Announcing the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document and Open Game License

Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

soltakss

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
1,214
Reaction score
1,883
As I think it would be highly unlikely that MOB posts here, I thought I'd link the post on BRP Central.

1147090094_BRPLogoswithTMBlackandRed.png.b5b57aef3330af52b4cf781ee0eb0a2a.png

Chaosium is pleased to announce the release of the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document (SRD).

The Basic Roleplaying SRD is based on Basic Roleplaying, the simple, fast, and elegant skill-based percentile system that is the core of most Chaosium roleplaying games, including Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, SuperWorld, and others.

Under the provisions of the Basic Roleplaying Open Game License (OGL), designers can create their own roleplaying games using the Basic Roleplaying rules engine, royalty-free and without further permission from Chaosium Inc.

For further details and to download the SRD document, see our Basic Roleplaying SRD information page.

Please note: the BRP Open Game License for use of the Basic Roleplaying system differs from the Wizards Open Game License and has different terms and conditions.
 

Vile

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
177
Reaction score
419
Interesting. I wonder why it's happening now, after years of people asking for it and Chaosium saying they won't do it. I don't know whether they'll update this or whether this is the final document. I had a quick look, and there are several things that jump out immediately.

This is a combination OGL/ SRD/ logo licence in one document. WotC originally released their OGL (1 page of legalese), plus their SRD (everything you could ever want from the D&D universe, including classes, spells, monsters, and magic items), plus a logo licence. The logo licence didn't last long, but no-one cared because everyone knows D&D. Mongoose released SRDs plus logo licences for their MRQ1 and MGT1 games, which went when those editions went. A lot of 3rd party publishers of MGT1 and MRQ1 moved to Cepheus Engine and Legend. Some went with their own rules (e.g. Alephtar).

Content-wise, the Mongoose SRDs were not much use as they didn't have any of the "good stuff" in them. MGT stripped out the OTU, which left nothing but generic rules - but the sheer size and complexity of it made it worth using rather than re-writing from scratch. The MRQ SRDs (there were many!) had some names of monsters and runes, so there was some slight worth there.

I haven't bothered with the OGL part other than noting it tries to nip in the bud a lot of potential clones.

This BRP SRD seems worthless. Less than 20 pages of fairly wordy generic rules on what a roleplaying game is, characteristics, percentile skills, and combat - and these are almost as basic as the old 16-page BRP booklet from 1982. As everyone presumably knows by now, rules cannot be copyrighted, so an afternoon with a keyboard could produce something equivalent with no restrictive covenants.

Chaosium has a history with licencees. Anyone using this is simply hobbling themselves with a lot of restrictions for no gain at all, and potentially a total loss.
 
Last edited:

Vile

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
177
Reaction score
419
I guess it might appeal to people who want the BRP logo inside their book on the Open Content declaration page. A rather particular subset of 3rd party publishers, I would guess.
 

Vile

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
177
Reaction score
419
Didn't Daniel Proctor release a BRP retro-clone years ago?
GORE. And there's OpenQuest, based on the MRQ1 SRD, and Legend. Lots of other options. But this lets you have that shiny new BRP logo on your book. A logo they just made up and which no-one will recognise.
 
Last edited:

Spellslinging Sellsword

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
520
Reaction score
1,401
Completely worthless. Everything that it allows, except for logo, can be done using the Legend OGL and the Legend OGL is compatible with all the other Wizards derived OGL material. If you don't want to allow open material, just be man enough to say it rather than do some shitty license that pretends to be open while closing off everything that you'd want.
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
23,897
Reaction score
60,748
maybe it was meant to be a d10? But it's a really awful logo
 

D100Homebrew

Active Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
43
Reaction score
61
I'm not an author, so I don't see me using any game license. Seems like this license just pisses people off. What is it you want to write or publish that this doesn't let you do?
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
23,897
Reaction score
60,748
I'm not an author, so I don't see me using any game license. Seems like this license just pisses people off. What is it you want to write or publish that this doesn't let you do?

Well to compare directly to the D&D OGL - this basically kickstarted the OSR, with people able to costruct their perfect version of D&D. This SRD doesn't allow that at all. It's basically - "use our system for your game, as long as it's not like any game we publish, when you could just as easily do that without the SRD" It's kind of pointless TBH
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
23,897
Reaction score
60,748
Game mechanics aren’t copyright-able anyway. What’s to stop somebody from creating mechanics like those that are verboten in that list and just slapping a new name on them?

Nothing, pretty much. I mean it's slightly more complicated than that - game mechanics are not, but the expression of those game mechanics are - which includes charts and lists., along with terminology. And if Chaosium did decide to sue, could one afford to fight that? I guess this just gives peace of mind, in that regard. But it's so limiting that unless you were deadset on using the Basic system as is, I don't see the point.
 

robertsconley

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
6,132
Well to compare directly to the D&D OGL - this basically kickstarted the OSR, with people able to costruct their perfect version of D&D. This SRD doesn't allow that at all. It's basically - "use our system for your game, as long as it's not like any game we publish, when you could just as easily do that without the SRD" It's kind of pointless TBH
The Legend RPG makes what Chaosium trying to do with this a moot point. All this gets you is the right to use a trademark and to walk carefully in a IP minefield.
 

robertsconley

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
3,118
Reaction score
6,132
Completely worthless. Everything that it allows, except for logo, can be done using the Legend OGL and the Legend OGL is compatible with all the other Wizards derived OGL material. If you don't want to allow open material, just be man enough to say it rather than do some shitty license that pretends to be open while closing off everything that you'd want.
It worse than that you would be hard press to use the BRP SRD to make something that targets D&D style fantasy due to the IP overlap with not only Glorantha but Worlds of Wonder. A strict reading implies that because Runequest has stats for Lions means your came can't have stats for Lions or use Lions.

The D100 and quest moniker has become strongly associated with Runequest derived RPGs that I agree this offers nothing. People who want to play closely with Chaosium IP are going to go with Miskatonic or Jonstown.
 
Last edited:

Trippy

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
3,204
Reaction score
5,145
I'm hoping that this fubar they released means more people gravitate to Renaissance.
I think they’ve already ceded the ‘generic, universal, system’ mantle to Mythras given the relative support, which in turn is largely the same system used in Renaissance too (same MRQ parenthood, at least). Really, it’s too little, too late.

Chaosium probably has more traction converting various era and setting books to Call ofCthulhu supplements, in business terms.
 

K_Peterson

Legendary Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,209
Reaction score
2,117
Truly bizarre decision. Is this an attempt to toss a bone to the remaining Big Gold Book BRP fans on the BRP Central forum? Otherwise, I don't see the point, and can't imagine that this would appeal to new, or existing D100 publishers.
 

carpocratian

Legendary Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
434
Reaction score
653
Interesting. I wonder why it's happening now, after years of people asking for it and Chaosium saying they won't do it.

I suspect it is a reaction to the "Open Cthulhu" SRD that came out earlier this year. It was a topic of discussion on a few Call of Cthulhu boards earlier in the year, with some vague saber-rattling from Chaosium at the time. This is a pretty weak offering on their part.
 

Vile

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
177
Reaction score
419
Cha
I suspect it is a reaction to the "Open Cthulhu" SRD that came out earlier this year. It was a topic of discussion on a few Call of Cthulhu boards earlier in the year, with some vague saber-rattling from Chaosium at the time.
Chaosium love their vague sabre-rattling over the other D100-based SRDs, particularly Mongoose's MRQ1 and Legend. They are always trying to convince people that the open content MRQ1 SRDs became closed once Mongoose lost their RQ licence. I don't know whether it's willful misdirection or a complete misunderstanding of how the (original) OGL works.
 

The Butcher

*evil robotic laugh*
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
4,027
Reaction score
9,385
I suspect it is a reaction to the "Open Cthulhu" SRD that came out earlier this year. It was a topic of discussion on a few Call of Cthulhu boards earlier in the year, with some vague saber-rattling from Chaosium at the time. This is a pretty weak offering on their part.

And now I know what Open Cthulhu is, and I am a happy camper. Let a thousand flowers bloom and all that.

Riders of R'lyeh would be my favorite version of CoC on account of being Mythras Cthulhu but starting PCs are a dash too badass for my tastes. (Also the whole "using large chunks of RQ6/Mythras without talking to TDM at all" thing was... not great. Still, I hope Quentin's in better health.)
 
Last edited:

Raleel

The Lemon LeCroix of Mythras
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
3,869
Reaction score
8,242
A lot of angst about this BRP license. It seems pretty straight forward - you want to use the BRP branding, abide by the rules.

The D100 and quest moniker has become strongly associated with Runequest derived RPGs that I agree this offers nothing. People who want to play closely with Chaosium IP are going to go with Miskatonic or Jonstown.

Though I think this covers things outside of CoC and Glorantha, where i don't think the other two do as much.

Truth, it just doesn't mean that much to me - Not really a writer, don't think that BRP as a brand has a lot of value (compared to Glorantha or CoC or Runequest, say), and already have my own hacks. *shrug*

I gotta wonder if the license is the way it is because the system itself really just isn't different from 40 years ago. all the D&D stuff actually went through a fair chunk of mechanical changes over the years.
 

Vile

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
177
Reaction score
419
A lot of angst about this BRP license. It seems pretty straight forward - you want to use the BRP branding, abide by the rules.
It could have been straightforward, but the "substantially similar" clauses depend on licence owner's interpretation - which is the opposite of what an OGL is supposed to do.

Also, this should have been marketed as a logo licence, not an OGL, as the only benefit of using it is to use the logo.

I don't intend to publish another OGL game, but if I was this is not what I'd be going with. The BRP logo (which they just made up) simply doesn't have much brand value. Honestly, I think this is just the culmination of Chaosium's years of angst over the various open D100 systems out there, and a doomed attempt at clawing back control of the market.
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
23,897
Reaction score
60,748
A lot of angst about this BRP license. It seems pretty straight forward - you want to use the BRP branding, abide by the rules.

That was what the situation was before the license. The license is basically just like someone saying:

"Do you want this monogramed cup full of our delicious homebrewed rootbeer to make an ice cream float?"
and you're like "yes, please, that would be nifty"
and the response is "well here's the cup then, but you're not allowed to have any of our rootbeer"

And the correct response to that is: "keep your fucking cup then, I'll just go buy some Barqs"
 

Raleel

The Lemon LeCroix of Mythras
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
3,869
Reaction score
8,242
It could have been straightforward, but the "substantially similar" clauses depend on licence owner's interpretation - which is the opposite of what an OGL is supposed to do.

IANAL, but i do think that the court gets to determine if something is actually substantially similar. Now, that doesn't prevent a lawsuit, which could be annoying and expensive. my assumption here is that the players involved don't really have the money for frivolous lawsuits on either side. All those millionaire rpg designers and all ;)

Also, this should have been marketed as a logo licence, not an OGL, as the only benefit of using it is to use the logo.

I don't intend to publish another OGL game, but if I was this is not what I'd be going with. The BRP logo (which they just made up) simply doesn't have much brand value. Honestly, I think this is just the culmination of Chaosium's years of angst over the various open D100 systems out there, and a doomed attempt at clawing back control of the market.

On this I largely agree - I don't feel like it has a lot of brand value per se. *shrug* who knows, maybe magic will happen and there will be a massive d100 resurgence.

That was what the situation was before the license.

Now you don't really have to check in with them though - before the ugly logo, you had to check with them and get explicit permission. If I want to do a BRP Cyberpunk, I can take their SRD, tack in some cybernetics, make myself a drone system, make 80 pages of gun porn, and I'm good to go. Before i would have to get ahold of Chaosium and do a whole shindig. Again, I might be wrong here, as IANAL, but that is what it seems like to me.
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
23,897
Reaction score
60,748
Now you don't really have to check in with them though - before the ugly logo, you had to check with them and get explicit permission. If I want to do a BRP Cyberpunk, I can take their SRD, tack in some cybernetics, make myself a drone system, make 80 pages of gun porn, and I'm good to go. Before i would have to get ahold of Chaosium and do a whole shindig. Again, I might be wrong here, as IANAL, but that is what it seems like to me.


I mean sure, I don't doubt it would be useful to the folks that really want to do that. And granted, perhaps hobbyists were spoiled by the D20 OGL and have unfair expectations. But I think of the things I'd like to do if I had access to Chaosium's system - an early edition CoC heartbreaker, an adaption of Pendragon's Traits & Passions to a Samurai game, a reconstruction of Elric! etc. and this is...well, it's none of those things. I wouldn't say I'm angry or upset about it, I just think it's a shame.
 

Raleel

The Lemon LeCroix of Mythras
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
3,869
Reaction score
8,242
I just think it's a shame.

I can agree there. While I can understand the need to protect their IP and all, they are also graphically slow about releasing anything at all. All of that old stuff... they don't appear to be doing anything with it. It's like hoarding toilet paper when you have a bidet.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
5,956
Reaction score
11,330
Cha

Chaosium love their vague sabre-rattling over the other D100-based SRDs, particularly Mongoose's MRQ1 and Legend. They are always trying to convince people that the open content MRQ1 SRDs became closed once Mongoose lost their RQ licence. I don't know whether it's willful misdirection or a complete misunderstanding of how the (original) OGL works.
Oh it’s complete and total willful lying. There’s a thread with them trying that shit until robertsconley robertsconley came along and made them admit he was right.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top