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Jakob

If not Stormbringer, what then?

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Just a thread for idle speculation: What licenses would you consider interesting for new BRP games? Since a return of Stormbringer since unlikely (albeit not impossible), I was thinking of other groundbreaking fantasy literature that would be a good fit for BRP. I don't really care if something is likely or comercially viable, just curious which settings you would love to see if it were up to you ...

Me, I'd be intrigued by China MIeville's Bas-Lag at Chaosium. I'd actually consider it a good spiritual sucessor to Stormbringer in a broader sense, in that like lots of Moorcocks work, it's Kind of part of the "Mervyn Peake" tradition of English fantasy (as opposed to the Tolkien tradiiton).

 

EDIT: BTW, I really think that BRP could handle races like cactus pople or mosquito men as player characters better than most other Systems out there.

Edited by Jakob

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The Worlds of Phillip K. Dick.

Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting.

Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

Dante's Inferno. 

Blake Butler's Nothing.

Howzat?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, TrippyHippy said:

The Worlds of Phillip K. Dick.

Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting.

Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

Dante's Inferno. 

Blake Butler's Nothing.

Howzat?

 

 

Certainly interesting! I'm not sure which of those would constitute a setting and where you could only go with "in the spirit of", but on the other hand, I never explicitly stated that this thread has to be about settings ... of course, if you put all of these together and add a d100 system, you get Unknown Armies!

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I honestly don't imagine Chaosium pursuing a licensed setting any time soon. They've always been highly problematic. If it's big enough to be a real draw, it will be too expensive. Your mechanics are constrained by fidelity to the setting,  rather than the best interests of game play. Then of course, what happens when the license expires? 

I have thought for many years that you could build a pretty compelling fantasy setting using an extended and expanded version of the magic and monsters from call of Cthulhu. When you think about it, that's pretty much what Conan and a lot of S&S from the Howard/Lovecraft era is. It could be set in an antediluvian fantasy geography, or an alternate history earth invaded by alien entities and corrupted by malign sorcerers. CoC magic is simple mechanically, suitably grotesque and very gameable, and the grimoire system would work perfectly.

Another alternative is basically fantasy earth, although as with all the other generic game and setting names Chaosium has used in the past (all the *World games), 'Fantasy Earth' sounds utterly flat and uninspiring. It doesn't have to be that way though. If a souped up magical alternate history were done with all the same depth and attention that Glorantha gets, it could be brilliant.

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51 minutes ago, simonh said:

I honestly don't imagine Chaosium pursuing a licensed setting any time soon. They've always been highly problematic. If it's big enough to be a real draw, it will be too expensive.

Yeah, that's why practically even licensed RPG has gone belly up. 

51 minutes ago, simonh said:

Your mechanics are constrained by fidelity to the setting,  rather than the best interests of game play.

I don't think that's a bad thing. Often what people thing is best for game play actually isn't. 

51 minutes ago, simonh said:

Then of course, what happens when the license expires? 

I guess we will find out in a couple years, since RQG is a licensed setting. 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah, that's why practically even licensed RPG has gone belly up. 

I don't think that's a bad thing. Often what people thing is best for game play actually isn't. 

I guess we will find out in a couple years, since RQG is a licensed setting. 

Licensed by Moon Design to Chaosium, but since the set of Moon Design execs is a large (and possibly a majority) subset of the execs of Chaosium, I'm not too worried.

I suppose one way of dealing with loss of a license is to file off the serial numbers and go generic, or with a home-grown functionally compatible IP, hoping the fan base stays with you. That's what's kind of happened to the Design Mechanism, although with the game trademark rather than a setting.

Edited by simonh
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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah, that's why practically even licensed RPG has gone belly up.

They expire as they are normally for a fixed time and some maybe renewed under some circumstances, others are one offs. Often you have to sell a minimum to make it worthwhile. there are always many clauses to protect both sides. Some allow early removal of a licence. Ultimately someone has to pay someone else and often there's not the money, or no profit. Have a look at some of the Chaosium licensee kickstarter announcements that have been made in the last year as examples.

1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

I guess we will find out in a couple years, since RQG is a licensed setting. 

It is and RuneQuest is owned by Moon Design, who are now part of Chaosium. Look at the info on the RQG info page:

Quote

 

RUNEQUEST

A Chaosium Game

First Chaosium Edition 1978

Second Chaosium Edition 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983

Third Chaosium/Avalon Hill Edition 1984, 1993

Fourth Chaosium Edition 2018 Copyright ©1978, 1980, 1984, 1993, 2018 by Moon Design Publications, all rights reserved.

RuneQuest, HeroQuest, and Glorantha are trademarks of Moon Design Publications.

 

Given who are the owners and that they are inside Chaosium, I see it very unlikely that there is licence to expire or loose.

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30 minutes ago, David Scott said:

They expire as they are normally for a fixed time and some maybe renewed under some circumstances, others are one offs. Often you have to sell a minimum to make it worthwhile. there are always many clauses to protect both sides. Some allow early removal of a licence. Ultimately someone has to pay someone else and often there's not the money, or no profit. Have a look at some of the Chaosium licensee kickstarter announcements that have been made in the last year as examples.

Yup. It's pretty much grab it before it goes away. Especially if the license is for something that is popular in another format, such as a film, TV series or book. In fact, that's kinda the point of this thread, right? 

Quote

It is and RuneQuest is owned by Moon Design, who are now part of Chaosium. Look at the info on the RQG info page:

Given who are the owners and that they are inside Chaosium, I see it very unlikely that there is licence to expire or loose.

I think that depends on how well the game sells and how happy Greg Stafford is with it, plus a host of other factors that most of aren't even aware of.  I don't expect Greg to pull it, but then I didn't expect the Avalon Hill deal in the 80s, or that Chaosium to split into multiple companies, with their games going off to different parties back in the 90s, or that Mongoose would get in last decade. All I really know is that I don't really know. I'm not worried about i, just pointing out that RQG is a licensed game. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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40 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I think that depends on how well the game sells and how happy Greg Stafford is with it, ..

That's one thing we don't need to worry about, Moon Design bought out the IP completely IIRC with funds from the Guide kickstarter. Greg doesn't own it anymore.

This interview lays a lot of it out: https://janeroutley.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/interview-with-michael-obrien-vice-president-of-chaosium-games/

Basically Moon Design owns the RQ and Glorantha IP. Greg and Sandy are shareholders of Chaosium. The owners of Moon Design are also part owners of Chaosium (via Moon Design) and are also the Chaosium management team. I'm sure there are details I'm missing or getting slightly off but I think that's pretty much it.

Edited by simonh
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5 hours ago, Jakob said:

Just a thread for idle speculation: What licenses would you consider interesting for new BRP games?

Naomi Novik's Temeraire.

If I could get the time together, I'd FrankenBRP it myself for my home group...

 

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12 minutes ago, tobarstep said:

 

Dune.

I would second this. BRP would be excellent for Dune. A good system for melee combat, lots of flexibility for making all sorts of weird characters, and Dune's supernatural powers and stuff could easily be handled like normal skills. If I wasn't already working on both a Wheel of Time and a Fire Emblem hack for BRP I'd be trying to make this.

Edited by Richard S.

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The Jorune: Sholari Guide and the Jorune: Player Manual.  Probably need to combine these into one large book versus two separate ones.  Later add a 'Jorune: World Book' to explore all the other areas not covered initially. 

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Dune would be great, but the license has had a difficult history. I'm not sure a 10' barge pole is long enough, although I am the proud owner of a copy of the limited print run that did eventually get out.

I played in an excellent Dune game run by a friend using Heroquest. It was set before the first book. We were Fremen, outcasts and smugglers working for Pardot Kynes during the Harkonen occupation. Ever wonder why the Emperor ordered the Harkonens to hand over Arrakis to the Atreides? Apparently they had *ahem* 'problems' with spice production. You're welcome!

RQ/BRP could work really well. The combat system is gritty and visceral enough. Shields could work just like protection spells, you might even have different qualities and variants of shields. Loads of fun.

Edit: Just read this on the Dune Wiki about Pardot Kynes.

Quote

Kynes was hailed as an umma, a prophet. Men, women and children went anywhere he ordered, and many died during their "missions".

That's us, and they're not wrong!

 

Edited by simonh

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I say raid public domain works for a "license" that doesn't  cost.  "Worlds of Robert Louis Stevenson" or H. Rider Haggard or Rudyard Kipling.  Even Arthur Conan Doyle has a bunch of non-Sherlock Holmes adventure and spooky stories that are public domain.

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29 minutes ago, seneschal said:

I say raid public domain works for a "license" that doesn't  cost.  "Worlds of Robert Louis Stevenson" or H. Rider Haggard or Rudyard Kipling.  Even Arthur Conan Doyle has a bunch of non-Sherlock Holmes adventure and spooky stories that are public domain.

Yes, and let's not forgot coming up with generic/own stuff. I'd like to see Fantasy Earth become a reality. 

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47 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, and let's not forgot coming up with generic/own stuff. I'd like to see Fantasy Earth become a reality. 

Runequest: Fantasy Earth has been announced to be in the pipeline.

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1 hour ago, seneschal said:

I say raid public domain works for a "license" that doesn't  cost...

An excellent, and worthy notion.

This is, of course, what many of the "historical fantasy" games do -- using period(ish) folklore & legends plus historical sources.

I think all of HGWells is out-of-copyright... Just sayin'

But IMHO a multi-volume ouvre is likely to work better than any single-book setting.

Dickens' London in an Urban Fantasy version?  Not "Dickensian" but the actual characters... Fagin, the Artful Dodger; Ebenezer Scrooge as the (m|b)illionaire reformed-asshole (in the Tony Stark / Stephen Strange model); etc, etc, etc...

Edited by g33k
Typo

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4 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

Runequest: Fantasy Earth has been announced to be in the pipeline.

Yes, and I'd like to see it get out the door this time. I think we have to consider just how many lines they can support at one time. Three or four, maybe. Or do we just want a lot of one off stand alone games? Maybe a mix? say they support RQG and Fantasy Earth, but pretty much the rest are one-shots?

Edited by Atgxtg

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Licensed settings have a lot of issues, in most cases I'd be quite happy with inspired by settings.

 

At the top of my list would be Conan which would be a good fit for BRP and a good tie in to CoC. Already having CoC in hand it wouldn't be a huge leap to make a very Hyborian setting to fill that niche without the hassle of dealing with the confused Howard license (who actually has rights to his works is muddled).

 

Pendragon long ago got out of the Chaosium stable but as far as I know for the most part Arthurian Legend is public domain minus a few of the more recent works (Once and Future King, Mists of Avalon). This of course could fit right into RQ Fantasy Europe which I'm all over if it ever shows up.

 

I'd like to see a semi-hard sci-fi setting with the look of the Blade Runner / Alien / Outland universe (which in my mind are connected), but again a license isn't strictly required. It would be very easy to make a "looks like" setting. I think BRP is well suited to near future hard sci-fi and again CoC is a complementary factor.

 

Last and this would have to be a licensed setting as otherwise it is just another horror game, Evil Dead. 

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9 minutes ago, Toadmaster said:

Licensed settings have a lot of issues, in most cases I'd be quite happy with inspired by settings.

 

I'm actually quite with you there - I tend to prefer playing in "inspired by" settings, since that way, you don't feel restricted by setting canon. Also, with a setting like Middle-Earth or the Star Trek Universe, players often come with quite clear expectations, which might not be met by the actual campaign ...

However, I'd just like to remind everyone that I didn't suppose this to be a "chaosium should do ..." thread. I'm certainly not saying "forget about Fantasy Earth, do Bas-Lag instead"; I'm just asking what you think would be kind of cool if it just happened like that, disregarding questions of economic viability or anything like that.

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BRP can run Middle-earth inspired adventures really well, and so if I had a free hand I would take the classic setting "Legend" from the Dragon Warriors system (Morris, et al) and make that a resource for BRP fantasy. Legend has its own rules, of course, but the creators have argued that the world is a thing that stands apart from a particular system.

I'm surprised no one ever tried to create a game based on Tad Williams' "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn". This one has something of the feel of Legend as well.

Finally, it would be a fascinating challenge to try and capture something of the mood and tone of M. John Harrison's Viriconium sequence in a BRP RPG, but I suspect the author would never agree to a license, so it would have to be "inspired by" all the way.

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