Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chaosium's BRP cover less than impressive

Chaosium is releasing a new version of their Basic Role Playing system. This is the game system used in the roleplaying games RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu. The new book combines all the rules from several games into one volume, and it's intended to be used as a generic system.

Now, I'm a fan of BRP. The system is a little long in the tooth right now, but it's a clean system and I know it very well. Even still, I'm a little trepidacious about this volume. The automatic weapon rules are the same as found in Call of Cthulhu, which is unfortunate as they are a bit broken. Also, though there are advantage/disadvantage rules for super powers, the playtesters vetoed such rules for other settings. In other words, this is not a rewriting or retooling of the game system, it's a compilation. The automatic weapon rules, in particular, worry me because the fact they made it untouched from Call of Cthulhu tells me that they were never properly playtested, and makes me worry about the usability of the rules in a modern setting.

(Yes, I have used them for modern Call of Cthulhu games, which is why I know they have problems, and why I wrote my own house rules.)

Still, I like the game system and think it would work very well as a generic system. I'm looking forward to seeing it published (even if it means yet another book produced by Chaosium that's little more than a reprint).

I hope the game sells well. It's an "old school" game system, but it's pretty elegant. Thus, I guess the intention of the proposed cover is to reflect it's generic nature, show it's flexibility, but also draw a link to the past. Unfortunately for Chaosium, the proposed cover doesn't get much love on the RPG.net site. Besides the obvious artistic issues of perspective and scale, the cover simply isn't that inspiring. I don't see anything on the cover that makes me think, "Yeah, I want to game that". Apparently most of the folks that participated on the RPG.net thread agreed.

I'll let you decide for yourself. Here's the cover:

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