Creating player groups within the game part of Chronicles of Gor can seem like a tricky proposition. While I’m sure that gaming groups are smart enough to come up with reasons to throw characters together, it can’t hurt to have few suggestions, particularly as people have some problems working out how slave characters – or even simply female characters – can fit into the mix.
Some General Suggestions
Free women frequently wield a lot of economic and social power – so long as they remain free. A free woman’s retinue is a good hook to build a group around with the other characters playing her guards, slaves, free companion etc.
You could have everyone play male characters if you can’t see a way around that.
Or have everyone play female characters and pay for hirelings to protect them – or have them play Panther Girls.
A mercenary company may have men from many different cities, giving it a more cosmopolitan feel and allowing for men of many castes, cities and backgrounds to come together in common cause – the pursuit of wealth. Roles for women include spies, physicians, slavers, siege engineers, negotiators, saboteurs, camp followers and companions. Roles for slaves include fighting slaves, captives, camp slaves, pleasure slaves and work slaves.
Port Kar – the main source of piracy for continental Gor and the primary naval power currently, is a much more cosmopolitan city than most on Gor. Anyone – pretty much – can roll up to Port Kar, open a business, join a crew and call themselves a citizen. Pirate crews then – like mercenary companies (many of which are based out of Kar) can be very mixed in terms of caste, city of origin and culture. Piracy and trade also make for great adventuring hooks and opportunities for a Games Master to throw things in the path of the players. Roles for women include spies, physicians, slavers, pirates themselves (if they’ve proved themselves), even pirate captains – since it’s wealth that determines fleet size, which in turn determines captaincy and a place on the Council of Captains. Roles for slaves include oarsmen (though Kar almost never uses slaves on its oars), captives, house slaves, pleasure slaves and work slaves (unlike most Gorean cities, Kar uses work slaves in its building projects).
The slavers are a sub-caste of the merchants concerned with the capture, trade and training of slaves. They follow the battle lines, prey upon the broken cities and settlements and employ tricks and legal loopholes to gain new captures. Like pirates, mercenaries and bandits, merchants are cosmopolitan in their outlook compared to the other castes and will hire and work with members of their caste from almost anywhere. Roles for women include agents, salespeople, auctioneers, trainers, slavers themselves, breeders, overseers and more. Roles for slaves can be… any. Some slaves even aid with the training of others.
Merchants have always taken a wider view of Gor than their fellows and have always been much more well travelled. A merchant caravan seeking its fortune can provide all manner of opportunities for adventure and any number of hangers on, guards, guests and others can tag along. The merchants also have their own espionage organisation and spies – as a caste – which again gives all manner of opportunities to those who want a group concept with some variety and opportunities for adventure. Roles for women include merchants, spies, traders, artisans and travellers. Roles for slaves can include work slaves, fighting slaves, trade goods, personal slaves, pleasure slaves, draft slaves and cargo slaves, palanquin carriers and personal attendants.
Travelling entertainers are not well regarded on Gor, though musicians and poets can claim some caste immunity from being enslaved (which makes such a good choice for a character, or cover, for female players who want to avoid that fate). Seen as little better than beggars the actors and actresses, stage magicians and performers are both looked down upon, and overlooked. Entertainer’s caravans can be great adventuring groups with all manner of secrets and looking for ways – even beyond putting on a show – to raise a little coin in order to get by. Roles for women include caravan masters, actresses (to a degree, slaves are preferred as acting lacks propriety), kaissa players, stage magicians, freaks, jugglers and performers. Roles for slaves including acting roles, personal slaves, performers and pack slaves. Fighting slaves are also an option as they offer an opportunity to make money for their owner.
Agents of Priest Kings/Kur
If you’re playing a high stakes game based around the ‘kaissa of worlds’ then the best route to take is to have your major players being agents of the Kur or of the Priest Kings. Agents of either power can be from anywhere, even from Earth, and have a certain amount of insulation from the normal threats of slavery and execution as they have a powerful group looking after them. Serving this higher purpose – to conquer or to protect the fate of two worlds – allows justification for all kinds of exceptions and strange groupings.