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Is Chaosium going to support BRP anymore?


danbuter

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I suspect that what's going on at Chaosium is very similar to something I encountered 10+ years ago.

I was working for a small manufacturing company that was trying desperately to stay in business after years of losing money. It had reached a point where, even after laying off all but the most essential staff, they still couldn't pay their bills. We owed a lot of suppliers, big-time, but payroll and essential operations had to come first (the owner always made sure the employees were paid first). Unfortunately, he instructed accounts payable to not return calls or give any explanations to suppliers who called for payment status. He was convinced they wouldn't sell to us anymore if they knew how dire the company's financial situation was. As the company's purchasing guy, I was in the unenviable position of having to get materials in. I had to call a sheetmetal supplier to ask him what it would take to get some more parts out of him - he angrily replied that he wanted to know when he was going to get the money we owed him before he would discuss any new parts.

I finally convinced the owner to get on a conference call with the guy and admit that the company had a serious cashflow problem. Once that was done, the sheetmetal (and other suppliers) were actually quite understanding and willing to work out a reasonable deal, where there were at least promise dates for payments, payment schedules, etc in place. He just needed to be honest with his suppliers.

It sounds to me like it may be a similar scenario here. Jason's not getting paid (and yes, he has every right to be paid and every right to be pissed about how this is getting handled) and Chaosium's not responding to him. Professionally speaking, even "Hi - we're broke and can't pay you right now, can I trade you my collection of Conan comics instead?" is preferable to silence.

I make no excuses for Chaosium's treatment of Jason et al and sincerely hope they put things aright. I just suspect (if someone knows the facts feel free to step in and correct me) that this is less about Chaosium being crooked and more about Chaosium being stupid.

As for BRP as a system - you bet I'm going to play it. Like others' here, I've got enough material with the new book and the old ones to generate any settings I want, and that was my plan all along (until they announced the new BRP), so if nothing new appears, it's just back to Plan A.

As for having to scour the net for stuff - well, that's a fair concern - but it's no longer necessary, is it? We have a good, very creative, friendly community here. We've got "Uncounted Worlds" (very good) (assuming further issues are planned). We've got each other. We can go on sharing and helping each other out. Let BRP continue to be a DIY system, until the day Chaosium gets it together. That's my vote.

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I just suspect (if someone knows the facts feel free to step in and correct me) that this is less about Chaosium being crooked and more about Chaosium being stupid.

I think this is very much the case. This isn't a a new position for Chaosium, and its not a case of being crooked; but it is disappointing because you always hope the situation will change.

The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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Im sorry, Im not going to feel bad or sorry for Chaosium that they cant make ends meet. It took them 3 months to pay me for B'61 and that was only at my lawyer advised me to let them know I had seen my lawyer about it. And that was just for a monograph.

BRP was a contract job for Jason I assume. Meaning he probably got a page or word rate and a written contractual agreement. This book as been out in two forms since he entered into that contract and has sold copies that Chaosium has received payments for. They are legally obligated, and required, to pay him to the best of thier ability, and at the very least to contact him with reasons why the can not pay him, not ignore him.

I know we are in economic turmoil currently and Chaosium is on hard times with staff and editors and work load, but these are the times that prove if they deserve to be around any longer. They have been a part of the industry for 30 years and it would be a shame for them to go, but by avoiding fan concerns, not paying authors and ignoring the mess as the fans and freelancers see it they are losing support and trust.

They could contact me tomorrow to write them a book and I probably would turn it down, for fear of not getting paid.

Other games have no problem getting thier material out in these times of hard economic down turns. FFG is still producing a crap load of material monthly, and its Dark Heresy continually sells out, as does it WFRP material.

Perhaps what Chaosium needs is new investors or new partners and to get back to basics of releasing good solid products with support lines.

I am definately getting Pulp Cthulhu cause that is right up my alley. If Supernatural Western is ever released, I will also get that. But overall, I see no need to give these people my financial support anymore as other games during these trying financial times are more honest, open and productive.

To me, BRP is more or less, dead again.

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Now that Goodman is publishing CoC material, why not work out a deal and have them do some fantasy based supplement for BRP? I've really liked what they've done with their Dungeon Crawl modules and believe they could put together a supplement that would satisfy the needs for "traditional fantasy". Either way, something needs to be done.

Edited by mrk
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Other games have no problem getting thier material out in these times of hard economic down turns. FFG is still producing a crap load of material monthly, and its Dark Heresy continually sells out, as does it WFRP material.

Plenty do, actually. I wouldn't draw a general conclusion from what some of the more successful ones manage to pull off. I can think of some companies rather larger than Chaosium is these days that are having some serious problems here.

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I can think of some companies rather larger than Chaosium is these days that are having some serious problems here.

Quite true, even Wizards of the Coast is currently not doing exactly well.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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All I know is that I'm going to buy the BRP pdf pretty soon, just in case Chaosium ever goes down, and something happens to my BRP hardcopy. It sucks that a company that's been around so long is being so stupid with the people who want to support it.

But at the same time, there's a ton of material out there that can be adapted for BRP. When I have time, I think I will adapt Flashing Blades combat to BRP and then I'll be able to have the Interplanetary game I've been waiting for. I already have the CoC Metacreator, which allows me to make up as many zombies, aliens, or whatever I want to have. So, if Chaosium does go down, it won't be that major of a loss. And if people choose to make things for Gore, then that's fine, too, as the systems are quite compatible.

However, does anyone have money (or be willing to get a loan for it) to buy a struggling company and the skills to run it right? It would be cool if people from this forum could take the company over if Chaosium must sell out or close its doors.

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They will sort things out, eventually. And we will see more BRP on the shelves, one way or another.

Sorry, but I've been hearing that from Chaosium since the the mid 80s and RQ3. I didn't happen then, and I doubt it will happen now. Hence the scramble to buy BRP Zero. How many BRP Fans were wondering if BRP was even going to make it to the shelves., let alone supplements?

Yeah the economy is poor, and yeah Chaosium is in/has been in financial difficulties from Day Two. But that just makes it all the more likely for them to drop the ball, again.

I'm kinda expecting BRP to die off due to lack of official support. It'd pretty much much the normal route for a Chaosium RPG, CoC being the notable exception.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Regardless of their current situation, shutting off communications with people trying to work with them is a really bad move for Chaosium and their BRP line. How many people will have the confidence to continue to contribute or want to contribute after reading this thread? How many good supplements will we not see now? How does this attitude by Chaosium help themselves out of any detrimental situation that they may be in? In tough times shutting down like this will only lead them down the path of companies like Morrigan Press, who, after not paying their artists (not sure about writers, I know artists for a fact) abandoned everything. I don't see why Morrigan Press even bothers to maintain a website anymore.

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Are you aware of Kenzer & Co's Kingdoms of Kalamar for D&D 4e? With no particular license or permisions, simply adhering to copyright and trademark law. Legally it's entirely do able - albeit it's not a route I'm particularly happy with contemplating even in the current circumstances.

Let me get this straight... I should still be able to publish Rome, as long as I only make references to BRP and not quote wholesale from it?

As it stands at the moment the entire manuscript is my own work, and I only give occasional suggestions to refer to sections of the BRP rulebook, for example a few of the creature entries simply say "See pXX in the BRP rules". I have not quoted any mechanics from BRP, and any additional rules are my own creation. The only direct links are the fact that I use the words fumble, success, special and critical, and the generic characteristic layout for creatures.

Furthermore, is it okay to sell the book with the description "This campaign setting is designed to be used with BRP", as long as I leave out any logos etc?

If that's the case, then I could publish without a rewrite and still be able to support BRP with a clear conscience. I want BRP to succeed as a system, I just can't afford to pay them a large royalty fee for the trademark.

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How fickle people are.

First it was "I won't buy anything from Mongoose because they are Evil Exploiters", now it's "I won't buy anything from Chaosium because they are Evil Exploiters".

Let me let you in on a secret - all companies are Evil Exploiters. If a company has cashflow problems it will stop paying invoices, if a company can find a way out of paying anyone for anything then they will do so. People should take legal advice if they haven't been paid for services rendered, that's why laywers exist after all.

Once you have accepted this and don't take things personally then things (like morals) become a lot easier. I haven't been burned by Chaosium so I don't have a personal grudge against them, if I had been then I would probably be justified in not trusting them. However, I can't take it personally when somebody else is affected - it just isn't personal to me.

Whilst I feel for Loz, Jason and whoever else has not been paid or has had projects put on hold, this won't particularly affect my purchasing decisions. I will buy BRP products because they are BRP products, not because Chaosium are Angels or Devils - they are neither.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course, but I don't think that throwing our toys out of our prams over the fact that Chaosium don't seem to have a lot of business sense is going to achieve much.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Pete,

Firstly, IANAL - if you choose to go down this path, consult one.

Secondly, from my understanding of copyright law, trademark law,

and reality, referring to the BRP book or even saying your product is

compatible or designed for BRP is illegal (assuming, of course, BRP is

a trademarked term owned by Chaosium). This happened to Mayfair

Games with their Role-Aids line. The case was complicated because

of an agreement made between TSR and Mayfair, but in the end, a

new agreement had to be written up, Mayfair had to pay some

compensation, and some unsold stock that was out of compliance with

the new agreement had to be destroyed.

So, if you eliminate any direct reference to BRP and the BRP book, maybe

going so far as paraphrasing the rules referenced, you could publish as

is. Assuming Chaosium does not claim any rights to Rome since it was

already submitted. Usage of the terms "fumble, success, special and critical"

nor the generic characteristic layout for creatures are going to be issues

since the terms are common use and the characteristic layout is most

likely uncopyright-able.

-V

Edited by vagabond
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It seems like issues brought up on this thread boils down to: go talk to a lawyer.

I hope BRP, and even Chaosium is going to be around for a long time. But you're not going to get your payment issues fixed, and Chaosium will keep taking their sweet time until you show some initiative. I'm with Soltakss on this one.

Besides, if no one's going to buy Chaosium products, then no one will get paid.

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Secondly, from my understanding of copyright law, trademark law, and reality, referring to the BRP book or even saying your product is compatible or designed for BRP is illegal (assuming, of course, BRP is a trademarked term owned by Chaosium).

That's a shame. The other suggestions can all be done with relative ease, but if I can't 'openly' sell it in support of BRP I may as well just convert it all to MRQ and avoid the whole issue. <sigh>

Its all rather frustrating. I'd love to release Rome as a BRP supplement to help BRP grow and thrive. But if Chaosium isn't going publish Rome themselves, and I can't afford their license fee for self publication (let alone a lawyer specialising in American copyright law) then I'm a bit buggered. :(

Thanks anyway V.

Edited by Pete Nash
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Besides, if no one's going to buy Chaosium products, then no one will get paid.

Easier said than done - first Chaosium would have to publish such products.

The fact that they do not is what started this threat. ;)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Whilst I feel for Loz, Jason and whoever else has not been paid or has had projects put on hold, this won't particularly affect my purchasing decisions. I will buy BRP products because they are BRP products, not because Chaosium are Angels or Devils - they are neither.

And nor should it. I would certainly never advocate that you don't buy Chaosium's material because I, or anyone else, haven't been paid; that's a relationship between me and Chaosium to sort out; I'm sure Jason will say the same.

What the situation does for me is shake my confidence in wanting to write more for them, or move to support BRP with Gwenthia. Nothing more, and certainly no boycotts.

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How fickle people are.

First it was "I won't buy anything from Mongoose because they are Evil Exploiters", now it's "I won't buy anything from Chaosium because they are Evil Exploiters".

Whilst I agree with a lot of what you say, I don't think people are being fickle. Mongoose got dubbed as evil exploiters because of the perceived injustice of not crediting/acknowledging the writers of the previous editions of Runequest....Chaosium are being thus dubbed because they're not paying what they owe, or having the courtesy to keep in contact with people.

If anything I'd say people are being pretty consistant: they see that ( or feel ) that something is wrong or unfair and they condemn it.

That said I'd agree that a boycott will only make the situation worse as it lessens the cash flow for Chaosium which means

1] less chance of new BRP material

2]much more important, it means that folks who are owed money by chaosium are less likely to get it !

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I said I had certain BRP/CoC products I still wanted to buy and will buy, but unlike earlier when I would just buy anything to help keep Chaosium open and floating, to show my support I just cant give them that support.

I really want Pulp Cthulhu, so regardless I will buy that. But other monographs and books that I thought were interesting but not necessary will never get purchased by me now.

I cannot support a company that does not support its workers. Saying go ahead and buy the stuff so maybe they will pay thier dues is too much like extortion to me. "Buy this, and maybe we will pay Jason"

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Whether they paid Jason or Loz is their business, and only theirs (Jason's or Loz's I mean). If anybody suggested we should buy BRP to help Jason get his money, he was wrong. Jason will get what is due to him because Charlie & Co. are honest guys. Period. In what timeframe they get it is another story, and I'll not hold my breath. Sorry.

Whether we should buy more BRP is not linked to this problem. We buy games because we like to play (or simply own them). We like BRP because it is a good game, not because Charlie or Greg are good people (they are). I am sure Gary Gygax was a splendid person - I am on good terms with one of his former employees in another Internet community, and he never complained about the salary he got. This does not make me like D&D.

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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We are talking about a company that sells 60% of its products which are written as Monographs, where the writer has to do the art, layout and editing on their own and then Chaosium will make it a PDF, charge way too much for it and not pay the author the meager $250 its promised them in a contract (online) that doesnt even mention PDF formats.

A company where very few of its works are actually worth buying cause they are just not as good as they use to be. They may have an excellent system, and I would love that system to flourish, but with a lack of support for that system I am left with two options.

Buy whatever BRP related product I can or not buy any BRP products at all.

As it stands, there are not real support books for BRP at date.

I love BRP, it is my second favorite system to date that is currently active (Dark Heresy is my god). But liking a system does not mean I have to support it or its company anymore then liking a comany and a person does not make me have to support their game.

The guys at Paradigm Press were very polite, nice and open last year at Origins, I enjoyed thier company and talking about their products. But I will never run or play in Witch Hunter cause the system is bogus and the product not very attractive. I love the Solomon Kane savage worlds book, it is beautiful, informative and a well done book. But the system is crunk and the people at the booth were obnoxious and annoying.

I would love to get into Exile Studios' Hollow Earth Expedition setting and game. The system is a bit wanky and the setting a bit off from the pulp I crave, but the books are beautiful, the staff incredibly nice and the web site open and enjoyable. But there is a lack of support for the system so I steer clear if it.

BRP doesnt have the support, despite Charlie and Dustin being very polite, nice and approachable chaps who are mostly honest. The book wasnt a beautifully presented as it deserved (better layout, font, art and a hard cover would have been nice) and the system overall rocks. So any new books made for BRP need to be damn right amazing for me to actually purchase.

I saw similar things happen to WEG with its D6 license, which is a shame as D6 is one of those classic, effective systems that should be a power in todays gaming world. But lack of imagination, proper releases and support and communication with fans and freelancers/contracted workers let the D6 systems fall through with only a handful of sourcebooks for each one being released.

Chaosium is going to go the same route. Obviously Deadworld didnt see the BRP system as the end all of games for their setting, but thought they had a decent bargain/deal to make their setting a game for BRP, until they ran out of options with BRP's owners and are now shopping for a new system. We should all hope it isnt with D20.

No, Im affraid MRQ is currently the superior system, as THEY support THIER game.

Chaosium wants our support, they need to show us we have thiers.

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Easier said than done - first Chaosium would have to publish such products.

The fact that they do not is what started this threat. ;)

Touche:thumb: But what I was getting at is: don't just boycott the company because of something that's between other people. And just don't buy anything unless you actually have an interest in it. Chaosium is only hurting themselves by not releasing products and paying their writers. But that doesn't mean anyone shouldn't enjoy what they've already got. But that's a personal decision.

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I wasn't suggesting people should buy Chaosium products on the off chance that Jason, PK etc get paid, simply that if Chaosium go under they definately won't get paid. Now if I see a Chaosium product I like I'm going to buy it, simple as that ( indeed I have a mail order with them at the moment ). people should buy because they want the product , not out of a sense of loyalty just because it's Chaosium. it just seems kind of obvious to me that if people refuse to buy Chaosiums products as a matter of principle, it just worsens the situation vis a vis Chaosium having the cash to function and discharge their obligations

Edited by Agentorange
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However, I can't take it personally when somebody else is affected - it just isn't personal to me.

It is personal to me. :)

When I bought Chaosium's books, I paid both for the work of the authors and

for the work of Chaosium, and expected Chaosium to hand the authors' sha-

res of the money I paid on to the authors, not to keep that part of my money

for themselves and use it as they please for as long as they please.

So, in my opinion they broke their agreement with me as well as their contract

with the authors.

And I do not agree with the idea that I should buy even more Chaosium pro-

ducts in order to make them honour their contracts with the authors.

I did buy their products and did pay them money, it is now their turn to act

and transfer the authors' shares of the money they already received on to

the authors, definitely not my turn to give them even more money.

Besides, it is not about money at all. It is about the basic respect for the au-

thors' work and the authors themselves. Not to pay them and not to commu-

nicate with them is the direct opposite of decent behaviour, and I find this

extremely bad style rather disgusting.

And since I do not need more of Chaosium's products, I am done with them.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I am sometimes amazed at how easy it is on the net for someone ( in this in case me ) to say one thing and for people to interpret it in a totally different manner....

Ah well, enough of this I'm going back to my pet project of collating BRP monster stats from as many sources as I can to make my own BRP monster manual :D

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