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Author Topic: Other RPG design forums?  (Read 5594 times)
David C
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Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« on: July 25, 2009, 06:34:15 PM »

I'm basically just trying to find out what other RPG design forums are out there.  The Forge has its own culture and its own group of regulars, but sometimes you're looking for something this forum doesn't support.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 07:12:41 PM »

RPG.net has a design forum. I've posted there once to underwhelming effect.

Though they explicitly point out that design isn't one of their main goals, you can occasionally get design help over at Story Games (story-games.com)

I'm curious what you think the Forge doesn't support. So long as you are trying to design a game that you intend to retain ownership of (whether or not you publish it in hardcopy book form, or even publish it at all) then the Forge is here for your design needs. If the specifics of your design goals follow a more traditional line, there are those who will be less interested, but that doesn't mean the Forge isn't for you. From your recent participation in my own spellcasting thread, you've probably noted that I'm building a crunchy, fairly traditional system. There are sundry Forge-inspired ideas in there too, but it's not supposed to be bleeding edge indie, because that's not the sort of game I want to design, even though I do enjoy playing them from time to time.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a consensus, or a "vote" to help you solidify things in your mind, you're right. The Forge doesn't support that. The Forge is intended to foster discussion about play and design, and surveys and polls aren't discussion.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2009, 02:47:44 PM »

Well, I suppose I should talk about what the Forge really does concentrate on.  The Forge tends to focus on a primarily storytelling-free form type of game. I tend to think it has developed this way because that is what Ron is interested in, and he tends to attract like minded individuals.

Your right that sometimes I'm looking for advice about a more traditional game design goal. It's rare to find someone here who looks at a (non-story driven) game mechanic and finds it compelling to talk about.

I was under the impression that there were several other forums that were almost as large as the Forge, but more focused on different agendas. I guess I was wrong.
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Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 09:15:20 AM »

There may be other such forums. Apparently no one else is any more aware of them than I am, or they're simply not talking.

I'm curious.. What do you mean by non-story driven? Most, if not all, RPGs I know of are driven by story, for differing values of the term story.

When it comes to giving advice on games, I'm trying to get better, but I click links in the First Thoughts forum based mostly on whim. If the title is intriguing, I'll click. If the thread is getting some discussion, but not so much that I'm going to spend half an hour reading to catch up, I'll click. If at any point during the reading I find myself skimming or trying to skip over the original poster's posts, I'll usually stop reading.

But aside from that, I like more traditional games. My own Mage Blade is fairly traditional in the bulk of it's mechanics, but it has an integrated goal system that makes it "about" the players' character stories. The problems that I've noticed with these game threads falls into a few categories:

1. The "story-driven" mindset you speak of.. A lot of people here do prefer mechanically light games with a strong, tight focus on one thing. Hence, they won't offer assistance, or if they do, it'll be advice that doesn't address your intentions. Sometimes this happens because people are all about the new stuff they're learning about through the Forge, so they go a little overboard. I was really bad about this back in the day. I'm probably still a little bad about it now.

2. The marathon post: If you have to post your entire system, you're probably not ready for the sort of help these forums are best suited for. It's best to figure out specifically what you want and need from a given thread, and post just enough information to address that need. (For the record, it's quite possible to go too far in this direction, too; I tend to post too little information, and end up sidetracking as people ask questions about information I didn't post.)

Ask your questions here. Try to be specific in what you're looking for, and don't be afraid to politely tell people that you're not looking for something they're offering. When you start a thread, you're assuming some small amount of moderation authority and responsibility. Keep the discussions focused on what you need, and when you have it, let people know you're done, thank them and go get back to work with what you've learned.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Patrice
Member

Posts: 133


« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2009, 11:37:09 AM »

Well, I suppose I should talk about what the Forge really does concentrate on. The Forge tends to focus on a primarily storytelling-free form type of game. I tend to think it has developed this way because that is what Ron is interested in, and he tends to attract like minded individuals.

Your right that sometimes I'm looking for advice about a more traditional game design goal. It's rare to find someone here who looks at a (non-story driven) game mechanic and finds it compelling to talk about.

From my own limited experience, I think it's about time to break this myth. What I've found here is a community of indie designers, each driven by his or her own perspective and interests. It's a learning process through sharing and collaborating in which you aim to learn about your own contradictions and potentials in order to build your designs, not about Narrativism or whatever else. On a side note, that's why "kill power 19" doesn't help much more than power 19 itself, because nobody can eventually chew the hard bit for you, however satisfactory the thread might have been in a primal scream sort of way.

Sharing your game ideas involve taking a risk with your shyness. I've come to think over time that a lot of "failed" first thoughts posts aren't so much about bad designs than about shy designs, hence the socratic thing and all the questioning part in order to unveil it. I'm pretty sure you won't get fittier answers if you go around hiding yourself behind walls of crunch text.

As a counter-example, most of the ideas I've shared here so far weren't about anything Narrativist (at first sight, that is) or story-whatever and most have led me to productive discussions and ground-breaking (for me at least) discoveries. They included materials such as World of Warcraft, D&D4 or initiative systems. So much for The Forge image.
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Daniel B
Member

Posts: 171

Co-inventor of the Normal Engine


« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2009, 03:12:57 PM »

Ditto Patrice's comment.

My own game design runs counter to the "Big Model". Despite this, I've found most of the feedback for my questions posted to the Forge to be extremely enlightening. My designs have improved by about 1000% since coming to the Forge.

I'm STILL reeling from a "rewards affect behaviour" realization that popped up a few months ago, ey Greyorm / Raven? X-)
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Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."
David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2009, 11:29:40 PM »

<quote>What do you mean by non-story driven? </quote>

A lot of the posts I see are about mechanics that drive the characters and the story and their premise.  As you said, "A lot of people here do prefer mechanically light games with a strong, tight focus on one thing."

Mechanics that aren't story driven are tactical in nature. These can be combat mechanics, or they could be something like a mechanic for choosing what supplies to go after in a zombie survival game.  Tactical mechanics tend to be high on the crunch side of things (otherwise I suppose they'd be a bit like vending machines, pull the lever and get your reward.)

I'm not really having a problem getting my answers at this forum, this post was mostly on a whim after seeing another post about how "this isn't really the correct forum board for that question."
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Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2009, 12:59:00 AM »

Quote
"this isn't really the correct forum board for that question."

::blinks::

That requires some context, I think. Unless it's Ron or Vincent, no one really has any particular rights to say what forum is correct for a particular question.

Now, if they're pitching a game design idea in Actual Play or Site Discussion, or they're talking about playtesting a game in First Thoughts, that's a bit different. Usually Ron or Vincent will move that thread to the appropriate forum, and discussion can continue as normal.

The only other circumstance where I could see that comment being justified is where someone is talking about design of a game that doesn't meet the Forge definition of 'indie', or is talking about how to get a big development house to pick up their game.

From what you're saying, I suspect it doesn't fit into any of those circumstances.

Individual people, to include the luminaries such as Ron, Vincent and Luke, may have preferences and give advice based on those preferences, but the Forge doesn't limit itself to specific styles of play or design.

Looking through First Thoughts, I see a short thread on page 3 of First Thoughts involving a (pretty neat) Influence Mechanic that appears to have garnered some semi-useful responses. What else have you got?
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Frank Tarcikowski
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Posts: 277

Hamburg, Germany


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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2009, 04:24:01 AM »

The Forge has its own culture and its own group of regulars, but sometimes you're looking for something this forum doesn't support.

I can't understand how anyone can disagree with this statement, especially seeing how even in a thread such as this, you are forced to justify your assumptions. Or rather, you are politely asked to acknowledge that your assumptions are bullshit. I thought David asked a simple question. But whatever, I'm not a moderator. Sorry if I'm ranting, it's just sometimes I can't stand the Forge.

- Frank
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If you come across a post by a guest called Frank T, that was me. My former Forge account was destroyed in the Spam Wars. Collateral damage.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2009, 05:19:40 AM »

This may be turning into a Site Discussion topic. I might move it there. Or rather, Lance and Frank, if there is an issue here that you want to debate (personally I'm not sure there is; I think it is based on two distinct ways to read what David wrote), then take it to that forum.

David, if you were to post about a game you wanted to design, and if people jumped on you and said "that's not Forge enough," then you might have a case. Or is making that case really important to you anyway? Why don't you try posting about your game and see what happens?

The question about other design forums is legitimate. It seems reasonable that here at the Forge, one might be able to learn about other sites that do similar things, or very differently but still design. If anyone wants to post any descriptions or links, feel free.

Best, Ron
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Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2009, 05:41:02 AM »

Having just seen Frank's post, I'm boggling. I have no idea what he's talking about, and less desire to address it.

My last post ended on a note which was intended as an invitation for David to post his stuff. If he's done so in the past, I don't recall it, and what I've seen recently seemed pretty productive.

At any rate, as a result of this discussion David has come on to my radar, so I can guarantee that I, at least, would take a look at his stuff. I also know my own tastes tend toward the more traditional, so my feedback would be less "indie it up, mofo!" than some.

As for other, non-Forge options, I gave what little I know. No one else has posted any other suggestions, so as far as I know, my meager offerings and the Forge might be all there is.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2009, 05:56:19 AM »

David wrote,

Quote
this post was mostly on a whim after seeing another post about how "this isn't really the correct forum board for that question."


It may interest you to know that I saw two such statements recently in First Thoughts, and moderated both of them quite hard (one privately, one publicly).

Here's my point: someone makes an ill-considered, tossed-off statement. It may not even be characteristic of that person to do so, it's a blip both for him and for the forum. Someone else, in this case "on a whim," takes this statement to heart, accepts it as the Truth, and then reacts to that. Everyone, pay attention. We are talking about a whim based on a blip. It's time for me to moderate - all sorts of reactions to that, and especially reactions to the reactions, are a waste of time.

On the other hand, aside from this particular (meaningless) instance, if someone wants to discuss something substantial about the Forge and biases toward or against game designs, please start a thread in Site Discussion. I think there's room to talk about that. I will acknowledge, for instance, that people with too-little experience here sometimes dominate First Thoughts threads in negative ways (I'm thinking about the poor guy who wanted to talk about area-effect for his flamethrower rule and got lambasted by fucking idiotic replies), and I definitely acknowledge that I am too slow to moderate in that forum.

Again: the request for other design sites is a good one. David, I'm sure you see that we aren't doing a great job at finding or listing any. Why not search for some and post a list here? And anyone else who wants to, please do.

Best, Ron
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Gregor Hutton
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Posts: 274


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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2009, 09:01:12 AM »

If you are in the UK then you can post to the Collective Endeavour site: http://www.collective-endeavour.com

If you are in New Zealand then I have found NZ RAG to be a good place (they have a Games Designers' Cabal sub-forum): http://nzrag.com/

And a slight note about how much help you will get elsewhere...
From my experience with the Collective Endeavour site I think anyone will find it hard to get a lot of help straight off the bat on any forum, to be honest. From time to time we've had "waves" (gentle ones, but waves, still) wash in and basically ask the main members of the site to work for them (in varying degrees of kind ways of asking). I know they don't see it that way, but that is what it is when someone asks you to critique their game, help them with their design, proof-reading, art direction, etc. and not offer anything in return (and we're also designing ourselves too, and spare time is often at a premium).

It can be frustrating also when posters are quite defensive and belligerent about anything said to them - then go off and publish something that's sort-of affiliated in the public's eye with you, but which you didn't affect in any way.

So, these sites work best with mutualism, where people use the forum as a meeting place to find other like-minded people who will help them and in turn be helped themselves. Even then it can be a bruising experience, so keep this in mind.

We have had some success at the Collective Endeavour, but it's not perfect and far from satisfying my goal of being a hub of activity or mutualism. We chose to be centred around the UK scene, and help out there where we can.
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2009, 06:23:46 PM »

The Forge tends to focus on a primarily storytelling-free form type of game. I tend to think it has developed this way because that is what Ron is interested in, and he tends to attract like minded individuals.
Well, I think it's been said that that's an unfair characterization.  The closest I can see to that which can be justified is that Ron has opened a lot of eyes to understanding the differences between different gaming goals and how they might be met, and that a lot of people who were trying to create interesting stories with games that were designed to create wealthy powerful characters have found other games and better ways to design games for their preferred objectives.  However, there are quite a few people here with strong simulationist and gamist backgrounds, and many of them are frequent posters.

I admit that I am not; I once was very active here, but time constraints have pressed me elsewhere.  I know that there was once a mailing list (it was probably e-groups so if it still exists it's probably been acquired by Yahoo!Groups) that was called something like RPGDesign, and it was very old-school, and I no longer participate there either.

I do participate at Gaming Outpost, but most of the design there now is setting design for Multiverser and similar games.  I'm always interested in theory discussions and willing to comment on a mechanic.  I am not always able to examine a game in its totality, unless the creator has the skill to communicate it in small pieces over time and still keep it connected.

--M. J. Young
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greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2009, 07:21:42 PM »

I admit that I am not; I once was very active here, but time constraints have pressed me elsewhere.  I know that there was once a mailing list (it was probably e-groups so if it still exists it's probably been acquired by Yahoo!Groups) that was called something like RPGDesign, and it was very old-school, and I no longer participate there either.

You may be thinking of RPG-Create on Yahoo! Groups. Participation there has been in steady decline for the last few years. And for a good while now, it has mainly been the haunt of a very few old school hobbyists who regularly post information about systems they have been endlessly working on for years, answer math questions, or argue about minor points of historical or physical detail that really don't help system development (ie: the nigh iconic empty geek nerdery of "How well would chain mail REALLY protect you from a battleaxe?" and "Should a .38 do more damage than an English longbow?" or whatever. The grognards know what I'm talking about).

I'm still "active" there, as a lurker and exceptionally occasional poster, but thinking most of the developing new blood was chased off a while back by the aggressively "if it doesn't look like this, it isn't an RPG and IT'S SHIT" attitudes and posting of a couple of those list regulars for whom game design reached its pinnacle in the early 80's. There are still occasional bouts of activity and useful feedback, but it isn't the place it was for advice and game design conversation it was even a couple of years ago, and is extremely low activity/participation right now.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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