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clarence

[BRP Space] Core Rules Question

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Hi all, as some of you know BRP Space (formerly BRP Starships) has been put on hold for a while. To make a long story short, I've been waiting for the new BRP Essentials to be announced. In the meantime I have improved the book as much as possible and my plan was to have an early copy of BRPE for developers by now. 

I also set this summer as a deadline for the book and for a couple of weeks now I have restarted my attempts to get a license for the core rules. I've been in contact with both Chaosium and The Design Mechanism. The result, as I see it, is two options: 

1. Wait for BRP Essentials to be released, without really knowing what it will look like. Release time unknown - perhaps 6 months (my own best guess). 

2. Go for Mythras Imperative, available now, making a few changes to adapt BRP Space to that ruleset. 

I have slowly come to the conclusion that I don't want to wait, and that Mythras Imperative is a very good option. But as many of you here on the forums have been involved in the creation and discussion on the book, I want to extend this question to you. Is Mythras Imperative a good choice for you as the core of the book?

Let me know how you feel about all this. 

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Like you said, Mythras is here now and you know what you're getting. Unfortunately, BRP Essentials could be a long way off and it will not be the BRP from BGB, that we know and love. I have recently been giving Mythras more attention, it's a crunchier version of BRP, but it is quite awesome and it has great support.

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Actually, Clarence, you have three options :) Even more than three, if you consider that OpenQuest is still out there, and has shown it is perfectly capable of supporting sci-fi.

After reminding you about that, I have to say that if the choice is for some reasons restricted to BRPE and Mythras, I would suggest Mythras. But this is only my very personal opinion.

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My feeling is that BRP Essentials will be more like CoC than RQ when it eventually arrives. The core CoC system (without magic, monsters, etc.) can be easily distilled into a small number of pages.

As for your choice, Mythras Imperative provides a nice base for a modern/sci-fi game. Also, OpenQuest (an OGL game so you can base your own stuff on it without a license) is a possibility. It's based on MRQ1 but is much simpler than Mythras. There are fewer skills, three combat skills (ranged, close combat, unarmed) and no hit locations. OQ seems to try and create a hybrid of the classic BRP games published by Games Workshop: RuneQuest 2nd Edition, Stormbringer 3rd Edition, and the 96 page GW RuneQuest 3rd Edition core book. I like it a lot but I prefer simpler iterations of BRP like CoC and Stormbringer.

I see a lot of threads about Mythras/RQ6 which seems to be a popular BRP choice at the moment. Also, the games based on MRQ1 (of which Mythras is one) are all largely similar (and similar to BRP) so it can be easily ported to other variants.

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I had all four on my shortlist, but narrowed it down to the hottest candidates for this thread : )

With all variables counted, Mythras seemed like the best choice to me. BRPE is quite hard to know where it's going, so Revolution and OpenQuest actually feel like safer bets at this time. 

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5 hours ago, clarence said:

I have slowly come to the conclusion that I don't want to wait

I think you should do what's best for you to get your book out there. I'd agree that you've got an unknown commodity waiting for the release of BRPE, and when all is said and done, perhaps it won't be a good fit. Hard to know, and you'll have more waiting to do before you'll have an idea. Time wasted waiting, I think.

Quote

... I want to extend this question to you. Is Mythras Imperative a good choice for you as the core of the book?

Not me personally - but that's because it's too complex for my needs, and the fact that I don't like the combat action / special effect economy any more. But that's just me, and there are plenty of RQ6/Mythras fans out there that would eat it up.

An OpenQuest 'backbone' would be interesting, and something that I might utilize as-is. A Revolution D100 compatible-product would absolutely repel me.

Saying that though, I'd still be tempted to buy BRP Space, regardless of system used. I liked what I'd read of it months ago. I'd just be more inclined to scrape out much of the mechanical guts and substitute something more like OpenQuest, the BGB, or a tweaked version of CoC6e.

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I realize some people find Mythras combat too complex, that's one of the things I will want to discuss with Lawrence and Pete. For my next release, Odd Soot (with a 1930s magical mystery sci-fi slant), this is even more important. I hope to provide simplified rules, at least as an option. 

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Well, since I have just moved both of my current settings to the Mythras system and are very happy about the results, I would vote for Mythras - especially because I have been waiting for BRP Space since you uploaded the latest version of BRP Starships, and would not like the idea to have to wait any longer ... ;)

But it is of course your choice, and I will happily grab BRP Space, no matter which system you decided to use. :)

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My .02 ...

I absolutely *LOVE* the RQ2/RQClassic hit-location mechanics, when game-world-relevant.  I have (somewhat reluctantly) concluded that in most "modern" settings, it ISN'T relevant:  most modern weapons turn all players into Mook-Rule targets:  any solid hit will (realistically) drop them.

I can only presume that the tech-advances in a sci-fi game will make that situation worse.  Anything else would break (or at least badly bend) my suspesion-of-disbelief.  Most traditional "combat engine" portions of RPG's are IMAO broken, if:  (A) you want a "realistic" game set in the late 1800's or later, and (B) you have reasonable expectation of meeting state-of-the-art weapons tech.

Regarding the "special effects" part of Mythras combat -- again, I'd find most sci-fi would render many of those irrelevant (but other special effects WOULD be needed (noting that lots of modern weapon-tech is looking towards various intentionally-non-lethal incapacitators for crowd-control)).  Also, it (badly) slows play when you're beginning to learn:  "An incredible hit!  Now, let's turn to THESE pages, and let you read for 5-10 min's to choose between these many options, to resolve this exciting moment in the combat...."

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I think Mythras doesnt suit modern era or futuristic era in some ways, mainly due to the focus of hit locations which is great for a more tactile hand to hand combat setting.

And you would need to have the Firearms combat options from Luther Arkwright or the free Firearms pdf. In any case you may need to refer the reader to another document in addition to Mythras Imperative.

So I would go for OpenQuest and either refer the reader to OQ Basic Rules (free pdf) or carve up bits of the OQ SRD and itsert the relevant chapters directly in your own work.

OQ is very similar to Mythras, but will probably suit Sci Fi better (it worked well for River Of Heaven).

Edited by Mankcam
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8 hours ago, g33k said:

Most traditional "combat engine" portions of RPG's are IMAO broken, if:  (A) you want a "realistic" game set in the late 1800's or later, and (B) you have reasonable expectation of meeting state-of-the-art weapons tech.

In my view this is unfortunately true. For my science fiction settings I tend to use very much simplified combat systems, simple enough to be able to deal with both a successful knife attack and a sonic weapon hit. The (general, not location) hit points are only used for the results of attacks with "traditional" weapons like knives, spearguns and thelike, all "futuristic" weapons incapacitate the victim with the first hit. But this is for settings where combat is very rare and often handled in a rather narrative way, I think few people would like such a simplified system for a combat heavy setting.

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Uhm, what a useful agglomerate of food for thought... Clarence, if you think we are derailing the thread with this discussion, please tell and I'll split.

12 hours ago, g33k said:

I absolutely *LOVE* the RQ2/RQClassic hit-location mechanics, when game-world-relevant.  I have (somewhat reluctantly) concluded that in most "modern" settings, it ISN'T relevant:  most modern weapons turn all players into Mook-Rule targets:  any solid hit will (realistically) drop them.

I can only presume that the tech-advances in a sci-fi game will make that situation worse.  Anything else would break (or at least badly bend) my suspesion-of-disbelief.  Most traditional "combat engine" portions of RPG's are IMAO broken, if:  (A) you want a "realistic" game set in the late 1800's or later, and (B) you have reasonable expectation of meeting state-of-the-art weapons tech.

It seems there is a general consensus about this point. A system where hit locations are mandatory sounds like a poor fit for space to most commenters. I agree. The fact that you could easily plug-in/take-out hit locations was one of the strengths of the BGB.

Quote

Regarding the "special effects" part of Mythras combat -- again, I'd find most sci-fi would render many of those irrelevant (but other special effects WOULD be needed (noting that lots of modern weapon-tech is looking towards various intentionally-non-lethal incapacitators for crowd-control)).  Also, it (badly) slows play when you're beginning to learn:  "An incredible hit!  Now, let's turn to THESE pages, and let you read for 5-10 min's to choose between these many options, to resolve this exciting moment in the combat...."

I agree with the necessity of different kinds of manoeuvres for different genres (well, my opinion should be already clear when you look at the RD100 combat effects: there are effectively two lists). The Mythras effect list stems directly from Pete's experience of real combat, and provides a good mix of realism and dynamism. It was not designed with gunfire in mind. Lightsabers, yes (it actually rocks in Jedi vs Sith fights). Blasters, a bit less. (Edit: the Luther Arkwright variant of the rules provides a fix, of course, but as Cameron highlighted it is not part of the Mythras core. Yet.)

However, I completely disagree with the fact that it slows down combat. Once you are familiar with the manoeuvers, combat runs faster, not slower, because you make a tactical decision only when the dice actually allow you: all pre-thinking of tactics is subsumed in the die roll. The problem does exist for newbies, but a solution has already been developed: use cards for maneuvers, and give the noob the 4-5 he is most likely to find useful for his character to begin with. Proceed with the full list once everyone is familiar with the subtleties of the system.

11 hours ago, Mankcam said:

I think Mythras doesnt suit modern era or futuristic era in some ways, mainly due to the focus of hit locations which is great for a more tactile hand to hand combat setting.

And you would need to have the Firearms combat options from Luther Arkwright or the free Firearms pdf. In any case you may need to refer the reader to another document in addition to Mythras Imperative.

Ditto. Another voice saying hit locations might turn out to be a problem.

3 hours ago, rust said:

In my view this is unfortunately true. For my science fiction settings I tend to use very much simplified combat systems, simple enough to be able to deal with both a successful knife attack and a sonic weapon hit. The (general, not location) hit points are only used for the results of attacks with "traditional" weapons like knives, spearguns and thelike, all "futuristic" weapons incapacitate the victim with the first hit. But this is for settings where combat is very rare and often handled in a rather narrative way, I think few people would like such a simplified system for a combat heavy setting.

Another angle from which to look at the problem. How much detail do you want to put into personal combat? In the sword&planet genre, personal combat is paramount and you might even be tempted to use hit locations: most combat is melee, in any case. But this is a specific case that is way closer to fantasy than to sci-fi.

Space is going to be more hard sci-fi or space opera, so personal combat might be either rare, or extremely deadly if it occurs at all. Rust advocates a "combat handled as narrative" approach for some campaigns, and I agree that this may be a solution for a good number of cases (again, you might have guessed my opinion ;) ).

However, it cannot be a solution for all cases. The question here is: how frequently will you run a sci-fi game centered on combat, in the style of Aliens or Starship Troopers? Because this kind of campaign might require a specific balance that neither abstract combat nor a detailed combat system designed with melee in mind handle with 100% effectiveness.

Edited by RosenMcStern
Foigot to mention LA
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Keep derailing, that's ok : )

The concepts from Mythras Firearms will have to be included for sure, much like in Luther Arkwright. And I'm with Paolo on special effects: printing them on cards makes them easily accessible, and starting with a subset is probably a good idea. (Now I know what the backside of my mini "character folders" could be used for...)

As my own games rarely include much combat, I tend to ignore hit locations (or, if I use them, only for armor). So, does that break Mythras? I wouldn't think so, but I will bring the question of energy weapon combat (and hit locations) to Lawrence. CoC-like settings, light in combat, I guess should be possible some way. 

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Ok, I've been emailing back and forth with Lawrence a bit. A simplified ruleset for combat can be included as an option. How does that sound?

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6 minutes ago, clarence said:

Ok, I've been emailing back and forth with Lawrence a bit. A simplified ruleset for combat can be included as an option. How does that sound?

Great, of course ! :D

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22 hours ago, Mankcam said:

So I would go for OpenQuest and either refer the reader to OQ Basic Rules (free pdf) or carve up bits of the OQ SRD and itsert the relevant chapters directly in your own work.

 

This seems the best way to go. That said, a set of D100 Space rules regardless of the base, would be quite welcome.

Edited by Mysterioso
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4 hours ago, clarence said:

 A simplified ruleset for combat can be included as an option. How does that sound?

If you have time to wait, then you might find BRP Essientials or Revolution to be ideal systems.

If you want to move on this now, then either OpenQuest or a simplified Mythras sounds like the way to go

Edited by Mankcam
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I've waited a year already : ) 

Some sourcebooks and games were put on hold much longer, but that cannot be considered the best publishing policy. I really want to move ahead as quickly as possible now and Imperative ticks many of the right boxes.

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Besides getting your product out there quickly, your choice in publishing partner - and what they can offer you - is very important, IMHO. Maybe the most important factor.

Though I've criticized their mechanics (now and in past threads), The Design Mechanism are a solid game company that clearly puts every effort into producing the best product possible. You only have to look at their catalog from the past few years to see the level of quality that they produce. Lawrence is a quality and experienced guy to work with, and I'm sure his input/direction will only make Starships better.

It sounds like your mind is already made up. But if you're still wavering I'd say make a comparison between publishers and what they've already released. Will this or that publisher produce what will meet your needs for your product?

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OTOH -- what about a "layered" combat system:

Basic RQ2/similar, with hit-locations, when primitive weapons are in-use (because the primitive stuff somehow keeps cropping up in sci-fi!!!!)

"Mook Rule" combat -- most hits disable, or outright kill,as follows: crit/special low-rolls result in kills; regular hits result in "incapacitated"; BUT:  on a hit rolling "doubles" (11%, 22%, 33%...) the target is "only grazed," and you roll hit-location & damage as per "primitive" combat.

"Special Effects" combat -- Attacker is using some weird sci-fi weapon with weird sci-fi special effects:  EVERY hit invokes a per-weapon Special Effect, such as "entangled" or "Neural Blank" or whatever:  the weapon doesn't inflict DAMAGE it inflicts its Special Effect.

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6 hours ago, g33k said:

OTOH -- what about a "layered" combat system:

Personally, I am a great fan of this kind of solution. And I would really like to see an English language implementation of the Guard/Health concept for hit points that is present in Jarn, as described in the interview that Clarence has posted here this month. It is a very interesting system, and being able to read Swedish Clarence is the ideal candidate for attempting a port from Jarn to a more "mainstream" D100 implementation.

However, all of these fantastic ideas have the problem of being new, and in need of some playtest. The point here is that Space has waited for long enough, and it is high time to see it in print. Experimentation is great (and if you phrase it as "to boldly go where no game designer has been before" , it is even in theme), but stability is probably more important at this point.

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I'm very close to making my decision. With most people here finding Imperative a good choice, I think it's the way to go. And now that combat will come in two flavors, I think the biggest stumbling block for sceptics have been removed. 

And as you point out, K Petersen, there are several variables to consider - rules is only one of them. The Design Mechanism feels very professional. 

Regarding the actual rules for simplified combat, I really have to try out Mythras a bit more before saying anything. My initial thought is to stay true to the general feeling of Imperative, but I'm not sure exactly how. 

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A better idea of what will become the BRP system in BRP Essentials could help here, couldn't it? No secret, of course, but just an idea about the general direction that the game will take: like Runequest 6, like Cthulhu 7, like OpenQuest, like the BRP Quick-Start Edition ... For the moment, we don't know anything but the fact that it can go in any of these directions ... or even something totally different ... and that we will have to wait a lot of time before knowing. A better idea could help to know if it is worth waiting.

Players and GMs like me can go on with the "old" BRP rules while waiting. No problem for us ... But authors like Clarence, who have to design and test their game (which requires a lot of time) have only the choice to search for another publisher.

That is very bad news for the upcoming BRP generic system. When it will be published out, Clarence - and maybe some other authors - will have just gone away to other publishers. And no matter how good will be the new BRP Essentials rules, they won't come back to Chaosium. Once they will have written most of their stuff with another version of the D100 system, they won't rework and rewrite everything ...

So, can we have some more hints, please? And if the secret really has to be kept, maybe some private message from BRP Essentials' authors to Clarence could help him making the right decision.

Edited by Gollum
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