetary defense exercise, I guess).
But you mainly see "mainstream Gorean" in the first books, because Tarl Cabbot is being deployed in this cultural region, with the probably correct assumption that he'd have an easier time operating there:thumbsup:.
 
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