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dulcamara

Advice on adapting BRP for your own campaign?

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Hi all.

I've owned the Gold Book for years but never really took the plunge with it - neither myself nor my players had experience with the system and I just wasn't ready to adapt the toolkit. Fast forward to 2019, I've run a CoC (first 6th, now 7th) campaign for several years & numerous one-shots. Everyone enjoys the basic system and I'm pretty familiar. It is time!

Before I start, just looking for some advice on general best practices on adapting the system. Revisiting the BRP book, there are so many options.

1. We really like some of the CoC 7e streamlining, is there anything to keep in mind while integrating that stuff into the "typical" Gold Book mechanics?

2. How do you handle printing out a record of the rules, including customized occupations/skills/abilities/etc in your milieu? Feels like just handing the single copy of BRP to my players and having them memorize which rules we're using or not, isn't really practical. I'm kind of leaning towards typing it all out by hand, but that's a ton of work.

3. Along those same lines, are there any modular character sheet templates you can customize? Tried making my own once and it was ugly as hell, at the same time existing games like CoC, RQ, Elric, etc, don't quite have the right combo of rules and/or skills, etc, for each variant a BRP GM might want.

4. Any other advice for BRP rules/options that you either thought worked really well, or really didn't work in practice?

5. Any other advice in general?

FWIW I'm probably going to be doing a "realistic-ish" post apocalyptic setting, with mostly feudal level society and tech (21st century tech acting more as "magic" artifacts), if that informs any of the above. Either that or Sub-Roman Britain.

Thanks in advance.

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If you can find the monograph Rubble and Ruin (a more..immediate post-apocalyptic setting), the author has done the adaptation you're talking about; choosing which BRP options to include or not. The Big Gold Book is like a toolkit if BRP variations, and you can define a game system at minimum by simply choosing between them. Swords of Cydoria and some of the other old monographs have done the same.

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I understand your concerns but don't make this campaign harder on yourself that it needs to be.  You need to remember the options you chose as GM but can rely on your own brief hand-written notes. Since you've decided on a fairly realistic low-tech setting, you've already cut out a lot of the variations that might complicate the game.

Your players don't need access to the Big Gold Book toolkit.  They don't need to know how your weird effects, technology or critters work in game mechanics terms.  Give them a generic BRP character sheet and a few suggested career options.  Since your players are already familiar with Call of Cthulhu, you can have them create their characters with it and then tweak the results to suit your campaign.

Whether you choose a sci-fi or historical game, you don't need to burden yourself with all the magic and power suites listed in the BGB, especially not at first.  Go the Pendragon route and let NPC villains and monsters just do strange stuff without worrying about how it works.  After all, your player-characters in a realistic setting won't be sorcerers or Thundarr the Barbarian style tech-wizards.  They just have to deal with the environmental hazards of all kinds that you throw at them.

Keep it basic and simple, especially at first.  You can always add new things as the campaign progresses.

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Yeah, seneschal has a very good point.

The BGB has practcially every alternative and variant rule from just about every RPG Chaosium had produced up until that point. In most cases a GM won't need most of it, and the players. will need even less. So for the most part concentrate on the rules you need for your setting, then decide which way you want handling things like armor and hit points. As to your points:

1. CoC7 is very different. If you are going to try and incorporate it into things, I suggest you use CoC7 for your base game system and then port over the stuff you need for the BGB, such as weapons and high tech. It would probably be simpler that way.

2. If you know what you want, you can just print out the stuff that you are actually going to use and not print the sections that you won't use. You can also cut & paste stuff from the PDF to a document. But, frankly I'd suggest just printing out the basic rules that the players need to know, and not everything.

Another option would be to type up a sheet telling the players which rules you will be using.

3. You can do a custom sheet. Party of the problem with any sort of modular concept here is that the only one who knows just what he will need in his campaign is the GM. Things like SAN and skill category modifiers might be useful or might be a waste of space.DO you have an idea of what you want/need on the sheet? That would help to determine which basic character sheet to start with.

4. Yeah. I'd suggest NOT using the BGB as your core rulebook if you have another option. It's not that I don't like BRP, it's just that every other version of the game is customized for a specific setting and it can be easier to use something else as a base and add in the stuff you need than it is to start with the BGB and throw most of it out. But then, I have most of the alternatives already and don't have to buy another book to do so. 

If you do stick with the BGB, make sure you have your concept worked out and just pick the stuff that you know you are going to use. Especially which version of a given rule, like hit points, or armor. Anything else you can ignore for now, especially as far as your players are concerned.You might decide down the road to add something that you intiatlly didn't think would fit,but that's okay. 

5. Have fun. Don't overwhelm your players with too much at once. Focus more on the basic game mechanics you will be using, things like general hit points or hit locations, fixed or variable armor, DEX ranks or Strike Ranks. Get all that cleared up right away to keep things simple. Don't go into rules and variants that you won't be using. That just confuses players and somebody will somehow get the idea that you will be using something that you won't.

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I'm gonna suggest that you get the Quickstart, and use THAT as your basic rule-set.  It's the little one with the same "Vitruvian Man" DaVinci-style cover.

The PDF is Officially Free, so you can distribute it to your players without any qualms.

 

Add subsytems as-desired from the BGB.

 

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If you have a firm grip on the genre the BGB is fine. Read and review the character creation process. Modify it as you see fit to support your specific genre. Then you world build. Your PC's are done and ready to go!

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2 hours ago, jagerfury said:

If you have a firm grip on the genre the BGB is fine. Read and review the character creation process. Modify it as you see fit to support your specific genre. Then you world build. Your PC's are done and ready to go!

I think the OP wants a finished rulebook to make available to the players; NOT the BGB with its confusing plethora of options.

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25 minutes ago, g33k said:

I think the OP wants a finished rulebook to make available to the players; NOT the BGB with its confusing plethora of options.

Yes I agree. I am just encouraging the OP to dive deep in their vision of their campaign world. Pick up the book after and the BGB is not a confusing plethora of options. It is a better RPG toolkit then Hero 5th or any version of GURPS.

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On 1/24/2019 at 3:29 AM, dulcamara said:

Before I start, just looking for some advice on general best practices on adapting the system. Revisiting the BRP book, there are so many options.

Choose which set you like and stick to them.

There is not point using all the options, as you will get a really clunky system that doesn't work.

Also, don't be afraid to bring things in from other D100 systems, they should work with a few tweaks.

 

On 1/24/2019 at 3:29 AM, dulcamara said:

2. How do you handle printing out a record of the rules, including customized occupations/skills/abilities/etc in your milieu? Feels like just handing the single copy of BRP to my players and having them memorize which rules we're using or not, isn't really practical. I'm kind of leaning towards typing it all out by hand, but that's a ton of work.

I don't.

What I do instead is to write my own backgrounds/professions for those in a campaign, based on those in the BRP Rulebook. They should fit on a couple of pages. 

As for memorising rules, D100 is great for that. You have a skill, with perhaps some bonuses and penalties depending on the situation, you roll D100, if you roll above your skill it's a failure, if it's really, really high it might be a fumble, if it's really, really low it might be a critical, if it's fairly low it might be a special. Be freeform in the way you handle criticals, specials, successes, failures and fumbles, I know the BRP rulebook has a lot of descriptions of what happens on each, but I would just ignore them and go with the flow. A critical beats a special, which beats a success, which beats a failure, which beats a fumble, for opposed rolls. For ties, I'd go with whoever succeeds by the most. And that, in a nutshell, is the rules for BRP.

On 1/24/2019 at 3:29 AM, dulcamara said:

3. Along those same lines, are there any modular character sheet templates you can customize? Tried making my own once and it was ugly as hell, at the same time existing games like CoC, RQ, Elric, etc, don't quite have the right combo of rules and/or skills, etc, for each variant a BRP GM might want.

I make my own in Excel, or now in Google Sheets. OK, they are not pretty, but I find pretty character sheets completely unusable.

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