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[BRP] Basic Roleplaying now shipping
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Thread: [BRP] Basic Roleplaying now shipping

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    [BRP] Basic Roleplaying now shipping

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    According to Chaosium, Basic Roleplaying is now shipping.

    For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's the "generic" version of rules which underlie Call of Cthulhu, pre-Mongoose Runequest and Stormbringer/Elric, Nephilim, Superworld, Ringworld, Elfquest ... pretty much every game Chaosium ever released. It's a fairly light-weight skill-based system, and as such it's easy to layer on rules for magic, psionics, high technology, or whatever. From the "advance copy" I saw, the book itself is a little light on Science Fiction, but otherwise you can take a stab at any other genre using just the one book.

    I think this news is more important than bickering about Dungeons and Whatsits, don't you?

    So, has anyone seen the finished book yet? Anyone tried out the new rules (Advance Copy or Final)?
    Last edited by fmitchell; 07-22-2008 at 02:35 AM.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    I agree with you about the bickering. I'm also going to take a closer look the book being shipped.

    Thoth-Amon

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    Basic roleplaying is an elegant, simple, adaptable, skill-based system. Even people who have never roleplayed before take about a minute to teach the basics of the system. Anytime I'm trying to model "just people" I turn to good old reliable BRP.

    I especially enjoy the organic skill growth (you only get better at skills you actually use).

    I am greatly looking forward to this book.

    Gary

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    I'm all for the simplicity in rules systems. I haven't used BRP in many years (the most recent must be a Hawkmoon game, more than ten years ago). I'm curious about what they have tweaked with, if at all. I remember the system being excellent in the way that we never needed to decrypt complicated rules in the middle of an action scene. On the other hand I remember it felt awkward when one compared mundane characters and heroic/major ones. But I can't demonstrate this : after all these years it is a bit fuzzy why I came to think that.
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    I've got a copy of the Zero edition, or advanced rules if that's what you want to call them. I think they're a good update/compilation of the Chaosium system. They are simple enough to make for a fast playing game, yet easily adaptable to allow for adding optional rules/house rules.

    There are quite a few optional rules included with the system, and they add on fairly easily. We played a few sessions of the game, converting our current DnD characters to the BRP system and while they converted fairly well, we decided to finish out the campaign using DnD, that's 3.5 edition of DnD.

    But the rest of the members of our group are looking forward to a full campaign using BRP, so at the very least, I'll be switching to that once I complete this current campaign. I'm looking forward to purchasing the final set of rules, mostly because I want to have at least 2 copies of the rules, but also I want to get the final edited version as well.

    The big things I like about BRP is the way you can advance skills and the fact that there are no levels or classes in the system. With skill advancement, if you use a skill successfully at least once per session, that's in a situation where the chance for failure can have bad consequences, you put a check by that skill. Then at the end of the session or sometime before the next session, there is a chance that the skill will increase. That way, you see steady character improvement, instead of the skill jumps that happen with level based systems.

    If that's the kind of rules system your interested in, then by all means, check it out. Also, there's a pretty useful community for the BRP system here, not that I want to detract from Pen & Paper games, but I figure it's important to list it from a good BRP resource standpoint.
    Skunk
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    I have no experience with BRP outside of Call of Cthulhu, but the basic system was a nicely simplistic one. If I should come across a copy of the new BRP book, I'll definately give it a browse. I'm very picky about "generic system" games though and have yet to find one that has really sold me on it...with the sole exception of Unisystem, but that hasn't quite become a truly generic system yet...just an easily adaptable one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    (Unisystem) hasn't quite become a truly generic system yet...just an easily adaptable one.
    BRP is pretty much in the same category: a basic set of stats and a combat/conflict resolution system, but very amenable to additions and amendments. Primarily you would add skills to fit a genre, but the recent BRP book adds five different systems for supernatural Powers (skill-based Magic, "spell"-based Sorcery, Mutations, Psychic Powers, and Superpowers), and plenty of optional rules for Fatigue, Sanity, varying levels of combat realism, etc.

    If you really want to, you can do more extreme surgery on the system. One GM I know has added basic stats and a few other rules systems for one campaign he's running. Pendragon, conversely, removed stats and put percentile skills on a 0-19 scale, plus other simplifications and changes, until its BRP roots are hard to see. Mongoose's RuneQuest is essentially a "reverse engineered" BRP to circumvent copyright, so you can pick and choose rules from there; I like their handling of Fatigue, for example (even if it's lifted from the d20 SRD).

    But, Basic Roleplaying is pretty solid as is, as far as I can tell ... which is one advantage over modifying an existing system to suit your needs.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    can't wait to get mine
    Playing: Pathfinder
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    I love how deadly combat is in this system it really makes you "think" before you leap.

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    I got mine and I have to say... I'm under-impressed. While it has this great every game all in one book cover it seams like its missing things, I'm not really sure what but the power/spell/psi and gear seam like it doesn't cover everything. Maybe I just missed it but makes me want to pull out old GURPS (pre 4th when it was one book) when i need something generic and simple.

    [edit] I'm not saying its bad I'm saying I set my hopes to high
    Playing: Pathfinder
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    Quote Originally Posted by MortonStromgal View Post
    While it has this great every game all in one book cover it seams like its missing things, I'm not really sure what but the power/spell/psi and gear seam like it doesn't cover everything.
    There's only limited space in one book, and so they picked and chose from 30 years of games (and scrubbed away world-specific details, especially where they lost the license). Certainly Chaosium made only limited forays into science fiction, so that's probably the largest hole in the BRP book.

    BRP has a different philosophy from GURPS. GURPS wants to include everything imaginable in one toolset; BRP wants to provide a framework and add setting-specific or situation-specific rules as needed. In GURPS you construct specific powers with combinations of skills, advantages, disadvantages, and power modifiers; in BRP, you patch the base system with "spot rules" or full-blown subsystems to handle a new type of power, perhaps based on existing ones. GURPS prescribes; BRP suggests.

    I happen to like both systems. GURPS gives a lot more structure to creating new worlds and new character types, at the cost of complexity. BRP allows a more free-form approach, at the risk of making PCs or NPCs unbalanced against each other if the GM isn't careful.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    BRP allows a more free-form approach, at the risk of making PCs or NPCs unbalanced against each other if the GM isn't careful.
    This is a big selling point for me. Open and tinkerable. What mechanics patch well to BRP? Any examples?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronpyatt View Post
    This is a big selling point for me. Open and tinkerable. What mechanics patch well to BRP? Any examples?
    Maybe I'm not the best person to answer, given that I haven't worked with BRP much. At a guess:

    If you can fit a supernatural system into skills, "power points" (aka "magic points", based off a POW stat), and effects on the target's game stats (attributes, skills, armor, or damage), then it should work. The main book has five distinct systems for Powers. I've thought about adding "Occultism" from FUDGE or "Spirit Magic" for GURPS, which only requires skills and modifiers to those skills for magical aptitude (POW) and the intended effect.

    Adding weapons and other gear is about as hard as GURPS or Unisystem: just specify what it does, and judge cost and other limitations by analogy with similar gear.

    BRP pioneered using the same set of stats to describe characters and "monsters", so building a PC race and building an NPC creature is as simple as deciding its stat range (or bonus/penalty) and any special abilities or skill bonuses. Keeping a PC race "balanced" is harder, without "social disadvantages" or other mathematical means, but a GM could decide that anyone who takes a powerful nonhuman has given the GM carte blanche to make a player pay for playing a troll. (Also, SIZe is a stat, so there's already a mechanic to make a troll awkward in the human world.)

    There are more exotic mechanics you can graft on. Aspects from FATE might be a good fit, and better than the standard "advantages" / "disadvantages" system in so many other games; there's already an optional "fate point" system of sorts. The book details the "passions" system from Pendragon, "sanity" from Call of Cthulhu, and an Allegiance system (from Stormbringer?) to reflect a character's connection to higher powers. Anything from Mongoose's RuneQuest line will almost certainly fit, including the Taint system (a variation of Allegiance), given that MRQ is a knock-off of BRP.

    Gary McBride is a better person to ask about customizing BRP. In the one BRP campaign of his I played in, he added extra stats, a magic system in which growing in power meant taking on more Taint from demonic influences, and an extra mechanic for "degrees of success" which translated a percentile roll to multiples of a relevant stat.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Gary McBride is a better person to ask about customizing BRP. In the one BRP campaign of his I played in, he added extra stats, a magic system in which growing in power meant taking on more Taint from demonic influences, and an extra mechanic for "degrees of success" which translated a percentile roll to multiples of a relevant stat.
    Well, I guess being mentioned by name, I should say something.

    BRP is extremely simple system and thus easily customizeable. That is one of its premier strengths.

    For example -- varying the skill list is extremely simple since skills are simply a percentage value that you roll against to succeed. You vary the skill list based on campaign emphasis. If I was running a pirate game, I would include lots of nautical skills.

    Navigation
    Rigging
    Gunnery (for ship's cannons)
    Sea Lore
    Weather Sense
    Carpentry
    Sailmaking

    These would all be separate skills. If I was running a Chicago crime drama, there might be a sailing skill. But probably, I'd just leave it off the skill list and let it be under the other skills you can add to your character sheet if you want it as a background.

    Stats are also simple. For Song of Seven Fires, a primitive neolithic era adventure game, I replaced the Education stat with the Lore stat. It did the same thing, but the name change better reflected the genre.

    Skills grow organically. You can also effect that rate of growth. Looking for a long term campaign, you only gain 1d6 skill points if you fail a skill check. Want a campaign with faster character development? Up it to 1d10 skill points. Maybe reward one skill point even if they succeed at the check.

    Since the system is so simple and so transparent, it is easy to tinker with. Spirit of the Century-esque aspects would be easy to add to BRP. D20 Action points also or 7th-esque drama dice all fit easily into the game. Import your favorite magic system or make up your own! It's likely easy to adapt your favorite dice mechanic to percentiles.

    The excellent BRP rulebook put out by Chaosium has far more suggestions that this. Really, there is little BRP can't model. What it can't do is this -- BRP is not a good wargame. Yes, you can make it minis friendly pretty easily, but it will never have the tactical richness of say D&D 4th edition.

    BRP is a roleplaying game -- simple and straight forward. And that's what I love about it.

    Gary

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    Part of BRP's simplicity and extensibility is what it doesn't have:

    • Classes and Class Abilities
    • Feats
    • D&D 4th Powers
    • Stunts
    • Advantages/Disadvantages, Merits/Flaws, Edges/Drawbacks, whatever they're called.

    All these features add exceptions to the rules, "mandatory" situational bonuses, and general complexity. Even if you pre-calculate initiative bonus, skill bonuses, defense bonuses, etc. you can end up drowning in a sea of secondary characteristics.

    BRP has only primary characteristics, a few secondary attributes (notably HP), and skills. Nearly every roll is a percentile skill roll, with the base percentile written right on your sheet. The remainder are damage rolls (similar to D&D) and attribute rolls (also percentile, and either on your sheet or figured from the nearly-unnecessary Resistance Table).

    There are systems even simpler (e.g. a single type of "Ability" or "Quality"), and lately I've become more enamored with "roll-over" mechanics (i.e. roll + modifiers vs. a difficulty number), but BRP is a nice compromise between familiarity and simplicity.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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