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BRP appreciation thread (and houserules)


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I gripe a lot about BRP here. That's because I love this game so much I want it to be perfect. So to balance things out, here's three cheers for BRP! What I love about it: realism with playability. Years of playtesting BRP systems have crystallised some really excellent RP technologies for gamers with a simulationist bent who also enjoy a level of gamism. For people like me, who almost exclusively plays in fantasy settings, two of the best inventions are multiple parries and fate points. The systematisation of success levels for each skill is also great. And I really like the attack and defense matrix. Bypassing a parry or dodge when achieving a higher success level both advantages high skill and shortens the ping pong aspect of melee fights. I could probably go on.

So what are the minimum amount of must have house rules for you guys? For me, I've narrowed down to a few aspects. First, I have to reduce the damage bonus system. Going from 0 to 1d4 is just too big a step. And for humans to do up to 50% more damage with most one handed weapons if they have 1 pt higher STR or SIZ than average seems excessive. Also, the rapid increase in DB at higher levels leads to ridiculous levels of damage pretty fast. So I reduce it one die step: 1d4 becomes 1d2, 1d6 becomes 1d4, 2d6 becomes 1d6 etc.

Second, I use the weapon table from RQ3, because overall, I find it to be more balanced in terms of its dynamics. For example, in BGB, there is no technical reason to choose a broadsword over a battle axe. The axe does more damage and weighs less. The sword has more HP but they don't matter with BGB:s parry rules. The only benefit to a sword I can see is that its greater size would let you strike first if both opponents happen to wind up on the same DEX rank, but that seems  a very minor difference. In RQ3 however, the broadsword can impale, which makes is potentially more deadly. So there a player can make a meaningful strategic choice between two more or less equal weapons with different advantages and drawbacks. Another example is the warhammer, which in BGB is almost indistinguishable from a mace, but in RQ3 does slightly less damage than a heavy mace (1d6+2 vs 1d10)  but can impale (which also is congruent with the historical weapon, that's what it was for). Also, I use the weapon AP from that table (which are lower than for BGB)  and let them function as armor when successfully parrying (as per RQ3), instead of just deflecting all damage. That gives some advantage to shields, which tend to have higher HP.

Finally, I interpret the passive cover rule in BGB as shields always providing half AP for the locations covered. This also makes shields a meaningful choice over two handed weapons, which in BGB are kind of a no brainer choice.

 

 

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Yeah BRP damage table is a little too out there... I came to realize Mythras damage table are much better. Like Mythras special effect too. And Mythras luck point too (few point with big effect, instead of lots of point with small effect)

At the moment I am not GMing but I just discovered the 2D20 system by modiphius (conan and fallout), I like the simpler character creation / character sheet, though I am not sure the momentum / action / difficulty system is quite right. I really like how critical wound and HP work. And the perk /talent system.

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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  1. On the Attack and Defense Matrix I like to add an alternative to the special successes. The attacker can choose to roll damage normally and bypass armor instead of doing full damage with special effect.
  2. On NPC stats, I just have 2 skills for them. A primary skill for things they should know and be good at and a secondary skill for everything else.
  3. I don't use the Resistance Table and just have everyone make a x5 Characteristic check and treat it as an opposed roll.

I generally run games with more house rules, but these are the ones I always have.

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You like Fading Suns? Well, I made a thing that's kinda like it!

 

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Once I got the BGB, I decided to use as few house rules as possible.

That's changing a bit with the fantasy campaign I'm working on, but its still something I try to stick to.  The Optional Rules cover much of it anyway.

I use a different Sanity system, a bit more realistic, which I found online (here in fact, or referred from here).

One major one is APP is out and CHA is in.  I thought it was a shame they went down the APP route in the first place, when RQ had so clearly and logically defined CHA and its effects.

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Hmmm, lets see...

I took the alignments from D&D,

the heavy weapons, vehicles and powers stuff from Palladium

All damage and armor numbers are reworked off real-world numbers and testing

switched out APP for CHA,

added the Reputation system from Cyberpunk  

took a lot of powers/skills from D&D, Cyberpunk, Palladium, etc that are usually class locked...and made them a new class called "Special Skills" that cost double to buy and increase

The experience system is stolen from Renegade Legion

I got rid of the skill base chance and instead use the relevant stat as a percent (Strength 12 = 12% for a skill they don't have that is Strength based) for the base chance

 

So really, my BRP is a just a Frankenstein D100 roll-under system now

 

-STS

 

 

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To Be Honest, if I was to play "BRP" again, the amount of houserules I'd put into it would be so big I would surely not need the BGB at all.

It would look more like a Frankenstein monster of BRP, Mythras and Revolution D100.

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2 hours ago, Mugen said:

To Be Honest, if I was to play "BRP" again, the amount of houserules I'd put into it would be so big I would surely not need the BGB at all.

It would look more like a Frankenstein monster of BRP, Mythras and Revolution D100.

Hmmm fair point. Would I need to hack BRP for my own setting, I'd probably start from Mythras or CoC 7e. Having said that, I really like what we have been showed so far about Lords of the Middle Sea.

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1 hour ago, DreadDomain said:

Having said that, I really like what we have been showed so far about Lords of the Middle Sea.

Really ? I only have the character sheet and facebook page as references, and besides the introduction of drives and personality traits, it seems like a very traditional BRP game to me.

The very short list of combat skills is another difference, though. No possible discussion on Shield skills. 😄

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8 hours ago, Mugen said:

Really ? I only have the character sheet and facebook page as references, and besides the introduction of drives and personality traits, it seems like a very traditional BRP game to me.

The very short list of combat skills is another difference, though. No possible discussion on Shield skills. 😄

I consider Mythras and CoC 7E the best implementations of the BRP rules so far but they cover a very different space, Mythras being on the crunchy, tactical side and CoC 7E on the easier, smooth-sailing side of it.

Judging LotMS just on the character creation steps (on FB) and the character sheet, it gives the impression it will be on the lighter side from a rules perspective but still offering interesting options to individualize characters. I have the feeling it might occupy a similar space as Savage Worlds on the the rule light/rule heavy scale. It seems like a very traditional BRP game (more so than Mythras or CoC 7E) and it's a good thing. 

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On 6/20/2022 at 12:53 AM, Mugen said:

To Be Honest, if I was to play "BRP" again, the amount of houserules I'd put into it would be so big I would surely not need the BGB at all.

It would look more like a Frankenstein monster of BRP, Mythras and Revolution D100.

Yet I remember people turning cartwheels when it came out.  Ah well 😉

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So I think I'll use this thread to bounce ideas and queries about interpretations and clarifications of rules. BRP has two (optional) fatigue systems. One is fatigue points from RQIII, the other is one that requires a stamina roll after CON x 3 rounds of intense activity, e.g. combat, after which everything becomes Difficult. I like the idea of a simpler fatigue system, but for an average person, that's 33 rounds before checking! Doesn't seem like it will have much impact on the game.

Now under the armour and shields descriptions there's an entry for "burden", which is given as Light, Moderate or Cumbersome. It further says that it may be used with the optional fatigue system above, but doesn't clarify how. Does anyone know how it was intended to work?

I've come up with an idea where if you carry anything with a Moderate burden, you roll for stamina after CON x 2 rounds, and for Cumbersome it's CON x1 rounds. But I'm curious as to how others interpret this? 

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After years of playing with a D&D 5E referee who was a master at using the environment to challenge characters (rather than just lobbing monsters at us, though there was plenty of that as well), I've been looking at how that system could be made to work in a BRP-stylee. The core concept in 5E is that there are certain situations which trigger an exhaustion check / CON roll, with each failed check making the character's condition worse - penalties to skill checks, speed halved, penalties to combat rolls, limiting total hit points to half normal, reducing speed to zero, and, finally, death. Rest (or specific spells) is the only way to reduce levels of exhaustion, simple healing magic won't do. It's very simple, and doesn't slow down play at all. It's just a question of coming up with suitable guidelines for referees to force an exhaustion check, e.g forced marches over 8 hours, lack of food or drink, operating in extreme temperatures, combat exceeding a certain number of rounds, etc.

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16 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

So I think I'll use this thread to bounce ideas and queries about interpretations and clarifications of rules. BRP has two (optional) fatigue systems. One is fatigue points from RQIII, the other is one that requires a stamina roll after CON x 3 rounds of intense activity, e.g. combat, after which everything becomes Difficult. I like the idea of a simpler fatigue system, but for an average person, that's 33 rounds before checking! Doesn't seem like it will have much impact on the game.

Now under the armour and shields descriptions there's an entry for "burden", which is given as Light, Moderate or Cumbersome. It further says that it may be used with the optional fatigue system above, but doesn't clarify how. Does anyone know how it was intended to work?

I've come up with an idea where if you carry anything with a Moderate burden, you roll for stamina after CON x 2 rounds, and for Cumbersome it's CON x1 rounds. But I'm curious as to how others interpret this? 

The  Fatigue rules I wrote for BRP (original published in the Outpost 19 monograph) were predicated on the idea that one assessed the characters level of fatigue and that imposed penalties, and one only used CON rolls if it seemed likely that would change. IF the characters force march 30 miles in a day with full gear etc, they are weary that night. If they run the five miles back to the village carrying heavy loads they have to make a CON roll - if they make it they are tired, if they fail they are weary and if they fumble they are exhausted.

Place the emphasis on the condition / current situation, not on adding another thing to keep track of. That was always my issue with RQ3 fatigue rules: fiddly calculatoin for something else to keep track...

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On 9/2/2022 at 2:03 PM, NickMiddleton said:

The  Fatigue rules I wrote for BRP (original published in the Outpost 19 monograph) were predicated on the idea that one assessed the characters level of fatigue and that imposed penalties, and one only used CON rolls if it seemed likely that would change. IF the characters force march 30 miles in a day with full gear etc, they are weary that night. If they run the five miles back to the village carrying heavy loads they have to make a CON roll - if they make it they are tired, if they fail they are weary and if they fumble they are exhausted.

Place the emphasis on the condition / current situation, not on adding another thing to keep track of. That was always my issue with RQ3 fatigue rules: fiddly calculatoin for something else to keep track...

That sounds good for large scale operations, such as the one you describe. What I'm after though is a fatigue system for tactical situations, like combat, where you would be penalised for carrying a lot of stuff and wearing a lot of armour. CON and STR should be involved. I think the best one I've seen in a BRP context is in RQIV:AiG, where you roll CON to check fatigue whenever it would be relevant to know if PCs are fatigued, such as right before combat. If you are carrying less than STR in ENC, you roll CONx5. Between STR x1 and STR x2 (IIRC), roll CON x4, etc. Fail equals fatigue (-3% to everything). Then you roll again after maybe 10 rounds, and another fail means another level of fatigue, so maybe you're at -5%. And so on. It's not as fiddly as fatigue points, but it gives a granular relationship between ENC, STR and CON.

But I'm trying to figure out if there's a workable system in BRP as written. Seems there's some groundwork laid, but it's not been fully implemented.

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1 hour ago, sladethesniper said:

 

I get the feeling that some people haven't ever force marched before.... 

-STS

I assume the vast majority of gamer writers have never force marched before. Please enlighten us, unless you feel snark is a sufficiently useful contribution.

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I don’t know how accurate the source is, but supposedly Roman Legionaries we’re required to be able to force march ~18 miles, carrying 45 lbs. in under 12 hours.

I wasn’t in the military, but I did lots of backpacking and that’s a pretty good clip (particularly on parts of the Pacific Crest Trail or other steep/rugged terrain). I was in great shape at the time and you definitely felt it if you went much farther, particularly carrying closer to 55-60 lbs and usually hiking at 20 miles per day in about 8-10 hours.

im not sure why sladethesniper is being snarky or dismissive? These are all decent in-the-ballpark numbers as far as I can tell?

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A quick bit of googling yields the following numbers for normal marching. From this it can be inferred that anything more would be a forced march with a risk of injury or reduced performance thereafter.

  • Romans regularly marched 7-9½ hours a day carrying 20 kg (not sure whether this includes armour) without undue strain, covering 18 miles (as @Nick J. mentions).
  • Modern British Army loaded marching seems to be restricted to 4 or 5 hours a day at 3 mph, carrying 20-30 kg, so no more than 15 miles per day.
  • French Foreign Legion marching predictably seems the most ambitious: 19 miles in under 4 hours carrying 22 kg.

So, for the average PC, who is certainly loaded out in a similar manner but probably with a lower level of marching training than a professional soldier, it seems that a maximum of 15 miles a day is a good ballpark figure before fatigue starts to kick in.

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54 minutes ago, Nick J. said:

I don’t know how accurate the source is, but supposedly Roman Legionaries we’re required to be able to force march ~18 miles, carrying 45 lbs. in under 12 hours.

I wasn’t in the military, but I did lots of backpacking and that’s a pretty good clip (particularly on parts of the Pacific Crest Trail or other steep/rugged terrain). I was in great shape at the time and you definitely felt it if you went much farther, particularly carrying closer to 55-60 lbs and usually hiking at 20 miles per day in about 8-10 hours.

im not sure why sladethesniper is being snarky or dismissive? These are all decent in-the-ballpark numbers as far as I can tell?

His comment was about 30 Miles (around 50km) with full pack (meaning in France 30 kg, around 65 lbs). This is doable. Difficult, but doable but you don't repeat it and you need rest after that. The normal march was around 20 to 30 km.

And you either don't carry the full pack, or you don't go the full length.

Edited by Kloster
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21 minutes ago, Vile Traveller said:

Romans regularly marched 7-9½ hours a day carrying 20 kg (not sure whether this includes armour) without undue strain, covering 18 miles (as @Nick J. mentions).

This, because in many cases they needed to build their marching camp at the end of the day.

SDLeary

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13 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Presuming they weren't building one of the infamous "Roman roads" at the time 😱

Interestingly, marching on roads was considered more fatiguing. Presumably hobnailed caligae on paving stones didn't make for happy feet.

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On 9/6/2022 at 2:18 AM, Vile Traveller said:

I assume the vast majority of gamer writers have never force marched before. Please enlighten us, unless you feel snark is a sufficiently useful contribution.

tl;dr CON 12 = 41 kg at 4 kph on road, in daytime for 5 hours, with a successful skill of "road march" = no loss of capability. Roll every 1/4 CON hours, failure = an "exhaustion level" borrowed from D&D 5E.

Snark is a pretty useful contribution since it precipitated a bit of discussion.

The US Army standard is "106 steps per minute with a 30-inch stride with a 10-minute rest every hour. This results in a march rate of 4.8 kilometers per hour (kph) but an overall rate of march of 4 kph." That 4 kph is on roads, in daytime, with their "approach march load." At night it drops to 3 kph. Cross country day is 2 kph and at night is 1.5 kph, but usually gets dropped to 1 kph because you generally are not travelling in a straight line, so as a planning figure you just go 4 3 2 1 kph.

For "a properly conditioned Soldier": The fighting load  (stuff carried into battle) should average between 60 to 80 pounds (ideally about 30-percent of a Soldier’s body weight).

The approach march load should average between 80 to 100 pounds (ideally about 45-percent of a Soldier’s body weight) including all clothing and equipment, either worn or carried.

The emergency approach march load (you are carrying stuff that would normally be carried by trucks but your are in a jungle or mountain or something or you are going somewhere with zero resupply for a while) should average between 100 to 125 pounds

That is for the Army. For Infantry units, because they can't count, it gets turned into 4 miles per hour (or 6.4 kph) and at night, on road, it is still 4 mph. Daytime ross country is 2 kph, and night is 1 kph. The more you elite you are, the weights, distances and speeds increase (normal soldiers 4 kph, Infantry 6 kph, etc.) The Royal Marines, SAS (UK, AUS or NZ) and FFL are monsters at rucking.

Forced marching sucks. The normal max training distance is 12 miles (19 km) and that usually has a 3 hour time limit. In actual ops depending on where you are, or what sort of unit you are, you can pull crap like 36 km of cross country in a night, watch something all day, go back 36 km, plan all day, then guide another unit in 36 km that night. Units that play in the dirt in combat lose weight fast... avg weight loss was about 30 pounds rucking around mountains and valleys day in and day out.

The first hour is fine, the second kinda sucks, the third hurts, and after that, it is all about trying to remain focused as opposed to just zoning out in your personal hurt locker. Blisters are common on 12 milers, but for suck fests of 20 miles or over, feet can just turn into purple blood blisters and all your toe nails all fall off. Your foot is not the same size at mile 0 as it is as mile 25. Uphill sucks, downhill sucks worse as you don't really use those muscles in that way often.  

For game stats, if you go by the BGB, the Soldier NPC has a CON of 14 but says that is an elite commando, so we could probably say that a normal army guy or gal is CON 12? So you could say that a CON 12 = 80 to 100 pounds (avg of 90 pounds or 41 kg) for 4 kph... You could probably make some sort of table off that info for speed as a function of CON.

I would say "road march" is a skill since you can definitely get out of practice.  Fail a roll, get an exhaustion level. Roll every 1/4 CON hours?

I suppose we can crib from 5th Edition for "Exhaustion levels."

Level 1   -10% to all skills

Level 2   Speed halved

Level 3   -20% to all skills

Level 4   Hit Points are halved

Level 5   Speed is 0

Level 6   Death

-STS

Edited by sladethesniper
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As for myself, I would merge Fatigue and Hit Points into one single rule, where both Maximum Hit Points and Hit Points would vary with time.

Maximum Hit Points would be reduced by Wounds and Exhaustion.

Only hits above a given threshold would result in wounds.

Exhaustion would come after XX hours of strenuous activity.

Exhaustion would be recovered in hours, whereas Wounds would require weeks or months.

Recovering Hit Points would only need minutes.

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