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Legal advice needed. Is the BRP d100 system free to use to build my own original game with?


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So I am planning to create my own TTRPG (who isn’t these days) and I am having trouble reading / wading through the reality of whether I can or can’t take something like the Basic Roleplaying System / d100 and adapt it to suite my own character needs to build my game around . . . Could someone, in black and white, let me know if I can use the d100 system without copyright infringement? 
 

Help me game creators . . . you’re my only hope! 

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11 minutes ago, NickMiddleton said:

Given your use of the word “legally”: consult a lawyer, or other suitably qualified legal professional. Do not rely on opinions on internet fora.

Indeed. internet advice, no matter how well intentioned, has no bearing in a court of law. 

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Now i have no intention of publishing anything so i have ( as the saying has it ) no dog in this fight....but if I were to publish a game called "Agentoranges wonderful d100 game "  but use no trade marked names etc how would anybody know whether i was working from BRP or MRQ1/2, Legend, Mythras, Eternity realms etc ?

If i took a bit from here, a bit from there, squished it all together, slapped a coat of paint on it and chucked it out who could prove what ?

take augments/ complementary skills it's a well known concept - I used it in my games before I bought the BGB and knew it was an official thing. So what 's to stop me going " good lord no, that's not an BRP augment, thats my own notion of how such a thing would work within a % based RPG ?"

Don't get me wrong I have no interest in publishing - I'm quite happy treating myself to a  RQG product each pay day whether it be an official Chaosium hardback or a monster of the month PDF from the Jonstown Compendium. I'm just curious. 

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8 hours ago, Newman_says said:

So I am planning to create my own TTRPG (who isn’t these days) and I am having trouble reading / wading through the reality of whether I can or can’t take something like the Basic Roleplaying System / d100 and adapt it to suite my own character needs to build my game around . . . Could someone, in black and white, let me know if I can use the d100 system without copyright infringement? 
 

Help me game creators . . . you’re my only hope! 

 

7 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

Not a legal advice by any stretch of the imagination but reading the SRD (link provided by Nick) should be your first step. Read the Game Licence carefully, specifically around the prohibited content. The benefit of the SRD is that the basic mechanics of the game are already written for you. The drawback is that it specifically prohibits the use of some mechanics that are actually pretty cool. If you were not intending to use these mechanics anyway, no issues. If you are, you cannot use the BRP SRD and therefore will have to write the rules yourself using your own words. The licence also prohibits you to recreate of of Chaosium's game with your own flavour (Cthulhu, Pendragon, RuneQuest, etc...). In any case, don't take anything I write for granted. You are better off reading it yourself.

If in doubt, I suggest you contact Jeff Richard (privately, not on the forum) and I am sure he will guide you through the process.

Good luck, we want more BRP based games. 

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17 hours ago, Newman_says said:

So I am planning to create my own TTRPG (who isn’t these days) and I am having trouble reading / wading through the reality of whether I can or can’t take something like the Basic Roleplaying System / d100 and adapt it to suite my own character needs to build my game around . . . Could someone, in black and white, let me know if I can use the d100 system without copyright infringement? 

As others have said, if you want legal advice then ask a lawyer.

However, the BRP OGL and SRD, apologies for the acronyms, are designed to allow people to use those rules and make games with them. if you use the SRD as it i, include the correct wording, do not violate the other clauses (No porn, no gratuitous violence, no over-the-top depictions of violence, no sexual violence etc) and don't attempt to produce a clone of a Chaosium game then you should be OK.

One tricky area is the use of mechanics that exist in other games. The BRP SRD is quite light, without the many sub-rules that can be found in games such as BRP, Magic World, RuneQuest, Mythras or OGL versions of D100. Can you just lift and shift rules from those games verbatim? No, as they are copyright. Can you use the concepts with your own wording? Maybe, it depends on how close you are to the original wording. Can you copy magic from those games? Probably not. You cannot use material from the other OGL D100 games, as they use a different OGL to the BRP OGL. Whereas you can use something from Legend for a Revolution D100 rule, as they are covered by the same OGL, you couldn't use a Legend rule in a BRP OGL supplement.

But, I am not a lawyer and you cannot rely on my opinion as the basis of publishing a game. Unfortunately, "But soltakss said so" is not an argument that will stand up in any court of law.

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Note that if you want to use "something like" BRP and not a copy-paste of any version of BRP, it's very unlikely you'll get any trouble.

However, you'll get into trouble if you try to sell a clone of an existing Chaosium game, even if you make small rules changes, which is normal.

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On 5/2/2021 at 7:08 PM, soltakss said:

As others have said, if you want legal advice then ask a lawyer.

And with that cogent response, there is little of use to be gained from further discussion here.

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