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Announcing the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document and Open Game License


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18 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Genpei was mine, under Arthaus, so that gives you an idea of how long ago that was.  There was at least one later that Greg was coordinating with another author, but that didn't move forward last I heard.  I don't think there's one currently on the books, but now would be a great time to put in a place keeper.

!i!

The manuscript for the medieval Japanese Pendragon adaptation (working title Monogatari, also referred to as Samurai at times) is complete (I should know—I wrote the final version!) and we'll be going forward with it as well, but it's a ways off in the pipeline.

Regardless, all three spinoff games utilize the core Pendragon engine; this certainly wouldn't prevent someone from writing, say, a more historically-grounded BRP game set during the reign of Charlemagne. I'd happily buy it and use it for additional background and adventure material whenever I ran Paladin. :)

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Chaosium is pleased to announce the release of the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document (SRD). The Basic Roleplaying SRD is based on Basic Roleplaying, the simple, fast, and elegant skill-

I just took another look at the Mythras Gateway license and noticed that the BRP license is actually quite similar in some regards - I think them main problem and the reason for most of the discussion

Granted, I'm just saying that not everyone wants to write a setting. I'm writing a series of scenarios for Mythras at the moment (not under any kind of open license, by the way - I'm simply worki

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Going through the OpenBRP doc again, more thoughtfully...  Got another criticism.  On the one hand, it's a minor (even petty) thing.  On the other hand... geez, Chaosium, really?

 

Section 2.4, "Characteristic Rolls" -- STRx5, POWx5, etc --  "Effort" rolls, "Luck" rolls, etc...

My gripe is right... there.

A whole new layer of terminology, really?  That adds nothing except... jargon?  Is there ANY good reason not to just call a "Strength Roll" what it is, a Strength Roll (and so on, for the other 6 characteristics)?  It just seems like an utterly needless layer of jargon and confusion.  Chaosium was stripping the system down to a barebones framework... and they preserved this bit of obfuscation???

This leads to a slightly more substantive criticism:  how utterly LIMITING the terms, as presented, can sometimes be... e.g. an "Idea" roll, when clearly an INT roll may represent other things (recall (an exact detail, or a long-ago memory, etc); solving a logic/reason puzzle; etc etc etc)...

 

Really is just a minor thing.  Really, it is.  But it bothers me.

YMMV.

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Just don't use the OGL. If Chaosium says publishers are lining up to use the BRP "OLG", then by all means let them make their games. If there is something better for everybody else, just use that. Do you really even want to use the BRP logo anymore after all this? That's the only real perk of this so-called olg, and it doesn't mean much to me. I was planning on using the OGL, but now I think I would be better off just making my own system or taking advantage of actual ogls. I don't think this move was intended for us, it is geared toward making sure something like OpenCthulhu never happens again. Its purpose is not for you to make a game, its purpose is to tell you "hey, we created (or simply own) ect. Don't pretend you have any legal right to use ect the way we do." We don't, and their move makes total sense, and they are telling us what we can do with BRP as well; which is nice. I don't like that they are disguising the fact, but if others will use this license to make something awesome, great for them:)

I just won't be using it myself.

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2 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Just don't use the OGL. ...

I just won't be using it myself.

It hits the "d100 sweet spot," for me.

Or it's the closest to the bullseye, at least.

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2 minutes ago, g33k said:

It hits the "d100 sweet spot," for me.\

Or it's the closest to the bullseye, at least.

I guess that makes sense, but that's just a type of dice. Dice don't make a game, and if you have a setting or story in mind, I would sacrifice the dice in favor of being able to create the story or use the setting I want. 

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27 minutes ago, g33k said:

It hits the "d100 sweet spot," for me.\

Or it's the closest to the bullseye, at least.

Isn't ormal BRP good enough?
After having tried Mythras and Revolution D100 for a while... I think I am going for BRP now! ^_^

Well.. in a little while.. we stopped playing because of the quarantine, and then one of the player is GM now with  D&D5e.... and also I got the writer's block when trying to write adevnture for my players.. I got rid of most antagonists (basically the monsters bonanza) and.. I am struggling right now! 😮  :( 

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1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

I guess that makes sense, but that's just a type of dice. Dice don't make a game, and if you have a setting or story in mind, I would sacrifice the dice in favor of being able to create the story or use the setting I want. 

There's a couple of issues, it's worth not conflating them, I think:  "Chaosium BRP" vs "other branches" (e.g. Nash/Whitaker Mythras, Newport OQ), and "Extended BRP Family" vs entirely-different-mechanics (like dicepools of the Ghostbusters lineage, or d20 systems, etc).

Generally, I prefer the d100 "family" for most gaming.  Within that, I think Chaosium BRP is closest to my "ideal" d100 game (some mix of BGB mechanics).

No:  of course "type of dice" don't make a game (and as diceless mechanics show, you don't even need ANY dice (nor card-decks or other randomizers)...  AmberNobilisTheatrix? ) .

BUT...

If I'm using a RPG engine to run the WORLD (as opposed to "narrative" engine RPGs, that run the STORY) then I want to have the mechanics work for the world... emulate/simulate the world, to a reasonable degree of accuracy (without bogging down into tabletop pseudophysics instead of role-playing).

d100, as a mechanic, has a large number of advantages.  I don't know of another system that offers as much.

Dice-pool systems have issues with calculating skewed odds, and weird interplays between  flat/linear +1/+2/+3/etc bonii (and -1/etc penaltii) vs. the nonlinear / bellcurve pool effect; +/-1 or +/-2 can be almost meaningless in the center of the curve, and a huge (dis)advantage out near the ends.

d100?  Linear AF, splitting neatly /25 /20 /10 /5 /4 (and /11 /9 /3  if I want them (or at least, close enough that I don't care about the 1% variance)) when linear gradation is desired.  PLUS It's so granular that I can closely-emulate a curve (any of several curves) with the 1-100 range.

d20 just isn't granular enough, IMHO/IME (and smaller dice-denominations obviously get even worse).

 

Bonus:  teaching d100 to n00bs, pretty much everyone gets a %ile score -- 20% is 20%, 75/25, whatever...  Incredibly intuitive.

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4 minutes ago, g33k said:

There's a couple of issues, it's worth not conflating them, I think:  "Chaosium BRP" vs "other branches" (e.g. Nash/Whitaker Mythras, Newport OQ), and "Extended BRP Family" vs entirely-different-mechanics (like dicepools of the Ghostbusters lineage, or d20 systems, etc).

Generally, I prefer the d100 "family" for most gaming.  Within that, I think Chaosium BRP is closest to my "ideal" d100 game (some mix of BGB mechanics).

No:  of course "type of dice" don't make a game (and as diceless mechanics show, you don't even need ANY dice (nor card-decks or other randomizers)...  AmberNobilisTheatrix? ) .

BUT...

If I'm using a RPG engine to run the WORLD (as opposed to "narrative" engine RPGs, that run the STORY) then I want to have the mechanics work for the world... emulate/simulate the world, to a reasonable degree of accuracy (without bogging down into tabletop pseudophysics instead of role-playing).

d100, as a mechanic, has a large number of advantages.  I don't know of another system that offers as much.

Dice-pool systems have issues with calculating skewed odds, and weird interplays between  flat/linear +1/+2/+3/etc bonii (and -1/etc penaltii) vs. the nonlinear / bellcurve pool effect; +/-1 or +/-2 can be almost meaningless in the center of the curve, and a huge (dis)advantage out near the ends.

d100?  Linear AF, splitting neatly /25 /20 /10 /5 /4 (and /11 /9 /3  if I want them (or at least, close enough that I don't care about the 1% variance)) when linear gradation is desired.  PLUS It's so granular that I can closely-emulate a curve (any of several curves) with the 1-100 range.

d20 just isn't granular enough, IMHO/IME (and smaller dice-denominations obviously get even worse).

 

Bonus:  teaching d100 to n00bs, pretty much everyone gets a %ile score -- 20% is 20%, 75/25, whatever...  Incredibly intuitive.

Agreed, I am looking at a possible diceless system for the game I have in mind, but I too love the percentage based rolls for their ease of use and simple rules.

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4 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Just don't use the OGL. If Chaosium says publishers are lining up to use the BRP "OLG", then by all means let them make their games. If there is something better for everybody else, just use that. Do you really even want to use the BRP logo anymore after all this? That's the only real perk of this so-called olg, and it doesn't mean much to me. I was planning on using the OGL, but now I think I would be better off just making my own system or taking advantage of actual ogls. I don't think this move was intended for us, it is geared toward making sure something like OpenCthulhu never happens again. Its purpose is not for you to make a game, its purpose is to tell you "hey, we created (or simply own) ect. Don't pretend you have any legal right to use ect the way we do." We don't, and their move makes total sense, and they are telling us what we can do with BRP as well; which is nice. I don't like that they are disguising the fact, but if others will use this license to make something awesome, great for them:)

I just won't be using it myself.

Will you make another youtube video about your new opinion regarding the BRP OGL? Because your first video is very praising and unintentional humouristic in the retrospective.

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1 minute ago, prinz.slasar said:

Will you make another youtube video about your new opinion regarding the BRP OGL? Because your first video is very praising and unintentional humouristic in the retrospective.

Highly likely actually, my first video was my opinionated first impression, I have been following the discussion for awhile and my opinions have changed. 

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2 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Highly likely actually, my first video was my opinionated first impression, I have been following the discussion for awhile and my opinions have changed. 

Yes, that's why I asked if you make another video regarding your new opinion which discusses your concerns.

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4 hours ago, g33k said:

Going through the OpenBRP doc again, more thoughtfully...  Got another criticism.  On the one hand, it's a minor (even petty) thing.  On the other hand... geez, Chaosium, really?

 

Section 2.4, "Characteristic Rolls" -- STRx5, POWx5, etc --  "Effort" rolls, "Luck" rolls, etc...

My gripe is right... there.

A whole new layer of terminology, really?  That adds nothing except... jargon?  Is there ANY good reason not to just call a "Strength Roll" what it is, a Strength Roll (and so on, for the other 6 characteristics)?  It just seems like an utterly needless layer of jargon and confusion.  Chaosium was stripping the system down to a barebones framework... and they preserved this bit of obfuscation???

This leads to a slightly more substantive criticism:  how utterly LIMITING the terms, as presented, can sometimes be... e.g. an "Idea" roll, when clearly an INT roll may represent other things (recall (an exact detail, or a long-ago memory, etc); solving a logic/reason puzzle; etc etc etc)...

 

Really is just a minor thing.  Really, it is.  But it bothers me.

YMMV.

Just for reference, this is NOT a new layer of terminology. Take a look in the BGB and Magic World.

SDLeary

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2 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Just for reference, this is NOT a new layer of terminology. Take a look in the BGB and Magic World.

SDLeary

Yeah, yeah, I know.  I even said (in my rant above) that they "preserved" this (i.e. from earlier games).

But if you're not looking at other BRP games, if you're not embedded in the history and the lore of BRP'dom... if you're looking at OpenBRP as a foundational clean-sheet, this  IS  a new layer of terminology.

My point is that -- with reference to the rest of OpenBRP -- this jargon is "new."  It's introduced in Sec. 2.4, and thereafter a "Strength Roll" doesn't exist -- you make an "Effort Roll."  I don't at all mind keeping "Characteristic Rolls," in fact I think they're an essential (if minor) part of the core.

OpenBRP seems intended to be a  minimal framework  upon which someone could build their hard-sci-fi RPG, their psychedelic fantasy RPG, etc etc etc ad infinitum.  As such, there was no reason at all to introduce -- or to preserve -- this sort of thing in the "new" system.

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The week+ of silence on basic questions like asking what "story element" specifically means in the license context or for a clear general case answer on pre-existing proper nouns is deafening.  

These are basic things that need to be clearly understood in order to successfully follow the license.

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7 hours ago, MOB said:

Yes, Chambers' King in Yellow is considered part of the Mythos.

Developments on Chambers's ideas in Derleth's and others' work and CoC adventures should clearly be off-limits, but Lovecraft was 5 years old when Chambers's book was published. This is the opposite of the standard that's been put forth for Malory.  Are there any other works predating Lovecraft's literary career that need to be avoided in this light, and if so, what are they?

 

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1 hour ago, JonL said:

Are there any other works predating Lovecraft's literary career that need to be avoided in this light, and if so, what are they?

I saw Bierce get boxed here:

15 hours ago, MOB said:

You cannot use "Hastur" in a Mythos context with this license. So that precludes the Chambers stories, and would preclude Bierce if - in your work - you intend to connect his "god of shepherds" to the Cthulhu Mythos. 

So, being a matter of context, be careful of where you take Poe.

!i!

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51 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

I saw Bierce get boxed here:

So, being a matter of context, be careful of where you take Poe.

!i!

If it's Mythos-y, then avoid it.  Easy-peasy!  Most of Poe isn't...  It'd be kind of contrived to Cthulify Poe (except Pym, which HPL himself cites as a primary inspiration for AtMoM).

 

On the other hand... well, I've seen some pretty contrived Cthulifications... (lookin at you, Cthulhu Plushies, HPL for Beginning Readers, Where the Deep Ones Are, Good Night Azathoth, etc ... ).

But really... it's not hard!

If your Montressor is doing murder in the name or service of strange -- nay, eldritch! -- Things From Beyond, then best you set down the Amontillado and be a tee-totaller.

If it's simple human madness... a lifetime of grievance nursed to neurosis and thence -- quite naturally! -- to psychosis ... why then, drink deep, seize that trowel, and revel in the horror of the sacrifice and the madness!

( n.b. I am not Chaosium, so my POV is unofficial! )

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3 hours ago, JonL said:

Are there any other works predating Lovecraft's literary career that need to be avoided in this light, and if so, what are they?

 

10 hours ago, MOB said:
Travern said:

If Chaosium considers Chambers's The King in Yellow stories to be part of the BRP OGL's prohibition of "all works related to the Cthulhu Mythos", does Chaosium consider original creative works which pre-date HPL's stories but which he incorporated into what he called his collective "Yog-Sothery" to retroactively count as part of the Cthulhu Mythos for the purposes of the BRP OGL?

Yes

While Chaosium has confirmed this general policy on creative works pre-dating HPL's stories that he used in his own fiction, I had asked about the specific examples of Chambers's The Yellow Sign (because HPL mentioned "Hastur" and "the Yellow Sign" in The Whisperer in Darkness), Machen's The White People (because HPL adopted its "Aklo letters" in The Dunwich Horror and The Haunter in the Dark), Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (because HPL used "tekeli-li" in At the Mountains of Madness). I also asked about the status real-life examples, such as Margaret Murray's The Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921) and Madame Blavatsky's The Book of Dyzan from her Secret Doctrine (1888) since Lovecraft also referred to those in his stories.

So we're all clear, are these works considered "Prohibited Content" for the BRP OGL?

1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:
16 hours ago, MOB said:

You cannot use "Hastur" in a Mythos context with this license.

So, being a matter of context, be careful of where you take Poe.

This brings up a new question of "Mythos context".  What the post-Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos entails is a settled issue (comparatively), but if it retroactively includes works that Lovecraft alluded to or were influences, that opens up further complications—especially since Lovecraft is an allusively dense writer who drew numerous literary, historical, and scientific work for inspiration.  HPL obliquely alluded to Poe's Masque of the Red Death and Berenice in The Outsider.  Poe's Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar arguably inspired Lovecraft's Cool Air, although Lovecraft felt Machen's Novel of the White Powder was its chief influence.  (And does this story even have "a Mythos context" since, apart from HPL's authorship, it does not contain any Mythos allusions?)  Elsewhere in HPL's oeuvre, Machen's The Great God Pan is indisputably an influence on The Dunwich Horror, as is his Novel of the Black Seal.  M.R. James's Count Magnus influenced The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, as was Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables, not to mention Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana.  Are these considered "Prohibited Content"?  What is the working definition of "a Mythos context" with respect to the BRP OGL?

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5 hours ago, JonL said:

... This is the opposite of the standard that's been put forth for Malory ...

 

Is it, though?

Malory wrote in the chivalric/romantic tradition; the specifically-cited-as-OK sources were hundreds of year older (or newer), not mere decades, with one author pointing to another just one generation before or after.  As I've previously stated, this isn't a needle I feel qualified to thread (nor do I wish to) ... but I think they're noticeably different in tone, flavor, etc.

I did NOT see -- for example -- de Troyes'  Lancelot  or  Perceval  (also in the romantic tradition) cited as "OK."

In the end, it seems Chaosium's aim here is partly one of "tone" and "flavor" and "character" (i.e. "Mythos" flavor, or "Morte d'Arthur" flavor), not merely a matter of  specific text  such as "ia! ia! ..."

 

5 hours ago, JonL said:

Developments on Chambers's ideas in Derleth's and others' work and CoC adventures should clearly be off-limits, but Lovecraft was 5 years old when Chambers's book was published. This is the opposite of the standard that's been put forth for Malory.  Are there any other works predating Lovecraft's literary career that need to be avoided in this light, and if so, what are they?

1 hour ago, Travern said:

While Chaosium has confirmed this general policy on creative works pre-dating HPL's stories that he used in his own fiction, I had asked about the specific examples of Chambers's The Yellow Sign (because HPL mentioned "Hastur" and "the Yellow Sign" in The Whisperer in Darkness), Machen's The White People (because HPL adopted its "Aklo letters" in The Dunwich Horror and The Haunter in the Dark), Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (because HPL used "tekeli-li" in At the Mountains of Madness). I also asked about the status real-life examples, such as Margaret Murray's The Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921) and Madame Blavatsky's The Book of Dyzan from her Secret Doctrine (1888) since Lovecraft also referred to those in his stories.

So we're all clear, are these works considered "Prohibited Content" for the BRP OGL?

This brings up a new question of "Mythos context".  What the post-Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos entails is a settled issue (comparatively), but if it retroactively includes works that Lovecraft alluded to or were influences, that opens up further complications—especially since Lovecraft is an allusively dense writer who drew numerous literary, historical, and scientific work for inspiration.  HPL obliquely alluded to Poe's Masque of the Red Death and Berenice in The Outsider.  Poe's Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar arguably inspired Lovecraft's Cool Air, although Lovecraft felt Machen's Novel of the White Powder was its chief influence.  (And does this story even have "a Mythos context" since, apart from HPL's authorship, it does not contain any Mythos allusions?)  Elsewhere in HPL's oeuvre, Machen's The Great God Pan is indisputably an influence on The Dunwich Horror, as is his Novel of the Black Seal.  M.R. James's Count Magnus influenced The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, as was Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables, not to mention Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana.  Are these considered "Prohibited Content"?  What is the working definition of "a Mythos context" with respect to the BRP OGL?

In the end... I wish people would stop trying to cut these issues as close to the bone as they can be cut.  It "looks" to me -- as a 3rd party, not Chaosium -- as if people are trying to find out just HOW CLOSE they can come to creating a CoC-clone (or a KAP-clone), and the answer to THAT is "Not close.  Not close at all."

I don't actually think that this IS the objective I am NOT accusing folks of trying to clone these Chaosium products!   Instead, I think they just want a "nice clear line" that they can be sure they aren't even  close  to crossing... but the questions  look like  people's projects are trying to get as close to that line as possible! 

I think it would serve the questioners well to (a) get as specific as possible, rather than work in general cases; and (b) approach the edges of "prohibited content" a bit more slowly, from a bit further distance.  I see plenty of instances of Chaosium saying "yes, that's OK."  I see them saying, "no, that won't work."  Where the answer isn't clear -- or doesn't come at all -- I suggest you look at how your question might "give cover" for someone who DOES intend to clone or near-clone a Chaosium product.

This must be terribly frustrating, sitting in a Chaosium chair, looking at Chaosium IP's.

 

And -- speaking as someone who  has begun writing  based upon this "BOGL" -- I find this line of questioning (as I expressed it above) isn't helpful:  It doesn't clarify matters for me, it doesn't make it easier for me to abide by the license.

Given the frustration the questioners express, I don't think it's helping them, either.  So I reiterate:  I wish people would stop with this approach.

 

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