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Poisons and diseases in BRP ?


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For Jason or folks who own the zero edition, how does the new edition of BRP handle diseases and poisons ? I always felt that RQ3 was very simplistic in this regard: Five basic diseases which affected attributes and a simple POT vs POW roll to determine success. In this regard I have to say that I like the way MRQ does it, wider range of illnesses, greater range of potency and a broader selection of effects.

So then... ?

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Both Poisons and Diseases are handled very generically in BRP, although I would say with some more sophistication than RQ3. I don't own MRQ so can't comment how it compares, but basically Poison has a POTency and a "Speed of Effect" (which effectively determines onset), and either damages (general) Hit Points or specific characteristics, which it matches against in a resistance roll. You get some common real world poisons in a table with suggested POT, effects & side effects, which is nice.

Disease is handled via Spot Rules, and has two types: a "bad cold" or "mild flu" level, basically a malaise which is contracted on a failed Stamina roll and costs a couple of Hit Points over a couple of days and which requires increasingly easy daily CON rolls to recover from. The second type of disease is the more serious plague type, which you can only recover from with a specific CON roll, although medical care can help. These are broadly similar to RQ3 diseases, and can kill characters very quickly indeed; a few examples of generic diseases are given, targeting either HP or characteristic points - these are of the "Shakes" and "Creeping Chills" variety.

On the whole, the poison and disease rules are quickly usable as is, and adaptable to most genres; additionally, you can derive more complex effects from them very easily. I personally like them, but in general I've always preferred the RQ approach to poisons and diseases - simple & effective.

I've recently been looking at characteristic loss from the point of view of disease, poison, and sorcery, and it's actually quite severe in BRP - any characteristic loss is effectively permanent (barring magic, etc), whereas HP loss will heal. Deciding whether a disease or poison attacks HP or a characteristic (or both!) therefore gives you a very easy switch between chronic diseases, lurgies, plagues, etc.

Hope that helps,


"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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Thanks for that Sarah, pretty much explains what I wanted to know. I guess the good thing about BRP is that it's very much a "building blocks " kind of game. That is you can add stuff on and make it as complicated or as easy as you like.

So, you could easily have some kind of disease that affected the characters balance or some such, simply do a POT vs CON check and then subtract POTx5% from all agility skills ( or something similiar ). It's never going to kill the character in itself, but try crossing that rickety rope bridge over a crocodile infested ravine .......:D

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