Actual Play at the Forge: A Rhetorical Approach




role-playing games, tabletop, discourse, the Forge


This paper takes a rhetorical perspective to examine an “actual play” (AP) discussion thread from, popularly known as “the Forge,” an influential and controversial online forum for tabletop role-playing game (TRPG) design that was active primarily during the first decade of the 21st century. It describes the thread as constituting a skilled discursive performance applying the Forge’s “Big Model” to a dialogical phenomenology of play that enabled interlocutors to diagnose game-related sources of frustration, unhappiness or dissatisfaction and offer potential solutions grounded in the aesthetic preferences of players. It suggests that this perspective can usefully augment more typical frame-based approaches to describing the “analog” game experience by emphasizing the lived experience of tabletop role-players in the space of the game.




How to Cite

White, W. J. (2016). Actual Play at the Forge: A Rhetorical Approach. International Journal of Role-Playing, (7), 36–39.