Chronicles of Gor – Dead Trees


It’s been suggested by some that I’m just in this for the moolah (which at this point remains to be seen), rather than being a TruFan™.

Here are the Gor books that I was gifted some 20+ years ago.

And some of my favourite covers.

As you can see. They are actual, real, physical books, wot I own.

The Roger Dean-esque font is delicious, but sadly probably a little tooooo 70s for anything but nouveau-prog rock album covers any more. The free font Medusa is very similar, if you fancy having a go with it yourself.

Some of the fantasy greats worked on covers for the paperbacks.

Burns being one of my most favourite fantasy artists, and the one I think made the best Gorean cover, this one for Explorers of Gor.

With an art pedigree like this, you can see why I want enough money to make these books visually striking!




Chronicles of Gor – Worldbook Sample ‘B’

BarrensFUND IT!

Barrens: The so-called Barrens are only barren compared to the lushness of other areas of Gor such as the Northern Forests or the steaming jungles of the interior. The barrens are actually a rolling ocean of grassland that lays east of the Thentis Mountains. The name is used as a warning against intrusion, rather than a description of any particular lack of fecundity.

It is not a pleasant land, even if it is not truly barren. The Barrens have less rainfall than many other parts of Gor and experience extremes of temperature and weather that can change at the flip of a coin. Border towns lie along the edge of the Barrens, flirting with deeper settlement and occasionally trading with expeditions or those who call the Barrens home, but no real inroads into the Barrens have been made in generations. These settlements are as likely to be raided for goods and slaves as they are to be traded with and their relative lack of wealth means they can only afford to hire lower cost, disreputable mercenaries to protect them.

Massive herds of kailiauk sweep across the plains with the weather and the seasons, the largest herds are named (Boswell, Bento, Hogarthe) and consist of two to three million beasts in one stampeding mass. The herds and the Barrens are controlled by the ‘Red Savages’, tribes of men who follow the kailiauk herds and raid the border settlements – as well as each other. Particularly contested over are flint beds, which they use to make arrow, tomahawk and spear heads when they cannot steal or trade for metal.

Chronicles of Gor – Urgent Update PRINT!

GorPromo1FUND IT!

You kept asking.

Initially I wasn’t going to offer print because it’s been so volatile and unpredictable that it often ends up torpedoing projects by costing them more than they raised.

After a lot of thought and calculation, and a lot of estimation, I think I can offer…

World of Gor: The Gorean Scrolls – $45

Chronicles of Gor: Gorean Role-Playing & World of Gor: The Gorean Scrolls – $75

Both will include both books on PDF.

People who are fans of Gor, but not role-players, will find World of Gor to be an invaluable reference and insight into the series, but won’t necessarily need (or want) the RPG book.

People who are primarily roleplayers will need both books to make a complete set with all the information that they need.

There’s a lot of estimation work involved here and these prices assume that we can raise the full amount and fill the books with the desired amount of illustration, making for the page count these estimates are based on. I think each book should have an RRP in the region of £20 and shipping, anywhere, is £10 or under. So this is the best I can really do given the goal is to raise money, not to offer a cheap pre-order.

I’ll do what I can to sweeten the deal as/when/if we get closer to or over the primary goal and I would appreciate your suggestions on what I can do to increase the value to supporters and get those extra bucks out of you.

Please do pass on the fundraiser info to any other fans of Gor, whether they’re gamers or not. The World Book should have a much broader appeal to fans of fantasy in general.

Chronicles of Gor – What do you DO?

AdventureFUND IT!

A legitimate question about any RPG, and the point upon which everything else hangs, is ‘What do you do in this game?’

A game can have an interesting background, great rules, fantastic art and wonderful writing but if it can’t answer the question ‘What do you do?’ it’s not likely to be played that much.

What do you do?: We raid dungeons for gold, fame and magical items – so we can raid bigger dungeons and get fat and wealthy!

What do you do?: We investigate strange phenomena and battle the secretive alien invasion of Earth.

What do you do?: We’re an elite unit of mecha pilots, fighting in the front line of a future war.

So what will you do in Chronicles of Gor: Gorean Roleplaying?

That will depend on how you set up your role-playing group, something I’ll cover in a future post on the project.

Suffice to say, contrary to the opinions of many I don’t see people spending hours at a time role-playing out the abuse of slaves, or staring into the distance and narrating long soliloquies on gender relations, the nature of men and women or the corrupt nature of Earth society. Rather I expect people to role-play out these sorts of things:

  • Foiling the diabolical plots of the Kur!
  • Exploring the jungle and the forests and finding lost cities!
  • Clashing with bandits and slavers!
  • Getting caught up in the machinations of the Priest Kings!
  • Participating in battles between cities!
  • Leading slave revolts!
  • Pursuing true love across the continent!
  • Getting drunk as hell on paga and starting fights in taverns!
  • Hunting giant tarsk and dangerous tharlarion!
  • Bounty hunting!
  • Taking mercenary contracts!
  • Swordfighting on the precipitous walkways between the high cylinders!
  • Betrayal! Revenge! Victory! Defeat!

You know, FUN STUFF!

Chronicles of Gor – Press & Publicity

GorPromo1FUND IT!

There’s quite a lot of interest in the game and world book and a lot of speculation and scuttlebutt as well.

I’m not exactly hard to get a hold of and if you have a website, forum, group, page, podcast, radio show or youtube channel and want to talk to me about Gorean Chronicles the RPG or the World Book I’d be more than happy to answer questions and/or put in an appearance.

I have Skype, Google Hangouts, can get accounts or otherwise do what’s necessary if you want to talk to me.

If you want to meet me in person to talk about the game and you’re in the UK, something might be arranged, though I’ll need to check your bona-fides first.

First point of contact is a comment here, a contact on social media (especially Twitter) or via email.

My Gor

I was gifted the first twenty-four books of John Norman’s Chronicles of Gor when a friend of mine went away to university. I was still at school at the time, in my final year, voraciously reading any and all science fiction and fantasy I could find, at the rate of up to six books a day on weekends.

To receive over twenty books, completely new to me, out of the blue was an enormous gift and I threw myself into reading them, one after another until they were all done. Here was a series of books with much of the same fantastical imagination as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series or the Hyborian fantasies of Robert E. Howard, but drawing on the same imagery of Greek and Roman heroism I’d learned at school and from the films of Ray Harryhausen.

Where Burroughs’ and Howard coyly turned aside at the last minute, however, trapped by the relative prudishness of their times (for all the livid covers and descriptions of a more liberated – and naked – society), Norman’s hero did not. The fate of the handmaidens and slave girls that Tarl Cabot encountered was never in question, but then nor was the fate of the oiled, male silk slaves under the aloof, free women of Gor’s cities.

Tarl Cabot’s struggles adapting to the fierce Gorean world were in many ways a reflection of adolescence for me and for many others. To understand and accept the more adult and cutthroat world we were entering. For many others – in the days before the Internet – the Gorean world was also their first exposure to the aesthetic of BDSM, their first hint that this was something normal, or shared by others. The importance of that, to so many, along with his book Imaginative Sex cannot be underestimated.

Despite the great success of the Gorean cycle, selling between six and twelve million copies and Tarnsmen of Gor being reprinted twenty-two times, the Gorean series was interrupted in 1988 when it was dropped by its publisher. There were, as a result, thirteen years between Magicians of Gor in 1988 and Witness of Gor in 2001 and another seven years after that until Prize of Gor in 2008. ‘Political correctness’ in the late eighties and through the nineties made such sexually explicit and controversial fantasy difficult to know what to do with.

Fortunately the Internet rose during the same period and fans of Norman’s work began to form their own communities online. Forums and chatrooms sprang up by the dozen, Internet Relay Chat played host to dozens of Gorean roleplay rooms, people sold, resold and naughtily transcribed the books as they went out of print and created online resources for these communities as they arose. As the Internet advanced, so did the complexity of these resources and as graphical roleplay became possible it spread there, to the point where – in 2009 – it was estimated that there were some fifty-thousand Gorean role-players on Second Life alone.

The Internet would also come to the rescue of the series, in time, and the advent of cheap print on demand and ebooks has meant the series has managed to continue and the entire back catalog has become available to purchase once again, via the company Ereads, breathing new life into the series and bringing new revelations and new stories to its fans.

In all this time, however, there has never been an official Gorean role-playing game. Everything that exists online is unofficial and organized by fans, strange for a series of fantasy books whose publishing peak coincided with the boom period of the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games.

High time it had one.

In Like Quinn

twocarsineverygarageandthreeeyesoneveryfish7So there a thing around Zoe Quinn doing the rounds in computer gaming circles. One side says it’s about slut shaming, in an attempt to deflect and deny the genuine criticism and problems referred to, the other side says it’s all about corruption in games journalism in an attempt to ignore the slut shaming that is going on.

Quinn made Depression Quest, for which I consider her awesome and who fucked who is pretty much irrelevant to that fact.

Is games journalism corrupt and fucked up? Yes, it totally is, but this is hardly a revelation and it’s got pretty much fuck all to do with .

If you have a review site or magazine you rely on early access, early information and early copies of games that you can play through in order to give people worthwhile information upon which they can make purchasing decisions.

How do you get those things? Easy, you become the bitch of the games companies.

Wonder why you hardly ever see a review score below 7? Because if you piss off the companies you won’t get product and there’s always another site willing to play ball and plenty of reviewers willing to toss any professionalism aside for the sake of free product and not even a wage.

If you want an unbiased view of a game, you need to find a FAN who you can trust and who shares the same sort of game taste you do, but that means you’re going to have to be wary about pre-ordering and take a bit of a risk on games and software that’s new. Otherwise, you’re going to have to accept that things are dodgey and are likely to stay dodgey until something seriously changes.

People exchanging body fluids is NOTHING, it just makes a sexy headline.

Chronicles of Gor – World of Gor Sample: ‘A’

GloriousArFUND IT!

Ar: The City of Ar, known as ‘Glorious Ar’ by many, is the greatest and the richest of Gor’s cities – though Turia or Cos might dispute the claim. No other city has scaled such great heights – or fallen so far.

The wealthiest, most powerful and most popular of the great cities of civilized Gor, Ar long had designs on imperial conquest of the whole world and under its great Ubar, Marlenus, made great strides towards succeeding in this goal bringing many other cities under the sway and control of Ar until they rebelled in the horde of Pa-Kur and were granted freedom at the end of that battle.

Since that peak, the city has fallen by degrees until its ultimate humiliation, occupation by the forces of Cos, betrayed from within and held by mercenaries in the employ of its greatest enemy. Though Ar is now, again, free having revolted against these forces it is a long climb back to its old glories.

Ar’s walls are marble clad, built in two great defensive rings. The outer ring is some three-hundred feet tall while the inner wall towers a further hundred feet, to allow defenders to rain fire upon any force that might occupy the outer wall. These walls are broad enough to accommodate a wagon and have watch-towers every fifty feet along them, guarded at all hours. The city also used to be protected by the Zone of Desolation, a broad swathe of burnt and salted Earth where no enemy could hope to find game or supplies. Despite having been discontinued some fifty years ago now, the zone is still somewhat desolate and thin on game. The walls of the city are said to be impregnable and only cunning has truly seen them breached. There is, or was, a secret way into the city through tunnels from the Dar Kosis pits, but few would dare the pits simply to gain access to the city.

Ar’s cylinders are the tallest, none taller than the Cylinder of Justice, topped by a silver spike for the impaling of traitors. Its baths are the finest. Its streets paved with gold in the legends and envy of the other cities of Gor. Ar’s ways still dominate civilized Gor, even if the city lacks the power it once did.

In Ar high caste daughters are raised in safety and seclusion, in walled gardens, to protect them from Ar’s many enemies who might take them for ransom or slavery. They are trained, there, to be political tokens, companioned to wealthy or powerful men from other cities to maintain Ar’s power.

Famous places in Ar include:

  • Alley of the Slave Brothels of Ludmilla (secretly, once, in the control of Talena)
  • Aulus/Flute Street
  • Avenue of the Central Cylinder (leading to the Ubar’s palace and the government district)
  • Avenue of Turia (a broad street lined with Tur trees, decorated with fountains and home to exclusive shops)
  • Belled Collar (a paga tavern owned by Busebus)
  • Clive Street
  • Distict of Metellus (an impoverished district)
  • Emerald Street
  • Harmadius Street
  • Jewelled Ankle Ring (a paga tavern)
  • Kettle Market (a cheap market near the Peasant’s Gate)
  • Perfumed Rope (a paga tavern)
  • Pleasure Silk (a paga tavern)
  • Silver Cage (a paga tavern)
  • Six Towers (a wealthy area in the shade of six high cylinders)
  • Stadium of Blades (a gladiatorial stadium where low castes and slaves fight and wrestle)
  • Street of Brands
  • Street of Chance (home to gambling houses).
  • Street of Coins
  • Street of Pots (a potters area)
  • Street of Stones
  • Tarn Court (a wide, trellis-covered area)
  • Tavern of Two Chains (a paga tavern)
  • Teiban Street (leading to Teiban Market)
  • Teiban Sul Market (a vegetable market)

Ar is, without question, the greatest city of Gor. Even after the occupation and uprising in recent years the city still has a grandeur and weight of history to it which – as with the great cities of Earth – you don’t have to be familiar with in order to absorb, simply by standing in it. The city also bustles with new energy, reborn by its defeat and driven by the indomitable will of its Ubar the city is – again – lean and hungry and were I the rest of the Gorean cities that would worry me far more than a secure and complacent Ar. Cos, in particular – and with good reason – arouses much of the ire of the people of Ar and some great revenge cannot lie too far into the future. Still, Ar is not the power it once was and Cos weakened itself critically in its pursuit of conquest. As a result men as a whole are now weak on Gor and the Kurii must certainly be planning to exploit that weakness in some way.