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Articles
Here are some essays and thoughts by Forge members to help you design or publish your indie game, or merely think about role-playing games and how to improve your own experiences.

The Provisional Glossary by Ron Edwards
2004-05-08 The first draft of a comprehensive Forge glossary.

Ritual Discourse in RPGs by Christopher I. Lehrich
2004-02-03 Analysis of RPG's can and should be at least partly distinct from the practical, constructive purpose of making good games.  This article argues that, in light of several complex models for analysis of ritual, drawn from anthropology and the study of religion, we should recognize RPG's as ritual behaviors.  Such analysis also opens up possibilities for deeper understanding of the social interactions occurring in and around play.

Narrativism: Story Now by Ron Edwards
2004-01-29 Narrativism, the least and most problematic of the Creative Agendas, is examined in detail. Also, a continuation of the Forge glossary, and a new example game, Zero at the Bone.

Dice and Diceless: One Designer's Radical Opinion by Erick Wujcik
2003-08-06 You may be playing diceless right now and not even know it.

Applied Theory by M.J. Young
2003-06-30 A practical consideration of the design implications of the GNS theory propounded by Ron Edwards.

Gamism: Step On Up by Ron Edwards
2003-06-04 Gamism was originally identified in the RFGA Threefold Model of role-playing styles, and I think from its first mention, nearly everyone has said, "Oh, yeah, Gamism," with little debate about its qualities. Apparently, one just knows it upon sight. But do we really? References to Gamism tend to be dismissive, superficial, and often backhanded. With respect to the members of the RFGA discussion group, I think they categorized Gamist play mainly in order to sweep it out of the realm of further dialogue, in order to concentrate on issues that I would now primarily identify within Simulationist play. I also think that most, although not all, subsequent discussion has been similar. Yet that exceptional bit, here and there over several forums, indicates far less consensus out there than might have been expected or assumed.

A Hard Look at Dungeons and Dragons by Ron Edwards
2003-06-04 It's time to set aside long-established habits of thought regarding the various versions or even conceivably separate games that go by this name. In the culture of gaming, it's quite the thing to diss D&D, or to toss it backhanded praise like, "Well, it was first, but ...", in order to establish some sort of personal cachet as a real grown-up gamer. Enough, already. What the hell was it, anyway?

The Alchemy of Role-Playing, Part 1 (PDF) by C. Demetrius Morgan
2003-04-07 Everyone loves to play games but are all games created equal? Take role-playing games, games that meld and transmute the basic elements of a variety of gaming forms into an entirely new system of game play. 'The Alchemy of Role-Playing', an article examining this often-maligned game form, takes a closer look at both the nature of role-playing and the origins of this style of game.

The Alchemy of Role-Playing, Part 2 (PDF) by C. Demetrius Morgan
2003-04-07 It has been said that to increase knowledge is to increase sorrow, though it is perhaps more apt to say the more we know the more headaches we have, certainly one may require an aspirin or two when reading essays about role-playing. Essays and theories are what 'The Alchemy of Role-Playing 2' is all about, and how role-playing games are played and designed. The aspirin are optional.

Simulationism: The Right to Dream by Ron Edwards
2003-01-29 A take on Simulationism; a new game, Mongrel; and, for the first time, a real glossary for the Forge terminology.

More Fantasy Heartbreakers by Ron Edwards
2003-01-17 Even more discussion of Fantasy Heartbreakers, and a thought experiment.

Fantasy Heartbreakers by Ron Edwards
2002-04-01 The problem of derivative fantasy role-playing games goes head-to-head with the pride of creator ownership.

GNS and Other Matters of Role-playing Theory by Ron Edwards
2001-10-14 The author of Sorcerer discusses Exploration, GNS, stance, and role-playing design, casting aside the assumed structures of role-playing design and rebuilding from the ground up.

How to Make Your Own Role-playing Game (Cheap) by Clinton R. Nixon
2001-08-24 It's entirely too easy to spend a ton of money on expenses writing your indie RPG. How do you avoid it?

The Crunchy Bits #1: Introduction to the Grimy Nastiness by Emily K. Dresner-Thornber
2001-09-12 You've decided to write a role-playing game. Why? And where do you start?

The Crunchy Bits #2: "Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something." by Emily K. Dresner-Thornber
2001-09-25 Emily discusses breaking down game design into managable bits, and gives examples of concept, synopis, and an outline from her own game in progress.

System Does Matter by Ron Edwards
1999-07-14 I have heard a notion about role-playing games repeated for almost 20 years. Here it is: "It doesn't matter what system is used. A game is only as good as the people who play it, and any system can work given the right GM." My point: I flatly disagree.

The Nuked Apple Cart by Ron Edwards
1999-05-19 The designer of the Sorcerer RPG gives a detailed analysis of the state of RPG developing and publication.

War Story by Ron Edwards
2000-02-18 Ron Edwards shares a friendly warning for those of you who are considering signing a publishing contract with a gaming company. Take it to heart - and remember to read between the lines.


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