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Thread: What's BRP really good at?

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    Default What's BRP really good at?

    I asked a similar question some days ago on RPGnet, but I realized, I'd get better, and more informed, responses here.

    As the title says, what is BRP really good at? Like, what sorts of genres or settings lend themselves well to BRP, with no houseruling, following the BGB? For example, fantasy (high and low)? Various sorts of sci-fi (space opera, cyberpunk, hard, etc)? Intrigue/Influence based games? Historical settings (like, using actual history, or history with a twist)? Games with lots of combat? Games with almost none? Social-monster games (like, you're a bunch of courtiers in a king's court trying to stop a war)? Or what?

    Very curious here. Bonus points if you've actually used the BGB to run said game that you mention.

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    BRP is at its best depicting normal, human-level heroes regardless of genre, although it's traditional venues have been assorted sub-genres of fantasy (RuneQuest, Pendragon, Elric, Elfquest) and horror (Call of Cthulhu) with a little space opera sci-fi thrown in (Ringworld, BRP Mecha). There have been several excellent historical roleplaying supplements (Rome, Age of Eleanor, Celestial Empire) and semi-historical (Mythic Iceland). Combat is gritty and even veteran characters are fragile, so this isn't a system where player-characters can charge headlong into a fight like Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis without without getting a scratch. They'll have to use their heads and fight smart (and perhaps dirty) to survive.

    Pushing the boundaries of the system are Astounding Adventures (pulp) and Superworld (super heroes). BRP does best with low- to medium-level supers. Once you hit Justice League or Avengers level, things sometimes don't run as smoothly.

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    If you're running a gritty fantasy or occult game, regardless of the setting, it works well, due to the way powers are handled and the already mentioned low hit points. But it's real strength is it's easy configuration and the wealth of optional rules both in and out of the book, as well as the internal consistency of these rules. These allow for just about any play-style while remaining true to the skill based advancement and simple rolling mechanics of the core.

    I've run post apocolyptic and high fantasy (with lovecraftian elements) games in the system, and honestly it's never failed me (Though too high of stats gets to not being fun anymore if the challenges don't scale appropriately).

    If you don't want as gritty a game, it's easy to do as well. Normally HP is CON+SIZ/2, so removing the /2 lengthens fights considerably, and I think is actually an optional rule for heroic combat in the book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Link6746 View Post
    If you're running a gritty fantasy or occult game, regardless of the setting, it works well, due to the way powers are handled and the already mentioned low hit points. But it's real strength is it's easy configuration and the wealth of optional rules both in and out of the book, as well as the internal consistency of these rules. These allow for just about any play-style while remaining true to the skill based advancement and simple rolling mechanics of the core.

    I've run post apocolyptic and high fantasy (with lovecraftian elements) games in the system, and honestly it's never failed me (Though too high of stats gets to not being fun anymore if the challenges don't scale appropriately).

    If you don't want as gritty a game, it's easy to do as well. Normally HP is CON+SIZ/2, so removing the /2 lengthens fights considerably, and I think is actually an optional rule for heroic combat in the book.
    Gritty fantasy? Right up my alley. As is the occult (indeed, I'm thinking my next game will be an urban occult game). So that's good to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seneschal View Post
    BRP is at its best depicting normal, human-level heroes regardless of genre, although it's traditional venues have been assorted sub-genres of fantasy (RuneQuest, Pendragon, Elric, Elfquest) and horror (Call of Cthulhu) with a little space opera sci-fi thrown in (Ringworld, BRP Mecha). There have been several excellent historical roleplaying supplements (Rome, Age of Eleanor, Celestial Empire) and semi-historical (Mythic Iceland). Combat is gritty and even veteran characters are fragile, so this isn't a system where player-characters can charge headlong into a fight like Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis without without getting a scratch. They'll have to use their heads and fight smart (and perhaps dirty) to survive.

    Pushing the boundaries of the system are Astounding Adventures (pulp) and Superworld (super heroes). BRP does best with low- to medium-level supers. Once you hit Justice League or Avengers level, things sometimes don't run as smoothly.
    Historical is one of the main areas I'm interested in, since I'm quite the history buff. And yes, BRP Rome is on my buying list; just waiting for the next paycheck (it helps I'm re-reading the Masters of Rome series now, naturally).

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    To me... I don't think it is a question of what BRP is best AT.

    What makes BRP so great (and in my opinion the best system) is that it is easily integrated to fulfill all of those scenarios. That's the point of the BGB, its versatility.

    To answer the question "what is BRP best at?" I think you have to ask yourself and your players.. "what are YOU best at?" Undoubtedly BRP can accommodate your needs regardless the scenario, but I think certain groups of people are better at certain genres than others.

    Anyway I know my post is a bit of a derailing, but I hope my point is clear and unoffensive. (The Saints lost badly tonight, and I've had a bit too much to drink.)

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    There are many things BRP is good at. For example, it is easy to understand, learn, referee and modify.
    One of the reasons I like and use it, especially for my alternate history settings, is that it tends to gene-
    rate plausible characters, characters who are still "on a human scale" and vulnerable enough to inspire
    the players to play them like real persons, who are aware that brute force does not always lead to suc-
    cess and that despite all of their skills there will always be many problems they will not be able to solve.
    "Mind like parachute, function only when open."
    (Charlie Chan)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakana View Post
    To me... I don't think it is a question of what BRP is best AT.

    What makes BRP so great (and in my opinion the best system) is that it is easily integrated to fulfill all of those scenarios. That's the point of the BGB, its versatility.

    To answer the question "what is BRP best at?" I think you have to ask yourself and your players.. "what are YOU best at?" Undoubtedly BRP can accommodate your needs regardless the scenario, but I think certain groups of people are better at certain genres than others.

    Anyway I know my post is a bit of a derailing, but I hope my point is clear and unoffensive. (The Saints lost badly tonight, and I've had a bit too much to drink.)
    Well, I disagree obviously (and thus my OP). Certain systems lend themselves to certain things. Burning Wheel gives players a tool to guide social conflicts (the Duel of Wits). Strands of Fate gives tools to pit organizations abstractly against each other (the Organization Fate fractal). Savage Worlds is a whole lot about heroic characters and a lot less about the farmer in his hovel. D&D Re/Blue box seems to be an exploration game with a tactical game tacked on. D&D 4th seems to be a tactical game with exploration tacked on.

    All these games lend themselves to doing certain genres and what not well, with little or no extra work on the part of the GM. Can you do any sort of genre/setting with any of those? Of course. But that doesn't mean the game is built for it to be easy, whereas they ARE built (by design or accident) to handle certain genres and playstyles and settings well. Or not.

    Take Savage Worlds. You certainly CAN do gritty games in Savage Worlds (there are even variant rules for it in the Deluxe book), but at default, SW isn't built for that sort of game. You have to make some extra effort (those rules changes, teaching and remembering them) to implement that. BRP, in my estimation, lends itself better to gritty games; the default damage and weapon mechanics generally create an atmosphere where one or two solid hits can kill, and you've no metagame resource, at default, to manipulate to save you (like SW bennies).

    So, my question. What is BRP BGB good at? What does it lend itself to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rust View Post
    There are many things BRP is good at. For example, it is easy to understand, learn, referee and modify.
    One of the reasons I like and use it, especially for my alternate history settings, is that it tends to gene-
    rate plausible characters, characters who are still "on a human scale" and vulnerable enough to inspire
    the players to play them like real persons, who are aware that brute force does not always lead to suc-
    cess and that despite all of their skills there will always be many problems they will not be able to solve.
    An interesting way to answer, and I like it. I'm leaning towards it too, frankly, and for the reasons you're mentioning here. Though I haven't tried to teach it yet. One of my motivations is this. I mean, I'm running Burning Wheel Gold now, and we're having a blast, but the system pushes towards certain outcomes, and the players are playing their characters based on things they like and don't like in the system (and certain parts are really awesome for them, and others a bit against their taste). If that makes sense.

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    It's good at allowing you to take games of different genres and mashing them together because of the universality of its mechanics without being anywhere near as crazy as Palladium or (purportedly) extremely fiddility GURPs.
    I'm running Post-apocalyptic Arthurian Romance with Mecha. The bits I had to house-rule were only done so because I am using Pendragon as the base instead of something like Merrie England.
    My roleplaying blog: Axes and Orcs. Scramblings of anime, D&D, and RQ-derived games.

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