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Aycorn

I Love BRP

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I posted this on my RPG blog, and thought it appropriate to share here - cuz I feel like it needs to be said...

I love BRP.
 
I flat-out LOVE it.
 
It is the simplest, most logical, most straightforward, most elegant RPG system I have ever come across.  Period. 
 
If BRP was a dancer, it would amaze me with its moves every time I saw it dance.  If BRP was a musician, it would make my jaw drop every time I heard it play.
 
I’m being a little bit facetious and hyperbolic there, but really that does describe how I feel about it.
 
I love the big gold book.  One cover.  300+ pages and its got 99% of everything I need to run any kind of campaign I could want.  Say it’s too long, or too overwhelming.  Sorry.  I don’t agree.
 
 
And, by the way – I love the Resistance Table, and Strike Ranks.  Yes – I mean it.
 
A year or two ago, I acquired a huge cache of D&D books – from original to 3.5.  Oh, and Pathfinder stuff, too.  I got kind of intrigued.  And I decided to not only check them out thoroughly, but, for fun, to convert my favorite old AD&D characters, long ago mothballed,  to 3.5/Pathfinder.  And also to BRP.  It was an enlightening experience.
 
Certainly, 3.5 improves on a lot of things from clunky old AD&D.  It’s a lot more streamlined, quite a bit more logical and flexible, and it flows much more nicely.  
 
But as I began to adapt these characters, I found myself getting irritable.  It’s a lot of work.  All the tables, the feats, the skill system, the levels.  Why don’t the experience levels and the spell levels of magic-using characters sync up?  Wouldn’t it make more sense if a being 10th level meant you could cast 10th level spells?  Why is the combat system so damn complicated?  It still looks like miniature warfare rules.  In fact, it looks more like miniature warfare rules than the AD&D combat system!  I would never want to play it.
 
And then I converted them to BRP.  And it took mere moments.  Because there’s so much I don’t have to think about.  Break down the characteristics, calculate derived stuff, assign the skills and – boom – you’re done.  Nothing is lost – it’s all there – just a hell of a lot simpler.
 
A few years back I got GURPS Cabal, an interesting occult RPG setting, and looked at with an eye to doing a BRP adaptation.  The biggest revelation was the magic system. 
 
See, the Cabal magic system is built on occult arcana, and there’s a host of modifiers that will affect the outcome of any spell.  It takes a whole (lengthy) chapter to detail it all. 
 
And yet, looking at it, I realized that the entire thing could be boiled down to a single, simple table of modifiers.  One table. One page. 
 
Why do people like to complicate things?
 
That’s another thing I love about BRP.  It’s ridiculously simple to add to or subtract from.
 
If you must.
 
Still, I keep seeing posts about adding things, like “feats”. 
I can’t see the purpose – when I converted those old characters to 3.5 and then BRP, there was nothing in “feats” that couldn’t be covered by skills and skill levels.
 
Oh, “advantages/disadvantages” – I see that one come up a lot.  I once gave someone great offense on yog-sothoth.com when I said I couldn’t see any real benefit to adding them to the game.  And I can’t.
 
Hey don’t get me wrong – if you really like “feats” or “advantages/disadvantages” – by all means – add them.  But you’ll never convince me they’re necessary, or make the game better somehow.
 
Okay, I admit, I’m feeling a little bit like, well, let’s put it this way…
 
Lately I’ve been reading my way through the run of The Dragon magazine.  It’s sometimes hilarious to see Gary Gygax’s infamous rants about players monkeying with his game, foaming at the mouth over things like critical hits, hit locations, point-based magic systems, weapon proficiencies, monsters as player-characters, etc etc etc.  And how the game was perfect and you would screw it up royally if you changed or added any little thing (of course, strictly speaking Gygax wasn’t totally wrong – AD&D didn’t have a lot of flexibility and any changes always seemed to feel bolted-on) (I should also note that many rules-variants that appeared in The Dragon were pretty awful). 
 
Well, I won’t say BRP is perfect.  I don’t believe in perfect.  But its perfect for me.  It’s the closest thing to perfection I’ve seen.  I won’t say you can’t or shouldn’t mess with it – actually, it’s a lot easier to mess with than many (most? all?) other systems.  But I will say I don’t feel the need.
 
So, yeah, I love BRP.  And I’m going to play BRP.  And nothing else, really.  Because as I said – it can handle any setting or genre I care to throw at it.
 
I hope that Chaosium will continue to support it.  But if they don’t – well – for years before the big gold book came out, there was a community out there – well not really a community, just a bunch of us out there in the wilderness -  who basically adapted our own versions of it, cobbled together from RQ and COC and Stormbringer, et al.  We played BRP even though it was barely on the market. 
 
And so, I’ve done it before.  I’ll do it again if I must.
 
I love BRP (said it again) and I have great, great affection for Chaosium. 
 
But I’ve got what I need if they decide to shut the taps off.
 
And by the way, Chaosium – with all due respect, CoC didn't need "fixing". 
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I agree that CoC didn't need fixing, however what they did with it surprisingly seemed to make it better for me. 

I do agree with you regarding the endless lists of Feats/Talents/ Advantages etc in many other games is often just bonuses to skill rolls. So in BRP you just portray this by having more skill allocation points to play with during the char gen process - pick the Heroic or Epic level, for instance.

I always liked limiting starting skills to 70% max, but if the player wanted to provide a good narrative explanation for having higher skills then I would allow relevant skills to have an 85% starting maximum. For example, if a character is described as having keen eyesight "like a hawk" then I would allow to start up to a max of 85% in skills like Scan/Spot and ranged weapons - no need for a GURPS-like Feat called 'Eagle Eyes'. The PC would then have to focus their skill allocation into those skills to make full use of that higher cap, but thats also why you would allow them to start with Heroic or Epic skill pt allocation. 

I don't mind the notion of Talents for a Pulp game (like CoC 7E where you get a bonus dice to your rolls), it certainly does feel pulpy and action-orientated.

But for standard fantasy, psuedo-historical, scifi etc I wouldn't want to worry about it, it just feels a bit like baggage.

The other way to add a bit of colour is to really dress up the narrative whenever a Special Success or Critical Success is rolled. Highly skilled characters will tend to roll these a bit more often, so dressing up the narrative outcome is often a good way to portray actions that other games would require a Feat system to do. Nice and simple.

BRP doesn't do everything great. But it comes pretty close, and has always been underrated as a system.  I really like watching something on television, then saying I can easily port that into a rpg session using BRP - it's so smooth that it can work for almost anything.

It's only early days yet, but skimming through Revolution D100 and I think its going to give the BGB a good run for its money. It covers the same ground, but has a few modern tweaks, so it could potentially displace the BGB as my 'go-to' reference for a generic system.

Having said that, BRP is still one of the best generic systems on the market, and I'm glad to have the BGB hardcover in my bookcase :)

 

Edited by Mankcam

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3 hours ago, Aycorn said:

But I’ve got what I need if they decide to shut the taps off.

Fortunately, we are not shutting the taps off!

The 'Big Gold Book' is still in print, and Jason Durall (author of the BGB) is now on board at Chaosium as RuneQuest and BRP line editor.

BTW, if you put up a link to your blog we will happily share it as would be of wider interest.

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5 hours ago, Aycorn said:

And, by the way – I love the Resistance Table, and Strike Ranks.  Yes – I mean it.

I don't. :D

Really, I prefer skill opposition rules, and Strike Ranks always seem to create characters with the same SR value to me.

5 hours ago, Aycorn said:

Still, I keep seeing posts about adding things, like “feats”. 

I can’t see the purpose – when I converted those old characters to 3.5 and then BRP, there was nothing in “feats” that couldn’t be covered by skills and skill levels.
 
Oh, “advantages/disadvantages” – I see that one come up a lot.  I once gave someone great offense on yog-sothoth.com when I said I couldn’t see any real benefit to adding them to the game.  And I can’t.

I agree. Yet, some people seem to think that they need some mechanical bits to differenciate their character from their neighbor...

In my experience, Flaws are often a means to increase starting character "creation points" pool, and I prefer to hand more points to players than have a band of psychopaths with enemies I will have to handle.

I like how 7th Sea 1st edition treated them, however : if one of your damocles appears in a game, you earn extra XPs.

5 hours ago, Aycorn said:

And by the way, Chaosium – with all due respect, CoC didn't need "fixing". 

I'm not really a fan of CoC 7th edition, but I have to say my latest attempt at using CoC by the book (*) was painful, as I was always searching for the most appropriate skill for every situation, and was never satisfied with what I chose.

So, if anything, I'd say that CoC's skill list needs fixing.

(*) I was a GM in a multi-GM game made for a friend's bachelor's party, and I had no choice for the system.

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I have become utterly mystified by the whole "Needs Feats!" / "No it doesn't!" debate.

Cults of Prax introduced the "Feats" feature after all, way back in 1979 ...  Want the "Sense Chaos" feat?  take the "Storm Bull" class, and level-up 'til you're at least an Initiate.  Want "Sense Assassin"?  The Sword of Humakt prestige class gets you that.

</Eurmal>

 

 

Edited by g33k
Strunk&White: omit needless words

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18 hours ago, Mankcam said:

 I really like watching something on television, then saying I can easily port that into a rpg session using BRP - it's so smooth that it can work for almost anything.
 

Absolutely agree.  I have that experience with books (mostly), quite frequently.

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15 hours ago, MOB said:

Fortunately, we are not shutting the taps off!

The 'Big Gold Book' is still in print, and Jason Durall (author of the BGB) is now on board at Chaosium as RuneQuest and BRP line editor.

BTW, if you put up a link to your blog we will happily share it as would be of wider interest.

That is good to know, and I hope it remains the case.  I'm glad to hear Jason is back on board, as well.

My blog is http://swordofsorcery.blogspot.com/

... if anyone is interested

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13 hours ago, Mugen said:

Yet, some people seem to think that they need some mechanical bits to differenciate their character from their neighbor...

That's true.  And odd to me.  But what have you.

These days, when I'm creating NPCs or characters for players to play, or helping someone create a character, I say "start with the personality - who is this person?" and then stats and skills and whatnot flow from that.

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9 hours ago, g33k said:

I have become utterly mystified by the whole "Needs Feats!" / "No it doesn't!" debate.

 

I'm mystified by most such debates.

If people like them, well okay.  But I'm unconvinced they actually ADD anything other than to fulfill a personal preference.

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2 minutes ago, Aycorn said:

I'm mystified by most such debates.

If people like them, well okay.  But I'm unconvinced they actually ADD anything other than to fulfill a personal preference.

Sounds like you're a solid member of the "No they don't!" debate-team ...  :D

 

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24 minutes ago, Aycorn said:

That is good to know, and I hope it remains the case.  I'm glad to hear Jason is back on board, as well.

My blog is http://swordofsorcery.blogspot.com/

... if anyone is interested

And posted on our social media channels. I hope it brings some extra readers to your blog!

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

Sounds like you're a solid member of the "No they don't!" debate-team ...  :D

 

Nah, I don't debate.  I occasionally proclaim...

 

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8 hours ago, Aycorn said:
On 4/12/2017 at 6:00 AM, Mankcam said:

...  I really like watching something on television, then saying I can easily port that into a rpg session using BRP - it's so smooth that it can work for almost anything...

Absolutely agree.  I have that experience with books (mostly), quite frequently.

Achieving THAT was one of Jason's goals with the BRP BGB and the play-test groups focus on helping him achieve it (that lead to the BGB's five discrete "off the shelf" powers systems) is still one of the things I am proudest of about that playtest.

I wish there had been a way for Jason's modular powers system to see print, but I have always been, and remain, firmly convinced that the off the shelf discrete systems were the right choice for the BGB and are one of its big strong points.

cheers,

Nick

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I think it would be great for the BGB to have another edition at some stage. With the art direction being the same quality of the new Chaosium products then it would be a worthy purchase. 

I cannot see why that shouldnt occur, as it doesn't have to have an entire line associated with it like RQ or CoC.

Just a one-off book for GMs to use to create their own settings would be fine.

Not sure of the market viability, but its just something I'ld love to see on my personal wishlist.

Edited by Mankcam
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26 minutes ago, Mankcam said:

I think it would be great for the BGB to have another edition at some stage. With the art direction being the same quality of the new Chaosium products then it would be a worthy purchase. 

That will be something we can consider when the current stocks are depleted (the hardback edition of the BGB is out of print, but the softcover version is still readily available from our US warehouse).

Another option we are looking at is making the BGB (as is) available via POD, which means it can come out in hardback again.

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39 minutes ago, Mankcam said:

I think it would be great for the BGB to have another edition at some stage.

Yes, indeed. Heavy use has damaged my copy of the BGB to the point where it is beginning to fall apart. :(

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I think if I was looking for a new edition of the BGB the two main things I would prefer would be art and rules consistency.

By this I mean having similar art standards to the current CoC books, as this makes for a great book to have, as well as eye candy to attract new buyers.

By rules consistency I think some efforts to make it more or less consistent with CoC 7E is a good move. The basics are already there, spread across the CoC Keepers book, the Pulp book, and the Thru The Ages booklet

It should be reasonably consistent with one of the current setting lines, and I think the RQ line will be more setting specific than CoC, so CoC is possibly the better one to model it from.

I could also see a situation where you have the current BGB published as a PoD for those who love these rules (kinda being a 'BRP Classic Rules').  

This could sit nicely alongside a new edition which is a bit more consistent with CoC 7E (although I possibly still prefer the original Characteristics being 3D6 range, out of familarity).

I do understand reservations regarding Generic BRP being an entire product line, and I do think Chaosium is doing a good thing consolidating their efforts into the Lovecraftian and Gloranthan settings.

Despite such, I wouldnt want the BGB to be completely out of print. It is such a useful book to have, and many of us have alot of fond memories attached to it. It's certainly been an essiential part of my rpg gaming experience for the last decade.

Edited by Mankcam

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I thought the BGB was just going to stay on as PDF and possibly PoD if the Chaosium gets around to it (assuming it's not on the top of the pile). Isn't the current policy to publish stand-alone games based on a common core with RQ7?

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I think CoC 7E works better as a common core, although if wanting to play a fantasy setting then RQ is likely to be better

However there isnt any word on doing a new edition of  BGB, I am just bouncing ideas around for the sake of conjecture.

Keeping the current edition available as a PoD hardcover sounds reasonable

 

Edited by Mankcam

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3 hours ago, Mankcam said:

I think if I was looking for a new edition of the BGB the two main things I would prefer would be art and rules consistency.

By this I mean having similar art standards to the current CoC books, as this makes for a great book to have, as well as eye candy to attract new buyers.

The thing about art is, really it needs to be setting-evocative.  1920's "classic" Cthulhu/Investigator art; Cthulhu-by-gaslight; Prax; Esrolia; etc...  The BGB, by its very nature, is supposed to be free from any setting.  So for the "eyecandy" effect, you'd need one of those semi-generic "mix 'em all up" covers, and then perhaps several specific and distinctive art styles, per-genre or per-setting, used as-appropriate and as-needed throughout the book...  One thing that I think might work on the cover is to design it as one of those "tapestry-of-history" pieces, beginning witha swords-and-sandals / AncientWorld character and progressing through time...

4 hours ago, Mankcam said:

By rules consistency I think some efforts to make it more or less consistent with CoC 7E is a good move. The basics are already there, spread across the CoC Keepers book, the Pulp book, and the Thru The Ages booklet

It should be reasonably consistent with one of the current setting lines, and I think the RQ line will be more setting specific than CoC, so CoC is possibly the better one to model it from.

While I think CoC7 is the bigger & more-impressive product -- and probably a bigger fan-base than RQ -- it has 2 flaws as a "next BGB" core, IMHO:  first, it's divergent enough to alienate (at least some of, and possibly many of) the grognardian BRP players (who would be among the most-likely customers otherwise); and second, there are 2 firm titles (and one teaser'ed) for the "classic" version of BRP:  RQ:AiG + Mythic Iceland (and a Noir Detective non-CoC book), with stated plans for more in the line.  I think Chaosium has their "internal dev-notes" version of BRP already working, and it'd be a LOT of work to get a CoC7 version going, too...

40 minutes ago, Mankcam said:

However there isnt any word on doing a new edition of  BGB, I am just bouncing ideas around for the sake of conjecture.

No, a "BGBv2" has been firmly-stated as "no such product currently planned, even on the horizon".  But I can bounce a conjecture as well as the next tigger...  :D

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I could envision the Noir Detective book taking a lot of rules from CoC 7E (esp Pulp Cthulhu), and I can envision Mythic Iceland working with either CoC 7E or RQ rules.

Its going to be interesting seeing how both of those products roll out!

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53 minutes ago, Mankcam said:

I could envision the Noir Detective book taking a lot of rules from CoC 7E (esp Pulp Cthulhu), and I can envision Mythic Iceland working with either CoC 7E or RQ rules.

Its going to be interesting seeing how both of those products roll out!

As I understand it, Mythic Iceland is hewing to "BRP Classic"-ish (rather than CoC7) rules; prior announcements have it VERY far along, so I doubt they'd take it back to re-do it with the CoC7 engine.

I honestly have no clear idea how-far into development that "Noir" book is, other than "not as far along;" I suppose a re-working to the CoC7 engine is possible.

 

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'Noir' is not pulp to me... at least not in the sense in which 'pulp' currently used among gamers. Not being fond of the CoC7e alterations I'd hope it would hew somewhat closer to the grittier end of the BGB or RQ2... and not embrace CoC7e's 'gamey-er' digressions.

Edited by Simlasa

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4 hours ago, g33k said:

No, a "BGBv2" has been firmly-stated as "no such product currently planned, even on the horizon".  But I can bounce a conjecture as well as the next tigger...  :D

Correct - as noted above, the BGB is currently in print (softcover), although we are looking at a POD hardcover option.

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15 hours ago, Simlasa said:

'Noir' is not pulp to me... at least not in the sense in which 'pulp' currently used among gamers. Not being fond of the CoC7e alterations I'd hope it would hew somewhat closer to the grittier end of the BGB or RQ2... and not embrace CoC7e's 'gamey-er' digressions.

I agree. 

"Pulp" Cthulhu always seemed a bit redundant somehow, conceptually.  The Cthulhu stories were, after all, pulp fiction.  I know S.T. Joshi et al foam the the face tentacles at lumping HPL in with the rest of the "Weird Tales" crowd, but I think he was more at home there than many adherents care to admit (and yes, I am speaking as a Lovecraft fan).

I'm not sure a "noir" edition is/was ever needed - the 30's/40's isn't that distant from the 20's.  A trip through the library 20th century history section, a couple Robert Mitchum movies on the DVD player, and a couple Raymond Chandler or Ross MacDonald books and you've got the facts and the feel.

 

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