Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Basic Roleplaying: The Universal Game Engine

Over at their official blog, Chaosium recently announced that a new edition of Basic Role-Playing – or should I say Basic Roleplaying, since the old school hyphenation is no more? – is on the way, with a PDF version appearing next month and a hardcover release sometime later this year. This edition represents not only an updating of the popular and successful BRP rules, but also the first time that these rules have been released as royalty-free open content. 

After the brouhaha earlier this year about the status of the Open Game License, I'm not at all surprised that Basic Roleplaying is being released under the terms of the Open RPG Creative License (ORC) created by Paizo. As I recall, Chaosium was an early supporter of this alternate license and it appears their commitment to it has not wavered. I'll admit I haven't been following the development of ORC at all since its initial announcement, so I can't say for certain if BRP is the first significant RPG to be released under its terms or not. Regardless, the publication of an open version of this venerable and respected ruleset is significant.

As an admirer of the original, I'm happy to see BRP continue to thrive well into the 21st century, though I still hold out hopes that Chaosium might one day publish a slimmer version of it more akin to the one included in my 1st edition Call of Cthulhu boxed set way back in 1981. In any case, I'll be keeping an eye on this and hope it might lead to a wider appreciation of these classic roleplaying game rules.


  1. I will be interested to see if it has the same mechanical and subject matter carve outs as the previous version of the current semi-open license version, which rather hamstrung the system.

  2. My Big Gold Book died in a flood years ago and I've never quite gotten around to replacing it, but I'll most likely grab a copy of this as soon as it comes out.

  3. BRP has been under Chaosium's version of an OGL licence since 2020. It may not have attracted much notice beyond the complaints it got at release because of its horrifically restrictive prohibitions. I have not seen anything published using the current BRP OGL SRD

    Presumably the new version and the new licence will be far more open than their last attempt, and the current SRD will be quietly buried.

  4. Big Gold Book remains one of my favorite RPG books I own. I'm curious if they are keeping the Resistance Table.