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Saw BRP In the Store Today (questions)


ctuttle

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So here is the deal. I've played D&D (among others) for about 30 years now. 4th Ed came out and I am simply sickened by the changes. It is just too far from the original inspiration of the game for me.

So I've been looking for a new system - something I can really sink my teeth (and my groups teeth) into. We have VAST experience in game systems and we have, of course, played Call of Cthulhu. CoC was my first introduction to the Chaosium System as I was never really into RuneQuest. I LOVE the basics of the system.

Here is my problem/question though - CoC is EXTREMELY lethal. Does BRP include any adjustments/rules/concepts that can increase the character life expectancy?

It is very hard to run games that are slightly combat intensive if the characters are dying every round. I would love for something slightly more "Heroic" than CoC.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I am VERY interested in this game system - I am just tired of buying & trying systems only to have one or the other not meet expectations.

Thanks

Carl

First things first. But not necessarily in that order!

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Does BRP include any adjustments/rules/concepts that can increase the character life expectancy?

I'll give it to you for free.

One option is Total Hit Points - having PCs' HP equal to the total of SIZ+CON, rather than their average. Minor NPCs have "normal" HPs, but heroes and major NPCs have the higher totals.

There are also rules for a fate point style mechanic which can be used to alter dice rolls, serve as ersatz armor, and other nifty tweaks to help ensure PC survival.

These are both optional systems.

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I think also one of the key differences to how combat plays out and how lethal it is lies in the Attack vs Parry/Dodge mechanic.

To give an example, often D&D combat goes:

- wallop. You're hit. You take some damage.

- wallop. I hit back. *You* take some damage.

... and so on, gradually whittling away each side until one keels over. Sort of a steady attrition - D&D Criticals modify this somewhat, but essentially you have a fairly substantial number of HP removed per successful attack, and the feeling of dramatic tension is linked to the *amount* of HP removed and how many you have left. The quantity of HP a character has is therefore crucial - too little and dramatically enjoyable combat is impractical.

BRP interposes an extra step, as follows:

- wallop. You're hit.

- blam. I parry. I reduce your success level and take less damage (or no damage).

- wallop. I hit back.

- (etc)

In other words, the Parry / Dodge step provides a chance to downgrade the severity of the successful attack - criticals may drop to specials, specials to normal success, success to failure. This shifts the focus for the dramatic tension from the amount of damage I'm sustaining to whether or not I can successfully degrade the attack's power.

It's a fine difference, but in play I generally find the moment of maximum tension lies not in the Attack roll, but in the Parry or Dodge roll which (generally) follows it. It shifts the focus away from how many HP you've got (the D&D model) to how skilful you are at avoiding attacks.

Additionally, you have several thresholds where a combatant can be hors de combat without actually being dead. Losing HP in your fighting arm is a classic case; likewise going to minus (or lose more than double HP) in a location is another - the combatant is rolling on the ground having lost interest totally in carrying on the fight, or is unconscious. We recently had a combatant get his leg maimed in combat (lost more than double HP) - he (literally) had to sit out the rest of the adventure. Definitely not dead, but the feeling of loss and drama was definitely there! :D

Happy gaming - hope you enjoy your purchase!

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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(Basically everything written before this last sentence.) Definitely not dead, but the feeling of loss and drama was definitely there!

Well put. Call of Cthulhu gives a sense of the combat system, but doesn't show how the system performs under a fantasy roleplaying system. I would add that with a RuneQuest-like magic system you add defense spells and armor points on top of the Parry and Dodge skills. The tension of managing your remaining Magic/POW Points and HP is (to my way of thinking) preferable to having to the way D&D wears your HP down.

Roll D100 and let the percentiles sort them out.

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BRP is more lethal than D&D though nowhere near as lethal as CoC. When playing in a fantasy setting characters usually have access to some combination of armour, parrying, avoidance and magic to either minimise the damage taken from any given attack or recover from it. The BIG difference to D&D games though (when played out of the box) is that in BRP *any* attack from almost any enemy could kill a PC whereas in D&D you normally have to be weakened by several blows before your character might die.

Consequently, in BRP, the most dangerous thing to do to a group of PCs is to outnumber them. In D&D if you outnumber the PCs 2 to 1 with a group of critters a few levels lower than the PCs, the worst that is likely to happen is that they lose a few HPs. Do the same to BRP PCs and there's a real chance you might accidentally kill one of the PCs. For most BRP/RQ fans, this is a *good* thing.

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For me it was the hit/parry combat system that attracted me to D&D. First Runequest and then Stormbringer. I preffered the simpler Stormbringer system because if anything Runequests location pecific damage was even more lethal. Basically as your character gets better his chance to hit or parry a hit improves rather than him being able to take more hits points. Then of course armour has the chance to reduce damage quite substantially.

Cthullu is more lethal becuase, monsters aside (okay a big aside!) it's set in an era where guns rule combat and it's difficult to parry a bullet.

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So here is the deal. I've played D&D (among others) for about 30 years now. 4th Ed came out and I am simply sickened by the changes. It is just too far from the original inspiration of the game for me.

So I've been looking for a new system -

YES! Or dreams are coming through! :D

Here is my problem/question though - CoC is EXTREMELY lethal. Does BRP include any adjustments/rules/concepts that can increase the character life expectancy?

The GM should reduce the danger/number of the opposition, and the players should start fearing for the life! :P

It is very hard to run games that are slightly combat intensive if the characters are dying every round. I would love for something slightly more "Heroic" than CoC.

Jason got it all:

I'll give it to you for free.

One option is Total Hit Points - having PCs' HP equal to the total of SIZ+CON, rather than their average. Minor NPCs have "normal" HPs, but heroes and major NPCs have the higher totals.

There are also rules for a fate point style mechanic which can be used to alter dice rolls, serve as ersatz armor, and other nifty tweaks to help ensure PC survival.

These are both optional systems.

Those optional rules will quickly bring your game into the more "heroic" style, with less player death.

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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I'll give it to you for free.

One option is Total Hit Points - having PCs' HP equal to the total of SIZ+CON, rather than their average. Minor NPCs have "normal" HPs, but heroes and major NPCs have the higher totals.

There are also rules for a fate point style mechanic which can be used to alter dice rolls, serve as ersatz armor, and other nifty tweaks to help ensure PC survival.

These are both optional systems.

I'll also add that you can have heroic characters start out with higher attack/parry

skill levels, and use the over 100% rule. Stormbringer5/Elric! did this, heroes

routinely had over 100% attacks (usually 120% or more) which results in

more crits (using current BRP, 06 or less) and more specials (24 or less).

Compared to average mooks with maybe 70% attacks (crits on 03/04,

specials on 14), heroes have a serious advantage. And there's always the

optional rules for using part of your over 100% skill as a negative modifier

for your opponent.

You can also add in "feat" like powers - perhaps giving them out at 100%

in a skill and every 25% or 50% thereafter, or every 25% or 50%. You

can easily use the D&D 3.x feats as a basis, modifying each +1 to hit as a

+5% attack and such for combat feats. Or check out the Mongoose RuneQuest

SRD for other ideas - they're called Legendary Abilities. All of this is perfectly

fine for BRP - the original RuneQuest Land of the Ninja supplement had special

"feat"-like abilities called Ki Powers to simulate special martial arts abilities.

-V

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You all absolutely RULE!

Thank you so much for the insight! Damn this meeting I am stuck in at work or I would be in my car on the way to the store right now!

I am sold. Thanks again for all of your answers - it was very informative.

Carl

Carl

First things first. But not necessarily in that order!

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I think also one of the key differences to how combat plays out and how lethal it is lies in the Attack vs Parry/Dodge mechanic.

Very insightful Sarah! Gold Star!

Another mechanic I intend to introduce is to allow a character to use POW to soak damage. This is in keeping with the definition of the characteristic, and expands its use nicely to something other than Magic Points and Magic Resistance. It adds a certain amount of critical decisions during dramatic tension too: 'Do I soak that damage only to succumb to some spell, or do I keep it in reserver for later?'

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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Another mechanic I intend to introduce is to allow a character to use POW to soak damage. This is in keeping with the definition of the characteristic, and expands its use nicely to something other than Magic Points and Magic Resistance. It adds a certain amount of critical decisions during dramatic tension too: 'Do I soak that damage only to succumb to some spell, or do I keep it in reserver for later?'

Do you have the book yet?

I ask, because you're actually describing one of the optional fate point mechanics.

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Do you have the book yet?

I ask, because you're actually describing one of the optional fate point mechanics.

I have the PDF, so I've only hopped around the file and slowly added bookmarks. I'll be buying the print soon. Glad to see it's in there.

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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BRP is more lethal than D&D though nowhere near as lethal as CoC. When playing in a fantasy setting characters usually have access to some combination of armour, parrying, avoidance and magic to either minimise the damage taken from any given attack or recover from it. The BIG difference to D&D games though (when played out of the box) is that in BRP *any* attack from almost any enemy could kill a PC whereas in D&D you normally have to be weakened by several blows before your character might die.

Consequently, in BRP, the most dangerous thing to do to a group of PCs is to outnumber them. In D&D if you outnumber the PCs 2 to 1 with a group of critters a few levels lower than the PCs, the worst that is likely to happen is that they lose a few HPs. Do the same to BRP PCs and there's a real chance you might accidentally kill one of the PCs. For most BRP/RQ fans, this is a *good* thing.

Additionally if you like that your PCs have a better survivability you should introduce smaller monsters. Eg. having such extreme monsters like in D&D in the higher levels seems too dangerous for BRP. Look alone the damage bonus for such the BRP conversion of such monsters. ("ok, little rurik search for your head and re-attach your arms and lets fight against those 1d6 hill giant chieftains :)")

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Additionally if you like that your PCs have a better survivability you should introduce smaller monsters. Eg. having such extreme monsters like in D&D in the higher levels seems too dangerous for BRP. Look alone the damage bonus for such the BRP conversion of such monsters. ("ok, little rurik search for your head and re-attach your arms and lets fight against those 1d6 hill giant chieftains :)")

Though when using some of the more hard-core options, its not like you really need big monsters to be a problem; back in the old RQ days, I saw an awful lot of characters killed just because they caught a critical from things like self-bow arrows in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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You could also look at the rules for serious wounds from the Worlds of Cthulhu magazine article, "The Good, The Bad and the Utterly Insane". It details rules for more cinematic Wild West games. PC's can be reduced to 0 HPs twice, each time rolling on a serious wound chart to see where on their bodies they take a serious wound, which cause different types of penalties to the PC. The third time they hit 0 HPs they die.

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Though when using some of the more hard-core options, its not like you really need big monsters to be a problem; back in the old RQ days, I saw an awful lot of characters killed just because they caught a critical from things like self-bow arrows in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I agree. Goblins are some of the most low powerd bad guys you'll ever face. But if you have ten of them slinging arrows at you at the same time that means the GM is now rolling TEN TIMES to see if any of them hit, and chances are, your going to get a crit or two from all those rolls being made. Seen it happen plenty of times...

Edited by mrk
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I agree. Goblins are some of the most low powerd bad guys you'll ever face. But if you have ten of them slinging arrows at you at the same time that means the GM is now rolling TEN TIMES to see if any of them hit, and chances are, your going to get a crit or two from all those rolls being made. Seen it happen plenty of times...

Exactly. And plenty of characters couldn't count on surviving 1d6+8 in the head, or in some cases even the chest.

As I noted, there was a reason RQ:AIG actually made locational effects less severe.

(Of course for most characters they got more severe between RQ2 and RQ3; six over (the RQ1 and 2 method) was less nasty to most humans than double would be).

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GM needs to know judge power level in BRP and watch what monsters he throws out. A couple of Great trolls with halberds will kill players even if only wearing a loin cloth and a 20% chance to hit. But two characters wearing plate going at it, well the fight can last for ever till a crit shows up. And if they have magic protection on top of armor fight can go all night.

Might add I dont use crits as written It ignores armor but rolls normal damage.

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