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islan

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I first got into the BRP system by reading Stormbringer 4e and Elric; while their iterations of the system were pretty flawed (Stormbringer in particular), I liked the idea of the system behind it. So I was really keen on getting the BRP book a long time ago. Now that I've had it for a long time, and tried to have many a question answered on these forums, I am must say that I for the most part displeased with it.

I find that it does not do a very good job at organizing multiple parts of different versions of the game. It cannot even be consistent with itself, quite often conflicting with itself in different places. Most of the skill-specific rules leave much to be desired; the grapple rules are a mess, and the Command and Strategy skills really confuse the use of one or the other, to name a few. I have yet to see a single decent contested-roll system in any officially printed material.

The reason I am writing this now is because in a thread I read elsewhere, many people spoke of the BRP book as a natural evolution of the system, with new rules that make it work. I cannot see where they are coming from, when to me it instead seems like a mish-mash of incompatible rules. I have also heard people refer to the system as one where you can turn things on and off as you wish, but the poor presentation of the book does not leave it to be much of a toolkit; to use a phrase, I cannot see the trees through the forest.

I have also heard people on this forum refer to their use of BRP alongside earlier BRP games. Is this book really just a reference book for longtime BRP fans, and thus the book is just not for me? Or am I just not on the same page as BRP at all, and shouldn't even bother trying to get it to work for me?

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I use the BRP book as a toolkit to add various of its options to my homebrew

system, which is a science fiction mix of GURPS (world building, some tech-

nology) and Mongoose Traveller (lifepath character generation, trade, some

technology - increasingly replacing GURPS) plus BRP with some ideas from the

Ringworld RPG (our roleplaying system).

For me, BRP has worked exceptionally well, enabling me to convert from the

other systems to BRP with ease and leaving only very few gaps I had to fill

with houserules for our newest "human colony on a water world"-setting and

campaign.

My only minor problem with the BRP book is that there are so many interesting

options that it is sometimes difficult to choose the right ones for the setting

and campaign, and to judge whether the ones that look best for any specific

purpose will work together well enough.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Yes, "toolkit" is the word.

I agree it's not great in terms of evolution - but it's in print! That's a very good selling point. For me the multiplicity of options and rules, even if they conflict, are all to the good - it lets me choose/interpret what's best. My players are highly unlikely to read such a weighty tome anyway.

I suggest you start with the much simpler "BRP Quickstart" freebie, cut-and-paste in any extra rules you want from the main book (missing out "opposed rolls", obviously! bleurch!), and use that...

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I don't think the concept was to rewrite the rules, per se. Strip out the subsystems and you've got a solid rules base. Add some subsystems in, and you've still got a solid system. The book even guides you along with suggestions for various genres.

Some things are obviously incompatible, like fixed AP and random armor. Other things have different balance levels. Doubling hit points and including Fate points as opposed to hit locations are going to change the tone of the game.

This isn't even taking in Power systems. JD had a huge task in front of him, and I think he did a great job with it.

So, yes, you have a point. The new BRP caters to those who are familiar with the rules, know how they impact play, and would like them combined in one book. I think it also gathered some interest from people who had either played an random CoC game or just had heard of BRP and were interested into looking into it. This is not official information, just things that I've heard.

I will say though, Elric!/SB5 is by far my favorite iteration of BRP. You're in good company.

70/420

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So, to prod further...

Let's say you like the Elric iteration of BRP. To aid the OP, could someone provide a short list (maybe with page numbers) of options to include or not-include that would make it such?

Also, I LOVE the default rule for contested rolls. He who rolls the highest under their skill rating is the winner. It feels natural to me, requires no math, and gives the more-skilled (experienced) opponent the advantage. I also like the resistance table for stat vs stat stuff. OP - what option do you not like or what methods (in other games) do you like?

OP - Why is grappling broken? (I am new to BRP, only having played CoC a handful of times, and I am curious).

Trentin C Bergeron

Bard, Dreamer & RPG Enthusiast

My Blog | My Worlds

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Also, I LOVE the default rule for contested rolls. He who rolls the highest under their skill rating is the winner. It feels natural to me, requires no math, and gives the more-skilled (experienced) opponent the advantage. I also like the resistance table for stat vs stat stuff. OP - what option do you not like or what methods (in other games) do you like?

You don't seem to be paying attention to the entire rule.

Pg. 173, Opposed Skill Rolls:

"The character that achieves the highest degree of success wins the contest. However, if the loser's skill roll was successful, he or she can modify the winner's degree of success, shifting if downward one degree for every degree of success he or she achieves above failure. In the event that both parties achieve the same degree if success, the higher die roll wins the contest..."

This is just a horrible system, especially with the whole shifting thing; gave my brain whiplash.

OP - Why is grappling broken? (I am new to BRP, only having played CoC a handful of times, and I am curious).

I didn't say that it was broken, just a mess. When I tried running a game in the past and a player tried to grapple a monster, we were both abhored to find out that you can't even apply any grapple effects until the next round: so you succeed in grappling them this round, but it doesn't do anything to them till next round. Since then I had tried several times to fix the grappling system before just wanting to throw the entire mess out entirely.

I should note that I have run only one test game using the BRP book, and I was quite dissatisfied with that as well. But since then I have become more dissatisfied with the book the more I read it to help understand it better; the specific and spot rules all seem to get uglier and uglier the more I read them.

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Can't say I completely disagree with you on some of your points. The reason is mostly that I haven't read the book in the same way you have, so therefore can't contest any claims you've made. My experience with BRP/SB/CoC/RQ is such that I don't really need to read the book anymore.

That said. The core system is rock solid. You changing a Spot Rule or altering how to handle contested rolls won't upset the apple cart in any way whatsoever. In fact, altering these rules is not only encouraged but practically required in some cases. This style of refereeing harkens back to the very earliest days of the hobby, where GMs had to wing it, or write additional subsystems to handle aspects of play that the rules allegedly didn't handle very well.

The fact that you have a very clean, intuitive system only helps you.

Someone asked how to do StormBringer with BRP. From memory, I would guess:

Skills over 100%, Total Hit Points Only, Random Armor Protection, Sorcery, Allegiances, and Option 6 for Character Generation

Did I miss anything?

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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Pg. 173, Opposed Skill Rolls:

"The character that achieves the highest degree of success wins the contest. However, if the loser's skill roll was successful, he or she can modify the winner's degree of success, shifting if downward one degree for every degree of success he or she achieves above failure. In the event that both parties achieve the same degree if success, the higher die roll wins the contest..."

This is just a horrible system, especially with the whole shifting thing; gave my brain whiplash.

Seems pretty simple to me... maybe it's just not to your taste... which is different from it being 'horrible'.

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Seems pretty simple to me... maybe it's just not to your taste... which is different from it being 'horrible'.

No, I do not think it is "not to my taste," I do believe it is downright horrible.

Take this inevitable example:

Two characters are engaged in an opposed skill roll; one with a 60, the other with a 40. The first one rolls a 10, which gives him a Special success, while the other rolls a 30. Because the second one made a success but less of a degree, they can shift the other one down one degree, which results in them both having a normal success. However, the dice still say "10" for the 60-guy, and "30" for the 40-guy, which means the 40-guy wins.

Using this method, if ever a Special success is met by a normal success, the normal success will most often win because the normal success is most often going to be a higher rolled result. Same can be said about Critical vs. a Special; the only way to clearly win over someone is to roll a Crit and them a normal success.

This method is horrible.

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This method is horrible.

No, just poorly edited. You weren't by chance tricked into thinking this to be true for Attack vs. Parry/Dodge, were you? See page 193. See what happens when The Attack Roll is Special, and the Parry Roll is a Success.

What's missing from the description for contested skills is that the both the 'attacker' and 'defender' reduce their degree of success, not just the winner.

So an Attacker's Special becomes a Normal.

The Defenders Normal becomes a Failure.

The only time high roll wins, is when the degree of success is the same.

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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PS-to-last-post cuz it wont let me edit it:

I just figured that a Crit vs. a Special would be even worse, as the Special would have two degrees of success; by the way the rules are read, they can then shift the Crit down two degrees to a normal. Thus a Special will ALWAYS beat a Crit.

As for doing just "whoever rolls highest wins" it would only work if you completely threw out the special and crit results. Take for instance a 20-guy vs a 100 guy: if a 100 guy rolls 1-5 he gets a crit and a special on 6-20, while a 20-guy gets a special b/t 1-4 and a normal between 5-20. This mathematically proves that it is impossible for the 20-guy. While this is a very extreme case (20-vs-100) it easily shows problems that can arise with less granularity.

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PS-to-last-post cuz it wont let me edit it:

Respectfully snipped. We missed each other's post. I think your understanding of the contested skill test is flawed, likely because the text is not clear.

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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No, just poorly edited. You weren't by chance tricked into thinking this to be true for Attack vs. Parry/Dodge, were you? See page 193. See what happens when The Attack Roll is Special, and the Parry Roll is a Success.

What's missing from the description for contested skills is that the both the 'attacker' and 'defender' reduce their degree of success, not just the winner.

So an Attacker's Special becomes a Normal.

The Defenders Normal becomes a Failure.

The only time high roll wins, is when the degree of success is the same.

I assume that Attack vs. Parry/Dodge, like other iterations of BRP, use different rules than Opposed Rolls. It does, however, clearly state that it modifies the "winner's degree of success".

I'm not saying that opposed rolls can't ever work in BRP, I'm just saying that I have yet to see one decent method for it in any published material (and the BRP offers several and all of them seem to have problems with them).

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I assume that Attack vs. Parry/Dodge, like other iterations of BRP, use different rules than Opposed Rolls. It does, however, clearly state that it modifies the "winner's degree of success".

Clearly Combat uses the same rules, because what is illustrated on page 193 is exactly what should have been better explained under opposed rolls. It's indicative of the example given under opposed rolls (Stealth vs. Perception), but does not explicitly state that the loser (the one with the lower degree of success) is still the loser.

EDIT: There is only one way that Combat rolls differ from opposed rolls. By the book, ties always go to the Defender.

EDIT2: As far as grapple is concerned, I'm in complete agreement with you that grapples should take effect immediately not the next round. Certainly you don't take damage a round after it was delivered via sword blow, right? :D

Edited by Harshax

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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I assume that Attack vs. Parry/Dodge, like other iterations of BRP, use different rules than Opposed Rolls. It does, however, clearly state that it modifies the "winner's degree of success".

I'm not saying that opposed rolls can't ever work in BRP, I'm just saying that I have yet to see one decent method for it in any published material (and the BRP offers several and all of them seem to have problems with them).

Yes, I think Opposed Rolls are bad, and add needless complexity to an otherwise simple system. Even the most experienced gamers end up arguing over and misinterpreting them (as I believe you have here - IMO the winner's Degree of Success may be reduced, but the loser doesn't get any success).

And to introduce Opposed Rolls into combat when no previous version of BRP used them for that is a Mistake.

But I treat the whole rule-set as a "toolkit", and just don't use 'em. So it's no problem...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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It does, however, clearly state that it modifies the "winner's degree of success".

Yes, the key word being "winner's" degree of success. Now, I don't have the book with me to examine how it is written, so I won't comment on whether this is a textual problem or not, but from the sample of text you posted it seems quite clear to me.

Let's take your example of someone (Player 1) with a 60% vs someone with a 40% skill (Player 2).

Both roll. P1 gets 30% (a normal success). P2 gets 10%, which is a special. P2 has a higher degree of success, and so he's the winner of the contest. Because P1 also rolled a success, P2's (the winner's) success is dropped one level to a normal success. The end result is the P2 has achieved a normal victory over P1 on this opposed challenge.

If P2 had failed his roll, then P2's victory would have been at the higher degree of success based on his initial special roll. The end result would be that P2 had achieved a special victory over P1 on this opposed challenge.

If both P1 and P2 had rolled the same degree of success in the initial roll (ie. both normals, both specials, etc). the highest roll would win with a 'normal' success.

This business of reducing the level of victory is only applied AFTER the winner is determined and once the winner is determined, his victory cannot be reduced below normal level. It is simply a mechanism designed to allow the determination of 'special' or 'critical' success in opposed roll situations, if you happen to want that level of detail.

As for the grapple rules, if you want the effects to take place the same round, then just declare that this is the case - it's the easiest house-rule ever. I'm not sure what the other problems you have with the grapple rules are, as you haven't mentioned them.

The core of BRP is extremely malleable and can be bent in a lot of ways without breaking, which is why people call it a 'toolkit'. But just like all other roleplaying games, it can't satisfy all of the people on all of the issues all of the time, and there may be quite legitimate reasons why you or others don't like it. If you like the game well enough that you want suggestions on how to mould it to your taste, let people know what, specifically, you would like to fix and what, specifically, your issue with it is and I'm sure you'll get umpteen suggestions. If, however, there are so many things about the game you don't like that it just won't work for you, then nobody will fault you for moving on to a more perfect system - we've all done it before with a variety of games.

Thalaba

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

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I read the passage on p.173 and it does seem changed from when we were playing with this way back. IIRC, we played it that the shifts could occur if your degree of success was above Success rather than above Failure. It really changes things if its above failure, because you could really never crit against someone who succeeds, which seems odd.

In normal skill vs. skill, this heavily reduces the chances of someone pulling something brilliant out of their ass in an argument and really trumping their opponent.

In combat this really comes to the fore, but in the RQ days we were dealing with AP on the defensive side rather than normal parries blocking the entire hit.

I can certainly see where the OP is coming from with this argument.

SDLeary

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The opposed role has been a bit of a headache for myself as well. I'm very tempted to crack open Pendragon and see what I can do as far as a conversion to a D20 roll high system.

I've basically come to the conclusion that Opposed Rolls and Degrees of Success are not compatible with one another if you have more that 4 degrees (Critical, Normal, Failure, Fumble), and handle the potential for damage concurrently, as in Pendragon, or unless you simply go with the rolled results and kill off all the degree shifting.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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I don't really need to read the book anymore.f play that the rules allegedly didn't handle very well.

That is one of the problems with BRP. A lot of people who are familar with the system from years past, don't need to real the rules, and so tend to miss details about how the game actually works compared to how it worked in the past.

IT was aa big factor in why "BRP Zero" had some flaws that no one noticed during the playtesting. All the GMs "knew" how the game worked, and didn't have to read the rules.

I suspect most of us long time RQ/SB/COC players do it.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I've basically come to the conclusion that Opposed Rolls and Degrees of Success are not compatible with one another if you have more that 4 degrees (Critical, Normal, Failure, Fumble), and handle the potential for damage concurrently, as in Pendragon, or unless you simply go with the rolled results and kill off all the degree shifting.

We're talking about Opposed Rolls here. Degree of Success is only important for narrative queue, as in 'How do I describe this characters success?'

The whole shifting thing is merely to tool to help GM's understand what happened. You roll a Critical, I roll a Special, the GM says 'The debate reaches titanic peeks as each orator attempts to sway the public to their side. After a drawn out battle of wits, a pause by the senator gives the incumbent an opportunity for gain. While generally considered a successful debate for the current seat holder, it is clear the battle for office is not over.'

Or, if you're not up for the narrative: Critical - Special = Success for Opponent A.

For combat, BRP has chosen to codify the degrees of success, where such detail is much more exciting, and for some, necessary.

Edited by Harshax

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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I've basically come to the conclusion that Opposed Rolls and Degrees of Success are not compatible with one another if you have more that 4 degrees (Critical, Normal, Failure, Fumble), and handle the potential for damage concurrently, as in Pendragon, or unless you simply go with the rolled results and kill off all the degree shifting.

You know, if I was inclined to run a splatter-punk horror campaign, I'd expand on the degree of success even further, by adding Significant Failure between Fail and Fumble.

Critical vs. Failure = Critical

Critical vs. Significant Failure = Critical + something gruesome

Critical vs. Fumble = Critical + something absolutely horrifying

>:->

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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If you like the game well enough that you want suggestions on how to mould it to your taste, let people know what, specifically, you would like to fix and what, specifically, your issue with it is and I'm sure you'll get umpteen suggestions.

This is actually one of the problems I've had with this system: I'd post up a question about it here, and get umpteen-bazillion different answers, all which only served to confuse me even more!

That is one of the problems with BRP. A lot of people who are familar with the system from years past, don't need to real the rules, and so tend to miss details about how the game actually works compared to how it worked in the past.

IT was aa big factor in why "BRP Zero" had some flaws that no one noticed during the playtesting. All the GMs "knew" how the game worked, and didn't have to read the rules.

I suspect most of us long time RQ/SB/COC players do it.

For this very reason I'm starting to think that I should just start by running some earlier version of BRP (such as my copy of Elric!) and learn from there. Once I get more experienced, maybe I'll end up finding the BRP book much more helpful as a general reference tool.

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For this very reason I'm starting to think that I should just start by running some earlier version of BRP (such as my copy of Elric!) and learn from there. Once I get more experienced, maybe I'll end up finding the BRP book much more helpful as a general reference tool.

That might help, although personally I consider Elric! to be one of the weaker more flawed versions of the game. I all depends 'heavily) on your style of play and preferred setting. Since BRP is a generic system trying to "touch base" with a lot of different settings/generic can't help but go off in several directions. The same is true of it's fans.

Those who have a lot of experience with the system have an idea of what they want and can play "mix 'n match" with all the optons to get what they want.

Unfortunately, that makes the game somewhat less accessible than most of it's predecessors.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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