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Chaosium's Latest Statement on BRP


fmitchell

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This just came across my RSS feed from the Chaosium site:

Some Q&A about what's happening with BRP...

What is Basic Roleplaying?

The first Basic Role-Playing (BRP) book was created to introduce brand new players to the world of Fantasy Roleplaying. Lynn Willis and Greg Stafford's iconic 16 page booklet was included in most early Chaosium boxed games to help a GM with first time players in their gaming group. Over time BRP became the term used to describe the basic core system behind all of Chaosium's RPGs. It might be more accurate to speak of a BRP "family of games" that includes Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Mythic Iceland, the Laundry, and others.

What happened to the big gold rulebook?

After Chaosium lost the rights to RuneQuest, a version of BRP (the BRP Gold Book) was developed to fill the vacuum. Now that RuneQuest has returned to Chaosium, the Gold Book is no longer necessary and will remain out of print. For those of you who still want a copy of it, Chaosium will continue selling the PDF of the BRP Gold Book on our website, and start selling it as a print on demand book on Lulu and DrivethruRPG.

So is BRP dead?

No! In fact, we are in the process of finishing up a new edition of the BRP core rules, called BRP Essentials. This is a 32 page booklet containing the core elements of the BRP system. Future publications will build upon those core rules and tailor them for their needs. We have several such books in development, including a hardboiled detective book (which is emphatically not Call of Cthulhu in terms of style or needed rules) and an updated version of Mythic Iceland (with a campaign pack in the works).

But what if I don't like RuneQuest or Call of Cthulhu?

Chaosium will be producing new products based on the new core BRP rules that are neither RuneQuest nor Call of Cthulhu. Of course, we will be producing a lot of Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest products, and we think they are worth checking out, but if they don't scratch your itch, maybe Mythic Iceland will!

In addition to Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, and other BRP products, Chaosium also publishes HeroQuest, 13th Age in Glorantha, and a line of board games. We have a lot of new material in the pipeline, with more on that soon!

So it's less than a lot of people hoped.  No explicit mention of Magic World, the Gold Book is officially obsolete, and I'm sure there will be rampant and doom-laden speculation on what BRP Essentials will look like.  It's kind of disappointing, but perhaps a slim BRP has a better chance in the market than a massive tome with every option and variant rule piled in.  The RPG market seems to be drifting toward rules and setting in a single package, as witnessed by the runaway success of Numenera.  Time will tell.

And those who really miss old-timey BRP always have OpenQuest or the out of print PDFs.

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Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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    ... as witnessed by the runaway success of Numenera.

Perhaps I've been spending too much time in Kickstarter-ville.  Numenera is pretty successful, but this article claims these were the top selling RPGs in Spring 2015:

  1. Dungeons & Dragons (Wizards of the Coast)
  2. Pathfinder (Paizo Publishing)
  3. Star Wars (Fantasy Flight Games)
  4. Shadowrun (Catalyst Game Labs)
  5. Iron Kingdoms (Privateer Press)

While this list doesn't disprove my assertion, there's obviously a lot of confounding factors.  D&D and Pathfinder (the other D&D) are the proverbial 800 lb. gorillas of RPGs.  Star Wars has massive brand name recognition (duh), Shadowrun is, well, Shadowrun, and Iron Kingdoms ties into a successful miniatures line.

So, I guess if we want BRP to be bigger than D&D and Pathfinder, Chaosium needs a miniatures line, a series of blockbuster movies with TV and toy tie-ins, and a time machine.

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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This just came across my RSS feed from the Chaosium site:

So it's less than a lot of people hoped.  No explicit mention of Magic World, the Gold Book is officially obsolete, and I'm sure there will be rampant and doom-laden speculation on what BRP Essentials will look like.  It's kind of disappointing, but perhaps a slim BRP has a better chance in the market than a massive tome with every option and variant rule piled in.  The RPG market seems to be drifting toward rules and setting in a single package, as witnessed by the runaway success of Numenera.  Time will tell.

And those who really miss old-timey BRP always have OpenQuest or the out of print PDFs.

They certainly need to get an entry level product out there so that people know it exists. At 32 pages, it could also form the core of another product, such as the proposed revision of WoW that has been suggested here and on other forums. They do need A BGB though, to integrate the options that have been out there. A two book set wouldn't be bad. 

Somehow I don't have the feeling that it will look like the BRP we now have, but probably more like an even further cut down version of RQ Essentials, or something like the CoC 7e Quickstarter. I could be totally wrong though and they clean up and rebadge the BRP intro that has been around for a while. 

SDLeary

 

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All in all, it's a very sensible choice.

The good: 

1. With the slim booklet BRP goes back to its origins and purpose. Calling "Basic" the gold book was kind of a misnomer.

2. They keep in print the gold book via print on demand, That's very sensible.

3. They develop Mythic Iceland. Which is GREAT NEWS. Mythic Iceland was the best BRP setting, on a par with Alephtar's BRP Rome. It really deserves to be relaunched.

4. They try out new things, be they BRP or not. Things like 13th Age in Glorantha are a breath of resh air.

The bad:

1. It seems they drop Magic World. I 

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I reckon it's possible, give that almost all of the original 16-page BRP booklet was fluff not crunch. Of course, the fluff : crunch ratio of BRP Essentials will depend on whether they see it as a bare-bones skeleton thing similar to the (300-page!) Basic D&D 5E rules on the WotC website (free, incidentally), or as an actual intro to neophytes. 32 pages including fluff sounds a bit tight for anything meaningful, but I'll get back to you on that when we finish AEON:core™.

I don't know whether the name Essentials relates to RQ6 (in which case it's not really BRP). Come to think of it, "Basic Essentials" seems a bit redundant. I reckon they should call it Worlds of Wonder and be done with it! :D

Pete posted about things from the DM end on the RPG Site forums: http://www.therpgsite.com/showpost.php?p=858060&postcount=193

And Simon says in the same thread that Merrie England will rise again, which I find very interesting and demand to know more about, here where it matters! :)

Edited by Vile

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I actually see this as positive news. The BRP Gold Book will still be available for those who want it on POD, and there is continuation of a sort with the BRP Essentials book. I agree that Basic Role Playing should be simple, so 32 pages looks about right to me - although it will be little more than the Quick Play booklet we already have (maybe with less adventures in it, and a basic magic system or the like).

It's good to see Mythic Iceland getting attention as it really is a gem, but I'd also like to see how it connects to the Call of Cthulhu line as it's also mentioned in Cthulhu Through the Ages as a proposed historical background. I actually thought a new edition was going to go wholeheartedly as a CoC supplement. Moreover, how will the new BRP Essentials account for rule changes in Call of Cthulhu 7E?

The final mystery, for me, is what is happening with RuneQuest? Over on The Design Mechanism site, Loz seems adamant that the rules of RQ6 aren't changing and under no circumstances should we describe the new Chaosium RuneQuest as a 7th e......ahem..... But in the snippets we've had, the book looks like it is going to be more concise possibly (was 350 pages mooted by someone?), will be a Gloranthan based game, and will accordingly have more specific systems for magic (Sorcery especially). If it's anything like HeroQuest: Glorantha, then it will primarily serve as an introduction to Glorantha to be used in tandem with the Guide to Glorantha set. Jeff Richard is certainly involved.  

Is this book also meant to be the basis for hanging other settings on, or is that now going to be the remit of BRP Essentials instead now? If so, again, how will BRP Essentials account for the differences in the respective systems to be backwards compatible with things like Mythic Britain or Luther Arkwright? If the system for Mysticism (martial arts) is cut from RuneQuest, which seems a distinct possibility, then where else will it end up? Mythic Constantinople was one book I had a lot of excited anticipation for - but where does it stand now? Will we ever see a Mythic Greece title by Pete Nash?

All questions I'd like to know the answer to.

In the meantime, if any publisher out there is hoping to present a game setting based on BRP/RQ rules I strongly recommend that they make these games self contained with their own full rules included from now on. It would cut out a lot of the uncertainty. If BRP Essentials can be boiled down to 32 pages, why can't it just be inserted as an appendix into each applicable supplement?

 

Edited by TrippyHippy
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    And Simon says in the same thread that

Merrie England

will rise again, which I find very interesting and demand to know more about, here where it matters! 

:)

Make a guess. But make it fast, as you are going to see an official statement in a matter of days, if not hours :)

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I'm good with all this recent news; it's very positive and clears the air a bit.

I also wonder if BRP Essentials will be a slim version of the BGB (akin to Gore), or if it will be a more generic version of RQ Essentials? Perhaps no magic, and smaller weapon lists covering a variety of eras

Having BRP Essentials be a generic version of RQ Essentials makes sense in the fact that the system mechanics will be consistent with RQ Glorantha. I think having too many system variants is not great for the new market if the system is going to continue, so my preference would be an Essentials rules based from the MRQ D100 SRD; it just feels a little more modern in some ways.

There is no way around it; this could be a downer for those who want classic BRP to continue in a current published form on the shelves of the game stores. However it has been very rare to actually see the BGB in game stores down here in Australia, and I'm not sure if it's presence has been much more prominent elsewhere.

That being said, I can see that this may be a smaller market now, and having the BGB available in pdf and PoD still allows for that market to have the BGB. So nothing is really lost here, and if the BGB is available as pdf and PoD, then at some stage it is plausible that that same could occur with MW.

I really would like to see MW continue at least in pdf and PoD, as it has been a great release, and the enthusiasm for it within these boards is quite high.

I think it is a very smart move to keep some version of a generic ruleset alive in published form to satisfy the tinkerer GMs out there, including myself.

I left rpgs for a few years, but was initially lured back by Savage Worlds and the generic delight that it is for sandbox GMs. That system eventually turned out too loose for my tastes, so then GURPS caught my eye, but it had too many 'splats'. I then returned to my earlier favourite mechanics with RQ3, CoC4, & SB, to strip them back in my search of having a generic set of logical rpg rules, only to see that the BGB had been published and done this for me. I love the idea that I can watch any movie, then grab the BGB and use that to translate it into a rpg session.

Having a generic set of rules is a 'must-have' for me, whether it's a flagship product or a minor release. 

I guess that I'm reasonably happy with all this; and the teaser regarding the hardboiled detective noir book is very promising indeed!

Edited by Mankcam
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" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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*sigh*

Not the worst possible news, but not the best.

Still no mention of Magic World, nor the three or four items for it that were in preparation prior to the upheavals earlier this year. And, as an author of material for one of them, no indication as to Chaosium's intentions regarding that material.

A weird attempt at "re-writing" of the last ten years that tries to claim BRP is "unnecessary" or merely an umbrella title for various related games and yet will remain available via PDF / POD: hardly "unnecessary" then, and a 400+ page specific product that had over a dozen licensed supplements is not an "umbrella term". It was a (modestly) "successful" game line: if the new management don't see it as viable and / or don't want to support it going forward to avoid competing with the "new" flagship Chaosium RuneQuest (an entirely reasonable position we all anticipated), why not just say so? Pretending that the DM's RQ6 and BGB BRP are the same game is disingenuous at best.

That there is no reference to the remaining "rump" of PDF monographs that all depend on the BRP BGB is understandable. They are clearly now a minor footnote and I assume that once they have hit their respective  250 / 500 copies sold break points they will simply disappear from Chaosium's catalogue and revert back to the authors. A statement clarifying that would be nice.

The whole thing seems to be strongly implying that "BGB" BRP will be replaced as far as Chaosium are concerned by the "new" RuneQuest# - the title of the new 32 page BRP Essentials is very revealing.

Also no mention of any 3rd party licensees apart from the Laundry: we know Alephtar's license ended, and I assume the omission of the Design Mechanism (who we know are involved going forward and who have been adamant that Luther Arkwright etc will continue as normal / as planned)  is an oversight. I do wonder about  Modiphius however - and given this and wider developments (the Delta Green game for example) I can't help feeling that the chances of ANYONE getting a license from Chaosium going forward have dropped significantly.

It's entirely sensible looking direction; it doesn't however fill me with confidence there will be anything Chaosium publishes that I want to run, play or buy in a years time. I will be delighted if I'm proved wrong and entirely accepting if I am proved correct.

Cheers,

Nick

# "honest it's RQ6... despite being in (allegedly) 2/3rds the page count with a bucket of Glorantha"

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...hmmm OpenQuest Basic Rules is 157 pages, even GORE rules comes in at 58 pages, so it does make you wonder how stripped back the rules could be.

Still, if you take out magic, combat manuvers, and only have a few spot rules then perhaps it could be done with the MRQ D100 SRD as it has a smaller skill list than BRP BGB. Basically you briefly describe the Standard Skills, and then perhaps handwave the Professional Skills according to genre, and provide a few common examples. If is doesn't use Hit Locations then it would play similar to Renaissance or OpenQuest I suspect.

 

ADDIT:

The BRP Quickstart comes in at 48 pages, and without scenarios it comes to 30 pages...so perhaps BRP Essientials could just be an edit of the BRP Quickstart rules. Given the statement that BRP Essientials will be for those who do not like RuneQuest or Call of Cthulhu, then perhaps the BRP Quickstart could easily live on repackaged as a nice new little slim hardcover. Although this is kind of at odds with streamlining everything, as it will mean that there would now be three different BRP rules variants being published by the same company...

 

Edited by Mankcam
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" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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OQ Basic isn't a stripped down version of the rules, more a selective core (none of the optional rules, a cut down bestary, only battle magic and none of the GM advice chapters), and those 157 pages are US Tradepaper back sized. If I went out of my way I could write a very condenced version of OQ.

Right disengage pedant mode..this isn't about OQ :)

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No sorry you can't have one with out the other imho. How else are the players going to shout "HERE COME THE BABOONS!"* while sitting on the roofs preparing for their attack, and I won't be able include the Battle Magic spell "Avoid Thrown Feaces" :)

 

*Which apparently happened in John Ossoway's game of Apple Lane (now that is old school for you) :)

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It's probably worth noting that the current RuneQuest Essentials is about 200 pages, so a BRP Essentials at 32 pages is hardly going to be a reprint. Moreover, I can't see how it would include all the combat manoeuvres and things like hit locations, let alone the RQ magic systems, so it's unlikely to be the same.

Take RQ Essentials. Drop all cultures save Barbarian; Drop all bar two or three really iconic Careers. Don't explain the options around Combat Styles, just define say six for the included culture / professions and a very limited set of maneuvers / effects. Don't include Magic AT ALL. Include the stats for a few monsters (there are 41 pages in the Creatures chapter alone in the current RQ Essentials and several dozen creatures).

I think creating a stripped down core of the bare bones of the RQ6 mechanics such that one could wrestle Burly Bob and fight the Bear is doable in 32 pages, provided one edits ruthlessly and remains focused on the target that this is NOT a standalone game, it's an intro to a larger game. I.e NOT either the current RQ Essentials nor OQ Basics, but something much closer in spirit to the original 16 page BRP pamphlet - which was NOT the system in Call of Cthulhu or Stormbringer or Hawkmoon or RuneQuest II - but clearly let you grasp those games as they all layered additional complexity / refinements on top of the concepts in the pamphlet.

Cheers,

Nick

 

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A slimmer rulebook sounds good, though 32 pages seems a bit too crammed for my taste. Will supplements without full rules be possible? I guess it boils down to the amount of fluff, as somebody already mentioned, but it will be a bit more challenging. In my eyes, it makes Revolution more tempting to write for, at least before we know what BRP Essentials will contain. 

This move kind of makes BGB a reference tome for writers & tinkers...

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Take RQ Essentials. Drop all cultures save Barbarian; Drop all bar two or three really iconic Careers. Don't explain the options around Combat Styles, just define say six for the included culture / professions and a very limited set of maneuvers / effects. Don't include Magic AT ALL. Include the stats for a few monsters (there are 41 pages in the Creatures chapter alone in the current RQ Essentials and several dozen creatures).

I think creating a stripped down core of the bare bones of the RQ6 mechanics such that one could wrestle Burly Bob and fight the Bear is doable in 32 pages, provided one edits ruthlessly and remains focused on the target that this is NOT a standalone game, it's an intro to a larger game. I.e NOT either the current RQ Essentials nor OQ Basics, but something much closer in spirit to the original 16 page BRP pamphlet - which was NOT the system in Call of Cthulhu or Stormbringer or Hawkmoon or RuneQuest II - but clearly let you grasp those games as they all layered additional complexity / refinements on top of the concepts in the pamphlet.

Cheers,

Nick

 

Seems like a lot of work for whoever to get it done though, and it still wouldn't be directly compatible with their biggest branded game: Call of Cthulhu. My feeling is that a more likely scenario is that they've simply lifted the name 'Essentials', but it's more likely to be the current BRP Quickstart with a new cover and layout. 

Do note that the suggestion we previously had is to open up the entire BRP back catalogue on pdf/pod - including the BRP Gold book. As such, they'll be wanting to keep something with the moniker 'BRP' compatible with all of that stuff. If they incorporate RQ6 stuff, or CoC7E stuff for that matter, it will be a bonus. However, I see it more of an inexpensive nod to BRP players to see the system stay in print somehow.

 

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There are so many versions (free and paid, supported and not) of "d100" out there, what is going to make the world sit up and say "Hey! We want to play that d100 system with those source books!"? Will another round of d100 variations (free and paid) make a difference?

How can I convince the plethora of local players to try something other than D&D or Pathfinder ("Wow", they say, "D&D5 is the best thing evar!", yet ignoring a transformation that forked from D&D in the late 70s - RQ/BRP). The sad thing is that many people are happy to stay in (or are unable to leave) their known comfort zone (which some marketing knows how to manipulate, or circumstances set in stone).

Ironically, Magic World might be one of the better "gateways" into BRP, because it might be the "feel" that your "average" role-player might be able to relate to. But what is going to motivate people to play something different when they only need D&D (which their friends already have and know) to play "D&D" type games? Sometimes "Levels and Classes and Alignments" are all some people need in order to convince themselves they are using their imagination and that they are "roleplaying"; they might not be able to see beyond that.

What made RQ popular and second to D&D in the early days?

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I can see why most continue to "feel the love" trickling from Chaos - Design. Having these beloved books available in SOME format (ANY format) makes it feel like it's still alive.

To me, it feels more like a patient that's been on life support so long, the doctors don't even bother to check in anymore. 

They won't pull the plug because some family members still visit from time to time.

I don't have the energy/love/work invested that many of you do, having only found BRP a few short years ago, but this is still breaking my heart. 

I don't know how I can support a master who merely feeds me scraps from the table with hints of more to come, when I can plainly see the cupboards bare.

I don't know. I love my BRP as is, and if it's not only NOT going to be supported in all its glory, but chopped up into little pieces and labeled "new and improved" or "Essential"...

Don't feed me crap and call it steak. 

Time will tell. It's not impossible that this streamlined version is just a spring board. A way to put books on shelves and make them  better known. Kinda starting over.

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Hmm.... I'm seeing some hope in the sentence "Chaosium will be producing new products based on the new core BRP rules that are neither RuneQuest nor Call of Cthulhu."

Call of Cthulhu is successful, and my guess is that it would land somewhere in the top 10 of most popular role-playing games, probably around 8 or 9. Runequest, somewhere in the top 50. All other BRP combined... wouldn't make the top 100. I may be wrong. That's just my impression based on trying in vain to find local players for a non-Cthulhu, non-Runequest BRP game.

Here's what Call of Cthulhu has that the rest of BRP doesn't: It's got basic and advanced rulebooks tailored to a specific, compelling setting, and it's got a crapload of supplemental material.

If Chaosium wants BRP to be successful, and I'm holding out some hope that they do, it wouldn't be a bad plan to do a hard-boiled detective setting, with complete rules all in the same book, publish 3 to 5 supplements based on that setting, and then see if they get a little bump in sales for that line. And then do the same with Mythic Iceland. And then do the same with... pick one of Magic World, Rubble and Ruin, After the Vampire Wars, [fill in the name of your favorite BRP setting]. Each setting would have its own complete set of rules, not necessarily the same set, along with some rules-free supplements. And the BGB will still be available for people who want to do crossovers or world-building.

I'm not a marketing guru, but I think the BGB doesn't sell because it's not attached to a compelling setting, and the settings supplements don't sell because they don't have complete rules included.

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I know as a writer, that if BRP was available at a mere 32 pages when I wrote BRP Classic Fantasy I would have been overjoyed. I would have been able to include the complete rules in the book and build on it from there. Personally, I like the news that is being provided.

Rod

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