- Chronicles of Gor: Gorean Roleplaying – A full tabletop role-playing game based in the Gorean world.
- World of Gor: The Gorean Scrolls – A world guide to Gor, either usable as a resource for playing Chronicles of Gor, or as a separate book celebrating and describing the world of Gor for fans who don’t want to role-play.
This project is being completed in partnership with Open Road Integrated Media:
E-book edition of Gor and all other John Norman titles are available in the United States via Open Road Integrated Media and the United Kingdom via Orion Gateway Editions. Print editions are available in the US via Amazon or in the UK at Amazon UK.
I am James ‘Grim’ Desborough, I’ve been a fan of the Gorean Cycle for over 20 years and a professional role-playing game designer for 15 years. I also write science fiction, fantasy and erotica stories and have been featured in several anthologies as well as publishing my own work.
Gor deserves to be treated with the respect and affection that it’s thousands upon thousands of fans regard it with. The books are written, but to make it from words on a page to a proper book funding is needed to give the books the degree of presentation and polish they deserve.
What We’ll Achieve
Many different groups have done a fantastic job in creating Gorean worlds on IRC, WebChat pages and in Second Life but there has never been a definitive, common resource upon which every fan can draw or a set of role-playing rules that everyone could agree on or hold in common. With these two books we can provide a guide to the World of Gor and a common point of reference for a huge and sprawling community as well as bringing a wonderful fantasy world to a whole new group of fans.
What We Need & What You Get
To truly do the books justice we need a minimum of $5,000 USD, though $10,000 would be ideal. This will allow us to quite lavishly illustrate the books and extra money can provide additional art, layout and editing services to ensure that we end up with a pair of books as a lasting resource for both the role-playing and Gorean communities.
- We need $5,000 if the books are to be illustrated in a unified and defining manner by a single artist – who will be named later. I want to define Gor with art in the way Brom did for Dark Sun or Diterlizzi did for Planescape.
- What perks can we offer? At the moment, early access to electronic versions of the books (PDF) when ready and the opportunity to be immortalised in the pages of the book – in one way or another. Additional perks and stretch goals may be forthcoming as the campaign continues.
- If we don’t reach the goal, the contributed money will go towards artwork anyway, to do the best job possible.
- If we go over our goal the excess money will go to more art, layout, editing and to further compensating the contributors, helping to support writers, artists, layout designers and editors – all of whom often work on a shoestring budget.
Creating a Gorean roleplaying game and worldbook will create a resource for fans of Gor and role-players of all kinds for years to come, hopefully another fifty years to come. I am devoted to making this project a reality, having already spent eighteen months researching the books, cross-referencing, extracting information and writing both the guide and the game rules.
I have successfully completed two RPG projects previously, ImagiNation – an RPG about depression and mental illness – and Machinations of the Space Princess, a science fantasy ‘old school’ game.
You’ll be helping me make something great and I’m devoted to making it happen one way or another.
Risks & Challenges
There’s some risks and challenges to this project, not least of all because of the sexual content of the Gorean cycle and its perceived sexual politics. Let’s go through a few of them…
Yes, Gor contains sexual content of a BDSM, D/S nature. Given that this is a huge part of the reason that it is so popular and that we live in a world where Fifty Shades of Grey can sell 100 million copies and be mainstream, I don’t see this being too much of an issue. Underneath all that Gor is a fantasy world in the Planetary Romance tradition of Edgar Rice Burrough’s ‘Barsoom’ and similar works. Sex is optional and need not be explicit, but it is part of what makes Gor so unique. To ignore it would be to do the books a disservice. The RPG book will contain advice on how to handle these complications and the illustrations should be able to avoid the problems that international censorship rules can sometimes cause.
Gor’s world is unashamedly (mostly) a patriarchal, male-dominated society. The current climate in SF&F with regard to games is quite heated about depictions of race, gender and sexuality and Gor is bound to set off some rancorous argument.
It’s a fantasy world. It’s not real.
I suffer from depression, bouts of which can knock me out for some time. The project is already some six months behind my original, projected schedule but all the work that I really need to do is now complete. My health should not further affect the schedule.
As noted above, discussion over representation and sex/gender issues in games are a hot topic. The revelation that a Gorean RPG has been developed is bound to cause ripples, scorn, recriminations and many, many heated blog posts.
It’s all publicity, free publicity and hopefully these people will discover that the treatment in the book is not as terrible as they might have thought.
There are many existing communities that role-play Gorean experiences and they have made their own decisions about cities, governments, laws, history, details and have played out their own story lines.
If working in gaming has taught me anything, it’s that fanboys are never happy and that they always have their own ideas.
Reviewing some of the material, art and other creations that these communities have come up with hugely inspiring and I have nothing but respect for the fan community that has kept the Gorean Cycle going.
Nothing I am doing is intended to override or replace what they have done, but to provide a common point of reference and something for them to use.
Other Ways You Can Help
Share! Tell people! I don’t have direct communications with the Gorean communities around the internet, on the forums or in Second Life and I’m not about to join them just to spam them about the game. Spread the word!
Ask questions! I’ll answer as best I can, as and when I can.