What's the future here? That's a very interesting question. I'll tell ya where I've been for the last few months. I'm a Gamist at heart. That doesn't mean that's the only type of roleplaying I like, but I am what I am. And honestly, to get my Gamist itch scratched the best, I've found that Magic: The Gathering does better than any RPG I've played. Ew, the enemy, I know, but I love that game. I'm fairly decent at it too. I've won a few tournaments here and there, earned a few rewards from WotC's player's network. Overall, I've had a great time with it.
However, Magic requires more money and more time than RPGs. I think it was originally intended to take less of both, but that's just not the case. With a wonderful wife getting her Master's degree and a beautiful baby daughter added to my life, I just don't have time to be heavy into Magic anymore.
But writing about RPGs is a whole 'nother matter. I've been looking over the anthologies of Socratic Design, and I've found that some of the best articles I did examined the basic principals of RPG design and play. I meant this blog to be an introductory resource for RPG theory and design, and when I've focussed on that, things have turned out best.
So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going back over the early days of RPG design theory on the 'net and the indie rpg movement in general. Over the next few months, I'm going to the best of my limited ability examine some things that were discussed, disected, and diseminated years ago that we sort of take for granted now. RPG design has come a long way in the last 10 years, but I feel that designers new to the scene have missed out on a lot of the discussion. The foundational stuff like areas of exploration and resolution systems have been so integrated into people's thinking that they just don't come up on message boards anymore. With the Winter of the Forge recently announced, I feel it is an appropriate time.
Many of these concepts are automatic and understood, or at least partially understood. And that's where I feel the loss is. Newbies to the Forge or Story Games Praxis lack familiarity with the foundational conversations that took place seven to ten years ago. The inspiration provided by those conversations rolled out a string of seminal games like Dogs in the Vineyard, My Life with Master, The Mountain Witch, Polaris, Dust Devils, and Prime Time Adventures. I feel like something has been lost since then, and I want to provide a place for those who want to re-explore or re-familiarize themselves with those concepts to do just that.
Let me say in advance, I'm no expert on these. I'm merely relating what other- more brilliant- people have said and how it applies to game design. I'm not going to take any credit for creating these concepts. I'm just bringing them up again after years of dormancy.
Expect to see new articles here soon. They'll be on topics that you likely won't see at the Forge or Story Games anymore. If you're new or maybe lost in RPG design, I hope they will prove useful to you.