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Holiday BRP


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After an intense holiday week, during which I had three sessions of gaming, I think it is high time to report my considerations on how this new incarnation of BRP works in the field.

In the first two sessions, which were part of a long-running Glorantha campaign set in Sartar during the Kallyr/Argrath rebellion and recentlytconverted from RQ3/4 to BRP, I was dragged in as support to the Hero Plane to recover a HeroQuest gone bad. Basically, the Heroes had attracted a too strong Opposition and although they had defeated the adversary, their Uroxi had suffered the adverse effect of a Sever Spirit spell, a fact that can be extremely annoying when you are on the Hero Plane. In the details, all attempts to bring the poor fella back with normal means only resulted in Kargan Tor appearing and saying “He’s mine”, and I assure you that Primal Death can be rather rude when he wishes to. At that point I tried to set up a Lightbringer ring to go and recover the fallen, but all that resulted was the adversary showing up again, entering the quest as Trickster the Betrayer and illuminating our Wind Lord with a lucky roll on just two riddles. Just one moment before we fell prey to despair we finally managed to complete our Ring with a Chalana Arroy priestess and bargain him back from Kargan Tor.

Later on I realized that we had re-enacted a “Storm Bull is revived by Earth” myth rather than a Lightbringer, and this intuition turned out to be useful. To cut it short, the Enemy was confronting us again in a final showdown, threatening to kill us with Sever Spirit, Seal Wound and other antisocial magic, when we realized that we were in the mythic forge of the gods, with a very, very big anvil lying around and a very, very big and angry STR 37 Storm Khan willing to take revenge. It was just a matter of invoking our Law affinities on the anvil and turn it into a mythical representation of the Block and we were ready to go for the fun part of the re-enactment. As a reply to those who say that criticals and specials are unnecessary, I can assure you that a good special roll is a non-optional part of the fun. Especially when you roll a special Throw to smash the King of the Broos under the Block. Take that you fiend!

As you have guessed, 75% of the rules used were RQ magic and houserules for HeroQuests rather than plain BRP rules. What was the bonus (or penalty) introduced by BRP in this, then? Well, I think there were two points: first of all, dropping Strike Ranks and using just DEX and INT ranks sped up combat enormously, allowing the few scenes of combat to be run in a matter of minutes and giving more room to roleplaying, which is essential in these high level HeroQuests. Secondly, it is when everyone is using really magical weapons that you appreciate the advantages of not using Armor Points to parry. Even though the old “defensive AP” system works well with common shields and axes, it is less playable when the average blow delivers 25 points of damage and everyone has a magic weapon. In this sense, basing the result of a parry on the skill of the defender alone makes way more sense.

The third session, which I GMed, was a normal-level post-apocalyptic scenario in which the adventurers had to investigate a disaster area and found out the unexpected (think of the Stalker computer game). We experimented with psionics and mutations and the result was rather satisfactory, as just applying the basic rules conveyed a sense of total weirdness to a setting that I had placed only ten years in the future. Furthermore, I appreciated once again the fact that BRP firearms mix very well with low tech weapons. The PCs had two 7.65 handguns and even managed to kill a monster with them, but even the Delta Force trained PC in the group could not play the superhuman when surrounded by a few mutant guardsmen: with the numbers on their part their spears (and mutations) were more than a match for his automatic pistol and Kevlar armour.

For a final comment, I think I can confirm that BRP behaves like I expected: it is faster than RuneQuest, albeit the level of detail is almost the same, and works fantastically well when you introduce technology in the setting. The only problem we found so far is the lack of detailed options for two-weapon combat, but this is a minor problem. Lord Thousand might have some more elements to add to this report, too.

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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That sounds like a lot of fun. I got my once-a-year face-to-face game in over break too: 2 sessions of Glorantha goodness, but not quite as high powered as your game. (We finished that campaign off a few years ago with the PCs basically being Argrath and heading into Dragon Pass at the front of two large armies.) However, we just used the good ole' RQ2/3 system that I've used for the past 25 years. I did give BRP to my younger brother for Christmas though.

The great thing is that I'm getting to actually play RQ for only the 2nd time in my life. I've got a wacky shaman running around Balazar and the Elder Wilds causing all kinds of havoc.

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