At the end of March of this year, I cleared my sim, then built a Gorean outpost that was supposedly on the edge of the Northern Woods. I played a slave to my co-administrator, and we set about attracting a population to our region. A friend of mine decided to give Gor a try, too, and plunked his region to my south. I dove into John Norman's horrible prose, and got a feel for the genre.
For awhile, things seemed to go fine, though I will say that from the very start it felt like an uphill battle. What didn't really become clear is that I had decided to start this venture at the wrong time of year - late spring, into summer. A goodly share of roleplayers - of ANY ilk - take off for the summer to do things with their families.
It was also a huge change for me. I was stepping into a very male dominated roleplay genre, and I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen. Even so, it's something I wanted to experience.
I distinctly remember chills going up my spine as I embarked on this adventure.
Everyone was gung-ho at first. We had one panther camp move into another portion of my sim, and yet another take up residence on my friend's sim to the south. The one moved onto my sim eventually had to go; we were shooting for "by the book" and they were "Gor evolved". I won't bother explaining the difference except to say that dancers and the like are NOT "Gorean".
They had had a friend come in and not only do a custom design on their part of the region, but she tried to do the same thing to my ENTIRE region. I got really irritated with this, and would let her go only so far. When we decided to tell the panther tribe they had to go, the head of it was still on my estate manager list and began to return random batches of prims before I got online and put an end to that. Along with returning their build, she returned parts of mine and my co-administrator's as well as a bunch of no-copy items belonging to the designer, who had lent them to us. The no-copy items never got back to her. In other words, it was a vicious mess.
Things went south on my friend's sim well before they went south on mine. The panther camp pretty much took over, and rather than putting his foot down, my friend kept their mouth shut until they just couldn't stand it anymore. One day, without warning, they announced that Gor had to get off the sim immediately and that it was going to be moved. Another vicious mess....and one that took a little bit to resolve. Yes, Gor was removed from the sim and yes, it was eventually moved, but not until my friend and I had exchanged some very heated words. Basically they just didn't realize how their panic affected me and others, all they knew is they wanted out.
I came to understand that pressing need to "get out" as time went on.
Those who know me best wondered what on earth got into me that I'd try Gor. It's everything against what I believe in. Why? Because I couldn't honestly say I didn't like it till I'd tried it and who knew what would happen? Within the last 6 months, I read every Gor book, with the exception of the last half of Smugglers of Gor, because, by that point, I was tired of Norman's constant hammering about how men were supposed to rule women.
What did I come away with? First off, it's a roleplay genre that doesn't expect people to change all that much. You put on some goofy outfits, true, but you are still just as human as you are behind the keyboard. Most colors are brown and black. Panthers get to wear neat things like feathers and such, but unless you're a high city slave, you don't get to wear much of anything colorful or flamboyant. Women weren't known for dying their hair. Only the lowest of slaves wore makeup. There weren't anything like high heels, or even contact lenses that could change your eyes. Don't even mention fancy ears or tails or anything like that - good gods, you didn't DARE wear anything like that. They weren't "gorean".
The things I had always loved creating usually involved some sort of particle - well, there was nowhere on Gor that my creations would have found a home, because there's not magick or fantasy on Gor. Thinking back, I'm forced to conclude that Norman's life was very colorless and dull, because his creations ended up being colorless and dull - and I don't care how often it was noted that the high cities painted their cylinders fancy colors (and whoever heard of living in a ROUND building, anyway? Do you know how hard it is to partition that off into rooms??).
Outposts and villages weren't known for a lot of color; in fact, they pretty much looked like the worst of the Medieval era. By the time our outpost evolved, it was enclosed in drab dark walls and full of drab dark Fanatik buildings. I think the creators of Fanatik are talented - however, why do things have to be so dark and dreary? It made me depressed.
I realize my co-admin, Saint, liked it, but it wore on me. I started finding reasons to put flowers in places, and do things that brightened things up. I started to internally twitch every time I wanted to do something, only to realize, or be told, it wasn't "gorean".
Once the southern sim moved, the gal that was leading the panther tribe there decided to try something a little different - a Pani settlement - and while it seemed to be gathering followers, it doesn't seem to be taking off quite as well as they thought it would once they moved it to their own homestead sim. Last I looked, their traffic was well below even 500.
I did lots of advertising, renting boards, getting our name out there. I joined a lot of groups and plugged everything on the region - our outpost, the Pani settlement. The leader of the Pani plugged her own community to the exclusion of ours. Hell - I even made a graphic that said "outpost and Pani settlement" and used it on all my ad boards.
I created G&S markets, took them down, rebuilt them. I bought G&S equipment for the outpost. I offered to teach people how to use things.
I worked my ASS off, for 6 months, only to be facing an outpost with so few residents, I could count them on one hand and have fingers left over.
Then, my co-admin, Saint, got bored, and started going off and playing with other panther tribes on other sims, till he found someone he really liked, and got collared to her. To this day he doesn't understand how that ended up feeling like a total betrayal, like he turned his back on everything, including me. Just because he didn't "mean" it like that doesn't mean it didn't "look" like that to just about everyone else, not just me.
He didn't tell me, till the very day that I announced the end of the outpost, that he was going to get free, kidnap her, and bring her back. I still don't quite believe it, to be frank.
Down came the outpost. Out went the notecards to remove our information from places. I left so many groups, I had 24 slots open. I even dropped friends, because, by this time, I didn't want to hear anything about Gor.
By this time, the Panis were gone, but I managed to get another Panther group in - this one contained shemales and hermaphrodites. That was just another thing Saint held against me and not liking the direction things had gone. Well, that was fine and dandy. I set about turning my half of the sim back into something more recognizable while they took over the Pani land and created a huge, extensive panther camp - that ended up being entirely empty the majority of the time. Heck - its leader was hardly ever there, and when she wasn't there, nobody else was, either. Toward the end of that, other people - people who weren't even a part of her tribe - were playing there.
Telehubs. I have come to hate them. They're necessary in Gor to keep people from just teleporting into any spot they please. You see, raiding is a big part of SL Gor. In order to keep raiders from just teleporting in wherever they please, you need a telehub, and to turn off direct teleport. You also need to turn off flying, for the same reason. Everyone has to start out outside of the walls and fight their way in.
Attitudes. I don't care how expert a roleplayer someone claims to be in Gor, there are still too many who can't separate the attitudes they have as characters from the attitudes they have as real people. I started out playing a slave, but I was still the region owner, and still the chief administrator. I went so far as to attend classes at Gorean Campus so I knew exactly how to admin and moderate. MY attitude wasn't the problem - everyone else's was. I got rid of one guy who chastised me, as a slave, when I was out-of-character, being an admin. I couldn't get rid of him and his girls fast enough.
Even when the attitudes weren't as blatant as the guy at the end of the last paragraph, they were there. I couldn't get male warriors in to save my life, even after the Pani girl added her male alt as an admin, and we added another guy as an admin, to beef up the male side of things. I couldn't find a tavern keeper that knew what he was doing and/or wanted to devote time to it, and you need someone who wants to take the time. I found a physician but he eventually left for a busier region. In the end, I just couldn't get the key players we needed in place to really kick things off.
I got the idea that perhaps people wouldn't be as hard on me if I weren't playing a slave, so I was "freed" and became a freewoman. Didn't matter, I still couldn't manage to get the people we needed.
In the end, I was forced to assume that if a woman is a sim owner, she'd best get married or something and let her husband control things, because, otherwise, you just aren't going to get much of anywhere.
In the end, the misogyny got me, and I turned my back on Gor, thoroughly disgusted. Even after I changed my side of the sim to something else, I was tweaked having Gor across the way, especially when it was empty most of the time. Ya gotta be crazy to rent over half a sim to someone for just 3000 prims. It's a losing proposition. I didn't want the telehub anymore, and I didn't want to "waste" so much land. I talked to the girl, who realized she needed to go someplace that was 100% gorean, and did so, before her rent was up.
I cannot explain the relief I felt to have my entire region back to myself, to do with as I saw fit. Gor was gone! No more telehubs! Direct teleport rules!
Within one night, I had things situated where I wanted them, with roughly 3/4 of the region devoted to my medieval/high fantasy. One section devoted to G&S markets, and the rest carved up for rentals.
Slowly, all the things I gave up are coming back. I didn't realize how much of me I had to shut down to be in Gor. I really didn't. I shut down my personal magick, which often expresses itself in my creativity, which was frustrated and stunted in the world of Gor. I couldn't make interesting particle effects, or display the ones I already made. I couldn't make things colorful and interesting, and totally not human.
Not doing that anymore.