Monday, February 1, 2021

BRP News

The Old School Renaissance owes a huge debt to the release of the d20 System Reference Document and the Open Game License by Wizards of the Coast in 2000. With them, many of our favorite retro-clones, like Labyrinth Lord and Old School Essentials, among many others, would have been impossible (or at least much more difficult) to produce legally, not to mention many other RPGs, adventures, and support materials derivative of the contents and rules of Dungeons & Dragons.

Over the last two decades, other publishers has followed in the footsteps of Wizards of the Coast, making their game rules and content open and available for use by other publishers. The latest to do so is Chaosium, whose celebrated Basic Roleplaying system, originally created for RuneQuest but eventually used in nearly every RPG published by the company, is now offering its own System Reference Document and royalty-free license for use by third parties. You can find all the details at the BRP website.

As long-time admirer of Basic Roleplaying and many of the games Chaosium has produced using a version of BRP, I think this is exciting news. Chaosium already has several community content programs in place that, by all accounts, have produced some excellent materials. With the SRD and license, it's quite possible we'll start seeing whole new BRP games being published, which is remarkable. We've already seen renaissances of interest in D&D and Traveller thanks to similar arrangements; here's hoping the same happens for Basic Roleplaying.


  1. Maybe I'm missing something... but from what I've read about this SRD I am fairly suspicious that it has more to do with protecting Chaosium's assets than anything else. It's got some very restrictive restrictions. It's vague and subject to change on the whim of its masters.
    It's nothing like the OGL.
    Better, I think, to use the one Mongoose Legend has for BRP-ish games.
    One of many previous discussions here:

    1. I concur, I suggest paying particular attention to section 1e which restricts the use of even public domain works with the content being shared. Legends is far better if you want to make a D100 compatible work.

    2. Yeah, this isn't, in my opinion, a genuine move to expand BRP for the masses but to try to shut down others from expanding their D100 rules in the same way that the OGL allowed the expansion of the OSR. Chaosium seems to have forgotten you cannot trademark RPG rules and my advice is to ignore their opinion of Mongoose's Legend OGL and simply use it and Delta Green for future projects.

    3. Yes. GORE is another free BRP clone from the same lineage. FWIW, Spanish RPGs have been using BRP-like rules for ages without the slightest mention of BRP, and Chaosium hasn't done a thing to prevent it.

  2. The fantasy setting Toxandria has been released under the BRP license. It has a nice OSR vibe and in reminiscent of the original Magic World (from World of Wonders) in a good way.