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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 160 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Big Forge, Small Me  (Read 17958 times)
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2005, 12:23:55 PM »

A couple problems in your solution there, Ron.

First, foremost perhaps, is the intellectual/Emotional disconnect. People frequently understand things with their mind, but can't make themselves really believe it. There are whole fields of psychological study based on this simple idea.

Secondly, and probably more important: The Forge isn't the website. The website is just a repository of past discussion, a location in which the Forge sometimes comes together.

The Forge is the community, the people, the ideas, the customs.

I'm a closet egotist, but I won't try to claim that *I* am bigger than that.

For the rest, you speak truly, as you've spoken truly before, and doubtless will again. I think the closest thing to a solution we can find here is to realize that the problem isn't in the Forge; The problem is within us. We can overcome the reticence and post, contribute to and enrich the Forge, or we can lurk, read and possibly only enrich ourselves. Either way, the only solution is to acknowledge that in this case, that trite old breaking up phrase is true.

"It's not you; It's me."
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2005, 12:33:57 PM »

Guys, seriously.

The Forge is a place where we discuss RPGs.  That's all.  If you want to talk about RPGs, this is where you come.

The theories, the other stuff, is extraneous.  It is what has been talked about in the past.

This is just a place where people get together to talk about games.  It took me a long time to realize that.

yrs--
--Ben
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Frank T
Guest
« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2005, 12:51:30 PM »

You know, I totally agree that this is something we (the newbies, the lurkers, the none-native-speakers) must do ourselves. Reassurance is welcome and very helpful indeed. Getting positive personal feedback from the "establishment", even if it's only a half-sentence. But mainly, it is us who must overcome our self-doubt. That is actually what was in the back of my head when I started this thread. A call to arms, if you will.

I'm not the guy to read a post over a dozen times and let it lie two days before I post it. If I have something on my mind, I gotta get rid of it, by the risk of posting something stupid sometimes. But in any other forum, there's so much bullshit around that nobody even notices. At the Forge, there is very little bullshit, so you get the feeling people are much more aware of your stupidity.

Now, this hasn't stopped me from posting, and there are many others like me. We shall be okay. I just wanted to sympathize. Plus, it helps to learn a little about the persons behind the Big Names, who are not that different from us after all. In German we have a saying:

"We're all just cooking with water."

- Frank
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2005, 01:13:52 PM »

Hey Pete,

What I don't get is how Ron says something one way, and people go "huh?", then Vincent says pretty much the same thing, and people go "Oh, that makes more sense than whatever Ron said, which I in no way agree with", and I'm all "Dude, it's the same damn thing!"

Here's an ontogeny.
    There's you and your friends. You play a roleplaying game together and you don't have fun. Ron says, "Incompatible creative agenda, you guys can't have fun together." So:

    RON
FUN[/list:u]
Then in comes Vincent. He plays freeform? Damn. Ron wrote "System Does Matter." So:

    VINCENT
RON[/list:u]
And have you read Kill Puppies for Satan? I laughed my ass off. Damn, that Vincent knows how to have fun. And OtherKind? Vincent definitely understands wonderment. (Ron's games are all about sex and death.)

    VINCENT
= FUN[/list:u][/list:u]Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2005, 01:48:24 PM »

I've got to say that I think Paul just nailed it, at least for my part. While Vincent and Ron are saying the same thing, there's a VAST difference in how they are saying it.

Ron bases his stuff on fancy words and deep theories. Gives the impression of an almost inhuman understanding of the thing, for better and for worse. Because while he might know what's going on, how can you ever hope to have a serious discussion with such a guy, and how can you ever hope to comprehend such complex concepts (nope, I don't think the theories are inhuman, but boy do they seem inhuman when you plump into the forge and see those essays).

Vincent, well, Vincent makes it all seem so terribly human, so terribly simple.


And on a sidenote, I'm still working on putting together an Essay to help people jump at least some of the gaps that I've walked right into.
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Simon Kamber
Ben Lehman
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Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #35 on: April 05, 2005, 01:51:30 PM »

Paul, dude, I laughed out loud at that.

yrs--
--Ben
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Shreyas Sampat
Member

Posts: 970


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« Reply #36 on: April 05, 2005, 01:54:23 PM »

What Ben said.
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Frank T
Guest
« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2005, 01:59:56 PM »

Quote
I'm still working on putting together an Essay to help people jump at least some of the gaps that I've walked right into


Ralph's "The Model as seen by Valamir", to me, is just that. You would have clearly heard the *click* had you sat beside me while I read it. I can't wait until he does "GNS as seen by Valamir".

- Frank
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ironick
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #38 on: April 05, 2005, 02:55:56 PM »

Frank, I totally get that.  Totally.

If I remember right, I joined, posted once or twice, then got intimidated and waited about a year before my next post.  This place still scares the crap out of me on a daily basis, but I've been forcing myself to post, even when I feel like my questions are dumb, or I really don't have much to contribute to the discourse, because I know there are plenty of newbies like me who are shaking at their keyboards too.  I do it mostly to train myself to get over my intimidation, but I hope other newbies see my paltry number of posts and take heart that they, too, can post something dumb and not get flamed because of it.

I've also come to the realization that there are certain forums I am comfortable posting in, and some that I won't touch with someone else's 10-foot pole.  For example, I feel okay posting in Actual Play and sometimes in Game Design, but that's usually in response to someone else's topic.  I just posted my first topic in RPG Theory, to some decent response.  That one terrified me because I thought it was a dumb question that I should be able to figure out myself, but I couldn't find a discussion about it elsewhere, and I hope some lurkers like me got some understanding about it as well.

Anyway, I think it's pretty widespread and I think the only real way to overcome it is to make yourself post and contribute.  The more you put in, the more you'll get out.  I still haven't put much in, but I'm trying.

Nick
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


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« Reply #39 on: April 05, 2005, 05:36:34 PM »

Quote from: Simon Kamber
Ron bases his stuff on fancy words and deep theories. Gives the impression of an almost inhuman understanding of the thing, for better and for worse.


Fancy words and deep theories..

You mean like "my GM Herbie" right?

I dunno, I'd have to disagree with you here, at least in part. I never considered the essays to be intimidating, particularly. I'll admit I took my turn at trying to defy them and disprove them before realizing that they're just theories and observations. The only thing I've found intimidating is trying to take these fairly simple concepts and trying to apply them both in game design, play, and discussion.

Trying to design a game with a specific agenda in mind is kind of rough. If anyone recalls ReCoil, I was convinced for much of my time working on it that it was narrativist (ie. encouraged narrativist play). I've since realized that GNS isn't particularly important, not nearly so important as just having a good idea of what sort of play I want to encourage, specifically, and creating rules that encourage that.

You don't apply GNS to play. You just play. If you want to analyze your play after the fact, and see where you might have some creative differences among your play group, it's good for that. But you don't try to play more "narratively" or "simulationist" or whatever. You just play to have fun, and try to meet the specific needs of your play group, not generalized theoetical needs.

And finally, in discussion... Discussion of theory is considered by many to be the least important thing we do here. A good many people think that an inordinate amount of time and effort is wasted on discussion of theory. This may be so. If discussion of theory is your bag though, you're just going to have to realize that cute phrases like TITBB, The Lumpley Principle, and GNS are going to be interpreted differently, perhaps wrongly, perhaps not, by different people. You're going to have to acknowledge that, and work through it when it happens.

...geez.. Well, it's good I've never claimed NOT to be pedantic, now isn't it?
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« Reply #40 on: April 05, 2005, 09:40:01 PM »

Yeah, the argument that the model is pretty easy is heard in quite a lot of places. For one thing, I disagree. That model has lead to three essays at around 60 pages each. It's not a simple model that you can just pick up and use.

Another thing is that Ron, in my experience, tends to make it worse by talking as if what he is saying makes perfect sense, all the while saying it in a way that most people who haven't been here for a long time just don't understand. In that way, though I'm sure it's not the intent, Ron's post can easily get a beginner to feel like he's too dumb to understand the concept.
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Simon Kamber
Frank T
Guest
« Reply #41 on: April 05, 2005, 11:33:38 PM »

Right, that was exactly what happened to me. I feel a little uncomfortable stating this because it sounds like putting the blame on Ron, which I understand people have actually done in the past. That's not my intention. The very first useful response I got to one of my Forge posts was by Ron, and I find a lot of insight in what he writes. I also find a lot of confusion, though. Man, you just sometimes have a talent of expressing things in a way that can be misleading to those who don't already guess what you're aiming at.

I was pretty sure it wasn't a language problem from the start, but I at least had to consider the possibility. Seems it isn't, after all. So what happened? I got mislead. I thought, what is this crap, it doesn't make sense?! I objected and was rebuked. I thought that made me look pretty stupid, which made me angry. Ron wrote me a PM. I got over it. So it wasn't the end of the world. See?
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pete_darby
Member

Posts: 537

Will dance with porridge down pants for food.


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« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2005, 01:25:54 AM »

Sheesh, I was just sitting next to this can, I felt hungry, never saw the word "worms" on it...

Just to get something straight, it's something that frustrates me with most other theories, proposals, whatever, and when I get what someone has said when it's slightly rephrased by someone else, I feel like an ass for not getting it the first time.

When I first came across Ron's essays, I found them to be pretty self explanatory, but there was a helluva lot of arguing about what people thought they were saying, rather than what they said. And that got to me, and still does. And when folks tried to say "Oh, but that's not what it says," we were somehow cultists of Ron (grrr).

I don't know. Maybe some of it was hostility to theory, some of it was hostility to other people's theory. We've got the claim that any theory that takes 60+ pages to explain can't be simple (actually, the greater part of those pages is illustration or expansion of a quite simple model), which is odd coming from drama & literary theory where any theory that could be adequately introduced and illustrated at that length would be thought of as laughably simple and thin.

Now, bricolage... thar's yer fancy words and deep theories.
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Pete Darby
Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2005, 03:53:32 AM »

Quote from: pete_darby
I don't know. Maybe some of it was hostility to theory, some of it was hostility to other people's theory. We've got the claim that any theory that takes 60+ pages to explain can't be simple (actually, the greater part of those pages is illustration or expansion of a quite simple model), which is odd coming from drama & literary theory where any theory that could be adequately introduced and illustrated at that length would be thought of as laughably simple and thin.

Hmm, let's try that one again. I'm not trying to say the model, in basis, is complex. I'm saying that with all the stuff that's been loaded on top of it (i.e. the essays and the miles and miles of posts), it's become something that at least SEEMS very heavy for new people coming to the boards. The pages might be only illustration or expansion, but they're still there to add to the already quite confusing model as a whole.

And it's not 60+ pages, it's roughly 60 pages per essay. That's quite a lot of text, and truth be told I think it would be better if I hadn't read those until I got the gist of the big model and knew where to fit it in.
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Simon Kamber
lumpley
Administrator
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Posts: 3453


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« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2005, 05:24:25 AM »

Quote from: Paul
    VINCENT
= FUN[/list:u]

So here's kind of a funny story. A while ago, somebody on RPGnet posted this:
Quote from: Somebody on RPGnet
I met Lumpley at a con once. He was Dr Funk, and I tell you, his loathing of gamers is something to behold.

It turned out that no, he never met me at a con; in fact, he didn't know I was a real person. He figured that the lilly pilly was named after somebody's character or something. So I introduced myself and he felt awkward and everything was fine.

Except this: my first thought on reading it? "Fuck. He must have caught me at an honest moment."

-Vincent
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