Basic Role Playing - Chaosium

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    Basic Roleplaying Quick-Start Edition is published by Chaosium Inc.

    Basic Roleplaying is copyright 1981, 1983, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2009 by Chaosium Inc.; all rights reserved.

    Basic Roleplaying is the registered trademark of Chaosium Inc.

    Similarities between characters in Basic Roleplaying and persons living, dead, or otherwise are strictly coincidental.

    The reproduction of material from within this book for the purposes of personal or corporate profit, by photographic, optical, electronic, or other media or methods of storage and retrieval, is prohibited.

    Address questions and comments by mail to Chaosium, Inc.

    22568 Mission Blvd. #423Hayward CA 94541 U.S.A.

    Please do not phone in game questions; the quickest answer may not be the best answer. Our web site always contains latest release information and current prices.

    Chaosium Publication 2021. ISBN 1-56882-297-9

    Published in April 2009. Printed in USA.

  • Revised byJason Durall and friends

    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Characters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Combat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Spot Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

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    This is the quick start version of Basic Role -playing; Chaosium, Incs D100 roleplayinggame system. The Basic Roleplaying system

    (BRP for short) has been utilized in some of themost influential roleplaying games published inthe past thirty years (among them Call of Cthulhu,RuneQuest, Stormbringer, and others). This stream-lined set of BRP rules is usable in a variety of set-tings. Presented here is basic character creation;the system; combat; equipment; and a samplecombat.

    Though the Basic Roleplaying core rulebook isrecommended for the variety of options anddetails it provides, these fast play rules containenough information for enterprising players andgamemasters to run game sessions and even cam-paigns without further reference. Only imagina-tion and some homework are required to turnthese quick start rules into a BRP campaign.

    Despite the size of the core rulebook, thebeauty of the BRP system is its brevity. The fun-damentals of the game rules can be described in afew pages, which is the mission of this quick startversion.

    What is a Roleplaying Game? The book you hold in your hands is a roleplayinggame, a rules framework that allows players toenact stories of adventure, acting out the parts ofthe main characters. The game rules provideguidelines for what can or cant be done, and dicerolls determine whether the characters succeed orfail at what they attempt to do. In roleplayinggames, one player takes on the role of thegamemaster (GM), while the other playersassume the roles of player characters (PCs). TheGM also acts out the roles of characters not guid-ed by players: these are called non-player charac-ters (NPCs).

    Roleplaying is a social game, like improvisinga story for a play, television show, or movie.Player characters are the primary roles: PCs arethe protagonists the stories revolve around. A PCmight be a swaggering gunfighter, depressed pri-

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    vate eye, mighty sorcerer, brightlyclad super hero, or ahumble spacefarer trying to make ends meet. The GMdevises and presents the situations that the playersadventure through, describing the world where theyroam and how that world is affected by the PCs actions.While each player plays only one PC, the GM presentsthe entire game settingrepresenting all of its people,places, monsters, and even gods.

    The GM has a story to present, an interactive sce-nario in which the PCs are challenged to interact withNPCs that the GM personifies. Play is mostly conversa-tion: the GM outlines some situation or encounter andthe players say what the PCs say or attempt to do. Rulesprovide impartial guidelines for successes and failures ofactions attempted. Using the game rules, playersannounce what the PCs will do, and roll dice to deter-mine what happens. If needed, the GM interprets howthe PCs actions affect the game world (NPCs, etc.).The PCs will use skills and abilities to face these chal-lenges, oppose other PCs and NPCs, and to explore thesetting the GM has created.

    Players create PCs by defining them with rules thathelp measure capabilities in quantifiable terms. Thisinformation is written down on the character sheet.Information on a character sheet includes things likestrength, intelligence, speed, education, skills, andother abstract elements that make up a person thoughpersonality is evoked by how the PC is played by theplayer. For example, though there is no numerical value for irri-table, the player may speak in such a manner and give that per-sonality to the PC. The PCs character sheet is a crossbetween a rsum and a report card: it defines what heor she can do, and how good he or she is at it.Roleplaying is what brings the character to life.

    There is a major difference between what the play-er knows and what the PC knows. At the gaming tableplayers are privy to behind the scenes informationthat PCs dont have, and they must be careful not totake advantage of this knowledge. Dice rolls are used todetermine if a PC will know something, even when theplayer may already know the answer. Similarly, there isno reason a PCs expertise is limited to things the play-er knowsa PC can be an expert in fields the player hasno idea about.

    The purpose of roleplaying is to have a good time.Its fun to deal with dangers that are not truly danger-ous, threats that vanish when everyone rises from thetable, and monsters that evaporate when the lights goon. If play goes well, the players feel that theyve beento an exciting new world for a while, find strength incoping with it, and may even know victory.

    Length of Play How long does role playing take? There are three waysto measure time spent role playing. First is the session.This is the actual amount required to play a game.Game sessions usually last from three to five hours,though some are shorter and sometimes they go formuch longer. The second measure of game time is thescenario. This is a chapter of the story. There is usually abeginning, middle, and an ending to a scenario, con-sisting of some roleplaying, some action, and a dramat-ic resolution. The longest measure of game time is thecampaign, a series of scenarios linked together to form anepic or engrossing longer story. For an easy way to wrapyour head around it, liken it to reading a novel. The ses-sion is the amount of time to read a chapter. The sce-nario is one or more chapters. The campaign is thewhole novel itself. Oneshot games are scenarios thatdo not have a place in a campaigntheyre like shortstories. They may take longer than one sitting to read,but they do not continue beyond the end of the story.

    The Basic RoleplayingCore Rulebook

    For 30 years Chaosium, Inc. has published gamesusing the Basic Roleplaying system. These cover arange of settings, from period horror (Call ofCthulhu, Cthulhu Dark Ages), heroic fantasy (Rune -Quest and ElfQuest), super heroics (Superworld), sci-ence fiction (Ringworld), sword-and-sorcery (Storm -bringer, Hawkmoon, and Elric!), and others (includingWorlds of Wonder, which contained fantasy, superheroics, and science fiction in one box). All of thesegames used the BRP system, though variants calledfor additional or different rules required for the set-ting.

    Because of its flexible and near-transparentdesign, the BRP system was highly influential ingames to come, introducing new concepts andmechanics as well as new paradigms for game playand character development. It was even more suc-cessful among players themselves, and many GMsused a variety of BRP games to cobble togetherdream rules sets, utilizing rules from one BRPgame to augment play in another.

    In summer 2008, Chaosium, Inc. published BasicRoleplaying, a weighty 400-page core rulebook com-piling all of the variant rules and systems, unifyingthe system into a comprehensive set of core rules,including a wide variety of optional rules to alloweach GM to customize his or her individual game asdesired.

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    Materials Required to Play

    Players will need little other than this rulebook, apencil, paper, and a set of gaming dice. Dice areavailable at most gaming and hobby stores, andcome in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. See belowfor more information on dice and dicerolling methods.Some gaming groups use miniatures as a representationof the characters: if so, players might each bring aminiature resembling his or her PC. The primary ingre-dient required is creative energy, though snacks are also

    appreciated. The GM will need a little bit more than a player,

    but not much more. A copy of this rulebook and moreblank paper for notes is the minimum, while a GM maychoose to bring additional copies of the character sheetprovided on page 31 (or found online at The GM will need at least one full set ofdice. If the group likes to use miniatures for role playing,then the GM should bring a small assortment of minia-tures to represent the various NPCs and creatures thePCs will encounter.

    Dice and Reading Dice Results Basic Roleplaying uses a variety of polyhedral dice toobtain random results. These are available in a widerange of sizes, colors, and qualities from games andhobby stores, or other sources. To play, a group will needat least one set of these dice, though it is easier andmore convenient if each player has a set. A set of gam-ing dice includ