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The Strengths of BRP


Robsbot

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So there's a great discussion going on in this thread:

http://basicroleplaying.com/basic-roleplaying/shelfjacked-dude-wheres-my-game-3026/11/#post47467

With some good views and information about promoting both shelf space and people in general to get into the hobby as well as the current state of how gamers purchase their source books. I highly recommend the read. However, that got me thinking on how to promote the system to GM's in particular. I think the best way is present the strengths and weaknesses of the system to them as well as showing them the system in play. I wanted to open up a separate discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the system in general to help people make an informed decision about if this system is right for them.

The Skill and Stat System:

The skill + stat system, like that of D&D and other RPG's, is a great way to flesh out what your character is good at. You've got a physical and mental description through that of stats and BRP gives a great way to make rolls based solely off stats. Does something obscure come up that doesn't warrant the use of a separate skill? Well, just use your stats! Need to get granular and really define what you're character is good at for combat, conversations, dungeon crawling, etc? You've got it! BRP fleshes out a large set of skills that cover both role playing and combat. You could lean towards a combat heavy scenario, or one that encourages sneaking, solving, talking, and deceiving your way around the hack and slash parts and your characters would still be heavily involved.

Class-less and Level-less System:

This blew my mind when I first considered it in a tabletop RPG. The best comparison I can give to video games is Skyrim or Runequest. Your character can do everything the second you sit down at the table. There's no waiting until level 14 when your Wizard gets that niche-defining spell that you actually get to play like you want, or level 8 until your rogue gets that ability you really need. So how do you improve? You get better at doing what you do. If you shoot a bow, you get better at shooting a bow. If you sneak, backstab, and deceive, you get better at each of those in turn. If you're a sharpshooter, you get better with your weapon of choice. Your stats rise very rarely so you don't have a power gap from being a weakling to having god-like powers at level 20. When you make your Orc Warrior, dumb as a rock but huge and strong, covered in armor and armed from head to toe, you have access to all the tools you need. Procurement of magical artifacts, completion of story elements, and wealth is what drives your character instead of XP and other abstract confines.

Rules Heavy and Rules Light:

The BRP book has a lot of rules in it. This is both good and bad as every time you stop to look up a rule you take away the tension and action of the moment. However, while BRP gives a wide berth of rules, very little is actually needed to play the game. The skills and stats of a player along with good old fashioned GM ingenuity can probably come up with a quick fix to what you want to do. The extra rules are there to allow you to adjust the rules to your setting, campaign, and play style. It's giving you ways to play the game how you want instead of strapping you to their complicated rules and mechanics. When it comes down to the table all the rules fade away and become another tool for you to weave an engaging story for your players to romp in.

Complete System:

Everything you need to ever play a BRP game is contained in one book. You don't need 10 $30+ books to have a wide range of wizards, warriors, wrongdoers, and creatures. The BRP core rulebook gives you everything you need to sculpt whatever your heart desires for your campaign. However, if you want to diversify or don't want to set up the specifics for your game there are optional supplements you can purchase. These give you everything from adjusting the game to different settings, giving you different takes on mechanics to even full scenarios you can pick up and run with your gamers. Nothing about the BRP system forces or even encourages you to purchase miniatures, tile sets, extra books, or anything else you may or may not need.

These are all strengths but I really feel the downsides of BRP (generality and sometimes obscurity due to said generality) can be completely negated by supplements or just some good old fashioned work by the DM. Thoughts?

Edited by Robsbot
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Class-less and Level-less System:

This blew my mind when I first considered it in a tabletop RPG. The best comparison I can give to video games is Skyrim or Runequest. Your character can do everything the second you sit down at the table. There's no waiting until level 14 when your Wizard gets that niche-defining spell that you actually get to play like you want, or level 8 until your rogue gets that ability you really need. So how do you improve? You get better at doing what you do. If you shoot a bow, you get better at shooting a bow. If you sneak, backstab, and deceive, you get better at each of those in turn. If you're a sharpshooter, you get better with your weapon of choice. Your stats rise very rarely so you don't have a power gap from being a weakling to having god-like powers at level 20. When you make your Orc Warrior, dumb as a rock but huge and strong, covered in armor and armed from head to toe, you have access to all the tools you need. Procurement of magical artifacts, completion of story elements, and wealth is what drives your character instead of XP and other abstract confines.

Yeah, I remember that feeling when I grasped the idea of "No levels!" It is nice to start with a competent character and even do some things better than other characters that have been adventuring for quite some time. A minor drawback to that is that most BRP characters will never become demi-god powerful. They can certainly improve, but rarely a contrast like you find between a 1st level character compared to an 8th level one. In most supers games you can easily build a character and jump right into the action. The exceptions to that, that I can remember, would be the Palladium Heroes Unlimited and the recent Pathfinder Heroes Wear Masks RPGs. In both games your supers will start at first level and work up. Both games have some ideas and stuff worth stealing for other super games, but the idea of levels is REALLY out of place with super heroes (IMHO).

These are all strengths but I really feel the downsides of BRP (generality and sometimes obscurity due to said generality) can be completely negated by supplements or just some good old fashioned work by the DM. Thoughts?

A good system, combined with a great setting is a powerful thing. Look at how Call of Cthulhu has remained relevant. To use a videogame console analogy, players often refer to a console as having (or lacking) a "killer app" (which is a game that most want to play and so are willing to buy the console to do so). BRP lacks a "killer app".

You can often find a copy of CoC on the bookshelf if a store has an RPG section. You probably won't see BRP. Having just taught a version of BRP to two RPG newbies, I know how easy the system can be picked up. It's just that most will never know BRP exists (outside of maybe CoC), and even if they do, any gamers around them are 90% of the time playing some version of D&D.

Edited by ORtrail
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A good system, combined with a great setting is a powerful thing. Look at how Call of Cthulhu has remained relevant. To use a videogame console analogy, players often refer to a console as having (or lacking) a "killer app" (which is a game that most want to play and so are willing to buy the console to do so). BRP lacks a "killer app".

I think the BGB was intended, instead, as a tool empowering both designers and players to build up their killer app. Even if the generic system has been out for almost 5 years, there are still several games that include both setting and the core ruleset (CoC, The Laundry, Magic World). The Golden Book is there to help you cross-pollinate among different editions of the game or different setting books, or to allow you to "do it yourself", not as the main thing.

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IMO, Chaosium should take advantage of the popularity of Call of Cthulhu, the "killer app," to bring players in. Then advertise BRP to them as, "Hey, you like this system? How about playing it for fantasy and science fiction? <insert product examples> AND we have this BGB toolset so you can emulate your favorite genre!"

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IMO, Chaosium should take advantage of the popularity of Call of Cthulhu, the "killer app," to bring players in. Then advertise BRP to them as, "Hey, you like this system? How about playing it for fantasy and science fiction? <insert product examples> AND we have this BGB toolset so you can emulate your favorite genre!"

I agree with this, and this is one of the forces of BRP. Switching for the one to the other or mix them is easy. Why does Windows have much more success than Mac or Unix ? Why did the VHS-system beat the Betamax ? Because -among others- of the higher choice in application/films/software/whatever you call it. WotC understood this with the D20 open license. I agree that the communication of the D100-ists is not good enough. We shall write "D100 sysrtem" or "Basic System" above all the titles of the games using it.

Of course, all this depends also on the tastes of players: monomaniacs do not care about having a big choice fo games, they want a single big setting -CoC or Glorantha are such. Or does the new generation of players like to jump from a setting to another, like they do with video games (Playstation) ? I have no idea.

Question: do players -and even more newbies- prefer to purchase a full rule + setting game rather than the BGB, which is made for games designers and has no setting in it, and spend some more money for a setting ? I think they do. BGP is acquired by fanatic like us, who want to design their own games. How are the sales of pure BRP settings without rules included, compared to full games ? Shall the authors write all the extentions with the rules, or at least will all the extra rules not contained in the free Quick Start ?

Another strength of the BRP is that it is a coherent logical system based on very few intuitive concept: it makes it easy to understand, but also to create quick spot tules on the fly, without breaking the rythm looking for rules in a book.

Wind on the Steppes, role playing among the steppe Nomads. The  running campaign and the blog

 

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We shall write "D100 system" or "Basic System" above all the titles of the games using it.

Do we already ? Hoooo. May be we shall write it bigger :P Or use a logo

But it is not on CoC, RQ, Legend, Clockwork & Chivalry, D101 (well almost not...), etc.

Wind on the Steppes, role playing among the steppe Nomads. The  running campaign and the blog

 

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I think the BGB was intended, instead, as a tool empowering both designers and players to build up their killer app. Even if the generic system has been out for almost 5 years, there are still several games that include both setting and the core ruleset (CoC, The Laundry, Magic World). The Golden Book is there to help you cross-pollinate among different editions of the game or different setting books, or to allow you to "do it yourself", not as the main thing.

Just an FYI with regards to Magic World. Unless it has changed dramatically since the version that I've seen, the way the setting in Magic World is presented, it can be perceived as an example, not the default. In fact, outside the Table of Contents, the setting, the Southern Reaches, is not even mentioned until the very end of the book. The game itself is designed to be dark-ish fantasy, but not at all setting dependent, or even setting integrated.

There is a separate guide that better chronicles the Southern Reaches being worked on that better fleshes this example setting out.

SDLeary

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Man you guys are really making me want Magic World out yesterday. The supplement alone has me giddy as a school girl. SORCERY SUMMONING EXPANSION?!? WHAAAAAAAT? /mindblown

I agree completely with the CoC -> BRP transition. It's how I got into BRP, and how I've introduced everyone to the BRP system. Plus it forces players to evaluate the system outside of D&D, Shadowrun, and the other more popular RPG settings since the setting, storytelling, and character development (or degeneration as the case may be) is completely different from anything they would have ever seen. It shows how well the system can stand on it's own without the "awww, it's fantasy but it doesn't play like X feature in D&D" mentality.

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BRP is really the original GURPS, and probably should have capitalized on that, since, IMNSHO, it is much superior to GURPS. In any case, its strengths to me lie in its great simplicity and logic. As I noted in a post on my blog (Sword Of Sorcery: Why I Love BRP (#1)) (and pardon my shameless plug ;) ), there's things I've seen in other games that require pages and pages of explanation, when, in fact, in BRP they could be handled by one simple table.

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BRP is really the original GURPS, and probably should have capitalized on that, since, IMNSHO, it is much superior to GURPS.

Sorry to say it so frankly but I don't agree with that.

To me (who loves the two systems) BRP is not superior to GURPS and vice versa. Both are very good, but their purpose are just different...

GURPS provides dense rules, where every detail is finely thought, weighted and linked to every other detail, while BRP offers lighter and simpler optional rules, letting the GM interpret them as he exactly desires.

Furthermore, GURPS emphasizes simulationism (the players have to think as if they really were their character and must describe their actions in full detail before rolling dice, especially during combats) while BRP emhasizes narrativism (the players describe what they do without to much detail and the dice say how they exactly do it).

The rules about aiming clearly show that...

In GURPS, the bonus when you take all your time to aim before pulling the trigger will have a huge impact on the result. If you aim for 3 seconds, firmly bracing your pump shotgun 12G before shooting, for instance, you will have a +6 bonus... On 3D6! How the character exactly does what he tries to do really changes the result!

In BRP, if you you aim for 10 seconds, firmly bracing your pump shotgun 12G before shooting, you only have a bonus of 20% of your skill. That is +10% for an average character and +15% for an expert one! What the character exactly does is not as important as how skilled he is (the story is more important that how the character is played).

So which is really better?

It is impossible to say it. It all depends on what you really like when you play.

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  • 7 months later...

Book Layouts

I know that this an editing based strength and not an actual system one, but in BRP, almost all the tables that you need are grouped together at the back of the books in an appendix. Never seen that outside of BRP, and it makes life so much easier.

Prep Work

This is the biggest disadvantage that I've seen with BRP and that is it requires more prep work than most other systems. Character generation takes longer and unless you are using one of the setting specific books, expenses, powers, equipment, and NPCs are covered only in the most rudimentary terms. Stills, it's better than the disadvantages of other systems.

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Book Layouts

Prep Work

This is the biggest disadvantage that I've seen with BRP and that is it requires more prep work than most other systems. Character generation takes longer and unless you are using one of the setting specific books, expenses, powers, equipment, and NPCs are covered only in the most rudimentary terms. Stills, it's better than the disadvantages of other systems.

Coming from GURPS, I can say that BRP still allows to generate characters very quickly.

I think that the problem you emphasize here comes from the fact that BRP is universal. As for every universal role playing games, there are a lot of options, skills, powers... for every possible game world! And, so, there are a lot of different pages to turn for the players. This is why character generation is longer than for non-universal role playing games, where the selection is already done and everything already put at a judicious place.

One solution is to make lists of skills, powers and other options available for your game world, dropping all those that are pointless in that setting. For GURPS, it is a mandatory, because the rules are so huge that creating a character with the whole basic set can last several hours. For BRP, it is not so vital, but it will speed up a lot the character generation.

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One solution is to make lists of skills, powers and other options available for your game world, dropping all those that are pointless in that setting. For GURPS, it is a mandatory, because the rules are so huge that creating a character with the whole basic set can last several hours. For BRP, it is not so vital, but it will speed up a lot the character generation.

Arguably it's vital if the players are encountering BRP for the first time. (This is why I think Magic World is brilliant.) For one (unfortunately very short-lived) campaign I put together a player's pack which summarized the BRP rules I was using, listed relevant skills, and included some of my house rules. Luckily BRP character generation is easier to summarize than GURPS.

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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Speaking of GURPS, one thing I like about BRP is that there's NO advantages/disadvantages, qualities/drawbacks, merits/flaws, etc.

Let me explain.

Once upon a time, I thought GURPS was the bee's knees. I'm not sure what changed: HERO burnout, d20 feat fatigue, the rise of FATE, or the same pattern repeated in every single system since HERO a/o GURPS. In any case I appreciated the virtue of summarizing everything a player needed to know on a single sheet of paper. Imagine a game with no reference books at one's elbow, no meticulously copied index cards or Official Power Cards describing a character's every ability in detail; imagine, instead, a consistent procedure that resolves nearly every situation. (Combat and Magic, as usual, are the partial exceptions.) That isn't D&D 3.x or 4e, or Unisystem, or Ars Magica, or World of Darkness. That is FATE and PDQ, and that was BRP when I played it again after a long absence.

The "few rules, many exceptions" philosophy which D&D explicitly endorses, and the others implicitly endorse, leads to games with too many moving parts. At best players and GMs must always keep in mind when Advantages and Disadvantages (or however they're named) kick in. At its worst you have fiddly default rules removed by one of said exceptions, and players who solve problems by using a kewl power instead of thinking through the problem. (And woe to a GM who says the power doesn't work in this situation; they paid good points for that power!) Disadvantages/complications/flaws/etc. can lead to min-maxing and "free points" for disadvantages that aren't.

Obviously some systems dodge these bullets: D6 in general and MiniSix in particular uses "Perks" sparingly, and Mutants and Masterminds Complications aren't extra build point but Hero Point attractors. Still, I'd rather avoid the whole mess. Even the Super Powers of BRP make me a little uneasy. I'd rather players focused on what they want to do rather than what their character sheets say they can do.

Edited by fmitchell

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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As a Hero System fan, I think prep times for both Hero and BRP are about the same. In the former you're busy allocating build points for characteristics and powers (skills are relatively cheap, hence, easy to add). In the latter, your stats are randomly rolled but you've got 300+ skill points to allocate plus power points if you're playing supers. So, equivalent in time spent.

For fast prep, I use Mini Six or Legends of the Ancient World (a The Fantasy Trip retro-clone). You really can put character sheets for each of these systems on a 3x5 index card.

BTW, most of my Champions superheroes have fit easily on a single 8-1/2x11 sheet. Never went in for those 2- to 5-page wonders listing every event in the character's history and every dime in his pocket. ;)

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As a Hero System fan, I think prep times for both Hero and BRP are about the same. In the former you're busy allocating build points for characteristics and powers (skills are relatively cheap, hence, easy to add). In the latter, your stats are randomly rolled but you've got 300+ skill points to allocate plus power points if you're playing supers. So, equivalent in time spent.

Really? In one experiment I created a Call of Cthulhu character in 45 minutes, recording every step as I went; I probably could have cut that down to 25-30 minutes. (For comparison, a GURPS character -- GURPS Lite only -- took me 45 minutes, but I doubt I could have cut that down too much.) I haven't played HERO in a while, but from memory I generally spent at least 45 minutes working on a character, including all sorts of min-maxing, book-flipping, and power modifier calculations.

There are people who know HERO backwards and forwards, and can work out a character almost as fast as they can write it down. I'm not one of those people.

BTW, most of my Champions superheroes have fit easily on a single 8-1/2x11 sheet. Never went in for those 2- to 5-page wonders listing every event in the character's history and every dime in his pocket. ;)

Granted, you can list all the powers (and modifiers) on a single sheet. However, I'm not one of those people who could remember the details of every power and modifier, so sooner or later I'd have to dive back into the book.

On the other hand, the skills of BRP and its relatives are, if not quite orthogonal, distinct enough that I know which ones to use for which situation (Spot/Search/Listen notwithstanding). RuneQuest combat (MRQ/RQ6) occasionally sends me back into the book, but for the most part I only need reference sheets for maneuvers / special effects.

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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Speaking of GURPS, one thing I like about BRP is that there's NO advantages/disadvantages, qualities/drawbacks, merits/flaws, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages are fine when you want to balance characters that are quite different from each other. Especially fantasy creatures and extraterrestrials.

If one player wants his character to be ambidextrous (a very well trained lizard warrior), for instance, another one wants his to see well in the dark (he is a dwarf and used to work in caves) and another one wants her to be able to flight (she is a fairy), the GM will begin to have problem... As long as each player only want one very precise advantage, it can be handled simply: "That's OK, each one of you has the advantage he wants." But if a player wants more advantages than the others ("Why couldn't my little fairy also be able to see well in the darkness?"), things become more difficult. How to answer such questions? Only arbitrary fiat? "No, because I am the GM!"

Advantages/disadvantages systems allow to handle that simply: this advantages costs X points; if you can afford it, you can have it; and if you don't take any advantage, you will have more points for your basic attributes or skills. Brief, all the characters remain balanced, no matter how many advantages and disadvantages the players want...

Having said that, the problem of advantages/disadvantages systems is that everything ends to become an advantage or a disadvantage... My character is alcoholic... Disadvantage. He smoke cigarettes... Disadvantage. He has an honest face... Advantage. He doesn't like carrots... Disadvantage (a little one, of course, but just imagine that the character is invited at the King's table and that there are carrots to eat...).

And another problem of advantages/disadvantages systems is that they have to be carefully designed by the authors of the game. Wings can make you fly, of course, but they can also be crippled by your foe and then make you fall down during a fight... While being able to flight without wings, like superman, is more advantageous...

Then, all games with advantages/disadvantages systems usually ends with huge lists which are not easy to handle and which makes the characters' generation longer and longer...

That's what I finally abandoned GURPS. Just try to create a cat in such a game. It has a long list of advantages and disadvantages (perfect balance, cat fall, flexibility, night vision...).

In BRP, it is much more simple. Most advantages and disadvantages are just taken into account in the characteristic scores and the skill percentages. After all, a character can have a high climbing skill because he is very flexible and balanced, because he can cling on walls like a spider, or because he is just very well trained... The result remains the same: he climbs very well.

And for specific abilities like flying or being able to see in the dark, powers are just fine...

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BRP the same amount of time for chargen as HERO? Hardly. I can create a CoC character in 10-15min or less. For a Gurps 4 or HERO char I need an HOUR alone for chosing all the advantages and disadvantages, and another half hour for the rest. Alone writing all the rule stuff of HERO/Gurps on the char sheet takes more time than the whole process of BRP chargen.

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BRP the same amount of time for chargen as HERO? Hardly. I can create a CoC character in 10-15min or less. For a Gurps 4 or HERO char I need an HOUR alone for chosing all the advantages and disadvantages, and another half hour for the rest. Alone writing all the rule stuff of HERO/Gurps on the char sheet takes more time than the whole process of BRP chargen.

I think it all depends on how well you know GURPS/Hero. When you know all the advantages/disadvantages and their cost by heart, as some players or GM do, it can go very fast...

Likewise, if you really want to fine-tune your BRP character, to choose a profession and skills that really fit to his characteristics, it can take much more time than 10-15 minutes...

Having said that, I do agree with the fact that BRP character generation is usually faster than GURPS' or Hero's one. Precisely because you don't have to choose any advantage or disadvantage. Doing it necessarily takes time.

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Why the outrage? I didn't say BRP was bad. I just said that the figuring up a character (based on my experience of coming from years of playing Hero System to the Big Gold Book) was roughly equivalent. Keep in mind, I was addressing prep time for a campaign or adventure. In that case, you're not creating a single starting PC but master villains with extra skill points (and associated minions) or monsters with powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men.

Also, let's compare apples with apples. If you're creating a Call of Cthulhu investigator (using one of the simplest iterations of BRP), that's the Hero System equivalent of creating a 50-point plus Disads Talented Normal character. Doable in ten minutes? Probably not, but easily completable within 45 minutes, since you're allocating a maximum of only 100 points (compared to 350 for a beginning Champions superhero or 250 skill points plus personal skill points for a starting BGB character).

Indecision plays a big role in prep time for either system. Some posters here may find figuring out Disadvantages for a Hero or GURPS character time consuming. For me, doling out BRP skill points is a tedious process, unless I just divide 'em by the number of skills my prospective character has and passel them out equally. I still have to adjust for default skill levels (e.g., lower Climb, which was already 40%, in order to beef up another skill important to my concept). And while random rolling stats could be a time saver, in practice I often roll up to five sets of stats to try to get ones that fit the NPC concept. I also use the CoC Creature Generator to pump out 10-15 sets of human stats if I've got a group of NPCs to put together.

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Why the outrage?

This is not an outrage. Basic RolePlayers do not "outrage". We only point out the flaws of everything not d100;D

But seriously, it's no big deal. I'm still inclined to agree with the ones saying that BRP is faster and easier than HERO. It might be because I've been playing BRP and cousins for almost 2 decades. I've used HERO once...

But I also propose that, for a beginner, BRP is easier to grasp than almost anything else. Because it simply is; there are preciously little of "hidden" mechanics; stats, skills, percentiles and dice are as obvious as can be.

The lack of advantages, flaws and whatnot also makes things easier and more straight-forward, not only in character generation, but also in play. If you want the dis/advantage-mechanics in the game, any d100-game is really easy to tweak into exactly what you want.

And if what you want is HERO, then you should play HERO, and instead play BRP when you want to play BRP.

That's my silver shilling. If you still think that HERO is a faster and easier system than BRP, that's fine.

I'll disagree, but I will not rage;)

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Having said that, the problem of advantages/disadvantages systems is that everything ends to become an advantage or a disadvantage... My character is alcoholic... Disadvantage. He smoke cigarettes... Disadvantage. He has an honest face... Advantage. He doesn't like carrots... Disadvantage (a little one, of course, but just imagine that the character is invited at the King's table and that there are carrots to eat...).

And another problem of advantages/disadvantages systems is that they have to be carefully designed by the authors of the game. Wings can make you fly, of course, but they can also be crippled by your foe and then make you fall down during a fight... While being able to flight without wings, like superman, is more advantageous...

Then, all games with advantages/disadvantages systems usually ends with huge lists which are not easy to handle and which makes the characters' generation longer and longer...

This is why I gravitate towards systems like FATE, HeroQuest, and PDQ. Players (with GM approval) craft their own abilities and disabilities, and mechanically they're all the same. Advantages only provide benefits when the GM agrees that they apply; disadvantages (where available) are only worth the Fate Points or Style Dice they earn. "Balance" comes through GM discretion, difficulty levels, and in FATE the Fate Point economy. Nobody has license to hog the spotlight because they found the killer power combination, and nobody's stuck with a bad choice because the "math" won't work out otherwise.

And for specific abilities like flying or being able to see in the dark, powers are just fine...

To be honest, I've never been a fan of the superhero genre, so I've never really used the Super Powers system. I'm more comfortable with species-based powers, and there it's easy to come up with balanced packages of abilities and double-edged swords. For example, your alien has thermal vision, but what happens when there's a bonfire or a torch shoved in his face? You're a hulking, four-armed insect man; what happens when you walk through the center of a human town?

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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Why the outrage? I didn't say BRP was bad.

Of course you didn't. And, as everyone above, I don't think we took what you said as an outrage. We only react about the fact that GURPS/Hero character generation could be as fast as BRP.

I just think the probem is just as clear as math. Generating a character by choosing attributes + advantages + disadvantages + skills is necessarily longer than generating a character by choosing only attributes + Skills.

I just said that the figuring up a character (based on my experience of coming from years of playing Hero System to the Big Gold Book) was roughly equivalent.

Yes and this is precisely why I added that some players and GM know everything by heart and can go very fast with GURPS or Hero, then.

But it will change as soon as you will also know everything in BRP by heart (like the default skills, for instance). And there is much less to know in the BRP system.

Also, let's compare apples with apples. If you're creating a Call of Cthulhu investigator (using one of the simplest iterations of BRP), that's the Hero System equivalent of creating a 50-point plus Disads Talented Normal character. Doable in ten minutes? Probably not, but easily completable within 45 minutes, since you're allocating a maximum of only 100 points (compared to 350 for a beginning Champions superhero or 250 skill points plus personal skill points for a starting BGB character).

You're right here. Comparing Hero and Call of Cthulhu is not really fair, since Cthulhu is precisely designed to make character generation as fast as possible: Cthulhu characters die or become insane very quickly, so, players don't want to spend much time on their generation.

To make the comparison more serious, we have to take the BRP system and, possibly, to use some optional rules like characteristic influence on skills and personality types.

But even then, there are absolutely no advantage, disadvantage, perks, quirks etc., to choose in the BRP system. So, it necessarily goes a faster. And if the player create an ordinary human, BRP goes even faster since there is no kind of power. Just the characteristics and the skills.

Indecision plays a big role in prep time for either system. Some posters here may find figuring out Disadvantages for a Hero or GURPS character time consuming. For me, doling out BRP skill points is a tedious process, unless I just divide 'em by the number of skills my prospective character has and passel them out equally. I still have to adjust for default skill levels (e.g., lower Climb, which was already 40%, in order to beef up another skill important to my concept).

Hey, there are also skills in GURPS! I don't know Hero enough (I just glance at it several time) but I suppose that there are many skills too. And the problem here remains exactly the same: GURPS skills, for instance, have a default level and you have to take them into account when spending your points on skills...

And while random rolling stats could be a time saver, in practice I often roll up to five sets of stats to try to get ones that fit the NPC concept. I also use the CoC Creature Generator to pump out 10-15 sets of human stats if I've got a group of NPCs to put together.

BRP has an optional point base system to choose your characteristics that is very simple. The random rolling stat rules have to be used when you want to go fast (Call of Cthulu investigators), or when you want to let the dice decide for you. But if you have a precise idea of which kind of hero you want to play, the point system is a much better idea than rolling dice: it makes you save even more time.

Edited by Gollum
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This is why I gravitate towards systems like FATE, HeroQuest, and PDQ. Players (with GM approval) craft their own abilities and disabilities, and mechanically they're all the same. Advantages only provide benefits when the GM agrees that they apply; disadvantages (where available) are only worth the Fate Points or Style Dice they earn. "Balance" comes through GM discretion, difficulty levels, and in FATE the Fate Point economy. Nobody has license to hog the spotlight because they found the killer power combination, and nobody's stuck with a bad choice because the "math" won't work out otherwise.

I looked at Fate and PDQ and, indeed, they sounds to be very well designed. Heroquest sounds very fine too but I still prefer the BRP system as written in the big golden book. There is no logical reason to that. Just the fact that it is more close from the Basic version I played the most: Call of Cthulhu.

To be honest, I've never been a fan of the superhero genre, so I've never really used the Super Powers system. I'm more comfortable with species-based powers, and there it's easy to come up with balanced packages of abilities and double-edged swords. For example, your alien has thermal vision, but what happens when there's a bonfire or a torch shoved in his face? You're a hulking, four-armed insect man; what happens when you walk through the center of a human town?

I'm neither a fan of superheroic adventures. Having said that, I like fantasy and SF. And in theses genres, "advantages" are very common. Some may have drawbacks, as the infravision of your example, of course. But some others don't. A hulking four-armed insect won't look strange in the center of a Star Wars town with many other strange extraterrestrial everywhere around... And being ambidextrous, for an ordinary human, doesn't have any logical drawback... That is where powers are fine.

The difference between BRP and game systems with advantages/disadvantages is that nobody is enforced to take Powers. Of course, in a game system with advantages and disadvantages, this is also true: once can for instance create a GURPS character without taking any advantage, disadvantage, quirk or perk... But these ones usually cover so many things, including very mundane and little ones (like being afraid of darkness or insisting to be paid in cash) that it is hard to really avoid them.

In BRP, being afraid of darkness or insisting to be paid in cash is just a description of the character, with no point value and no other requirement than being played from time to time. In GURPS, these are true disadvantages or quirks, with a fixed character point value and, then playing them become a mandatory (and the GM must even make some problems occur from them to justify their value).

This is the main difference, in my humble opinion. Game systems with advantages and disadvantages are much more precise, but they have rule for every little think that can describe a character, while BRP is much more vague, but it gives the players more freedom: they can focus on things that are really important in their opinion and drop the rest...

Example:

With BRP, you can just have:

~ Hide skill: 95% (my character can change color, like a chameleon),

~ or have: Hide skill: 55% + Camouflage power (+40%).

With GURPS (and Hero, I suppose), the first version is technically possible but the rules are not designed for it. The second solution (advantage and skill) is the only good one.

Then, when generating a character systems with advantages and disadvantages enforce the player to think in terms of advantage and skill combinations, which is necessarily longer than thinking in terms of skills only.

I can't say for Hero, but in GURPS, a warrior who doesn't have any warrior advantages (combat reflexes, toughness, enhanced defense, weapon master, etc.), is not well designed while, in BRP, all these advantages are just supposed to be taken into account in his Weapon skills, his Dodge skill and his Dexterity score. Powers are a plus that you can add if you really want these characteristics as something specific and distinct, but they are not a mandatory. Which really make things much easier and quicker.

Edited by Gollum
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