What is "The Forge?"
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  1. #1

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    What is "The Forge?"

    What is "The Forge?" I've seen a couple of passing references to it - it sounds llike some sort of gaming think-tank.

    (Please feel free to ridicule my weak gamer-fu.)

  2. #2

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/

    It's an site focused on creating independent RPGs. Quite a few have come out of there.

    There was some discussion on RPG Theory (and the "GNS Model"), but those forums have been shut down. (The discussion continues, but only in reference to actual games being played and the issues that arise from them.)

    There are some articles about the GNS (gamist/narrativist/simulationist) Model on the site as well. It's about identifying the goals that individuals want out of a game, as well as common pitfalls of "incoherent" games (where there is a clash as to what you're trying to get out of the game).

    I'd start off with System Does Matter and from there GNS and Other Matters of RPG theory.

    I stumbled on it about 2 months ago and it really helped rekindle my waning interest in RPGs (in general, and D&D in particular).

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  4. #4

    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Shaman
    What is "The Forge?" I've seen a couple of passing references to it - it sounds llike some sort of gaming think-tank.

    (Please feel free to ridicule my weak gamer-fu.)
    Well... there are two entities who call themsevles 'The Forge'. The first of these is a kind of rolepaying thinktank and the second is a publishing company unaffiliated with the first. The former Forge has, through years of claiming to be The Illuminati of RPGs (i.e., some kind of secret cabal responsible for all important innovation in the hobby), alienated the vast majority of the roleplaying community. The height of this delusion was revealed in a recent thread on RPGnet.

    In this thread Luke Crane (the creator of the Burning Wheel) and other Forge members claimed that their theory was the driving force behind the success of D&D 3x, Shadowrun 4e, Hero and a lot of other games that really have very little (if anything) to do with The Forge. They went so far as to openly suggest that several respected designers such as Bruce Baugh, Justin Achilli, and others were deeply in debt to The Forge, but refused to pay them homage for fear of The Forge's vast superiority (I kid you not).

    What's really sad is that The Forge might have had an impact on the hobby if they hadn't been so given to hubris and delusions of grandeur that they actually started to believe much of their own propaganda. That recent thread on RPGnet (I believe it is entitled "Ron closes Theory and Design forums" or something) really puts things in perspective. For years, a lot of people have jokingly referred to The Forge as "The Cult of Ron" - but if that thread is any indicator, it's no longer a joke

    [Edit: Here is a link to the RPGnet thread. Sorry, I know cross-posting is frowned upon, but I didn't want to say what I did and not offer proof to back it up. So there it is - crazy at its finest.]
    Last edited by jdrakeh; Wednesday, 14th December, 2005 at 04:06 AM.

  5. #5
    What jdrakeh said.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jdrakeh
    For years, a lot of people have jokingly referred to The Forge as "The Cult of Ron" - but if that thread is any indicator, it's no longer a joke
    YEEEIKES!
    I can only hope I'm reading "A theory rejected or a theory embraced -- either way it's a theory that influences" wrong -- because the way it reads, it's an absurd statement, and one that implies that "Even if you say I didn't influence you, the fact that i exist influenced you."

  7. #7

    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry
    I can only hope I'm reading "A theory rejected or a theory embraced -- either way it's a theory that influences" wrong -- because the way it reads, it's an absurd statement, and one that implies that "Even if you say I didn't influence you, the fact that i exist influenced you."
    Nope. That is, as explained later in the linked thread, the thrust of the statement in question. BTW, just so everybody knows - I was a former Forge 'follower' and I'm certain that if a current Forge member stumbles across this thread, they'll use this as an opportunity to say that my current outlook on The Forge is just a case of 'sour grapes' (I've seen them attack other former contributors turned detractors on these grounds before). I'd like to state, for the record, that this isn't the case.

  8. #8

    Gallant (Lvl 3)

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    Hmm...it's a shame there's so much crazy there, because some of the games on the Forge are really good. I've got a couple in my sig...

  9. #9

    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Awkward
    Hmm...it's a shame there's so much crazy there, because some of the games on the Forge are really good.
    Yep. That's the other real shame. To say that The Forge hasn't produced some good games would be a lie. In the end, though, the 'be all, end all' mentality of the community and its willingness to openly attack all of those who disagree with their ideas as inferior beings has finally become its defining feature
    Last edited by jdrakeh; Wednesday, 14th December, 2005 at 06:51 AM.

  10. #10

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdrakeh
    In the end, though, the 'be all, end all' mentality of the community and its willingness to openly attack all of those who disagree with their ideas as inferior beings has finally become its defining feature
    I've been lurking around the Forge for a while now and haven't seen this sort of behaviour. At least I don't think so.

    Anyway. I went into the Forge having a vague idea of its reputation. But I didn't focus on that; instead, I looked for what I could get out of the Forge for use in my own games. It's really helped; I probably would have quit playing if I hadn't come across that site.

    I guess I'd say that anyone who wants to take a look at the Forge should go there with the intent of getting whatever they can out of (the theory, posting in Actual Play, games you might enjoy but didn't hear about elsewhere) and forget about anything else.

  11. #11

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    Does the term "The Big Model" make anybody else giggle?

    The folks over at The Forge always reminded me of us football coaches - "Smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enouygh to think it's important."

  12. #12

    Scout (Lvl 6)

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    Wow. Is it just me, or is everyone in that thread just taking everything that everyone else says as a direct insult to themselves wihtout real basis?

  13. #13

    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    Maybe the comments in this thread prejudiced me, but the impression gained in my (admittedly brief) foray was baloney firmly ensconced in a layer of meta-baloney.

  14. #14

    Novice (Lvl 1)

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    My experience with Forgeites comes from several discussions I participated in regarding using Object Oriented Programming principles in RPG design. Basically, a few obvious Forgeites came pimping their favorite Forge system (it may have been The Burning Wheel, but I don't remember) as "OOP". When pressed as to what made it object oriented, they gave extremely weak responses similar to, "It has objects in the game...that you do stuff with...it just is, okay? It can do anything! Believe me! They'll kiiiiiillll me if you don't!!!!111!One!" (well, I made up the last part). It was actually implied that because I couldn't see the OOP aspect of the game that they were pimping, that I was just not astute enough.

    With that being said, I have read some very interesting discussions on the Forge and gleaned some useful tidbits for running and designing games. I don't completely "subscribe to their newsletter", as it were, and I think the good and bad about even out in the end.

  15. #15

    Scout (Lvl 6)

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    Disturbingly enough, after having just finished reading through that entire thread, I still have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

  16. #16

    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
    I've been lurking around the Forge for a while now and haven't seen this sort of behaviour.
    Well, to be fair, most of the outright sniping occurs on other forums (see the RPGnet thread that I linked to for an example of Forge SOP). On the actual Forge forums, if somebody disagrees with and/or questions prevalent theory, they'll simply get shut down with a flurry of 'you don't get it' responses, after which they'll either be asked to leave the forums or dismissed as useless and ignored (I left of my own accord, but I personally know several people who were either asked to leave or shutdown in this manner). If you only lurk at The Forge, you can largely avoid this.

    So, what about The Big Model? Well, like the GNS theory previously held out by The Forge as the sole unifying theory of design, it's nothing but a collection of nebulous, poorly-defined, jargon presented in a purely subjective manner with little (if any) empirical evidence to back it up. In short, The Big Model is our hobby's equivelent of Dianetics (i.e., it's an ideaology created from whole cloth specifically to support a certain outlook in the absence of actual facts). It's arguably the least valuable thing on the whole Forge site.

    Now, as I said - there are some good games that have come out of the Forge. There is also some stuff there worth discussing elsewhere. I'd be lying if I said that the Forge hadn't influenced my play style or preference in games, but I don't blindly embrace their philosophy at the expense of all others, nor am I ready to recgonize them as the sole driving force behind RPGs, regardless of how hard they push for that (and they do push awfully hard for that, as evidenced by one of the founder's remarks in the RPGnet thread).
    Last edited by jdrakeh; Wednesday, 14th December, 2005 at 09:05 AM.

  17. #17

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdrakeh
    On the actual Forge forums, if somebody disagrees with and/or questions prevalent theory, they'll simply get shut down with a flurry of 'you don't get it' responses, after which they'll either be asked to leave the forums or dismissed as useless (I left of my own accord, but I personally know several people who were either asked to leave or shutdown in this manner).
    I have seen some of that. Since I am in "what the hell is all this?" mode, I can't say if that's true or not - that they just don't get it. So, you know, either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdrakeh
    Well, like the GNS theory previously held out by The Forge as the sole unifying theory of design, it's nothing but a collection of nebulous, poorly-defined, jargon presented in a purely subjective manner with little (if any) empirical evidence to back it up.
    I guess we disagree here; I think I understand it and can apply it to my games. Although I don't think it is "the sole unifying theory of design". But it works for me, so far at least, and I don't really care about anything/anyone else. (I am a bastard! )

    Quote Originally Posted by jdrakeh
    nor am I ready to recgonize them as the sole driving force behind RPGs regardless of how hard they push for that (and they do push awfully hard for that, as evidenced by one of the founder's remarks in the RPGnet thread).
    Yeah, that was nuts. Although to me it seemed like a troll. But I'm not so familiar with these guys yet so I could be wrong. (Benefit of the doubt phase still.) Although... I could see it in the case of "the Forge was influenced by this, which also influenced these things". But that's a pretty generous interpretation.

    So you see where I'm coming from, I guess. The Forge (and its theory) helped me out I get defensive when people say negative things about it.

  18. #18

    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron L
    Disturbingly enough, after having just finished reading through that entire thread, I still have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
    That's because you don't get it! (joking!)

    Seriously, that's the magic of communicating almost entirely in an invented language (i.e., jargon) - only the people who invented it 'get it' and, thus, can use the failure of an uninitiated individual to understand it as an excuse to dismiss them as inferior. Jargon has never been coined to inform or convey thought, but to foster an appearance of importance and facilitate the illusion of social superiority. This is one of several reasons why I openly oppose the use of jargon where plain language will suffice.

  19. #19

    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
    Yeah, that was nuts. Although to me it seemed like a troll.
    It (sadly) wasn't a troll. Here's some context - Clinton Nixon (the guy claiming that The Forge has heavily influenced every RPG designed in the past five years, except for the ones that suck) is the co-founder of The Forge and a forum administrator there, while 'abzu' is Luke Crane, the creator of The Burning Wheel (last year's Forge 'darling' RPG) and longtime Forge contributor.

    So you see where I'm coming from, I guess. The Forge (and its theory) helped me out I get defensive when people say negative things about it.
    Sure. I'm not saying that people shouldn't visit The Forge or buy into its theory (that choice is up to every individual to make), but I am saying that I don't visit The Forge or buy into its theory. I did both of these things at one time, but when I started expanding my worldview instead of narrowing it (as the Forge suggests one do), a lot of the theory and design principle being discussed there no longer made any kind of sense to me.

  20. #20

    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



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    Abzu (to use his nom de Internet) is a case of somebody coming up with a good game despite his favorite hypothesis.

    (Nota Bene: I use 'hypothesis" and "theory" in their scientific meaning, instead of their academic.)

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