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Chaosium's Latest Statement on BRP


fmitchell

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BRP Essentials sounds encouraging, though I hope it doesn't share the same mechanical changes to BRP that are found in CoC7e. That would kill my interest in any of the products that it supports, and spell the end of my interest in Chaosium as a publisher. Which would be a bummer.

But, on the positive side, I'd have more spare cash to throw at Arc Dream, and what products they release to support the new Delta Green... or at Cakebread & Walton... or other publishers that use a BRP core closer to my preference.

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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

This is the beauty thing about BRP, as is. People like you can pull from it what they need/want for their projects. CF rocks for people who want D&D nostalgia or make it easier to bring previous D&D players into the light, while using the superior (IMO) system. If you can chop it down by 360 pages and still have that versatility I'll be genuinely surprised and extremely apologetic. I know there's a LOT of fluff in the big book but sheesh. :)

Just seems to me having the core book with a good generic system is prime real-estate for building and selling different genres off of it. 

My Pen-n-paper group wanted to play a fantasy game so I bought Magic World, Magic the Book, Advanced Sorcery, Witchcraft, Enlightened Magic, and Classic Fantasy.

Now they want to play a more modern genre, so I bought Modern Equipment Catalog and Rubble & Ruin. Would have bought more if I found some that I thought would help run the campaign. 

All of these in 2-3 years time.

Maybe I'm a minority, but how is that not attractive to a company? 

Sorry I rambled on. Like I said....heart broken. :)

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This is the beauty thing about BRP, as is. People like you can pull from it what they need/want for their projects. CF rocks for people who want D&D nostalgia or make it easier to bring previous D&D players into the light, while using the superior (IMO) system. If you can chop it down by 360 pages and still have that versatility I'll be genuinely surprised and extremely apologetic. I know there's a LOT of fluff in the big book but sheesh. :)

Just seems to me having the core book with a good generic system is prime real-estate for building and selling different genres off of it. 

My Pen-n-paper group wanted to play a fantasy game so I bought Magic World, Magic the Book, Advanced Sorcery, Witchcraft, Enlightened Magic, and Classic Fantasy.

Now they want to play a more modern genre, so I bought Modern Equipment Catalog and Rubble & Ruin. Would have bought more if I found some that I thought would help run the campaign. 

All of these in 2-3 years time.

Maybe I'm a minority, but how is that not attractive to a company? 

Sorry I rambled on. Like I said....heart broken. :)

I'm with you on this. I get what they're doin but when books like Savage World which is crazy popular have done what brp had done and successfully, it disappoints me to see Moon Design cutting it back to a mere 32 pages. I can't imagine there will be a playable genre in that booklet without having to fork out more money on who knows how many books that may or may not see the light of day with where their priorities are.

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This seems like mixed but overall good news to me. The BGB is still going to be available as a PDF and Print on Demand. Chaosium's going to publish a quick-start version of the rules, which will help bring more people to the system. The quick-start version can be packaged with other products, allowing them to be standalone products, which are more marketable and will allow Chaosium to take more risks and perhaps strike gold with a particularly compelling setting. Chaosium has committed to coming out with at least two new BRP products--a revised Mythic Iceland and the noir detective setting.

Given that the BRP line is not selling particularly well--which we already knew--I think this is the best news we could hope for.

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Even with Chaotic Moon-Eyed Designers' flagship products, Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest, distribution and marketing is and has been a problem.  It is THE problem.  These venerable titles may be two of the most popular and most played games "evar" historically, but today -- right now -- if you're not already an old fart gamer like me you probably don't know they exist or ever existed.  You are unlikely to have seen them on shelves at your local game shop, wouldn't know how to get copies if you did somehow learn of them, and there are a pile of competing titles that kind of do the same thing that are much more accessible.

CoC was the original horror game and the gateway for many to Lovecraft's actual stories.  Great, but now there are several other Lovecraftian games to choose from produced by publishers with enough pep to get them before potential customers' eyes.  It isn't unique and special anymore, unless its publishers work hard to make it so.  Most of that glorious 30-year back catalog for it is long out of print.  You could find some of those supplements on Amazon.com at inflated prices -- if you know the core product exists, have had a chance to play and get hooked on it, and are motivated and wealthy enough to hunt them down.

That's why my mantra since joining these boards has been, "Get out of the Cthulhu ghetto."  I saw the BRP renaissance as a way for Chaosium to escape from dependence on only one product, and a hoary one at that, by using its generic system to show off what the game can really do, to explore new genres and create exciting new product.  Well, the exciting new product got created, but since most of it wasn't advertised and was available solely on Chaosium's website, it "didn't sell."

RuneQuest?  Didn't that die after the Avalon Hill fiasco?  Oh, but wait.  Most of today's gamers and potential customers have never heard of RuneQuest, or of Avalon Hill, or Issaries, or HeroQuest, or Glorantha, or Chaosium.  They don't know that a shiny new RQ version exists or that it provides exciting fantasy role-playing possibilities.  As with CoC, the title is almost impossible to find at one's local store, and there has been no appreciable advertising.  RuneQuest can no longer "wallow in its elitism."  It must be rabidly promoted for today's gamers to recognize that it is somehow better than D&D/Pathfinder and to be willing to pay that $60 price to experience it.

The 32-page BRP Essentials could be the entryway to brief genre books the same way FATE Accelerated is.  But Chaosium already had the opportunity to take that route with the Big Gold Book and with BRP QuickStart.  And they muffed it.  What is there to make me think that they'll do a better job the second time around?

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Let us put things into perspective...

Like many of you I have mixed feelings about the latest Chaosium developments. While I look forward to more Mythic Iceland goodness, Gloranthan RQ and general influx of new blood and new ideas, I lament the loss of MW, the end of the Alephtar license, and Ben not being with Chaosium anymore.

Even with those negatives, the situation is MUCH better than it was, say, around 2002-2005. Let's turn back the clock...

- Chaosium was already in a rather bad financial situation. 

- Call of Cthulhu was the ONLY supported d100 game, and it had gone largely d20 around 2002!

- After the publication of the fifth edition in 2001, Stormbringer remained unsupported (except for the sole third party Corum supplement), with Michael Moorcock publicly lamenting that the license was mishandled.

- RuneQuest was a ghost of the past. Nothing was in sight for it. We would have to wait 2006 to rejoice for a new version of RQ, a version that came out of a farcical playtest and whose combat system was simply broken in the most basic sense (as in "you can't play that"). I'm speaking of MRQ1, which has many merits, but not that of being a sleek implementation of d100.

- Glorantha was supported via the rather ugly and enigmatic HeroWars. I still remember the bonus maps in the boxed set... oh dear!

-Obviously, without MRQ's SRD there was no GORE, no OpenQuest, no Renaissance, Nothing. Zilch. Nada. No Alephtar, no d101 games, no Design Mechanism. Nothing to see here, move along!

- We would have to wait 2008 to buy the uncorrected proofs of the BRP book. Uncorrected proofs! No, I mean, there were sentences that would not end. We would have to wait I don't know how much longer to play 'In Search of the Trollslayer" with pre-generated characters that got the BRP magic rules wrong!

If we survived that, we can survive BRP essentials, MW being unsupported and CoC7's unnecessary but largely innocuous innovations. I'm sure!

;-)

Smiorgan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by smiorgan
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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 

To me, 2 is only viable if they continue to utilize the "normal" BRP rules. Otherwise you get a disconnect between the Essentials book, and the more advanced options. Now, they could revise the BGB also, tuning it with whatever core they decide on, but this would be a fairly large undertaking, probably on par with Jason's original effort. 

SDLeary

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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! :)

I think BRP Essentials is ok. If they chose Worlds of Wonder, it would have to be much larger or part of a set, in order to give examples of said worlds. 

SDLeary

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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...

 

I hope this will be the case, with a BRP Companion (all the additional bits from the BGB) to follow. However with their effort to not only recover the RuneQuest trademark, but the actual game as well, I'm not going to celebrate until I see a product. 

SDLeary

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no d101 games,


 

NOoooooooooooooooo! That doesn't bear thinking about does it :)

Actually, being a pedant again, there would have been a D101 Games, except we'd be almost exclusively story gaming, mainly HQ Glorantha/ WordPlay and Monkey, which is my main reason for doing D101, would have came out a heck of a lot earlier.   That MRQ SRD has a lot to answer for ;)

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Head Honcho of D101 Games
Publisher of Crypts and Things/Monkey/OpenQuest/River of Heaven
The Sorcerer Under the Mountain

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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?

With MW, RQ2, and RQ6, the world that they ship with is really just a thin veneer in order to give examples to the rules. This can be stripped away so that someone who buys them can use them in virtually any realm that they want. Thus, good gateways to the systems. This is the same way Wizards and TSR treat the core books of D&D. 

RQ: Glorantha sounds like its going to be the exact opposite of this philosophy. A system tightly intertwined with the world represented. This will be a turn off to those looking for a good system to play their own world with, or to those who are still intimidated by Glorantha.  

SDLeary

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Given that the BRP line is not selling particularly well--which we already knew--I think this is the best news we could hope for.

You see, the issue was probably do to lack of trying, probably due to financial constraints (and if I've been reading right there was probably something other than lackluster sales to contribute).

I think the core lineup was solid. 

The new Chaosium could have stuck with the games that the company had. If they wanted to recover the RQ trademark they could have even done that and slapped it on a customized version of MW, leaving Pete and Loz with their core game; call it Ancient Adventures or something.They could have pushed and promoted and marketed the new revisions, something that the old Chaosium had not done in quite some time. 

SDLeary

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Even with Chaotic Moon-Eyed Designers' flagship products, Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest, distribution and marketing is and has been a problem.  It is THE problem.  ...<snip>

This in spades.

Seneschal also metnioned FATE at the bottom of the post. Seriously guys, look at what Evil Hat has done in the last few years. I'm not sure about where you are, but all my FLGS have a FATE section. With the core books, the supplements, often with the other FATE powered games nearby. With the dice, the fiction and spin-off board and card games. Why are they successful? Why has FATE grown so much? Its a really fun game, but I don't think its a fundamentally better game than BRP.

But they MARKET AND PROMOTE!

SDLeary

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because some things are just geek-cool, such as Bowties, Fezes, Nathan Filion, Polydice, Monte Cook, and Patrick Stewart

and Fred Hicks is very cool, apparently

 

Actually, joking aside, popularity is a factor to consider. If you get Wil Wheaton to promote your game on his Geek n Sundry show 'Tabletop' then it will likely sell via market exposure and his own personal fun factor with the system.

But do the games become popular because he showcases them, or are they already popular and then he showcases them? That is a big question

But SDLeary is certainly right, in addition to a high quality production value, you need to wage a heavy promotion war in order to break into an oversaturated market

Hopefully Moon Design has the energy for this where the previous Chaosium Management may have been lagging. Moon Design did exceptionally well with the G2G, so lets see if they can continue the Midas touch...

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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Both Call of Cthulhu and BRP got loving attention from the Game Geeks broadcast on YouTube.  As to Moon Design energy, I've read about their products but I've never actually seen them in a store. Ditto Sandy Peterson's Cthulhu Wars -- and my local game shops AND Barnes & Noble have a slew of other Lovecraftian board games.  But nothing from Chaosium, Moon Design, et. al.  They've got a lot of creative types but what they need is a ruthless, determined salesman on the team.

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With MW, RQ2, and RQ6, the world that they ship with is really just a thin veneer in order to give examples to the rules. This can be stripped away so that someone who buys them can use them in virtually any realm that they want. Thus, good gateways to the systems. This is the same way Wizards and TSR treat the core books of D&D. 

The problem is when people "the masses" do not (cannot, will not) see past a thin veneer. What D&D promises (or used to promise) is a generic Tolkien-type world (even if it is not that, it seems to be what it is assumed to be). Which is something that most people can relate to via popular culture. This has extended onto WoW, which now partially defines the popular culture that people expect, assume and want to relate to. Again, I am generalising, but this seems to represent the bulk of what I observe, and what defines current popular culture.

Is it true that most people like and feel more comfortable to "level up" rather than hand-craft a more granular and "realistic" character?

We assume that most people want to or are capable (and aware in the first place) to strip away a thin veneer to get at a system they can use for other things. I think most people in this forum take that for granted and do it all the time (as meta-gamers, writers, experienced GMs, with a broad and worldly view). I am guessing that a lot of other people want something out-of-the-box that is closer to their expectation and assumption (and ease of entry).

CF+ BRP Essentials would provide both a good set of flexible rules and the D&D WORLD feel. How can I convince others to try this, when they can do this "world" in D&D and have the perceived advantages of; friends have it, already 'popular', tons of books they can spend money on for prefabricated books just like their friends have where they don't have to think for themselves or be as creative, they can level-up and create a character without having to be as imaginative in a war-gamey kind of way? Savage worlds benefits from this as well.

It is golden when you find a person who, after showing them something other than D&D, says excitedly: "What? You mean I don't have to be limited by Class, and I can create a character just like my heroes in books and movies?". None of this imagination killing discussion of: "So, is Conan a fighter/thief multi-class?". This isn't to say that D&D and its way of playing is bad (it makes some game styles easier). To me it is bad when it becomes the only thing people know and they are unable to see outside it and make a choice.

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Marketing -> Appeal to, or shape popular culture and social assumptions.

Pathfinder Society seems remarkably active. I have seen them give talks about "what is role-playing" but only provide PFRPG as the example, which is either honestly naive, or done with a conscientious (and ultimately disingenuous - what if a potential player wants something else?) agenda.

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dragonnewt, what you've said is unfortunately true. Most d20 games (not all!) are so focused on one aspect of the system, that being combat, that most people will build their characters to rock out in combat but have very little skills for doing anything else. This is not always the case, but most people in d20 settings focus more on how quickly they can kill something rather than on how they can convince the prince to allow them to cross his territory to get to the famous blacksmith in his capitol. High role-playing just doesn't seem to be what people want, which is unfortunate. I deal with a group of min/maxers (or munchkins if you prefer that term) so they min/max their encounters to try and challenge everyone and that is a common theme in all d20 systems.

If Chaosium wants to succeed with this new version of BRP they are going to have to be out there promoting their new system. Sure they have the new gamemaster volunteer program, but they may need to do more. There are other low cost options they can exploit but it will take work. Flexibility may not be enough for a gamer culture that is used to a black and white way of character building and role-playing. A new campaign of rpg "enlightenment" may need to happen which will require everyone that loves the system out there promoting the d100 game they love, BRP or otherwise.

Now this may be different outside of North America, but there's a reason why d20 game continue to succeed. People want to go in an bash the orcs skull in rather than talk to it to get the prisoners back. It'll be a tough road, but if the new Chaosium can get out there (or any company) and actively promote their products outside of the general rpg niche on the internet and convention circuit, not meaning just d20 systems, then there is hope.

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Now this may be different outside of North America, but there's a reason why d20 game continue to succeed. People want to go in an bash the orcs skull in rather than talk to it to get the prisoners back.

All I've got are anecdotes but I'm in a weekly Pathfinder group and that hasn't been the case at all. We've recently went months without a single combat. There IS one guy who is a min-maxer... so he's ready for combat... but even he seems to be fine with all the non-violent stuff we've been getting up to. The actual play doesn't feel that different than I'd expect to see in my Magic World game.

What I DO notice is that the GM is HEAVILY invested in all those Pathfinder books... and other folks in the group have bought some of them as well. They're also subscribed to Hero Labs (the GM doesn't seem to be able to run the game without it).

I've tried gently suggesting other games... Dungeon Crawl Classics seems like a decent baby step away from PF... but I might as well be speaking Swahili.

Paizo and third party vendors shovel out the product, people buy it... and then are loathe to try other systems when they look over and see all that product they bought sitting on the shelf.

In the end though, as much as we might like and prefer BRP, the people we play with are FAR more important to enjoying time at the table than what rules we're using.

Edited by Simlasa
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The problem is when people "the masses" do not (cannot, will not) see past a thin veneer. What D&D promises (or used to promise) is a generic Tolkien-type world (even if it is not that, it seems to be what it is assumed to be). Which is something that most people can relate to via popular culture. This has extended onto WoW, which now partially defines the popular culture that people expect, assume and want to relate to. Again, I am generalising, but this seems to represent the bulk of what I observe, and what defines current popular culture.

Is it true that most people like and feel more comfortable to "level up" rather than hand-craft a more granular and "realistic" character?

We assume that most people want to or are capable (and aware in the first place) to strip away a thin veneer to get at a system they can use for other things. I think most people in this forum take that for granted and do it all the time (as meta-gamers, writers, experienced GMs, with a broad and worldly view). I am guessing that a lot of other people want something out-of-the-box that is closer to their expectation and assumption (and ease of entry).

CF+ BRP Essentials would provide both a good set of flexible rules and the D&D WORLD feel. How can I convince others to try this, when they can do this "world" in D&D and have the perceived advantages of; friends have it, already 'popular', tons of books they can spend money on for prefabricated books just like their friends have where they don't have to think for themselves or be as creative, they can level-up and create a character without having to be as imaginative in a war-gamey kind of way? Savage worlds benefits from this as well.

It is golden when you find a person who, after showing them something other than D&D, says excitedly: "What? You mean I don't have to be limited by Class, and I can create a character just like my heroes in books and movies?". None of this imagination killing discussion of: "So, is Conan a fighter/thief multi-class?". This isn't to say that D&D and its way of playing is bad (it makes some game styles easier). To me it is bad when it becomes the only thing people know and they are unable to see outside it and make a choice.

Yes, but this IS what RQ2 and D&D had , or at least one of the things that they had in the early days. Something that had enough background to get things running, but could be ignored if desired. Thus they were loosely tied to their settings.

Has the user base changed somewhat? Yes, today the audience is slightly more mainstream, and much less the geek, nerd, or grognard intelligentsia of those early days. Can this new audience see past the veneer? I think they can. They are still doing it, though to a lesser extent with D&D. But it will be much harder for them to strip out Glorantha from RQ:Glorantha if it is intertwined as much as Chaosium/MD is describing. What if someone wants to use RQ for Tekumel? Do they have to wait for someone to make a customized game using the RQ rules (assuming Chaosium/MD will license them anymore) or will they be able to use what they already bought and readily adapt it.

As far as the other things you mentioned, I think we might actually be talking on slightly different tangents at this point, either that or I'm very tired, which is a possibility.

SDLeary

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Marketing -> Appeal to, or shape popular culture and social assumptions.

Pathfinder Society seems remarkably active. I have seen them give talks about "what is role-playing" but only provide PFRPG as the example, which is either honestly naive, or done with a conscientious (and ultimately disingenuous - what if a potential player wants something else?) agenda.

No, their approach is valid. They started by courting the disenfranchised D&D 3/3.5 crowd, and have largely been riding this since. And its not unusual for a company to only talk about its own product, at least in public demonstrations and marketing materials. In fact they are often required to only talk about their own product. If someone has a need that can't be met by a product, the marketing guys generally go back over what their product does offer, and if the person is still not convinced, then the last response is normally, "then perhaps out product is not for you", or if you get a good marketing guy, his card so that you can email him and he can provide you a response out of public earshot.

SDLeary

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Hmmm...

They've told us something, but have they really told us anything? They've dropped some names and titles and muddied the waters--we're certainly speculating here in this thread. Is that mission accomplished? I dunno. There's something odd about this blog-post. I'm not sure yet what it is...maybe it's the disappointment at no mention of MW or its promised supplements? Too, there's something odd about a BGB that is "...no longer necessary and will remain out of print", but an "Essentials" version that will be produced; as well as BRP products that will be developed based on "...new core BRP rules". The statement that these core rules are "...neither RuneQuest or Call of Cuthulhu" is comforting; indeed, I want BRP to remain its own entity but...is that what's being said here? If we have the BGB with all the rules therein, why do we need new ones? Is it simply to mock the trend? Curiouser and curiouser.

Too little, too late; too much, too early? The hand is faster than the eye? The blind are simply leading the blind? Have I been welcomed back into the family or told to shut the f#<k up? I'm gonna have to think on this...this..."development" before I decide. 

In the meantime, I eagerly await Paolo and the Revolution while I mourn Magic World.

"We still live" said John Carter. Oh, yes; we still live.

Cheers,

 

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Present home-port: home-brew BRP/OQ SRD variant; past ports-of-call: SB '81, RQIII '84, BGB '08, RQIV(Mythras) '12,  MW '15, and OQ '17

BGB BRP: 0 edition: 20/420; .pdf edition: 06/11/08; 1st edition: 06/13/08

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