If you’re like me, you may have missed that Clinton R. Nixon has a newish blog and might not have it in your blog reader yet. As the quieter half of what made the Forge work for the first 5 years (before Clinton passed on the reigns to Vincent Baker), Clinton’s thoughts on roleplaying as a medium and a teeny tiny industry are not as well known and publicly discussed as Ron Edwards’. This is unfortunate, I think, because Clinton is in many aspects more of a revolutionary than Ron.
In a recent post, Clinton claims to not really be a game designer and to have “gotten lucky” once, which I assume means with his game The Shadow of Yesterday. While his “Keys” are, I think, one of the most valuable and generally useful roleplaying concepts of the past 5 years, it’s true that his real strength, as a designer, is in pulling together dozens of ideas from disparate indie roleplaying projects and distilling them into something that does what he wants. I still think this is a pretty cool gift, all told, and I am definitely looking forward to his upcoming projects, like Inuma.
Clinton’s thinking is especially potent and innovative in the area of game publication, where he is focused on creating a community around free games and developing ways in which to get free game content into the hands of players. I suspect that he is influenced by working in the software industry and thinking about issues of open content and Web 2.0 kinds of issues, but he is the first person I met who was thinking hard about applying those concerns to roleplaying. The few times that I’ve been able to sit down and chat with Clinton over a meal, I’ve felt like I was in a different place than he was, but over the years I’ve found myself drawn closer and closer to his position, wanting to get out of selling roleplaying games and back into sharing my ideas with people who will appreciate and implement them in play.
Having just discovered Clinton’s newish (since October) blog, I ravenously read through the whole thing in one sitting. As I suspected, it’s full of really great stuff, including thoughts on several issues that are much more articulate and thought-through than some of the things I have been trying to articulate lately. Check it out.