Free Women: The Gorean free woman is exalted and respected whether she is of low or high caste. Men show her deference and she often controls the budget of a home or business. Her position, however, is one that is extremely fragile. Free women are subject to enslavement in raids and war, through bankruptcy and trickery or as payment for debts. They are companioned for political and business reasons – though they retain their power – and can be kidnapped or killed for political ends.
With a woman’s beauty a currency on Gor most free women wear veils, hoods and all-concealing robes to hide their appearance from would be raiders, who are then more likely to pursue the obvious charms of slaves. Many even choose such slaves for their retinues and service in order to distract would be attackers.
Never have a I met a more spoiled, entitled, shrewish and spiteful person than practically every Gorean free woman. From the lowliest peasant to the grandest Ubara, all of them treat slaves abominably, worse than their male peers do and swan about swaddled in their robes haughtily and imperiously treating everyone like crap. What beggars belief is that Gorean men go along with it and defer to women for the most part, at least so long as they are free.
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.