Ron Edwards (game designer)

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Ron Edwards
Ron Edwards - Lucca Comics & Games 2018 02.jpg
Ron Edwards at Lucca Comics & Games 2018
Born (1964-09-04) September 4, 1964 (age 54)
OccupationGame designer

Ronald Edwards (born September 4, 1964) is a game designer, theorist, and a member of the indie role-playing game community.

Edwards is the creator of the Sorcerer RPG, the GNS theory of gameplay, and The Big Model.

Edwards is also co-founder of The Forge, an online community to support Indie RPG design and publication.


Ron Edwards was a biology instructor at the University of Florida, working on his PhD and writing his dissertation focused on evolutionary theory, and at the same time working on a role-playing game called Sorcerer.[1]:403 He sent his game to an existing RPG publisher and received a standard contract, which gave the publisher the right to control artwork and marketing, to revise the book in the future if the author did not want to and to terminate the contract at their discretion; Edwards, who was inspired by comic creator Dave Sim and his position on indie comics, found this contract unacceptable and felt that creators should have control over their own works.[1]:403 He self-published Sorcerer in 1996, mailing a copy to anyone who asked for it and asking for $5 in return if they liked the game, and soon afterward he produced an ashcan of the game to sell at conventions.[1]:403 He continued to playtest and produced a fully rewritten version of the game that he began selling in PDF form after acquiring the domain.[1]:403 He put out two PDF supplements – Sorcerer & Sword (1999) and The Sorcerer's Soul (2000) – and also licensed Concept Syndicate to sell Sorcerer on a CD-ROM.[1]:404 Edwards was active online, taking part in discussions with creators and fans, and writing essays; through this activity he developed his GNS Theory of gameplay.[1]:404

After seeing Obsidian: The Age of Justice, an independently published RPG, at GenCon 33 Edwards decided he could publish his own RPG while retaining ownership.[1]:404 With Ed Healy, Edwards created the website Hephaestus's Forge in December 1999, as a creator-owned-game publisher site, until the original site closed in late 2000 due to hosting problems.[1]:406 Edwards and Clinton R. Nixon resurrected the site as The Forge in April 2001 at, and together they made the site successful over the next six years.[1]:406 Edwards also created Adept Press, through which he published his second RPG, Elfs (2001) as a PDF.[1]:406 He published Sorcerer through Adept Press, as a 128-page hardcover volume in early summer 2001.[1]:407 He purchased a booth at GenCon 34 in 2001 for Adept Press, and at the next GenCon in 2002, the booth was doubled in size for The Forge.[1]:407 Ron Edwards and Sorcerer won the second Diana Jones Award for "excellence in gaming" in 2002.[1]:407 Edwards released the game Trollbabe in 2002 as a PDF.[1]:409


  • Sorcerer ISBN 0-9709176-0-0
  • Sorcerer & Sword ISBN 0-9709176-1-9
  • The Sorcerer's Soul ISBN 0-9709176-2-7
  • Sex and Sorcery ISBN 0-9709176-3-5
  • Spione: Story Now in Cold War Berlin ISBN 978-0-9709176-7-6

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.

External links[edit]