When are we, exactly?

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Glaucon
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When are we, exactly?

Postby Glaucon » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:16 pm

Came up in another thread, and I thought it might deserve a post of it's own (even though I think it was once discussed here, long ago):

Most people in Gor (as far as I am aware) don't bother much with the question of 'when' our RP is supposed to take place. We RP in an alien setting. A fantasy setting doesn't really come with a 'when' either, typically. So, why worry about that? What matters is what happened to Donard, Genesa and the nameless assassin that came in, last week, and how it will potentially affect the RP today or tomorrow. It's Gor.

The books do provide us with a time, of course, because a part is set on earth, and because the book's narrators talk about earth, at times. It is the 'now' (or at least, the now when the books were written).

To me, it doesn't really matter much. Whether it is set in 1930 (Gor before the arrival of Tarl and the events from the books) or 2201 (way past that). Because war doesn't... I mean, Gor doesn't change (much). But in so far as I have thought about it, I always considered the 'in game time' to be the same as the time and date in RL. So, if I was playing SL Gor in 2009, I considered myself sorta playing on Norman's fictional Gor in 2009 too. So, while I was flying my Tarn, Lady Gaga would be big on earth, and Obama into his second term.

So, when do you imagine your RP to take place? Do you think about it at all? Does it matter to you?
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Tamar Luminos
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Tamar Luminos » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:19 am

Huh. You know, I never really thought about that. Many sims I play in have a "set" year or timeline, so I just go with that, but there are a lot of (esp. Gor sims) that don't- so I suppose I generally consider my Gor roleplay in those to have taken place after the events of the books, or at least, the ones I've read...think I only got about halfway through Witness.
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Anarch Allegiere
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Anarch Allegiere » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:21 am

This is an interesting question...

As someone who handles applications in Isle of Illyros, I actually have a few insights or experiences to make in regards to this.

We've had a few people, who came from other genres, trying Gor for the first time ever, and usually they were like: "Yeah, we want to come role play with you folks because we know you're cool from <other genre>; but we're new can you give us some information on the setting?" So I give them Gorean Cave, etc. even some parts of the Luther Scrolls because they wanted very specific city information.

I don't hear from them anymore for quite a few days, wondering maybe they changed their minds, fair enough.

Only then a bit later one pokes me again and starts asking questions: "Is this before or after the Cosian War against Ar? Are there still pirates on the Vosk? etc. etc." - it was interesting because it was the first time someone ever asked me these questions, which, when it comes to the storyline and background options of characters might make a big difference.

So I explain our timeline is roughly at the beginning of the books, -before- Cos invades and conquers Ar. I don't see him again for days, but when he finally submitted his application I was hugely impressed. It was very expansive and touched upon events from the books, very rarely, but usually well done and suddenly it started making sense to me why he asked so many questions and why some of them might've sounded weird, but he had used all those details to create a really rich and interesting character that would have a lot of background to pool storylines, motivations, weaknesses and goals from. To this day it's still one of the most interesting applications I've received.

It's the kind of attention to details you almost never see from anyone in SL Gor, and for being absolutely new to the genre he delivered a masterpiece of a background that instantly told me he had more understanding and insight into the genre than people who have been role playing in it for years. These new people from other genres generally all gave me that impression, that they find the details important and that they do a lot of research before they try to make a character that fits in. It's a +1 for those other SL RP genres in my book, to witness that, and a -1 on the scoreboard for SL Gor. There are a lot of people who will proudly claim: "I've RPed in SL Gor for 10+ years," but who seemingly have only used that experience to grow used to extremely bad old habits.

Such details might seem minute, but in the grand scheme of things they aren't. The landscape of Gor got changed rather drastically over the storyline of the books, relevant to Illyros for example pre-Tarl Port Kar is a lot different from post-Tarl Port Kar (same goes for Tharna), same goes for the other big players, same even might go in terms of what kind of Torvaldslander storylines we can expect, same goes for the (in our sim yet non-existing Panis), same goes for the activity of pirates on the Vosk, Same goes for knowing which cities are at war with one another, or had a past war, which /is/ important for us to know because we use those detail in our bigger sim storyline, or try and plan to...

This however does become a minute detail on the average SL Gor sim where people just make 'themselves' and then open a shop to sell bread and drink tea in the Inn. :p
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Tantus » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:12 am

Unless a sim specifies otherwise, I will assume a parallel timeline to Earth.

The general consensus in BTB Gor is, 2016 = 10167 Contasta Ar.
In March 2017, the year will turn to 10168 Contasta Ar.

When I last looked into it, I was of the opinion the year should be, 2016 = 10166 Contasta Ar. Back then there were a range of dates in use from sim to sim. Then the Gorean Campus happened, those scribes graduating from the academy standardised the date used by the Campus.

Almost every sim is on the same year now, but what I don't appreciate are people dating IC forms with:
On the Earth date of...
And worse, On the Barbarian date of....

In conclusion the roleplay on most BTB sims is current, and the books are history.
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BlueConover
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby BlueConover » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:49 am

Unless specifically stated.

I take it as the books made it.

how you can say your sim is time xyz but then allow characters that only evolve or become relevant in a later time after a time you specified as being "of this time zone" I dont understand.

I understand (from another thread) What glaucon is saying. Gor's major changes are from outside influences based on Earth thinking (Tarl) or because of the war between Kurii and the Priest Kings.

But the general day to day business for average gorean person, unless of major cities (which i have really not seen as being the main center of sims being rp'd) didn't change.

People were long lived and rarely died.
Weapon technology. Does not change.
Armor. Does not Change.
All because of "the will of the priest kings"

The entire basis is that the civilizations have stagnated and carry on because of this god moded ideas from JN IE anti Aging Serum and the will of the priest kings restricting human advancement so that they are never threatened by the people of Gor.

-shrugs- my irrelevant stupid completely wrong (because i dont agree with everyone) opinion.
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Glaucon
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Glaucon » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:38 am

Tantus wrote:Unless a sim specifies otherwise, I will assume a parallel timeline to Earth.

Is what I did. In so far as I thought about it. Which wasn't a lot.

And yes to what Blue said.

The example Anarch brought up (of the serious non-Gor player asking about the specific date) is interesting. Because it shows how most people in SL Gor are unused to thinking in these terms. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

But I do think it signals a difference between Gor and many other venues. In SWRP, the time setting does make a pretty big difference. Did the republic fall and the empire emerge, already? In an earth setting, whether you play in 1751, 1989, 1963 or 2017 makes A WHOLE lot of difference. In GoT (never played in those sims), I guess it also matters whether winter has come or not. ;)

Anarch Allegiere wrote:Such details might seem minute, but in the grand scheme of things they aren't. The landscape of Gor got changed rather drastically over the storyline of the books, relevant to Illyros for example pre-Tarl Port Kar is a lot different from post-Tarl Port Kar (same goes for Tharna), same goes for the other big players, same even might go in terms of what kind of Torvaldslander storylines we can expect, same goes for the (in our sim yet non-existing Panis), same goes for the activity of pirates on the Vosk, Same goes for knowing which cities are at war with one another, or had a past war, which /is/ important for us to know because we use those detail in our bigger sim storyline, or try and plan to...

You are right. Things do change in the books. Especially in the earlier ones. Whole cities (and budding empires) fall or change (Tharna, Kar, Ar, etc.). The political landscape changes (and the Science fiction stuff with the PK's and the Kur changes too, of course). It is not static.

But the overall world is, in a way. Dynamic, but cyclical. It fits in with the view of history often associated with ancient Greece (I think Norman must have read his Aristotle and Thucydides pretty well), the idea that history goes in circles. So, a city emerges, maybe from a trade center. And from that arises a civil semi-democratic government. If the city becomes a power-player, it is more likely to be controlled by a military leader (Ubar). See ancient Rome. The PK's don't want empires, so no one city will become all powerful, so it is likely to fall (like Ar), maybe to arise from the ashes once more. Cities may die, be reborn. Others may rise up. But the dynamic doesn't really change much. And the way of life of the people in those cities doesn't change radically, quickly (though Norman IS time-sensitive when it comes to culture, often pointing out how things can change over time).

So, if you were to imagine a Gor 200 years after the books, you might find that Cos is no longer any sort of power. Maybe Port Kar is the new Ar. Maybe Treve was found and destroyed utterly. Maybe the Vosk went dry. And maybe FW veils did go out of fashion. Or got replaced by full masks. Maybe Kajirae are now called Slutirae. :roll: But it would still be the same sort of thing: mostly independent cities doing their thing, sometimes warring, sometimes not, a few of the more powerful ones locked in long-term struggles. Sword and spears and shields. Tarnsmen. No muskets and cannons. Peasants working the land. No harvesting machines.

Many cities in SL Gor aren't supposed to be accurate portrayals of a city in the books at any particular point in time. Some are cities with names not featured in the books (which is fine, since not all cities are supposed to be mentioned). Many are, but usually not linked to any of the book-events.

Now, you obviously CAN create a sim and situate it just-so in the whole political landscape as described in the books. That does offer some detail RP-ers might make use of (like being able to talk about the wars and politics going on there or elsewhere). But you also LOSE something if you do that.

If you are writing a historical novel, you accept certain confines. You can have your 19th century rakish protagonists meet Queen Victoria. Maybe even share a secret kiss with her. But you can't have him topple her from her throne, assume the kingship of the United Kingdom and invade France. It stops being a normal historical novel if you do that and becomes 'alternative historical fiction'.

If you are writing fantasy or science fiction, you have no such limitations. Anything can happen, including very big things, nations falling, planets exploding, etc. It offers a blank slate in terms of politics, war, etc. that you don't have if you stick to a pre-existing time-line of larger events.

So, in that sense, you limit what you and others can do if you pick a setting for a Gorean sim that is set during the on-going story of the books. Of course, SL being SL, it isn't likely that one city would utterly destroy another as a result of a war (because it is unlikely the sim-owner of the destroyed sim is going to go along with his SL project being influenced that much over IC events. He or she is paying for it, after all), but in theory, you could do things like that. But not if one of those sims is Corcyrus and the other Argentum if you set the time to be 1970 = 10121 Contasta Ar, because it will conflict with the lore.

Maybe it doesn't matter much. And I am not saying that having every RP avenue open is always 'the best' thing. But this would be a further reason why it might be a good idea to take the time-setting to be 'the now' (in 'earth terms').

And obviously... if sim 1 selects time X and sim 2 selects time Y, you will make it impossible for any cross-sim RP to exist between the two sims, as long as people pay attention to those details. Which may be the intention, all along.
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Anarch Allegiere
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Anarch Allegiere » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:49 am

Glaucon wrote:If you are writing a historical novel, you accept certain confines. You can have your 19th century rakish protagonists meet Queen Victoria. Maybe even share a secret kiss with her. But you can't have him topple her from her throne, assume the kingship of the United Kingdom and invade France. It stops being a normal historical novel if you do that and becomes 'alternative historical fiction'.


We approach it more in a sense of: 'Alright, you can make characters that fit into the lore' and from there on out based on role play or necessity to keep the story flowing the timeline might alter or turn out differently.

An alternate timeline is how we usually describe it. But the details are important, when we have people writing in their background story they fought Cos in a recent war, and someone joins the sim as a Cosian, that is instant background reasons for those characters to be at odds with one another, to give the most simplistic straightforward example of it.

Most SL Gor sims lose something because they don't do it however too. They don't recognize any past lore or have any local lore. Nobody can apply as a character that might have participated in a recent war, conflict or event, no characters who might've suffered from or be shaped by a (rich) history many other characters players or NPCs might've shared, nothing to ground them.

It's however a very important ingredient where story and direction is concerned.
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Glaucon
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Glaucon » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:28 pm

Alternative time-line is one way to go. You'd just not... really 'need it' if you were to situate the sim in the 'now' (unless Normal writes another book with stuff that conflicts, of course, but that can happen with anything we RP).

And I get your point. Having an eye for this sort of thing can help push the RP to a higher level. It always is a bit of a trade-off. Having a blank-slate allows maximum freedom for people to fill things in themselves. Having more lore/background to be taken into account can limit, but also ground people, give them something to go on.
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Ghost » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:24 am

When are we? we are now...who the hell knows when now is though ;)
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Re: When are we, exactly?

Postby Caranda » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:04 am

AFAIK the general consensus is that you can pick any point in the timeline of the novels that you like and that everyone can pick whatever time they like - so Ko-ro-ba can be undestroyed, destroyed or rebuilt. Marelenus may or may not be the Ubar of Ar, Ar may or may not be under Cosian occupation, slave wine can be in its former or advanced preparation, the Pani may or may not be known to Goreans yet etc etc
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