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Ken Hite's 2008 review of BRP-BGB


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The Dicehaven blog recently reprised Ken Hite's 2008 review of Basic Roleplaying by Jason Durall.

Said Ken back then, of BRP, "...the core is the same game we’ve all been playing since 1978, when Steve Perrin looked in his white box and said “I’ll bet I could design better rules than this.”... In short, it’s the cleanest, simplest, easiest generic system around. And now it’s in one book, not 20."

cha2026-basic-roleplaying-softcover.jpg

 

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I don't know. I found it a little bit too much of this and that and "Oh ... look what I found in this book!" - not very consistent.

Yes, I know: You can take and leave whatever you want but to some degree it boils down to t two people who play BRP playing almost two different (yes, basically similar) games.

Good for reference and ideas though. But for someone looking for a game system to start with the rules are too much all over the place for my taste.

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Happily, there are other measures than 'a game system to start with'.
GURPS has similar issues... magnified by a hundred... but it's still a great system.

Still, I made my way through the quagmire that was AD&D 1e as my first RPG experience... ran it (kinda) by those rules and had a degree of success. BRP goldbook is a pane of crystal compared to that thing.

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9 hours ago, Simlasa said:

A great rulebook, yep.

Too bad Chaosium no longer supports it.

Chaosium is supporting BRP.  We've gone and hired the original author of the BGB - Jason Durall's line editor role encompasses BRP as well as RuneQuest. Our submissions guidelines states we're open to proposals using the BRP system, so if you send something in it will be Jason who looks at it. The BGB is also still in print, and various BRP releases are available: see the Basic Roleplaying section of the Chaosium website.

You might be thinking of Magic World. As noted in our submissions guidelines, we have no plans to publish further scenarios or supplements for that line ourselves (though as announced earlier, we have no issue with Magic World continuing on as licensed/fan-produced product).

 

Edited by MOB
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5 hours ago, MOB said:

Chaosium is supporting BRP.  We've gone and hired the original author of the BGB - Jason Durall's line editor role encompasses BRP as well as RuneQuest. Our submissions guidelines states we're open to proposals using the BRP system, so if you send something in it will be Jason who looks at it. 

Possibility of a new version of the BGB perhaps?

Not that it is necessary, but new internal art might make it more attractive on the shelves at gaming stores.

Well, as least the BRP line is supported, that's a start.

From the blurb: " It also allows the gamemaster the ability to create his or her own game world (or worlds), to adapt others from fiction, films, or even translate settings from other roleplaying games into 'Basic Roleplaying'."

This never gets old. I tend to use either FATE Core and BRP BGB as my systems of choice for converting settings, depending upon flavour and tone. Both of these books are invaluable to me as a GM, and it is incredibly liberating to have generic rule sets like these.  If I have to choose to keep only two rpg books in my collection, then these books are the ones for me, based on how useful they are.

Love the BGB. A new version with a bit more internal consistency would do the trick nicely!

 

Edited by Mankcam
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4 hours ago, Mankcam said:

Possibility of a new version of the BGB perhaps?

Not that it is necessary, but new internal art might make it more attractive on the shelves at gaming stores...

Chaosium of old printed a lot of copies of the BGB. When the time comes that stocks are getting close to depletion we'll certainly look at an updated version.

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4 hours ago, MOB said:

Chaosium of old printed a lot of copies of the BGB. When the time comes that stocks are getting close to depletion we'll certainly look at an updated version.

Without quoting any numbers, could you give us a rough time estimate based on sales? 2020? 2025? ;)

SDLeary

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Are there still any plans to publish a new BRP core rule book along the lines of the RQ Quickstart?

I was all in favour of that for awhile, rebooting BRP based on a simplified version of the new RQ rules, but on reflection I just think it's unnecessary. In fact it could be quite counterproductive. Such a book couldn't be consistent with both RQ Glorantha and Call of Cthulhu 7. Yet it's quite conceivable that Chaosium might want to publish some new games based on RQG and others based on CoC7, depending on the genre. At least I wouldn't  want to exclude the possibility.

BRP has always been a very broad church, including many variations and alternatives and always allowing for innovation in new games. The BGB may be a bit out of date now, lacking the new systems from CoC7 and the upcoming RQG, but it still serves its purpose as a summary and digest of game systems to that point. It was never meant to be the final word on BRP mechanics. Meanwhile the RQ Quickstart can fill the place of an RQ based BRP core rules book quite nicely, without implicitly saying anything proscriptive.

Simon Hibbs

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2 hours ago, simonh said:

Are there still any plans to publish a new BRP core rule book along the lines of the RQ Quickstart?

I think MOB was quite clear that Chaosium itself is not quite clear on this point:

On 8/7/2017 at 7:14 AM, MOB said:

Chaosium of old printed a lot of copies of the BGB. When the time comes that stocks are getting close to depletion we'll certainly look at an updated version.

"...we'll certainly look at an updated version" is pretty clearly NOT "plans to publish;" but neither is it firm plans NOT to...  It's a "we'll (re-)consider the issue (again) at that time."  ;)

2 hours ago, simonh said:

... Such a book couldn't be consistent with both RQ Glorantha and Call of Cthulhu 7. Yet it's quite conceivable that Chaosium might want to publish some new games based on RQG and others based on CoC7, depending on the genre. At least I wouldn't  want to exclude the possibility.

BRP has always been a very broad church, including many variations and alternatives and always allowing for innovation in new games. The BGB may be a bit out of date now, lacking the new systems from CoC7 and the upcoming RQG, but it still serves its purpose as a summary and digest of game systems to that point. It was never meant to be the final word on BRP mechanics. Meanwhile the RQ Quickstart can fill the place of an RQ based BRP core rules book quite nicely, without implicitly saying anything proscriptive.

The BGB was always BRP's "Kitchen Sink," with options galore (not all of which are intended to work in one single instance of a game).   I see no reason a "BGBv2" couldn't include the innovations of CoC7e and RQG (and any other bits and bobs).

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

I see no reason a "BGBv2" couldn't include the innovations of CoC7e and RQG (and any other bits and bobs).

I suppose so. I'm not sure how much of a market there might be for a BGBv2 though. How many current BGB owners would be interested in a new version with a dozen extra pages to cover the RQG and CoC7 variant rules? The BGB includes rules and options from dozens of earlier BRP games, all of them now out of print so it's a great way of getting access to that material. The incremental value of adding in two more variants which will be in print is pretty low IMHO, unless it's a really thorough rewrite and reconceptualization of what a genetic BRP core book could be. But then it wouldn't really be BGBv2. It would be something else.

Simon Hibbs

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5 minutes ago, simonh said:

I suppose so. I'm not sure how much of a market there might be for a BGBv2 though. How many current BGB owners would be interested in a new version with a dozen extra pages to cover the RQG and CoC7 variant rules? The BGB includes rules and options from dozens of earlier BRP games, all of them now out of print so it's a great way of getting access to that material. The incremental value of adding in two more variants which will be in print is pretty low IMHO, unless it's a really thorough rewrite and reconceptualization of what a genetic BRP core book could be. But then it wouldn't really be BGBv2. It would be something else.

Simon Hibbs

Well, but it's not like it'd just be RQG & CoC7, though... Ithere were several other titles out after the BGB (but before nuChaosium), so things like "Stunts" from Blood Tide should make it into a "v2" book.  Plus anything innovative from MythicIceland-v2, and whatever else comes out between now and when BGB-1 stocks run low and they start thinking about a refresh...

And honestly, (a) I cannot imagine nuChaosium doing it EXCEPT as "a really thorough rewrite" ;)  and (b) IMHO it'd still be a "BGBv2" -- just done to the standards nuChaosium seems to be setting.  :D

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really hope that a setting-independent BRP continues to be produced and supported by Chaosium. While I have always enjoyed the many Chaosium settings, homebrew is what I enjoy most -- it allows for more creative indulgence. I recall that WofC did a survey of DM's a couple of years ago and even with their focus on Forgotten Realms, the majority of D&D games were still run in homebrew worlds.

As a GM, creating your own concepts and setting, and then creating stories within that setting, are the height of creativity, and Chaosium should support that.

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29 minutes ago, Narl said:

I recall that WofC did a survey of DM's a couple of years ago and even with their focus on Forgotten Realms, the majority of D&D games were still run in homebrew worlds.

As much as the "Homebrew for Life" gene flows through my veins, I want to believe that anecdotal statement from WOTC. 

My own anecdotal survey of playing D&D with people outside my close friends seems to indicate the opposite, that the VAST majority of D&D games take place in an established campaign setting.

Using someone else's world and jettisoning what doesn't work for you is different than Homebrew. I'm not making that statement as a One True Way-ist, just stating my opinion. 

Stealing whole cloth from everything you see and hear and throwing it in a blender is the very definition of Homebrew, IMO, so I have very weak standards regarding intellectual property...different strokes, I guess. ;)

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11 minutes ago, tedopon said:

As much as the "Homebrew for Life" gene flows through my veins, I want to believe that anecdotal statement from WOTC. 

It was from an actual survey they did, not anecdotal, and likely is contrary to what their marketing department would like to hear or share. Here is the exact quote from Chris Perkins:

"A great bulk of those who play D&D run homebrew settings. But of those homebrew campaigns, over half of those homebrewers do pillage from other settings ... 15% or 50% of the world they've created has hawked stuff from other worlds. They're comfortable pillaging our products for ideas. That homebrew number, I can't remember the exact percentage, but I think it's like 55% homebrew. And then it's like 35% Forgotten Realms, and then everything else ... Very few people right now, turns out, running Dark Sun campaigns. A sliver of a sliver. Very few people running Hollow World campaigns. Very few people are running Mystara campaigns. It pretty much goes Homebrew, Forgotten Realms, I think Greyhawk's at 5% ands then everybody else is at 2% or 1%."

I've heard the same figures from Mike Mearls as well. It surprised me too, but then there is a vast number of D&D groups that happen at homes with little or no connection to local shops, cons, forums, other groups, or the wider gaming world at all.

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On 8/14/2017 at 5:38 PM, simonh said:

How many current BGB owners would be interested in a new version with a dozen extra pages to cover the RQG and CoC7 variant rules?

Just getting rid of the Hobo font would be enough to get me to buy a new copy. :-)

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