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2012 BRP Sci Fi Contest


Skyman

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I submitted an undersea adventure, but I don't yet know if I'm one of the winners (2 years later).

 

I think it is too bad there isn't more sci-fi for BRP since the play style would seem to support it.  I came to BRP by way of GORE, and my first impression wasn't runes or writhing tentacles but Serentiy-style space adventure.

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That's interesting! Serenity in BRP should be a good combination. And I have always thought it very strange that sci-fi has been so weakly represented in the world of BRP. It's been around for forty years soon… Could it be because of the not-so-successful early release of Ringworld combined with the huge success of CoC?

 

Let's hope your adventure made it to the book!

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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"Could it be because of the not-so-successful early release of Ringworld combined with the huge success of CoC?"

 

I think more of the latter than the former.  Most of Chaosium's early products, successful or otherwise, were licensed properties -- RuneQuest, Elric!, Elfquest, Call of Cthulhu, Ringworld.  Once they lost the assorted licenses, they clung like Tindalos hounds to their remaining cash cow, and for a long time it was all Cthulhu all the time as CoC replaced RuneQuest as their flagship product.  Worlds of Wonder (1982) was an early attempt to develop original content but only Superworld was developed into a full, stand-alone game.  Magic World didn't get a shot as its own entity until recently.

 

Future World remains an anomaly.  Tri-Tac Games' Fringeworthy, published the same year, had a similar concept and a second edition two years later.  And other game companies were willing to compete with GDW's Traveller.   FGU launched Starships & Spacemen in 1978; Space Opera hit store shelves in 1980.  TSR's Star Frontiers debuted at the same time as FW and Fringeworthy, as did FASA's Star Trek:  The Role-playing Game.  Pacesetter's Star Ace appeared in '84.  Perhaps Chaosium's difficulties after parting ways with Avalon Hill in the 1990s prevented any sort of sci-fi followup.

 

I was a devoted Traveller player and missed out on most of its competitors.  Folks who talk about how gritty BRP combat is forget how grim Traveller could be.  Player-characters weren't epic heroes; they were middle-aged retirees tooling around in a deadly environment.  As in BRP, all attacks were lethal ones.  At least RuneQuest warriors had decent armor and a chance to parry.  Traveller spacemen had limited access to protective gear in a universe where advanced weaponry did gobs of damage and accidentally leaving the porthole open would instantly suffocate and flash-freeze them.

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I beg to differ. Chaosium only had one successful licensed property, CoC. It's other successes were either homegrown (RuneQuest, Pendragon) or a freebie (Strombringer, Moorcock freely let Chaosium and TSR use his Elric books). Games such as ElfQuest (basically RQ3 pated onto the Elfquest setting), and Ringwolrd weren't exactly success.

 

As far as Traveler goes, it's lethality depended on what supplements you were using. The core books (1-3) were not  all that deadly, but the add ons introduced all sorts of changes. 

'

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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...Could it be because of the not-so-successful early release of Ringworld combined with the huge success of CoC?...

Ringworld's problem was licensing related - Ben may know more, but I recall stories of Chaosium giving copies away at a US Convention because they were not allowed to sell it anymore.

Chaosium have had one hugely successful RPG - Call of Cthulhu. It has remained a viable line for over thirty years, with a prodigious back catalogue of material by them and licensees over that period. They have had three moderately successful lines - RuneQuest (few dozen products over twenty years); Stormbringer (dozen or so products over ~25 years) and Pendragon (dozen or so products in little over a decade). Two are licensed, two not - but ALL gave a specific setting.

In general, the RPGs that have been very successful seem to have had substantial support, and to have a setting thatcaught a mass of gamers imaginations. With the exception of Traveller, ALL the successful (high volume of product, published over five years or more) SF games have been tied to specific settings (Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, Star Wars d6 / d20, Star Trek FASA)...

So I think it's more the absence of a "killer IP". Back in the eighties, Niven's known space might have been that, but licensing issues stymied that game line and Chaosium have since neither been offered nor had access to such an IP. Certainly back when one of the yahoo BRP groups was discussing the idea of a generic BRP SF sourcebook, that's the point Charlie Krank raised.

Given the popularity of hacks / ports / remixes these days I don't think the single setting is quite as critical as it once was... But looking at successful RPG lines of the last few years, the compelling setting still seems to be key - Hellfrost, Shadows of Esteren, Numenera, Eclipse Phase, Cthulutech. Even very successful generic games like Savage Worlds and FATE have built their reputations as the engine underlying popular settings.

Cheers,

Nick

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Ringworld's problem was licensing related - Ben may know more, but I recall stories of Chaosium giving copies away at a US Convention because they were not allowed to sell it anymore.

 

 

Yes, that's what I've heard too. What seems a bit strange to me is that there were no further attempts with sci-fi.

 

On the other hand, only a few years ago it wasn't even sure you could find a fantasy version of BRP, unless you got it from Ebay. As a casual observer, Mongoose re-releasing/updating Runequest (combined with Chaosium doing the MULA's) really made the BRP world come to life again. I might have missed a lot of things going on below the radar though...

 

A new sci-fi game under those earlier circumstances would perhaps not have been very likely.

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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I think monograph Fractured Hopes was suppose to be a stab at it but was made into a monograph instead. You might want to take a look at it...void ships and all.

Charles Green (the author of that monograph) will know better but I suspect Factured Hopes, like my own Outpost 19, was something we as individual authors wanted to do and both we AND Chaosium hoped MIGHT sell well enough to warrant adapting to a full distribution book. A few Cthulhu monographs have done this, and there was talk at one point of Classic Fantasy going the same route but I'm not aware of any original monograph BRP titles that actually have.

I keep daydreaming about writing up one of my BRP SF settings and offering it to Chaosium, but without a radical change in my circumstances to free up some time, it's really not likely to happen: my personal gaming groups favour contemporary, historical or fantasy settings so my game writing time tends to get prioritised to what I'm currently running.

Cheers,

Nick.

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There are a few science fiction IPs that might be very nice for BRP - Aliens, or Firefly/Serenity (I really don't get on with Cortex), or best of all Blake's 7, but I can't offhand think of any modern examples. Seems to me that we're in something of a supers, fantasy and supernatural age as far as popular entertainment is concerned. So any IP acquired now might not even appeal to the world at large.

 

It's a pity they didn't snap up John Ossway's Cthulhu Rising when they had it in monograph form, though I understand it might be getting the OpenQuest treatment one of these days. It would have been a great tie in to CoC itself. I love the way it incorporated all those 1980s SF tropes like replicants, xenomorphs, colonial marines, etc.

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Maybe an Elite: Dangerous SF setting has available IP? That might work.

 

Elite Dangerous already has a Role Playing Game in the works. I'll be picking it up when its available, I love the PC game. Been playing it since the early beta.

 

Rod

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Charles Green (the author of that monograph) will know better but I suspect Factured Hopes, like my own Outpost 19, was something we as individual authors wanted to do and both we AND Chaosium hoped MIGHT sell well enough to warrant adapting to a full distribution book. A few Cthulhu monographs have done this, and there was talk at one point of Classic Fantasy going the same route but I'm not aware of any original monograph BRP titles that actually have.

 

I count four Cthulhu monographs and one BRP that have made the jump:

 

Cthulhu Invictus

Mysteries/Secrets Of Morocco

Mysteries/Secrets Of Tibet

Ripples From Carcosa

 

In Search Of The Trollslayer

 

 

 

Classic Fantasy is going over to RQ6.

 

 

Basic Magic/Creatures/Gamemaster went from old style monograph (taped) to new style monograph (POD) and kinda sorta are connected to the BGB, but not really.  I think.  :)

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I didn't realize so many here had actually written for sci-fi too. I enjoyed Cthulhu Rising a lot (and looking forward to the new version), but haven't tried Fractured hopes yet.

 

I keep daydreaming about writing up one of my BRP SF settings

 

 

Those daydreams seems very interesting. How specific are they? Hard or soft sci-fi?

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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Charles Green (the author of that monograph) will know better but I suspect Factured Hopes, like my own Outpost 19, was something we as individual authors wanted to do and both we AND Chaosium hoped MIGHT sell well enough to warrant adapting to a full distribution book. A few Cthulhu monographs have done this, and there was talk at one point of Classic Fantasy going the same route but I'm not aware of any original monograph BRP titles that actually have.

 

This is not quite true. When I pitched Fractured Hopes to Chaosium, Lynn Willis was handling the BRP line, and he wanted to do it as a full distribution book. Then he got sick, and the project fell between the cracks.

 

By the time I had gotten someone's attention about it, it had been in their possession for a couple of years. By the time I had pestered them enough about it, they had lost the original files, and by this point had forgotten they had planned to do it as a full distribution, and said it would only go out as a monograph.

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