The Silk & Steel Tavern
Founded in 1996 as an Internet chat-based forum where serious Gorean aficionados could come to interact and discuss Gorean matters in a suitably Gor-themed atmosphere, the original tavern utilized Internet Relay Chat (IRC) text-based software and has existed as channel #silk&steel on the IRC server DALnet from the time of its founding until the present day.
The Silk & Steel Tavern was envisioned to be a virtual Gorean place. It was therefore equipped with detailed descriptions of the tavern interior, a map of the supposed "floorplan," a colorful (and humorous) virtual "menu" describing assorted Gorean foods and drinks which were supposedly served in the tavern, etc. All of these details contributed to the environment of the chatters, and were intended as a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of a typical Gorean paga tavern as described by John Norman in his Gor books.
The purpose of the Silk & Steel Tavern was always to provide an enjoyable imaginary atmosphere in which real people could interact with one another as themselves, by accurately and cleverly translating their offline identities into Goreanized versions of the people they really were. In such a way we could all experience a bit of Gor in our daily lives, while interacting in a scrupulously honest manner.
In the Silk & Steel Tavern, there was no such thing as "OOC" (out-of-character) behavior. It was assumed that visitors weren't portraying a "character" at all-- that they were just being themselves, as they would actually function upon the surface of Gor were it to exist in reality.
This fine distinction was lost upon a large number of our visitors who presumed, incorrectly, that the Silk & Steel Tavern was just another online roleplaying venue in which they could adopt an invented persona and engage in virtual dice-rolling and pretend swordfights.
As time passed, more and more of our guests failed to understand the difference between our Gorean tavern experiment and a shallow game of pretend. Real people put their trust in the fellowship they shared in the tavern, only to discover they had been interacting, in many cases, with frauds and callous griefers who manipulated the tavern environment, twisting it into a meaningless game of deception. Hoaxes were perpetrated; unscrupulous individuals staged phony "death scenes," created multiple identities, extorted money from hapless visitors, and conned everyone with whom they came into contact.
Because of this, the Silk & Steel was forced to adopt a rather hardline approach and denounce many forms of interaction that fall under the umbrella of Gorean-themed roleplaying, a position which we still maintain to this day.
Why Silk & Steel?
Those two items, each a product of human craftsmanship, perfectly represent the two kinds of strength exhibited in our species-- male (steel) strength and female (silk) strength.
Steel is melted, shaped and forged under high heat to become strong and flexible, but its flexibility is measured in its ability to bend and spring back to true-- which makes it ideal to pierce lesser materials, to cut and shape. Polished and kept clean, it is absolutely beautiful. To gaze upon it is to see yourself reflected in its cool surface.
Silk is even stronger. An inch-thick woven garment of pure silk will stop a bullet. Except silk is almost liquid in its flexibility-- and it, too, is beautiful. Woven from millions of tiny fibers, it can do things no steel could ever do. It can be spun into a rope to bear enormous weights. Yet it can be woven into a garment which is almost transparent. Its usefulness, and fluid strength, are almost limitless.
Two symbols of strength-- each complementary to one another. Both beautiful, but only when worked into their ultimate, and most useful, forms.
How perfectly Gorean!