Basic Roleplaying System

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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 System[edit]

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 Stuff[edit]

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 Links[edit]