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BRP on Fantasy Grounds (FGBRP)


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VTTs are mentioned on another thread and I don't pretend that Fantasy Grounds (FG) is the only, or the best, VTT for playing BRP games, but hopefully this thread will give folks a taste for the work currently under way to bring BRP to life using Fantasy Grounds.

Intro to Fantasy Grounds

Fantasy Grounds (FG) is a Windows platform for playing RPGs over the internet, and aims to emulate a table-top roleplaying environment. It provides virtual dice, which can be rolled using 3D physics/graphics rendering, a chat window for player and GM communication, the ability to create and share maps and story elements, character and NPC sheets, and a roster for tracking combat turns (the combat tracker).

While it comes bundled with d20/3.5e functionality built in, one of the main features of FG is that it is essentially agnostic - it can be wired up to work with just about any gaming system. The re-wiring is accomplished using a 'ruleset' which defines how character sheets and skill resolution etc operate for the target game system. Rulesets are available commercially, and there is also a thriving community developers who produce top-quality rulesets for free download.

Typically, the GM (who needs to run the Full version of FG) installs the ruleset and the players (who only need the cheaper Lite version) can join in without having their own copy. The cost of using a new game system with FG is therefore nothing (if a cmmunity ruleset is used) or low (typically $15 for a commercial ruleset, with unlimited numbers of players able to participate). FG itself costs $40 for a Full licence and $24 for a Lite licence, with no subscription fees. Discounts are available for folks who buy more than one licence at once.

Current Rulesets

Although there are too many to list here, some popular commercial rulesets include Call of Cthulhu, Savage Worlds, Rolemaster and Castles & Crusades. Community rulesets include D&D 4E, D&D 3.5E, World of Darkness, and GURPS.

The Call of Cthulhu ruleset is shown in the first thumbnail.

A good place to find FG material is the FG Wiki, which is a community-run site.

Basic Roleplaying and FG

I was largely responsible for building the Call of Cthulhu ruleset, which is owned by the FG company, SmiteWorks. Since April this year, I have been working on a ruleset that allows a much wider set of BRP-based games to be played. The BRP ruleset will be published by SmiteWorks, although it is still too early to estimate the release date.

The philosophy behind the ruleset is *not* to develop something that runs BRP-per-the-book, but to create a platform which can be extended to run BRP-based games. Being able to extend the ruleset is key, and has meant that it should be able to cope with a wider set a BRP variants than the BRP core rules allow by themselves. Sure, it will still support core BRP straight out of the box.

The BRP ruleset is shown in the other thumbnail.




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The core ruleset replicates the core BRP rulebook, with the skills, powers and full text of the rulebook contained in a reference library built into the product.

The first screenshot shows this library, with the players' BRP rulebook selected.

Even core BRP includes multiple game-rule options, such as the ability to select whether or not to use hit locations, whether or not skills should have a category bonus, whether or not the Sanity system is used etc. Where these options change the way character sheets, NPCs or the combat tracker operates, the ruleset has been designed to accommodate those changes. Ultimately, the GM controls which options a campaign uses from a preferences dialogue box.

The other screenshot shows the preferences dialogue box and how the front page of the character sheet changes to exclude Sanity Pooints (compared to the previous post).




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Although the core ruleset has all the flexibility of the core BRP product, it doesn't directly cater for the BRP-based game systems such as MRQ, Superworld and Call of Cthulhu, nor for the countless GM-modified and home brew game systems.

Typically, these will add/change power types, alter skills and base chances, and even add/remove characteristics (RQ adds CHA but has no EDU or APP). The FG product therefore allows custom plug-ins (or 'extensions') to override basic ruleset functionality in this area.

I have prototyped three extensions, to ensure the key features can be modified:

  • Call of Cthulhu: Perhaps the simplest, given it is still actively developed by Chaosium and shares recent heritage with BRP. The CoC extension changes the skill list, adds a SAN characteristic, restricts the named characteristic rolls to Luck, Idea and Know, uses feet rather than metres for distances, and has only one power type (Spell);
  • Superworld: The extension changes the way damage bonus dice are calculated (Superworld uses different DB progression to BRP), amends the skill list, uses four power types (Magical, Mechanical, Mutated and Mastered), removes EDU and uses Idea, Luck and Agility rolls; and
  • MRQ: This is quite different, it has a different approach for calculating base skills (typically one or more characteristics), a different mechanism for calculating hit points by location, different damage bonuses and three power types (Rune Magic, Divine Magic and Sorcery) each with different data characteristics (like the 'Rune' used with Rune Magic).

The first screenshot shows the Call of Cthulhu front sheet (using the extended BRP ruleset, not the hard-coded Call of Cthulhu ruleset from my first post), and the second screenshot shows the MRQ powers sheet with the added library entries for spells.

In addition to the game system extensions (which can be community-built), the power lists and skills are modifiable/extensible by adding data to the built-in library.

Some extensions will be published commercially (especially where licences are involved for the material, and reference material is reproduced electronically and distributed), but I hope to provide examples so folks can modify or create their own.




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Characteristic names and rolls:

I doubt it is so relevant to have APP labeled as CHA in RuneQuest and APP in BRP. It is just an aesthetic change. Also, I see no great reason to eliminate some characteristic rolls and . It would be simpler if all rolls were present, and the GM was able to select which ones to use as options. Or just tell the GM to use the ones he likes.

Skill bases:

Several skills have a characteristic-derived base chance also in BRP (Gambling, Dodge). I think it would make more sense to have all variants accept both a fixed value and a characteristic-based formula as the base chance. In our supplements, for instance, most new skills are given as characteristic based.

Magic Systems:

If I were you, I would not spend much time prototyping a Mongoose RuneQuest rulestet before January. Especially with regard to the magic system. Things might change. Or at least so sayeth Matt Sprange ;)

As for the rest, I am really happy that this project is under development. :)

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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The 'cosmetic' changes are done because they can be, and some folks like to play the game as it was written. As the extensions can be modified, gaming groups can choose how they want to see the character sheet.

With skill bases, the engine allows either, and the formula is held in the extension or in the library material, so it could be edited too. Here are some lines from the core BRP ruleset, the CoC one and the MRQ one:


    ["Disguise"] = { Base="01", Category="Communication"},

    ["Dodge"] = { Base="DEX*2", Category="Physical"},


    ["Language, Other"] = { Sublabeling=true,  Base="1"},

    ["Language, Own"] = { Base="EDU*5"},


    ["Stealth"] = { Base="10+DEX-SIZ"},

    ["Throwing"] = { Base="DEX"},

The Base value is a formula that can mix absolute values and stats. The Category is optional, but groups skills if present. The Sublabeling attribute indicates that this skill has multiple variants.

Adding further skills or using different bases is relatively straighforward, although delving into code won't be everyone's cup of tea. That's why I think it would be handy to have some templates for folks to use and/or edit.

On the MRQ front, I'm work with Matthew and we will see how it goes when his new plans are unveiled.


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Adding further skills or using different bases is relatively straighforward, although delving into code won't be everyone's cup of tea. That's why I think it would be handy to have some templates for folks to use and/or edit.

Looks very nice, and easy to personalize. Indeed, someone will not be comfortable with coding. That's why I suggested making it interactive like the main options. But I don't know FG so I cannot tell how easy this is to implement.

On the MRQ front, I'm work with Matthew and we will see how it goes when his new plans are unveiled.

Oho. Does this mean that RuneQuest (1 and/or 2) will be fully supported, then? I say this because I have more adventures to adapt for RuneQuest than I have for Chaosium BRP.

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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