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DirkD

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  1. I like the Serenity RPG very much, but even if you want to play it with BRP-rules the books will be a great help. They are put together well and the system is more descriptive than rules-heavy. If I would want to convert them to BRP, the following steps come to mind: Characters: Most of the character-descriptions can be taken over as they are. The only things that need attention are attributes, skills, and traits. I would make a conversion-list for each of them, so that you can easily convert characters from adventures and books. Since the system is skill- and traits-based, these shouldn't be hard to make. Gear: can be taken over as is. You may need a table for weapons and armor. I would probably take over the availability-system, too (less work and players aren't aware of it). Ships: Most of the stats are descriptive, but similar to characters you have to find a way to convert traits. That may be a little bit more complicated. I have never played sf with brp, so I don't know if there is a system to give ships cool abilities and flaws that make them unique. If there is such a system, you basically need a conversion table and you are done. Otherwise you may try to use the Serenity system, but adjust it to BRP (use percentages and brp-appropriate skills). All in all, I think the Serenity system should be easily converted to BRP. The way it is written makes it still very useful. For example a page-long character-description has usually only 10 lines (2 column) that are system specific (namely abilities, skills, and traits). You are probably ready to use all the books if you make 6 tables: abilities, skills, traits, weapons, armor, ship-traits.
  2. I would probably play around with the curves-tool, contrast and brightness to make the features stand out. If different colours are too similar in grey, play a little bit with the colour-spectrum in the rgb-picture before converting.
  3. You are right, the Movement should be in the document. I made the skill-list when I converted some characters, so movement wasn't a big issue. The remark about characteristics is worth mentioning, but it is kind of a rare exception. There aren't a lot of stone-creatures out there...
  4. If you want an overview about skill-conversion from mrq to brp, you can also take a look at BRP Central - Downloads - MRQ2BRP Conversion Guide
  5. It's just a speculation about the business-side of things - the variable costs for selling a pdf in your own store are somewhere near zero. POD-printing is very expensive - if you want to get the same margin, the products will have a hard time competing with other books that are produced in a traditional print-run. I can't think of a reason not to make print-runs of core products. It's cheaper than POD, they have enough experience to make educated guesses of the numbers they can sell, and you have to be able to finance your important products or you are dead anyway. I was thinking of the typical niche market monograph when I mentioned the pdf-only policy.
  6. That is the question... would it be more money? The margins with print-on-demand are slim and you would only make more money if people who aren't buying the pdfs are buying the pod-version (or there really are a lot of people who would buy both). On the other hand, you would probably make less money if people are buying the pod-version instead of the pdf. Without knowing sales-numbers, you can't really predict any financial impacts. I follow the Fred Hicks-blog (Fate, Spirit of the Century, Don't Lose Your Head, Dresden Files), he basically uses every sales-platform and publishes his sales-numbers. It's quite interesting to see a smaller publisher giving you this much inside information. He had a post a while back where he compared the costs of traditional print-runs and pod - it was quite enlightening. Honestly, I can understand their monograph-policy. They have a system with regular support without having to invest a lot of money or time. Most of the books are more for the niche markets, but that doesn't matter since they can't really lose much. I am sure they look over their business model periodically and think about the best way to sell their products, but changing the policy always has potential risks and rewards. For example, there is a German rpg called Midgard. They only produce 2-4 products a year and they were quite opposed to pdfs. The pdf market in Germany is not as established as in the English-speaking world and the higher risk of piracy made it more of a risk. On the other hand, they had problems selling the more exotic settings and adventures and often couldn't sell the numbers to make it work. Now they changed their model and develop some adventures as pdf-only and sell out-of-print-products as pdf. The rule-books and in-print-products are still not available as pdf. What I want to say with that example is that you have to look at your market, see what works and what doesn't and make a decision based on your own situation. You can't make everyone happy, TSR produced themselves to death trying to produce lots of stuff for every market. If monographs are mainly pdf's in the present and future, then that's ok with me. I would prefer that they take their financial risks in developing (or buying a license to) a detailed fantasy or sf-setting with continued support.
  7. The main advantage of selling pdf's is the easy access to the market. You don't need to hope that rpg-, book-, toy-, or online-stores order and present your products if you are selling pdf's. You just need to load them up and they are instantly and easily accessible for everyone. Small companies don't have that luxury otherwise. For example, getting Chaosium monographs in Germany is simply too much work and too costly. WotC doesn't really need these advantages, since they are basically present everywhere. What do they really gain by offering pdf's? In principle you have a platform that can be used to distribute stuff that doesn't sell good enough to justify print runs (like adventures or small/exotic sourcebooks). They have their online-platform for these things and every rulebook is easily available for a good price at amazon or every shop that sells rpgs. They have little to lose, but potentially increase the interest in the online-presence. Additionally, it's pretty easy to reverse the policy in a year or two, if feel like pdf's are more important than they thought. It's not like they have to make additional investments to produce pdf's - they just need to upload them again and they are instantly in the same position where they were a couple of days ago.
  8. You can get a pretty good printing result on a normal laser printer if you buy better paper (90g or 100g). The question is how to bind the document... If you only use glue or a copy-shop that makes simple glue binding, the result is usually underwhelming. Those books are too fragile for my taste. On the other hand, you can't use traditional book-binding techniques, since you rarely have an A3 printer that allows you to stitch the paper in the middle. I bought a cheap ringbinding-machine a while back and it's pretty useful, even if you don't want to use the rings. The machine punches the holes close to the border of the paper and you can use them for binding the document. If you want to make a softcover-book, you can basically put thick paper or film at the front and back, punch the holes with the machine, and use needle and thread to put it together. I usually use black paper (200g or more) for the back, thick see-through-film for the front, and black duct-tape for the spine. It's an easy way to make long-lasting books quickly and it's especially useful for smaller stuff (adventures and small supplements). There is an easy way to make hardcover books, too. You basically make a softcover-book, but with 2 sheets of paper (ca. 160g) at the front and the back. Then you make the cover separately - inspiratation for measurements and style can be found on the internet (for example Apply the cover ). You can even use an old book-cover if you have something that would fit. After that you glue the outer pages of the book to the cover with wood glue and let it dry while putting weights on it. It's best to put something between the outer pages and the actual book, otherwise the glue may sip through. It may need a little bit of practice, especially if you want to make a perfect leather-bound grimoire out of you old leather-jacket, but if you keep it simple it's a pretty fast process.
  9. I was thinking about a modern horror game, too. I will probably use the "Laura Claxton" books from David Wellington (13 bullets, 99 coffins, and Vampire Zero) as inspiration. The Vampires and Zombies in the books are different enough, so that the players don't know what to expect. All you have to do is set up some guidelines for the creatures and their abilities. I would probably allow some kind of weak magic like charms and talismans for the humans (preferably stuff that has no visual effect, so that magic can't really be proven). The players could either be inexperienced law-enforcement-officers that are drawn into the gore by pure chance or members of a special FBI-Vampire-hunter squad that is called in when the bodies are piling up.
  10. CR is useful in level-based rpg's, but I wouldn't reduce it to a number in brp. I would probably use 4 or 5 descriptive categories to rate the encounters. From "Easy" for newly created characters to "God-like" for overpowered superheroes. The exact numbers aren't helping in brp, since you can't rate the player-characters as easily. For example, if you make up a formula to rate stuff and calculate an encounter level of 9, what does that help if the readers don't know the rating of their own characters? Something like "Advanced" or "Expert" is guideline enough in my opinion.
  11. Does anyone know how Chaosium and Pegasus do it for Cthulhu? They often use old pictures and maps from books and I doubt that they get permission for every single one.
  12. It's an interesting subject. If they print some old drawings, they probably used free stuff and cannot claim copyrights. But they may have used filters and worked them over and that may make it more complicated. For example the German- and some other Gutenberg projects claim copyrights to their versions of the books, because they converted them to html. It probably wouldn't stand up in court if someone seriously challenged them, but it's normally not worth the risk.
  13. From what I've read about the (non-revised version of the) GSL, that seems quite reasonable. A company that relies heavily on D&D-products can't let another company dictate their politics in that manner. It's probably easier and safer to pay for a license and avoid all the potential traps that you sign up to with the GSL.
  14. You may be right, but as long as there are no rulings on the OGL, that discussion is really more academic in nature. If you go along and more or less copy stuff that isn't intended as open in nature, you risk a lot and you have additional costs. The writing must be carefully edited to avoid mistakes, lawyer costs, potential loss of print runs, compensation, slower production process, potential of long legal battles against companies with more money... It just isn't worth it if you are a decisionmaker, even if you see yourself in the right or think you have better chances of winning any potential law suit.
  15. Are there any actual rulings on that subject? With the amount of d20-stuff published in the last years, there had to be some conflicts. Otherwise I would think that a company like Hasbro is able to find the people to draw up a contract that secures their own closed content as much as it is possible (and therefore the license works as intended). It may be interesting for law-students to find potential loopholes, but I doubt that anyone would risk using something declared as closed on those interpretations.
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