Basic Roleplaying System

The average PC holding all his loot.

The Basic Roleplaying System (usually shortened to BRP) is a roleplaying game made by Chaosium. It originated with Runequest and is most commonly known as the system behind Call of Cthulhu, having grown out of the two to become a Generic system of its own. Despite the name it is anything but Basic in terms of the metric shitton of optional rules available. It is not however as much of a clusterfuck choice-wise as the other generic universal role playing system. If D&D, and GURPS are the jocks of the neckbeard world, BRP is the weird kid nobody really knows. Its not popular, but it has a good amount of extra books if you're into that sort of thing, though you can play pretty much any kind of setting with just the corebook.


The SystemEdit

The system is a roll under, percentile (d100) system. Players start by rolling 3d6 to determine base attributes (2d6+6 for INT, SIZ, and EDU if it's used); Size, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Power, Appearance, and optionally Education (Though Appearance is rarely used and can be the dump stat. Expect a world full of fuck-ugly characters that look like Sloth from Goonies. Much like any character generated in Oblivion). They then choose their skills by selecting a Profession (read: class, but with no real restrictions) which are basically skill templates and assigning skill points to those skills, and then throwing points into non-profession skills however they like. Expect people to spend 30-45 minutes explaining why their Ranger needs 'Art' and 'Appraisal'.

BRP is a class-less (Except for the Professions) and level-less system. In place of levels, players make 'experience checks' on skills they've used at the end of a session, and if they roll above the skill number, they get to increase it marginally.

This is your ideal game if you hate level-up class systems but cream your jeans for advancing every little skill out of one hundred or so on the sheet by tiny 1d6% shots. The only thing that was more of an accountant's nightmare was CHAMPIONS.


Combat can be a nightmare depending on which system you choose to use (There are a few). Each round in combat is 12 seconds.

  • The first method (And easiest for anyone coming out of D&D)
Players act in order of DEX (or DEX+1d10). They may delay actions, make reactive parries or dodges (with penalties for doing either more than once in the round), etc.
  • The second method (or Whose Fucking Turn Is It Now?)
Players have a base Strike Rank which is based on their DEX and SIZ, then modified by their weapon (or in the case of a spellcaster, the PP required for the spell). Players act on their final Strike Rank, after any modifiers; ties are broken by who has the higher DEX. If the combatants' SR and DEX are the same, they go at the same time. SR cycles from 1 to 10 and players perform their actions on their SR (may help for everyone to put a d10 showing their SR next to their sheets); a single free dodge or parry is allowed per SR with the normal penalties for making multiple dodges or parries in a round. If someone has a Strike Rank higher than 10, they don't act. It's best to use this if you want hardcore, crunchy combat; convert the combat manoeuvres from one of the more recent editions of RuneQuest and you're in business.

Other StuffEdit

Chaosium released a free pdf of BRP-lite which is good enough for one-off games or small campaigns. Grab it here. Their forums[1] are generally filled with decent, helpful people and it has a downloads section with a shitload of houserules and fan settings in various stages of completion, like XCOM, Lord of the Rings, Fire & Sword (Like Mount & Blade) and Halo[2]

Check out the RISK system, houserules for modern firearms on the forums, if you like simulationist, crunch-heavy (it's actually not that heavy when you've read it a few times) and realistic gun combat. Eventually Fatal (No, not that FATAL) is a set of alternate rules for wounds and bleeding out that replace hitpoints and combines really well with RISK to make a gritty modern game.

External LinksEdit