Gor, Games & #Gamergate

CensorshipSavesTheDay-2368

“The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
– Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

TL;DR: I have been, and am, a victim of many of the same forces involved in #Gamergate in its broader sense as a culture war between artistic expression and what might, generously, be called concerns of representation. I, and other designers and writers of similar style, have come under attack, boycott, rumour, suspected blacklist and the chilling effect of the mob. This has had an impact on my capacity to work and to complete projects and, as such, I’m asking for your help to hit the funding target on my current project. Here’s the LINK

I hesitate to even ask, for more than one reason. Firstly the howling mob will get great mileage from the fact that I am ‘cashing in’ on an existing outrage to try and draw attention to my projects and work. Secondly, the suspicion will be – from within #GamerGate, that I am trying to use the momentum of the movement to cash in on it.

The first lot of people will just have to go hang.

The second lot should, hopefully, have seen that I have been an honest and earnest participant in #GamerGate who shares their values and concerns and has stood up for the right thing throughout this turn of events.

You see, the thing is – as we’ve seen from #ComicGate – this battle is not limited to computer games.

My ‘battleground’ has primarily been tabletop games. I’m a game designer of board games, card games and – mostly – roleplaying games (like Dungeons and Dragons, which I have worked on, but mostly other things). Roleplaying games have been a battleground for various moral panics, just as computer games have been, but going back to the 1980s and the fallout from The Satanic Panic.

Having lived through that mess in the 80s and having lived through a similar, smaller, mess in the 90s when Vampire roleplaying came in for similar flak and was dishonestly associated with some murders and other nastiness.

Perhaps that has left me biased, but multiple incidents of this sort tend to leave an impression, as they’re always bullshit and the arguments are the same, time after time, after time. This is just another battle in a long, long line of battles.

I’ve paid a price for sticking to my guns, not wanting to compromise and not apologising for things I am not sorry for. As you all know, resisting censorship and defending free expression is taken as endorsement of any and every social ill or nasty attitude you care to think of. I get abuse on forums, I get hate mail, I appear to be semi-blacklisted some places (which in a niche industry makes things… interesting) and have had to adopt pen-names to get by.

As a writer, and sometime writer of erotica as well, I’ve also seen the problems there. Erotica writers have been pressured and censored commercially and via payment services, and yes, it is censorship. Science Fiction and Fantasy have become playgrounds of the excessively ‘politically correct’ often to the detriment of the genre itself (look up Jonathan Ross and the Hugo awards for a recent example).

So I’ve fought this fight, and it has cost me dear and it continues to do so, but it’s wearing and has gone on for years now.

My current project has been negatively impacted by this, making it hard to raise the monetary goal of $5k, with only four days left to raise the remaining money. This was always going to be a controversial project – Gor – but the fact that it plays to a lot of the classical fantasy tropes and involves a more overt sexual element than has been traditional. The novels got in trouble over this in earlier decades, and the atmosphere wasn’t anything like as repressive as it is now. Still, it’s been like getting blood from a stone to get any publicity, we’re short of our goal and having seen what #GamerGate has done for TFYC and others, I hope that we can get a last minute boost.

So I’m willing to take the risk, wincing, even as i know I’ll get crap for it.

Anyway, I hope you’ll forgive the ask, but I need to explore the options available in order to keep commitments to the artist working on the project. If you’re not interested in a tabletop RPG, or an art/world book, but know someone who might be – please pass this on.

Cheers,

G

PS: Other ways to support me:

PDFs of analog game designs: Postmortem Studios / Chronicle City

Hardcopy books, including fiction (and ebooks): Lulu and Chronicle City

Card & board games (hardcopy): The Game Crafter (Privilege Check may interest you especially…)

And yes, Patreon… I know.

Gorean Chronicles – Worldbook Sample ‘O’

Oases

FUND IT

Oases: Besides the main oases there are many other, smaller ones. The Oasis of the Lame Kaiila is a tiny, barely notable oasis while the Oasis of the Sand Sleen is claimed by the Kavars and is of reasonable size. The Oasis of the Stones of Silver is another small oasis while the Oasis of Two Scimitars is an out of the way place held by the Bakah tribe, vassals of the Kavars. Two Scimitars welcomes bandits – by night – to add to their income.

Gorean oases in the Tahari are rich centers of trade and favored targets for bandits. Caravans from Tor, Kasra and Turia thread them together and bring them the goods they need to survive (cloth, silk, rugs, metals, jewels, ivory, perfume, hides, wood, leather, salt, spices, weapons, tea, slaves) and in exchange they export dates, pressed date bricks and vegetables.

Oases settlements are built as forts but cannot protect the farms that depend on the oasis – and irrigation – to work, rendering those vulnerable to bandits. Most settlements side with one of the nomad tribes for increased protection.

Oasis of Nine Wells: The Oasis of the Nine Wells is one of the larger oases with a population of twenty-thousand people. Of the larger oases it is typical with a fortress kasbah protecting the agricultural land around the oasis itself and its many wells.

Oasis of the Battle of Red Rock: The Oasis of the Battle of Red Rock is claimed by the Aretai. A mirage on the sand reflects and magnifies the image of the oasis at a distance, making it hard for those unfamiliar with the route to find. Red Rock itself is a large shelf of red sandstone behind the oasis. Red Rock is the last major supply point for two-thousand pasangs, beyond it lies the dreaded and deadly dune country.

Gorean Chronicles – Worldbook Sample ‘M’

Mslaves

FUND IT

Male Slaves: 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.

Most male slaves are war captures, prisoners or debtors. Male slaves are not valuable and are mostly sold cheaply for labor. They most often serve naked or in a breech-clout, which doesn’t make them stand out too much from free prisoners working off their debts. Without being distinctively marked – save for a collar – it is hard for slaves to determine their numbers.

Gorean Chronicles – Worldbook Sample K

Kaiila

FUND IT

Kaiila: Virtually unknown in northern Gor, the kaiila is a silken-furred, carnivorous, lofty creature used as a mount by the Wagon People, the tribes of the Tahari and the Red Savages. Warm blooded, but without breasts, young kaiila are able to hunt as soon as they can stand.

Kaiila are swift and agile but lack the power of tharlarion, making them better suited to light cavalry and skirmish actions than to full-on assaults. Kaiila have large eyes each side of their heads, triple-lidded against dust, four rows of fangs and soft, padded, clawed feet.

They stand twenty to twenty-two hands at the shoulder with tremendous stamina, able to run six hundred pasangs a day on solid ground and fifty over dunes. Despite their usefulness as a mount, Kaiila are highly strung and vicious which makes training them and riding them a feat of courage. Southern Kaiila range in color from gold to black while Sand Kaiila are almost always tawny.

The Sand Kaiila subspecies is smaller and does suckle its young with a red milk (which contains blood). Sand kaiila are omnivorous, unlike their cousins, and have larger, more padded paws with webbed toes for moving on sand.

Chronicles of Gor – World Book Sample ‘F’

WorldBookFFUND IT!

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.

Observations:
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.

Chronicles of Gor – Worldbook Sample ‘D’

DDesert Kaiila: The desert kaiila is similar to the kaiila used by the wagon people. A lofty, silken, long-necked creature it has a smooth gait and a proud bearing. The desert kaiila stands around twenty hands at the shoulder and is a swift runner with great stamina, able to cover over six-hundred pasangs in a day. While a swift and useful mount, desert kaiila are also temperamental and vicious. Desert kaiila are almost always tawny in color and unlike the more common kaiila suckle their young. Desert kaiila milk is reddish, with a strong salty taste and a high level of iron. Desert kaiila are omnivorous with broad, heavy, padded paws with webbed toes. This keeps them more stable on the sand, and especially in the dunes.

Observations:
I have a hard enough time with horses. Mounting a predatory, stinking, pest-ridden beast in the heat of the desert and before men who were born to the saddle is much worse than mounting a horse. The worse you can get with a horse is trodden on, the worst with kaiila is eaten. At least the desert breed is somewhat more mellow than the northern kaiila and as content to munch on plants as people.

Chronicles of Gor – Worldbook sample ‘C’

Castes

FUND IT!

Caste System: Civilized Gor exists within a well developed and life-shaping caste structure. Everyone is born into a caste and, for the most part, will not change caste during their life. It is possible to, by companionship, apprenticeship or being accepted and initiated into the new caste, but most grow up proud of their caste and eager to take on its duties.

Children are considered to be of their father’s caste while female companions can retain their own caste or join their companion’s caste. While every caste has its secrets and its pride, regarding itself as essential, there are still divisions between the high castes and the low castes.

Rulers – administrators and Ubars – always come from the high castes and are advised by a council drawn from the high castes, though the Ubar need pay them no heed. Indeed, if a low caste ruler should ever rise, superstition tells that the city will fall to ruin.

Castes look after their own, providing caste sanctuary, contributing to caste based charities and taking part in entertainments and competitions determined by caste. Not all members born to a caste are necessarily talented enough to take up the main job associated with that caste. The physicians, for example, can only make the subtleties of their advanced medicine known to the most intelligent of those who enter the caste. Others may find work delivering medical products, working to grind ingredients or acting as couriers, taking scrolls of recipes and discoveries from one city to another.

Male children are trained in the workings of the caste from birth, alongside the rest of their education while women are not typically trained in the skills of the caste until they have given birth to two children. Despite this, many women run households, small businesses or make businesses of hobbies. They also often act as the ‘front’ of the caste, representatives of the rest of their caste in negotiations.

Outlaws and slaves lose their caste rights, though a freed slave may be able to reclaim them.