Fabien Hildwein is one of the enthusiastic participants in the francophone sector of role-playing discourse and design. The thread back to me is probably Christoph Boeckle, who dropped a lot of time and buckets of posts at the Forge, and at some point along the way prompted a similar site (SilentDrift) and scene among French speakers. Unlike the Swedish, German, and Italian equivalents, it doesn’t have an ongoing feed into and feedback from its translations into English, mainly because there aren’t many. To go way back in time, you may be aware of In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas, which was not really translated but entirely rewritten by Steve Jackson Games as In Nomine. The point being that for whatever reason, you don’t have a tissue of cross-language play and input with English of the long-running kind as for Kult or Mutant, for example.
Anyway, I first met Fabien in the context of translating S/Lay w/Me into French, which you’ll see a little bit about in the video. What prompts this particular discussion is to look back on the two forums – The Forge and the French “inheritor” (if that’s fair) – to think about how they were conducted, why, and how the social dynamics intersected with purposes. The conversation hits some high points, but keep in mind that it is a conversation rather than an organized seminar, and it even totally fails to get to the topic we’d originally intended, which was to examine emotion and memory as primary design features.
That’s why I’ve pictured Sphynx above because we didn’t get to it, or any of the others that go into flights of perception, culture, and identity. Damn it!
Christoph’s own reflections about the Forge in 2015 are available too (in French): La grille d’analyse de la Forge [Orc’idée 2015].