A Tour of Gor …
In this new segment, Unwritten will take you on a journey through Gor. Find out the latest happenings, what it means to play in Gor, and other amazing tidbits surrounding the genre.
The Home Stone By Unwritten
Upon being asked to write a blog piece about Gor my mind was instantly overcome by a multitude of potential topics. You see, dear reader, I’ve been a part of the Gorean community for more years than I care to actually admit and, of course, along with that comes the reading of many, many Gorean books. I do not lack for inspiration or information. In fact, sometimes it feels as if I harbor way too much of both! So when it became time to choose a topic to write about I had many ideas, but soon I realized that there was no more perfect, more meaningful place to begin than at the center of it all – the Home Stone.
What is a Home Stone? A mere piece of rock? Is it only a legend? Is there just one true Home Stone? Does everyone on Gor have one? The answers to all of this can be considered simple, and yet, they are complex as well.
The Home Stone is the figurative heart of any Gorean settlement be it a big city, a small town, or even the most tiny, dilapidated hut. Without the Home Stone the settlement, in the minds of Goreans, ceases to exist. People may remain and the walls may be standing still, and yet they are only a shell of something whose life has been lost, much like the human body. The body does not cease to exist if the heart is gone, but also the body does not hold any life within it without the heart. The city does not make the Home Stone. The Home Stone makes the city. Even if an entire town is razed to the ground, completely destroyed, not a single building left standing – if the Home Stone has survived, the town, too, has survived and can be rebuilt. Men will sacrifice their lives fighting to protect the Home Stone and, I hazard to guess, women would do the same, or at the very least, they may sacrifice their freedom, if they felt it was necessary to protect the Home Stone. Men of the same town who may be at odds or even hate each other to the point of coming to blows against each other would lay aside their quarrels and fight, side by side, together, to protect their shared Home Stone. It is something that is infinitely more important than any personal values, desires, or grudges. A shared Home Stone means protection for the Goreans it is shared with – both men and women. It is something that is revered and often evokes great emotion and pride, much like the flags and other iconic symbols of the various nations upon Earth. In some cities, even, a Gorean’s citizenship is contingent upon ceremonies revolving around the Home Stone in which oaths are pledged and offerings may be left. One’s birth within a particular location does not always denote them a citizen, as it may upon Earth. Citizenship and, along with it, the right of sharing a Home Stone is not taken lightly and must be earned by way of showing one’s intentions and virtue to that of the Home Stone which will be shared with all the others who have done the same.
The name of the planet is Gor and, in each language spoken upon the planet, the word “Gor” means the same thing – Home Stone. However, that being said, the Home Stone in its actual existence, beyond the planet as a whole, is, actually, just a rock. It may be small or large, smooth or ragged, plain or fancy. The amount of adoration a Gorean will have for their Home Stone is not based on its size or richness, but merely its presence. A Gorean will not care if his city’s Home Stone is small. It is his Home Stone. He will cherish it and protect it no matter its size or appearance. So yes, it is just a piece of rock and yet it is so much more as it means everything about the literal life and survival of his locale.
To many Goreans the Home Stone of any other place outside their own home is a myth of sorts. A man of Ar would likely believe that the people of Tetrapoli had a Home Stone of their own and perhaps even have heard tales of the Tetrapoli Home Stone, but he’d probably not have the chance to actually lay his eyes upon it. So, to him, the Home Stone of Tetrapoli would be akin to a legend – something he’d heard of, possibly believed to be true, and yet had no solid proof of. It would be basically unheard of for any settlement to not keep their Home Stone in an exalted location and also, most probably, under protection, perhaps even by way of lock and key and armed guards. They are that proud of their Home Stone, and it is that important and vital to their lives and the continuation of their city or town. Strangely, there is a bit of a paradox here, however. Whereas men will fight to the death to protect their own Home Stone and any attempt to steal the Home Stone would be viewed as the most atrocious crime to be ever committed, it is seen as a great victory to steal or ruin another location’s Home Stone. The man that manages this feat would be hailed as a glorious warrior, perhaps the most superior of warriors within his city. On the other hand, the man that managed to let his Home Stone be taken would be then seen as a mere stooge, a laughingstock, and it is very likely punishment would come, perhaps even in the form of a cruel, public spectacle of death. Punishment, again even possibly being that of death, could also come into play another way in regard to Home Stones. For one to claim a Home Stone as their own when it is truly not is a vile crime in the eyes of the Goreans. The telling of such a lie would be a huge risk to take.
There are many Home Stones upon Gor. As I already said, each location, no matter how big or small, claims a Home Stone of their own. Though that means the numbers of these stones are many, to a Gorean, there is only one true Home Stone – his own. Those outside of his city only have the value of exaltation through his victorious attempt to steal the Home Stone. It is known, however, that many Goreans, while pledging to their own Home Stone, may recognize the significance of another man’s Home Stone and choose to honor its importance by way of not interfering with the other Home Stone. Perhaps it comes down the choice between the lust for status and the adherence to personal honor.
Not all Goreans have a Home Stone. Outlaws, those who lay claim to no particular town, city, or exact culture and those who have been shunned and cast out of their town, do not have a true Home Stone. The Priest Kings, those who rule over much of Gor via their control of the Initiates who act as agents on their behalf, do not have a true Home Stone. It could be postulated that, in their control of nearly the whole planet, which in itself is, literally, the definition of Home Stone, that the planet itself is the Home Stone of the Priest Kings. Slaves, who can not maintain citizenship nor hold legal status as people, but instead are only chattel and property, also do not lay claim to a particular Home Stone. A slave has no rights upon Gor, including the right to pledge their loyalty to anyone Home Stone and in turn receive its protection.
Within the scope of online roleplay many people use the term “home” and “Home Stone” interchangeably. In Gorean reality this is not entirely accurate. The location is not truly considered alive, or existing, without the Home Stone and, in turn, if the Home Stone is taken or broken, the locale would be considered dead. Therefore, they can not possibly be the same, or synonymous, because the existence of one is contingent upon the existence of the other. A home and Home Stone are definitely interdependent, however.
Thinking again of Gorean roleplaying online, I am proud to say that my characters hearts beat because the heart of Minus, Her Home Stone, exists in eminent, illustrious fashion. Do you have a Home Stone? If so, have you portrayed the act of pledging your loyalty to it? If you have not – you should.