Pundit-Notes From the Great Forge Reunion Battle of 2015
Wherein Ron Edwards Complained That People Still Remembered "Brain Damage", and Were Still mad at him for it;
and Wherein Ron Edwards Tried to Take Credit for the OSR
It's not inappropriate here to use "Potemkin village", then, in reference to how Storygames treat Setting. It is a world that doesn't exist; storygaming's treatment of "setting" is of no more significance than what alleged setting the latest German Eurogame uses. For example, Cataan isn't about settlers on an island or the age of exploration; it could be set on a space station or underwater or in a fantasy milieu or even on just a bare board with the pieces and mechanics having no 'decoration' whatsoever, and the game wouldn't change at all, because the "setting" in Cataan is just pretty pictures superimposed on a system of entirely dissociated rules that do not ultimately interact with the alleged setting at all. The setting is only a backdrop for a process.
Storygames are the same way, for the most part. "Setting" is only relevant in as much as it affects the story-creation process. If something hasn't entered the story yet, it doesn't exist. Waterdeep isn't a place if it hasn't been mentioned or visited yet. And in many storygames, if it's important for the story, a player can just suddenly "decide" that there's a Magic Shop around the corner, or that the shop is now owned by his cousin, or that his cousin is now dead.
In an RPG, the world is an actual world. Waterdeep is a place. It doesn't matter if the PCs never cross paths with it; it's full of people and they're doing stuff there. There either is or is not a magic shop around the corner, it has fuck all to do with whether or not a player wants there to be or whether it is important for the story. A player can't suddenly decide what relation his character has to people, and if he wants someone to be dead he'd best have his character attack them with a sword, because he can only interact with the world of the game via his character. He doesn't have "authorial editing" powers over the world because he isn't an author and the world isn't just a backdrop for a story.
Currently Smoking: Neerup Poker + Brebbia no.7