Peoples of Gor

A Jarl of Torvaldsland


“The Wagon Peoples grow no food, nor do they have manufacturing as we know it. They are herders, and it is said, killers. They eat nothing that has touched the dirt. They live on the meat and milk of the bosk. They are among the proudest peoples on Gor, regarding the dwellers of the cities of Gor as vermin in holes, cowards who must fly behind walls, wretches who fear to live beneath the broad sky, who dare not dispute them the open, windswept plains of their world. “Nomads of Gor page 4/5

Turian Plains

“The Wagon Peoples claimed the southern prairies of Gor, from gleaming Thassa and the mountains of Ta-Thassa to the southern foothills of the Voltai Range itself, that reared in the crust of Gor like the backbone of a planet. On the north they claimed lands even to the rush-grown banks of the Cartius, a broad, swift flowing tributary feeding into the incomparable Vosk. The land between the Cartius and the Vosk had once been within the borders of the claimed empire of Ar, but not even Marlenus, Ubar of Ubars, when master of luxurious, glorious Ar, had flown his tarnsmen south of the Cartius.” “Nomads of Gor” page 2


“The rence growers, in spite of the value of their product, and the value of the articles taken in exchange for it, and the protection of the marshes, and the rence and fish which give them ample substenance, do not have an easy life. Not only must they fear the march sharks and the carnivorous eels which frequent the lower delta, not to mention the various species of aggressive water tharlarion and the winged, monstrous, hissing, predatory UI, but they must fear, perhaps most of all, men, and of these, most of all, the men of Port Kar.” “Raiders of Gor” page 8

The Vosk Delta

“On river barges, for hundreds of pasangs, I had made my way down the Vosk, but where the mighty Vosk began to break apart and spread into its hundreds of shallow, constantly shifting channels, becoming lost in the vast tidal marshes of its delta, moving toward gleaming Thassa, the Sea, I had abandoned the barges, purchasing from rence growers on the eastern periphery of the delta supplies and the small rush craft which I now propelled through the rushes and sedge, the wild rence plants.” “Raiders of Gor” page 5


“Panther girls are arrogant. They live by themselves in the northern forests, by hunting, and slaving and outlawry. They have little respect for anyone, or anything, saving themselves and, undeniably, the beasts they hunt, the tawny forest panthers, the swift, sinuous sleen.” “Hunters of Gor” 28

“Some call them the forest girls,” said Ute. “Others call them the panther girls, for they dress themselves in the teeth and skins of the forest panthers, which they slay with their spears and bows.” I looked at her. “They live in the forest without men,” she said, “saving those they enslave, and then sell, when tiring of them. They shave the heads of their male slaves in that fashion to humiliate them. And that, too, is the way they sell them, that all the world may know that they fell slave to females, who then sold them.” “Who are these women?” I asked. “Where do they come from?” “Some were doubltless once slaves,” said Ute. “Others were once free women. Perhaps they did not care for matches arranged by their parents. Perhaps they did not care for the ways of their cities with respect to women. Who knows? In many cities a free woman may not even leave her dwelling without the permission of a male guardian or member of her family.” Ute smiled up at me. “In many cities a slave girl is more free to come and go, and be happy, than a free woman.” “Captive of Gor” page 82

Northern Forests

“The northern forests, the haunts of bandits and unusual beasts, far to the north and east of Ko-ro-ba, my city, are magnificent, deep forests, covering hundreds of thousands of square pasangs. Slave girls who escape masters or some free women, who will not accept the matches arranged by their parents, or reject the culture of Gor, occasionally flee to these forests and live together in bands, building shelters, hunting their food, and hating men; there are occasional clashes between these bands of women, who are often skilled archers, and bands of male outlaws inhabiting the same forests; hardy Slavers sometimes go into the forests hunting these girls, but often they do not return; sometimes Slavers simply meet outlaws at the edges of the forests, at designated locations, and buy captured girls from them; interestingly, at other locations, on the eastern edges of the forests, Slavers from Port Kar meet the female groups and purchase men they have captured; it is not too uncommon that a Slaver Warrior has entered the forest only to be captured by his prey, enslaved, and eventually, when the girls tire of him, be sold, commonly for arrow points and adornments, to Port Kar Slavers, whence he will find himself chained to the oar of a cargo galley.” “Assassin of Gor” page 293/4

“We were fifty pasangs north of Lydius, which port lies at the mouth of the Laurius River. Far above the beach we could see the green margins of the great northern forests. They were very beautiful. “Hunters of Gor” Page 18


“They are the people who inhabit the area north of the Northern Woods of Gor; in appearance and culture, they are similar to the Norse People of Earth The Men of Torvaldsland Many of them were giants, huge men, inured to the cold, accustomed to war and the labor of the oar, raised from boyhood on steep, isolated farms near the sea, grown strong and hard on work, and meat and cereals. Such men, from boyhood, in harsh games had learned to run, to leap, to throw the spear, to wield the sword, to wield the axe, to stand against steel, even bloodied, unflinching. Such men, these, would be the hardest of the hard, for only the largest, the swiftest and finest might win for themselves a bench on the ship of a captain, and the man great enough to command such as they must be first and mightiest among them” “Marauders of Gor” page 38

“The men of Torvaldsland are rovers and fighters, and sometimes they turn their prows to the open sea with no thought in mind other than seeing what might lie beyond the gleaming horizon. In their own legends they think of themselves as poets, and lovers and warriors. They appear otherwise in the legends of others. In the legends of others they appear as blond giants, breathing fire, shattering doors, giants taller than trees, with pointed ears and eyes like fire and hands like great claws and hooks; they are seen as savages, as barbarians, as beasts blood-thirsty and mad with killing, with braided hair, clad in furs and leather, with bare chests, with great axes which, at a single stroke, can fell a tree or cut a man in two. It is said they appear as though from nowhere to pillage, and to burn and rape, and then, among the flames, as quickly, vanish to their swift ships, carrying their booty with them, whether it be bars of silver, or goblets of gold, or silken sheets, knotted and bulging with plate, and coins and gems, or merely women, bound, their clothing torn away, whose bodies they find pleasing.” Hunters of Gor” Page 257


“The size of the average farm is very small. Good farms is often by sea, in small boats. Without the stream of Tovald it would probably be impossible to raise cereal crops in sufficient quantity to feed even its relatively sparse population. There is often not enough food under any conditions, particularly in northern Torvaldsland, and famine is not unknown. In such cases men feed on bark, and lichens and seaweed. It is not strange that the young men of Torvaldsland often look to the sea, and beyond it, for their fortunes. The stream of Torvald is regarded by the men of Torvaldsland as a gift of Thor, bestowed upon Torvald, legendary founder and hero of the land, in exchange of a ring of gold.””Marauders of Gor” Page 55


“To my right were the lines of the Aretai. The Aretai themselves, of course, with black kaffiyeh and white agal cording, held their center. Their right flank was held by the Luraz and the Tashid. Their left flank was held by the Raviri, and four minor tribes, the Ti, the Zevar, the Arani and the Tajuks. The Tajuks are not actually a vassal tribe of the Aretai, though they ride with them. More than two hundred years ago a wandering Tajuk had been rescued in the desert by Aretai riders, who had treated him well, and had given him water and a kaiila. The man had found his way back to his own tents. Since that time the Tajuks had, whenever they heard the Aretai were gathering, and summoning tribes, come to ride with them. They had never been summoned by the Aretai, who had no right to do this, but they had never failed to come. “Tribesman of Gor” page 301


“It was roughly in the shape of a gigantic, lengthy trapezoid, with eastward leaning sides. At its northwestern corner lay Tor, West of Tor, on the Lower Fayeen, a sluggish, meandering tributary, like the Upper Fayeen, to the Cartius, lay the river Port of Kasra, known for its export of salt.” “Tribesmen of Gor” Page 32

“The area, in extent, east of Tor, was hundreds of pasangs in depth, and perhaps thousands in length. The Gorean expression for this area simply means the Wastes, or the Emptiness. It is a vast area, and generally rocky, and hilly, save in the dune country. It is almost constantly windblown and almost waterless. In areas it has been centuries between rains. Its oases are fed from underground rivers flowing southeastward from the Voltai slopes. The water, seeping underground, eventually, in places, due to rock formation, erupts in oasis springs, or, more usually, is reached by deep wells, some of them more than two hundred feet deep. It takes more than a hundred and fifty years for some of this water to make the underground journey, seeping hundreds of feet at times beneath the dry surface, moving only a few miles a year, to reach the eases. Diurnal air temperatures in the shade are commonly in the range of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Surface temperature, diurnally, is, of course, much higher in the dune country, by day, if one were so unwise as to go barefoot, the bright sand would quickly cripple a man, abraiding and burning the flesh from his feet in a matter of hours.” “Tribesmen of Gor” Page 33


With Imnak’s help we would cross Ax Glacier and find the Innuit, as they called themselves, a word which, in their own tongue, means “the People.” I recalled that in the message of Zarendargar he had referred to himself as a war general of the “People.” He had meant, of course, I assumed, his own people, or kind. Various groups are inclined to so identify themselves. It is an arrogance which is culturally common. The Innuit do not have “war generals.” War, in its full sense, is unknown to them. They live generally in scattered, isolated communities. It is as though two families lived separated in a vast remote area. There would be little point and little likelihood to their having a war. In the north one needs friends, not enemies. In good years, when the weather is favorable, there tends to be enough sleen and tabuk, with careful hunting, to meet their needs. One community is not likely to be much better or worse of than another. There is little loot to be acquired. What one needs one can generally hunt or make for oneself. There is little point in stealing from someone what one can as simply acquire for oneself. Within given groups, incidentally, theft is rare. The smallness of the groups provides a powerful social control. If one were to steal something where would one hide or sell it? Besides, if one wished something someone else owned and let this be known, the owner would quite possibly give it to you, expecting, of course, to receive as valuable a gift in return. Borrowing, too, is prevalent among the red hunters. The loan of furs, tools and women is common. I looked downward, out across the ice of Ax Glacier. Beyond it lay the polar basin. The north is a hard country. When one must apply oneself almost incessantly to the tasks of survival there is little time to indulge oneself in the luxury of conquest. Thimble and Thistle dismantled the hides and poles of Imnak’s tent, and began to load them on the sled. Violence, of course, is not unknown among the Innuit. They are men. Aside, however, from consideratiolis such as the fewness, comparatively, of their numbers, and their geographical separation, and the pointlessness of an economics of war in their environment, the Innuit seem, also, culturally, or perhaps even genetically, disposed in ways which do not incline one to organized, systematic group violence. For example, they seem generally to be a kindly, genial folk. Hostility seems foreign to them. Strangers are welcomed. Hospitality is generous, honest, open-hearted and sincere. Some animals, doubtless, have better dispositions than others. The Innuit, on the whole, seem to be happy, pleasant fellows.’Perhaps that is why they live where they do. They have been unable, or unwilling, to compete with more aggressive groups. Their gentleness has resulted, it seems, in their being driven to the world’s end. Where no others have desired to live the Innuit, sociable and loving, have found their bleak refuge.” “Beasts of Gor” page 188

Polar Basin

“Many people do not understand the nature of the polar north. For one thing, it is very dry. Less snow falls there generally than falls in lower latitudes. Snow that does fall, of course, is less likely to melt. Most of the land is tundra, a coo, generally level or slightly wavy, treeless plain. In the summer this tundra, covered with mosses, shrubs and lichens, because of the melted surface ice and the permafrost beneath, preventing complete drainage, is soft and spongy. In the winter, of course, and in the early spring and late fall, desolate, bleak and frozen, wind-swept, it presents the aspect of a barren alien landscape. At such times the red hunters will dwell by the sea, in the spring and fall by its shores, and, in the winter, going out on the ice itself.” “Beasts of Gor” page 196

“Ax Glacier was far to the north, a glacier spilling between two mountains of stone, taking in its path to the sea, spreading, the form of an ax. The men of the country of Ax Glacier fish for whales and hunt snow sleen. They cannot farm that far to the north.” “Marauders of Gor” page 139


“Ukungu,” said Kisu, “lies to the northeast, on the coast.” Ukungu was a country of coast villages, speaking the same or similar dialects. It was now claimed as a part of the expanding empire of Bila Huruma. “Explorers of Gor” page 277/8

“His father had, many years ago, fled from an inland village, that of Nyuki, noted for its honey, on the northern shore of lake Ushindi.” “Explorers of Gor” page 219

“The word ‘Mamba’ in most of the river dialects does not refer to a venomous reptile as might be expected, given its meaning in English, but, interestingly, is applied rather generally to most types of predatory river tharlarion. The Mamba people were, so to speak, the Tharlarion people. The Mamba people ate human flesh. So, too, does the tharlarion. It Is thus, doubtless, that the people obtained their name.” “Explorers of Gor” page 393

Rain Forest

“The rain forests closed the Cartius proper for most civilized persons from the south,” I said, “and what trading took place tended to be confined to the ubarates of the southern shore of Lake Ushindi.” “Explorers of Gor” page 17

“The canopy, or zone of the canopies, ranges from about sixty to one hundred and twenty-five feet high, Gorean measure. The first zone extends from the ground to the beginning of the canopies above, some sixty feet in height, Gorean measure. We may perhaps, somewhat loosely, speak of this first zone as the “floor,” or, better, “ground zone,” of the rain forest. In the level of the emergents there live primarily birds, in particular parrots, long-billed fleers, and needle-tailed lits.””Explorers of Gor” page 311

“In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more.” “Explorers of Gor” page 311


“The Red Savages, as they are commonly called on Gor, are racially and culturally distinct from the Red Hunters of the north. They tend to be a more slender, longer-limbed people; their daughters menstruate earlier; and their babies are not born with a blue spot at the base of the spine, as in the case with most of the red hunters. Their culture tends to be nomadic, and is based on the herbivorous, lofty kaiila, substantially the same animal as is found in the Tahari, save for the wider footpads of the Tahari beast, suitable for negotiating deep sand, and the lumbering, gregarious, short-tempered, trident-homed kailiauk. To be sure, some tribes do not have the kaiila, never having mastered it, and certain tribes have mastered the tarn, which tribes are the most dangerous of all.” “Savages of Gor” page 35


“I considered the Barrens. They are not, truly, as barren as the name would suggest. They are barren only in contrast, say, with the northern forests or the lush land in river valleys, or the peasant fields or meadows of the southern rain belts. They are, in fact, substantially, vast tracts of rolling grasslands, lying east of the Thentis Mountains. I have suspected that they are spoken of as the Barrens not so much in an attempt to appraise them with geographical accuracy as to discourage their penetration, exploration and settlement. The name, then, is perhaps not best regarded as an item of purely scientific nomenclature but rather as something else, perhaps a warning. Also, calling the area the Barrens gives men a good excuse, if they should desire such, for not entering upon them. To be sure, the expression ‘Barrens’ is not altogether a misnomer. They would be, on the whole, much less arable than much of the other land of known Gor. Their climate is significantly influenced by the Thentis Mountains and the absence of large bodies of water. Prevailing winds in the northern hemisphere of Gor are from the north and West.

Accordingly a significant percentage of moisture-laden air borne by westerly winds is forced by the Thentis Mountains to cooler, less-heated air strata, where it precipitates, substantially on the eastern slopes of the mountains and the fringes of the Barrens. Similarly the absence of large bodies of water in the Barrens reduces rainfall which might be connected with large-scale evaporation and subsequent precipitation of this moisture over land areas, the moisture being carried inland on what are, in effect, sea breezes, flowing into low pressure areas caused by the warmer land surfaces, a given amount of radiant energy raising the temperature of soil or rock significantly more than it would raise the temperature of an equivalent extent of water.

The absence of large bodies of water adjacent to or within the Barrens also has another significant effect on their climate. It precludes the Barrens from experiencing the moderating effects of such bodies of water on atmospheric temperatures. Areas in the vicinity of large bodies of water, because of the differential heating ratios of land and water usually have warmer winters and cooler summers than areas, which are not so situated. The Barrens, accordingly, tend to be afflicted with great extremes of temperature, often experiencing bitterly cold winters and long, hot, dry summers. ” “Savages of Gor” page 64


“We were now within the laager of Genserix, a chieftain of the Alars, a nomadic, wandering herding people, and one well known, like the folks of Torvaldsland, for their skills with the ax.” “Mercenaries of Gor” page 43

“The wagons often move. There must be new grazing for the bosk. There must be fresh rooting and browse for the tarsk and verr. The needs of these animals, on which the Alars depend for their existence, are taken to justify movements, and sometimes even migrations, of the Alars and kindred peoples. Needless to day, these movements, particularly when they intrude into more settled area, often bring the folk of the laagers into conflict with other peasants and, of course, shortly thereafter, townsfolk and city dwellers who depend on the peasants for their foodstuffs. Also of course, their movements often, from a legal point of view, constitute actual invasions or indisputable territorial infringements, as when, uninvited, they enter areas technically within the jurisdiction or hegemony of given cities or towns. Sometimes they pay for passage through a country, or pasturage within it, but this is the exception rather than the rule. They are a fierce folk and it would take a courageous town indeed to suggest the suitability or propriety of such an arrangement. From the point of view of the Alars, of course, they feel it is as absurd to pay for pasturage as it would be to pay for air, both of which are required for life. “Without grass the bosk will die,” they say. “The bosk will live,” they add. They often find themselves temporarily within the borders of a town’s or city’s lands, usually about their fringes, but sometimes, depending on the weather and grazing conditions, much deeper within them. Most often little official notice is taken of them, no war challenges being issued, and they are regarded merely as peripheral, unwelcome itinerants, uninvited guests, dangerous, temporary visitors with whom the local folks must for a time live uneasily. It is a rare council or citizenry that does not breathe more easily once the wagons have taken their way out of their lands.” “Mercenaries of Gor” page 43/4