I have played few roleplaying games that carry the Forge seal of approval. This is not by design, it is what it is. I am a Dungeons & Dragons guy. Have been for thirty years now. I have explored many other games beyond D&D, and have spent years away from actually playing D&D, but for whatever reason I always find my way back to the game I cut my gaming teeth on.
When I have played an indy game (NEMESIS, FATE, 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars, Mouse Guard, etc.) in the past I have had the tendency to look at the game mechanics of these games in relation to D&D and how they might work if ported over to D&D. Again, this is not something I consciously do. I just catch myself doing it. Its not that I don't enjoy these games, I am afraid I am just that addicted to D&D. It has been a lifelong affliction and I really see no reason to try and fix it now.
Indy games have seen a tremendous rise in popularity these past few years. Hell, D&D has even gone indy, in a roundabout way, with the release of all of it's clones, and the success of these clones has exceeded almost everyone's expectations. Hell, I am even writing my own indy game via the use of the Labyrinth Lord system. But that is the beauty and appeal of the indy scene. Anyone who wants to contribute can. You might not get rich by releasing your own game, but that is not the point at all. Having a voice and giving back to the community is very much the point. Making money along the way is just gravy.
It can be argued that Ron Edwards has had a huge influence on independent games publishing, and he has been a very vocal figure in the indy game community. It can also be argued that he has pissed more than his fair share of folks off in his time. But that is not really the point of this post. Maybe pissing a few people off wasn't such a bad thing if he also made a lot of people think about roleplaying games in a new way. To think outside the box, if you will. I know he has influenced the way I think of games and how I approach them. I don't agree with everything he has put out there, but he made me start looking at games differently, and for that I thank him.
This week Edwards announced that he is moving the Forge into it's "winter stage" and will be closing many of its forums and moving them into the archives. His reasons for this: "bluntly, I (and Clinton, and Ed Healy, and a lot of other people active at the founding) have unequivocally won the battle we wanted to win. 'The Big Bang has Bung,' I like to say." I am guessing the "battle" he mentioned was to get people that are involved in the roleplaying games hobby to realize that they can produce their own games and do not have to depend on corporate games developers to do this for them. In essence, he wanted to create a thriving indy games community. If I am right, and this is the case, then in my opinion he has won the battle. I am not sure I understand why he wants to allow the Forge to fade away into the background, but then again I am not sure I care one way or the other if it actually does. I have spent very little time there, so I am not vested.
The one victory I can agree that Ron Edwards has achieved is his releasing Sorcerer & Sword. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this supplement is inspired, and it was obviously a labor of love for Edwards. Basically, Sorcerer & Sword is a supplement that will, "Bring your Sorcerer game into the realm of pulp sword-and-sorcery!"
In this thin tome Edwards breaks down all the elements of sword & sorcery literature and present them in a series of thoughtful and thoroughly researched articles. There is a ton of advice for building characters and campaigns, and it is obvious that Edwards loves this genre of literature. Even though I do not own the core rulebook for Sorcerer I have gotten a lot of mileage from Sorcerer & Sword. It does have some rules additions for Sorcerer, but I would guess it is only about 20% of the actual book. The rest is pure crunch for those looking for advice on how to create and manage a sword & sorcery game. It is a wonderful book and I cannot say enough good things about it.