(#24, Version 4.0)
There are a number of differences between Goreans and people of Earth. Some of these differences are subtle but have great impact. Most of these differences can be used to enhance your role-playing, to make you more Gorean. I have rarely seen a number of these differences used by Gorean SNs. Too many people role-play their character like someone from Earth. My goal is to list and explain a number of these differences and give players a better idea of what it means to be Gorean. Hopefully, players will begin to use some of these items to make more realistic Gorean characters.
1. Most of the differences of Earth people and Goreans are primarily cultural rather than biological or genetic. Many Goreans are descended from Earth stock. Goreans tend to be more physically fit and mentally acute, though not essentially superior, only provisionally. The primary differences are subtle and psychological. Earth men are more timid, vacillating, repressed, and subject to more guilt and anxiety.
2. The first word an Earth baby learns is commonly "no" while the first word a Gorean baby learns is "yes." This reflects a very basic difference in the philosophies of earth and Gor. Earth is based upon the denial of human nature. Gor is based upon its fulfillment. They welcome their instincts. Gor accepts the biological differences of men and women. Male dominance is pervasive among mammals and universal among primates. Gor accepts and embraces this concept. Earth chooses to ignore and repress this concept, embracing equality for all.
3. Gorean morality is based on inequalities, that individuals are quite different in many ways. It is a morality of masters. This morality is bent toward conquest and defiance. It encourages honor, courage, hardness and strength. The morality of Earth is a morality of slaves saying that we are all equal. The object of Gorean morality is to make people free and great.
4. Goreans, in general, regard many things in a much more intense and personal way than Earth men. Earth sees their world as essentially dead but Goreans think it is essentially alive. They pay attention to their environment and care for their world. They love nature and scenery and often know the names of various plants and animals. Goreans view forest fires with great horror. One who starts a forest fire is hunted down and burnt alive.
5. Race is not a serious matter generally for Goreans, perhaps because of the intermixtures of people. Gor consists of many different races and none are seen as being inferior to any other race. But, language, city and caste are matters of great importance to Goreans and provide sufficient basis for the discriminations in which human beings take such great delight. High Castes look down on the Lower Castes. Each city looks down on other cities. Those who speak Gorean look down on those barbaric peoples who do not speak it.
6. There is no Gorean expression for "country" in the precise sense of a nation. They tend to think of city-states and the lands they control. The notion of the fixed and absolute border is not a Gorean idea. Each city is commonly surrounded by a no-man's land of open ground on every side.
7. The pace of life in a city is not swift. Sometimes, when there is a beautiful sky, men will close their shops so that they can go to the high bridges and watch the sky. There is not the frenetic pace like Earth. Goreans rarely seem to be in a rush.
8. Art is taken very seriously. It is considered an enhancement to civic life. Many artists do not sign or identify their works for they feel that the art is important, not the creator. Artists feel grateful that they are permitted to create a work of art. Goreans love beauty and their songs and art are paeans to that glory.
9. Goreans are very sociable and enjoy giving dinners and having parties. At some fancy banquets, slaves may change their costumes, jewelry and even chains to match the courses of each meal. Goreans frequently attend many events like plays, concerts, arena combats and more.
10. Goreans take meticulous care in their dress and have great pride in their appearance. Most clothes are simple, loose and with flowing lines. Buttons are not used on a free person's clothes. They are either slipped on or held by brooches or pins.
11. Honor is important to Goreans, in a way that those of Earth might find it hard to understand. For example, those of Earth find it natural that men should go to war over matters of gold and riches, but not honor. The Gorean is more willing to submit matters of honor to the adjudication of steel than he is matters of riches and gold. There is a simple explanation for this as honor is more important to him than money.
12. Goreans tend to be tradition bound. They follow old customs and ways. They are not quick in many matters to accept innovation or change.
13. Gorean men may feel and express emotions without shame. It is not unmanly to weep openly. Even warriors are permitted such open displays of emotions. Do not be afraid to cry if the circumstances warrant it.
14. Gorean enemies, if skilled, often hold each other in high regard.
15. Goreans are not stupid. It is difficult to fool them more than once. They tend to remember. They learn from their past mistakes and have a good sense of history.
16. Many Goreans arise quite early.
17. Haggling is the rule in the markets and at the shops. There are no fixed prices. If you are trying to buy something, turn it into a bargaining session.
18. Goreans seldom draw steel unless they intend to make use of it. They do not make empty boasts.
19. Gorean marriage is called the Free Companionship and varies from Earth marriages in several ways. Free Companion only lasts for a single year and must be renewed by the twentieth Ahn of the anniversary date or it dissolves. Free women do not change their names in a Free Companionship. A specific contract for the Companionship is also usually drawn up, detailing all the arrangements of this union.
20. Chairs have special significance and do not often occur in private dwellings. They tend to be reserved for significant people such as administrators and judges. Most people find chairs uncomfortable. Gorean men, at ease, usually sit cross-legged. Females kneel, resting on their heels.
21. Most Gorean graves are not marked as they don't care for those things. They feel a man's deeds are what lives after him. No matter how insignificant or tiny one is, one is an ineradicable part of history. Funerals are very quiet, as at such a time words mean nothing and would demean or insult. There is only silence, memory and fire. Many important Goreans are burnt upon dead in pyres and their ashes put in urns. For a tarnsmen, his ashes may be scattered from tarnback, maybe over Thassa.
22. Illiteracy is common on Gor and is not taken as a mark of stupidity. Literacy usually follows by caste lines. Many Goreans, especially those of the Low Castes cannot read. Many warriors also are illiterate or pretend to be so.
23. A Double knowledge, what common people believe and what intellectuals know, exists on Gor. The Lower Castes have the First Knowledge, parts that are falsehoods fed to them by the Higher Castes. The Lower Castes believe Gor is flat and they know nothing of Earth. The Higher Castes have the Second Knowledge, which consists of many truths but which is still not complete. Few of the High Caste know the true nature of the Priest Kings and Kurii. Thus, there might be a Third Knowledge belonging to the Priest Kings.
24. Many Goreans have excellent memories. The poets, skalds and such of many Gorean cultures memorize vast amounts of stories, poem and songs. As many Goreans are illiterate, they must rely on their memories for many matters.
25. Kaissa, Gorean chess, is a very popular game. Almost all civilized male Goreans, of whatever caste, play. There are many clubs and competitions. Many Goreans can even play games without the use of a board, relying on memory alone.
26. Many Low Caste Goreans are reluctant to reveal their names. They have a use name and a real name. Often only close relatives know their real name. Knowing a real name supposedly gives one power, a capacity to use that name in spells and insidious magical practices. The High Castes usually use their names freely though the Lowers believe they have use names too. Most people give their name followed by their city.
27. Many of the Low Caste and some of the high Caste are superstitious. They believe that some people can read thoughts. They believe in magic and tell stories of the great wizards of far-off Anango. This superstition can lead to some gullibility.
28. Goreans are generally fond of children and do not inflict suffering on them. Even slave children are seldom abused and are given much freedom, until they reach adulthood. Many Gorean cultures are very permissive with their children.
29. The stabilization serums are a life extending treatment. They were developed some five hundred years ago by the Physician's caste. Thus, no one on Gor, except the Priest-Kings is more than about five hundred years old. The effect of the serums is an eventual, gradual transformation of certain genetic structures, resulting in indefinite cell replacement without pattern deterioration. This allows Goreans to live exceptionally long lives. This ability can be passed on to your children. But, it does affect all people differently. Sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes it wears off after only a few hundred years and sometimes it actually hastens aging. It is considered the right of all humans, free and slave, to have the serums. Thus, most of the people of Gor appear young and fit.