View Full Version : Basic Roleplaying Ruleset

November 11th, 2009, 18:22
As has been mentioned on a number of threads, a commercial ruleset for Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying system (BRP) is currently in development, and I thought it would be helpful to start a new thread for it. The ruleset will be published by SmiteWorks.

BRP is a genre-neutral system which underpins many non-d20 games: it can be found in Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Elric/Stormbringer and Superworld (a 1980's superhero game). The RQ variant has morphed slightly, was re-released by Mongoose, and is not officially supported by this product. However, anyone familiar with RQ will find the BRP ruleset quite accessible.

The graphics skin is complete, and so are the basic ruleset logic/mechanics, so work is now focused on converting the reference material. The ruleset will come bundled with seven mini-adventures and the complete text of the core BRP rulebook.

It is designed to be an expandable ruleset, and extensions can be made (commercially or privately) to support the various systems which use BRP. At launch I do not expect there to be any official extensions, but I will be working on extensions for one or more games and hope to put something into the community to demonstrate how to tailor the ruleset to your favourite flavour.

At this stage it is too early to give an estimated publication date, but the project has been underway since April and is in a relatively mature state.


November 11th, 2009, 18:28
If you have spent any time on the forums at all, you know that Foen does excellent work. In addition, the more rulesets that get created by a developer, the more polished they tend to become. There are some pretty neat features in there.

November 11th, 2009, 18:32
Here is a screenshot showing the graphics theme, the ability to switch BRP functionality on and off, and the hit location functionality.


November 11th, 2009, 19:10

A question. I've done a conversion of the d20 SRD Creatures to BRP format, it presently works with the CoC ruleset. I have been tinkering with how to solve the hitlocations bit myself. the first thing I needed to solve was how to store the hitlocation information. I decided to go for a XML solution. Each creature has a hitlocationlist tag and each hitlocation has a location, missile range, melee range and HP multiplier tag.

Here's an example:

<loc type='string'>R Head</loc>
<mis type='string'>01-07</mis>
<mel type='string'>01-06</mel>
<mult type='number'>0.33</mult>
<loc type='string'>Body</loc>
<mis type='string'>08-13</mis>
<mel type='string'>07-14</mel>
<mult type='number'>0.7</mult>
<loc type='string'>L Head</loc>
<mis type='string'>14-20</mis>
<mel type='string'>15-20</mel>
<mult type='number'>0.33</mult>

When the time comes (i.e. the product is released) I will want to adapt my creature data to the format used by the BRP ruleset so
I'd be interested to know what solution you have chosen.

November 11th, 2009, 20:47
Hi PeterB

The ruleset isn't final, and the hit location stuff is still a bit unresolved, but the current approach uses templates defined at the game-system level (so RQ might have one bunch of templates, whereas CoC might have another). Given a template name, the ruleset calls a function in the game-system extension to populate a list of hit locations.

Because this is implemented as a function, each game-system may choose to employ a different algorithm (check out the BRP ratio approach, compared to the MRQ additive approach to see what I mean), so there is no hard and fast rule.

As currently built, the core BRP engine defines a template as follows (using Humanoid as an example) as a Lua table:

["Humanoid"]= {
["rightleg"] = {HitRoll="1-4", HP=1/3, Name="Right Leg"},
["leftleg"] = {HitRoll="5-8", HP=1/3, Name="Left Leg"},
["abdomen"] = {HitRoll="9-11", HP=1/3, Name="Abdomen"},
["chest"] = {HitRoll="12", HP=0.4, Name="Chest"},
["rightarm"] = {HitRoll="13-15", HP=1/4, Name="Right Arm"},
["leftarm"] = {HitRoll="16-18", HP=1/4, Name="Left Arm"},
["head"] = {HitRoll="19-20", HP=1/3, Name="Head"}

I hope that gives some insight about how things are being built.


November 11th, 2009, 23:36
OK. Thanks for the info Stuart.

I guess you store (or plan to store) the hitlocation type in a tag (such as <hitlocation type='string'>humanoid</hitlocation>) in the creature db.

I was thinking of doing a function based solution at first myself. But since there are quite a number of hitlocation types (I have almost 60 in my SRD conversion) and some are only used for one creature and I only plan(ed) to support BRP, I thought that the simple solution would be to store the hitlocation info in the creature db.


November 12th, 2009, 05:41
The BRP core rulebook uses a template approach, and defines 13 of them which cover all creatures in the rulebook. BTW, I used <hitlocationtemplate type='string'>Humanoid</hitlocationtemplate>, but otherwise you are spot on.

I am considering whether there should be an option to store the hitlocation data in the db (the template value would be 'Custom'), but am concerned about the complexity, because the algorithm varies by game system and the data stored would vary too. Hence my earlier comment that this is still a bit unresolved.


November 12th, 2009, 07:15
The new BRP ruleset has been designed to be backwards-compatible with the Call of Cthulhu ruleset. The ruleset name in campaign.xml needs to be changed from 'CallOfCthulhu' to 'Basic Roleplaying' and then it should just work fine.

It is always worth backing up your campaign directory before doing anything like this, but it will allow you to port from the old ruleset to the new one. The opposite isn't necessarily true, as new features in BRP (such as hit locations and fatigue points) aren't implemented in Call of Cthulhu.

As regards features, the ruleset supports player-to-player whispers, group chat, chat frame portraits, hidden rolls, encounters, the image tool bar, auto-complete fields and drop-down selection controls.

NPCs can be set up as racial templates, in which case the stats are given in terms of die formulae (such as '2D6+6'). When a racial template is added to an encounter list or dropped on the combat tracker, the ruleset rolls and resolves the stats and adjusts HP, damage bonus etc appropriately. The rolled totals are reported to the GM only.

Skills dragged to the hotkey bar (such as 'Persuade') keep track of the skill chance - any subsequent change to the skill chance on the character sheet is automatically reflected when using the hot key.

BRP rule options which are implemented directly include hit locations vs hit points, fatigue/power/sanity points, skill category bonuses based on stats, 'crucial' roll resolution (fumble/fail/success/special succes and critical) and the optional strike rank combat initiative system. These can all be switched individually on or off, and impact the way the character sheet, npc sheet and combat tracker function.

I'm sure there's more, but that is a quick list off the top of my head!


November 12th, 2009, 23:07
Sweet! I think this will be the second ruleset I buy. :)

Will there be sufficient functionality in the ruleset to run a SuperWorld-like game?

-Kevin McD

November 12th, 2009, 23:28
While developing this, I've been testing it with a home-brew extension for the Chaosium Superworld rules (from the 1980s). It is fairly easy to implement Superworld with this new ruleset, with the exception of SW's Action Rank approach to combat initiative.

Action Ranks are an early form of the Strike Rank approach, and Strike Ranks *are* supported in the ruleset. If you can live with the difference, then this ruleset should work just fine.

Outside of Superworld, BRP itself includes super powers and a super-hero capability, so the straight answer to your question is: yes, there is sufficient functionality to run Superworld-like games.

I hope that helps!


November 12th, 2009, 23:43
As an example, here is a screenshot using the home-brew extension. It doesn't include much in the way of graphhics changes (I was only trying to demonstrate a proof-of-concept) but it shows I've given this some reasonable thought...


Blue Haven
November 13th, 2009, 13:09
Just great :D don&#180;t stop now eh eh ;)