List Server: used for net interaction, Ron was told about it by a friend; Ron was very interested in the question of why we play and noted conversations regarding the 3fold model
He decided that the 3fold model was not functional, but had the right priorities - i.e. drama, sim, gamist
He had read about works by Jonathan Tweet, Robin Laws and found their work inspiring. Tweet had written about drama, karma, fortune in 1991 which was a statement about game *mechanics*. To distinguish from the 3fold priorities, he renamed "Dramatist" as "Narrativist".
He got involved in the "Gamist Outpost", one of two major internet sites on gaming; pre-Google, so searching the internet was poor, not like it is today. Ron describes the Outpost like a mosh-pit - energetic; here he brought up the 3fold model but using the terminology with "narrativist", intentionally attempting to seperate it from Tweet's statements of mechanics
On the Outpost, he put up Sorcerer as shareware for $5; it got good buzz and Ron started getting sent artwork by fans, for no reason; at this time he wrote the essay "System Does Matter", which GPA wouldn't publish, but the Outpost would; it was against the mantra at the time which said that it was strictly the people that mattered, e.g. a good game could be run independently of the system.
Ron very quickly decided to go independent about publishing, predicting it would be dead in 10 years, and it pretty much has. A "glossy book is not a good goal" - a guy in Toronto made convincing arguments, so Ron chose not to live or die by publishing
The internet started revealing people played successfully anyway; also revealed that Marvel was *hugely* successful though never talked about. This implied that the hobby had a major UNDERGROUND. At that time, Ed Healy and Ron began a site Hephaestus' Forge. Ed was the computer guy and Ron was the driving force. It worked beside the Output. Eventually Nixon took over and it restarted as the Forge. As the Outpost declined, the Forge took on a larger role.
A lot of people were in the mode that they were fascinated by the ideas at the Forge, but hated it; their objections in fact became contributions, as many had interpreted it as Ron's Gospel when really he was just trying to figure out what the heck we're doing with this hobby. e.g. "GNS and other matters" was interpreted as dogma, and Ron's interactions with user ScarletJester (i.e. SJ's objections) helped shaped the theories, but Ron's opinion on SJ's solutions to the objections was that they were poor solutions. Ultimately the work decoupled the medium from the purpose of the medium, like decoupling a conversation on paintings to different but related conversations on paint versus canvas.
Think of different painters:
- each painting is done with a different agenda; the agenda is the point
- this is distinct from the medium itself
In roleplaying, communication is the medium. The trouble with the conversations on the 3fold model is that people were talking about the medium as the point itself. I started suggesting that "gamist" play is not evil, but is just another way to play the game. This met with heavy resistance, but there was change in the community.
In about 2005, I wrote each essay: Simulationism, Gamism, Narritivism; the term Creative Agenda sprung from these, and the "Big Model" started to take shape. Forge booths started popping up at GenCons
People were also whining about all the terminology on the Forge, so Ron wrote up the Provisional Glossary
Ultimately, the "Infamous Five" was came up on the Forge, discussing gaming as a social phenomenon. Gamers are still like 1970's gay guys, in the closet. Still true, but Ron suggests that the "Infamous Five" sparked a boom of independent publishing in 2005.
Ron's goal is to be "the big bang", leaving stars in his wake so that the independent publishing world in RPGs is better for him having been there. He is now there, since the theory reached a structural accomplishment if not a conclusion. The three agendas were finally nailed down. Simulationism was the weakest, but if I go to the Forge and search for "Creative Denial", it will explain it further.
Now, you are able to fling open new doors in the industry, and independent publishing is a viable default (as opposed to the "Glossy Book").
Some extra notes:
DitV was a supplement to Sorcerer
When Ron published "Sorcerer", he felt he'd made it and was now able to fly free,
Slay With Me, one of Ron's latest works, represents his most current opinions on roleplaying
Ron has been intending to write a history of the Forge (but was sidetracked by new babies!)
Notes on Ron's opinions about OUR GAME:
-- Zoom-in/-out is at the technique level
-- We've decided that the zoom-in/-out feature is *inherently* important; however, the
camera is fixed in "My Life with Master" and works just fine
-- In the game, we should articulate not what problem the zoom feature solves, but why
-- The alternative is assuming a D&D background, in which case we're competing against
CHECK THIS !!
Legendary Lives -- free online now, one of Ron's Heartbreakers
"Over the Egde" -- Jonathan Tweet; stupendous game, Ron's inspiration for using the
final value in play itself (as opposed to Attribute + Skill + Modifier + blah)