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BRP System Reference Document/OGL Questions Thread

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On 4/11/2020 at 4:22 AM, Travern said:

To confirm, you're referring to August Derleth's depiction of Hastur (a.ka. He Who is not to be Named, a.k.a. Hastur the Unspeakable) in The Return of Hastur (1939), along with derivatives from this, and not the Hastur originally appearing in Robert W. Chambers's The King in Yellow stories (1895) or Ambrose Bierce's short story Haïta the Shepherd (1891), correct?  Chaosium does not consider the latter two to be Prohibited Content, does it?  Many thanks,

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. If Hastur in the story is something else altogether, fine - just like the "Hastur" who features in Good Omens (a demon and duke of hell, but has no association with the Cthulhu Mythos).

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2 hours ago, Travern said:

To be absolutely clear, is Chaosium claiming for the purposes of the BRP OGL that Chambers's Hastur is "Cthulhu Mythos" and therefor "Prohibited Content"?  What is the status of other creative elements from Chambers's stories in The King in Yellow collection?  Many thanks,

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

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2 minutes ago, Travern said:

Thank you for your quick reply, @MOB.  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

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7 hours ago, hix said:

 Am I bound by the terms of the OGL if I use the SRD text, acknowledge it in credits,  but do not indicate my product as compatible with BRP or use the logo? Thanks for your consideration.

As section 4 of the license makes clear: "By Using the BRP Open Game Content You indicate Your acceptance of the terms of the BRP Open Game License." By using the SRD text you are bound by the terms of the OGL.

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7 hours ago, Old Man Henerson said:

Are we allowed to alter the layout, colors, and word placement of the document so long as we follow the rules?

If it is not Prohibited Content then you are free to create your own derivative work.

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4 hours ago, JonL said:

For the purposes of the content prohibitions in section 1(e) are Paladin and future adaptations of the King Arthur Pendragon rules to other settings (such as the in-development "Before Iron") implicitly considered to be releases from the King Arthur Pendragon product line?

Paladin - Yes.

The other works - to be determined when they are published.

Edited by MOB

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18 hours ago, Crel said:

"9. Identification: If you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Game Content."

Where would I place this identification in a work? Is that something which would go on the copyright page? E.g., "Chapters 1 and 3 of this work are Open Game Content. No other part of this work is Open Game Content."

Yes.

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18 hours ago, Crel said:

"15. Labeling: You must prominently display one of the following BRP logos on the front and back exterior and in the interior package, on the title page or its equivalent, of your Use of the Open Content. You are granted permission to reproduce the logo only for that purpose."

I'm sure this is a super silly question, but do I assume correctly that this means I'm both permitted and required to show both labels following section 15, in addition to on the front cover, back cover, and title page?

No, "one of the following labels".Three times - on the cover, the back cover, and the inside title page or equivalent.

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3 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

By what legal means are mechanics such as Passions, Personality Traits, and Pushing restricted? That is to say, since game mechanics cannot be copyrighted, are they patented?

I'm just confused, since I thought you couldn't copyright a game mechanic I'm no lawyer, but if you could point me in the direction of a US (and ideally MI, given the license) court ruling that would set a precedent allowing game mechanics to be Prohibited Content, I would be very grateful.

It is only prohibited if you want to build your game off the BRP System Reference document; you need to comply with the license, which is a contract between Chaosium and the user. Chaosium is letting the user create derivative works from its IP (BRP) without having to pay royalties. In exchange, the user agrees to follow the terms of the license. If you want to use those mechanics, go ahead, you will need to use another ruleset though.

6 minutes ago, Raleel said:

I am not a lawyer either, but that’s not what it is saying. It is saying you can’t publish with those mechanics and use the BRPOGL. You can certainly publish with those mechanics (and there already examples), but you can’t do it and use the license. No branding, no community automatically, etc. 

Yes

3 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

Further, what does 'substantially similar' men? Is it in reference to terms of art? Does it refer to a cookie-cutter or near-cookie-cutter replica of the mechanics, with none of their terms of art?

 

5 minutes ago, Raleel said:

for substantially similar, it has a legal definition. My device is not letting me paste a link but googling “substantially similar legal definition” will get you there. It is, as with many legal things, subject to some interpretation and judgement. It is not an empirical metric :)

Yes. If someone would mistake your content for material from one of the Chaosium games listed under Prohibited Content, it's not transformative.

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6 hours ago, Crel said:

I'm aware that this is an unfairly big ask, but would it be possible to get a list of what content is "proper names ... plots, story elements, locations," and "characters" in the games, Magic World, Nephilim, Ringworld, Stormbringer, Superworld, Thieves' World, and Worlds of Wonder?

I neither own nor have access to those games, and would appreciate better understanding the Prohibited Content clause so that I don't end up in a situation where I've independently developed content which violates the BRP OGL.

Thanks!

We are not going list the proper names, plots, story elements, locations, and characters in all of our books. If you really have never even been exposed to these books, some quick research should be enough to put you on notice about what things they pertain to. So, for example,  if you have a cool “kinda-the Expanse, but not really the Expanse” setting in mind, then it behoves you to do a little research into Ringworld so that you don’t accidentally copy stuff straight out of Niven. But you should do this sort of research for any setting or RPG book you plan to do (if it's intended to be more than just a homebrew that you're going to keep to yourself).

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1 hour ago, Old Man Henerson said:

I have a few more questions here. 1. Do we need to keep the introduction section of the PDF where it says all the rules you have to follow? 2. Do we need to keep the first page of the PDF where it has all the credits to the game creators? 3. Are we allowed to put our names onto the product when it is complete? Thanks in advance. :) 

1. & 2. No. You need to include the copyright statement as outlined in section 7 and display the logos as outlined in section 15 of the legal information.

3. Definitely!

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On 4/25/2020 at 10:55 PM, Giant Ice Spider said:

As a follow up: if I did want to use mechanics like Passions/Personality Traits/Pushing, would I need a licence in addition to the OGL or would I just need to negotiate a licence? 

If you use the BRP Open Game License then you can't use the Prohibited Content, it's as simple as that. If you want to use mechanics like Passions/Personality Traits/Pushing in your game and want Chaosium's approval, you'd have to go through the licensing process. 

On 4/25/2020 at 10:55 PM, Giant Ice Spider said:

As in, would I still use the OGL for everything other than use of prohibited mechanics?

But if you want to create a game using any of what is described Prohibited Content, you can, and you don't need Chaosium's approval/endorsement/blessing/permission. You just can't use the BRP OGL or call your creation BRP.

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On 5/3/2020 at 5:08 AM, Carnivorous Tofu said:

Has the BGB itself been re-published under the new OGL?

No, the BGB text is not open content. 

On 5/3/2020 at 5:08 AM, Carnivorous Tofu said:

Instead, I essentially have to rebuild the stuff from 110-122 using different wording.

Yes

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On 5/14/2020 at 1:24 AM, Gollum said:

Hello.

I've got a few questions about the SRD?

I'm a big fan of Call of Cthulhu, especially the 7th edition rules (which, in my humble opinion, are the most flexible and simple ones), and of the BRP System too. So, I would like to built (and, why not, publish) a system which would mix up both.

Thus, here are my questions …

1) Can I use the half and fifth values of Call of Cthulhu exactly as they are used in Call of Cthulhu (i.e. to rule combats, oppositions between characters … and to get rid of the Resistance Table)?

2) Can I rate the characteristics on a percentage range rather than on the 3 to 18 scale, exactly as they are in Call of Cthulhu?

3) Side question: Can I calculate the base skills from the characteristics as they are calculated in some editions of Runequest (the sum of two characteristics rather than an arbitrary flat number)?

None of these features are explicitly written in the Prohibited Content list. But they are still specific features of those amazing games*. Which is why I prefer asking before doing it.

____

* Of course, if I do so, I will add the names of their authors in the credit list!

You could use all of these mechanics for your game, but it wouldn't be using the BRP SRD. You couldn't use the BRP OGL or call your creation BRP.

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On 5/19/2020 at 7:17 AM, g33k said:

Obviously, if you've borrowed so much "variations" from other games than none of the original mechanical bits actually work the same any more, it wouldn't be correct (and probably not legal) to adopt the BRP branding and logos and such.

You have answered your own question.

On 5/18/2020 at 12:07 AM, Gollum said:

I just believe that the mix up that I have in mind isn't anymore close enough from the BRP system to be a BRP SRD product... Note that the answer begins with "You could use all of these mechanics"... which means that they are not prohibited per se. But it still has to remain close enough from the SRD to be a BRP SRD game...

Well yes.

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What then is the minimum amount of the SRD mechanics that must be used unchanged in a derivative work? Is the license going to be revised to reflect this? Because there's literally nothing in it that backs up the above at present.  Nothing in the license says that any given bit of mechanics from the SRD is mandatory or sine qua non for acceptance of the license. 

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52 minutes ago, JonL said:

What then is the minimum amount of the SRD mechanics that must be used unchanged in a derivative work? Is the license going to be revised to reflect this? Because there's literally nothing in it that backs up the above at present.  Nothing in the license says that any given bit of mechanics from the SRD is mandatory or sine qua non for acceptance of the license. 

Second this. This is not some mental exercise, but is vital to knowing whether I am going to use this license. How much can we change while retaining BRP? By this definition, games like Pendragon, CoC7e, even Rimworld would not be BRP games.

Edited by hix
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On 5/19/2020 at 6:00 PM, MOB said:

You have answered your own question.

No I did not; and neither did you.  That's... kind of a flip answer, frankly.

My acknowledging the  reductio ad absurdum  case (of all the rules being replaced with non-BRP rules) was just the notional acknowledgement that there is a sliding scale, from "BRP-SRD as-written, 100% OGL"  <----->  "completely free of BRP SRD content, and the BRP-OGL is no more relevant than the price of tea in China."

I was not asking about the absurd case of a completely non  BRP-SRD game getting that logo and OGL; you picked the ONE ELEMENT where I framed it explicitly as "obviously not."

 

1.  How much of the BRP SRD has to remain intact to be "BRP" branded?  Is there an amount of extra rules (above and beyond the BRP SRD) above which we can no longer use "BRP"?  These are very relevant to my own interests & projects!

@Jeff has previously specified that RQ/BGB style "hit location" mechanics can be part of our BRP OGL games (post #7 of this thread (also explicitly called out in the FAQ))... though of course I realize that the specific text (whether RQ or BGB) remains (c)Chaosium, and we need to write our own textual representation of the rules!  

But now @MOB has specified that there is some combination of:  (a) half & fifth values;  (b) CoC7-style d100 stats instead of CoC1thru6-style 3d6 stats &  (c) Nash/Whitaker style "skill base calculated as sum of two stats" ...  some or all of which renders it a non BRP-OGL game... waitWHAT?  Those four all (a,b,& c; and hit-locations) appear to me as very comparable variations on the BRP SRD.

What are the criteria???

 

2. Are there any particular BRP SRD elements that  must remain intact  to carry the BRP OGL branding?  Is there  a minimum %-of-text  from the SRD that must remain intact?   Or...?

 

I reiterate that these are not hypotheticals.  I've begun writing one product, and have another firmly in mind (with beginning research & notes).

I thought both were "in the clear" as BRP-OGL compliant... but I'm no longer confident of that!

Edited by g33k
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I'm not sure, but the answer may be that someone who read it has to be able to recognize that it comes from the BRP system and not from Call of Cthulhu or Runequest.

With the idea I had in mind, for instance, readers would have said that it came from Call of Cthulhu ... Which is not allowed with the BRP-SRD.

At the limit, if the SRD is so modified that it is not immediately obvious that it comes from the BRP system, it doesn't matter AS LONG AS another game is not recognized as the main source. Brief, as long as it is truly original. 

Edited by Gollum

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On 5/19/2020 at 10:07 PM, JonL said:

What then is the minimum amount of the SRD mechanics that must be used unchanged in a derivative work? Is the license going to be revised to reflect this?

Could we please have an answer to this, @MOB?  Nothing in the BRP license addresses this, but it's a major stumbling block for any project with variant rules.

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Okay, just a rules question: I've been re-reading the SRD and noticed that there seems to be no penalty mentioned for multiple parries/doges - the way I read the SRD, it allows you to do as many parries and dodges per round as you like, with no penalty at all.

Am I missing something? Or is this intended?

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how to handle the SRD if you want to publish in another language than English without any existing official version in the chosen language ?

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