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Announcing the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document and Open Game License


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12 minutes ago, ORtrail said:

Okay, here is a specific product.  Cleaned up public domain, 450+ pieces of art for $10. 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/204569/Publishers-Choice--Fantasy-Collection?src=hottest_filtered

Thanks, these look like they could help a lot. I think the setting I am going to work on might require some more unique artwork so I will mostly use my own, but a lot of this will help for more generic things. Thanks.;)

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4 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

No offence intended Jeff, but compared to practically every other SRD since the original d20 SRD in 2000, this is more like a fragment of jawbone with a couple of teeth rather than an actual skeleton!

I think I know what you're getting at: AFAIR, the Pathfinder (1st Ed, that is) SRD is close to being identical to the text of the rule book. Same with D&D 5e, except for a few more "fluffy" omissions. Layout, artwork, etc. of course are all gone and not part of the respective SRDs. The BGB, i.e. the last and officially still current edition of BRP, included--again AFAIR--all kinds of optional mechanics from all over the Chaosium place: e.g. it was your decision as GM whether to use strike ranks from 1-10(12) or go with DEX values; different way to determine stats; use hit locations or not, etc.pp. (I really have to dig it out and give it a thorough skim...has been a few years since last I did this.)

The BRP OGL feels stripped down in comparison to the BGB, but from what Jeff said here I take away that this was done so intentionally. You may add any game mechanic from any other D100-based game that you can think of, except for the ones explicitly falling under the Prohibited Content clause (e.g. you could add the Bonus and Penalty Dice rule from CoC 7th Ed. to your BRP OGL-based game; the former may or may not have been directly inspired by the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic from D&D 5e).

Speaking of which...

4 hours ago, Jeff said:

We don't think that is unreasonable. This is so people can publish their own settings, games, and unique ideas using the BRP system.

Of course it isn't. You're covering your bases here, which is undeniably your prerogative.

The FAQ  states "don’t repackage unique features of other Chaosium games!", which is clear enough. But the list of forbidden mechanics confused me at first: e.g. both Passions and rules for augmenting skills with them exist in Mythras. But they clearly differ in the way they work from the features of the same name given in RQG .

So, for example, if I was to create a sci-fi horror setting using the BRP OGL (based on the Lovecraftian Mythos or not doesn't matter), I couldn't just add a diminishing "roll on or under, or be affected" resource and call it "Saneness" (abbrv. as "SAN", but the N references the second N, not the first 🤔). I could instead use a raising "roll over, or be affected" resource and call it "Insanity", "Madness", or "Corruption" (this would be a bit clunky, since it breaks with the general BRP "roll on or under x to succeed" paradigm).

Edited by foolcat
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8 hours ago, Jeff said:

If it is not Prohibited Content then you are free to create your own derivative work. It isn't particularly limited unless you are trying to reskin RQG, Cthulhu, or Pendragon.

That's the intent, I know. What prospective third party publishers may see might be different.

Clearly I'm not a lawyer, so I did not know "substantially similar" is a legal term. What constitutes "substantially similar", however, is -- as far as I can tell -- decided case-by-case, in a lawsuit. That may be a problem.

The point of an SRD (at least as far as I understand it) is to encourage fans and publishers to build an ecosystem of games, adventures, and assorted supplements with broadly compatible rules. Other "open licenses" like Wizards' OGL and Creative Commons define unambiguously what licensees may and may not do with the licensed text. To use the BRP SRD, a commercial publisher leery of lawsuits might run the prospective product by people at Chaosium, which requires time and extra effort on both sides. Even if using the BRP SRD requires no licensing fee, that extra time and effort may make commercial publishers think twice.

(Older publishers and fans may remember TSR's lawsuits against independent publishers and even its own fans in its latter days. What the licensor gives without a formal contract, the licensor may take away ... particularly if its a company, not a person.)

I hope I'm wrong. Maybe fan works can sustain that sort of ecosystem. Maybe commercial publishers won't balk at the potential added effort and/or risk of basing products on the BRP SRD. But in light of all the other options out there, and without some solid guarantees on what "substantially similar" means, I'm not optimistic.

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Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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1 hour ago, ajtheronin said:

Check the Success or Failure Results table on page 10.

That's the very table I was asking about. Why is there a "Critical Success" column, if a critical success and its effects--e.g. in success comparisons of opposed rolls, in the Combat Attack and Defence Matrix (p.16),  or on combat damage--are not mentioned or defined elsewhere in the document?

Edited by foolcat
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3 minutes ago, foolcat said:

That's the very table I was asking about. Why is there a "Critical Success" column, if a critical success and its effects--e.g. in success comparisons of opposed rolls, in the Combat Defence Matrix (p.16),  or on combat damage--are not mentioned or defined elsewhere in the document?

Yup. I miss read and I apology. 

Either that column should be edited or some other parts of the text need to be reworded (critical > special success > success > failure for example). 

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1 hour ago, fmitchell said:

That's the intent, I know. What prospective third party publishers may see might be different.

Clearly I'm not a lawyer, so I did not know "substantially similar" is a legal term. What constitutes "substantially similar", however, is -- as far as I can tell -- decided case-by-case, in a lawsuit. That may be a problem.

The point of an SRD (at least as far as I understand it) is to encourage fans and publishers to build an ecosystem of games, adventures, and assorted supplements with broadly compatible rules. Other "open licenses" like Wizards' OGL and Creative Commons define unambiguously what licensees may and may not do with the licensed text. To use the BRP SRD, a commercial publisher leery of lawsuits might run the prospective product by people at Chaosium, which requires time and extra effort on both sides. Even if using the BRP SRD requires no licensing fee, that extra time and effort may make commercial publishers think twice.

For the reasons you mentioned and after having a look at the really bare bones 27 pages document, the question arises - why bother? There is the Legend SRD, there is Mythras, OpenQuest springs to mind... hell, for the German speaking follks out there there is even the Fhtagn RPG.

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

Just don't use what is listed as Prohibited Content - so don't repackage the RQG magic system for example. If you want to play around with the ideas in the BGB, go forward!

Can you give us some more specifics about what you consider to be the "substance" of the magic systems? Paying MP to power spells? Rolling to cast? Specific spell descriptions? 

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44 minutes ago, theodis171 said:

For the reasons you mentioned and after having a look at the really bare bones 27 pages document, the question arises - why bother? There is the Legend SRD, there is Mythras, OpenQuest springs to mind... hell, for the German speaking follks out there there is even the Fhtagn RPG.

I don’t know about the others, but the Mythras Gateway License is decidedly not an OGL. In the sense that any potential creator wanting to incorporate Mythras Imperative (a fully functional subset of the full Mythras rules) is required to request and being granted permission of use, even when there are no fees.

With an OGL, there is no such exchange; you grab it and run with it, no questions asked—as long as you follow the clauses of said OGL to the letter, of course. 

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55 minutes ago, foolcat said:

I don’t know about the others, but the Mythras Gateway License is decidedly not an OGL. In the sense that any potential creator wanting to incorporate Mythras Imperative (a fully functional subset of the full Mythras rules) is required to request and being granted permission of use, even when there are no fees.

With an OGL, there is no such exchange; you grab it and run with it, no questions asked—as long as you follow the clauses of said OGL to the letter, of course. 

For anyone interested and to avoid misunderstandings, the Mythras Gateway License is this

Edited by prinz.slasar
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9 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

... Also, I assume other Open Licenses are effectively off limits? ...

If I understand this correctly -- and @Jeff your comments are eagerly desired -- you COULD include content from other OGL's.

You would simply have to include each of the relevant OGL notices in the book, as specified by each OGL itself.

Each OGL licensor has given you permission to use each of their bits of content.  The point of them being "Open" is that such content ISN'T "protected" content.  None of them want you to use any protected content in an OGL product... but you aren't.

 

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1 hour ago, Runeblogger said:

Question: Can this OGL be used to publish an D100 game in other languages other than English?

Yes

3 hours ago, theodis171 said:

For the reasons you mentioned and after having a look at the really bare bones 27 pages document, the question arises - why bother? There is the Legend SRD, there is Mythras, OpenQuest springs to mind... hell, for the German speaking follks out there there is even the Fhtagn RPG.

As Jeff said above, because it is a reference document - the skeleton so to speak. The license explicitly allows derivative works. You can add hit locations, add your own magic system, psychic powers, rock god songs, archetypes, funky mechanics, psychonautical exploration mechanics, alchemy rules, spell systems based on the Sefirot or talking to angels through crystals - whatever, go for it.

You are welcome to add to it as long as you avoid Prohibited Content. Just don't try to create a retroclone of Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Pendragon, etc.

4 minutes ago, g33k said:

If I understand this correctly -- and @Jeff your comments are eagerly desired -- you COULD include content from other OGL's.

You would simply have to include each of the relevant OGL notices in the book, as specified by each OGL itself.

Each OGL licensor has given you permission to use each of their bits of content.  The point of them being "Open" is that such content ISN'T "protected" content.  None of them want you to use any protected content in an OGL product... but you aren't.

Correct.

 

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22 minutes ago, MOB said:

As Jeff said above, because it is a reference document - the skeleton so to speak. The license explicitly allows derivative works. You can add hit locations, add your own magic system, psychic powers, rock god songs, archetypes, funky mechanics, psychonautical exploration mechanics, alchemy rules, spell systems based on the Sefirot or talking to angels through crystals - whatever, go for it.

You are welcome to add to it as long as you avoid Prohibited Content. Just don't try to create a retroclone of Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Pendragon, etc.

I think the point that Theodis was trying to make was "why make it with the BRP liscense instead of another one that lets me do the exact same thing with less restrictions?" What do I get from BRP that I don't from some other D100 OGL like Openquest or Legend or Lore 100?

Edited by Richard S.
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Honestly in my perfect world the BGB would be the open gaming content (minus the Product Identity, illustrations, game master advice chapters, etc. ). To me that book is mostly mechanics. That we're even having this conversation at all gives me hope that this could be expanded in the future. 

The license makes me think that the only things that would tick Chaosium off are creating clones of existing books like CoC, KAP, Nephilhim, and the like. Maybe expanding the SRD with the mechanics of something like the BGB would help clarify which mechanics are fair-game and which ones would cause Chaosium to be unhappy with the result.

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