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How many changes can I make and still be BRP OGL


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Once upon a time, long long ago Chaosium announced an OGL BRP licence.

Since this coincided with (what I thought) would be a long time in doors with a keyboard and time to kill I deluded myself that I would take advantage and write 'my' version of BRP.

Unlike the author of Toxandia I never actually did that. In my defence that long time with nowt to do didn't actually happen. But mainly it was due to prevarication on my part. However: also related was not knowing just how much I could tweak BRP and still be in compliance with the OGL. Decades of my house rules may very well be of no interest whatsoever to the owners of the IP.

Since I'm far too lazy to actually put the work into a manuscript to be told 'er no, you've misunderstood' and because I delude myself that this might be useful to others (but mainly coz I hope someone else will actually do the leg work) I thought it would be good to pose some specific questions here for Chaosium to state yay or nay on. I'll try and make them yes/no questions. And who knows, someone else might have similar specific questions that they'd like to raise here too.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Can I just delete SIZ?

Can I re-order the Characteristics alphabetically on the character sheet?

Can I change the roll (for humans) to 3d6 for each, but any die roll of '1' is treated as a '2' (so range is 6 to 18 but 'average' is still about 10)

 

CHARACTERISTIC ROLLS

Can I just rename them (STR x5% is the Strength roll, INT x5% is the Intelligence roll, and so on)

 

ATTRIBUTES

Can I have a variable MOV score? (determined as (Dex+Str)/3)

Can I change the damage bonus algorithm ((Str-10) as a single die roll)

 

SKILLS

Can I replace all of those individual base chances with just a flat 50% for all (admittedly based on a very simplistic interpretation of probability theory and because although I've read all those rule pages and magazine pages and online words about what competence is and what modifiers should be added for almost-mundane tasks I like a 50:50 chance of success if all else is equal without such judgements)

Can I change the algorithms for Criticals (to 1/10th skill) and Specials (to 1/2 skill)?

Edited by Al.
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I guess this document is mostly relevant to someone that wants to publish a game.

And also, whether you want or not, it's really a matter of personal taste and you could stretched it as much as you like.

I.e. if your intent is to improve / tweak the gameplay experience of some BRP/CoC/MagicWorld/Stormbringer, however much change there is, it's still based on the BR OGL.

But if you have a totally new game that just happen to have the famous 6 characteristic and percentile skill. well it could very well have nothing to do with BRP...

I guess in your case, the answer would be yes, all your change can have the BRP OGL derivative tag! :) 

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Hi Lloyd

I can't argue with any word that you've typed there.

At some point (and I'm under no illusions that this isn't going to be soon, I'd be very surprised if any of the senior Chaosium bods haven't got a number of things both more urgent and more important than responding to this query) I'd like to get an official response. Which I imagine which will be one of:

A) Yup, the strength of the system means that these won't break anything

Bee) We're happy with some of those, but all of them together moves too far from the agreed core, pick <a number> but leave the rest as is

C) A,B,C are fine but X,Y and Z are out

D) Nope, those are all too fundamental.

 

We'll wait and see what and when the response is.

Edited by Al.
Flippin autocorrect turns B) into a smiley face with sunglasses
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On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

CHARACTERISTICS

Can I just delete SIZ?

Sure, Chaosium did so itself with the original Magic World and it was still BRP. 

On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

Can I re-order the Characteristics alphabetically on the character sheet?

Why not. I think there is a version or two out there with the stats in a different order.

On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

Can I change the roll (for humans) to 3d6 for each, but any die roll of '1' is treated as a '2' (so range is 6 to 18 but 'average' is still about 10)

Yeah, Chaoium has strayed from 3d6 over the years, notably with SIZ and INT, but Elric! used 2d6+6 for everything. 

On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

 

CHARACTERISTIC ROLLS

Can I just rename them (STR x5% is the Strength roll, INT x5% is the Intelligence roll, and so on)

COC7 pretty much combined the stat rolls with the stats so why not?

On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

 

ATTRIBUTES

Can I have a variable MOV score? (determined as (Dex+Str)/3)

Pendragon does that and it is still BRP. RQ3 used to vary the move rate by DEX SR, too.

On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

Can I change the damage bonus algorithm ((Str-10) as a single die roll)

Yeah, but that has other effects in terms how how strong creates get handed by the game. 

On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

SKILLS

Can I replace all of those individual base chances with just a flat 50% for all (admittedly based on a very simplistic interpretation of probability theory and because although I've read all those rule pages and magazine pages and online words about what competence is and what modifiers should be added for almost-mundane tasks I like a 50:50 chance of success if all else is equal without such judgements)

It's certainly possible. The starting skill formula has been altered from game to game, especially in games like Stormbringer, the orginal Magic World, and ElfQuest. 

On 11/17/2020 at 3:25 PM, Al. said:

Can I change the algorithms for Criticals (to 1/10th skill) and Specials (to 1/2 skill)?

Other versions of BRP (Stormbringer and COC7 have done similar things, so again why not? 

 

In general OGL tends to be concerned with how close you can be to the source material without overstepping, not with how much you can divert from the source material. Technically, you could even design your own game system around your changes, and not even be considered BRP, if you wished.

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Chaosium should probably just publish a version of BRP as a SRD under an Open Game Licence, this would allow anyone to publish their own game under that licence and do whatever they wanted as long they conformed to the terms of the licence. That way you would not need to seek permission for any rules changes.

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4 hours ago, Bilharzia said:

Chaosium should probably just publish a version of BRP as a SRD under an Open Game Licence, this would allow anyone to publish their own game under that licence and do whatever they wanted as long they conformed to the terms of the licence. That way you would not need to seek permission for any rules changes.

Chaosium *HAS* "publish[ed] a version of BRP as a SRD under an Open Game Licence."

But if you mean "identical to the way WotC did it,"  I'm pretty sure there are things in the WotC-written OGL that Chaosium *specifically* finds inadequate (which is why they wrote their own OGL).

 

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g33k beat me to it!

It would be easier for ME (and I suspect a few others) if Chaosium just published its OGL under exactly the same terms that WOTC did.

But I don't own the IP. So what is easiest for me ain't the point.

The Chaosium chaps have obviously seen some downsides with that model (and it's not hard to think of a few, Pathfinder for one) and have decided to go another route.

 

Now either my desires are an edge case which Chaosium will need to rule on (with due consideration of will this set a precedent which they don't want to be bothered with in the future)

or it's simply so far outside of (as Bilharzia so clearly and succinctly put it) the first two pages of the BRP OGL and the answer comes back no

or it's so trivial that the answer comes back yes

 

Since it has already been several months since the BRP OGL was released and I personally have written the square-root of naff-all using it; I'm happy to sit and wait for the response (it's not like THIS is the thing holding me up!)

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