Jump to content
Cosmic55

Advice BRP For Fantasy

Recommended Posts

I’m curious if anyone uses the Big Gold Book for a more generic fantasy game? I’m trying to transition my group away from D&D once in a while, so for my annual Christmas game I’m thinking Savage Worlds or BRP.

It’s a pretty standard fantasy game, dwarves and elves and what have you. Lower magic than some, with a horror and fae atmosphere.

I’m still examining the options, specifically with how much prep work would be needed. It’s a 4-6 short session game, so I don’t want to spend all my prep time figuring out what rules to use.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? Things that worked well or didn’t? Things to avoid or absolutely include?

Thanks in advance!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t know if you are open for other options, but if this were my group I would use Mythras (a BRP family game) and it’s supplement Classic Fantasy. The latter is built to emulate OSR (and thus a little lower magic, a little grittier) D&D but using a d100 chassis. 

Not that BGB can’t do it, I’m sure. I just have less experience in that area. As a whole the deadlier combat in most of the d100 lines are going to give it quite a bit different flavor. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm an Elric!/Magic World guy myself.

For the BGB (going by memory, so forgive if I label these wrong) I would suggest taking Magic and Psychic powers. If you're doing really low magic I would just stick with the Psychic powers and maybe add in some small Mutations.

I think your big decision is whether to go with hit locations or random armor. I prefer one hit point score and random armor but it's really just a preference. Hit locations work fine too.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It should work fine, mechanically. It's what the original Magic World was, a generic fantasy RPG. 

Any problems you may encounter will, more likely, be due to the differences between it and D&D. Players used to D&D, develop certain expectations that don't hold true for other games, and are often shocked when things don't work out the same way. For example, players might continue a fight long while injured because in D&D being down a a third or even half your hit points is no big deal.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would running it using A ) ad&d2 ed conversion from the forum here or b) get in search of the trollslayer cor ideas how to get the feel. C) use major wounds wizardry and sorcery for priests sorcery and mutations or psionics or super powers to shape the gifts from the gods.... Skills above 100% so fighters get more attacks make healing of 1d3 hp per wound... In swedish Drakar och Demoner your character died at -con in hp ( after 0 looses one hp per round, makes characters more durable )

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I have never used the BRP Rules, as such, as my main rules.

For years, I have based my game on a heavily-adapted RQ3. Now, I am basing it on an RQG-Revolution hybrid.

Mythras or Legend are better options than BRP, for me, because of the way they handle combat.

The BRP rules were, for me, an uneasy mix of Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu and RQ3, with too many options. I know that some people used it, but it was not easy to write for or GM for.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, the toolkit aspect of BRP is a feature not a bug.  Hercules-like PC demigods?  No problem with super powers.  Need a custom space alien or interdimensional monster? You’ve got the whole Chaosium magic and power suite to work with.  Combat too lethal for D&D-ers? CON+SIZ for better hit points.  You aren’t locked in to a particular rules-mandated play style.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Cosmic55 said:

I’m curious if anyone uses the Big Gold Book for a more generic fantasy game? I’m trying to transition my group away from D&D once in a while, so for my annual Christmas game I’m thinking Savage Worlds or BRP.

It’s a pretty standard fantasy game, dwarves and elves and what have you. Lower magic than some, with a horror and fae atmosphere.

I’m still examining the options, specifically with how much prep work would be needed. It’s a 4-6 short session game, so I don’t want to spend all my prep time figuring out what rules to use.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? Things that worked well or didn’t? Things to avoid or absolutely include?

Thanks in advance!

I will advocate AGAINST the BGB for an intro/starter short-arc use.  It's too much of a toolkit, not enough of a ready-to-run game.  You mention not wanting to put in a lot of effort up-front, and the BGB's comprehensive nature is exactly wrong for that!

As others have noted, Magic World was the "generic fantasy" entry from Chaosium, and is still available for sale.  It would be a great option.

If you want to go really simple, just get the quickstart rules (same "DaVinci Man" cover-art as the BGB) and add a few bits.  It's a feee PDF (or cheap in print) direct from Chaosium.

But then I'm gonna circle-back and kinda-sorta contradict myself, and recommend you DO use the BGB... as a toolkit/reosource, to add a few widgets or features & flesh out your game a bit.

===

As noted, the "Classic Fantasy" + "Mythras" option is a good one!  It's a reworking/expansion of the older BRP-based "Classic Fantasy" just as Mythras expands upon BRP.; so you could stay with the older BRP versions, if desired.  This gives them a standard "class/race" framework they are used to, but shows off the d100 engine.

===

As for specific subsystems to use or not...  I'll advocate FOR hit-locations!  BackInTheDay when I moved from AD&D(aka 1e) to RQ2, combat with hit locations was AMAZING; I fell in love then, and still haven't found any RPG's melee-combat to beat it.

 

Edited by g33k
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, seneschal said:

To me, the toolkit aspect of BRP is a feature not a bug.  Hercules-like PC demigods?  No problem with super powers.  Need a custom space alien or interdimensional monster? You’ve got the whole Chaosium magic and power suite to work with.  Combat too lethal for D&D-ers? CON+SIZ for better hit points.  You aren’t locked in to a particular rules-mandated play style.

I think it depends on your familiarity with the ruleset. If you are a die hard BRPer the the BGB is a godsend with near limitless potential. If you aren't, then it can be confusing and overwhelming. Reminds me of FUDGE in that

 

22 minutes ago, g33k said:

If you want to go really simple, just get the quickstart rules (same "DaVinci Man" cover-art as the BGB) and add a few bits.  It's a feee PDF (or cheap in print) direct from Chaosium.

But then I'm gonna circle-back and kinda-sorta contradict myself, and recommend you DO use the BGB... as a toolkit/reosource, to add a few widgets or features & flesh out your game a bit.

That's a great idea. You get at least 90% of what you need for a typical Fantasy campaign in the quickstart. Add in fantasy races, extended equipment and weapons tables, and at least once magic system from the BGB and you're set. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I think it depends on your familiarity with the ruleset. If you are a die hard BRPer the the BGB is a godsend with near limitless potential. If you aren't, then it can be confusing and overwhelming. Reminds me of FUDGE in that.

Well, I have to admit that I cut my role-playing teeth designing Traveller starships and Champions superheroes, building stuff comes naturally to me.  If you need cheap, quick and dirty the BRP Quick-Start is a good way to go.  If you want to throw Imperial stormtroopers at your sword and sandal types, GORE is free in the downloads section and has the sci-fi gear ready.  👽  Plus GORE has the rudimentary magic system that the Quick-Start lacks.

Edited by seneschal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For most of this last decade I ran Glorantha using the BRP BGB as a base, with elements from RQ3 and the MRQ line (which has ultimately ended up as Mythras).

For Glorantha I'll just use RQG instead now.

However if going for a non-Gloranthan fantasy setting I would recommend MagicWorld, it's a great version of BRP tailored specidfically for fantasy. Either that or go with the MRQ SRD line, in which case I would recommend OpenQuest (lightish rules) or Mythras (for crunchier rules). They both run fantasy RAW.

Having said that, if all you have is the BGB, then that is perfectly servicable. There is a chapter in the back which lists which rules to use for which genre, and that covers fantasy right there. The BGB is a great toolkit, and if that is all you have, then that is also all you'll need.

In many ways I just want to see a new edition of the BGB with better art, it really is such a good book to have. It's one of the few books I'll never archive.

 

Edited by Mankcam
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Magic World is the BGB adapted to fantasy, so it is a better solution for "out of the box" play. And it is relatively simple. Or you could go for OpenQuest, too.

If you are not afraid of a little bit more tactical thinking, Mythras is a very good alternative, too.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...or even Revolution D100! 😁

It pretty much serves the same purpose of being a generic toolkit like the BGB, but has some cool new dials.

It's generic, but it runs fantasy as good as anything else, it even has some background char gen specifically designed for fantasy. Plus the skills can easily be tweaked to fit whatever setting you wish, so it's a great GM ruleset.

Edited by Mankcam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm using the Cthulhu Fantasy character generation file (I'll look for the link in downloads if you cannot find it).  The standard Classic Fantasy for the core rules (BRB, BGB, whatever) didn't strike my interest, although I did include a version of the "Spell Lore" skill for a player who likes to run mages.  He is happy with it (started with a d6 + bonus, only gets a skill up roll if he rolls under it while casting a spell (which gives him a -1 to the POW cost) and then reworked the POW reduction to make it start lower and progress more smoothly. 

I have seen a copy of Mythras' Classic Fantasy and I'd say it is a much better version and more understandable even if you cut it off the RQ6 chassis and use it with the base rules.  I'd actually probably have done that instead of the Cthulhu Fantasy, except I like the feel of the CF character generator and it works well with integrating a classic fantasy setting IMO.  It would have also been a bit of a PITA to get around some of the "higher rank" think implied by the main Mythras system, but IIRC, you could just use the character creation and toss the rank stuff to the side.

The class diversity is fun too.  We have a Dark Elf Adept (uses some Super Powers with POW costs as physical enhancement "spells"), a Duelist/Pistoleer (no pistol. but has two Sorcery spells: the light spell and a damage bonus for his rapier) type swashbuckler and a Mage type (Elementalist I think) who is working on his staff skills some and learning a bunch of alchemy skills, at least enough to do some "field alchemy" with found herbs to make elixirs and poultices (weak potions, either slower acting or less effect).  They are plowing through both some individual tough critters and swarms of low end humanoids.  They have taken some hard hits, but mostly dodge and parry their way through.  Biggest thing with the little fellers (kobolds & goblins), I use the spot rule that says if 2x Size then -20% to hit and if 1/2x Size then +20% to hit which makes those fights interesting since the entire party is in the 2x end.  Not much, but an gives a small chance with a swarm of attacks to do a bit of damage.

EDIT: Link for 36 Fantasy Characters I rolled up:

 

Edited by Algesan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/21/2018 at 3:14 PM, Mankcam said:

...or even Revolution D100! 😁

It pretty much serves the same purpose of being a generic toolkit like the BGB, but has some cool new dials.

This is exactly the point: the OP wanted something that does fantasy "out of the box", rather than something that does "almost everything, including fantasy".

So, BGB and Revolution D100: not recommended. Magic World, OpenQuest and Mythras: easier to apply.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Magic World is a lighter variant so might be an easier sell to people coming from D&D. It makes a nice intro to BRP. You can always use the BGB or other systems later to bump up the level of detail if desired.

The downside is the game is not supported anymore. Chaosium says they will keep the pdf available, but print copies are gone when they run out. 

 

If you are pretty familiar with BRP then the BGB can definitely be used to run a basic fantasy game, just use what you like and easy to beg, borrow and steal stuff from other BRP based games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ran a fantasy campaign for two years using the Big Gold Book and didn't have any major issues.

Here is a brief list of the challenges faced by my players from a typically DnD background:

  • Characters felt vulnerable due to fixed hit points and no leveling. They got over this very quickly once they made it through a few fights and realized how capable their PCs were.
  • Treasure, just treasure. They came from a game that expected a certain gear level; where PC power is as much about the gear you walk around in as any innate abilities they have.
  • Balancing encounters can be a challenge: it's pretty easy when the party is not outnumbered, just think about skill levels damage etc. But things can go sideways pretty quickly when people start running out of reliable dodges/parries.

Most of this was because the game feels so different, but once they started playing the players got used to it very quickly. My best advice is to just start playing and tweak things as you go. Especially if you let people change their characters as they get used to the game.

One issue I had was making magical items, I wanted them to be rare, and a big deal, but didn't really like the flavour of the example s in the book. So I went digging online, Pete Maranci's web page has lots of examples that I used, or modified, for the game. http://www.maranci.net/rq.htm

You can also lift a lot of stuff, as others have said, from other BRP based games. I have Elric and RQ3, so had plenty of stuff to mine from.

Edited by Greville
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/20/2018 at 12:54 PM, Cosmic55 said:

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? Things that worked well or didn’t? Things to avoid or absolutely include?

If you are thinking of playing something with a short life span - 4-6 sessions as you mention - the OpenQuest is a strong option, It incorporates all the standard fantasy tropes that you mention so can be run 'out of the box' or to fit your existing prep so all the decisions that you need to make for BRP about which option to use are already made for you and laid out in a rule set. It is also pretty simple to pick up and gives you characters that are reasonably competent from the start. It will give a game that is recognisable to D&D players but also sufficiently different, and there is a basic rules set available as a free pdf that players can access if they want to refer to the rules themselves.

I have run generic fantasy with the rule set and think it is very fit for purpose for a more casual style of play. You may well need to do some quick house ruling to allow characters to everything they want - but it sounds that you are not new to gaming so this should be something you are comfortable with. Combats can bog down, but that would be an issue with BRP, as well so you need to think about how you will run combats and change them on the fly. 

Classic Fantasy for Mythras has a bit of a learning curve attached to it and you will need to spend time explaining rules and letting players work out strategies on how to fight. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want pre-packaged Fantasy, then OpenQuest and Magic World do the job, but neither has Hit Locations, which is a no-no for me, as it isn't D100 if you can't lose a limb.

Legend also works as a pre-packaged fantasy system, it is also fairly compatible with Mytras, so you can use Mythras material with it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, soltakss said:

it isn't D100 if you can't lose a limb

Pretty sure I’m going to use this now as a signature somewhere. 

  • Haha 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/28/2018 at 12:52 PM, soltakss said:

It isn't D100 if you can't lose a limb.

Let's say more precisely "It isn't D100 if you can't lose either a limb or your mind".

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/28/2018 at 7:52 AM, soltakss said:

If you want pre-packaged Fantasy, then OpenQuest and Magic World do the job, but neither has Hit Locations, which is a no-no for me, as it isn't D100 if you can't lose a limb.

Wait a minute, you can lose a limb in Magic World, Hawkmoon and Stormbringer despite the lack of hit locations!😲  Lost limbs are a possible consequence of a Major Wound- It's on the Major Wound Table.  I guess Chasoium RPGs can still be D100 without hit locations, right?;)

 

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/20/2018 at 9:34 AM, Raleel said:

I don’t know if you are open for other options, but if this were my group I would use Mythras (a BRP family game) and it’s supplement Classic Fantasy. The latter is built to emulate OSR (and thus a little lower magic, a little grittier) D&D but using a d100 chassis. 

Not that BGB can’t do it, I’m sure. I just have less experience in that area. As a whole the deadlier combat in most of the d100 lines are going to give it quite a bit different flavor. 

If you are coming from older D&D, then I agree on this one, although you may not want to deal with some of the baggage from Mythras.  I haven't delved enough into it to figure out what to do about the "rank" system except to use it as a basis for figuring "levels".  Heck, the baggage from Mythras might end up being a lot of fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Algesan said:

If you are coming from older D&D, then I agree on this one, although you may not want to deal with some of the baggage from Mythras.  I haven't delved enough into it to figure out what to do about the "rank" system except to use it as a basis for figuring "levels".  Heck, the baggage from Mythras might end up being a lot of fun!

Pretty much what classic fantasy does. It even has a level to rank conversion chart. I find CF’s repurposing of the Mythras cult and brotherhoods into classes to be quite clever. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Algesan said:

...  I haven't delved enough into it to figure out what to do about the "rank" system except to use it as a basis for figuring "levels" ...

Yeah, that's what CF rank IS.

You improve your character via skill-checks, exactly as per Mythras core.  But you have a defined/declared "Class" for your character, and when a suite of Class-skills gut up past certain thresholds, you advance a rank in that class.  As your rank improves, you gain Class/LevelRank special bennies.

It's kind of the opposite of D&D:  there, you earn XP and THEN your skill goes up via Level-up; but in CF, your skill-improvements are what raises your rank (which unlocks Rank-based bennies).

Edited by g33k
typo
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×