Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Chaosium d100 system is at the Printer

cover art

That's right folks, the BASIC ROLEPLAYING SYSTEM is finally going to be a reality. I've been waiting for real multi-genre game from Chaosium for years. They have finally wised up and are providing a game system that's user friendly, like Call of Cthulhu, and is easy to apply to any type of adventure you want to run from sci-fi to fantasy. I've got a ton of ideas that BRP would be perfect for and now I’ll get to make them a reality.

The truth is I love roleplaying, but I hate rules. Rules get in the way of having a good gamming experience, imo, mostly because they are too complicated and so I spend most of my time with my nose buried in the rulebooks rather than focused on the players. The weird need by most game designers to create RPGs with overly complicated rules sets which must be memorized has always astonished me. I think this is the main reason most folks aren’t interested in playing RPGs. If you like legalistic stuff that doesn’t represent any kind of reality then by all means keep playing that way but I certainly don’t have the time relearn an overly complicated rules set, like D&D, every time I want to add something to an adventure or a new addition comes out. Have you looked at the Stat blocks for creatures nowadays? I don't understand half of that crap. Plus, all the rules about levels, experience points and etc, etc just get in the way actually rolepaying, being the character and that’s what I find fun. Roleplaying, for me, is about being in the moment and BASIC ROLEPLAYING will allow that now that it’s not tied to a specific genre. Can you tell I’ve been waiting for this?

This book represents a first for BASIC ROLEPLAYING—a system complete in one book, without a defined setting. Previously, BASIC ROLEPLAYING has been an integral part of standalone games, usually with rich and deep world settings. Due to differences in these settings, BASIC ROLEPLAYING has had many different incarnations. Variant and sometimes contradictory rules have emerged between versions, to better support one particular setting over another.

Chaosium’s BASIC ROLEPLAYING system reconciles these different flavors of the system and brings many variant rules together into the covers of one book, something that has never been done before. Some of these rules are provided as optional extensions, some as alternate systems, and others have been integrated into the core system. By design this work is not a reinvention of Basic Roleplaying or a significant evolution of the system, but instead a collected and complete version, without setting, provided as a guide to players and gamemasters everywhere and compatible with most Basic Roleplaying games. It also allows the gamemaster the ability to create his or her own game world (or worlds), to adapt others from fiction, films, or even translate settings from other roleplaying games into Basic Roleplaying.

Take peak at the character sheet here.



Dean Wormer said...

Hmmm, by the character sheet it doesn't look like they're trying to reinvent the wheel so that's good.

Looking forward to it.

Overdroid said...

I've been wanting to talk to you about this! I was just poking around over at Chaosium's site. Didn't you get the soft cover pre-release version? Any chance we could get a review or some more details? I'm thinking of getting this.

Randal Graves said...

This is why I loved the old Marvel Super Heroes game. Two d10s for everything, one goddamn chart. Well, not counting rolling for powers and crap like that, just once you got to playing.

Arkonbey said...

I'm torn. It's always good that RPGs get simpler (D&D 3.5, for example),but I find I like the complicated rules. Not because I'm good at it; I leave that up to the GM. But, because it eliminates a lot of ambiguity, especially in combat.

On the other hand anything that advances tabletop gaming over one more damn FPS on a console is a good thing!

And the character sheet crashed Firefox on me. I guess the gods of RPGs want to deny me...

Isis said...

I'm god and anything I say goes.

The Moody Minstrel said...

The weird need by most game designers to create RPGs with overly complicated rules sets which must be memorized has always astonished me.

When I created the so-called Impasse sci-fi RPG (ask Snabulus) and at one point was running two different game campaigns in my university days with well over a dozen total players, some people complained about the complicated and rather esoteric rules...to the point that when I tried to get someone else to try GMing it I was soundly rebuffed. (I was told, "Face it: no one but you can do this thing!")

The thing was that I wound up being forced to make the rules detailed simply because so many of my players were know-it-alls and number crunchers who would constantly bombard me with things like real-life defense research, recent articles from NASA, quantum physics, hydrostatic trauma, thermal blooming, impact deformation, high-density penetrators, aerobic fatigue, subconscious response, psychological defense mechanisms, impact location of missed shots, New Age theories regarding psychic power, etc., etc.. If I didn't have a specific and well-detailed system already in writing to deal with something that popped up, you could bet that some of the players would argue about it for hours...before popping off to another room to make a system for me to use next time.

There was also the fact that, at the very beginning back in high school, I had tried to run a RPG campaign in the Impasse setting, but using a system based on AD&D rules. It just didn't work. (I noticed that TSR's own attempt at something similar, "Star Frontiers", was equally lame.)

The result is a rule book which, even after considerable revision and simplification over two decades, is still 326 pages long...coupled with a player's guide and situational supplements which are each almost as long.

(That's one of the biggest reasons why, despite all the pressure I've gotten over the years, I've never tried to publish the thing. The tradeoff between playability and detail is a very complicated one, and it's hard to sacrifice one for the other.)

It's a nice, huge pile of material that I admittedly ignored most of the time we played. Hey, rules are meant to be broken, right? Just because they're my rules doesn't make it any different! :-)

Overdroid said...

The Minstrel wins the biggest nerd award hands down. I bow to you, sir.

Swinebread said...

Dean – that’s what makes it so great. It was there the whole time chaosium just needed to bring it together.

OD – didn’t get the pre-release version, although I was thinking about it. I realized that I didn’t want the typos that would accompany it. I’ve been scouring the internet for a review myself. No matter what I’ll by it. So I’ll post my thoughts. Hopefully as soon as it comes out RPG.net will post a review. The thing to remember is that Basic role-playing combines and reconciles previous versions of the rules from various Chaosium games, like Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, Worlds of Wonder (which had sci-fi stuff), runequest, elfquest (namely the mental powers), Superworld, and Hawkmoon. It’s what I’ve been looking for.

Randal – You know Marvel Super Heroes games was a surprise hit I think because it allowed you to just jump in and play. There’s really something to be said for that. I didn’t have nearly enough powers, but it’s simplicity made it accessible. Still got my old copy of it.

Arkonbey – well, a lot of my frustration come form wanting to run games, if I just a player and the GM knows the rules then it doesn’t’ bug me, but when I’m the GM I just can’t remember everything. BRP is the only system were I felt completely comfortable running games and maybe the Gamma World because I just poured over the rules so much. Combat in BRP also eliminates much ambiguity and yet is still simple relatively speaking… and faster.

Isis – There’s a lot of GMs like that.

Moody wow, you are a dedicated GM! I’ll ask snab about Impasse. It sounds like quite an incredible feat on your part. I must say your gamming group was very was different than mine. I wouldn’t have lasted long with folks like that. The scope of the game is the scope of the game in my book and constantly arguing over the rules would have taken me out of the narrative that’s being created while playing, but then most of my buddies were actor types. It does sound like a great testing place for new rules though.

I wouldn’t let this size of your books stop you from publishing or better yet e-publishing. If you’d seen all the rule supplements and the size of books nowadays, 326 pages is no big deal. Plus, there are so many new game systems that there might be a good system that the impasse universe world work well with like GURPS. It’s an amazing feat nonetheless.

For me, BRP fits that middle ground of playability and detail very well.

OD – Me too!

Overdroid said...

I should just buy it anyway. What are the odds that Chaosium does a limited run and then never re-releases it. I'd say about %100.

And Moody, you should release online. I would be happy to see your gygaxian rules. And I'm happy I got to be the first to use the new adjective coined from the name of the late Gary Gygax.

Gygaxian: adj. Having a level of complication or detail that seems extreme to the average person, especially in reference to a set of RPG rules.

Randal Graves said...

swinebread, well, there was that Ultimate Powers Book that added a gazillion things beyond "energy control." And you got to have more than a few powers if you wanted to power game.

Like arkonbey, I don't mind lots o' rules and charts, I think though if a game is flowing nicely, sometimes a DM will rely on them too much instead of winging it and doing something in the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

Swinebread said...

OD – As Dean says they are not reinventing the wheel, (and as I further note) they are just putting four wheels on a cart. So I think you are pretty safe picking this up.

Gygaxian – actually I’ve heard this term a few years ago on RPG.net. But your definition is the best so far.

Randal – I must have stopped playing MSH before Ultimate Powers came out.

I have to admit it’s ok if you have a good GM that can retain a lot of the info but if I’m running the game? Forget it. The Basic Roleplaying system is one of the few times that the rules just clicked and I didn’t need to memorize anything, but winging will always be one of the most important skills in running a game.