[d100] Chaosium announces SRD for Open BRP

Chaosium is pleased to announce the release of the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document (SRD).

The Basic Roleplaying SRD is based on Basic Roleplaying, the simple, fast, and elegant skill-based percentile system that is the core of most Chaosium roleplaying games, including Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, SuperWorld, and others.

Under the provisions of the Basic Roleplaying Open Game License (OGL), designers can create their own roleplaying games using the Basic Roleplaying rules engine, royalty-free and without further permission from Chaosium Inc.

For further details and to download the SRD document, see our Basic Roleplaying SRD information page.


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  • One-and-a-half pages explaining roleplaying games, dice, and what a games master is.
  • Characteristics.
  • Percentile skill system (including the infamous resistance table).
  • Basic combat system (attack/parry/dodge, no hit locations).
  • Basic weapons & armour (no other equipment).
  • Spot rules (with some odd choices - ambush and backstab which don't really need extra rules, but no rules for drowning or asphyxiation or fire as a weapon).
  • Sample foe (a bear).
  • Character sheet (another oddity, why is this in an SRD?).
There's really nothing in there anyone couldn't knock up in a couple of hours, and without all those restrictions.
You could go old-school, and use GORE. ;)

Really, the only reason so much stuff was pumped out for the D&D 3.5E SRD was because it contained so much of D&D's good stuff - all the classes, spells, monsters, and magic items. Rules are nothing, anyone can re-write their own version of a percentile skill system - it's what Steve Perrin did when he came across the TSR Thieves' Skills. This document is really nothing more than a set of voluntary self-restrictions in exchange for putting the BRP logo on your book. And I think they just made that logo up, so brand recognition? Hm.
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Maybe they are trying to redefine BRP back down to it's most "basic"? That was one of the complaints about the BGB, though as far as I remember most people liked its kitchen sink approach. If they'd re-engineered the BGB into an SRD a lot of people would be happy, I'm sure. If they'd first released a streamlined, no-options version of the Big Gold Book (or Magic World, for that matter) and this SRD was based upon that, I could see some sense in what they are doing. The problem is that the BRP logo means nothing to anyone and Chaosium doesn't have it on any of their lines (it's not even a D100, it's only 1D10), so why sign up to a contract when that's all you get?

But they really need to strip out those "substantially similar" restrictions or only the legally-illiterate will try to use it.
And on a related note, I wish they wouldn't get so defensive and keep shifting the talk to retroclones. Everyone knows the OGL wasn't invented to allow retroclones. It was invented to provide a common base for derivative materials so that 3PP books would really support the original core system and not become their own thing. If users have to make up most of the rules you're not going to get a lot of cross-compatibility.
It sounds like there is a QuestWorld SRD in the works, of all things. That could be great if it allows 3rd party publishers to expand upon the setting.

EDIT: Spoke too soon, apparently Questworld is going to be the name for OGL HeroQuest, which I'm sure will confuse absolutely no one.
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