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BRP System Comparisons?

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So, I've ran RQ5/MRQII/Legend and played some RQ6; and I picked up Elric! a while back when it was on DTRPG, and I'm contemplating OpenQuest.

 

Presently, I'm looking for some compare and contrast between them. What do each of the three titles bring to the table? I know some folks prefer OpenQuest, and some Prefer RQ6, and some prefer Magic World; and I know that subsystems from one can largely be lifted into the others;

 

If I'm looking for a baseline system to use, which one would you suggest for which reasons; and what do the others offer that I might want to bolt on?

 

RQ6 has its cultural packages, which are quite nice, but IIRC, lacks an option of balanced playable races; and while I wouldn't want to use BRP to run Pathfinder/D&D (I would just use Pathfinder/D&D for that); I can still see myself sometimes wanting to run settings where many of the players are not human (Elves, Dwarves, or other weirder things). Do the others offer multiple races as part of their assumption?

 

From what I understand Magic is very different across all of these systems. Can someone enlighten me on the merits of each?

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I'd go with Runequest 6th edition myself.  It is a polished solid setting with a bunch of different magic options.  I'm a little sad they didn't include Legendary abilities.  

 

As far as magic across the three systems....  I forget the particulars but Openquest is good at ritual magic, although that might just be Renaissance and Clockwork and Chivalry.  Magic world is a little simplistic for my tastes, it kind of feels like watered down battle magic from older editions of Runequest.  The Magic World Advanced Sorcery has some pretty cool alternate magic systems in it.  For my magic purposes I really like Runequest 6, it has some great options.

 

I am pretty sure the humanoid races in Magic World are pretty much the same in Runequest 6.

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I do recognize that this is the RQ6 Board. I would have gone for a sort of d100 general discussion, but I didn't see a board for that, so I chose the one with the most activity.

 

I've got the Clockwork & Chivalry Core Worldbook for MRQII, if that's the one you mean.

 

I might be inclined to use RQ6 as my baseline (As mentioned, I am somewhat familiar with that and Legend), but I am still interested in hearing more about the other two systems and what they have to offer. People are still buying them, so there must be a reason for that, and I'm interested in hearing what some of those various reasons are.

 

For instance, I understand MW doesn't use hit locations - in some campaigns I could see that as a benefit. I may not always want to use several magic systems in a single campaign, either - I can see myself sometimes just choosing one, or two, as it fits the setting. I also hear OQ2 has some kind of point-buy character creation rules, which could be good as well (I'm not a huge fan of rolled stats) What are the other noteworthy differences?

 

WRT the Magic Systems; When we last played legend, it seemed that the players who didn't build for magic were significantly worse off than the players who did. Was that just our perception, or is that routinely the case? Which magic systems are more on par with players who build for nonmagical combat?

 

Out of Curiosity, if I want to be able to allow a bunch of players to all roll up characters of different races and cultures, and still be capable of building (approximately) equally effective characters, is there an option somewhere for me to do that, or not so much?

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RQ6 has become my primary version of BRP, because it gets almost everything right. I still love the other ones but RQ has done a homerun. Then again, I've always liked my crunch...

Some people don't like all those numbers and fiddly details, and I think that's what MW, OQ, Renaissance and ilk bring to the table - less rules-intensive alternatives. 

 

As for your questions about magic, races and balance - it breaks a bit with the core design behind BRP. It's meant to be a system to simulate "real-world" mechanisms, not game balance. In the "real world", you can't conjure up a ball of hellfire and hurl it on your enemy, but if you could it would be a very scary and dangerous thing.

Thus, sorcerers that commands the elements can be very nasty in BRP. If you want to take one down, you want to do it the clever way.

Bayonet charges against flamethrowers don't work too well in this world, and it won't work too well within the rules of BRP.

 

RQ6 is possibly the most hardcore of the bunch, giving little or no thought to balance apart from what the GM and players put into their world.

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Hmm.

 

Yeah, that's mostly been my experience. I think that's sortof too bad, though. My experience is that the players are happiest if they feel they are able to contribute as well as the other players do. Some races just being better (different powered races) or magic being better than martials, tends to end up with the players all wanting to roll mages after their first campaign.

 

Bayonet charges against flamethrowers isn't so much my point, I was thinking more along the lines of well placed stabs or arrows being able to kill the big beastie (Ogre, or whatever) as effectively as the flamethrower.

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I agree we need a generic D100 board.  Also I don't like randomly rolled stats either and came up with a couple of point buy options for my games.  I found a version of the Openquest rules online, here are their point buy rules:

 

1) All attributes start at 8

2) You have 30 additional points to distribute among those attributes

3) You may also reduce a attribute to gain additional points, but INT and SIZ can not be lower than 7

4) Other characteristics have a minimum value of three

5) The highest you can raise a attribute during character creation is 18

 

This ends up giving you 86 points among your seven attributes.

 

I use the following for my Legend based games

 

Underling - Rank and file minions.  Underlings use the Underling hit point rules from Legend.  They have hit points equal to half their CON, and are killed or rendered unconscious when brought to zero hit points, or damaged by a critical hit.  Underlings always go last in combat unless they have suprise in which case it is for that round only.

75 points in attributes and skills

 

Henchmen - The lieutenants or "mid-bosses".  Henchmen have hitpoints equal to their CON+SIZ divided by two.  They are killed or rendered unconscious when brought to zero hit points.  

80 points in attributes, 100 points in skills

 

Character - These are the minor villains or antagonists.  This is usually the point total I use for player characters.  Characters use the hit location rules. 

100 points in attributes, 150 points in skills

 

Experienced character - At this level you have a major villain or very important npc.  Experienced characters use the hit location rules.

120 points in attributes, 200 points in skills

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Hmm.

 

Yeah, that's mostly been my experience. I think that's sortof too bad, though. My experience is that the players are happiest if they feel they are able to contribute as well as the other players do. Some races just being better (different powered races) or magic being better than martials, tends to end up with the players all wanting to roll mages after their first campaign.

 

Bayonet charges against flamethrowers isn't so much my point, I was thinking more along the lines of well placed stabs or arrows being able to kill the big beastie (Ogre, or whatever) as effectively as the flamethrower.

Isn't that how most games apart from Risus work? Some characters will invariably be better at something than others.

But I get what you're saying. I just don't totally agree with you - BRP's balance is not in the rules, it's how you use the rules. If you go for the kitchensink-style, then these bumps of imbalance or overpowered characters will turn up. A gamemasters tools to avoid them are mostly "soft" tools.

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Interesting

 

@CthulhuFnord: I'm not sure if I would rather use that point buy system or something based on either the point buy system of D&D3e, Pathfinder, D&D4e, or D&D5e; or do something custom/give several pre-built arrays and let the players choose from among them.

 

@Baragei: In most of the games I've played (d20, Shadowrun, and Edge of the Empire, just to name a couple) efforts are made for there to be several equally effective approaches to combat, often with nuanced differences between them (but in terms of which options they are good at/have available tothem, less so at overall combat effectiveness) and different combat roles.

 

I wasn't even necessarily thinking Kitchen Sink style, but sure, I would sort of expect kitchen sink style to produce relatively comparable characters. I'd expect the expert archer to be close to as useful in combat as the expert mage; but I'd expect that the mage's ability to cover different situations would come from magic, whereas the archer probably has higher skill totals when utility situations come up. I'd also expect the various disparate magic systems (at least the ones useful in combat) to be comparable in usefulness. But then, the majority of my gaming has been in D&D3, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Edge of the Empire. There is certainly imbalances between different classes and concepts, but they typically come pretty close in most cases (D&D3 is the farthest from that).

 

As for the GM avoiding using overpowered options, the problem with that is knowing which options to allow and which to disallow; and if adjustments need to be made, knowing what adjustments you need to make. And where RuneQuest has a lot more "Make your own enemies" than Pathfinder does (which has a massive assortment of disserent creatures and prebuilt NPCs to use), it's hard to know what sorts of damage output and success rates are reasonable.

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Having only experience with RQ6 (so far) and no experience with magic in any BRP derived games (not even in old RQ or CoC) I can only comment on a very limited experience (sorry about that).

 

If you compare a combat with ogre against martial combatant (with weapons) and spell user (that might also know something about weapon combat) you have to consider some things. First of all, a proficient warrior doesn't run out of magic points that might not replenish anytime soon depending on the setting. Certainly fatigue can be a factor here but that ogre is as prone to fatigue as the warrior. Spell user casts the spell and delivers the effects (if they are not mitigated by willpower) and that's it. At the same time warrior can use special effects to create interesting tactical choices and ways to make that ogre a non-threat (whether by killing it or using non-lethal ways).

 

So, without actually using any of the magic systems in RQ6 I have the feeling that there still is a place for non magical characters, even in combat.

 

My experience with OpenQuest is from reading Company and Renaissance SDK. It really seems to be a bit lighter to run than RQ6 or Legend.

 

As for other races (demihumans) certainly higher and lower stats affect skills but I don't know how much. I suppose elves should get more skill points because of their longevity but since this is the common problem in all fantasy games (for example in Rolemaster) I would just say that the particular elf is so young that he gets to spend as many skill points as normal starting characters.

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I agree we need a generic D100 board.  Also I don't like randomly rolled stats either and came up with a couple of point buy options for my games.  I found a version of the Openquest rules online, here are their point buy rules:

 

Thirded. How can we work to make this happen?

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BRP is a skill-driven system. The easiest way to balance it is simply to to cap a starting character's skill to a certain level. So maybe some characters will start with more skills than others, but they won't necessarily be better. And being better at something doesn't mean being best - those dice can be cruel. Characters with superiority complexes tend to die off faster than less skilled realists.

 

If someone wants to play a specific race with some massive stat-boosts - yes, I'm looking at you, Iqari - it's time for those GM soft tools. Pretty sure I could go to town making the life of a giant birdman (or elf or dwarf) in a human society more complicated than not. And I'm not talking about screwing a player over, but simply playing up the differences in culture, problems of communicating, lack of compatible equipment, and the pretty much inevitable witchhunt when a homogenous society needs to blame something on someone. Or simply say "no, that race isn't a viable choice".

 

Magic can be extremely powerful in the BRP-games. RQ6 gives you a lot of tools to help you get it right for your game. The BGB makes powerful magic more available, but at a price, both in skillpoints and magic points. If you use the fatepoint-option from the BGB with a twist, the mundane warriors can spend their powerpoints on rerolls, success-shifts and epic grit, while sorcerers must save them for their spells.

 

"As for the GM avoiding using overpowered options, the problem with that is knowing which options to allow and which to disallow; and if adjustments need to be made, knowing what adjustments you need to make. And where RuneQuest has a lot more "Make your own enemies" than Pathfinder does (which has a massive assortment of disserent creatures and prebuilt NPCs to use), it's hard to know what sorts of damage output and success rates are reasonable"

 

And that's an issue, I agree. This is very much trial and error-territory. 

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Hmm. The BGB Fate point options sounds good.

 

As for races, I'm not a huge fan of running humanocentric games; so weird races comes up a fair bit for me. I would say my "Typical" home game setting involves large metropolitan cities with guilds, occupied by at least a dozen or two different races (not all of which need to be playable, but likely at least 10 of which would be), and no clear majority race/species. The players might go to a mostly human settlement at some point or another, but that will not be the case most of the time, and will not reflected as part of human domination of the entire world.

 

If I were to cap character creation skills, whee is a good place to cap them? Also, Just how exactly are skills over 100 supposed to be balanced against things? That's always kindof confused me about BRP.

 

Something some other RPGs have that's nice, is little special abilities you can pick up outside of spellcasting that allow you to do new things: Barbarian Rage, Sneak Attack, Telekinesis, Flight, etc. Does anything exist like that for BRP? And if so, where can I find those sorts of things? I know legend has some kind of legendary abilities, but I don't recall what they are/do. is there anything else?

 

I wish the power curve for BRP was more obvious. It's somewhat obvious in Pathfinder, but it's really obvious if you look at the monster design system in 4e - they actually spell out the curve in a table (they tweaked it part way through for less hp and more damage, while maintaining the same difficulty/chance of survival but with shorter fights). I think to do that in BRP You'd need a large number of characters built with different quantities of points, and then someone would have to run the stats on them with a spreadsheet. It would certainly make it easier to make up NPCs on the fly in BRP, and it would make it easier to design a new monster or NPC not-on-the-fly, as well.

 

Is there an admin/moderator around who could make that general discussion d100 board happen? If you make one, can you move this thread there? 

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I don't always want to play D&D, there are many things it's pretty terrible at; and gritty combat, historical games, low magic, and sword and sorcery are among them.

One thing you have to give to D&D though, that I wish more games were better at: they do a really good job at gauging/tracking/managing the difficulty of encounters/NPCs, and a pretty good job at balancing player characters.

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 I would say my "Typical" home game setting involves large metropolitan cities with guilds, occupied by at least a dozen or two different races (not all of which need to be playable, but likely at least 10 of which would be), and no clear majority race/species. 

That's pretty much my definition of kitchensink. Character option-wise, at least.

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In terms of races, I suppose its somewhat kitchen sink, in that they will have several options. I was referring to magic systems when I said I didn't necessarily want the kitchen sink approach.

Additionally, rather than just allow the players to play as any race or use any magic system that's been printed anywhere, I would try to give them a list of ones I considered acceptable in mechanics and tone to the campaign I have in mind.

But it's certainly more kitchen sink than "No magic, and you're all Vikings".

If I work in highly insular groups or racism, they're active plot elements that the campaign/plot is focusing on, rather than ongoing passive background setting elements.

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Once the kitchensink is in the coach, it won't leave ;)

But if you're putting in a dozen different races, I don't understand why they need to be game-mechanically balanced against each other. If that is the case, you could make due with one and just have it in different colours.

As for magic, I really don't have any quickfixes. If you feel it would be overpowering, you could of course censor the available spell lists. Other ways could be to remove magic points and let wizards rely solely on precious wands and grisly material components cut from the flesh of mythological beasts. Or keep the magic points and hamper the regeneration of them. Or introduce a corruption/mutation mechanic - why do wizards wear those pointy hats and voluminous robes all the time? Or up the casting time. Etc et al.

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If I were to cap character creation skills, whee is a good place to cap them? Also, Just how exactly are skills over 100 supposed to be balanced against things? That's always kindof confused me about BRP.

 

Something some other RPGs have that's nice, is little special abilities you can pick up outside of spellcasting that allow you to do new things: Barbarian Rage, Sneak Attack, Telekinesis, Flight, etc. Does anything exist like that for BRP? And if so, where can I find those sorts of things? I know legend has some kind of legendary abilities, but I don't recall what they are/do. is there anything else?

I like a starting cap of around 75ish, but that's just me.

As for legendary abilities, as you say, Legend has them. I hear very good things about Bokors&Broadsides and its stunts. CthulhuFnord, from further up this thread, has worked on a list of edges and feats for BRP/Legend. RQ6 has mysticism and folkmagic which could double as legendary abilities.

The BGB has the fatepoint option, as well as mutations and psionics which could also work. It also has the Classic Fantasy-mono which brings a lot of D&Disms into BRP - such as a barbarian's rage. Classic Fantasy is being rewritten for RQ6 btw.

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Once the kitchensink is in the coach, it won't leave ;)

But if you're putting in a dozen different races, I don't understand why they need to be game-mechanically balanced against each other. If that is the case, you could make due with one and just have it in different colours.

As for magic, I really don't have any quickfixes. If you feel it would be overpowering, you could of course censor the available spell lists. Other ways could be to remove magic points and let wizards rely solely on precious wands and grisly material components cut from the flesh of mythological beasts. Or keep the magic points and hamper the regeneration of them. Or introduce a corruption/mutation mechanic - why do wizards wear those pointy hats and voluminous robes all the time? Or up the casting time. Etc et al.

I don't need them perfectly balanced against eachother, but having them be close is definitely desirable. Ideally, they're numerically different, some might have some unique special abilities, but none of them should stand out as just being "better". One race, different colors doesn't really work for me though. 

 

I well definitely look into those special abilities.

 

Any comment on how exactly skills over 100 are supposed to work out? My experience (a few years ago, in Legend) was that skills over 100 seemed to result in always suceeding in all of the opposed checks. But its possible that my NPCs (some I made, and others I found pre-built online) just weren't up to the power curve.

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Oh boy, opposed tests... The time is upon us again.

The BGB uses improved special/critical-ranges and and how much a test succeeds by, yes? I think, I really can't remember off the top of my head.

So if A has a skill of 120 and B has a skill of 80, and they both roll a 70, A wins because A succeeds by 50 and B only succeeds by 10. In this situation, B has to either roll a better success level or below 60 to have a chance of winning the contest.

The blackjack-mechanic is quicker - rolling as high as possible, but still below your skill. In the case of A vs B, as there are tripledigit values in play, any points above 100 in the highest skill are subtracted from both parts, leaving a skill of 100 vs a skill 60. And more or less the same odds (queue rebuttal in three..two..).

Gah, I suck at explaning this. Works in play, though.

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No, the BGB/MW uses the first method I described.

It gives you some other options as well, but latches unto the "degree of success"-method as standard.

The blackjack-method is listed as an option in the BGB, but was adopted as standard by MRQ and its successors.

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BGB uses Blackjack method by default (Best degree wins, high roll wins) but in MW best degree wins, same degree results in standoff regardless of die results. The "succeed by how much" is an option in the BGB.

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Well. memory is the first to go, right? ;)

Assuming things based on that can't turn out well. Wasn't aware that MW did things its own way, I assumed (see?) that it followed the BGB. 

Thanks for catching me in the act.

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If I were to cap character creation skills, whee is a good place to cap them? Also, Just how exactly are skills over 100 supposed to be balanced against things? That's always kindof confused me about BRP.

 

Something some other RPGs have that's nice, is little special abilities you can pick up outside of spellcasting that allow you to do new things: Barbarian Rage, Sneak Attack, Telekinesis, Flight, etc. Does anything exist like that for BRP? And if so, where can I find those sorts of things? I know legend has some kind of legendary abilities, but I don't recall what they are/do. is there anything else?

You may find OpenQuest worth a look, for both of these.  It tiers characters at various skill levels, mainly for character creation.  It's default is "competent adventurer (3-5th level D&D?), with adjustments and skill caps for rank beginner through Epic Hero.

 

Openquest  would put your neat abilities into Battle Magic, but has a section at the end of the chapter that states blatantly that players/GMs can retheme  that magic system to be "Heroic Feats".  Indeed many of the spells were apparantly included to make that option a lot more viable for the player who wants his fighter to do awesome stuff without using "magic".

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