Free Women and their rolls
An Overview of Roleplaying Free Women in Second Life
The bare bones basics
What is a Gorean Free Woman
"There is no freer nor higher nor more beautiful woman," I said, "than the Gorean Free Companion. Compare her with your average wife of Earth." ==Nomads of Gor
A radical distinction is drawn between the Gorean free woman, with caste and Home Stone, and the slave. The free woman is lofty and noble; she is esteemed, exalted, and honored; she is respected and shown great deference. ==Smugglers of Gor
"A free woman!" suddenly exclaimed Glyco, startled.
From the kitchen there had emerged, in the robes of concealment, the figure of a woman.
The men, save I, rose as one to their feet, for Gorean men commonly stand when a free woman enters a room. ==Guardsman of Gor
The most common type of Woman on Gor is, by the books, the Free Woman. Over 90% of all women on Gor are Free. They are said to be respected, honored and protected by those Gorean Free Men who know them or who share a homestone with them. Some Free Women will even know the protection of those outside their homestone, though this is often through Free Companionship, they are the Companion of a Man of the City and are granted its protection because of that.
Many will claim that Free Women are just uncollared slaves, and for some women that is true. The real test of a woman comes if she chooses death over slavery, the woman who chooses death was a real Free Woman all along and her memory will be honored.
However this could all be Retoric in the books. Gorean men are much stronger than Gorean women, yet for some reason the number of slave women stays low, despite the books mentioning that certain types of Warriors are encouraged to go out and capture women from enemy cities. To me this indicates that there is something we are not seeing. Something that makes the Free Woman so highly desirable to have. It could be that the children of a Free Woman are guarenteed in almost every city to be Free. It could be that Gorean men just prefer Free Women for some reason Norman hasn't bothered to explain in the books.
But there is one thing to remember about the books. Within their pages is a choice for women, and it can be a hard one. The choice between being Self-relian, and hence Free or falling in love and surrendering to a man, and becoming his slave. While I don't think, myself, that the choice is that simple, as love can be more than just surrender. But it is the choice the books give to Women
What types of Free Women are there
There are an increadible number of types of Free Women, from the Companion and Mother, to the leader of cities. Free Women are found in every culture of Gor and in every social level, they are found in all but two castes for sure and probably not found in a third. Those are their only limits. Only Players, Initiates, and Assassins do not have women. And it IS possible that assassins do but are not talking about it, they keep many secrets and that is probably wise of them.
Besides the roles that they share with Free Men there are also those women who choose to become outlaws. The two most famous types of Outlaw Women are the Panther Girls of the Northern Forests and the Taluna of the jungles of Schendi. These women have rejected their tradional roles and left the safety of the cities to live fre and indepenant in the wilds of Gor. They make their living by hunting, trapping and trading. And they will even trap humans and sell them for slaves, mostly men who try to capture and enslave them.
How to Dress as a Gorean Free Woman
The Key Word for most Free Women in choosing their attire is modesty. A Gorean Free Woman will not willingly show very much skin. Bare arms are the mark of a slave as is a bare midriff. This seems to hold true for almost every type of Free Woman baring the Panther and Taluna. Some women, like the She-urts, who are girls who have somehow lost their homes and have no caste to offer them shelter, are forced by necessity to go about in almost slave's attire. But if they can a She-urt would happily and proudly don the robes and veils expected of the Women of the Cities where they live.
Depending on where you live you may or may not wear a Veil. Women of the City-States and the Tahari frequently wear them as a badge of honor and a show of pride, while others like the Red Savages, Alar and Torvaldlanders do not and show their facial features proudly. Then again they show their pride in being a Free Woman in different ways. A Torvaldland woman would not willingly go without her scissors or dagger, and a Red Savage would get her face painted by her companion as often as she could.
Because of the need to be cautious about appearing Slave-like, many women do not wear chokers or bracelets as they can be mistaken for slave-regalia. This is dependent on culture. While to some people a nose-ring is the mark of a slave from an exotic loation, to the Wagon Folk the golden nose ring is the mark of a Free Woman. About the only type of jewelry that is universally considered slave-like is the piercing of Ears. No Free Woman would EVER do so. And if one does have her ears pierced you can be sure she keeps her manumission papers on her and in good order.
Below are some samples of the outfits worn by women of different cultures in the books. Included in here are a couple of options for City Dwellers. That is the "Work Habit" which is worn by women who's jobs require them to do work that can get them dirty, and hunting attire.
Robes of Concealment- "The Robes of Concealment, in function, resemble the garments of Muslim women on my own planet, though they are undoubtedly more intricate and cumbersome. Normally, of men, only a father and a husband may look upon the woman unveiled. In the barbaric world of Gor, the Robes of Concealment are deemed necessary to protect the women from the binding fibers of roving tarnsmen. Few warriors will risk their lives to capture a woman who may be as ugly as a tharlarion. Better to steal slaves, where the guilt is less and the charms of the captive are more readily ascertainable in advance." ==Tarnsman of Gor
State Veil- Mentioned in Kajira of Gor it is worn over the Street Veil by women of high authority, such as Tatrix and Ubaras.
Street Veil- "The street veil, worn publicly, is extremely bulky, quite heavy and completely opaque, not even the lineaments of the nose and cheeks are discernible when it is worn." ==Slave Girl of Gor
House Veil- "The house veil is worn indoors when there are those present who are not of the household, as in conversing with or entertaining associates of one's companion." ==Slave Girl of Gor
Pride Veil- "Veil worn under the house veil and over the veil of the citizeness or freedom veil." ==Slave Girl of Gor
Freedom Veil- "Covers the last veil" ==Slave Girl of Gor
Last Veil- "The innermost of the veils worn by free women; it is worn under the veil of the citizeness, and is often very light." ==Slave Girl of Gor
Work habit of the City Free Woman - She wore a full, beige skirt, the hem of which fell to within some six inches of the ground, and slim, high, black-leather boots; a beige blouse, and a beige jacket, belted, which fell to her thighs; too, she wore a loose hood, attached to the jacket by hooks, of matching beige material, and an opaque veil, also of beige material. Such garments, far less formal than the common attire of the Gorean free woman, are sometimes worn by rich women in the supervision and inspection of certain sorts of holdings, such as orchards, fields, ranches and vineyards. They constitute, for such women, so to speak, a habit for work. Fighting Slave of Gor
City Free Woman's Hunting Attire- She was very lovely and attractive in her hunting costume, brief tunic and long hose, brown, a scarlet cape and cap, the cap with a feather. She carried a short, yellow bow, of Ka-la-na wood, which could clear the saddle of the tharlarion, its missile being easily released to either side. Her black boots, slick and shining, were spurred. A quiver of arrows, yellow, was at the left of her saddle. ==Beasts of Gor
Kassau - "Her hair was hung in a snood of scarlet yarn, bound with filaments of golden wire. She wore, over her shoulder, a cape of white fur of the northern sea sleen. She had a scarlet vest, embroidered in gold, worn over a long-sleeved blouse of white wool, from distant Ar. She wore, too, a log woolen skirt, dyed red, which was belted with black, with a buckle of gold, wrought in Cos. She wore shoes of black polished leather, which folded about her ankles, laced twice, once across the instep, once about the ankle." ==Marauders of Gor
Rence Growers- "Her gaze was clear; she had a dark blondish hair and blue eyes; her legs were a bit short, and her ankles somewhat thick; her shoulders were a bit wide perhaps, but lovely. She wore a brief, sleeveless garment of yellowish-brown rence cloth; it was worn well away from both shoulders to permit her freedom of movement; the brief skirt had been hitched up about her thighs that it might in no way bind her in her hunting. Her hair was tied behind her head with a strip of purple cloth, dyed rep-cloth. I knew then she came of a community that had contact to some degree, direct or indirect, with civilized Goreans. Rep is a whitish fibrous matter found in the seed pods of a small, reddish, woody bush, commercially grown in several areas, but particularly below Ar and above the equator; the cheap rep-cloth is woven in mills, commonly, in various cities; it takes dyes well and, being cheap and strong, is popular, particularly among the lower castes. The girl was doubtless the daughter of a rence grower, hunting for gants." ==Raiders of Gor
Torvaldsland - The free woman was a tall woman, large. She wore a great cape of fur, of white sea-sleen, thrown back to reveal the whiteness of her arms. Her kirtle was of the finest wool of Ar, dyed scarlet, with black trimmings. She wore two broaches, both carved of the horn of a kailiauk, mounted in gold. At her waist she wore a jeweled scabbard, protruding from which I saw the ornamented, twisted blade of a Turian dagger; free women of Torvaldsland commonly carry a knife; at her belt too, hung her scissors, and a ring of many keys, indicating that her hall contained many chests or doors; her hair was worn high, wrapped about a comb, matching the broaches, of the horn of kailiauk ; the fact that her hair was worn dressed indicated that she stood in companionship; the number of her keys, together with the scissors, indicated that she was mistress of a great house. She had gray eyes; her hair was dark; her face was cold and harsh. Marauders of Gor
Red Savages - He had spoken to a girl who was standing near the stirrup of another girl, mounted on a kaiila. The standing girl, to whom Cuwignaka had spoken, had come with the Isanna. She had come walking at stirrup of the mounted girl. She wore a rather plain shirt dress, with knee-length leggings and moccasins. Her braided hair was tied with red cloth. There were glass beads about her neck. She was quite lovely. The girl on the kaiila, too, was very lovely, indeed, perhaps even more lovely than she afoot. but her beauty, in any event, was much enhanced by her finery. Her dress was a soft-tanned hide, almost white, fringed into which, about the breasts and shoulders, were worked intricate patterns of yellow and red beading. Her leggings and moccasins were similarly decorated. Her braided hair, glossy and long, was bound with silver string. Two golden bracelets adorned her left wrist. She wore two necklaces of beads, and another on which were threaded tiny, heavy tubes and pendants, spaced intermittently, of silver and gold. Across her forehead hung a tiny silver chain on which were tiny silver droplets. ==Blood Brothers of Gor
Tahari - Following me down the gangplank, clad in a black haik, could have been only my companion, the pitiful free woman who shared my poverty. The haik, black, covers the woman from head to toe. At the eyes, there is a tiny bit of black lace, through which she may see. On her feet were soft, black, non-heeled slippers, with curled toes, they were, decorated with a lind of silver thread. ==Tribesmen of Gor
Tuchuk (Wagon) People - Tuchuk women, unveiled, in their long leather dresses, long hair bound in braids, tended cooking pots hung on tem-wood tripods over dung fires. These women were unscarred, but like the bosk themselves, each wore a nose ring. That of the animals is heavy and of gold, that of the women also of gold but tiny and fine, not unlike the wedding rings of my old world.==Nomads of Gor
Wagon People - "Stand aside, you fool!" cried a girl's voice, and to my astonishment, astride the saddle of the monster I espied a girl, young, astonishingly beautiful, vital, angry, pulling at the control straps of the animal. She was not as the other women of the Wagon Peoples I had seen, the dour, thin women with braided hair, bending over the cooking pots. She wore a brief leather skirt, slit on the right side to allow her the saddle of the kaiila; her leather blouse was sleeveless; attached to her shoulders was a crimson cape; and her wild black hair was bound back by a band of scarlet cloth. Like the other women of the Wagons she wore no veil and, like them, fixed in her nose was the tiny, fine ring that proclaimed her people. Her skin was a light brown and her eyes a charged, sparkling black. ==Nomads of Gor
Alar Women - Boabassia was not in furs and leather. She now wore the simple, corded, belted, woolen, plain, widely sleeved, ankle-length dress of the Alar women. It was brown. She had it belted snugly from its loop about the back of her neck down to her breasts where she had crossed it an then taken it back, both cords, between and under her breasts, again to her belt, tying it closely at the sides of her body. ==Mercenaries of Gor
Red Hunters - That was true, at least from the point of view of a red hunter. Women of the red hunters are furred differently from the hunters. Their boots, soft, of sleen skin, are high, and reach the crotch, instead of the knee. Instead of trousers of fur they wear brief panties of fur. When they cover their breasts it is commonly with a shirt of beaded lart skin. In cold weather they, like the men, wear one or more hooded parkas of tabuk hide. Tabuk hide is the warmest pelt in the arctic. Each of the hairs of the northern tabuk, interestingly, is hollow. ==Beasts of Gor
The bringer of children
Perhaps the most important role of the Free Woman in Gorean eyes is her role as Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, and more. The children of a Free Woman are almost always Free Themselves. She brings new life into the world, as slaves are almost never allowed to do, and teaches/trains them to handle their responsibilities to Caste, Clan and City.
Free Companionship and Motherhood: a quick overview
There is no such thing as marriage on Gor as there is on earth. This being said, how to Goreans produce legitimate children, Heirs to fortues, the rule of great cities, and other such important inheritances? The answer is surprisingly simple to the Gorean. This is part of the role of the Free Companion. For a Free Man she is help-mate, mother and more. Free Companions enter into a 1 year contract that governs what will happen with any children born to the woman while she is under the contract.
Outlined here in will be her duties to children, what she is to teach them and how. What happens if the couple split who gets the children, for how long, what happens if she finds out she's pregnant after the companionship has dissolved and other important questions about the well-being of her children. This is the most common way that a woman will bare children.
Child birthing contracts
Only hinted at in the books, such contracts allow the woman to sell her child into slavery the moment it is born. It is not said if the woman's Free Companion agrees to this or not or even if she HAS a Free Companion. It is possible that women who do this hire men to get them pregnant. And there seems to be no shame in this activity in Gor. If this is true the woman is breeding slaves, does she provide pedigrees for them? Does she use a slave to sire them so there is no problems with a Free Man trying to claim the children? That may be the best way to handle it for such Free Women.
The selling of infant daughters is nor that unusual in large cities. Some women do it regularly. They make a practice of it, much as they might sell their hair to hair merchants or to the weavers of catapult ropes. Some women, it is rumored, hope for daughters, that they may sell to the salve trade. These women, in effect breed slaves. Too, there is a common belief for which there is much evidence, incidentally, and in the light of this belief some families would rather sell a daughter than raise her. Too, of course, daughters, unlike sons, are seldom economic assets t the family. Indeed they cannot even pass on the gens name. They can retain it in companionship, if they wish, if suitable contractual arrangements are secured, but they cannot pass it on. The survival of the name and the continuance of the patrimonial line are important to many Goreans. ==Mercenaries of Gor
Training the next generation
This role is almost self explanatory. a Free Woman starts teaching her children the moment she puts them to her breast. How she treats a Son or Daughter depends much on her caste, city, region culture and more. She will train them on how to be productive members of their home and caste. She may not teach a young Warrior to wield a sword, but she will teach him that he has a duty to either accept a woman's submission or end her misery.. She will teach her daughters how to care for Men, how to serve how to dance the dances of her city how to care for both herself and any children who will come under her care.
This is the biggest reason for having Free Women in Gor. the teaching of the Free, slaves are not allowed to discipline Free, even child-Free. If a youth gets out of line his or her mother can reign him in and discipline him or her. And she will often have the backing of the Men of her Home Stone if her Son tries to tell her she's only a woman.
The help mate
When I had questioned her, Lara had said to me that only when true love is learned is the Free Companionship possible, and that some women can learn love only in chains. Outlaw of Gor
The Gorean Free Woman is trained throughout her youth to take care of the men in her life. to clean his weapons, fix his meals, mend his clothes, keep his books and more. She is trained to bring honor to his house and joy to his heart. Most men will never own a slave but almost every man will have a companion at sometime in his life.
Tending to the needs of the Free Men
When there are no slaves every Free Woman of any honor will serve the men, unless there is a physical reason for not doing so, such as nursing an infant, or being physically unable to do so. They will be proud and vivacious in doing so. Grace and poise are their bywords and beauty and skill their theme. A Free Woman will almost never go to the left side, the slave side, of a man. She will be on his right side, the side of his equal. And when she serves him she will not hand off the drink as a slave would, but might set it on the table before him, or stand and hand it to him that way.
She will tend to him when he's sick or injured and may even order him around while doing so. She will develop her own style of doing things. and so will you
Free Women take pride in their courtesy to guests, especially low caste women who often do not have much. This is important to remember, to take pride in your service to your companion, his friends and any guests in your home. in Mercenaries of Gor a low caste woman has unexpected guests in Tarl Cabot and his newest slave. The woman at first is afraid he is a raider but once she learns he is not this happens"
"I do not want to take your food," I said.
"Would you shame me?" she asked.
"No," I said.
"Share my kettle," she said.
"Thank you," I said. I took one of the roots and broke off a bit of it in my hand. I rubbed the dirt from it. I bit into it. "Good," I said. I did not eat more, however. I would let her keep her food. I had done in this matter what would be sufficient. I had, in what I had done, acknowledged her as the mistress in her house; I had shown her honor; I had "shared her kettle."
"Little Andar is asleep," she said, looking at the bundled child.
"You may sleep your slave inside the threshold," she said. Mercenaries of Gor
Taking care of House and Home
Part of the duties of a Free Woman involves making sure the home is properly stocked with provisions, weapons and furnishings. She will arrange things for the best effect She will handle the day to day business of the house, if there are slaves she will assign them their household duties, if not she will attend to them herself with pride in her work.
She will know where everything is kept in the home and how it is used, she will make sure her Companion is always presentable and his home is ready to entertain guests. If things are missing she will often use her own money to help cover such expenses knowing her companion will pay her back as his honor will require such.
Handling the household finances
Perhaps a woman handles this alone or with the aid of her companion. but she will handle the buying and selling of items within the house. Be it provisions or entertainment. She will make sure every tarsk bit is used as wisely as she can. She will be keeping track of where the money goes and who is spending what on what. She will assign finances to different aspects as needed.
A Free Woman is often a home accountant. Much like Earth women can be. This is a needed talent especially for women who run powerful houses on behalf of their Free Companions or in their own right. This is something that she an be proud of, something her Companion can brag about to other men. This skill can raise her bride-price the next time she takes a new Free Companion.
The Caste/Clan member
Different castes have different rolls for their Free Women, some like Bakers and Merchants have little to no difference between a woman and a man doing the daily tasks. Others like the Physicians has special rules for women who participate in Caste work, and still others like the Warriors see women of the caste as simply those who bare the children and handle their learning of the caste codes.
General rule of thumb
"The strength of a full-grown woman is equivalent to a twelve-year old boy." Tribesman of Gor
If a 10 year old boy can do it a woman can do it. Use that to decide how active you are to be in your caste. Obviously a 10 year old Warrior cannot go about swinging a blade and fighting on the field of battle, but a 10 year old can easily make bread or sew a seam. Caste duties will vary for women depending on what you want to do with it. I myself am a Singer, Poet, Musician and that means that I preform before an audience. And I enjoy doing so.
One of my friends is of the Merchants, a cloth merchant to be exact and sells clothing on the sim and in the market place. Such rolls are easily taken up. Women of the Scribes often become the managers of a Cities legal documents and the teachers of general lore. There are many roles for women in the castes you can enjoy in Second Life.
Passing on the Caste Codes
This is probably the biggest duty of a daughter of any caste. If you cannot preform the work you can teach your children the laws and rules of the caste, how to be an upstanding member. How capture law applies to them and how to execute such. You can teach them how the Caste Codes apply to their daily lives, as the different castes each fulfill a different role and morning duties for a Warrior would be vastly different from Morning duties of a Scribe or Physiian.
And all those differences must be taught starting almost from the moment that the babe is on the breast. The caste codes need to be memorized as most goreans, EVEN OF THE HIGH CASTES are often illiterate or functionally so. They often do not bother to learn more than what they must do pass their caste-examinations and no more in reading and writin. Though the books do mention that women of the Tahari teach their children how to read and write and one assumes that they must be very well trained in wring to teach it.
how to participate in Caste work
The Rule of thumb is your friend here. You have to take into account your strength. if you choose to be of the Scribes you can be many things, but probably NOT an active Explorer, however you COULD be the Map-maker taking his notes and turning them into beautifully crafted maps. Obviously you cannot wield a sword, but you can know and understand the warrior codes inside and out and teach them to any who wish to learn. Participation can be as much or as little as you like. Some women are simply baby makers who do no caste work and only tend to house and hearth. such was still considered honorable and worthwhile work.
How to choose your Caste
If you do not have a caste at this time take a moment and think about what you like to do. if you enjoy painting consider the artisans, they craft the great artworks of Gor. If you are into martial arts, consider the Warriors and teach the philosophy of your chosen martial art. Always consider what you know best in RL first. Your Role-play will be more natural and flow from your real experiences.
When you can change your Caste
There is only two ways to change your caste, one is to formally petition your city and attempt to "Test In" to your new caste. This method is difficult and can be very trying, but it assures everyone you are suited to the caste you wish to join, since it might not be in your blood. The OTHER way to join different caste if to join the caste of your free companion. This is allowed to any woman. Your children will be interviewed first by his caste and usually they will take the children. and in the practical Gorean fashion they allow the woman to change her caste to the caste her children will be part of.
Being part of your Home Stone is NOT automatic it is something Gorean children on the cusp of adulthood had to earn. they were tested to see how well they knew the laws, customs and beliefs of their city, if they failed they would be escorted out of the city. Citizenship is something you had to stay worthy of. it was never taken for granted. you earned it and had to keep earning it.
Guardsmen looked at one another.
"No," said Talena. "Ludmilla, Lady of Ar, has been excused, because of her contributions to Ar, because of her service to the state."
The two scribes, holding the copies of the master list, made appropriate notations. The guardsmen relaxed. I wondered if the Ludmilla in question was the woman who owned several slave brothels on the street known as The Alley of the Slave Brothels of Ludmilla, the street receiving its name, of course, from the fact that several of its slave brothels were hers. == Magicians of Gor
Women can own any type of property they like, from a brothel to a warrior's training hall to a cottage near the city walls, or just the clothes on their back. They hold it in their own right and do not have to turn it over to companion, brother, father, or even the Ubar without due process of law.. This covers all forms of property from the ring on your finger to the slave you send out to get your eggs. From the clothes on your back to the fields where your hirelings grow grain.
Women have the right to own just as the men do and are not limited in what they can own in any way.
Running a business
One of the greatest fortunes amassed in the city was that of a mysterious, shadowy individual supposedly named "Ludmilla," who owned, and, through subordinates, managed, a series of large, ornate slave brothels in the city. These were amongst the few establishments in Ar, in those times, which seemed prosperous and, despite general shortages, were well and reliably supplied, not only with lovely brothel slaves, but even with the choicest of viands and wines. == Mariners of Gor
Women are able to run business, often they are caste related, like a bakery or a seamstress shop but that isn't always the case. As we see in the quote above the Free Woman Ludmilla owns several brothels in Ar and apparently has a vast fortune. Such is the possibilities for an enterprising Free Woman here on Second Life Gor. if you have a product and the ability to sell it feel free to do so.
In my Home Stone there is a woman who runs a fairly successful clothing business. She is even expanding it outwards from slave wear to now include Free Women's clothing. I help her by doing research on what people wore in Gor and ideas for what low caste women really need in clothing.
Rights and Responsibilities
Like Free Men you are Free, that means you are responsible for your own actions and you should consider them carefully. You have a duty to uphold the honor and traditions of your home, to aid members in time of need and to generally put the interests of your home before your own. in return your home stone provides you with protection against debts held by outsiders, as well as the usual protections against thieves, raiders, and other such criminals
You have the right to speak your mind, but the duty to not shame your Home Stone with your speech. The most successful Free Women are those who have learned how to speak respectfully most times even when under stress. This will take time and forethought but it can be done.
The Law and You
The most important Legal right you have in your city is the right to a trail before you can be enslaved. All cities have laws on their books that protect Free Women from being collared for stupid reasons like back talking a man or knowing more than he does. As long as you maintain decorum and dress and act appropriately you will not be subject to a collar from any within your Home Stone.
HOWEVER this does not mean you can act like a whore and get away with it. Cities also have laws on their books regarding when a woman MAY be legally enslaved. Repeated showing of to much flesh, defying any laws on what clothing women can wear (Some cities make wearing veils a legal requirement), begging, prostitution, or propositioning men can see a Free Woman reduced to bondage as well.
There are also laws on a cities books that can cause your problems, like Ar's couching law. if you take a slave to your bed who is not your own, you become the property of that slave's owner. Of course some cities have laws that state that a male slave touching a Free Woman can mean his death.
In the end I recommend that you sit down with the leader of your city and learn the laws there. they will be your guiding principles.
Political Power and You
Sometimes women can earn a great deal of power in Gor. they companion it, inherit it, or are voted to it. Ubara, Administratrix and Tatrix are all things have have happened in the books. Ubaras gain their power through the Warrior's Caste, either by being the Companion of the Ubar or earning the Title of Ubara in their own right. These are women of Military power and may be gifted with a military skill like tactics or strategy.
Adminstratress can be the Companion of an Administrator or voted in o her own merits. She rules by popular vote if she's in on her own merits. She's managed to demonstrate that she is a wise and cunning leader. Such women are rare but Gorean Philosophy almost insists they be recognized.
A Tatrix is a bit harder to explain. They are a type of Dictator, often born to their position. a few cities have had Tatrixes. They are women who rule by force of personality. They can be crafty and clever or sly and devious. But they rule with the iron hand of the dictator.
While it is unlikely that you yourself will hold such a role in Gor, this doesn't mean you cannot hold great political power. you could become the closest adviser to the Ubar of the city you chose to be part of. Ifa Northern woman you may become the adviser to the high Jarl.
Political power and being a woman are not mutually exclusive in Gor.
The Consequences of mistakes and the dangers
As wonderful as many portray Gor to be there are dangers, actions and words have consequences and you may not like them. You need to be ready to face them as Gorean women in the books did. Your Free Companion will have certain rights over you and if you push to far he may use them. The magistrates of your city also can have you put on trail and if found guilty you will suffer a punishment ranging from a simple fine to enslavement or death.
The books mention this often, that minor crimes can be handled with fines and fees. Minor crimes will need to be determined by your city but it an be such things as being late in paying taxes or not answering a minor summons to court. And fees can rage anywhere from a few coins to over a thousand.
This is one of the dangers you can face. if a man is angry enough he can rip the veils from your face, implying you are just another slave, a serious insult and in some cities a serious crime leading to fines and possibly imprisonment. for the man who does so.
"Public face-stripping is the removal of the veils from a Free Woman's face by force. This is equivalent to stripping her completely naked, but not so insulting is the removal of her Robes of Concealment. This is consider the worst offense which might be performed against a Free Woman. It is the right, duty and privilege of a Gorean Free Woman to remain veiled. Even when captured by the Warriors of an enemy city, the Free woman will commonly be allowed to retain her veils at least until her final fate has been decided." ==Blood Brothers of Gor
A Gorean free woman is likely to fear the stripping of her face more than the stripping of her body. Smugglers of Gor
As this quote implies Face Stripping is something every woman fears as it is ALWAYS one of the first things done if a woman is to be reduced to slavery. The very thought of such things can give a Free Woman cold sweats at night, it will keep the wise ones from pushing a man to far without good reason. While the laws of the city hold steep and often fatal penalties for illegally collaring a woman with whom you share a homestone, men HAVE managed to get away with it if they plan carefully enough.
Keep this in mind always, while insulting a Free Man is your right, try to keep your insults to the realm of annoying and not infuriating. An insult that makes a man laugh at himself is a hundred times better than one that shames him.
Yes Free Women can be chained up just like Slaves can, but our chains will be more comfortable looser fitting, they will take into account your dignity and station. still it is NOT something you will enjoy as you will be on the cold stone floor without a cushion in sight. Repeated pushing a man into chaining you may make him wonder if you are a slave, so try to avoid this punishment whenever possible.
Leashing is also used by Gorean Men to discipline Free Women though not as often and usually it is used on women who are being held for Ransom. Such was NOT an uncommon activity in Gor apparently, it was often used to raise money from wealthy houses and seen as an honorable alternative to enslaving the woman. A leashed woman will be subject to discipline from the Leashes' holder, so listening carefully is advised.
Varients of Chaining can be used as punishments for violating city codes as well as for private in-home discipline. Though such will be more rarely used as being chained can be seen to impinge on a woman's dignity as can leashing.
This harsh treatment, incidentally, when she is thought to deserve it, may even be inflicted on a Free Companion, in spite of the fact that she is free and usually much loved. According to the Gorean way of looking at things a taste of the slave ring is thought to be occasionally beneficial to all women, even the exalted Free Companions.
Thus when she has been irritable or otherwise troublesome even a Free Companion may find herself at the foot of the couch looking forward to a pleasant night on the stones, stripped, with neither mat nor blanket, chained to a slave ring precisely as though she were a lowly slave girl. ==Priest Kings of Gor
Yes Free Women can be whipped. it will be gentler, fewer strokes than what a slave would get and with less force, but it will still hurt like hell. I advice you to not earn this punishment. This will be a form of civil punishment in many cities as it is easily used against a woman, and the tools will be avilable as not just Free Women can be whipped. Free Men can and have been whipped for various crimes. This is a serious punishment not to be taken lightly at any time.
I loosened the blades of the whip. "You will kiss it now," I said, "or after you have felt it. To me it is a matter of indifference. The choice is yours."
"Do not whip me," she said.
"You are a free woman," I said. "You have doubtless never even felt a slave whip."
"I will kiss it," she said.
I held it before her. Many free women, before they have felt it, are skeptical of the efficacy of the slave lash. Their skepticism vanishes, of course, as soon as they feel it. On the other hand, I did not think this one would be. She was quite familiar with it. She doubtless used it regularly in her work. It was one of her tools, a useful device for the instruction, correction, discipline and punishment of slaves. She would be quite aware of its power, of its effect on her helpless charges. Mercenaries of Gor
Yes Goreans did have jail cells. Usually used to temporarily hold some one you could spend a few days in one of these cold cramped rooms eating slave's gruel. They were a convinent way of keeping men and women from escaping their trial dates when there was a risk of flight.
"Even a free woman," said Cabot, "may be subjected to controls of various sorts, a limitation to specified locales, imprisonment, leashings, the restrictions of light chains, and such, if the interests of states are at stake. There is much precedent for that sort of thing." Kur of Gor
Port Kar was famous for it's penal brothels, used for women who could not afford to pay a fee or fine, or (in Port Kar) caught stealing: they are exactly what they sound like. a place where your sexual use was sold to pay the fines you have accumulated.
Ear notching and mutilation, common punishment on Gor for thieves, were not found in Port Kar. The caste was too powerful. On the other hand, it was regarded as permissible to slay a male thief or take a female thief slave if the culprit could be apprehended within an Ahn of the theft. After an Ahn the thief, if apprehended and a caste member, was to be remanded to the police of the arsenal. If found guilty in the court of the arsenal, the male thief would be sentenced, for a week to a year, to hard labor in the arsenal or on the wharves; the female thief would be sentenced to service, for a week to a year, in a straw-strewn cell in one of Port Kar's penal brothels. They are chained by the left ankle to a ring in the stone. Their food is that of a galley slave, peas, black bread and onions. If they serve well, however, their customers often bring them a bit of meat or fruit. Few thieves of Port Kar have not served time, depending on their sex, either in the arsenal or on the wharves, or in the brothels. Hunters of Go
If your fines are to great or you have displayed slave-like behavior to often you can and will be reduced to this state. This is also sometimes offered as an alternative to execution or banishment. As becoming a slave erases a woman's past. Such enslavements almost never result in manumission however, as no Gorean will trust someone who has betrayed their Home-Stone or committed a creat crime against it.
What did she do?" asked Peggy.
I then grew again bitter. "She sold a slave of mine," I said, "unknown to me, and without right."
"For a man," said Peggy, "such an offense is punishable by exile. For a woman, remanded to a praetor, the penalty is commonly that she herself will then wear the collar." Rouge of Gor
Traitors murderers, and spies are all subject to this, and if you commit a crime that warrants this it is the courts choice if you will get the kinder option of enslavement. There are no real quotes about this in the books as usually there is the option of slavery for women. but there may be crimes where slavery isn't an option but it would be by city.
Review the rolls
The Roles of Free Women are many and varied from that of a simple mother and helpmate to an Ubara in her power and pride. Know what you want out of Gor and build yourself up carefully. Never bite off more than you can chew. While it might be fun to be able to RP being an Ubara, can you actually handle the job? Could you manage an entire city? if not then maybe try for a lesser version of the Role, like being the companion of a brigade leader.
Free Women and Slaves a quick overview
You may have noticed that I didn't cover slaves until now. that is because slaves actually have little to do with the roles of Free Women in Gor. they are outnumbered by about 50 to 1. In the books Free Women despised slaves, treated them as worse than animal dung on their boots.
Here it is different, you can choose how you act. You can be as kind or as cruel as you wish. My rule of thumb on this is remember that except for whatever made you decide to be Free Woman, you would be slave.
Slaves are around to handle the scuttle work that you don't want to do. If you make wood carvings, they would be the ones to pick up the sawdust. But don't abuse them, the Free Men would become upset with you and might even attempt to press charges against such behavior. As a Woman act like a Lady and you'll go far with the slaves and your fellow Free.