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Chaosium Inc.

BRP - System Reference Document

BRP - System Reference Document

The BRP Systems Reference Document (SRD) contains guidelines for publishing content under the BRP Open-Gaming License. The Miskatonic Repository and Jonstown Compendium also provides self-publishing opportunities for individuals and groups. For 7th Sea, you can only publish through the Explorer's Society.

Download the BRP - System Reference Document V1.0

Download the BRP Logos

The BRP-OGL differs from the other publishing opportunities for community content with Chaosium Inc. Below is an overview of the programs.

Activity BRP OGL Jonstown Compendium Miskatonic Repository
I want to publish my own game using the BRP-OGL system. If you are looking for a publish platform, we recommend DriveThruRPG as you can tag it there with the BRP rule system. X    
I want to create a Create a Call of Cthulhu Scenario    
I want to create a RuneQuest Glorantha Scenario    X  
I want to set a game in Glorantha    X  
I want to create my own science fiction game X    
I want to create my own fantasy game    
I want to create my own historical adventure X    

The BRP Website - A Great Resource

BRP Logo

Looking for a great BRP reference? Check out a website dedicated to Basic Roleplaying that include an online version of the System Reference Document and will include information help clarify any questions on playing games with the Basic Roleplaying system. Just head on over to brp.chaosium.com.

BRP-OGL SRD 1.0 FAQ

WHAT IS PROHIBITED CONTENT?


Prohibited Content is material you can’t use with this SRD. It is defined as:

All trademarks, registered trademarks, proper names (characters, deities, place names, etc.), plots, story elements, locations, characters, artwork, or trade dress from any of the following: any releases from the product lines of Call of Cthulhu, Dragon Lords of Melniboné, ElfQuest, Elric!, Hawkmoon, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, King Arthur Pendragon, Magic World, Nephilim, Prince Valiant, Ringworld, RuneQuest, 7th Sea, Stormbringer, Superworld, Thieves’ World, Worlds of Wonder, and any related sublines; the world and mythology of Glorantha; all works related to the Cthulhu Mythos, including those that are otherwise public domain; and all works related to Le Morte d’Arthur.

In addition, game mechanics that are substantially similar to the following unique or characteristic features of other Chaosium games are Prohibited Content:

Augments: The use of one ability — whether skill or characteristic — to augment another ability of the same or a different type, in a manner substantially similar to those of the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha rules.
Glory: If substantially similar to the King Arthur Pendragon rules.
Passions: If substantially similar to the King Arthur Pendragon and/or the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha rules.
Personality Traits: If substantially similar to the King Arthur Pendragon rules.
Pushing: If substantially similar to the Call of Cthulhu rules.
Reputation: If substantially similar to the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha rules.
Rune Magic: If substantially similar to the Rune or divine magic mechanics presented in any version of the RuneQuest rules. Original magic systems not derived from RuneQuest may be called “rune magic” if they do not include any components of the Gloranthan Runes.
Runes: If substantially similar to the Runes contained in the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha rules.
Sanity: If substantially similar to the Sanity mechanics in the Call of Cthulhu rules, including Bouts of Madness, Temporary, Indefinite, and Permanent Insanity.
Sorcery: If substantially similar to the sorcery mechanics presented in any version of the RuneQuest rules. Original magic systems not derived from RuneQuest may be called “sorcery.”
Spirit Magic: If substantially similar to the spirit or battle magic mechanics presented in any version of the RuneQuest rules. Original magic systems not derived from RuneQuest may be called “spirit magic.”

CAN’T I MAKE A GAME DERIVED FROM THE PUBLIC DOMAIN PARTS OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS?

You are certainly entitled to create your own game using creatures, stories, characters, or locations derived from the public domain stories of the Cthulhu Mythos – you just can’t use Chaosium’s BRP system to do that. Chaosium already has a game that does just that (Call of Cthulhu), the BRP-OGL does not allow you to publish your own variant of Call of Cthulhu.

HOW ABOUT LE MORTE D’ARTHUR – THAT STORY IS SIX HUNDRED YEARS OLD!

You are certainly entitled to create your own game using creatures, stories, characters, or locations derived from the Le Morte d’Arthur – you just can’t use Chaosium’s BRP system to do that. Chaosium already has a game that does just that (King Arthur Pendragon), the BRP-OGL does not allow you to publish your own variant of King Arthur Pendragon.

WHAT IF I GOT A LICENSE TO DO RINGWORLD, CAN I THEN USE THIS BRP-OGL TO RECREATE CHAOSIUM’S ORIGINAL RINGWORLD GAME?

No. You’d still need a separate license from Chaosium. Ringworld is prohibited content. You’d need a license from Larry Niven and from Chaosium.

WHAT DOES “SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR” MEAN?

“Substantially similar” means that if a mechanic in your game looks and functions more or less the same as something on the Prohibited Content list, you can’t publish it under the BRP-OGL. Come up with your own unique mechanics for your games – don’t repackage unique features of other Chaosium games!

DOES THIS MEAN I CAN’T HAVE A SORCERY SYSTEM?

If your “sorcery system” is derived from or very similar to that presented in any version of RuneQuest, then it is prohibited content. If your sorcery system is obviously different from that (perhaps it is based on the writings of Aleister Crowley or on the ars combinatoria of Ramon Llull) then it is fine and you can use it with the SRD.

CAN I MAKE A GAME USING PUBLIC DOMAIN MATERIAL?

Unless the materials are on the list of prohibited content, you can certainly do that. Make that Jules Verne game you always wanted, or something based off the works of Alexandre Dumas, or an ancient Roman trip to the moon inspired by Lucian of Samosata. Just make sure of two things: 1. this isn’t on the list of prohibited content; and 2. it is really public domain.

CAN I MAKE A GAME USING SOMEONE ELSE’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

If it isn’t public domain, then you will need a license from the owner of the materials to create a game using their IP. Period. There is no fair use to Star Wars.

CAN I ADD THINGS LIKE HIT LOCATIONS OR OTHER RULES MECHANICS TO BRP?

You bet you can. The license explicitly allows derivative works. You can add hit locations, add your own magic system, psychic powers, rock god songs, archetypes, funky mechanics, psychonautical exploration mechanics, alchemy rules, spell systems based on the Sefirot or talking to angels through crystals - whatever, go for it.

Just don’t try to create a retroclone of Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Pendragon, or other Chaosium games. We are empowering your imagination, not authorizing you to try to reprint our games.