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BRP pitfalls


Dudemeister

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If you are talking traps involving pits, there are several types:

  • A fall onto a hard surface (standard pit) - Does falling damage
  • A fall onto a dangerous surface (Pit with stakes or jagged rock at the bottom) - Does falling damage plus the damage of the stake, normally +1D6 or + 1D8
  • A fall into a pool of acid (Pit with acid or a gorp at the bottom) - Does acid damage to all locations
  • A fall with a wailing void or something similar at the bottom - Adventurer vanishes never to be seen again

They all involve a Spot Traps/Perception roll to see and a Jumping/Athletics roll to avoid. For me, they lose their interest after a few goes, as with all traps.

 

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I think he is referring to problems new GMs have when they first run BRP. I haven't played CoC (and don't know how it compares) but as a newbie myself I often forget to check for major wounds in combat. Also remember if a character should (in their society) be able to normally do something, don't make them roll for it.  Took me a while to realize that...

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Check out our homebrew rules for freeform magic in BRP ->

No reason for Ars Magica players to have all the fun!

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When it's time for actions, players will often stop and study their character sheet, which slows things down and tends to make their responses less creative.  Encourage them to just call out actions without worrying too much about their skills.  Only call for rolls when it makes the game exciting.

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I think the title for this thread should be "Common Pitfalls with BRP"

Every game has pitfalls, although I feel BRP has less than most, but I am bias.

I think the most common pitfall is under estimating the lethality of the system. Injuries can impair and death can happen quickly, so if porting classic dungeon crawls to RQ/BRP then tone down the number of foes, and always look for creative non-combat solutions. When combat does occur, it should be pivotal.

I also think try not to replicate tropes and classes for BRP characters (unless using the Classic Fantasy rules). Certain characters will have particular strengths, but they will all be a bit more fuzzy around the edges and not fit into strict archetype structure. 

I totally agree with Chaot and Baulderstone. In BRP games, the character sheet follows as a backup to what the player wants a character to do, not the other way around like in many other games. The charm of the game mechanics not intruding upon the flow of the narrative has always been a strength of the BRP system.

(As a tip for newbie players, the GM can always keep the character sheets, and just hand the players index cards with a few narrative details like background, strengths, flaws, notable skills, and a character portrait on the other side. No actual game mechanic stats. Show them the actual character sheet when a roll is made so they can become more familar over a few sessions. That way the players will behave more like actors rather than wargamers).

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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 Remember everyone can do everything, even if not well. The player with 5% world history just might roll a 01% and save the day.

  Or the player with the worst combat score might score the lucky hit. Just ask any trollkin with a 10% skill in throw rock skill what can happen in combat.

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3 hours ago, Mankcam said:

I think the most common pitfall is under estimating the lethality of the system. Injuries can impair and death can happen quickly, so if porting classic dungeon crawls to RQ/BRP then tone down the number of foes, and always look for creative non-combat solutions. When combat does occur, it should be pivotal.

Good advice. Another thing to consider is the have opponents actually value their lives as well. In most RPGs, NPCs attack relentlessly. Six orc bandits might attack the PCs. Even after the three of them have been cut down by the PCs, the other three keep on attacking. Have NPCs that run away when the odds look bad or that beg for mercy. If an hired guard takes a big hit, have him go down and hope the PCs leave him alone, even if he is mechanically capable of fighting.

Of course, there will be fanatical and driven opponents who do fight to the last man, but by only doing it when it makes sense, it actually takes on significance to the players. Rather than taking if for granted, players will wonder what motivation made these NPCs so willing to sacrifice their lives 

Granted, this advice could apply to a lot of games, but it carries extra weight in games like BRP where combat is for keeps. 

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As Baulderstone state . In BRP surrender both for the bad guys and the players is always an option. Make sure players know or encourage to both take prisoners  and surrender if the odds are against them.

 I never understood why in most RPG slavery is bad and evil but slaughtering the bad guys to the last infant is OK.

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Thank you for your elaborate posts. Must say, you make it easy to feel right at home here. 

  • Not to default to death match
  • Character sheets second
  • Emphasis on less restricitve character creation
  • Check for major wounds

As you mentioned that players might have a different approach to BRP than to D&D, has anyone of you encountered difficulties transitioning from D&D to BRP?

We are playing in the same world since 2009 and changed systems every 2 years or so. Until now all those systems we're D&Desque - 3.5/Pathfinder, Dungeon Slayers, Iron Kingdoms RPG. 

 

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Welcome to this forum. You will find it is generally quite a hospitable place, probably on account of a large number  of our members generally being quite mature and centred in their posts. Most of the time we bicker over issues that would rarely turn up in other 'gaming' forums heh heh

Getting back to your situation, if you are trying to adhere to strict archetypes then the 'Classic Fantasy' monograph ports classes to BRP. The monograph is being reprinted as a high quality new edition supplement for the Mythras system (previously RQ6).

Having said that, it is easy enough to stat up characters as analogies to their D&D counterparts. However the trick may be porting across Feats, as many of these abilities are encompassed in high level skills instead.

The biggest difficulty is more from a GM perspective with toning down the high numbers of 'fodder' NPCs that exist in D&D dungeon grinds.

Characters in RQ and BRP don't have all that many hit points to spare, and healing happens much more slowly, typically weekly natural healing rolls unless magic is involved. The amount of hit points recovered on these occasions is also not large.

So the combat system can end up being quite gritty, especially if using the Hit Locations option (although the default Major Wound option is still gritty at times). This means combat is visceral, and great when it occurs.

The consequences of such often lead experienced players to choose creative ways to overcome threats rather than direct force. If they don't learn to do this quickly, then you'll find it difficult to continue a campaign when all the main characters are maimed or already dead.

 

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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Having now understood the question rather than being too literal ...

Make sure the party has plenty of healing, whether healing magic, potions or whatever, BRP is quite deadly for people used to D&D or other games and it is very easy to underestimate the attrition of many minor hits, if using general hit points, or a big hit if using hit locations.

Numbers count - if you are badly outnumbered then you are generally going to lose, so move around a lot to reduce any advantage the NPCs have.

Missiles can be deadly - A good archer can take out your whole party in a few rounds, if they are lucky. Get missile weapons yourself and use them. Hide behind shields or run zigzag to avoid being shot at.

Magic is key - forget the idea of only wizards or clerics using magic, in some settings everyone uses magic. Learn magic and you will prosper, don't and you will fade away/

 

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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8 hours ago, Dudemeister said:

As you mentioned that players might have a different approach to BRP than to D&D, has anyone of you encountered difficulties transitioning from D&D to BRP?

 

I've only been coming to this forum since October, and it is one of the friendliest places to talk about RPGs that I have ever found online. 

To answer your question, not really. My first RPG was D&D B/X back when I was in middle school. After a couple of years of that with some AD&D thrown in, my best friend picked up the early BRP game Stormbringer 1st Ed. There was universal consensus among my gaming friends that everything about it just made so much more sense. While we never played BRP exclusively from that point, we never played another game of D&D for the rest of my years at school. 

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Just a few thoughts...

Get used to the Scars - Embrace those severed limbs and poked out eyes. In some games, losing a limb or an eye will really make your life miserable. However a one armed half blind archer can easily become a javelinman instead of a bowman. So embrace those scars as part of your story.  If you as the GM make the game enjoyable for folks missing parts, the race for high level healing magic will not be so necessary.

Its deadly.. not as deadly as Cyberpunk - When I came to RQ/BRP games I had played a few different games. One of them was Cyberpunk. Love that system and its very deadly. I know Paranoia also has a high body count as do some other games, but BRP is not, IMHO as deadly as those games. I feel it properly balances grit and good times.

Try it with curry - I had not issue coming over from D&D and other games and did not let those games color my impressions of BRP. Instead I looked for the similarities and differences and sought to understand the different design ideas. Of course even then I had an eye towards game design, but still the differences are significant but hardly difficult to overcome. The same skills of knowing when to ask and not ask for a roll still apply.

Warm up some new dice - I had a favorite d20 I used for AD&D/D&D-BX. I put it aside entirely when I switched to RQ/BRP games. I had (until my lil dragon lost them) a green and yellow single digits d10s that I used. A new game is a new excuse to get new dice into the pool.

 

Its 2300hrs, do you know where your super dreadnoughts are?

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Now I am very eager to get the new campaign going. Hopefully the players will feel a smooth transition into, what I would describe as, a more forcussed game. 

Since you all wrote the interesting parts I wont bore with a wall-of-text on every entry, though know that I really appreciated what I've read. 

By the way is this board the place to discuss houserules? The campaign will get some and I like to have someone look over it.

PS: I feel legit now since my hardcopies have arrived. Difficult to get in Germany.

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54 minutes ago, Dudemeister said:

Now I am very eager to get the new campaign going. Hopefully the players will feel a smooth transition into, what I would describe as, a more forcussed game. 

Since you all wrote the interesting parts I wont bore with a wall-of-text on every entry, though know that I really appreciated what I've read. 

By the way is this board the place to discuss houserules? The campaign will get some and I like to have someone look over it.

PS: I feel legit now since my hardcopies have arrived. Difficult to get in Germany.

 

Those are good books to start off with - You have a lot of magic there and can write up cults very easily with the Magic Book.

This is definitely the place to talk about House Rules. Fairly often people have tried and used/discarded many house rules, so it is worth raising things for us to say what worked for us or what utterly failed for us.

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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And feel free to discuss what home brew goodness worked for you! There's a lot of house rule supplements in the downloads section that might be useful or inspire your own ideas as well! The members here are awesome about sharing stuff!

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By "default" BRP assumes (as compared to D&D) more combat-lethality and less healing than D&D; hit-locations in particular accentuate this... and are often either a favorite/popular or a much-hated difference from "good ol' D&D".

But the "Big Gold Book" is the toolkit with all the tweaks -- easy enough to up the availability of healing magic, for example!

 

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6 hours ago, g33k said:

By "default" BRP assumes (as compared to D&D) more combat-lethality and less healing than D&D;

 

That makes a simple episode like for example hunting a cave bear or even an alpha wolf a very exciting adventure full of suspense and adrenalin. This added to the fact that there are less archetypes and that each species or race can provide all kinds of opponents, makes of BRP of game that does not require a thick monster catalogue (although it can cope very well with it) to create a feeling of danger and surprise.

Wind on the Steppes, role playing among the steppe Nomads. The  running campaign and the blog

 

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I will re-phrase somethign that Chaot has already explained:

  • Read page 175 of the core book very carefully. It contains great instructions about when to call for a skill roll, and when to skip it. Follow those instruction to avoid excess skill rolls that might annoy or confuse players coming from D&D.

Furthermore, I see you are going to use the Magic Book. The magic systems in it are good for a high fantasy game but a bit different from the D&D magic your group is used to. If you go for that kind of magic, also keep in mind what follows:

  • Be liberal with magic and let players learn a lot of it. They will need it.
  • The "one-use for initiates" rule for Divine Magic has been found broken by 90% or more of players. Instead of repeating the same mistakes of those who played before you, houserule it away from start and allow initiates to regain their spells once per year or season.
  • Sorcery requires some time to understand how it actually works, and careful thinking about how to build your magician; the rules produce a kind of wizard whot is extremely different from your average D&D spellcaster, one who cannot rely on direct attack spells but can create incredibly powerful constructs, and who has a great dependance on magic items: rob him of his enchanted stuff, and he becomes powerless; all of these elements together are perfect if you wish to create a seclusive necromancer who only goes adventuring when he has no other options, but a bit less perfect when your players expect their wizard to be a fireball slinger as it happens in D&D.

Last but not least: how was your experience with Dungeon Slayers?

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The divine rules struck me as a little odd. Having read RQ3, I guess it is that harsh to fit RQ's style of world.

 

Dungeon Slayers (free)

• Quick to learn, easy to houserule

• Very nice and active developer

• Elegant roll (d20, roll under but as high as possible)

• Almost rogue-like combat (unreliable actions, variance kills all plans)

• 2 groups 2 campaigns (60 sessions, 12 sessions), both were the player's favorites - but not for the system

• I don't want to play it ever again. 

 

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Animals-as-viable-foes can sometimes lead to some kinds of frustration, though... indeed ANY foes the players are used to plowing through as a "trivial" challenge can become a sign that the new game is "under-powered" or "less heroic".

I once ran a D&D campaign (actually one large/complex multi-session adventure-arc) based around foes that were "half man" creatures like minotaurs &c... all based off of domesticated herbivores, turned monstrous/carnivorous.  Gorgons instead of dragons, etc...  Some of my players from that arc are still active, 20-ish years later; others remarked after the arc, "I can't believe we just spent 10 sessions on COWS!" and I never saw them again.  So be sure your players who want to FEEL "heroic" can do so... or if you plan on "grittier" (something RQ/d100 is (legitimately) lauded for), make sure the players sign on for THAT!

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The Magic Book is really best viewed as The Glorantha Magic Book. It's the rules for how magic works in that setting. That isn't to suggest that you can't transplant them to another setting though. 

One of BRP's strengths is that it has a great variety of flavorful magic systems. You are already familiar with Call of Cthulhu, to provide another example. D&D has had a large number of setting, but except for a tweak here and there, you have the same basic wizards and clerics casting the same basic spells in all of them. BRP settings are a lot more likely to have magic built from the ground up for that setting. Once you build up a library of BRP books, you have a rich variety of magic systems to use. Magic World and Advanced Sorcery provide nine more magic systems all by themselves. Elric of Melnibone for MRQII has four more.

Unlike D&D, there isn't a lot of thought put into balance. These systems are designed to work the way the designer sees magic working in the setting. Without classes and levels, balance doesn't mean a whole lost anyway. Even within the same setting, magic systems often aren't balanced against each other. In Glorantha, sorcery is just really powerful. So why aren't all PC spellcasters sorcerers? Because magic usually have social connotations in BRP settings. Sorcery is frowned on in a lot of parts of the world, and your social connections matter a lot in RuneQuest. Following Divine Magic and joining an accepted cult is going to have a lot of perks that being a recluse sorcerer isn't going to get you. 

Part of the fun of BRP is being able to pick and choose between all these systems, not just picking based on powers, but thinking about their place in the setting and how they are perceived. How do they different types of practitioners see one another? Are there institutions that teach this kind of magic, or is it hidden? You can get all kinds of campaign ideas simply thinking about the ways various magic types could interact in a world.  

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