Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

For the Rules, Character Workshop, and other general discussion of the game.

Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Graybeard » April 30th, 2012, 6:37 pm

Here's an opportunity for some collaborative world building. Action in the Veracian threads (as it makes sense to call them, even though the group isn't in Veracia at the moment) is about to shift to the Northern Confederacy city-state of "Goriel," possibly for some time. At the moment, all we know of Goriel is that it is no place to be a woman. Women are treated as property or outright slaves there, and judging from proceedings with the mysterious red-haired woman (of whom more in a week or two), women who try to escape are liable to be tracked down and killed. Sounds like a really appealing place, doesn't it? :shock:

But that's about all the flesh on the bones at the moment. I'm having trouble getting into a sufficiently misogynistic frame of mind to invent much else about the place, other than the things that follow from its being in the Northern Confederacy (i.e., city-state within a loose confederation, probably some advanced non-magical weaponry, and so on). How about we work together to figure out what its culture might be like? Post ideas here, and let's see what takes shape.
----
Image
Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
 
Posts: 6710
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico, Estados Unidos

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Alberich » April 30th, 2012, 7:23 pm

Here's my image of what such a place would be like:

The dominant reality is violence. The State, if there is one, is not in a stable state of "legitimacy" - it holds onto power by brute force, like a medieval monarch always concerned about a challenger, but not strong enough to decastellize the nobility. "Who can, may."

The dominant social force is the clan (tribe, family, pick your name); and what safety is found there is found within it. Men and women alike belong to the clan, and are obligated accordingly. A clan-girl who isn't married yet is under the control of her father and brothers. If she has an affair before marriage, or refuses to marry the man her father picks, she brings shame upon the clan, and his attitude is Lord Capulet's to Juliet:

"Graze where you will, you shall not house with me.
Look to ’t, think on ’t, I do not use to jest.
Thursday is near. Lay hand on heart, advise.
An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend.
An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I’ll ne'er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good.
Trust to ’t, bethink you. I’ll not be forsworn."

A young man showing cowardice in a fight (or refusing to avenge a slight on the clan's honor) will get the same treatment; his courage and fierceness are his primary duties, as his sister's chastity and obedience are hers. Sexual potency is part of his creed of manliness, so every man's got to pretend to be supremely virile (even if he's middle-aged and impotent), and this can run up against the other values in a way that leads to violence.

Work and productivity fall way behind in the scale of values, so I'd expect such a country to be pretty poor overall.

Slights to clan honor must be avenged; but the corollary is that everyone learns how to avoid such slights, so that extreme (but superficial) politeness is the rule, and honesty is at a low premium. Calling someone a liar, or a false swearer, will get you killed, but everybody lies, as a matter of course. As a Gorielian if he can do something for you, and you get effusive promises...but whether he will, or even can, do what he has said, that is another story.

Any man, woman, boy, or girl who is not a member of a clan is fair game. This includes the ones who've been thrown out for dishonoring the clan (or because a stronger authority forced them to throw them out). Fair game for murder, rape, enslavement, or whatever else you're strong enough to do -- and given the young men's eagerness to prove their virility as well as their braveness and fierceness, such a fate is all too likely for such poor wretches. Neither the state nor the local chieftain will care - they protect their own, and define "their own" in a brutally narrow way. That is why foreign travellers, especially female, are in worse immediate danger than the natives.

Prostitutes - clanless by definition - can be raped without pay, unless their "protectors" can muster enough force to prevent that from happening, and have a much lower social status than they do in Veracia (where they are tolerated provided they keep to the shadows), let alone Tsuiraku. Sexual outlets other than marriage (prostitutes, homosexual acts, bestiality) are used all the time but rarely if ever admitted to.

Foreign missions survive if they come in sufficient force to establish themselves as clans, with the power to avenge on the spot, or if the natives are convinced their home governments will mount a strong enough punitive expedition to make killing and looting them not-worthwhile. (Whether Veracia's reputation is so fierce, that's a separate question.)
Last edited by Alberich on April 30th, 2012, 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1840
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Drusia » April 30th, 2012, 7:44 pm

Huh. Okay then. Let's think.

Typically, misogny like this stems from an initial division in gender roles followed by a devaluation of the female role - ie, a society where the separation between the male role and female role is very extreme, and where the local patriarchy has taken efforts to devalue the role of women accordingly. There are several historical examples.

The easiest (and one probably familiar to most here) is Europe after the fall of Rome. In that case, the separation was caused by the male, patriarchial role leaning towards the military - warlords divided up the remains of the empire and tribes began forming into small kingdoms ruled by kings (ie warlords) and knights (their officers) who could control the land. Women were mostly delegated to child rearing and maintaining the hearth. At that time, the division was distinct, but not entirely unequal. However, as Kingdoms grew, more of the 'womens' jobs were taken over by servants. Worse yet, in an attempt to secure a patriarchal church, the Catholic church attacked independent women under the aegis of "witches" destroying the female practice of herbcraft. Between the loss of one of their most important jobs (medicine) and the church actively attempting to remove strong female icons from the faith (the reimagining of Mary Magdeliene as a prostitue occured during this time period for that very reason) women were demoted from a more equal position to one of utter subservience.

The Northern Confederacy has the small kingdom thing going for it - collections of city states like this often war amoungst themselves for territory, so that satisfys the war-like state that often causes a gender separation and a devaluation of female-related skill sets.

I don't know much about the religion in the NC - is it Luminosan? Something else?
If Luminosan, I could see a particularly anti-woman sect quickly skewing a city in that direction.
If something else - I recommend either a very patriarchal religion or some sort of "might is right" philosophical bent. Oh - or possibly a well-meaning-but-inheriently-misognisitic viewpoint might work too - Confusism leaps to mind. The religion/philosophy states that men are more enlightened than women, and questions whether women are capable of enlighenment. It doesn't say they are bad - just inferior. However, society then uses the religion to justify inhumane treatment of women because they aren't really people, according to the great wise one, who didn't mean that at all.

Alternatively, there could have been another factor rather than religion. Some other parcipitating event that caused distrust of women - distrust leading to oppression leading to the current state. Some ideas on that:
Perhaps a female Errant once went on a violent, magical rampage in Goriel. The locals, not realizing that the elf-blood was the issue, begin fearing that ANY woman could turn into a "witch" at any moment.
Another possiblity might be that some important individual in Goriel was assassinated by a female member of the Einsigerum at some point, causing a similar distrust.

Another possibility might have been a particularly corrupt ruler. He might have kept a Harem, or executed wives that displeased him (like certain historical figures in Europe) and the rest of the city began to imitate him. Perhaps he even passed laws to support his actions, and thus allowed everyone to behave in a similar fashion.

... that's what I've got at the moment. More an origin - logic behind it sort of thing. Let me know what you guys thing.

-- Drusia
User avatar
Drusia
Veteran of the Errant War
 
Posts: 1293
Joined: September 7th, 2009, 9:53 pm

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Drusia » April 30th, 2012, 7:54 pm

Alberich wrote:Here's my image of what such a place would be like:
**snip**


Okay, everything I just said - it leads to everything Alberich just said.

Seriously, Alberich, that was a freakin awesome description of exactly the sort of place I was thinking about the origins of. Well said. ^^ I approve of this description.

I mean, it is sick and awful, but for the purposes of what we're looking for, that is spot on perfect.
User avatar
Drusia
Veteran of the Errant War
 
Posts: 1293
Joined: September 7th, 2009, 9:53 pm

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Alberich » April 30th, 2012, 7:55 pm

Why, thank you!

I think the Confederacy can't be all Luminositan (especially not Orthodox), or they'd actually be part of Veracia. In fact, in a world like this I'd expect them to be religiously fragmented...maybe even within countries, especially one like Goriel.
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1840
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Graybeard » April 30th, 2012, 11:14 pm

Alberich wrote:I think the Confederacy can't be all Luminositan (especially not Orthodox), or they'd actually be part of Veracia. In fact, in a world like this I'd expect them to be religiously fragmented...maybe even within countries, especially one like Goriel.

Yes, we know little of religious practices in the Poe-verse other than what the elves and trolls do, to the extent that we've seen them, and the Veracian Church. However, there must be some. One thing that has intrigued me for years is that there is a temple in the Ensigerum village. A temple to what? Certainly not Luminosita; the Ensigerum are clearly contemptuous of the Veracian religion. And not the elven gods either; the Ensigerum would be aware of their reality, but wouldn't want anything to do with them, since they're not particularly friends of the elves any more. But there has to be something.

Your idea of a religiously fragmented Goriel makes sense, although it would probably be best to assume the Veracian church didn't make it this far. The Veracian consulate, of course, will be a temple too, but one would expect them to have little or no luck making converts, and they might not even try. And of course, no Temple of the Divine Dwarf! :lol: Otherwise, potentially anything goes. Note that the red-haired woman, who is eventually going to play a very important (PC scale) role in what happens there, does have some definite religious leanings, which will be introduced when I write her up ... and it'll make sense, in a most peculiar way. However, her beliefs would not necessarily be widespread, or even found at all, in Goriel itself.

BTW, I second Drusia's positive words about your analysis, and I got and understand your private message. So subject to that message, let's brainstorm some more! And not be overly burdened with having Goriel line up too closely with anything in the real world; this game isn't in that world, after all.
----
Image
Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
 
Posts: 6710
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico, Estados Unidos

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Drusia » May 1st, 2012, 2:04 am

Alberich wrote:I think the Confederacy can't be all Luminositan (especially not Orthodox), or they'd actually be part of Veracia. In fact, in a world like this I'd expect them to be religiously fragmented...maybe even within countries, especially one like Goriel.

Graybeard wrote:Your idea of a religiously fragmented Goriel makes sense,


Agreed. All that follows my understanding of the Poeverse as currently established.

So. Fragmented religion with city-states screams "patron deity" to me.

Idea 1) Goriel would likely have a single major god (male, one would assume) who is the guardian of the city. Perhaps this god has some relation to the other Confedearcy gods, perhaps not - it doesn't really matter.

Idea 2) Each CLAN within Goriel has a patron deity. Feuds between clans can ignite to the point of being minor religious wars. All the clan deities make up a patheon, but it is a fracticious and war-like pantheon. The ruling clan likely places their clan deity above the others - a long-time ruling clan might have the father deity as their patron deity. If clan leadership changes more often, then the major clans are likey likely patroned by brother deities who could defeat one another for leadership as the clans do so. If any female deities exist, they are wives or mothers to the male deities and likely act as patrons to the clan-less or slaves.

Idea 3) Religion is no longer considered relevant or worth bother in Goriel. The former gods or goddesses are shunned, the temples in ruins or torn down for other building projects. People in Goriel scoff at the idea of worship, and are insulting and condescending to those who show signs of faith, religious afiliation, or supersticion.

Of these ideas, I think I like 2 best - it seems to fit well with Alberich's view of the clan structure within Goriel.

Graybeard wrote:And not be overly burdened with having Goriel line up too closely with anything in the real world; this game isn't in that world, after all.


True, but I was mostly using real world examples as a guideline to how a society can get to this point.
User avatar
Drusia
Veteran of the Errant War
 
Posts: 1293
Joined: September 7th, 2009, 9:53 pm

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Sareth » May 1st, 2012, 4:22 am

Okay, this'll be "fun", as I am having tO do this by phone. There are going to be a lot of oddities resultant, but if I corrected them all I'd be at this all night. This is why I usually just go on hiatus when things go to hell, but I think this is important enough to deal with the significant inconvenience.

Anyway, I've read all of the above and I am impressed at the reasoning and discussion. Awesome stuff. At this point I'm going to neither endorse or poopoo any of it. I just want to add some experiential knowledge. Yes, I said "experiential".

I've been involved in Second Life for a good... Three years or so? Within that multiply massive virtual word there are a *large* number of areas that model themselves after the Gor novels. Being a curious, relatively nonjudgmental feminist scholar I found myself invited to several of them at various times. I don't know if it was because I was curious, nonjudgmental, scholarly, or a very cute little Asian female whose breasts were small, but clearly "old enough". So I've had opportunity to actually see something quite close to what the NC could be like.

One of the most important things was the diversity (which I was pointedly informed was true to the books). Gorrian regions ran from stone age nomads to dry late medieval/very early Rennaisance science and arts. That being said, certain things were found in most areas:

Society was organized by clan structures. A small family would bunch with close relatives to form a subclan, subclans formed the clan. Clans could form larger kingdoms, but these were actually pretty confederate, as the true power resided with the clans, and the kingdoms were more places for trade agreements, airing grievances, and mutual protection.

Leadership was dictated with "might makes right", but was actually reasonably short on true violence outside of full on wars. In practice, (male) strength defined rank and position, although family and political connections were a factor. Most of the time internal disputes or attempts to assume a higher position of authority were resolved through posturing and bellowing, and some fisticuffs, rather than swords. So two men fighting for positions of power will usually threaten violence, flex muscles, scream, brag, trash talk, throw the occasional punch, but not do anything actually life threatening. Eventually it will begin to become clear who is stronger in all ways, not just muscle, and that one will give the other(s) ways to save face without looking weak, and things are settled. There aren't rules or laws against life and death, it's just not common as it wastes strong men who are better used killing enemies of the clan. A good comparison would be bull elk during the rut.

Guest rights are Serious Business. If a Gorean man invites someone into their home they are honor bound to protect the guest and show great magnanimity to the guest. This includes sumptuous meals, gift giving, and *cough* guest right to one of the best slaves *cough* for the duration of the visit. The guest is expected to reciprocate with smaller gifts and less important slaves of his own. Often the formalities surrounding all of this take place in front of the hearth stone, as that is the symbolic heart of the home owner's authority, power, and household.

Slavery is universally practiced. Both men and women can be owned as slaves. Slaves have no protection by law, but are killed or maimed seldom. Remember, they are valuable property! Maiming or killing is used in extreme cases. Beatings and other punishments are common. Slaves can rise to be fairly well off in the household, receiving a degree of authority and trust, but they are ultimately slaves.

Sexual submission is the norm for slaves to the degree that many are taught not just to display themselves (by which i mean their "assets") with military-like precision and discipline, but they are even taught to be able to continue doing household tasks like scrubbing the floor or grinding grain with no slowdown or loss of quality while being *cough* "used" *cough*. This is much more common for female slaves than male slaves, but it's not worthy of note to see male slaves so used. Heterosexuality is the norm, but gay and lesbian use of slaves is common.

Free women often can own property, including slaves, and can rise to positions of considerable authority and even leadership amongst many Gorean regions. However, in most cases they are still secondary to men of similar position. Free women are as safe walking alone as their connections and influence can make them. Attacking and using a highly placed woman of a powerful clan can lead out to near-genocidal war. Attacking a low ranked free girl (or boy) from an insignificant clan is often utterly meaningless to anyone but the victim. In fact the victim may even be sold to the attacker at "used" prices to curry favor! Slaves? Attacks on slaves only cause issues if it lowers the value or makes the slave fail in her (or his) task (or if the slave is a particular favorite). (As a side note, I knew of, but was never given an invitation to visit some "Amazon" Goreans. From what I heard, these ranged from mere role reversal all the way to true-to-the-myth regions where males were only allowed to live long enough to plant the seeds of the next generation and then slaughtered.)

Slavery is often a centerpiece of community entertainment. Competitions similar to dressage are one example, where the prize is given to the master who can best run his slave through various of the poses without speaking. Points are awarded for time, precision, and economy of motion. Another example are mock slave hunts, where masters bring slaves to arenas or dedicated wildernesses and turn them loose. Then free folk will be sent to capture the slaves without harming them. Betting on slave favorites and skilled free folk are major factors. Masters will always offer rewards for capture of their slaves, ranging from small amounts of coin all the way up to sexual rights or even ownership. Slaves who successfully avoid capture are often rewarded, sometimes even earning freedom if they do it often enough. Some free women also participate as either hunter or "slave", offering their own rewards and bets. Though it's fairly uncommon, those free women who become "slaves for a day" actually can become respected and powerful if they are particularly skilled at evading or generous with their rewards. Slaves and freedmen alike can become celebrities if they are skilled enough and frequent enough. (Essentially this would be like a bloodless form of gladiatorial entertainment.)

Goreans typically have household/clan gods, though I never figured out if this was animist or ancestor worship.

Take what you want from this, and throw the rest out.

(note: as I said, I was using a small but sexually mature Asian female during my encounters with Goreans. However, as a curious outsider in Second Life I was treated as a guest, but never required to participate. I actually found it interesting to observe, but seldom participated beyond complying with the dress code for a free woman. This being SL they were quite diplomatic. A "real" Gorean setting would be far less accommodating, I would expect.)
Image
Image
User avatar
Sareth
RPG All-Star
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: August 23rd, 2007, 8:54 pm

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Alberich » May 1st, 2012, 5:45 am

Graybeard wrote:[A] religiously fragmented Goriel makes sense, although it would probably be best to assume the Veracian church didn't make it this far. The Veracian consulate, of course, will be a temple too, but one would expect them to have little or no luck making converts, and they might not even try.


Makes sense. If a clan did convert to orthodoxy, it wouldn't be a "deep" conversion. The others would see it as a submission to foreign control; the convert clan would see it as gaining a powerful outside ally; there would undoubtedly be violence, possibly precipitated by the weak-but-but-not-that-weak central government in alliance with native clans that fear foreign domination, and Veracia would be forced either to lose its client and lose face, or get involved in a war it isn't involved in at the time of ES. (And from what we've seen of them, probably wouldn't want to be.)

Instead, I'd expect the Veracians to monitor the political situation among the clans, and wait 'til they judged they could expediently make some converts before they began to try. Which probably means waiting for the aftermath of the next serious civil war, when they could snap up a few exhausted clans, protect them 'til they renew their strength, and end up with a bloc that can either defy or become the new central government.

I like Drusia's "clan gods" idea. I shouldn't expect any Gorielian clan to have "universalist" ideas -- "the god we worship created the world and is the only real one, that everyone should worsip" -- but something closer to henotheism -- "the gods we worship are the protectors of our clan and are strongest on our land; when our people fight, different gods are on different sides." I think most clans should have multiple gods with their own family relations and myths (reflecting the clan's actual history, when a weaker clan was absorbed rather than annihilated, or a subclan was annihilated but they put up enough of a fight that the survivors wanted to appropriate their god).

Exceptions to this rule might make good plot points to be revealed in play -- might even be related to the Blaise plot, and whatever "religious" ideas he picked up Down South. We have a theory floating around that he worships Exitalis, and has miraculous powers to go along with that. (And if that turned out to be so, it might give Desiree a stronger reason to stay involved, since "worshipping Exitalis" is so horrifyiing to her.)

'course...a Gorielian clan with a few wizards in the mix, in addition to having its own family gods, might even create its own mini-Luminosita...hell, Blaise might even be coming here to get control of one or tap its power. But I'm not going to make pronouncements on that. (Yet.)
Alberich
Noble Knight Protector
 
Posts: 1840
Joined: October 5th, 2008, 9:58 am

Re: Goriel's culture: let's collaborate

Postby Drusia » May 1st, 2012, 11:05 am

Sareth wrote:I've been involved in Second Life for a good... Three years or so? Within that multiply massive virtual word there are a *large* number of areas that model themselves after the Gor novels. Being a curious, relatively nonjudgmental feminist scholar I found myself invited to several of them at various times. I don't know if it was because I was curious, nonjudgmental, scholarly, or a very cute little Asian female whose breasts were small, but clearly "old enough". So I've had opportunity to actually see something quite close to what the NC could be like.
(note: as I said, I was using a small but sexually mature Asian female during my encounters with Goreans. However, as a curious outsider in Second Life I was treated as a guest, but never required to participate. I actually found it interesting to observe, but seldom participated beyond complying with the dress code for a free woman. This being SL they were quite diplomatic. A "real" Gorean setting would be far less accommodating, I would expect.)


Wow. Um... okay, I'm going to sound like a noob here, but I always thought Second Life was like the Sims meets Facebook. You know, modern. This... well, this makes SL sound very different than what I'd pictured. Once I've finished grading finals, I might just check it out. If I do - want to be my tour guide? ^^

Anyway, SL aside, I liked the slave relations stuff. It seems to fit well with the social and religious stuff we've already worked out. We might want to make it a little less nice (since SL probably needs to be nicer to avoid alienating players) to match better with what Alberich described before. Otherwise, I think we're good.

Also... the name (Gor novels) and Poe's comment... was himself Poe making a reference to these Gor novels?

Graybeard wrote:(And if that turned out to be so, it might give Desiree a stronger reason to stay involved, since "worshipping Exitalis" is so horrifyiing to her.)


Only in theory. Right now, the mere mention of Exitalis makes Desiree want to run screaming in the opposite direction. If confronted with this, I think her plan would be something more like "flee home, find mother, have mother go to the Elves, have her mother lead a large group of Peregin and Elven military to go stomp Exitalis worshiper into the ground".

Which... actually sounds like a pretty interesting and effective plan, assuming that all the half-elven characters hid for the duration (which doesn't seem likely).
User avatar
Drusia
Veteran of the Errant War
 
Posts: 1293
Joined: September 7th, 2009, 9:53 pm

Next

Return to OOC Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron