#RPG – Tales of Gor Preview, reviewed

b456ccd0f0d8395871ff98c63b654318You can read that review HERE, but I wanted to take the opportunity to reply to a point made about the ‘uneasy skirting around its non-PC nature’.

I am not, by any stretch, a PC fellow and I take pride in not kowtowing to the unreasonable demands of the ‘SocJus’ mob – especially when presenting fiction. However, it would take a sociopath in an isolation tank not to be affected by the intense atmosphere of censorship and (genuine) harassment that goes on around anyone who doesn’t toe that lie.

I have a duty in bringing Gor to the RPG world to present the world of the books as accurately as possible AND to make it accessible. It’s also important to me, and I suspect to fans of Gor as well, to show that there is more to it than swords, sandals and BDSM erotica. That there is a well-realised world with the opportunity for many wildly different kinds of adventures and interpretations.

The broader book doesn’t spend so much time hang-wringing about it, but in a preview (and in the early chapters of the game guide from which those parts were taken) it was – I felt – important to contextualise the material, to defend it and to address these concerns and issues head on.

I suspect, sadly, the game will get a few ‘hate buys’ and some deliberate piracy but I hope that the honest and engaged way I have dealt with the material will buy a few converts, open the game and the Gorean canon to a wider audience, and disarm some of the critics.

Now your humble blue-caste scribe must get back to work!

Ta Sardar Gor!

#RPG – The Tower of Art RELEASED!

207670Buy it HERE

Hardcopy available at LULU

The Tower of Art is the first adventure/supplement for Tales of Gor, the Gorean Roleplaying Game.

As an introductory scenario this supplement presents a relatively simple and easy example
of such an adventure, as well as resources and additional material to improve your games (and the value of this supplement).

This adventure is designed for a typical group of 4-6 starting characters. It has a variety of
challenges for them to face in order to get players used to both the system and some of the aspects of Gor that new players may not be familiar with.

This supplement forms the model for future supplements. An adventure – with resources for
the Games Master – along with additional rules, ideas and thoughts that can make games better for everyone.

Ta Sardar Gor!

#RPG Tales of Gor Preview Released!

207667

You can check it out HERE.

More preview material potentially coming today…

#RPG – Gor RPG Open Call Writers/Artists

74ec6e1f20200aee982e82b9ecf6ea9bHello everyone,

Due to the delays in getting the main Gor RPG and resource book out because of the art I am forced to start looking into putting out – or at least commissioning – supporting material in advance of the books being released. I also have to update the game material to account for the latest novel, PLUNDER.

As such I am looking for some artists and – in a rare turn of events – writers, to help me get this supplementary material up and going.

I’m not quite ready to commission yet, but will be in the near future. I want to produce a piece of the material myself to demonstrate what I’m after to people. Still, if you want to pre-register your interest let me know.

Writers

The job will be adventure writing, mostly in a loose, investigative structure, without the statistics for the creatures/people involved. The target will be 6-7k words for which you’ll be paid 0.03 USD per word with a maximum payout of $200.

Familiarity with Gor is necessary, but you don’t have to be au fait with the entire canon.

Background material will be provided.

Since you won’t be writing system material this is less important, but a familiarity with the OpenD6 system will still be helpful.

If you can make available an example of your adventure/scenario writing work for me to peruse, that would be very helpful.

Artists

The job will be producing three to four (or more if willing) quarter A4/Letter illustrations at 600 dpi in black and white. This will usually be 1-2 figures, a figure and monster, an object or similar. Basic rate will be $100 USD for these four illustrations but this is negotiable to an extent and you’ll be given as much creative leeway and other benefits as possible.

You should be willing and able to draw (tasteful) nudity to the point of bare breasts and some illustrations may require a familiarity with a BDSM aesthetic, though most will be more along sword and sorcery or planetary romance lines. Think Frazetta, Royo, Cho etc and you get some idea.

You’ll be provided reference material for descriptions and examples of existing art to work from.

Applications should be made to grim@postmort.demon.co.uk and please do pass this information along.

#RPG – Postmortem Studios Update June 2016

gor-illo17_sketch

Here’s a quick monthly update on the current state of affairs here at Postmortem Studios.

Personal
I’m a lot healthier than I have been and am working full time again for the first time in about three years. It’s taking a bit of adjustment  but so far I’m keeping it up. I’m using this energy and effort to try and keep up a regular schedule of small releases and freelancing and to build up to regaining the financial independence and self reliance I had before depression slapped me around like a ruler meeting a Catholic schoolboy’s hands.

So far this has only been going on for half of last month but I still treat that as something of a victory especially since I’ve been able to raise my monthly income by about 50% just within that period. It feels good – but exhausting – to be back on the horse.

If you want to support my work and help me out, you can donate to my Patreon, and I’m looking for ideas as to what I can offer as Patreon rewards, but at the moment all I can offer are warm fuzzies.

Work Update
At the moment I’m primarily focussed on finishing off and putting out older material that wasn’t completed. This is primarily because I need to put out material quickly at the moment, meaning it’s all going to be more support material for existing games and odd little interesting notions and side projects. I also have a few people working for me – sadly pseudonomysly – on projects that I’m ‘not allowed’ to look at.

Gor is still very nearly there. There is another slight delay which, again, isn’t anyone’s fault. This project has, I swear, been cursed. Everything that could get in the way for me or the artist has done. Still, we should hopefully be on course for the end of the month. Fingers, fucking, crossed.

Services
I am a 15+ year veteran of the tabletop game publishing world with experience in freelancing and self publishing. I’ve worked for Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Nightfall, Cubicle Seven Entertainment and more. I have also written fiction and worked on social media computer games, packing a lot of meaning into short pieces of text. As a self-publisher I have overseen every step of the publication process from concept through to publications including writing, editing, layout and modification.

Here’s some of the services I can offer, and the minimum prices offered – though anything is negotiable up or down depending on the client.

  • New writing (raw text) $0.03c/word.
  • Proofreading/Light Editing/Commentary $0.01c/word (second and third deeper passes are possible).
  • ePublishing/RPG Publishing consultation Skype/Hangout/Call $20/hour.
  • Consultation on your game project $20/hour.
  • Layout (InDesign) $10 an hour.
  • Stock Art Shopfront: Postmortem studios has a huge stock art catalogue from multiple artists and we’d love to add you to that storefront. If you’re an artist who wants to sell your stock art but doesn’t want to deal with the accounts and uploads etc with your own storefront (which would be my first recommendation) then I can do that for you for 50% (I round up your payouts though).

Recent Products
Clipart Critters MEGABUNDLE:
A once in a lifetime offer (at least until September the first) this is ALL of Brad McDevitt’s stock art – up to number 400 – at a HUGE discount. This is basically a company start-up resource which will provide you with plenty of fantasy, horror, science fiction and modern images to kickstart your company into progress with low initial overheads for art. It’s also a fantastic resource for existing companies.

Diversity Dungeons: Despite claims to the contrary from all sides involved this is intended as a fairly serious examination of diversity issues in gaming from a world-building/game design and publishing perspective. It outlines the obstacles and methods to overcome including (or not including) diversity in your games and some material – from bitter experience – on the current febrile atmosphere around games publishing.

The Cathedral of Misogyny: An affectionate pisstake of 4chan, internet culture wars and hyperbole via the medium of a comedic 5th Edition D&D adventure, based upon a scenario I wrote as an introduction for a new player coming in from computer games. Part of the scenario was played online and there’s a Youtube video of it here.

Fistful of Horror 3: A collection of horror scenario ideas in the theme of my 100 seeds. System neutral but geared towards modern horror.

Fifth Fantasy – The Chancer: A new 5e D&D character class, based around the gambler archetypes found in Japanese RPG computer games. This will become a series and, perhaps, a setting if there are a few more sales.

Our entire catalogue (other than the newer items) – easier to browse than the online sites can be downloaded for free HERE.

Social Media & Contact
I’m always open to contact, discussion, ideas and more. If you have questions, queries, suggestions or feedback – good or bad – please do get in touch.

You can comment here on the blog.

You can find me on Twitter @grimachu

You can find me on Facebook 

You can find me on Youtube

If you want to ask questions (or troll me) anonymously I have an Ask.fm

#Gor #RPG Art Update

Just to prove things are still being worked on and getting closer to completion!

gor-illo00-2_helm_600

gor-illo03_jards_600

gor-illo12_tabuk

gor-illo13_pencil

gor-illo015_tharlarion

#RPG – RE: Diversity Trainers of Gor

There’s an interesting article on The History of BDSM blog about the Gor RPG. It’s mostly fair and well worth a read, but I want to pick up a few points here and there from it to reply to.

Gor is notorious for its strong emphasis not only on the world’s apparently universal chattel slavery, but the male-dominant/female-submissive philosophy that justifies it, endlessly reiterated in the books.  That’s what made me pause when I thought about Manning illustrating the book. Manning’s work, starting with the graphic novel The Spider Garden, has a strong bi/queer flair, running all over the map of sexuality from conventional, heteronormative pinups to “sacred androgynes”, cross-dressed men, and other, stranger types of sexuality. This also comes in a time when video games and related media like tabletop RPGs are under a lot of flak for #GamerGate. The games designer, James Desborough, reportedly has connections to #GamerGate and some other controversies. It got me wondering: how will Gor be adapted into this medium?

Manning is, first and foremost, a top-tier illustrator. I wanted to work with him for a variety of reasons. Firstly that, secondly because of his links with the BDSM/Kink community and – as such – his innate understanding of the project. Thirdly because I was previously involved (though not as project lead) in an attempt to bring his Spider Garden series to the roleplaying world. The final factor that tipped me over was his work in The Nibelungen, which was brilliant. One thing that didn’t enter into any decision-making was the ‘queer’ (it’s unclear what this term even means any more) content of his work – and why would it?

I think there’s a misunderstanding here of what #Gamergate is and in which direction the flak is going and why. Gamergate would be much more accepting of kink etc in games and so forth than their opposition, which is typically sex-negative, ‘Dinesian’ outlook, censorious and authoritarian. Gamergate has certainly been painted as some sort of reactionary, conservative movement but it really isn’t. It’s primarily about the egregious cronyism and corruption in games journalism, along with censorship – issues that everyone should be able to get behind, but the misreporting has, sadly, been effective.

It is unfortunate that the article writer has linked to some horrible slander and wilful disinformation by a biased ‘hater’, but I’ve answered their accusations before.

The image above was posted on the Postmortem blog with the caption, “See? It’s not ALL male-dom.” This does not contradict Gorean canon. There are male slaves and free females who take advantage of them, and I suppose you could squint a bit and envision M/m and F/f encounters just off stage. However, the Gor canon is overwhelmingly about maledom/femsub.

Yes it is and, as the game writer and a curator of sorts of the world – as I put together these books – I have a duty of care to the canon. However that doesn’t mean that such things aren’t hinted at elsewhere. There are certainly homosexual relationships hinted at and explicitly there is talk of male slaves for men. Femdom comes up repeatedly and while Tarl (the protaganist of the books) may cause a comeuppance in many of these instances it’s well established in the world.

I have to present the world in the game as it is presented within the books, and wouldn’t want to do otherwise. At the same time a game is different to a book. In games writing you’re creating a space in which people tell their own stories, so it’s important to give as broad a scope or as many possibilities as you can, within the scope of the themes etc of the established material.

I cannot, and would not, completely change and alter the Gorean world just to appeal to a handful of non-fans who likely wouldn’t buy it anyway.

On the other hand, an excerpt from the world book suggests male pleasure slaves, whether serving women or men, don’t really count for much:

“Male pleasure slaves are relatively rare as submissive men, silk slaves, do not often arouse mistresses and do not often appear on Gor. Nonetheless, some are found and some are even bred for, though even the most submissive male slave may ‘revert’ and turn upon his mistress. Men are also bought by other men and while Gorean society is largely not judgmental on sexuality some of the practices to produce male slaves for other men – especially from boyhood – are regarded with distaste.”

So much for inclusiveness.

I don’t quite see how ‘So much for inclusiveness’ follows from there. Male pleasure slaves are definitely present and these are the attitudes and problems with that described in the source material. While nothing is said about it, I suspect there’d be similar disdain in forcibly training young female slaves to serve gay mistresses too. A big part of what constitutes the Gorean philosophy is an acceptance of ‘nature’ and this seems to be the root of the disdain for forcing people against their innate sexuality. There’s absolutely nothing to stop you playing a gay free person, or a gay slave, or a slave forced into a homosexual relationship, or a gay slave forced into a heterosexual relationship. This just describes the norms of the fictional world.

Desborough gets into an awkward, “it wasn’t rape-rape” rationale for some of the sexuality in the books

Yeah, no, that’s not what I was actually saying at all. You can see that in the quoted passage back at the site. I was talking about the semantic meaning of the word in the context of Gor, which is more akin to a synonym for ‘fuck’ (with added implications of forcefulness, ruthlessness and passion). The Gorean world itself, in terms of sexuality, occupies a similar fantasy-space to Mills & Boon bodice rippers, 50 Shades of Grey, Conan (women seem to be helpless before his raw sexuality) or – to reverse the genders – the way men are helpless before the sexuality of Femme Fatales.

It does remain hard to understand why such a common and popular fantasy, which is after all just a fantasy, causes such a high degree of objection, even within communities that already practice consensual non-consent or even much more marginalised fantasies. Of course, though this shouldn’t need reiterating again… Gor is a fantasy world that isn’t real and nobody in their right mind would suggest that indulging in a fantasy would mean you would necessarily want that in real life. Troops of people aren’t raiding old castles in search of monsters either.

One post says you can make the sexual encounters as detailed or as vague as you like, or have female warriors or male slaves. It makes sense from an economic perspective, in that a Gor RPG with the gender politics turned down might appeal to a larger audience.

Any game ultimately belongs to the people that play it. There’s no need for anyone to – necessarily – be restrained by canon (though canon incorporates far more of this kind of content than people give it credit for). It’s important – seemingly – to emphasise that to people while remaining true to canon in presentation.

Tabletop RPGs have an awkward history of gender and sexuality issues (inherited from their pulp adventure literary ancestors), especially as they were primarily marketed to heterosexual male adolescents. There are also some nasty outliers like the obscure FATAL. Now that the RPG culture has matured and diversified, they’re likely to avoid something based on Gor.

In my opinion TTRPGs have, rather, come under attack unfairly on these matters, as videogames are now. Gor, in particular online, has been massively popular with women and has retained popularity despite being forced into relative obscurity through implicit – sometimes explicit – censorship. For its time it was hugely progressive in terms of its exploration of kink in the relative mainstream, as was his book Imaginative Sex.

I don’t believe that this new prudishness and the censorious authoritarianism that comes with it is a sign of maturity or diversification. The ideas underlying that worrying trend are awfully homogeneous, and not at all diverse. Progress, to me, indicates liberalisation and tolerance, a diversity of ideas. Not what appears, from experience, to be a ‘great leap backwards’ into the attacks on RPGs from the religious right in the 1980s – albeit from a different source.

It seems likely that I’ll go to my grave not understanding why people want to police each other’s fantasies, fiction and kinks. Especially when it comes from people claiming to be progressive and open-minded.

The writer of the blog may be right in that many gamers don’t want to explore worlds of radically different ideas, not just Modern Views & Mores in a Tolkienesque Pastiche, but I hope enough do and that there are enough Gor fans out there willing to take a punt on a new experience. All to rarely in games do we see exploration of the full implications of differences in ideas or the social and other impacts of, say, magic. I think Gor is an exception to that and a big part of what makes it a truly different setting.

I still hold out hope.

Art is still trickling in, I hope to have more updates soon. Meanwhile, let’s make this post an AMA about approach, content, anything relating to the game that you’d like to know.