Cover of the first edition of Basic Role-Playing
|Designer(s)||Greg Stafford and Lynn Willis|
|Publication date||1980, 1982, 2002, 2004, 2008|
Basic Role-Playing (BRP) is a role-playing game system which originated in the RuneQuest fantasy role-playing game. The BRP standalone booklet was first released in 1980 in the boxed set release of the second edition of RuneQuest. Greg Stafford and Lynn Willis are credited as the authors. A percentile skill-based system, BRP was used as the basis for most of the games published by Chaosium, including Call of Cthulhu , Stormbringer , and Elfquest .
A role-playing game system is a set of game mechanics used in a role-playing game (RPG) to determine the outcome of a character's in-game actions.
RuneQuest is a fantasy role-playing game first published in 1978 by Chaosium, created by Steve Perrin and set in Greg Stafford's mythical world of Glorantha. RuneQuest is notable for its system, designed around percentile dice and with an early implementation of skill rules, which became the basis of numerous other games. There have been several editions of the game.
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often without any locations, events, or people referencing the real world. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.
The core rules were originally written by Steve Perrinas part of his game RuneQuest. 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 the system.
Stephen Herbert Perrin, often simply known as Steve Perrin, is a game designer and technical writer/editor.
Francis Gregory Stafford, usually known as Greg Stafford, was an American game designer, publisher, and practitioner of shamanism.
Carl Sanford Joslyn "Sandy" Petersen is an American game designer.
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.
BRP was conceived of as a generic system for playing any sort of RPG. Specific rule systems to support differing genres can be added to the core rules in a modular design. In order to underscore this, in 1982 Chaosium released the Worlds of Wonder box set, which contained a revised main booklet and several booklets providing the additional rules for playing in specific genres. Superworld , a superhero-themed game, began as a portion of the Worlds of Wonder set. A third edition of the core booklet, now titled Basic Roleplaying: The Chaosium System, was released in 2002.
Worlds of Wonder is a 1982 multi-genre role-playing game publication produced by Chaosium. It is a boxed set consisting of four 16-page booklets: Basic Role-Playing, Magic World, Superworld, and Future World, an even shorter pamphlet on joining the settings together, a sheet of cardboard figures for each setting, and dice. The authors on the box are credited as Perrin, Henderson, Monson, Stafford, and Willin.
Superworld is a superhero-themed role-playing game published by Chaosium in 1983. Written by Basic Role-Playing and RuneQuest author Steve Perrin, Superworld began as one third of the Worlds of Wonder product, which also included a generic fantasy setting, "Magic World", and a generic science fiction setting, "Future World", all using the same core Basic Role-Playing rules. Only Superworld became a game in its own right.
In 2004, Chaosium published the Basic Roleplaying monographs, a series of paperback booklets. The first four monographs (Players Book, Magic Book, Creatures Book, and Gamemaster Book) were essentially RuneQuest 3rd Edition, but with the RuneQuest name and other trademarks removed, as Chaosium had lost the rights to the name but retained copyright of the rules text. Additional monographs allowing for new mechanics, thereby extending the system to other genres, were released in the following years. Many of these monographs reproduced rules from other Chaosium-published BRP games that had gone out of print.
In 2008 most monographs were collected and updated as a single, comprehensive book, nicknamed the "Big Gold Book", allowing game masters to essentially build their own game from the various subsystems included. A quickstart booklet for new players accompanied it.
Other games published over the years by Chaosium using the BRP ruleset include Ringworld , Hawkmoon , and Nephilim .
Hawkmoon is a role-playing game published by Chaosium in 1986.
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. BRP uses a core set of seven characteristics: Size, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Power, and Appearance or Charisma. From those, a character derives scores in various skills, expressed as percentages. These skill scores are the basis of play. When attempting an action, the player rolls percentile dice trying to get a result equal to or lower than the character's current skill score. 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 within reach for all characters. Scores can increase through experience checks, the mechanics of which vary in an individual game.
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting. It was created by Steve Jackson Games and first published in 1986 at a time when most such systems were story- or genre-specific.
The Hero System is a generic role-playing game system that was developed from the superhero RPG Champions. After Champions fourth edition was released in 1989, a stripped-down version of its ruleset with no superhero or other genre elements was released as The Hero System Rulesbook in 1990. As a spinoff of Champions, the Hero System is considered to have started with 4th edition, rather than on its own with a 1st edition. However, the first three editions of the game are typically referred to as Champions, rather than the Hero System, as the game for its first three editions was not sold as a universal toolkit, instead largely focusing on superheroes.
Savage Worlds is a generic role-playing game and miniatures wargame written by Shane Lacy Hensley and published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. The game emphasizes speed of play and reduced preparation over realism or detail. The game received the 2003 Origin Gamers' Choice Award for best role-playing game.
BRP treats armor and defense as separate functions: the act of parrying is a defensive skill that reduced an opponent's chance to successfully land an attack, and the purpose of armor is to absorb damage.
The last major element of many BRP games is that there is no difference between the player character race systems and that of the monster or opponents. By varying ability scores, the same system is used for a human hero as a troll villain. This approach allows for players to play a wide variety of non-human species.
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.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 built their earliest works to support Chaosium's games.
Other, non-Chaosium games have used BRP for its core rules. For example, Other Suns , published by Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU), used them under license. BRP was also used as the base for the highly successful Swedish game Drakar och Demoner from Target Games.
Ronald Pehr reviewed Basic Role-Playing in The Space Gamer No. 41.Pehr commented that "Basic Role-Playing is too little too late. RuneQuest is long established, does an adequate job of teaching role-playing, and there are now even more games to choose from. If you want to teach role-playing to a very young, but literate, child, Basic Role-Playing is excellent. Otherwise, for all its charm, it's not much use."
The BRP itself has been the recipient, via its games, of many awards. Most notable was the 1981 Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules for Call of Cthulhu.Other editions of Call of Cthulhu have also won Origins Awards including the Hall of Fame award. The BRP Character Generation software has also won awards for its design.
Call of Cthulhu is a horror fiction role-playing game based on H. P. Lovecraft's story of the same name and the associated Cthulhu Mythos. The game, often abbreviated as CoC, is published by Chaosium; it was first released in 1981 and is currently in its seventh edition, with many different versions released. It makes use of Chaosium's Basic Role-Playing (BRP) system, with special rules for Sanity.
Chaosium Inc. is one of the oldest publishers of role-playing games still in existence. Established by Greg Stafford in 1975, its first title was the board game White Bear and Red Moon, set in Stafford's fictional fantasy gaming world of Glorantha. Over the years Chaosium has published many acclaimed and award-winning games. These include the roleplaying games RuneQuest, set in Glorantha, and Call of Cthulhu, based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
Glorantha is a fantasy world created by Greg Stafford. It was first introduced in the board game White Bear and Red Moon (1975) by Chaosium, and thereafter in a number of other board, roleplaying and computer games, including RuneQuest and HeroQuest, as well as several works of fiction and the computer strategy game King of Dragon Pass. The Gloranthan world is characterised by its complex use of mythology, heavily influenced by the universalist approaches of Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade, its Howardian ethos, its long and distinctive history as a setting for role-playing games, its community development and expansion, and its relative lack of Tolkienesque influence.
Drakar och Demoner is a Swedish fantasy role-playing game first published in 1982 by the game publishing company Äventyrsspel.
A generic or universalrole-playing game system is a role-playing game system designed to be independent of setting and genre. Its rules should, in theory, work the same way for any setting, world, environment or genre in which one would want to play.
Nephilim is a role-playing game about powerful elemental entities reincarnating into human beings. The players take the roles of these beings as they adapt to their newly symbiotic existence and learn the secrets hidden behind veils of obscurity and mysticism, seeking the path toward enlightenment, Agartha. The game contains much symbolism, primarily related to the Hermetic tradition.
The history of role-playing games begins with an earlier tradition of role-playing, which combined with the rulesets of fantasy wargames in the 1970s to give rise to the modern role-playing game. A role-playing game (RPG) is a type of game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games.
The D6 System is a role-playing game system published by West End Games (WEG) and licensees. While the system is primarily intended for pen-and-paper role-playing games, variations of the system have also been used in live action role-playing games and miniature battle games. The system is named after the 6-sided die, which is used in every roll required by the system.
Lynn Willis was a wargame and role-playing game designer, best known for his work with Metagaming Concepts, Game Designers' Workshop (GDW), and Chaosium.
The Tentacles Convention was an international role-playing game convention held annually at Stahleck Castle in Germany on Pentecost. Tentacles was dedicated to games set in Glorantha such as HeroQuest and RuneQuest, as well as Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer and Hawkmoon.
Steve Perrin's Quest Rules (SPQR) is a role-playing game system created and sold by Steve Perrin.
Different Worlds was an American role-playing games magazine published from 1979 to 1987.
Stormbringer is a fantasy role-playing game published by Chaosium set in the world of the Young Kingdoms, based on the Elric of Melniboné books by Michael Moorcock. The game takes its name from Elric's sword, Stormbringer and uses the Basic Role-Playing game system, a percentile-dice-based system used in many role-playing games designed by Chaosium.