Life after The Forge

2 June, 2012

If you are a story gamer and have been sleeping under a rock or something for a number of years, this may come as a surprise: the old HQ for indie RPGs The Forge closed down yesterday, 1 June 2012. Although it was always the plan to close it down after it had served its purpose, it still feels weird to me.

When I moved to the UK ten years ago, I was pretty disillusioned by roleplaying. I was so fed up with prepared and pre-written stories and scenarios that were the norm back then, and I simply couldn’t understand why gaming was so unsatisfactory and no-fun for me. I gave away or threw out most of my roleplaying games books, and thought that I had maybe just grown out of it. Bear in mind that I discovered roleplaying games in 1986, when I was 23 years old, so it was never a teenage thing for me.

Things changed, and I remember it like this: after a while I began trawling the internet for alternative games. I eventually came across a game called Dust Devils, which I bought as a PDF and read, I think with my jaw dangling in amazement. This was different, alright, to everything I had encountered so far, but I also couldn’t understand it. At that time I was deeply convinced that a roleplaying game is run by a game master, who has pre-planned “a story” in which the players get to act to a greater or lesser extent.

Via Dust Devils I arrived at The Forge some time in 2004, and started reading the articles there. Ron Edward’s System Does Matter simply blew my mind, and I quickly ordered his game Sorcerer, which is still my favorite game today. Now I understood why my gaming was unhappy gaming – I was looking for something else (without a clue what that was or how to communicate it) than the people I was playing with, and this clash made our gaming sessions wildly dysfunctional and painful.

I thank The Forge and all the marvellous people and discussions there for saving my gaming life.

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