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What do you like/dislike the most about BRP Fantasy?

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There is BRP, OpenQuest, Legend, etc.  All of these seem to have almost the exact same rules (but maybe I am missing something.)  In any case, when it comes to these games, what do you like the most about them?  What do you dislike about them?  Given that you could use BRP for non-fantasy games, I am pretty much just interested in the fantasy genre at the moment.  I am thinking more in terms of the rules and play rather than the settings that may go along with these rules. 

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Its hard to recount all the things I like about BRP but in general I think the game is more realistic (if you can use the word realistic when talking abut fantasy) than other fantasy games. When I first started gaming I played 1st and 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons but I never cared for the abstractions (like armor class and THAC0) they used. Then I found BRP (Magic World specifically) and found a game that realistically applied damage to armor but had mechanics for hitting an opponent and parrying (or dodging) an adversary. I also liked the resistance table as a way to model characteristics versus characteristics and the modeling of skills.

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1 hour ago, steamcraft said:

There is BRP, OpenQuest, Legend, etc.  All of these seem to have almost the exact same rules (but maybe I am missing something.)

No, they aren't the same!

But they're similar-enough to permit easy interchange of subsystems between different branches of the family tree; some need a bit more effort, others a bit less (or even no effort at all, just yoink! and you've got a working new subsystem).  This is a strength of the system.

 

1 hour ago, steamcraft said:

... In any case, when it comes to these games, what do you like the most about them?  

For me, they hit the sweet-spot... a trifecta of   [ crunchy realism X fast at-the-table play X elegant simplicity & comprehensibility ]  .

I also like the skill-centric / classless character mechanics, and I really like the skill-check method of improvement (you get better at what you do).  

It's still my favorite basic mechanic, years and years later on...

 

1 hour ago, steamcraft said:

What do you dislike about them?

Almost nothing, overall.

Which is not to say I think they're the "perfect" game in all circumstances...

For example, I like the HP-per-location mechanics for combat (see above under "crunchy realism") ... except when we start looking at the modern era, which has a lot of disable-in-one-hit weapons &c.  So for modern & sci-fi games, BRP isn't necessarily my go-to mechanic.

I think it deserves better ways to handle skill-synergies and related-skill situations, both as-rolled (in use at the table), and as-learned (in character-generation).  I know these games HAVE such ways... I just find them all a bit clunky (next to the brilliance of the core mechanic).

Things can get kind of wonky at extraordinary/mastery skill-levels; different specific games introduce different specific ways to address this, but I'm not yet 100% convinced by any of them.

 

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I don't know why your question is about fantasy, specifically, because the things I like about BRP rules apply to just about any setting - and I have used them to run games in just about any setting. The idea of percentile skills is so basic that it doesn't need any adjustment no matter what kind of game you play. I still feel it's the most direct and effective translation of real-world activities into dice rolling that I've found.

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I like most things about BRP. I wouldn't be a regular at these forums if I didn't. My favourites are the skill mechanic, so easily explained, the complementary skill improvement mechanic; and the relatively lethal combat.

However if pressed to mention one thing I don't like so much, it would be that characters can take a long time to make. You have to allocate skill points and that takes some time. I guess you could randomise things, but it doesn't work that way out of the box.

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59 minutes ago, Questbird said:

However if pressed to mention one thing I don't like so much, it would be that characters can take a long time to make. You have to allocate skill points and that takes some time.

The packaged professions in several BRP games take some of the pain out of that, but not all. Limiting the number of skills in your game is one way of shortening the process, but I'm a fan of short skills lists and others are not. I have to say that the BRP previous experience system I found the most "fun" was the one in the RQ2 appendices - pretty fast although limited in its options, but then another strength of BRP is that characters who start out the same can develop in very different directions.

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8 minutes ago, Vile said:

The packaged professions in several BRP games take some of the pain out of that, but not all. Limiting the number of skills in your game is one way of shortening the process, but I'm a fan of short skills lists and others are not. I have to say that the BRP previous experience system I found the most "fun" was the one in the RQ2 appendices - pretty fast although limited in its options, but then another strength of BRP is that characters who start out the same can develop in very different directions.

I am working on "Character Creation" in my custom settings at the moment.
I had friend new to BRP stumped by the "allocate 300% to those 8 skills" phase in the past, I am going to see if I can make it more expedient... :)

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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4 hours ago, Vile said:

I don't know why your question is about fantasy, specifically, because the things I like about BRP rules apply to just about any setting - and I have used them to run games in just about any setting. The idea of percentile skills is so basic that it doesn't need any adjustment no matter what kind of game you play. I still feel it's the most direct and effective translation of real-world activities into dice rolling that I've found.

Well because when you start getting into settings and non-fantasy genres, things play differently. 

There are other percentile games.  So is it just the percentile you like or is there something specific about this family of percentile games?

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I don't hate the BRP character creation process, it's just maybe something I don't love about BRP. You can certainly make interesting and distinctive characters with it. Openquest is one that goes the fewer skills route, which can make it easier.

It's not necessarily just the speed. Maybe I'm just feeling some nostalgia for crazy random characters from Stormbringer 2nd edition. One thing about random characters, or characters which you don't have complete control over is that they can take you out of your roleplaying comfort zone and make you try new things instead of playing (Eternal champion style?) the same character in different forms, over and over.

Recently I've been reading the Infinity RPG which is not very like BRP but which has an interesting semi-random character generation system a little like Traveller's. You go through 9 'decision points' in your character's life, starting with homeworld, early life, education, career and so forth. Each one has certain cumulative effects on your starting attributes, skills, gear and other traits. At each point you roll randomly and consult various charts but you have 5 'Life points' which you can spend along the way to override the dice rolls. So you can craft the kind of character you want to an extent, or go totally random (you get to spend any remaining Life points at the end to get more gear or more 'Infinity' [=hero/fate] points). This system is interesting but it isn't much faster than spending skill points.

A while ago I started, but didn't finish a random Magic World character generator which did randomise the skill selection in a reasonably clever way from the career skills. It wouldn't be difficult at all to come up with a few charts to do the same in BRP; it's just not there out of the box.

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3 minutes ago, steamcraft said:

Well because when you start getting into settings and non-fantasy genres, things play differently. 

There are other percentile games.  So is it just the percentile you like or is there something specific about this family of percentile games?

 

The percentile thing is a big part of it. The simplicity of it means you can pretty easily move between genres or import systems you like from other BRP games.

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1 minute ago, Questbird said:

I don't hate the BRP character creation process, it's just maybe something I don't love about BRP. You can certainly make interesting and distinctive characters with it. Openquest is one that goes the fewer skills route, which can make it easier.

It's not necessarily just the speed. Maybe I'm just feeling some nostalgia for crazy random characters from Stormbringer 2nd edition. One thing about random characters, or characters which you don't have complete control over is that they can take you out of your roleplaying comfort zone and make you try new things instead of playing (Eternal champion style?) the same character in different forms, over and over.

Recently I've been reading the Infinity RPG which is not very like BRP but which has an interesting semi-random character generation system a little like Traveller's. You go through 9 'decision points' in your character's life, starting with homeworld, early life, education, career and so forth. Each one has certain cumulative effects on your starting attributes, skills, gear and other traits. At each point you roll randomly and consult various charts but you have 5 'Life points' which you can spend along the way to override the dice rolls. So you can craft the kind of character you want to an extent, or go totally random (you get to spend any remaining Life points at the end to get more gear or more 'Infinity' [=hero/fate] points). This system is interesting but it isn't much faster than spending skill points.

A while ago I started, but didn't finish a random Magic World character generator which did randomise the skill selection in a reasonably clever way from the career skills. It wouldn't be difficult at all to come up with a few charts to do the same in BRP; it's just not there out of the box.

 

3 minutes ago, steamcraft said:

Well because when you start getting into settings and non-fantasy genres, things play differently. 

There are other percentile games.  So is it just the percentile you like or is there something specific about this family of percentile games?

I think they play the same, even if the skill names and the toys characters use change. I haven't tried many alternative percentile games, because I've been happy with this one since 1983. I played WHFP 1E but I don't remember what it was like, except that it didn't catch on with me. Most of the other games I play really are "other".

1 minute ago, Questbird said:

A while ago I started, but didn't finish a random Magic World character generator which did randomise the skill selection in a reasonably clever way from the career skills. It wouldn't be difficult at all to come up with a few charts to do the same in BRP; it's just not there out of the box.

I think randomisation in RPGs is great because, as you say, it makes people try something different. Would be interesting to see what you did for your MW generator. Many people of course swear by point-buy all the way, but I think there is a happy medium where players get to make meaningful choices while the dice take away the tedious ones (and perhaps throw in some unexpected excitement).

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1 hour ago, Vile said:

I think randomisation in RPGs is great because, as you say, it makes people try something different. Would be interesting to see what you did for your MW generator. Many people of course swear by point-buy all the way, but I think there is a happy medium where players get to make meaningful choices while the dice take away the tedious ones (and perhaps throw in some unexpected excitement).

 
 

The most original element in my generator (which I started with @colinabrett) was the concept of an 'improvement', which basically was a set of skills which gets a number of points added to them. You could get improvements from background, career, education etc. Improvements would stack on a set of base skills so that you end up with a complete character after several iterations. Different variants of BRP handled this in different ways. The system was designed to be able to create characters for a number of BRP variants. I started with BRP (fantasy) and Magic World, which do character creation slightly differently, and later added most of Mythras Imperative. Basically the improvement would take any list of skills, for example a set of  career skills for a particular profession like Warrior, divide them into Primary, Secondary and Other and allocate points to them in a certain ratio. For BRP it would pick 1-3 random skills from the list and make them Primary, and allocate 40% of the available points. A further 1d4+1 would be Secondary and they would get 35% of the points. The rest of the skills in the list would be Other and get the remaining 25% of the points divided between them. Magic World worked a little differently: it allocates a fixed number of points to certain skills, for example 60% to one skill and 40% to two other skills. The improvement works the same way, choosing skills from the list and allocating the points in that more rigid style. I got this working for Mythras Imperative too, which has standard and professional skills for each career but the code started to get out of hand.

Here's an example: BRP fantasy Explorer. She has 1d3 Primary skills: (I rolled 2) and 1d4+1 Secondary skills: (I rolled 2 again) and all the rest (6) other skills. A 'Normal' level BRP game gives her 250 points to spend on these skills with a maximum of 75 allocated to any particular skill. The ratio is 0.4 : 0.35 : 0.25 for Primary/Secondary/Other skills, which translates to: 100 points for the Primary skills, 88 points secondary, and 62 points other. So each other skill gets 10% and the last one 12%.

 Skill list:

  1. Track (other) 10%
  2. Hide (Secondary) 44%
  3. Spot (Primary) 50%
  4. Listen (other) 10%
  5. Climb (other) 10%
  6. Navigate (Primary) 50%
  7. Stealth (other) 10%
  8. Missile Weapon (other) 10%
  9. Melee Weapon (other) 12%
  10. Knowledge (Region) (Secondary) 44%

These values would be added on to the base skills. So this person is like a scout; particularly knowledgeable about moving unseen through a certain piece of countryside, and observing things in that wilderness.

It is a bit tedious to randomise character generation like this, though I just did exactly that with some online dice rollers. But you do get some interesting or unexpected skill combinations sometimes.

Edited by Questbird
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There has been quite a number of BRP-derivative fantasy games since the release of RuneQuest 1, and each have their own features that make them unique and enjoyable (or not).

As for myself, BRP fantasy games have been an important part of my Roleplayer life. I've discovered them through StormBringer 2nd edition, and it was so much better then D&D in my eyes I stopped playing it for a long time. Each of the BRP fantasy games I played had different appeal to me, and different flaws and qualities.

One of the things that is more specific to BRP fantasy than other genres, though, is the proeminence of melee combat. With time, I grew dissatisfied with its focus on wounds as the only interesting outcome of a blow. In its more simple incarnations, it results in long successions of rounds where attacks either miss or are parried. In more complex ones, or in Pendragon, it's less of an issue, though.

Nowadays, I prefer a different approach to Hit Points, which is not directly correlated to wounds. Even if you completely avoid to be hit, you may lose HP because of exhaustion, or losing ground.

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On 3/4/2020 at 1:58 PM, steamcraft said:

There is BRP, OpenQuest, Legend, etc.  All of these seem to have almost the exact same rules (but maybe I am missing something.)  In any case, when it comes to these games, what do you like the most about them?  What do you dislike about them?  Given that you could use BRP for non-fantasy games, I am pretty much just interested in the fantasy genre at the moment.  I am thinking more in terms of the rules and play rather than the settings that may go along with these rules. 

Um, no, they are merely similar.  Yes, some have pretty much the same mechanisms as each other, but often enough they various versions streamline different mechanisms.  For example, I like the Mythras Classic Fantasy method of using Ranks as "levels", although I'm reworking that section because trying to shoehorn classes into a d100 type system can be klunky.  Doable, but it takes more flexibility, which means more skills, which means more different "rank up" (level up) numbers.  I mean, seriously, what melee character isn't going to spend every possible experience roll on their Combat Style?  Are they stupid?  Why isn't a player going to push his character and spend virtually all of his experience rolls outside of the ones needed to rank up?  NOTE: Yes, yes, yes, some people will do some things for RP purposes.  Without sufficient flexibility in the rank up skills, your dwarf fighter & master smith will end up either limited in his actual smithing related skills or sucking wind in the fighter department compared to some blockhead who sticks with the rank up skills.

Its getting to be a bit amusing.  Keep the Mythras CF character creation, totally redo the rank up methodology (so something like a true "light fighter" type becomes viable instead of everybody going with the old tanky type), toss the Mythras combat in favor of the simplified version of BRP combat.  Go with Mythras skills, toss the entire BRP "base chance" + stat bonus for StatA + StatB = base chance, because it forces some choices for starting characters ("do I use the 5% base chance or the 25% base chance weapon?").  Also, more combined skills, so more concise with Mythras, but the complications of flexibility from BRP can be used if needed.

Actually, if I have a number one complaint about any of the d100 fantasy systems, it is the total lack of a creature summary list.  Don't think Monster Manual (yes, some fans have done great work there, but without a table of contents or a simpler search, having to go page by page through huge pdf files is not fun), think back of the 1e Dungeon Masters' Guide where a functional stat block line per creature is.

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My personal tastes would be:
- Stat bases for skills
- A more important CHA stat... IRL being charismatic has many, many advantages and RPGs in general don't translate this well. A reaction roll with later bonuses or penalties is needed.
- Higher hit points like in SB4 where HP are equal to CON + any points above 12 or - any points below 9 in STR. It also allows for normal build and resistant characters.
- Combat Styles
- No hit locations. I feel they are in the middle between being detailed and too structured. I prefer no locations and being able to translate the hit point loss into something more vivid. Maybe a way to translate amount of damage into damage descriptions and locations?
- Tick experiences... It's one of the best things of BRP IMHO and I miss them in almost every new version.
- Better uses for shields... this is a huge drawback in BRP that hasn't been addressed properly.
- Clearer and less complicated number of attack and parry rules... I don't like Strike Ranks, Impulses and the like. Dex ranks is the way. It always stuck me as strange that only one attack may be made but you can do multiple parries. I'd like a unified criteria like... -20% for every additional attack to all attacks AND defenses, thus you can make more attacks but risking your defensive capabilities.
- I like Skill for magic... It seems unmagical that only by spending MPs I can cast a spell... maybe tying MPs to fatigue or make a general Stamina Points that non-magic users may use for special attacks, maneouvers, etc.
- Lower skill values... I don't like BRP iterations where skills usually go higher than 100%... it seems counter intuitive and usually adds complicated work arounds.

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56 minutes ago, el_octogono said:

My personal tastes would be:
- Higher hit points like in SB4 where HP are equal to CON + any points above 12 or - any points below 9 in STR. It also allows for normal build and resistant characters.

Nitpick : it's CON and SIZ, not CON and STR. :)

Also, Hit Points can be lower if your CON and SIZ are below average. Say you have CON and SIZ 6 (which is possible in Storm), your max HP would be 3, and not 6 as it would have been using the average value.

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You're right. But I'd also use the 2d6+6 for "normal" SIZ. 

And SIZ is another thing that needs to be removed in favor of a build or siz category as in Revolution d100.

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