- Basic Role-Playing
title=Basic Role-Playing (BRP)
caption="Basic Role-Playing" cover page
Greg Staffordand Lynn Willis
"Basic Role-Playing" ("BRP") is a
role-playing game systemwhich originated in the fantasy-oriented " RuneQuest" role-playing gamerules. A percentile skill-based system, "BRP" was used as the basis for most of the games published by Chaosium, including "Stormbringer", "World of Wonder", "Call of Cthulhu", " Superworld", "Ringworld", " Elfquest", " Hawkmoon", "Elric!", and "Nephilim". "Pendragon" (acquired in 1998 by Green Knight Publishing, and 2005 by White Wolf), while related, has sufficiently different mechanics that it can be seen as a separate system. The "BRP" standalone booklet was first released in 1980. Two years later it became part of the " Worlds of Wonder" boxed set. The first edition boxed set of "Call of Cthulhu" included the booklet as its character creation rules. Greg Staffordand Lynn Willisare credited as the authors.
"BRP" is similar to other generic systems such as "
GURPS", " Hero System" or " Savage Worlds" in that it uses a simple resolution method which can be broadly applied. In this case an attempt to roll under a certain number with percentile dice. Each incarnation of the "BRP" rules has changed or added to the core ideas and mechanics, so that games are not identical. For example, in "Call of Cthulhu", skills may never be over 100%, while in "Stormbringer" skills in excess of 100% are encouraged for those who follow Law.
In 2004, Chaosium published the "Basic Roleplaying" monographs (the hyphen was dropped in the later products). Books with a quick and inexpensive printed format of tape binding and printed cardstock covers, the four monographs ("Players Book", "Magic Book", "Creatures Book", and "Gamemaster Book") were printed in order to assert Chaosium's copyrights in the run-up to the publishing and distribution of "Deluxe Basic Roleplaying", a game system that is essentially "RuneQuest 3rd Edition" but with additions to allow play in other genres.
Chaosium released a new version of "BRP" on June 24th, 2008 as single comprehensive book. Currently they are selling both a printed [cite web| last = Chaosium| authorlink = Chaosium| publisher = Chaosium| title=Chaosium Catalog |url = http://catalog.chaosium.com/product_info.php?cPath=37&products_id=1256| format = catalog| accessdate =2008-07-09 ] and pdf [cite web| last = Chaosium| authorlink = Chaosium| publisher = Chaosium| title=Chaosium Catalog |url = http://catalog.chaosium.com/product_info.php?cPath=70&products_id=1257| format = catalog| accessdate =2008-07-09 ] version of the game.
The "BRP" was the RPG industry's first attempt at a generic rule systemcite web |url=http://www.rpg.net/columns/briefhistory/briefhistory3.phtml |title=Brief History of the Game |accessdate=2007-09-14 |author=Shannon Appelcline |date=2006-09-04 |work= |publisher=RPG.Net] , preceding "
GURPS" by six years and the " d20 System" SRD by nearly twenty.
The core rules were originally written by
Steve Perrin[cite journal| last =Ehara| first =Tadashi| authorlink = | coauthors = | title =My Life and Role-Playing| journal =Different Worlds| volume = | issue =Issue 3| pages =8–9| publisher = Chaosium| year = 1979| month = June/July] as part of his game "RuneQuest". [cite journal| last =Donohoe| first =jim| authorlink = | coauthors = | title =Open Box: Runequest| journal =White Dwarf| volume = | issue =Issue 11| pages =18–19| publisher = Games Workshop| year = 1979| month = Feb/March| issn = 0265-8712] It was Greg Stafford's idea to simplify the rules (eliminating such things as Strike Ranks and Hit Locations) and issue them in a 16 page booklet called "Basic Role Playing". Over the years several others, including Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis, and Steve Henderson, contributed to their final form.
The "BRP" was notable for being the first role-playing game system to introduce a full skill system to characters regardless of their profession. This was developed in "RuneQuest" but was also later adopted by the more skill-oriented "Call of Cthulhu" [cite journal
title =Open Box: Call of Cthulhu
journal =White Dwarf
issue =Issue 32
year = 1982
month = August| issn = 0265-8712] [cite journal
title =Call of Cthulhu in the Eighties
journal =Different Worlds
issue =Issue 45
year = 1987| month = March/April] and the dark fantasy saga of Elric in "Stormbringer". [cite journal
title =Open Box: Stormbringer
journal =White Dwarf
issue =Issue 29
year = 1982
month = February/March
issn = 0265-8712]
"BRP" was conceived of as a genre-generic engine around which any sort of RPG could be played, much like "GURPS" and the d20 system have become today. In order to underscore this, Chaosium produced the "
Worlds of Wonder" supplement, which contained the generic rules and several specific applications of those rules to given genres. " Superworld", specifically, began as a portion of the "Worlds of Wonder" product.
The fantasy game supplement "
Thieves World", based on the popular series of books by Robert Lynn Asprin, used both the system for "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" as well as the "RuneQuest" variation of the "BRP" for character statistics, representing the two most popular game systems of the time. [cite journal
title =Open Box: Thieves World
journal =White Dwarf
issue =Issue 30
year = 1982
month = April/May| issn = 0265-8712]
"BRP" was developed from a core set of attributes similar to the original "
Dungeons & Dragons" ("D&D"). So Strength, Constitution, Size, Intelligence, Power, Dexterity and Charisma (or Appearance) replaced the D&D norms. From that was evolved a structurally simulationist system. Therefore hit points, which increase with experience in "D&D" were based on the average of Size and Constitution and were functionally stable for the life of the character. Skills, using a d100, rather than the "D&D" d20, were used to simulate the way that people learn skills. Experience points were replaced by an experience check, rolling higher than your current skill on a d100. This created a learning curve that leveled out the higher a skill was.
Armour, which had been merged with defence in "D&D" was broken out. The act of parrying was a skill, the ability of the armor to absorb damage was a separate function. The last major element of many "BRP" games is one that is shared with "
Tunnels and Trolls" (T&T), which originated this, which is that there is no difference between the player character race systems and the monster or opponents. By varying ability scores the same system is used for a human hero as a trollish villain. This approach also led quickly, as it did in "T&T", to players often playing a wide range of non-human characters and game worlds that were deeply pluralist.
Chaosium was an early adopter of licensing out its "BRP" system to other companies, something that was unique at the time they began but rather commonplace now thanks to the d20 licenses.cite web |url=http://www.rpg.net/columns/briefhistory/briefhistory7.phtml |title=Brief History of the Game |accessdate=2007-09-14 |author=Shannon Appelcline |date=2006-11-02 |work= |publisher=RPG.Net] This places the "BRP" in the notable position of being one of the first products to allow other game companies to develop games or game aids for their work. Companies such as Green Knight and Pagan Publishing earliest works were built to support Chaosium's games.
Other, non-Chaosium games have used "BRP" for its core rules. "
Other Suns", published by Fantasy Games Unlimited(FGU), used them under license. In addition, " Corum", a supplement to the "Stormbringer" rules, was published in the fall of 2001 by Darcsyde Productions.
"BRP" was used (through a special arrangement with Swedish Fredrik Malmberg) as the base for the highly successful Swedish game "
Drakar och Demoner" from Target Games.
"BRP" was also licensed to Oriflam in France to create a French language second edition of the "Hawkmoon" game called "Hawkmoon, Nouvelle Edition". This version updated the original "Hawkmoon" mechanics to more closely parallel those in the newer "Elric!" game as well as adding sophisticated new rule systems specific to the setting (e.g. Mutations and 'Weird Science').
"BRP" was also licensed to Japanese companies. "BRP" games in Japanese are "
Houkago Kaiki Club" (1997, school life and horror, Hobby Japan), " Genom Seed" (2004, mutant action, Shinkigensha) and " Taitei no Ken RPG" (2007, SciFi- jidaigeki, based on movie of the same title, " Shinkigensha").
The "BRP" itself has been the recipient, via its games, of many awards. Most notably was the 1981
Origins Awardfor "Best Roleplaying Rules" for "Call of Cthulhu".cite web |url=http://www.originsgames.com/awards/1981/list-of-winners |title=Origins Award Winners (1981) |accessdate=2007-09-14 |author=Origins |date= |work= |publisher=Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design] Other editions of "Call of Cthluhu" have also won Origins Awards including the Hall of Fame award. The "BRP" Character Generation software has also won awards for its design.
* [http://catalog.chaosium.com/index.php?cPath=37 Chaosium's "Basic Role-Playing" Catalog Page]
* [http://basicroleplaying.com/ Basic Roleplaying Central] - The community fansite for Chaosium's "Basic Roleplaying" game system. BRP Central hosts the basic roleplaying forum, a wiki, downloads, an open fan art gallery, freshly updated brp news & a link list.
* [http://www.basicroleplaying.net/ Basic Roleplaying . Net] - The unofficial site for Chaosium's d100 "Basic Roleplaying" game system. Basic Roleplaying . net hosts the [http://www.basicroleplaying.net/chaos-project Chaos Project] , Uncounted Worlds, a d100 Conversion Archive, Scenario Archives, d100 World Forges, Rules Workshop and a [http://www.basicroleplaying.net/wiki Basic Roleplaying Wiki] .
* [http://www.basicrps.com/ www.basicrps.com]
* [http://www.goblinoidgames.com/gore.htm G.O.R.E.] - a free, unofficial version of the "Basic Role-Playing" system.
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