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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Classic Rant: The Forge Wasn't the "Ancestor" of the OSR, It Was It's Worst Enemy

There has been some talk on G+ about how we "need" to view the Forge as some kind of 'ancestor' to the OSR. The argument, mostly being put forth by opportunistic former Forge Swine and their collaborators who kind of like the idea of the OSR being as elitist and pretentious as the Forge used to be, is that they were really trying to do what we do at the OSR now, and that some of the ideas the Forge had about design were slightly similar in some ways to OSR ideas.

In other words, this 'ancestor' shit is just the kind of total bull that people like Ron Edwards and the Dungeon-World-style opportunists are now trying to push, that this was what they "really meant all along" and that we really owe it all to them.


The Forge is NOT the ancestor of the OSR, it is the opposite of the OSR. It succeeds at some of what the Forge claimed it wanted to do not because it's related to the Forge but because it DOES EVERYTHING OPPOSITE to what the Forge's leadership demanded we make RPGs into!

To say that they're the ancestor would be like saying "Marxism claims it wanted to bring people out of poverty and into prosperity, Capitalism actually did bring people out of poverty and into prosperity, therefore Capitalism comes from Marxism!"

But this isn't true; just like Marxism failed on all its promises and murdered millions of people because its theories were fundamentally flawed, the Forge massively fucked up the hobby and produced nothing but shit games because its theories were fundamentally FLAWED.

That we succeeded where the Forge failed doesn't mean we "owe" something to the Forge or its pseudo-intellectual 'luminaries' (now desperately holding their noses and trying to create OSR-like games for a quick buck like the good little parasites they are). On the contrary, it means we are BETTER than the Forge, we were RIGHT and they were WRONG, and we owe them NOTHING.

The Forge produced nothing whatsoever that wasn't already pre-existing in the RPG hobby or that wasn't a complete and utter failure. The Forge contributed nothing to the OSR that was not already present in regular RPGs, and on the contrary spent the decade or so of its existence as a sworn enemy of the 'incoherent', 'anti-intellectual' D&D fandom, the 'great unwashed' that they despised and wanted to force to play in the superior "GNS" way that they were selling.

Any Forgist that refuses to admit this, and wants to pretend that they were our allies for the ten years that they were SHITTING ALL OVER D&D can go fuck themselves.

These worthless little bloodsuckers want in at the table to frantically leech some bucks off the OSR's success? Fine. First they have to go to a truth & reconciliation commission and ADMIT THEIR FUCKING CRIMES. They have to acknowledge the theory they supported was fundamentally wrong. They have to admit that they tried to force it onto the hobby and redefine the fundamental definition of RPGs. They have to admit that storygames are NOT RPGs. They have to admit that the Forge was a pretentious elitist movement in opposition to regular RPGs that despised and attacked D&D as 'incoherent', and pursued prominent regular roleplaying advocates through blogs and gaming forums (which they also tried to subvert and take over).

Do that, and then maybe they get a seat at the table. If not, they can go fuck themselves, and the OSR should repudiate them.

I won the war, they lost it. After everything they did to me and the games I love, they don't get to pretend they were always my allies and ask me to fucking thank them! I know where the blood was shed, and who was doing the knifing. If they now want to benefit from the prosperity generated by peace that was won (that I won!), a prosperity only made possible by the total defeat and failure of every idea they've ever had, prosperity that only exists because we did the opposite of all they demanded we do and proved them wrong against a constant stream of endless and vicious and dirty-fighting opposition, then the very least they have to pay for that privilege is abject humiliation.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Billiard + Image Latakia

(Originally Posted July 23, 2016)


  1. What were the Forge theories? I assume story games and conformity but really have no idea.

    1. The key ones were:
      -RPGs should only do one thing, either gamism, narrativism, or simulationism.
      -Games that try to do more than one thing, like D&D, are "incoherent" and an example of inferior design.
      -Emulation of genre is inferior to story-making narrativism.
      -Immersion, the most important aspect of RPGs, is either mental illness or outright impossible and should always be derided.
      -GMs generally cause trouble and should be controlled/limited as much as possible.

      Also, traditional RPGs cause LITERAL brain damage.

    2. What game came out of the forge? Do games like InSpectres is from that clique? I remember seeing a talk from PAX Aus about alternatives to D&D and they trash talked D&D and presented a bunch of games that all seem terrible.

    3. In comparison, the OSR games...
      * Attempt to create a balance between all three -isms: Game, Narrative, and Simulation
      * Do a pretty good job blending the above into a coherent form, or at least encourages the players to do so.
      * Emulates a genre that can draw players into the game. (Who wants to be in their own version of "Lord of the Rings?")
      * Ultimately creates a world that the players want to escape _to_, not _from._ Just like what a video game, comic book, or Movie is _supposed to be doing!!_
      * Requires someone to be the referee, campaign provider, and in some cases Master of Ceremonies (how _I_ DM, by the way) and encourages that side of the screen to becomes people's real hobby or in some cases, a career!
      * And is literally P-90-X for your brain.

    4. The two main games I think of, actually aren't directly Forge games. Those are Sorcerer and Burning Wheel. Both well worth a look. I think Dogs in the Vineyard - a kind of religious inquisition X Supernatural X Mormons in the Wild West mash-up, was another successful game from a former Forge forum regular. But most of the successful people were those who went there, got the bug for actually designing something, then left and did it rather than hang around arguing about bullshit theories.

    5. All three of those are real Forge games, not RPGs, and they're all garbage.

    6. The only of those three I'm really familiar with is Burning wheel. Man, did I want to love this game; there is a lot of good ideas in it but unfortunately, in my opinion, they're often miss-implemented. There is too many sub-system that are slightly different but close enough that you can never remember which one does what. And I dislike those game where the players have to bullshit the GM to try to gather as many dice as possible by pushing for skills to fork because they're so slightly related to the task attempted.
      I wish it would be cleaned up. Torchbearer is better in that sense, but then, it's a very different game.

    7. Eh, socially gaming the DM is always a problem. Burning Wheel played straight, on the basic settings, is no more a Forge Wank Game than Shadowrun is; but sure, if you hate it, then whatever, mate, I'm not here to sell it!

    8. unknown, I think BW breaks down when you try to follow the advancement rules. They're too fiddly. Too dedicated to perfecting the system. But I played a couple of sessions and it was fun game. Sure, if Pundit says it's not an RPG then whatever, I played the Burning Wheel flurbliprurgling game, and it was fun, right now I much prefer OSR fluurbipurgling, which I hears is also an RPG. I just play it like a flubipurgling game, you know, DM describes a situation, i describe a reaction to it, we roll some dice, lather, rinse, repeat.

      RPGs sound like fun though.

  2. Anyone who is confused on how the Forge treated D&D players and what they disdainfully referred to as "trads" can check out

    1. the funny thing is, almost all of the "Brain Damage" specifics actually affirm and defend OSR gaming. Right before the Forge shut down, there was a huge shift towards OSR appreciation, particularly from those people who had actually published successfully themselves.

    2. Bullshit. Brain Damage as a claim applies as much to D&D as to Vampire, that was explicit at the time. All regular RPGs (non-storygames) were included in the Brain Damage claim.

      The statement that it just somehow meant vampire but not D&D is a LIE that has been pushed since then by opportunistic parasites of the FAILED forge now trying to make money off gullible OSR fans.

    3. Sure, it would be a lie if it was stated like that. But, like I said, I found the Forge in a weird way, then from there I found the OSR in a weird way; because whatever their party line was in the past, the Burning Wheel people said "Go play DnD, that's what we're doing right now anyway."

      I dunno what you think I'm saying, Pundit! I'm pretty sure whatever guy you're arguing with, I disagree with too :P

    4. And it wasn't the ubermensch in charge that liked OSR, it was just all the commoners that just all simultaneously decided it was fun. I have no idea why, but that was my perception of the social movement at the time.

  3. Weirdly enough, in a roundabout way, the Forge led me to the OSR. Mainly because of its out-casts in the form of Burning Wheel. Actually I was on the Burning Wheel forum and the author said "Go play Moldvay DnD, it's actually really great".

    Burning Wheel is basically what would have happened in ACKS was a clone of first-ed Shadowrun.

  4. Surely our shared hobby is big enough for gamers of all stripes. Anyone who looks down their noses "disdainfully" or derides other gamers simply because of their choice of game needs to GET A LIFE.

    This said, these sorts of comments have been around for a long, long time. Back when AD&D first came out, we pooh-poohed it too, prefering Chivalry and Sorcery or (a little later) MERP. But we were wrong. All RPGs have their own style and action, and no two tables of the same game are ever the same, for that matter.

    While I'm on a nostalgia binge, let me plug Judges Guild and the City State of the Invincible Overlord, we played city adventures on that map (which we had plastified) until we knew the names of every dark alley.

    So, an end to disdain and insults. Long live RPGs in their quasi-infinite variety.

  5. Hey. hey pundit. Recommend a good pipe?

    1. Neerup.
      Fantastic pipes, at their price range.