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Thule120

Runequest, Legend, Mythras, etc.

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Hallo all BRP-enthusiasts,

and especially those who have been working with providing games or other materials out of "Legend".

First off, a short presentation of myself: 

I am an old OSR-person who has been, and still is, a dye-in-the wool player of Runequest and BRP games, including derivatives. Pendragon was a huge favorite of mine, but that game uses D20 instead of D100 as you know. I would like to design my own game, and given the many possibilities with OGL connected to D20 systems, so popular now, acquiring a D20 OGL doesn´t seem that difficult. But I like D100 systems very much, and above all Runequest.  By coincidence I found this game "Legend", and sure enough; in its core rulebook it is written without further ado in the two last pages:

a. "Legend & Open Content". Those of you who possess "Legend Core Rulebook" can see for yourselves about the generous Open Content declaration.

b. "Open Game License Version 1.0a"  (from WotC).

My understanding of reading these two pages is that I could start using Legend or parts of it for my own game design at once. It is an excellent game, beautifully and pedagogically written; really 

a great achievement by Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash. 

I haven´t really been able to track down the different derivatives of Runequest, of who that had which copyright at which times (RQ2, MRQ2, Mythras, Runequest Glorantha, etc.).

From my vantage point, the background story(-ies) of this growing pedigree is completely unimportant to me. I just want to design a game.  But the dilemma is that I can´t really understand how I could use such an excellent game that Legend is, without asking the authors (Whitaker and Nash) for permission. But they don´t work with Mongoose anymore, but with their own company, The Design Mechanism. Yes, I know, you can´t copyright game mechanics, I am aware of that. Basically, the statement a. and b. should be sufficient, am I right?

That said: My greatest respect to Mongoose, The Design Mechanism, Moon Design, and last but not least: Chaosium! You are the ambassadors of a great engine.... . 

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Mythras is not OGL and, I expect, never will be.

As Loz and Pete span Mythras from RuneQuest 6, it is a very different beast from Legend, which was spawned from RuneQuest 5.

I am sure they will tell you why Mythras is better than Legend.

The beauty of Legend is that it is OGL and you can write scenarios and supplements using it, without asking for permission from anyone. 

Mythras has a different licencing model and you must ask TDM for permission to publish a Mythras supplement. 

Again, I am sure that Loz or Pete will explain the difference and why they have, quite reasonably, gone along that particular line.

I am not a Moderator (Too much like hard work and nobody would trust me to do it anyway), but I wouldn't be surprised if the thread was closed, just because Mythras is not OGL and this would be better in the Legend forum.

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Hi Thule,

To break things down.

RuneQuest is a Trademark of Moon Design Publications LLC, and published through Chaosium. It isn't OGL and you'd need to check out the various licenses they have available on their website for designing your own game (and, advisably, contact Rick Meints to find out what is possible).

Legend is produced by Mongoose and is OGL. The whole book is the SRD, so you can freely use it, subject to the OGL terms and conditions. Its about 90% compatible with Mythras. Indeed, the recently published 'Raiders of R'lyeh' uses the Legend OGL but lifts almost its entire structure from Mythras (reworded to avoid copyright infringements).

Mythras is a Trademark of The Design Mechanism. We operate a 'Gateway' license that you can download from our website. It allows you to use the whole of Mythras Imperative, our free version of the rules, and parts of Mythras core. Take a look through and get in touch if you have questions.

The one question I'd ask is, the d100 game you want to produce, is it for personal use or publication? If publication, I'd ask 'Why'? There are already a plethora of d100 games available: RQ, Mythras, Legend, Magic World, OpenQuest, Raiders of R'lyeh, and Revolution d100 (also OGL). Is another needed? I know of another d100 game called Sabre, that is, again, heavily based on the Legend OGL, but leans heavily on Mythras; I'm not sure of its sales, but it's not terribly well known.

I'm not trying to deter you, but I do want you to be aware that it's a crowded market, and how much time you expend on the project depends on your intentions and what innovations you think your version of the rules, whatever their base, can bring to the market. The approach will also determine, to some extent, if you use the OGL, or cleave to Mythras or RQ (using one of its licensing models and with permission: contact Chaosium directly for clarification).

But I think you'll find all the publishers in the community - TDM, Chaosium, d101, and Alephtar, are very happy to answer questions and be as supportive as we can. I can't answer for Mongoose: they rarely post on this board, and I haven't visited the Legend Forum on the Mongoose site for a very long time. So happy to answer any more questions you may have, publicly or privately.

Lawrence

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Hi Lawrence,

thank you for elaborating your answer in the way you did, and not least, for the information on the Legend OGL. I do share many viewpoints as for the market space of BRP D100 games (by which by definition I don´t include the D100-game Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying). In the long term, since I began playing in the eighties, the demand for fantasy games with the BRP engine has diminished, as well known. The Competition Paradigm (another fantasy game invented in the seventies), "CPA" is, the way things are right now, just crushing all the competition; all I hear from people, in different contexts, and regardless of geographical position, is about CPA, how new gaming groups are formed in no time, the Youtube presence and the number of  followers are just staggering. Obviously some smaller fantasy generic BRP derivatives (without hit location, that kind of BRP games) could have a real hard time keeping up with the CPA in the roleplaying game market.

I do however think that BRP D100 games (with the hit location systems) have some really promising prospects, because it is overall absolutely a top notch rule set at its core. And I hope that these games will be able to get more and more visible and popular compared to CPA.  

The core question for somebody who is keen to design a game for publishing (I would like to try it) with a BRP D100 engine OGL is: 1. which niche to choose, in terms of setting, 2. how much "crunch" should the game contain, given the tendency to oneshot-, beer-and-pretzel-gaming, and the fast pace of life of today´s world. 3. is it wiser to join bigger, already established game producing entities (and some of them are really very established) within the smaller BRP D100 market space, compared to CPA: "unity gives more force"?  

 

 

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I personally would love to see more setting books using the Mythras or Runequest Gateway license, rather than another d100 game. Just my 10c though.

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16 hours ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

There are already a plethora of d100 games available: RQ, Mythras, Legend, Magic World, OpenQuest, Raiders of R'lyeh, and Revolution d100 (also OGL). Is another needed?

You forgot Renaissance, Loz :)

5 hours ago, Thule120 said:

1. which niche to choose, in terms of setting,

The one which you love the most, and in which your writing will have the opportunity to excel, of course. Writing about something you are passionate about is what will make the difference.

At the moment, the underrepresented setting niche is classic, hard sci-fi, while planetary romance seems to be covered by John Snead's latest Mythras book. A new Chaosium game will appear at some moment, by Chris Spivy, but the ETA is unknown (and subject to temporal anomalies and tampering, given the subject), so if you want to avoid immediate competition that could be the way to go. But if what really excites you is fantasy, then stick to fantasy.

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2. how much "crunch" should the game contain, given the tendency to oneshot-, beer-and-pretzel-gaming, and the fast pace of life of today´s world.

Heavy crunch games such as Pathfinder ans Starfinder are still popular, so putting some simulative element in the game should not be a taboo. Again, think of what would excite the players at your table, and focus on that. 

My personal preference is to allow for "variable crunch", but it takes some study to implement it.

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3. is it wiser to join bigger, already established game producing entities (and some of them are really very established) within the smaller BRP D100 market space, compared to CPA: "unity gives more force"?  

What kind of answer do you expect to receive, asking this on a forum where the "big established entities" dwell?

This boils down entirely on how much you want your book to be a "setting" for someone else's game system, versus how much you want it to implement your personal game ideas and not just include a couple of house rules. 

You see, one of the advantages of  an OGL over a generous gateway license is that you are in full control of what you put in the book. If you want to change something and the original author disagrees, the OGL allows you to go on, while a negotiated or gateway/logo license does not. But of course, if the vision you have for your game comes very close to an existing game system, then a Gateway license is better.

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You forgot Renaissance, Loz 

I did. Not intentional (apologies, Pete and Ken!), and kind of reinforces the point that there's a lot of choice, and easy to overlook some of the other options. I forgot about GORE too.

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13 hours ago, Thule120 said:

1. which niche to choose, in terms of setting

I think there is a dearth of Old West games (American Old West). Now, there are plenty of "Weird West" games. Pinnacle pretty much has that market cornered with Deadlands, and even Chaosium has some "Weird West" supplements for BRP (and CoC I think as well). But as far as just straight "Westerns" goes, the market is pretty sparse. Now, maybe people just don't want them and that's why they don't exist, but I personally have fond memories of old Boot Hill games from my youth.

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On 7/15/2018 at 10:24 PM, lawrence.whitaker said:

The one question I'd ask is, the d100 game you want to produce, is it for personal use or publication? If publication, I'd ask 'Why'? There are already a plethora of d100 games available: RQ, Mythras, Legend, Magic World, OpenQuest, Raiders of R'lyeh, and Revolution d100 (also OGL). Is another needed? I know of another d100 game called Sabre, that is, again, heavily based on the Legend OGL, but leans heavily on Mythras; I'm not sure of its sales, but it's not terribly well known.

I'm not trying to deter you, but I do want you to be aware that it's a crowded market, and how much time you expend on the project depends on your intentions and what innovations you think your version of the rules, whatever their base, can bring to the market. The approach will also determine, to some extent, if you use the OGL, or cleave to Mythras or RQ (using one of its licensing models and with permission: contact Chaosium directly for clarification).

But I think you'll find all the publishers in the community - TDM, Chaosium, d101, and Alephtar, are very happy to answer questions and be as supportive as we can. I can't answer for Mongoose: they rarely post on this board, and I haven't visited the Legend Forum on the Mongoose site for a very long time. So happy to answer any more questions you may have, publicly or privately.

Lawrence

I think every gamer has the desire to produce a variant of their favorite RPG incorporating their own house rules and reflecting their own preferences. I'm no exception here - I've got my own private d100 variant that I've worked over the past few years. My aim was to build a variant closely aligned to grimdark sensibilities (Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Glen Cook, Anna Spark Smith, et al). But developing a published work is different to designing something for your own personal enjoyment.

Keep in mind that the market for d100 games is a tiny segment of the overall RPG market. Print runs aren't huge by commercial standards and margins can be tight.

The d100 market is crowded, but there are still a few gaps that an enterprising designer could fill. I think there is space for a system a bit lighter than Legend / Mythras, but with a bit more crunchy than OpenQuest. There is also room for genre-specific implementations of the various d100 systems. For example, I've thought seriously about developing a cyberpunk variant of Legend or Mythras. I think such a game could work surprisingly well and there is little competition in this space at the moment. 

Another approach might be to test the waters by developing a sourcebook for an existing game, either under the OGL or a traditional licensing arrangement. I used to run a Spells of Legend thread over on the Mongoose forums where I posted new spells once or twice a week. I've also considered gathering my own contributions into a new work. It's worth noting that many people mix-and-match material from different d100 variants, so this can still reach a wider market.

As an aside, I'm glad that you mention Sabre - it's an interesting system midway between D&D and Legend / Mythras.

I'd also point out that Arc Dream declared some portions of their updated Delta Green rulebook as OGC. These develop the MRQ II / Legend game system in a different direction to the one chosen by RQ 6 / Mythras. 

 

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16 hours ago, Prime Evil said:

1. I think every gamer has the desire to produce a variant of their favorite RPG incorporating their own house rules and reflecting their own preferences.

2. Keep in mind that the market for d100 games is a tiny segment of the overall RPG market. Print runs aren't huge by commercial standards and margins can be tight.

3. The d100 market is crowded, but there are still a few gaps that an enterprising designer could fill. I think there is space for a system a bit lighter than Legend / Mythras, but with a bit more crunchy than OpenQuest.

4. As an aside, I'm glad that you mention Sabre - it's an interesting system midway between D&D and Legend / Mythras.

 

1. I can think of one gamer who has no desire to produce such a variant.

2. It makes no sense to start from the ground up with print runs, in the ultraniche market you imagine.  Start with digital only.

3. That would be an incredibly segmented market.  Unless item 1 above is true, I disagree that there are economically meaningful gaps--and I have already found item 1 to be false.

4. That impression of Sabre is precisely the opposite of the one it made on me.  I found Sabre to be a combination of the worst aspects of d20 and Mythras, and basically a slap in the face to TDM, in terms of exploiting their hard-earned IP in the most barely legal manner...

 

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I also think there is d100 cyberpunk room. I think if I ever decided to take my time to write RPGs a little more seriously, that’s probably my first. There is a real thirst for cyberpunk, and especially after the cyberpunk 2077 trailer. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve fielded the “I want an alternative to Shadowrun” question with Mythras ;)

i started working on one, but it’s extremly slow going. Not a pro writer, and dedicate limited time. 

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On 7/18/2018 at 8:45 AM, Matt_E said:

1. I can think of one gamer who has no desire to produce such a variant.

2. It makes no sense to start from the ground up with print runs, in the ultraniche market you imagine.  Start with digital only.

3. That would be an incredibly segmented market.  Unless item 1 above is true, I disagree that there are economically meaningful gaps--and I have already found item 1 to be false.

4. That impression of Sabre is precisely the opposite of the one it made on me.  I found Sabre to be a combination of the worst aspects of d20 and Mythras, and basically a slap in the face to TDM, in terms of exploiting their hard-earned IP in the most barely legal manner...

 

  1. Fair enough. That's a personal preference. 
  2. I agree with you that digital only is the best approach. However, POD can be a game-changer for small publishers working in niche markets... 
  3. The market is fairly segmented. Even so, I get the feeling that many GMs mix-and-match elements from different d100 variants. I'm not sure that the gaps need to be "economically meaningful". Hobbyists write systems for artistic reasons as well as economic ones. Personally, I don't have any issue with the publication of more d100 variants provided that they bring something new to the table. I'll use the bits that I like from a range of different games. 
  4. I said that Sabre was "interesting".  There were a few things I liked and a lot that wasn't to my personal taste. I would note that the authors of Sabre credit Mythras and indicate that they use some mechanics with permission from the Design Mechanism. However, obviously I don't know the details of the arrangement. 

 

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I would note that the authors of Sabre credit Mythras and indicate that they use some mechanics with permission from the Design Mechanism. However, obviously I don't know the details of the arrangement.

Originally, Sabre infringed our copyright by directly copying quite a lot of text from Mythras (not Legend, despite using the Legend OGL to support the game) without our permission or approval. We told them to cease publication and distribution (and enforced this via OneBookShelf) until the text was amended to our satisfaction, and due acknowledgement given. And, to their credit, they admitted their mistake, fully complied with our requirements, and everything worked out well. We have no issues with Sabre at all.

I'll note though, that 'Raiders of R'Lyeh', despite using the Legend OGL, is, in many places, quite clearly a mere rewording of Mythras, even retaining the same structure and flow of certain key rules. It might use the Legend OGL, but Mythras is the source. Wording is changed sufficiently so that the copyright infringements Sabre were guilty of haven't occurred, but it is a little disappointing that there's no acknowledgement of Mythras included in the work. We'd be quite happy if that was rectified, but, it's not something we can insist upon or enforce. Still, TDM believes very strongly in being gentlemanly in such things, and finding acceptable compromises, so that everyone's happy.

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On 7/20/2018 at 3:20 PM, Prime Evil said:

1. I can think of one gamer who has no desire to produce such a variant.

I can think of a second one plus all the players in my group.

i am much more interested in scenarios and supplemental material than any extra rulesets. Never really had the inclination on majorly modding or creating a ruleset. Have done lots of supplemental material and content to run my favorite gaming world in my favorite ruleset (Mythras). Surprisingly little rules additions needed as such, very very minor.

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