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Friday, 23 January 2015

Pundit-Notes From The Great Forge Reunion Battle of 2015 Part 3

Pundit-Notes From the Great Forge Reunion Battle of 2015
Wherein Ron Edwards Complained That People Still Remembered "Brain Damage", and Were Still mad at him for it;
and Wherein Ron Edwards Tried to Take Credit for the OSR

Part 3

On the suggestion that the conflating of  Storygames and RPGs happened through accident:  No, it was done intentionally by someone, and that 'someone' was Ron Edwards.  And he did it very much on purpose.  He could have been the father of a new hobby, but instead he took the more cowardly route of latching onto an existing hobby like a parasite and trying to change that hobby's entire definition.

On the claim that opposing the Storygamers' attempted re-definition of RPGs is like being mad because 'cheerleading is not a "real" sport':   Cheerleading is a sport, sure. But you can't just show up in the cheerleader 'scene' and claim that what "getting paid to have sex with guys" is the true and 'coherent' form of cheerleading, and how it always should have been done, and that most cheerleaders are secretly miserable about all the jumps they have to do and not satisfied because they aren't being paid to have sex.  And then, years later, to claim you invented football.


Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Rhodesian + Image Latakia


  1. While your delimitation between "RPGs" and "storygames" seems to me (once again) muddy and poorly articulated at best, if we apply your criteria to games penned by Edwards himself, I would dare say that Sorcerer, Trollbabe and Circle of Hands (I admit I have only played the first of the three) are clearly "regular RPGs" by all accounts.

    GM creates and governs a virtual world? Check. Players create and try to Immerse themselves into individual characters interacting with that world? Check. Players don't have "authorial editing" powers over the world? Check. (Well, in Sorcerer they do, but only during character creation and only relative to their immediate circumstances and relationship, which is also true of most RPGs anyway).

    So, in terms of adolescent identity politics, all this we-are-right-and-they-are-fucking-wrong stuff, great post (I liked the cheerleader analogy, hardly appropriate, but well-conceived). But if you aimed at some analysis of how games actually work, this post falls flat on its face.

    1. Except Ron Edwards' games are not the one to even look at in this regard. His Theory writing is worth looking at because he ended up defining the terms and giving a (however shaky and illogical) foundation for the Storygaming movement to exist, but his own games are not particularly relevant.
      The Forge didn't become famous because of Sorcerer, it became famous because of the GNS essays, and trying to now point to sorcerer as a way to deny the latter ever existed is deceitful in the extreme.

    2. Sorry, I don't see the connections.

      Do you mean that Mr. Edwards wrote and published RPGs, while at the same time laying conceptual framework for appearance of storygames?

  2. Speaking of the "RPGs" vs. "storygames" opposition, again...

    (a) Ironically enough, some guys here in Russian RPG-related internet are trying to persuade me that in "real RPGs" the GM is rigidly constrained by rules, while in the God-forsaken games spawned out of the infernal deeps of the Forge everything hinges on unconstrained GM fiat, i.e. something quite opposite of what you claim. Such a polarity of opinions strengthens my suspicions that all this is about group identity and status and not about the actual state of things.

    (b) You condemn the so-called "storygames" for their rigid approach to game rules and at the same time for their flexible approach to game setting. Regardless of whether this is true or just a product of your imagination, I find this asymmetry intriguing and worth of discussion.

    1. People who think Forge games or Storygame depend on GM fiat clearly haven't ever really looked at those games. I don't know what else to say about that. Maybe they're confusing those games with White-wolf style "storytelling games"?

  3. Quick Question: Do you consider Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition a Storygame?

    1. I'm not sure which one that is. The edition of M&M I've seen (the D20 one) was not a storygame.

    2. Well the third one contains hero points that PCs can spend to push themselves beyond the limit. And a microscopic subset, taking up about a single bullet point, of what you can do with the Points is alter the scenery in a minor way for drama. Like having the chemicals you need nearby to neutralize the chemical villain (As per GM aproval). However it contains paragraphs that say that say that "The GM over-rules the Rules". It also says to say no t your players when you see fit, and say yes to your players when a rule just doesn't cover a scenario.

      However characters gain Hero Points from getting caught up in complications. Also if the GM decides to over-ride the rules (Or his Rolls) and just screw over the players to make it interesting, he can if he wishes also give hero points as sort of compensation.

      My point is that your examples of Storygames both fit and don't fit with this example. On one end it has "GM as God", but also gives players minor narrative control, encourages the gm to make things difficult for the players to make things interesting, but discourages railroading, but instead adapting to the players. I mean when you listed Rustbelt as a storygame example I sort of got it, but then there are inconsistencies with your exact definitions. Im no swine, and rustbelt sounds like a nightmare to play. Im just saying Its confusing. Can you make a sort of very much exact definition of storygame with different sources and examples?

      I mean Pathfinder also has a Hero Point Mechanic (Optional but still), and there are other mechanics that give heroes quasi narrative control in many different games. Like again in Pathfinder taking a class option that gives you contacts on the black market.

    3. There are a lot of games that have 'hero point' mechanics. Where these mechanics can be interpreted as reflecting "great effort" or "good luck" on the part of the player, they're acceptable. If they directly influence things completely outside of the player character, then they're an example of a storygame influence.

      It sounds like M&M, like ICONS (which was made by the same guy, I believe) is an example of a Regular RPG that has added a single BAD storygame-element into it. Remove that element, and you have a fine regular RPG, just like I did for ICONS.

    4. So did Rustbelt have any Authorial powers? Im just curious because you don't mention them in the review.

    5. I would have to take another look at a game I haven't even thought about in years.
      I don't really care what game you're playing. The difference between RPGs and Storygames is obvious. I'm not going to waste my time while you try to nitpick every single example you can think of in order to try to get to some stupid "gotcha" moment.

    6. Look Brutha, Im not trying to troll you or go "Gotcha!" like Dmitry. Point is that you gotta define your terms. If you want to convince people of whats going wrong, and who is trying to do it you gotta have hard terms. You have to fully explain why you think its wrong, the causes, the problems exetera. Otherwise your opponents. The social justice crowd will just turn it around on you.

      You say its obvious but I have been combing through your site and its not. Its obvious TO YOU, but its not obvious to everybody else. I know this is the internet, and you can't feel intent through the web, but Im not trying to trip you up. Im seriously not. Seriously.

      Can we move this to a private chat or something? I want to finish this conversation. I feel like there is allot to be gained for the both of us if we understood each other. These tiny boxes feel kinda annoying.

    7. No, sorry. I've explained it over and over again in 10 years of blogging; storygames try to create story as the central goal, RPGs do not. If you've really looked into this (and I suspect very strongly that your whole "innocent act" is a sham at this point) then you are just being intentionally and falsely obtuse.

    8. And I point out: what the fuck does that mean?

      I think everybody when they play D&D want to be part of some awesome story where everybody talks about the twists and turns for YEARS. Not in a boring or dull or run of the mill game.

      So then I try to find a more exact terms or try to figure it out, you think Im misrepresenting you, and think Im some asshole.

      Your ideas are inconsistent and poorly defined, and then you don't care enough to fully explain them. And I don't get it: It must be because Im a secret bad guy. Im either with you or against you.

    9. Yeah, its a nice pantomime horse you've created here, but you're not the first guy to have the pretend-clueless-individual. You might have wanted to pick something less obvious than "the director" as a handle, but then on the other hand its a clever flourish.

      Story is a BYPRODUCT of adventuring. It is not the goal. The goal is the awesomeness of feeling like you're really in your character having this adventure, the story is only what happens after the fact.

      I have explained and defined my arguments over TEN YEARS; and since I'm quite convinced you're a plant now, I'm making this point for anyone else who might be reading: just fucking Google "RPGPundit" "Storygaming" or "RPGPundit" "Regular Roleplaying", or "RPGPundit" "Forge theory". Thus you will find things like this:

    10. OK then. Thats a better explanation. Im satisfied. Just the critical info is scattered all over the place. It would be a good idea to compile them into one area into a central easy to get argument. But OK. I concede that on the internet its impossible to discern intent, so I apologize. Those links where very handy. I didn't mean to annoy, and I didn't mean to bug you. There.

  4. What a waste of time--that guy was obviously playing dumb and you have explained what you believe to be the difference on many occasions if he bothered to read, but it seems more likely he was just trying to get you to trip up and contradict something you previously said so he could do an "AHA!" bit.