2005-04-27 : The Open House 4: Handshaking

Hi, I'm Vincent. Welcome! A lot of us here know one another already, but not everyone. Please introduce yourself. Please especially introduce yourself if you're a regular-ish reader but not so much a commenter - I learn the names and takes of the commenters by their comments, but I'm afraid I haven't really met you yet. I'd like to!

1. On 2005-04-27, Chris Goodwin said:

Regular-ish reader, occasional commenter.  I'm not the guy who posts as Chris; I always put my full name when I post.

I live in Beaverton, Oregon, near Portland.  Married with one child, age 3 (whom I call Boo on my LiveJournal).

I'm a long time Forge lurker.  I understand theory enough to follow it when other people talk about it, but not enough to talk about it myself and certainly not enough to add anything new.

I'm a longtime gamer (started with D&D in the early 80's, Champions in the mid-80's, Amber in the early 90's, PTA and Dogs of late) though I haven't done much gaming in the last six or seven years.


2. On 2005-04-27, Ben Lehman said:

I'm Ben.  You know me, this introduction is for everyone else.

I'm a 23-year-old just-finally-graduated-from-college looking-for-a-job sort.  I lived a while in China, and I'd like to go back soon.  I'm writing Polaris.  My gaming blog is here, my company is here and I hang out here and here.

If you have work for a underemployed writer with a math/physics background who can speak Mandarin, let me know ;-)



3. On 2005-04-27, xenopulse said:

Hi, I'm Christian. I guess I've posted a couple of times :)

I am German, but I came over here (Oregon) in 2000 for my wonderful wife, Lisa. We met through online chat roleplaying, so we fit the "Roleplaying with someone can make you fall in love" category. We've actually known each other since 1996.

I have two biracial stepkids, boys of the ages 10 and 12 (Michael and Derek), and a toddler at the age of 15 months (Aidan). That'll be it for us.

I finished my MA in Political Science in 2003. After working as a trial consulting analyst running focus groups and mock trials, I am now a Paralegal, which is not my long term plan. Actually, I'm about to send out my first fiction manuscript.

I started roleplaying at the age of 13 with the predominant German fantasy system (Das Schwarze Auge). I played mostly with my best friends whom I've known since I was a couple months old. We also played Werewolf, Shatterzone, MechWarrior, Harnmaster. Since 1996 I've been playing "freeform" online.

I like being creative, so I roleplay, write, compose, design. RP design was always fun for me, but it's only recently that I've realized how much more there is to it than different ways to do task resolution. I'm now trying to approach it from a different starting point-namely how to improve play for people who are already trained to play without Karma and Fortune mechanics at all (what I'd call freeform players, though drama-only might be more Forge-ish).

So thanks for sharing, Vincent.

- Christian


4. On 2005-04-27, Paul Tevis said:

I'm Paul, a mid-twenties software engineer living the dream in California. I got back into roleplaying after college, and during the last few years I've become more and more interested in roleplaying theory. However, for me theory is only useful as it informs play; if it doesn't make my games better, it's not useful to me.

Games I've run recently, in reverse chronological order: A Land Fertile in Tyrants, a post-Roman Britain Riddle of Steel game; City of the Autumn Moon, a revenge-driven Nobilis game set in contemporary California; a short game of My Life with Master; The Secret Names of Streets, a low-level Unknown Armies game set in contemporary Des Moines, IA; and Around the World in 80 Thrills, a limited-series pulp adventure using the Feng Shui ruleset.

On my list of games to run in the near future: Dogs in the Vineyard, The Mountain Witch.

I lurk on a lot of forums, and I post only occasionally. It's a bad habit of mine.



5. On 2005-04-27, Matt Snyder said:

Hi, Vincent and everyone, I'm Matt. You know me from GenCon 2004, but I wish we got more time to talk to each other then. Hopefully we will this year. Better yet, I hope we get a chance to role-play together.

I've commented a few times here, and I really enjoy the posts and discussions. I maintain my own game design blog as well. It's called Heads or Tales:

In addition to the games I've published (Dust Devils and Nine Worlds) I've done a lot of graphic design work for other indie publishers, including for Universalis, Trollbabe, Charnel Gods, octaNe and InSpectres and some others. I get a real kick out of doing layouts, but it's also time consuming. Time's not something I seem to have in spades these days. Who does?

I live near Des Moines, Iowa with my wife and two young kids. Paul, you set a game—in all seriousness—in Des Moines? Far out!


6. On 2005-04-27, Tymen VanDyk said:

Tymen here. A mostly lurker on the Forge and here. I am working on a game of Angels: As Above, So Below. I am a News Reader/Writer in Ottawa, Canada and was most recently at Ambercon US in Detroit. I ran a one-shot Dust Devis game there. I've run Amber the most, but have played in many, many games. I've been rpging since I was 9, being 34 now. That makes for a long time. The games I am currently waiting to get are The Mountain Witch. I'm looking forward to Red Sky A.M.
I most want to play at this point, Dogs in the Vineyard, Sorcerer, My Life with Master, Capes, pretty much every independant game I've picked up in the last year.


7. On 2005-04-27, Dave Ramsden said:

Hi, y'all.  I'm Dave, Jinx on The Forge.

I'm 26ish, live in Providence, and game mostly with the Brown Fantasy Gaming Society.  I've known Ben Lehman for some years now, and he's the one who really got me thinking about game design/gaming theory and pointed me at the Forge.

I've got a project called Echoes which is almost done (in that terrible 'Is this done?  Is it good enough yet?  Does it need more work?' kind of way), and have run several abortive campaigns in the past.  My latest one, Ill Winds, seems to be doing quite well running under slightly modified HeroQuest.  My current biggest gaming problem is finding someone else to run all these indie games for me, since I don't like GMing all the time.


8. On 2005-04-27, Council Member Coyote said:

Vincent, Meg and Emily all know me, but I will introduce me-self. Name's Travis, been gaming for 22 years, 15 of them with Vincent. I will embarras him a bit and say we went to highschool together in Canandaigua. Thats where I run a game store (go figure) and sit on our local City Council. My handle reflects my day job and night job. I run Coyote's Den.

I enjoy gaming of all types, but role playing is one of the biggest stress reliver I have. The biggest being a good hug from my lady. Having a two inch Wonder Woman smacking bad guys with a motorcycle also helps. My fiance and I are old friends of the Bakers and we do not see them often enough.

Gaming is one of my jobs and and dissecting it just gives me a headache. I do love to poltics and government though. So I read here a lot post occasionally.


9. On 2005-04-27, ethan_greer said:

I'm Ethan. I like to think and talk about role-playing, so I tend to pop in here and at the Forge once in a while, maybe a couple other places.

I also do some design work. In fact, I was going to be an indie game publisher like Vincent and others at the Forge, but those aspirations turned out to be the product of mental illness and I had to let that go.

If you really want to know about me personally, I suppose you could check out my website at If you poke around there you can find my journal, or see the games I've created.


10. On 2005-04-27, Sydney Freedberg said:

Wellll... I have a fat baby (13 months 3 weeks and counting), a tall wife (5' 9" and stable), and a job (7 years 6 months and counting) covering the military and homeland security for a magazine in Washington, DC (

I starting gaming in college—the usual drifted D&D sprinkled with Ars Magica, GURPS, Amber, and homegrown systems—then stopped, then found the Forge and started again. I'm a maniacal propagandnist for Tony Lower-Basch's CAPES and am zealous for the King of Life regarding Dogs as well; I've also gotten to play My Life with Master lately, which was gothicky keen.

I'm involved with the Forge's GroupDesign project (aka "Schrodinger's War"). I also had an RPG of my own mostly worked out but then my preconceptions hit the Forge. SPLAT. Redesign ongoing.


11. On 2005-04-27, Matthijs said:

I'm Matthijs Holter, 32, married, one 3 1/2 year old son who's just learning to role-play the grown-up way (with dice and stuff). My game Draug, rules-lite, Norwegian folklore, was published last summer; the first supplement will be out this summer. I'm currently working to get the Norwegian Cultural Fund to set aside a yearly sum for RPG development & publishing.

I've been playing for 20ish years, started with Fighting Fantasy and D&D, tried a bunch of games, was awakened from my slumber by OtE, and started consuming Forge theory & games about a year and a half ago. Last weekend I ran a theory seminar for 15 participants, with the main focus on Big Model theory. I do RPGnet reviews, design games for fun, and am trying to design games (role-playing, card, board) for profit.


12. On 2005-04-27, Jeff Rients said:

Howdy, my name is Jeff.  I live in Urbana, Illinois with my wife Amy and our 3-year-old daughter Elizabeth.  I work at a bank as "the guy who desperately doesn't want to foreclose on your home but will do so if you leave him no other choice".  I usually just tell people I meet that I'm a "banker".

I started with the '81 D&D Basic Set (the orange book with the cool Erol Otus art).  I've played more games than I can really remember, including an intense fascination with HERO in the mid-nineties, but I always come back to crawling through dungeons, killing orcs, and taking their gold.  But I'll try almost any RPG once.

If I'm using the Forge terminology correctly I like mostly gamist play, with my preferred modes of challenge being "can I beat a dungeon written without close regard to the party attacking it?" and "can I outdo the other players with my suboptimal character design?"  I also like setting-heavy simulationist Traveller games and I've done narrativist things when I can find the players.  My best effort in the latter mode would probably be a Wuthering Heights con game I ran a few years back.  All the PCs ended up dead, insane, or incarcerated but the players had a good time driving their characters to these unfortunate ends.


13. On 2005-04-27, chris moore said:

Hello all,

I'm Chris Moore, father of five.  I live in a log cabin on a few acres of prairie in Iowa.  I read the Forge and this, I have played several of Vincent's games at least once.  I game with people of a like mind (I'm grateful!)
Iowa gamers out there?


14. On 2005-04-27, RogerT said:

I hail from Kamloops Canada with my wife and three young boys.  I read this and the forge quite regularly, but have never commented.  I have played a few of your games, but mostly I read for the discussion and the general ideas.  I have been an avid gamer for about 20 years now.  Keep up the good work.


15. On 2005-04-27, kenjib said:


My name is Kenji and I have been lurking on the blog here.  I have also posted a couple of times on the Forge.  I live on Camano Island, half way to the Canadian border from Seattle in Washington State.  I game in a bi-weekly group down in Snohomish that will probably be playtesting my game once I hammer out a few more details.

I'm working on a game called "The Book of Fables," but this is the first time I've mentioned it publicly.  It's slow going though with two sets of twins ages 1 and 4, my wife getting a photography business started, and myself trying to learn the vagaries of gardening.  In any case, thanks to everyone for the wonderful discussion here and elsewhere.  It has been immensely helpful and insightful to me.


16. On 2005-04-27, Albert said:

Albert Andersen, junior at Stanford University, originally from the same. I've been gaming since the tender age of 5, when my older brother (Hans Andersen, of "Goin' to War? On a Sunday?") received a copy of Red Book D&D for Christmas. Started lurking on the Forge almost a year ago when I was in Japan and otherwise starved for gaming access (Though I did manage to run the [as far as I know] only Burning Wheel game every played in Japan that summer). I've commented on the Forge a few times and here a couple of times a while back, but I'm mostly a lurker.

Nowadays, I game regularly with the awesome people here at the Stanford Gaming Society. My current projects are running a weekly game of Fantasy Flight Games's Fireborn and writing what I'm hoping will be a strongly narrativist one-shot larp inspired by medieval and Edo-era Japanese literature and theater, to be run in late May.


17. On 2005-04-27, Keith said:

I'm Keith.  I mostly just read cause theory makes my brain hurt too much to write about it, though I occassionaly explode on my own blog (to keep the mess out of Vincent's yard).  Mostly it is all just badly spelled rantings about everything and nothing.  It's cause I'm an angry ass person.

I work my own little slice of publishing called Bob Goat Press wrote and illustrated my own game, Conspiracy of Shadows and did some illustration work for The Shadow of Yesterday and Trials of the Grail.  I live in the Chicagoland area with my wife, two cats, fish, a stuffed dog named Ulysses and a stuffed fish named Abe Vigoda where I make a living making educational CD-ROMs.


18. On 2005-04-27, Chris said:


Vincent knows me from the Forge & here, but this is also for other folks.  I AM the guy who posts as Chris :P And posts a fair amount here.

I'm finishing up school for acupressure in the Bay Area of California- who knows where I'll be heading after that.  I've thus far managed to dabble in a variety of fields from graphic design, computer animation, screen printing, and human resources work.

I started with red-box D&D, but didn't really get into it until Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Robotech :P


19. On 2005-04-27, Judd said:

Hi, I post at the various forums (fora?!?) under the name of Paka.  Lately I have been playing Conspiracy of Shadows, Riddle of Steel and Sorcerer and Dogs in the Vineyard among others.  I'm gearing up for a Burning Wheel game.

I work at a university library and will begin a masters program this year, having just turned 30.

RPG theory ain't necessarily my thang but I dig how it is discussed here and among certain posters at the Forge, 20 by 20 Room and at Ben's blog.  I tentatively post things here every so often when I'm sure I have something to contribute.

This summer I plan to finish my three RPG projects, a Sorcerer mini-supplement called The Dictionary of Mu, a Riddle of Steel setting called The Riddle of Blood and a d20 setting called Pentacle.  After that I hope to put a serious dent in my one third done novel before starting my masters program in late July.

judd_harris at yahoo dot com


20. On 2005-04-27, The Metallian said:

I check this blog once every two weeks or so because I find it very interesting, but I have not yet felt compelled to post. I find this theory business very interesting and dabble in "indie" games, though at heart I think I'm primarily into "Exploration of character and setting, especially as they interact. [I derive] A great deal of satisfaction arising from experience of sis internal continuity." (to quote Emily's post in a recently-linked thread) My secondary interests are "modeling" and (as a player, anyway) "gamism" as it relates to strategy/tactics/effective use of resources, but I like to keep my in-game actions within the bounds of "actor stance" as much as possible. I suppose you could say I'm a fairly "conventional" gamer who likes to experiment and try to understand What's Really Going On in a roleplaying game.

I'm originally from Massachusetts and live in New Jersey. I'm a 26-year-old software developer and I'm married to a geology professor who is also an avid gamer. I run a regular D&D game due to player demand and enjoy it well enough, but would probably be happier running something else. (probably because the system makes it difficult to develop an internal continuity or exploratory experience that is satisfying to me...too easy to "undo" events, too easy to "skip over" elements of exploration that I enjoy) I do like to play various indie games at cons. I recently ran one-shots of InSpectres, Paranoia XP, and another game written by a friend. I love running Over the Edge one-shots, too. My Best Campaign Ever was a Nightbane campaign that ended 5-6 years ago.

I recently met you at a Double Exposure con in New Jersey. You gave me a quick demo of DitV (which I'd read about on and this blog), and I was impressed and bought a copy. ("Fallout" appeals to the continuity-fiend in me.) I have yet to read it, however, as it takes me forever to get through books that don't pertain to my job or my D&D game these days.


21. On 2005-04-27, JasonL said:


I'm Jason Leigh - a pseudo-regular poster here, and an avid lurker.

I live in Chicago, I'm married with 2 kids, and a work-a-day job that pays the bills.

I've been hanging around The Forge since mid 2001 - though I haven't posted there much, or lately at all.  Lately, I've been spending time here, at the 20' by 20' room, and various other blogs/forums dedicated to RPGs.

My gaming experience stretches back all the way to Chainmail, and I've played lots and lots of games.

I'm currently working to get my own web-site and blog up and running - which will maybe force me to finish the game-design-that-will-not-die.

I think the type of open discussions that go on here, and among other places, about roleplaying, are great.  I wish I'd had this kind of community 10 years ago when I gave up roleplaying for a time.

I'd like to thank the regular contributors here, especially Vincent, for the insight they bring to this hobby, and for their patience and resolve to help make roleplaying better.


Jason Leigh
(P.S., you can preview my blog, such as it is, at


22. On 2005-04-27, Victor Gijsbers said:

Hi, I'm Victor, 22 years old and living in Utrecht in the Netherlands. I studies physics and philosophy, and am currently working as the Dutch analogue of a PhD-student in philosophy at Leiden University.

Started roleplaying some 5 years ago, with AD&D2E; then with my very own fantasy heartbreaker; then with ever more 'freeform' 'systems'. Although I've been reading on the Forge for over two years, last september I bought my first Indie-games. Now, I sometimes think back with regret on all those years doing freeform stuff.

Over the past years, I played some serious Sorcerer and My Life with Master, and several one-shots or few-shots of Otherkind, Shadows and Great Ork Gods. I've just started a Universalis game, and will start playing a campaign of The Shadow of Yesterday soon. On the internet, I am now active playing Nobilis and My Life with Master. Dogs, PrimeTime Adventures and Sorcerer and Sword are the "must play" games on my bookshelf.

I also like game theory and game design. Apart from a game-that-is-not-a-game which I tossed off recently, the only project which is actually more than just vague notions in my head is "Shades" - a Nar game about memory and forgiveness. (And building trust and sensitivity between the players. And trying out some fancy narrative techniques.)


23. On 2005-04-27, John Harper said:


I'm John Harper (behold my clever handle!). I'm a full-time graphic artist, part-time aikido instructor, and some-time game designer. I used to publish the Talislanta fantasy RPG, under the name Shootingiron Design.

Now I tinker around with my own designs. Like Sydney, I thought I understood this whole RPG design thing until I ran into Ron, Vincent, Clinton, Matt, and the others. My education continues apace.

I contribute to a game design blog called Attacks of Opportunity, which is here:

(wow that's a popular blog template)

May the King of Life bless Vincent for all his days. You make theory fun to think and talk about, my man.


24. On 2005-04-27, Sben said:

My name is Ben Melhuish (sometimes with an S. in front of it); I lurk here (usually days or weeks after the discussions) out of curiosity more than a burning need to design my own game.

I've been gaming for ... hm, probably three quarters of my life, starting with a D&D/AD&D hybrid, moving through other TSR games and James Bond to Ars Magica, to (with my current group) Nobilis and our current series of "potluck tapas" games (everybody takes a turn running a one- or two-session game of their choice).  On my last turn, I ran a nicely Tarantino-esque Unknown Armies scenario; next turn, I'll run a Star Wars game with Heroquest rules.  I just finally purchased DitV; if it's as good as I hear it is, it'll make an appearance on an upcoming turn.

I currently live in Seattle (from L.A., from Portland).  I don't know anybody here face-to-face (unless kenjib also grew up in Portland), though one of the folks in my group went to college with the Metallian.  Small world.  In real life, I write software, and can be reached at (sben) [at] {pile}



25. On 2005-04-27, John Kim said:

My name is John.  I've been involved in RPG theory starting about 1995 or so (on, and since then on my extensive website ( ), The Forge, and a few other outlets (like the Knutepunkt books and the upcoming PUSH journal).

I don't have any immediate plans for publishing my own game, but I often post support for various other games, along with reviews and articles.  I'm playing in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG at the moment, along with forays into other systems (played Blue Rose, MLWM, and James Bond 007 in the recent past).

I live in Redwood City where I live with my wife and 5-year-old son, and work as a programmer.


26. On 2005-04-27, Charles Wotton said:

Hi, I'm Charles.  I started role-playing on my tenth birthday but have taken a couple of longish breaks along the way.  I'm a regular lurker here, at the Forge, etc.  I find inspiration reading stuff by creative people playing with the idea(s) of gaming but rarely feel moved to post.  I'm very grateful to this larger community for allowing me to see the potential of role-playing games and helping me understand what I want to get out of them.

These days I mainly play Heroquest, in person and by IRC, with a smattering of other indie games when I can find the players.

I live in Toronto where I teach English as a second language and sometimes adult literacy (despite or because of my inability to spell any word with unstressed syllables), study impractical subjects intermittently, and sing while cycling.


27. On 2005-04-27, ScottM said:

Hey, I'm Scott Martin.  I wander around the Forge and other haunts (the 20x20 room, etc.), but usually content myself with reading & responding to memes, rather than babbling. I'm in middle of California and participate in a couple of roleplaying groups.

My Friday Night group are mid-twenties & pretty gender balanced. There are 4 comitted players, and one who will play the first two sessions of most games. It's also on hiatus, due to scheduling problems and an impending move. Our last, quite successful, game was DitV.

The Saturday Night group is strongly male and tends to more traditional gaming; we play lots of "into the fray" type games.  It's larger (7 players) and has attendant party time vs. character development time issues.

My Dad and I are the only common members of the two groups; if the Friday Night group revives, my girlfriend, Jennifer, will probably join us.  The two groups do mix; people from each board game with us each week.  I also play some Universalis online.

I can be reached at delveg AT


28. On 2005-04-27, kenjib said:

Hi Ben,

Unfortunately no, I did not grow up in Portland, so you must be thinking of another Kenji.  Portland is a really great city though.


29. On 2005-04-28, Tony Pace said:

Well, I'm Tony. I live in Taichung, Taiwan, but I come from Nova Scotia, Canada. Like most expatriates here, I teach English to pay the bills. I'm married to a Taiwanese woman and plan on staying here.

I started gaming around the time the Wilderness Survival Guide was released. As a player, my most fondly remembered game is a very competitive Dark Sun one shot throne war. As a GM, I ran what still looks to me like a very narrativist Vampire game for two years. I still haven't had a chance to play any of the games from this circle, although I've read a few.

My current gaming group is also doing a rotating GMing thing with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I've been trying to do it thematically and with real player control and despite some system troubles it's working quite well.

I stumbled on the Indie RPG movement after a very frustrating experience with another group here - the theory really helped me understand what was going wrong and what I needed to do about it. It's still an ongoing process.

Beyond that, I'm very interested in the application of RPGs and game mechanics to other fields such as ESL and business consulting.


30. On 2005-04-28, Jasper Polane said:

I'm Jasper Polane, 32 years old, married. My wife is pregnant for the first time, which is very exiting! And also, scary as hell.

I live in Leiden in the Netherlands, where I work as an animation director, scriptwriter and illustrator, from my own animation studios (

I play in a weekly roleplaying group, alternating between indie games and more traditional games every 10 sessions or so. We just finished our first series of Primetime Adventures and are now starting up a GURPS Time Travel game. After that, hopefully, Dogs in the Vineyard.

I've designed a couple of what Vincent would call "practice games". However, currently I'm working on a game I suspect could become more.



31. On 2005-04-28, Tobias op den Brouw said:

I'm Tobias, 29, from the Netherlands, and Jasper seems to start work a little earlier than I do (but at least he does other things, like post here, as well). Jasper and I know each other from way back when, but our contact's been like - twice in 20 years?

I run a consultancy in sustainable development and software design together with my business partner. I run one hell of a lovely relationship with my life partner. They are not one and the same. :)

RP-ing started with just reading the Dutch version of Das Schwarze Auge (Het Oog Des Meesters) when I was - dunno - 10ish? And getting my patient parents and even grandfather to play it.

Moved to the Usa, where I ran across second ed. AD&D. From there on some other games, like Shadowrun and the WoD games, as well as buying discount games for reading (Morrow Project, Other Suns, etc.)

Moved back to NL for university, played CCG then (still do, primarily V:TES), as well as some university-brew games (one which presaged modern D&D).

Roleplaying slumbered, but it re-awoke about 2 years ago. Ran across the Forge, bought Dust Devils, MlwM, Uni, DitV. Have only played Uni (loved it), will hopefully play DitV (my Augurann 'dead gods' setting, find it through the Forge) with a group soon. Involved in a starting-up play-by-post BW game. Also kicked off the Groupdesign thing at the Forge (Sydney, it's your turn! ;) ).


32. On 2005-04-28, Victor Gijsbers said:

Hi Jasper and Tobias - quite a number of Dutch people around here, it seems. :)


33. On 2005-04-28, pete_darby said:

Hi, I'm Pete Darby, underscored in the handle for tax reasons.

I'm 33 (damn, I had to think about that), 11 years semi-detached to Kelly, father to mini-geek and a spare. I live in Kent in England in the UK in Europe.

I work in IT admin, which is easily as exciting as it sounds.

I've been a forgista for, what, two, three years now? Just at the point when I can look at my old RP collection and say "to e-bay with you, I'll never play you again" to most of it.

I don't do conventions, so unless you've been stalking me, you don't know me except through my sparkling online personality.

I brain farted an idea for a game on the Forge once, but I've not touched it since. Tony LB's Capes looks like the place to steal ideas for it, though.

Currently playing PtA online (RPGnet). Otherwise acting in my spare time and looking for land in Kent to build a 3 bed log cabin on...


34. On 2005-04-28, Kai said:

Hi, I'm Poh Tun Kai, and I represent the entire Malaysian market for DitV and kpfs at the moment. :)

Been roleplaying since 1987, more or less, and I've found myself taking on the role of GM because nobody else seems to want to, and because folks tend to like my GMing. I ran D&D from Red Box Basic Set all the way on up to Companion for about three years, three parallel campaigns with the same bunch of players, during high school.

Later, I went to study Computer Science at the Ohio State University and picked up Feng Shui, which led me to throw out combat maps and jettison a lot of unnecessary pre-game preparation, like statting up every damn NPC in the world. That game probably influenced my GMing style more than anything else.

I did some writing for the Blue Planet RPG (including the short story "Easter" in the Archipelago sourcebook) before coming back to Malaysia and joining a computer game developer (one of those infernal Chinese-language MMORPGs, actually) for about three and a half years. I'm currently editor at a local computer magazine, although I plan to move on soon.

I still game semi-regularly with a rotating cast of about nine people, four of whom I consider to be my core group. I GM almost all the time. Folks seem to like my Dark Age Vampire (bloody politics) and Delta Green (horror and paranoia) campaigns most, although in the past I've done some fun Blue Planet and Feng Shui shoot-em-up games.

My most successful single session in the past couple of years was a Call of Cthulhu 1930s game (using Unknown Armies rules) where the PCs joined a broadway musical production to investigate occult murders at a music hall, and my players to our delight spent half the game just having fun with all the tropes of Jazz Era musicals.

I discovered Indie RPGs and the associated theory mainly because of Paka's DitV review on (where I go by the handle PTiKachu). I grok some of the theory Vincent talks about, but a lot less of the stuff on Forge, which I skim occasionally. I'm trying to incorporate what new ideas I can into my much more traditionalist Vampire and L5R games, but I fear I've spoiled my players with my GM-is-God style in the past.

Most of my players are very staunch traditionalists, with a mix of "I want to get into my character's head" Simulationist and "Step On Up" Gamist interests. Some find it hard to find the appeal in games like Primetime Adventures, but I have run DitV for them successfully a couple of times. Half of my players would like to try PTA, but the traditionalists (who are also among the most fun guys, actually) aren't interested.

I also plan to get DitV going in a local game store dominated by D20 and mini/card gamers in the near future. It seems to be much more accessible to traditional gamers and might be a stealth way to introduce more modern game design concepts to them.

I should mention that the gaming scene in the Klang valley consists mainly of a few small groups of Malaysians who have studied abroad (and thus learned about RPGs) and their circles, and there are only four functional game stores, all relying heavily on minis and cardgaming for income, only three of which stock RPGs, and then only D20 stuff.

One of my ambitions is to come up with an RPG based on the Infernal Affairs films, wherein players each play a PAIR of double agents on BOTH sides of a police/Triad war.

And I think I've taken up too much bandwidth, so it's back to lurking. :)


35. On 2005-04-28, kat miller said:


I'm Kat Miller, the other half of Michael S. Miller and we met Vincent at Dreamation in New Jersey this year.

I have a Daughter of 4 of almost 5 years now, (going on 3 formal-although she'll be 15 in June.  Adoption is fun.)

Michael and I are starting the homestudy process again so that we can have a little sister for Dalys.

I'm 35 and I've been gaming since I was 12.  Although I was a freeform narative gamer long before that.  I started out with ADnD in the Gaming club at school.

I had been snubbed for being a girl gamer with 3 different groups before the Gaming Club, and that Christmas my gift was the Adnd line of books and my own gold plastic dice in a felt dice bag.

By Easter I was Gming.  Adnd also gave me an aversion to actually READING gaming books.  There so dry and boring.

To my horror, on of my gamer friends in college handed me his brand new MAGE book and said here read this.  Which is how I learned there was something other than Dnd.  And I haven't looked back (much.)

I met and married my Gm, (which is the best way to procure one for everyday use)  Mike's cousin Jason Roberts wanted to play a good Roman RPG and couldn't find one so he wrote one and Michael helped him put Fvlminata together and promote it before he found the FORGE

Michael has always wanted to write his own game and so the FORGE is the flame to him moth.  I like to play and run and didn't really have any desire to design but its hard not to get excited about the things that excite him or atleast learn enough about it so that we can talk about it so I started grudgingly to learn Forge stuff.

And I hate not being able to understand something.  The Forgian theories are not easy to understand.

I really appreciate Vincents Blog, Games, Posts and time. I have learned a lot more this year because of this blog than what I thought I knew before.

I wrote a little Game called War Stories ('cause no one should fear the term "let me tell you about my character")

I'm currently working on a game about sentient machines after the War against humanity called Fragile Gods,

and a game about Cat Gangs inspired by the teaser from John Wicks game "Cat" and thejoy I get from watching my house cats do most anything called Alley Cat.



36. On 2005-04-28, Ghoul said:

Hi.  I'm Jack Gulick.  The handle is an old joke mangling of my last name (which is actually pronounced like the "G" was a "J" at least by my branch of the family).

Been gaming since just after the "A" was added, for all that years matter.  I was active on CompuServe's RPGamers forum for years, including serving as its primary game reviewer for the last several of those years.  Worked as co-designer and co-GM for the "Dreamsmiths" series of GenCon games in the early 90s, mostly with Dream Park, Castle Falkenstein, and Teenagers from Outer Space.  I'm an active Amber gamer and Ambercon junkie, including running (in some capacity) AmberCon North for the last 6 years.  I've theoretically been published as co-author of the 2nd of Crunchy Frog's two Teenagers From Outer Space licensed products, but though I have several copies, I never actually saw it on a store's shelves.  I occasionally post on 20'x20' Room.

Outside of gaming, I'm an Actuary, which is not the normal profession for a diceless gamer, I know.  Dealing day-to-day with the technical minutia of insurance contracts and US tax law makes all but the worst game rules seem clear and coherent, though that is the faintest of praise.

I live just near the capital of New Hampshire and get to actually play far less than I'd like to.

I've got a homegrown bronze age setting I'd love time to finish for use with HeroQuest, though it's old enough that it was originally conceived for use with RQ pre-AH; many things have changed but for various reasons only 3 or 4 players have ever done much in it.  I was the co-creator and co-GM of the Amber-as-HK-action-movie recast "Nine Princes in Hong Kong", though that was wrapped up 5 years ago.  Most of my game work recently has been similarly odd structural or mechanical recasts for use at AmberCons, including running Baron Munchausen, Puppetland, Cats, and Teenagers from Outer Space with an Amber twist.  (Thank $diety for broadly archetypal characters and an inherently infinitely flexible setting!)  DitV is on my "why haven't I found anyone to play this yet" list, and is pretty much right at the top of it.

Love the site, follow along when I can, and am even learning to shut up when I'm clearly not following along.


37. On 2005-04-28, Kaare said:

Hi I'm Kaare. Kaare Sigurdsson Berg actually.

I read this blog activly, but rarely post.

I saw my unborn daughter for the first time today. I'm still stunned. As if just passing 30 wasn't enough of a wake up call.

Reluctantly adult I spend way to much time thinking of Rpgs and Rpg theory while trying to sell Sharp copiers. The benefit is that I have unlimited access to B/W and colour copiers, so I've spent quite a lot of paypal money on supplements and indie games.

Games wise I'm running a long term Burning Wheel campaign with sporadic off games of Dogs and Heroquest. Looking forward to playing around with sorceror and trying to rekindle the old simplistic dungeon magic (sans gamism) with Fate. I just got Prime Time Adventures in the mail, but it might be to Nar for my group at the moment. I began this slide into rpg madness with a brutal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. I was the most abused player, the GM. Still am come to think of it.

Got to run, golf class is about to begin..

Kaare dot berg at gmail dot com


38. On 2005-04-28, Per Fischer said:

I'm Per, usual handle pfischer. 41 years, married, kids 12 and 16. Born in Denmark, living in Scotland, UK, since 2002.
Daily reader here and at The Forge. Forge theory made me realise why I wasn't enjoying roleplaying anymore, and now I only play games I like. Playing TSOY via IRC at the moment. Last FTF game was DitV.

Have been writing scenarios for Danish conventions since 1993. Latest scenario, Dark Places, tried to introduce Sorcerer to the Danish RPG scene, with much debate to follow. I also translated the TSOY rules to Danish and adapted them to a Danish modern/near future detective RPG. Currently playtesting.

I have a Danish degree in teaching (Music and History) and a British degree in Journalism from last year. Dayjob at the moment: tech support for Samsung Electronics (sorry).

Writing a Band of Brothers-inspired game, working title Zero Hour, mostly to get a grip on understanding Story Now generally and in relation to game design.


39. On 2005-04-28, joshua m. neff said:

Hi, Vincent, and everyone. My name is Josh (or, if you're really formal, go by my handle). I read this blog frequently, but don't comment frequently. I've been participating in the Forge since...well, since Ron & Clinton (& Jared Sorensen, & others) were posting on Gaming Outpost. I basically followed everyone to the Forge, like a happy little lemming. Which is how I started reading Vincent's posts and actual play of his games.

Anyhoo...I currently live in Mukwonago, Wisconsin—which is just outside of Milwaukee. But that's only for another couple of months. I'm finishing up graduate school (in Library and Information Studies) and moving back to the Kansas City area this summer. I also work at a Borders Books here in the area. I have a wife, who games with me, and a precocious step-daughter (who I'm planning to adopt as soon as we have the time and money), 8 years old, who does not game yet (but the wife and I are planning on bringing her into the fold sooner or later).

I've been gaming since 1980, having started with D&D (I played a dwarf fighter, going through module B1.) Because of work scheduling and school stresses, I'm not currently playing anything. I ran one session of Dogs in the Vineyard, which was the last thing I played. I've played quite a bit of HeroQuest (both in Glorantha and other settings), which I love. Other games I've played in recent years and enjoyed the hell out of are Sorcerer, The Shadow of Yesterday, Trollbabe, and My Life With Master. I'm also half-assedly but enthusiastically working on my own RPG. It takes the basic conflict resolution system of Dogs, but moves in a very different direction overall. It's called "The Elfin Queen" and is (sort of) Elizabethan Fantasy. Unfortunately, it's been put on the sidelines until school is over and my life is a bit more settled. I also write poetry and prose (wrote my first novel in February) and am becoming increasingly interested in copyright and IP issues, especially as they relate to the principles of universal access and free information.

And now, I really have to get back to working on my schoolwork.


40. On 2005-04-28, kreg said:

Howdy!  I'm Kreg Mosier from deep behind the Pine Curtain in East Texas. (Nacogdoches)

I'm 36, and work as a Systems Administrator for the Library here on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

I've been playing role-playing games since i was 14, and have just recently begun to try my hand at game design. (tried my hand many moons ago at computer game design, but my lack of programming skill killed that pretty quick...) ;)

I'm an Artist, but the only thing I've ever had published was one little drawing in "Revelation X : The 'Bob'Apocryphon" many moons ago, and recently did the covers for the print run of KPFS.  (cause Vincent and the game are so cool and i wanted to do anything i could to contribute!)

I'm a regular lurker on the Forge and, but like Chris G. above, have very little to contribute in the way of new theory, so i rarely post.


41. On 2005-04-28, Brennan Taylor said:

Hi, I'm Brennan, both a game designer on my own and the founder of the Indie Press Revolution web site for small press games (through which I recognize about 80% of the names above—I do all the fulfillment myself).

I'm 34, have a wife and two kids, and try to game at least once a week. I am really interested in all of this theory stuff in an effort to make myself a better game designer. I still feel like an apprentice with all of these things, and I try to learn from the masters like Vincent.

I lurk way more than I post.


42. On 2005-04-28, Emily Care said:

Hello everyone!

My name is Emily Care Boss. I live in Western Massachusetts, USA & game regularly with Meg & Vincent (& their two boys).  I'm a graduate student in Forestry (almost done!), and live communally on a farm out in the hills with 3 housemates, 3 cats, 3 dogs, 6 sheep & 10 chickens.

I've been reading & posting on the Forge since early on, though with long lapses when work & time were less supportive of my habit.  I started role playing as an adult, which I think has permanently warped my perspective & was lucky enough to start with oddball collaborative free-formers so I have different habits to unlearn as I go forward with my play & design. I'm working on a couple games right now including Breaking the Ice that I plan to publish by the summer.


43. On 2005-04-28, Trevis Martin said:

Hi everyone, I'm Trevis Martin.  I read this blog and the Forge frequently but I don't post much my brain seemingly only good at recognizing amazing insight instead of producing it.  I live in suburban Kansas City with my wife, a roommate and two silly little dogs.

I've been doing RPG's for about 19 years.  My start is a little unusual as I actually started with Palladium's Robotech roleplaying game (out of a love for the source material.)  I got into Vampire in a big way in the early 90's but was always unsatisfied with the actual play of the game. So of course I tried to drift it to something that did what I want.  In the process of doing that I started using a game called Theatrix in about 1993.  I took some time off to earn my MFA in painting/printmaking from the University of Missouri. My work is here

Somewhere in there, looking for additional Theatrix material, I found the Forge and the wonderful thinking there and elsewhere that helped clear up a lot of things for me.

Most recently we just started a game of Vampire: the Requiem because I was determined to try out the new rules by the rules and see how it actually played. Um...well.  It sucks and we're drifting again real fast.  I feel terribly constricted compared to all the empowering games I've played, like Sorcerer, Uni, DitV, MLWM and others. My group is almost all novices with only one old veteren.

I met a bunch of you great people at GenCon last year but unfortunately I didn't get to play with any of you very much, mostly due to my own shortsightedness.

Finally I run the Golden Chain Press RPG Laboratory.  I have a play by post game called Revisionist History that I'm looking to get playtesters for and I host the current incarnation of the Universalis Arena, a wiki game of Uni. GCP also hosts the support web for Chris Lehrich's Shadows in the Fog.  I'm willing to host just about anything else for people who need a little space to play or develop.


direct link

This makes...
Cjc go "awesome!"*

*click in for more

44. On 2005-04-28, Trevis Martin said:

Oh and I'm a cartographer for a Geospatial engineering company here in KC, as well as a part time art teacher for a local community college.


45. On 2005-04-28, Lee Short said:


I'm Lee.  I first came here about a month ago.  I read irregularly and post even more irregularly.  I just turned 40.  I've been paid for writing software since I was 19 and I've been gaming long enough to remember the release of AD&D (as Jack noted, this doesn't really count for much).  Ever since I first picked up a copy of Rolemaster in high school, I've been trying to escape from D&D.  It seems to keep coming back into my life because it's a game everyone knows and no one has to learn.  Grrrr.  New year's resolution:  never again.

My preferred gaming style is totally freeform.  Not that I get to do it much; it's a tough sell to most gamers.  Like Jack, I've played a ton of Amber—which, as played by most players of my acquaintance, is functionally freeform.  I'm well known to the AmberCon Northwest crowd but have never been to AmberCon US.

I've written many sets of informal rules in my time; I rarely get to a polished version.  I'm really writing the rules because I want to play the game, and don't generally care if others play it too.  One of the things I like about The Forge is that it gives me motivation to polish my rules up a bit.

Like John, I'm a veteran of rgfa.  My interest in RPG theory comes and goes; there was big gap between my participation in rfga and my recent activity at The Forge.


46. On 2005-04-28, Ninja Hunter J said:

I'm Joshua, though not Neff. I live in Connecticut, at least until August, at which point I'll leave my faculty position at the Yale School of Art to return to my career as a graphic designer.

I'm 30, originally from Rhode Island, and met Vincent through Meg while at Hampshire College. For some reason, I forgot to play with them for several years, up til about a year two years ago, when I remembered how awesome they are (see the first post on my Lj). Now my partner and I play Prime Time Adventures with them about once a month, though we blew it this month.

I did the book design for Dogs in the Vineyard and am doing the same for the second ed. and Mountain Witch.

My games in process are

Under the Bed and a game of science fiction that allows you to actually do real science fiction, rather than just the window dressing. It doesn't have a name, and maybe it should. It's sort of a scifi toolkit; you should be able to do any science fiction with it; i.e. space opera won't really work, nor will fantasy.

My blog is The Monkey King, where I talk about games and other cool stuff.


47. On 2005-04-28, Jason L Blair said:

I'm Jason L Blair, game designer/writer.

I read this a bit, when I can, and I find it fascinating. Vincent has an easy style of writing that really rips apart stuff and exposes its true meanings. All good.

I've learned quite a bit about game design here. Though I may do it professionally, I don't profess to know everything. ;)


48. On 2005-04-28, Andy K said:

Hey all, I'm Andy Kitkowski, and I've actually read everyone's intro post here.  Y'all some interesting folk.

I'm a Small-Press indie games bitch. They've always been on the radar, but the gestalt shift was at like 3AM one weekend when I got through most of Sorcerer and Sword. Blew my fucking mind.  I'm not always paying attention to what others are Working On, but when they're Done and Published, more often than not it's in my hands within 2-4 weeks. I game with a group of friends, who i am converting to the System Does Matter and "player participation" agenda via little tricks I picked up in other games (or just playing those other games outright, like PTA). I have a second gaming group of more aquaintences than buddies, who game to experiement with the new cool small-press stuff out there.

Since 1998 I've been on the pot, but still haven't shat - In terms of "Coming up with a game plan to design something, and not following through".  So instead, I get involved with various Small Press RPG support projects: The Indie RPG Awards were born for no better reason than the fact that I was 2 pages into my Future Sorcerer Supplement, my mind started to wander, and I decided to procrastinate by engaging in a huge awards effort. Recently, I've taken on the 24 Hour RPG Project site (, and the upcoming Game Chef project ( I also helped Tim K auf "The Mountain Witch" with his Japanese stuff, and help others with little bits of their games: Reading, playtesting, etc.

I should really shit or get off that pot, but I've still got some Ideas.  I just need to sit down and work them out.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, for those who want the game), I have a huge translation effort underway- Translating the excellent Tenra Bansho Zero game ( into English and publishing it.  Next month is "Get the final lap of translation done so that we can move on to editing and added text". If you're here, let me just say: This game will really knock your fucking socks off. I'm only the translator, I'm not even the game's designer, and I'm saying that. It really does turn the gaming table into a stage.

Personally, I now work (just started last month) as a technical engineer at NetApp, making sure that you keep getting your Yahoo Email. My wife Orie Hiromachi is a graphic designer ( who just got a contract to design an online Hiroshima/Atomic Bomb Museum. We have two lovely cats with FIV, and one cute-as-hell kitten. I have a gaming blog on Livejournal ("zigguratbuilder"), and a LifeBlog at . I live in Cary, NC. This year, I'm going to GenCon, and in the fall I'm going to Japan for two weeks. Time to get my Hot Springs on.

And I fucking love sushi.



49. On 2005-04-28, MikeSands said:


How did I get here? I recently bought DitV and really liked it, and found that your blog was another source of good thinking about roleplaying.

In terms of what I'm into... I think I pretty much got bored of traditional gaming about 2-3 years ago. In my attempts to see what else was out there, I found HeroQuest, the forge and associated bits. I've been trying out and reading a bunch of new games, mainly indie ones and having a great time with them.

I also got inspired to write my own game, based on naval adventure stories. It's currently had it's first playtest run and in deep revision.

I've also got my own blog, at, where I comment mainly about rpgs and books. What's written there pretty much sums up my interests.

So there it is. Nice to meet you, Vincent!


50. On 2005-04-28, Meguey said:

I'm Meguey (or Meg if that's easier and/or you met me by that first.) I am the other member of the Emily-Vincent-Meg triumvirate, and also a member of the Vincent-Meg-Emily-Carrie-Joshua-(and occasionally Ben) conspiracy. I 've been gaming since my older brother-type got the first D&D box set, when I was 7. I just recently turned 34, and realized that there have been only two years that I have not been involved in a game, so I guess that makes me a bit of a lifer. I'm happy to report that Vincent and I are doing our best to raise the next generation of gamers, currently 8 and 5 years old. It's a treat and a half to watch them start GMing for each other so naturally. (And may I say they both already occasionally play cross-gender? Ok, maybe it's a pet issue for me.)

I read everything on this blog, and post regularly, but not so much as to be often. It's been great to read everyone's intro, 'cause I sat here saying 'yeah, that's a cool game; oh, so's that one'. (Note to above groups: We should play InSpectres again! I love that game!) Also, I'm thinking geek-thoughts about the age-partnered:yes/no-kids:yes/no data of respondents so far.

Oh, and what else I do: If it has to do with fibers of any kind, I do it - even fiberglass auto body repair. I teach sex ed to high school students through the UU church. I've studied Middle Eastern dance (a.k.a bellydance) off and on for nine years. I graduated from Hampshire College. I have my Award of Arms in the Soceity for Creative Anachronism. I do a little bit of web-design( ) I make quilts for myself/family/friends, but also on commission, including a national show a few years back. I read more than is reasonable for someone as busy as I am.


51. On 2005-04-29, Yoki Erdtman said:

Hi gang,

I'm Yoki Erdtman, and you might have seen me post as Yokiboy here and elsewhere. I'm 35, married, father of two gorgeous girls. The older of my girls is six, and we have just started roleplaying together.

I game weekly, with the same gang I've gamed with since I was 14. We are finally shifting into a more narrative style and LOVE the results. At this time we're playing The Riddle of Steel, having just ended a Primetime Adventures campaign, and we also have a FATE game on the back burner. I am looking forward to playing Sorcerer, DitV, Dust Devils, and My Life with Master.

Since learning about indie RPGs at the Forge, and picking up Sorcerer, I have bought just about every game I've come across. I am currently trying to resist the urge to buy Burning Wheel Revised, and keenly awaiting The Mountain Witch. I'd like someone to convince me to buy Conspiracy of Shadows as well.

My gaming industry claim to fame is that I headed up international sales for Chessex Distribution, prior to them being bought by the Armory. Matthijs was one of my customers at the time, and probably the only one here that I know in person.

Ninja Hunter J/Nikola/Monkey King, I didn't know that all three were the same person, and what they heck's that comment about Dogs v2? Tell us more!




52. On 2005-04-29, Ninja Hunter J said:

(Yoki, it's not v2 - it's a second edition. A couple of clarifications, illustrations, and a better layout.)


53. On 2005-04-29, Ron Edwards said:


I'm Ron Edwards, age 40, recently become a husband and homeowner in the north Chicago area. I'm a biology professor most of the time, and my specialty is evolutionary theory.

Otherwise I publish my games through Adept Press, moderate the Forge, and do other role-playing type stuff. Especially the "really play" part.

Furthermore-otherwise, I'm a part-time martial arts instructor, for adults, kids, and developmentally-delayed adults.



54. On 2005-04-29, Michael S. Miller said:

Hi, Vincent et al.

I'm Mike Miller. I'm the other half of Kat Miller, whom you've met previously. She left me very little to say, which is good because I find that I follow the same rules in posting (and writing, and life, come to think of it) as John Wayne used in acting: "Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much."

I'm 31. I work for a type compositor for a living. I first played D&D of some kind when I was 8. My cousins, whom I only saw on holidays, owned the games. I didn't buy my first RPG (Marvel Super Heroes) until I was 13. Been GMing, and occasionally playing, ever since. Kat & I go to 5-8 conventions per year. I've been hanging out at the Forge for about 3 and a half years now. I participate in the Forge Booth at GenCon, and met Vincent there & at Dreamation 2005.

I indeed co-wrote FVLMINATA. The NoPress Anthology's Discernment is also mine. I'm currently working (far too slowly) on a melodramatic superhero RPG called With Great Power... I should have more finished, but Kat said, our RL is very full.

You might ask, Why do I post with the "S"? I might answer: Do you know how many "Michael Miller"s there are? Neither do I. I don't think I can count that high.
Michael S. Miller


55. On 2005-04-29, Clinton R. Nixon said:

I'm Clinton Roosevelt Nixon. People always ask me if that's a fake name. I'll admit that one of them is, but the other two are real.

I found all these gaming-theory wackos back in late '99. My gaming buddy at the time and all-around awesome designer, Peter Seckler, showed me the Gaming Outpost and I got all hooked on Sorcerer. When the Sorcerer site and the Forge went down because their administrator let their domain names expire, I stepped in and have been flogging this horse since. I've been running my own design studio, Anvilwerks, for a few years.

Pre-internet, my favorite games were Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Star Wars d6, and Twilight: 2000. These days, my favorites are Dogs in the Vineyard, HeroQuest, and, well, a bunch of others.

For my day job, I'm the vice-president of IT for a small company. I really don't enjoy it. Outside of work, I play the ukulele (baritone uke, actually) and make folk and punk rock. It's a surprisingly rich sound. I have a cat, Violet, and a rocking fiancee. I'm getting married in December and we're going to make a kid right after that.

I enjoy this weblog immensely, although I don't comment a lot. I enjoy talking with Vincent more about religion than gaming, but it's a bigger part of my life, so that makes sense.



56. On 2005-04-29, Piers Brown said:

Hi, I'm Piers, another one of the lurkers both here and on the Forge.

I'm in my mid-thirties, and I'm doing my PhD at the University of Toronto about very serious stuff which isn't linked in any way to deep-seated obsessions associated with role-playing.  Honest.

Like just about everyone here, I'm a long time gamer, going on for twenty-five years.  More Ars Magica than anything else, but the usual range on semi-obscure games as well, and always with an interest in rules and design.  A decade or so ago I was involved with a group of game designers / writers in Vancouver and we put out a short-lived magazine called Adventures Unlimited, but since then the hobby has been, well, a hobby.

Oddly, I went to university with Pete Darby a long time ago, though I never gamed with him—I know him because he did a radio show with my roommate—and I haven't seen him since.


57. On 2005-04-29, Matthijs said:

(Hey, Adventures Unlimited! Great mag! I used to recommend it to all my RPG customers back when I had a gaming store - always wondered what happened to it!)


58. On 2005-04-29, Doug Ruff said:

I'm Doug, some of you will recognise me from the Forge, where I post regularly. It's a pleasure to speak with all of you and get acquainted.

I'm 31 and live with my long-time partner Claire. No kids, but we're planning to take in a couple of kittens instead.

I'm a Cambridge University Graduate (major: philosophy of science), working as a civil servant - I'm much happier doing public service than working for a corporation, go figure. Outside of this, I'm studying for a second degree with the Open University (Computer Science) and spending the few spare hours I have chilling with Claire and my friends.

I starting gaming at school when I was nine, with Tunnels and Trolls, and stayed a gamer through secondary school. I quit for a long time because I wasn't enjoying gaming as much as I could. Nowadays, I have some very good friends who I game with very occasionally; I've lent them my copy of DiTV and I'm planning on running a town with them in the next few weeks.

I'm still a wannabe game designer - I'm not counting my current projects as they're not finished yet, (I'm sorry Tobias! I'm sorry Sydney!) but I'm learning, thanks to a lot of the people who haave already posted here.

I read Vincent's blog regularly, but I don't post hardly at all. I don't feel that I've got that much to add to the conversation yet, but I'm reading, and learning, and thinking, so maybe that'll change one day soon. In the meantime, you can PM me at the Forge, or mail me at doug DOT ruff AT gmail DOT com.


59. On 2005-04-29, Charles said:

I'm Charles Seaton. I read here constantly, post moderately frequently. I also follow the Forge theory section irregularly. I lived with Vincent, Meg and Emily for a year (longer with Emily) back in the early 90's (where we introduced Emily to oddball freeform low GM'd gaming).

I've been gaming since I was six, when I was started off by the teachers at the hippy free school I attended (1st edition D&D, and then later RuneQuest). I played lots of D&D and then AD&D through highschool, with various other things tossed in at points (Call of Cthulhu, Toon, Top Secret, DragonQuest are the ones I can remember). For many years, I played GM-less AD&D with my brother and two friends.

When I hit college, I got involved in freestyle (although still GM'd) gaming, which I vastly preferred. Together with several of my current housemates and some former housemates, I was involved in creating a shared multi/co GM'd world, which we played in off and on (currently on) for the past 12 years. Mostly through the work of Sarah Kahn (my spouse, and a frequent poster on rgfa back in the mid-90's), the shared world has developed into a thing of amazing detail and breadth. We have recently started putting it online.

I currently play in a freeform, GM-less/co-GM'd game set in our shared world, and also in a 90% freeform GM'd game set in a different world. I haven't actually played any of the Forge-descended games, but I'm sufficiently arrogant that I discuss them anyway. I have, however, definitely been incorporating some aspects of Forge theory into my own thinking, and into the methods of our co-GM'd game.

I live in a quasi-communal household (3 of us are purely communal, 2 more are a married couple with a 1 1/2 year old daughter, 2 more are single renters). We used to be more communal, but so it goes. We live in a big blue and pink house in outer south-east Portland, Oregon. We also have two cats, one of whom is very shy, and the other of whom likes to be spanked (no, seriously). I've been married for a little more than 10 years, and I've lived communally with 3 of my current house for between 12 and 15 years.

I work for a research group in a university, where I help to support an estuary monitoring and modelling system (I mostly do data quality assurance and visualization stuff). I have a masters degree gained under my current employer.


60. On 2005-04-30, Vincent said:

Everybody! I'm glad you're all here!


61. On 2005-04-30, Kingston Cassidy said:

I'm Kingston Cassidy. I'm 28 years old. I'm married. I'm a subsitute elementary school teacher. I live in the greater Seattle area. I've been a "gamer" for about 15 years, but have never actually played that much. I used to play D&D and Cyberpunk 20.20 in high school, WOD in college. I really loved (but rarely played) the kinds of "out there" games published by Atlas, like Over The Edge and Unknown Armies during that time, which brought me to The Forge, which brought me here. I play every other saturday now with some folks I know from college.


62. On 2005-04-30, Fabian said:


I'm a 24-year-old student of computer science from Braunschweig, Germany.

I've been into roleplaying since I was about ten, but my actual play has mostly been limited to a number of short-lived, unsatisfying games of Shadowrun at school, and a prolonged GURPS campaign which I left with the expression that I never actually had any fun.

I found the Forge about two years ago, and I've been a fairly regular lurker ever since.  I'm still struggling with the theory there, but discovering your blog a month or two ago has helped quite a bit.

I'm currently looking for a group to try the nice little collection of indie games I've acquired over the course of the last two years with, but I can't say my optimism is boundless.

Like anyone else, I'm toying with a couple of game designs of my own.  I haven't actually managed to write anything down yet, but I'm determined to become more of an active participant on the various fora I lurk on (this post probably being the first step), and to get myself to finally get something done in the process.

f gentner gmx de, plus two dots and an at


63. On 2005-05-01, Gordon said:

Hi all -

I'm Gordon Landis, 41, born in CT, living in San Jose, CA with my not-quite-fiance (but after 10+ years, who're we foolin'?).  I started with RPGs back in junior high, stopped playing for a while in the 80's, and have been active with the GO/Forge folks for quite a while.  I've met Vincent and a number of the other excellent posters here at GenCon over the last few years.  I have an RPG design by the name of SNAP that will be ready for GenCon this year.

I've been working with PCs since the old IBM PCjr - some programming, mostly databases, but I've dabbled in most of the typical tech-type jobs: consulting, support, QA, management, probably other stuff I'm forgetting.  Most of my career in the last 10 years was with a software company making products for corporate patent management, but they finally closed up the CA office last year, so I've been dabbling in consulting again since then.  I probably can't keep that up TOO much longer . . .

I have recently been reminded that I am flat-out weird about people I know primarily on-line.  Even when I've met them, I don't quite accept that I, like, REALLY know them.  None the less, it is my goal to eat sushi with Andy K at the next GenCon, as I, too, friggin' love the stuff.


64. On 2005-05-01, Vincent said:

I've heard that the sushi place near GenCon is not so good. The sushi's nothing special, I've heard, and way too expensive for nothing special sushi.

If we can find a good place, though, count me in!


65. On 2005-05-01, Matt Wilson said:

So, um, yeah. That's my name above. You know who I am, dude.

For everyone else, I'm 34, married since last July, and owner of a kickass dog. Last fall I published my first game, hopefully of many.

I live in Milwaukee, which I don't like, yet I'm committing to at least a couple years of school here, maybe as punishment for something I did when I was younger. City as hairshirt?

I found the Forge via Clinton, who has kickassly asked me to be his best man at his wedding! Unless I dreamed it. And I met V and many of you in person at GenCon 2003 or 2004.

I'm inspired by the bar V has set for game design, and I like it that he's a decent guy in person. And it's a total bummer that I only see him and many other cool people once a year.

And come on. Sushi in the midwest? The only decent food for a thousand miles is in Chicago.


66. On 2005-05-01, Ben Lehman said:

Sushi at GenCon doesn't sound nearly as good as Italian.  There is this one Italian place that's really quite good, right nearby the convention center.  But you have to get a big group, 'cause their portions are ginormous.

—Ben (who likes sushi as well as the next guy but, well, Indianapolis.)


67. On 2005-05-01, Collin M. Trail said:

I've been reading this site for quite awhile, but this is my first post. I'm a 23-year-old physics grad student who has been running games for various groups for about ten years off and on. I'm currently running an Ars Magica game for my group which is going very well. I'm primarily interested in this stuff for use with my group, but I do a little design for my own purposes, tailoring or creating systems for the sake of a game.

I'm not sure if this is the right way to propose a question for discussion, but I was wondering if anyone could clarify the issue of theme in roleplaying for me. I've heard it recommended frequently that in order to have a game deal with interesting human issues, it should have a strong theme. Maybe I'm not too strong on the meaning of the term, but this somehow seemed strange to me. Would this be like deciding the theme of the game is the conflict between duty and justice, and having everyone make characters who have conflicts related to this one and making the games all focus on different aspects of that question? Because although that is one way to focus on an important human issue, it strikes me that there must be other good ways to organize such games. I often think of "The Princess Bride" as being a movie which it would be fun to run a game like, but although that movie has some very strong emotional moments and deals with gripping human issues, I can't think of a strong unifying theme that the movie has. Can anyone help clarify the purpose of theme for me?


68. On 2005-05-01, Vincent said:

Hey Collin! As it happens, I have a rough draft of an essay all about theme right here in front of me. I'll post it this week.

I personally would say the theme of The Princess Bride thusly: "love is worth killing, dying and living for."


69. On 2005-05-01, Collin M. Trail said:

Thanks for the reply- I'm looking forward to seeing that essay. What made the theme of The Princess Bride unclear to me was how Wesley's quest to save his love tied in with Inigo's quest to avenge his father, which strikes me as an equally important plotline. I didn't occur to me until I read your take on the theme that Inigo's story is really about love as well, the love of his father. Interesting.


70. On 2005-05-01, Vincent said:

Yep. And notice how the whole story casts light on the grandfather's love for the kid.


71. On 2005-05-02, joshua m. neff said:

And the kid's love for his grandfather.


72. On 2005-05-02, Judd said:

There's a game in that, where the game is a story told from one to another and the relationships in the game have to somehow mirror the relationships between the storyteller and the listener.


73. On 2005-05-02, Ninja Hunter J said:

Dammit, Judd, that's what I was going to post.


74. On 2005-05-02, Tony Irwin said:

Im Tony, 29, I live in the UK. I've really enjoyed following this blog. Thanks!


75. On 2005-05-02, Andy K said:

I've heard that the sushi place near GenCon is not so good. The sushi's nothing special, I've heard, and way too expensive for nothing special sushi.

This is correct.  I speak from experience.  We got totally screwed.

The sushi itself was ok (and note: I happen to think a lot of the sushi places I go to in the US are a lot better in quality than the sushi places I frequent in Japan), but it was just too expensive for the quality and portions.

That Italian place sounds like a Thang, tho.

Oh, and the Indian place was pretty good.  Not knock-down phenomenal, but it had totally decent fare at a great price.


76. On 2005-05-02, Meguey said:

"There's a game in that, where the game is a story told from one to another and the relationships in the game have to somehow mirror the relationships between the storyteller and the listener."

Errrgh. That's a lot like my game. I just wish it would write itself, because I am in no way going to be able to a decent job by the idea. Drat.


77. On 2005-05-02, James Nostack said:

Hi, I'm James, I'm 28 and live in Philadelphia.  I have a thankless, boring job working for a non-profit, which is why I'm hoping to have a boring but hopefully thankful job as a lawyer soon.  I'm dating a wonderful girl in New York.

Play-wise, I played some Dungeons & Dragons and Alternity over the years, but I'm getting really into the Shadow of Yesterday lately.



78. On 2005-05-03, gbsteve said:

I'm Steve Dempsey. I'm 39 and live in London (the London, not some cheap Canadian imitation). I'm a civil servant in which capacity I manage several people who do maths for a living. I used to do the math myself, and was rather good at it but the Peter Principle exerted itself and moved me to a less secure position.

I edit Places to Go, People to Be (, an Aussie zine and am often confused with the zine's creator Steve Darlington, although I'm pretty sure we're not the only two Steve Ds in the world. We've got an Origins nomination so I'm crossing the pond in June to see what the fuss is about and hopefully meet some of the people I've only encountered on-line.

I'm a big fan of small press games, have bought most of them and even played some! I see them as the real area of creativity in gaming (as opposed to the real area of profit).

My forte is writing and running scenarios. I do the occasional piece for Dying Earth and sometimes Cthulhu or Hellboy.

I've got some ideas about new games but usually find that Jared Sorensen has got their first and given it away for free. Although he still hasn't written one about struggling artists in a gothic Paris.



79. On 2005-05-03, Ninja Hunter J said:

Steve, if the gothic paris in question is ca. 1900, I've been barking up that tree for years and no one else has really been into it. Kudos to you if you can get your players into absinthe-soaked surrealism. It seems a no-brainer to me, but, well, it's something the players gotta dig.


80. On 2005-05-03, GB Steve said:

NHJ, that's pretty much what it is.

My inspirations are Baudelaire, M John Harrison (Viriconium), Simon Ings (City of the Iron Fish), Schuiten (Les Cit???Obscures -, Eug??? Atget ( and My Life with Master.

The idea is that the creation of art changes the world*. The mechanics are a balancing act of the tensions between creativity and control. But I think the game is rather fragile in that it requires much player buy-in to work and is as yet untested.

But it's nice to know that I'm not alone. Maybe I should get my notes together in a more accessible format.

*Although I'm not sure to what extent this should be seen as a superpower or not. The subtlies are not easily dealt with.


81. On 2005-05-03, Harlequin said:

Cool.  Count me in as interested in the Paris thing.  I'd be fascinated to see how you handle the in-game creation of art; I have two concepts (one for a game about being a rock band, and one about war journalism) for which that's needed, and I've never yet seen it done well.

Hi, all.  I'm late to this thread but may as well speak up.  My name is Eric Finley; I'm a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) physicist, living in Edmonton, Alberta.  Just turned 29 this week, married and with 2.5 kids - I'm not kidding.  That number also varies, as we're foster parents, which I can say with surety is a good way to scupper your game design work for a while.

I've happily sold my soul to the new wave of gaming, and am slowly trying to corrupt my local groups so that I'll have someone to play with.  Not an unfamiliar position to most of you, I'm sure.

- Eric


82. On 2005-05-03, sammy said:

Hi, I'm Sammy. I am 31, and live in a suburb of Philly (James: Howdy, neighbor!) with my wife and daughter. I'm a professional computer geek.

I had the pleasure of living with lumpley and ms. lumpley for a school year back in college. And now that I think of it, it's really interesting to contrast the type of game mechanics he was working with then with the kind he favors now.  (Hint: they used to be a lot more complicated).

And they're both lovely people, by the way. :)


83. On 2005-05-03, Vincent said:

Sam! Good to hear from you!


84. On 2005-05-03, Emily Care said:

This is an impressive list of contributors!

Hey Steve: if you haven't seen it already, you might be interested in the Court of Nine Chambers.

Looks like John doesn't have a current version on the web, but the development notes are there & it seems to have bearing on your project.



85. On 2005-05-03, MikeC said:

Hi all,

I'm Mike, 34, another programmer and living in London. I've been lurking here and at the Forge for a couple of months now, (re)discovering RP after a 10-year hiatus, and am continually amazed at how far things have progressed in that time. Bought DitV, Sorc and PtA so far and will probably be starting with Dogs once I work up the nerve.

This is my first de-lurking post in either forum.


86. On 2005-05-03, MikeGentry said:


I'm Mike Gentry. I'm 31 years old, and I work as a fake-computer-programmer (i.e., my employers think I'm a computer programmer, but I'm only faking it) in Alexandria, VA with a wife and two cats and two kids.

I've been gaming since I was like 12. I've been lurking on the Forge for several years, at first just sort of blindly enthusiastic about everything, recently more thoughtfully digesting.

Of all the heavy-theory-thinker-type people, I've found Vincent the most consistently interesting, agreeable, and insightful, though I think he and I would disagree about what sort of gaming is most/least worthwhile. That's okay, though. I'm constantly finding little nuggets of wisdom that I can incorporate into my own play and into my relationships with my players.

I'm currently running an episodic Orpheus campaign.


87. On 2005-05-04, Ninja Hunter J said:

Sam! Hi! I'm Joshua! We used to fight together in the SCA!

GBSteve, my primary influence is Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Which makes me say: STUPID ATLANTIC OCEAN! Drop me a note at joshua at swingpad &c. I'm pretty sure this game can be made to work. I'm a sucker for historical fiction and this is a period and theme I've always wanted to do.


88. On 2005-05-04, timfire said:

Hi everyone,

This is Timothy Kleinert. I read Vincent's blog alot, but only occassional post. My claim to fame is the very soon to be released game The Mountain Witch.

Let's see, I think I've been role-playing off and on for like, 18 or 19 years now. I started getting into design in '99, when I started working on a homebrew fantasy heartbreaker with a couple friends. About a year and a half ago I found the Forge. I started reading Vincent's blog in February after meeting the man at Dreamation.

Currently I'm trying to finish my undergrad once and for all. Right now I'm studying Computer Science, previously I was in Biblical and Theological studies. Honestly, I would love to move into videogames after I finish my degree ( Na... I mean, thematic videogames, maybe?).



89. On 2005-05-04, Ginger Stampley said:

I'm Ginger. I'm a mid-30s Gen X gamer transplanted from Texas to the metro New York City area. I played and GMed a lot of homebrew fantasy in the late 80s and early 90s and a smattering of this and that since them. I've been gaming for 20 years and GMing for most of that time.

My Amber PBeM (co-GMed with my husband, using Everway rules) hits four years old this month. I'm also currently GMing a biweekly Dogs game and I play in what looks like it will be a monthly/bimonthly Dogs campaign with friends in upstate New York. I also do the Ambercon circuit (ACUS in Detroit and TBR near Boston).

I am not now, nor do I plan to become, a game designer, but I enjoy hanging around designers and putting in my $0.02.


90. On 2005-05-04, Brendan said:

I'm Brendan Adkins!  I turned 24 yesterday; I think now my brain starts dying.

I'm mere weeks away from an MS in Comp Sci at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky.  I work part-time in software quality assurance—easy labor for laughable pay.  I'd like to change all that.

I found Roleplaying Theory, Hardcore about six months ago (I don't remember how), and through it the Forge.  I play Nobilis over AIM.  I'm lobbying to get my group to try Dogs.  I want to write a game called Maguffin.

I write stories that are exactly as long as my attention span.


91. On 2005-05-04, Brand Robins said:

I'm Bradley "Brand" Robins. I'm something between 30 and older than that, and I live in Toronto, having fled from Los Angeles because I decided I didn't hate myself enough to keep living there.

I'm fairly new to this forum, but have been reading Vincent's stuff (and that of many other commenters) on places like the Forge and for a long, long time.

Having a degree in Rhetoric, I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about communication, gaps, and places where we have the ability to change assumptions if we can only challenge our own preconceptions strongly enough. I read journals such as this because they not only help me do that, they often give strong practical advice about actually doing it. I love, love, love theory—but the gap between theory and practice is one of the most difficult to traverse, and I need all the help I can in bridging it. Because of that I read the theory articles but tend to not comment, while I may chime in on more tangible issues in order to make sure I?m getting it.


92. On 2005-05-04, Tom said:


I'm Tom Russell and I'm a programmer in the Boston-metro area.  I'm 32 and I noodle around with various ideas for RPG games of my own make and many of the wonderful things off the shelf.

Despite all this, I'm not currently running anything and most of my play is d20.  However, one D&D game is converting to HeroQuest (yeah...there's a shift) and later this summer I'm hoping to get something started—I'm thinking a game of Godlike.

Anyway, I know Vincent through Emily and the Forge and kill puppies for satan.  It's been a pleasure watching him work and I'm anxious to see what new things he comes out with.


93. On 2005-05-05, Eric Minton said:

Hey there.  I'm Eric, I'm 33 and live in New York City with my boyfriend of 5 years now.  When I should be doing web design stuff at work, I'm browsing gaming forums (including anyway. and the Forge) and doing freelance work on Paranoia XP.

Vincent ran DitV for me at Dreamation this year, and it knocked my socks off.  Dude, you and your Forge buddies are spoiling gaming for me—it's hard to play with my friends and their "if we keep playing, something fun is bound to happen eventually, by accident" approach.  Curses!

- Eric "no words for love 2d4" Minton


94. On 2005-05-05, Ninja Hunter J said:

Eric, I was the guy who kept popping in and listening during that game (our TSoY game ended about a half hour before your DitV one). It was neat watching people hash out the game and make their choices for the first time. Thanks for being my anthropological study!


95. On 2005-05-06, jeff said:

I'm Jeff, regularish reader never commenter.  I'm a Software Developer in the Seattle area.  Used to read the Forge but it got a bit I dunno - too heady for me I guess.


96. On 2005-05-06, Jonas Karlsson said:


I'm Jonas Karlsson, 25 years old and living in Sweden. I have half a year left before I've finished my Master of Science program in information technology with a specialization in socware design (soc = system-on-chip, etching a full system on a microchip). The only problem with that is that I can't see myself working with it, so we'll see what happens.

I've roleplayed since I started going to school, or something like that, and have met many of my closest friends through roleplaying. In June I'm moving to a new city, Gothenburg, and I actually look forward to trying to roleplay with people I don't know. I just know I have to find a group that want to test all the new games I find; there's no way I could settle with just reading them.

I've read the Forge and RPGnet for some years, but haven't posted much. I think it was last year I started reading roleplaying blogs, and this year I've become addicted. I subscribe to the feeds of this blog, Jared Sorensen's, Andy K's, Matt Wilson's, Ben Lehman's, 20' by 20' and a bunch of others, which is a great way to get quality ideas from interesting people.

I introduced myself to Anyway by presenting the game Far Apart, a Great War long-distance love-tragedy kind-of-game, that I'd just created. I haven't played it yet and don't particularly feel like it either, even though I have a friend who's interested. This has made me promise myself that the next game I design will be one I really want to play myself, since I believe it's only the conviction that the game will rock that can make you do the revisions necessary for a great game.

A great idea to have presentations, it's a lot more fun to read comments when you have an idea of the real person behind them.


97. On 2005-05-06, droog said:

My name's Jeff, and this is the first time I've exposed it in a public forum. The computer is my friend.

I'm 40 years old and I'm a secondary school teacher, teaching mostly English and social studies. I'm married with one child (female, almost 4).

I started on wargames when I was 14, about 1978. I've been roleplaying since Boxing Day, 1980, when I introduced D&D to a group of friends after I'd read about it in 'Games and Puzzles'.

After school I found another group of people with whom I played RQ for the next 18 years or so. I recognised our group when I read this about a year ago:

"The Simulationist, whether GM or player, fights a losing battle against the Gamist, often feeling betrayed and desperate. Simulationist groups which survive this conflict tend to be very insular, clique-ish, and GM-centered, with the GM seen as the conduit or channeller to "the game" as published. Such a GM is usually given carte blanche authority over the social, system, and plot-oriented content of the game, and the players become fairly subordinated to the content of play. The group often Drifts the rules significantly to reflect and reinforce the immediate Social Contract; simultaneously, they become defensive and protective regarding the game title as a subcultural item."

Moving to another city and leaving my old group behind has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand I've had space and time to consider just what it was about roleplaying that had been unsatisfying; on the other, I haven't had much chance to play. I've pushed roleplaying at various non-rpers, with mixed success (ie fun but no long-term converts). Right now I'm trying out a couple of university clubs, on my wife's suggestion.

I like the sounds of your games, Vincent, and I intend to buy them when our limited budget allows. I'm also a rengade from a strong religious tradition, so I can relate to some of the things you write about.


98. On 2005-05-09, Dave Laurence said:

Hi all,

My name's Dave, I read here fairly regularly (and always come away with something interesting) and at the Forge daily. I spend a lotta time at, but mostly for the PbP forum these days.

I'm 31, been living in Fukuoka, Japan for (gawd) 9 years now, happily married to my wife Akiko for 2, presently preoccupied with the terror of heading back to the States and going to grad school - Linguistics, so I can actually get some training in the English teaching thing I've been doing for so long. Planning to come back here when I'm finished, but looking forward to the chance to get some face-to-face gaming in while I'm there.

I've been role-playing since elementary school, and have vivid memories of gazing reverently at a copy of blue-box D&D in the playground at recess. ("What's the crayon for?") Playing back then was, of course, very "cargo cult" style, but through junior high and high school I did a fair bit of gaming. Things tapered off in college, with warhammer taking over, and went completely away for my first few years here. I still haven't worked up the courage to try role-playing in Japanese or with actual Japanese people (although I probably could, if I would just put in the effort), but I've been having a lot of fun with PbeM with a couple friends from back home. (Mage for 2-3 years and now Exalted - I know, I know, very mainstream. I blush.)

But I really like what's going on here. I own and can't wait to play Dogs, and also have an itch to try out Otherkind if possible, as well as a whole raft of other Forge-type games. I like to think that exposure to this bleeding-edge stuff has informed and helped my mainstream gaming. Thanks, Vincent! Someday when I'm actually in the states I'm hoping to get to a convention and say that in person. (Don't worry, not all of it, just the "thanks" part.)


99. On 2005-05-09, Jay Loomis said:

I'm Jay. I have been visiting Vincent's site for a couple of years now, but have never posted anything here until this very minute.
I'm 31 and have been roleplaying in some form or another since 1984. I started designing games shortly after, though laziness and perfectionism have kept me from getting anything published as yet. I spent over a decade looking for the holy grail of universal roleplaying only to discover that there is no holy grail.
I've got my own little blog now, which you should visit, because nobody has yet.
I have several games coming to a boil in my brain. Chief among them is Gallant, which started as my reaction to 7th Sea, and is swashbuckly as hell. I had some trouble with design because my brain got polluted with too much theory, but I'm better now.
So that's that. Oh.yeah, I live in the Seattle area with my wife and two cats. And I don't get to game nearly enough lately.


100. On 2005-05-09, Jay Loomis said:

Actually, my blog is here. Bad linkage.


101. On 2005-05-09, Ben Lehman said:

And Jay scores the 2nd 100th comment award, also with a bad link to his blog.  Congratulations, Jay.  Welcome to the club.



102. On 2005-05-09, Andy K said:

David L wrote:
I'm 31, been living in Fukuoka, Japan

Damn, dude, I'm envious.  I Liberated my father's All Rail Pass after he left the country and did a little sightseeing with it- Basically went from Gunma to Fukuoka, crashing at one of the WORLD'S FIRST CAPSULE HOTELS (a dubious distinction, but a glorious historical point.  I thought they started up in Tokyo first), then from Fukuoka to Kagoshima to Ibusuki (Not "Yubi-juku" :-) ). Beautiful area. Nice people. Lovely nature. Good luck when you come back!

Oh, and speaking of Blogs, here's my latest entry.  If anyone here is a Blogwhore, please feel free to participate 'yo baaad self:



103. On 2005-05-09, Michael Curry said:

Better late than never, I guess.  I'm Michael, I'm 38, and (like several others here) I've been gaming since junior high.  I was a bit odd in that I owned a copy of Runequest before I owned D&D, but after that I followed a fairly normal progression until college, where I played too many bad house systems and a smattering of MERP and Warhammer FRP.

Once I graduated, of course, I pretty much went from less-than-stellar games to no games at all, until I discovered the Compuserve RPG Forum, and that was my gaming fix for several years (and it's where I met some of the people I game with FTF these days).  I mainly got my FTF fix from Ambercons (and a couple of semi-local Amber DRPG games), so that meant my gaming was all Amber, all the time.  That was, in retrospect, a bit too much Amber.  Of course, I'm still attending
Ambercons, and I'm on the con committee for one (The Black Road in Marlborough, MA), so apparently I didn't entirely burn out on it as a setting.

I found The Forge a couple of years ago.  I was pretty bored with most of the RPGs that were coming out from the big publishers, and the whole small-press RPG scene was like a revelation.  It's all managed to rekindle my enthusiasm for the hobby, and I've been lucky enough to get to play (or GM) games like My Life With Master and Dogs in the Vineyard.  I definitely have a better appreciation of the importance of mechanics (and dice) than I used to, and I've taken some interest in the theory side of things too, which is one of the reasons I'm here.  I don't know if I'll ever actually attempt to design a game of my own, but it's still plenty interesting to learn about the process.

Oh, and I've got a little gaming blog of my own called
Flaming Monkey, which is actually already linked from here.  Thanks for that.


104. On 2005-05-10, xenopulse said:

Jack Gulick, Michael Curry: I spent most of my freeform RP time on Cserve's RPGAMES! Very cool. Actually, that's where I met my wife, Lisa.

We should get together and compare notes. Maybe we even played with each other :) I wasn't involved in most of the Guilds stuff, though, except for the DoD (and the Cabal, which Lisa founded).

That would have been in the 96-01 timeframe, mainly.

- Christian


105. On 2005-05-13, EEF said:

Oh, the lateness.

Luker, occasional poster.

I started playing RPGs in High School in 1976 as an outgrowth of wargaming.  In high school and college RPGs structured social interaction.  Talking about rolling dice beat the snot out of talking to the walls.

Time passes, with minimal involvement in RPGs until D&D3, which got me back into the hobby—whereapon I dicover there are much more interesting rule sets than D&D, and people that bring a whole lot more to the table than they used to.

Life factors: I'm living in Seattle, working for a small downtown bank, and gardening a lot.

==Ed Freeman


106. On 2005-05-13, Vincent said:

I'll say again just how pleased I am to have all of you here. Very pleased, is how pleased! Welcome.


107. On 2005-05-15, Eric Provost said:

Hiya Vincent.  Hiya everybody else.

I've only been kicking around here since Vincent's essay on creating theme, but I've managed to catch up on just about all the reading.  It's more of what I need.

I've been kicking around the Forge for the past year or so (as Technocrat13) and I can't even begin to count how much I've learned about my favorite hobby since then.  When I think back on the games I ran and played in only a couple years back, I'm embarrassed and appalled at how I used to imagine a game should run.  I've had more fun playing Dogs over the past few months than in just about every game I've played in the past decade put together.  The important to me being that now I know what I and my fellow players are really looking for in a game.

So, that's my Born Again Gamer speech...

I'm currently working on my own Fantasy Heartbreaker, and I think I might actually be close to spitting out a working game sometime soon.  Even if I don't, it seems that every attempt I make at writing a game leads me to a greater understanding of RPGs in general, which leads to greater enjoyment at the table for everyone.

For the statistical bits...
30, MWM (Married to a gamer...I can't even imagine it any other way), Gamer since '87 with ShadowRun as my first regular gaming habit, and currently a flight attendant with PSA airlines... Which means we can now afford to fly to all the big Cons this year.  Yay!



108. On 2005-05-17, James Holloway said:

I'm James, a 26-year old PhD student at the Cambridge University here in, er, Cambridge. I'm married, but no kids or anything. I've been gaming since some time in the early-mid 80s and have played a little bit of everything except, oddly enough, AD&D. I didn't get into that until 3e. These days I bumble along, running my occasional Unknown Armies game and lurking through the Indie scene.


109. On 2005-05-19, Weeks said:

I'm Christoher Weeks (Chris).  I'm 35.  I share a birthday with my wife of eight years and I have two kids (10 and 3) and six cats.  I started with blue-book BD&D in 1980 after my mom read a newspaper article about it and thought it would be healthy for me.  I've stopped working and started full-time parenting and stuff.  I expected to have more free time for thinking about games but it hasn't worked out that way. :-)  I have a couple degrees in education and I loath the institution that you all think of when I say 'school' so I've never worked in 'my field.'

I'm living a bit south of Minneapolis and gaming with the indie-MN group.  Y'all should come out and we'll have a party or con or something.

I read this place in big chunks (like I've been gone for a month) and then go away and digest stuff and come back for more.  I do the same at the Forge, but keep up more steadily with some of the game/company-specific fora.

It was neat reading every one of the intros that came before me.


110. On 2005-05-19, Daniel said:

Hi there -

I'm Daniel Davis. I'm 36. Married and all.
I come here every few weeks, but never post.
Been gaming since 1982ish, and still really dig it.
I write/create,,
I'm a graphic designer/web designer/cartographer.
I work for a big Credit Union.
I've done some design/cartography for SSS, Grey Ghost Games.
But not much.
I'm a really lame *game theory* guy; I use Fudge instead.
I like writing settings; not good at writing rules.
I created the Ultimate Game Table 'cause I'm wacky that way.
I recently relocated to Phoenix, but don't know any gamers.
I'm trying to make an animated movie, set in Agyris.
I've got the print DotV; Really enjoy Vincent's clear writing style and concept. Cool stuff.
Am currently putting my creature drawings on shirts, for fun.
I stay pretty busy.

Mostly, I'm pleased to meet all of you kind folks.


111. On 2005-05-19, Blankshield said:

I'm James, and met you (exceedingly briefly) at Gen Con last year.  I have 3 kids under 5 at home and a full time job as well as aspirations to design games, so my time is less free than it might be.  I skim here, as with the forge, and would post more often if other people weren't almost always saying what I would, only better.  Eric (Harlequin) and I are local to each other, and serve as mutual sounding boards often. <—woefully out of date.  My web upkeep is low on the priority totem right now.


112. On 2005-05-23, Ozymandias said:

I'm Andrew Cooper.  I'm 33, father of one, husband of one and owner of 2 (dogs that is).  I live in East Tennessee where I work as a Computer Programmer.  I play RPGs once every other week, mostly due to time constraints.  Brennan Taylor told me to come here and check out the blog and I've really enjoyed what I've read thus far.



113. On 2005-05-25, MylesC said:

I'm Myles Corcoran, 36 year old Irishman, father of one, husband of six years, and involved in some sort of IT support role in University College Cork, in the real capital of Ireland (or so the locals would have me believe).

I've been a role-player since '82 when I discovered SPI's Universe and Dragonquest in a little gameshop of the Champe Elysees in Paris. Despite that peculiar start I'm a big fan of simple rules (Over the Edge and HeroQuest are often favourites) and the whole buzz of the Indie rpg scene.

I'm a regular contributor to Alarums & Excursions, the venerable APA published by Lee Gold (coming up on its 30th anniversary in a couple of months) but only a very occasional contributor to the various web fora. I'm a big fan of Vincent's thoughtful approach to... well most things really, so I enjoy reading this blog and the discussion it sparks.

I'm not named after any presidents, but after Myles na gCopaleen, Irish humourist, depressed civil servant and bitter drunk, AKA Flann O'Brien. Read the Third Policeman or At Swim Two Birds for enlightenment.


114. On 2005-05-26, rrr said:

Hello I'm Drew.  I'm 29 and live just outside north London in the U.K I live with my girlfriend of 8 years and a cat.  I drifted into working with computers from working in TV via video editing.  I read this blog and the Forge fairly regularly and occassionally post at the Forge which I discovered probably about 4 months ago in my quest for more interesting RPGs.  I've recently become obsessed by DitV, prompting the comment from Jen, my girlfriend "HOW many times have you read that book?!!"  and have now run a couple of sessions which went pretty well.

I came into roleplaying from quite a different route than most by the sound of it. It started at about age 11/12.  My friends and I used to play constant little freeform games that lasted for months and months.  We didn't call gaming or roleplaying as we hadn't heard the term, and we used no commercial systems.  We called the game by the name of the person who controlled it, so there was "George's game" or "Drew's game"  It started with us drawing little pictures of senarios, like a picture of a chasm with spikes at the bottom and a lion on the other side... "Ok" says the GM, "How do you get past that?"  "Well, I'm going to try and tie a rope to the tree..." you reply, "Ah, but the branch is too weak..." might have been the answer and so it developed from there.

Sometimes there was just a drawing of a spooky character, I remember one who looked like a frog-man in a raincoat.
"He's following you down the street at night..." that one began.
"O no!  well, I'll speed up a bit, is there anyone ahead of me..?"
"You're heading into the industrial area of town, it's deserted...  he's catching up!"
...and so on.  Man that one was scary!

After a while we called them "hypotheticals"  The characters were always us in a hypothetical situation, the play like freeform gaming with everything decided by GM fiat.

When we first encountered D&D we were a bit confused.  We didn't like it, it was so rigid, so forced.  But after a while it took over as we realised it was one way out of the eternal problem of resolving disputes about what happened.  The rules gave us a method of stopping the silly sessions, the ones where the GM might be in a funny mood and just decide that you piss your pants or whatever (remember we were about 12!)

Anyway, we played D&D, and then AD&D for years, until finally breaking out into other games. Popular favourites were Shadowrun, Vampire, Ars Magica and Kult.

So from the unorthodox start I've been playing on and off for about 17 years then, in actually a fairly traditionalist fashion, but in the last five or six years have become more interested in trying different stuff.  Like everyone, the desire to do something else prompted me to start writing my own RPG.  Like so many others I then encountered the Forge and had to rethink various assumptions!  I'm gald to say that the core ideas have actually remained intact, but I now think I know more clearly what I'm trying to do (maybe just not quite sure how to do it!)

Anyway, thanks Vincent for a frickin cool game and also for many very interesting thoughts on the hobby!


drewhartshea (at) hotmail (dot) com


115. On 2005-06-01, Troy_Costisick said:


My name is Troy, formerly with Twilight Press (  Now I'm moving from website to website gleaning knowledge for my next project.  Really enjoy your site, Vincent.  I look forward to learning from what goes on here and applying it to my new design.




116. On 2005-06-05, Jason Petrasko said:

Hi! I've lurked here for a while, but recently feel I might actually be able to make some kind of worthy commentary :)

I've recently turned 30, work in retail during the day, and game design/play by night. My game dev blog is here, which is shared between a few other brave game building souls I've befriended online. My budding company is here. I frequent the Forge, but not so much anymore.

My email is: jp (at) greyearth (dot) com


117. On 2005-06-07, Shreyas Sampat said:

Ho! I am a Thundercat. (No, not really, but I liked the typo.)

I lurk here a lot.

I have a game blog and another blog, which is less interesting to link to.


118. On 2005-06-18, Paul Kimmel said:

Greetings. I'm a 41 year old at-home dad and artist. I live in Duncanville, Texas with my wonderful wife, 3 year old daughter and a dog who thinks she's a cat. Mostly I just lurk here and at the Forge, soaking up what I can.


119. On 2005-06-21, Peter Dyring-Olsen said:

Hi y'all.
32 years old, children's books editor from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Girlfriend called Ditte, 8-months-old daughter called Freja, not sleeping a lot these days :-)
Been roleplaying for well over 15 years - sort of lost interest because it didn't quite DO it for me anymore, then experienced a rekindling of the fire when I ran into DitV and Sorcerer. Am now planning on playing a lot more - and introducing Ditte and good friends to the "hobby".
Will probably not be posting a lot, but lurking quite a bit.
Thanks for having me.


120. On 2005-06-21, Adam Dray said:

Hello, everyone.

I'm 36 in a couple weeks, married, two cats, no kids. I've been gaming since 1980, when my dad's friend gave me and my brother the red boxed D&D set with Keep in the Borderlands in it. I started designing games a few years after that, though they weren't any good. I've never stopped tinkering with game design.

I've been a Forge member since 2001 but I haven't been very active till recently. I decided it was time to finish "starting games" and start "finishing games." I am proud to announce Verge, a Narrativist cyberpunk game, as my freshman entry into design. It's well on its way towards finished and I hope to have it in saleable form by the end of the year.

My day job is as an enterprise (software) architect for a leading fleet management company. My expertise is in web programming (mostly ColdFusion) and application integration but I'm a generalist.

In my scarce free time, my wife Stephanie and I run an online RPG (mud) called FiranMUX, which is a heavily coded monstrosity that simulates the interesting parts of daily life in a fantasy early-Iron-age world. It's claim to fame is that it's a truly generational game: players are playing the third and fourth generation of characters born on the game and aged to perfection over compressed game time (3:1 or 4:1).

I love Vincent's site but find it difficult to navigate and find new posts where I left off reading. If it were tied into an RSS feed, I'd be happy because I'd read it from my LiveJournal friends list. Am I missing a link somewhere?


121. On 2005-07-12, Matt Machell said:

Hi all.

I'm Matt and I'm 28. I've been posting at the Forge for a fair few years, though I read more than I contribute. I lurk round here too. You may remember me from such RPG books as the Nopress Anthology.

I help other indie designers with web stuff. I write games, few of which I consider finished. I have a site called Realms which contains my RPG related articles, reviews and links.


122. On 2005-07-26, Sven said:


I'm Sven, from Sweden. I have engaged in a lot of types of role playing, without being an expert in anything. At the moment I seem to mostly steer my interest towards all kinds of non-fantasy larp and the special Danish/Swedish brand of freeform table top ('friform'!). But I enjoy as well good tradional table top. The demo of the new Warewolf game is an example of that in my book. I would really like try to play more of the typical Forge games, especially since they are quite far away from what I usually see as my aestethics.

About all this (and not much more) I write about at polyfem transformed. In a few days I will write about a hardcore Dutch bordello larp, (I wasn't there I must add...if my girlfriend would read this) so watch out for that.

Outside of that I will (hopefully) very soon grab my masters degree in engineering biology and get away from this city. It seems like I for know don't do much more than roleplay, write about roleplaying, finishing my degree and studying Turkish. I'm a slow man sometimes.

I read this blog. I don't follow all the comment threads, but read all the main articles anyway. Quite ofte I don't agree, but the clarity is often astounding.

/Sven Holmstr??m


direct link

This makes...
JK go "Sven displaying lack of character."*
Sven go "Yeah. A dotted 'o' it should be."*

*click in for more

123. On 2005-07-31, urbanpagan said:

Hiya Vincent (and everyone else)!  I read your blog from time to time.  My husband (Eric aka Technocrat13) is a longtime reader of your blog so when I miss an update or two... he's keeps me in the loop. ;)

I've been reading the Forge for quite sometime as well but I rarely post there either.  (Not sure why... I just haven't posted much.)  *shrug*

As for my gaming history, I was introduced to D&D by my mother at the age of 4.  (Really.  4.)  I started playing seriously though at the age of 10.  I started playing D&D and Battletech and then branched off into other games when I entered my teens.  I can say my gaming resume runs a pretty wade gambit from a bunch of CCG's, board and table top games to games like Shadowrun, Car Wars, and Harn to games like Call of Chthulhu, Mage and Heavy Gear and now of course, Dogs in the Vineyard.

On to the personal bits: I'm 30, married (obviously) to a gamer (woot!), an office assistant, and an avid knitter.  :)


124. On 2005-07-31, urbanpagan said:

Oh I forgot to mention, my name is Lisa and you can see my knitting blog here if you like.


125. On 2005-08-01, ffilz said:

Frank Filz here, I've only read here a few times when referenced from the Forge, but perhaps I'll start paying more attention...

Age 42, started in 1977 with the original Blue Book Basic D&D. Gaming experience mostly as a GM with quite a variety of systems (my players used to complain [actually they still do] about me changing systems all the time...).

Much of my early gaming career was with MIT's game club, where I mostly gamed with the "younger crowd" but did occaisionally hook up with the "elders" (especially Glen Blacow who is one of the people most influential in broadening my gaming skills).

These days I live in Beaverton Oregon (a suburb of Portland) and run Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved (a D20 game). I'm learning to be more honest with what I like in gaming (fairly old school, though I don't do "random encounters" much anymore - except when I need some filler).

Outside of gaming, I work for IBM in the Linux Technology Center, do model railroading (just getting started in garden railroading at my first house), read a fair bit of fantasy and science fiction, occaisionally build stuff with LEGO, and spend a lot of time with my church (Unitarian Universalist) where I work with the senior high youth group (and recently returned from a pilgrimage trip to Budapest and Transylvania).



126. On 2005-12-24, Metal Fatigue said:

Hi! My real name is Seth. I spent some time on the Forge a few years ago—late enough that I don't feel any sense of ownership in the theory, early enough that I remember what it was like back when you could hear yourself talk; I stopped hanging out there when the signal-to-noise ratio got low enough that following every thread in GNS, Theory, Indie Design and AP was no longer a worthwhile investment of time for me.  I have just started reading this blog.  No doubt I will be a frequent commenter, because I am a mouthy **** wherever I go.

I'm more interested in playing games than in designing them, but I occasionally get smacked with an idea.  So far I've always managed to subdue the compulsion to develop them into actual games. (That's work, man! It's hard!)

I've been playing RPGs since I was about 7; I've been playing them right (i.e., in a manner consistently enjoyable by all involved) since I was about 26; I am now about 32.  I have yet to play any of the cool indie games I've acquired, because I can't get a group together for anything except the game of Mage: the Ascension I've been GMing for six years and a bit.  That game has nearly reached its conclusion, and I hope to repurpose my existing group (and its schedule slot) to play miniseries of a variety of games.

I also play in White Wolf LARPs.  I'm not sure why.  Masochism, maybe.  It's never been a particularly enjoyable experience.

To date, I have generally preferred to take the GM role, but I think that mainly results from reluctance to trust someone else to drift the rules in the proper direction to make the game enjoyable for me.  With more functional rules, I might be just as happy playing a different role.

I live in the general vicinity of Detroit, Michigan, USA.  I work from home part-time as a software developer, and go to school part-time.


direct link

This makes...
SLB go "Oh, and my email address is sethb (cabbage) pobox (pfft) com"

127. On 2005-12-25, GamerChick said:

Seth!  Jae here, and I live in the vicinity of Lansing, and know that Paul and Danielle (he of "My Life With Master" fame) live near Livonia.  I'm willing to commute on occasion to play indy games.  I've got "Cat" and am itching to run it, as well as "Dogs in the Vineyard" (though I'm more interested in playing that before trying to run it), as well as a bunch of other spiffy Indy games like "Burning Wheel", "Prime Time Adventures" and "Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men".

You can find me as JaeWalker on FindPlay, or jaegamer AT gmail DOT com


128. On 2005-12-25, GamerChick said:

Ah, oops. I have the comments on an RSS feed (and hate the comment spams), and didn't grok the thread before I answered a local-ish gamer.

I'm Jae, 51, female, hard-core gamer of 20-plus years.  No kids, but an adorable granddaughter. Yes, I know that makes no sense, but I love being able to say it. Single and seeking a gamer to spend my life with (and resigning myself to growing old alone).

I run a weekly horror game (Chill), and am very happy with the game and players, not so much the rules.  I'm contemplating trying to develop my own cinematic horror game.  My playes blog at Deadly Detroit and they are just amazing.  I'm humbled and thrilled at the magic we're making together.

Until the past couple of years I was blissfully ignorant of the indy gaming scene, but attending the Game Design seminar at Gencon 2005 has shaken up my paradigms big time.  I read the Forge from time to time, and Vincent's blog regularly.  I had the pleasure of meeting Vincent at the seminar, and Vincent, you are feckin' brilliant.  I'm still trying to grok DitV.

As I mentioned above, I've played with Paul Czege & his delightful wife Danielle, both "My Life With Master" and "Prime Time Adventures".  I almost got them to guest in my Chill game, but Michigan weather thwarted us.  I'm still hoping, because horror is my best thing.

I play in a weekly D&D 3.5 game - I cordially loathe the system, but love the GM, the players and the excellent story focus.  I believe you can have great fun in any system, but some systems make you work harder for it.

I created (with the help of some wonderfully creative people) the RPGA's "Living Force" (Star Wars) campaign, and while I ran it the campaign was character and story focused, with an epic Star Wars feel.  I'm not responsible for the atrocities committed after I was fired (three days before Christmas, 2003) and yes, I'm very bitter.  Though not so bitter I couldn't help write the final trilogy for the campaign.

I help run a local role playing club (Capital Area Role Players), and am doing my best to keep bringing new people, especially women, into the hobby.

Okay, enough already.  I keep a gaming blog and a life blog, and update neither often enough. Here I am, halfway through a bottle of pretty decent Shiraz, responding to blog posts on Christmas eve, which should pretty much define my life.


129. On 2005-12-29, Andy K said:

Hey all, I'm hunting like mad for Vincent Baker's Dark Beer (stout?) pancake recipe that was on the older incarnation of this very site, but not having any luck.  Can someone hook a brother up? I've got some friends this weekend that need some hot pancake action before the dice hit the table.



direct link

This makes...
JAK go "Found It Here..."*
Isk go "Oh, my!"*

*click in for more

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