Living the Phantasm of Demediation. The Priest-Kings and the Technology Prohibition in the Gorean Role-playing Games

  • Christophe Duret (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


This article will cover the Gorean games – online role-playing games designed by and for the players in a participatory logic (Jenkins, 2006) - in the Second Life virtual multi-user environment. This is the gaming adaptation of the science fiction novels “The Chronicles of Gor”, which depict a religion whose consequences are both diegetic and ludic.

The inhabitants of the planet Gor are artificially maintained in a pre-modern state of civilization through religious prohibition preventing technological development, decreed by the Priest-Kings, their gods. The result is a society in which the mechanisms of evolution are unrestrained. The law of natural order underlying these mechanisms is inspired by a Darwinian doctrinal intertext (Suleiman, 1983). It promotes the emergence of a race of warriors and widespread slavery. This law also structures the gaming community into two antagonistic subcultures, one of which is the defender and the other, the detractor. Their clashes take place both at the diegetic level as well as at the level of designing the game mechanics.


Heterotopias, neomedievalism, non-places, participatory culture, participatory role-playing games in virtual environment, phantasm of demediation, PRPG-VEs, religion, sociocriticism.