Basic Roleplaying Universal Game Engine – First Impressions

So I was a complete @chaosium_inc fanboy yesterday and downloaded the new version of the Basic Roleplaying Universal Game Engine. This is my impressions from a quick skim read. Bear in mind that I’ve got a long history with the previous version of the book, 2008 Big Gold Book (BGB), so I’ll be comparing it to that.

On the one hand, it is a tidied-up version of the BGB, so as an old hand (who was in the playtest) there’s a lot of familiar content. But there are also new bits that bring it into the modern age. The book’s author Jason Durall gives a breakdown of what’s different over at Basic Roleplaying Central.

The main big thing for me is the presentation, which is now clean full-colour art.  Probably less art overall than the BGB, which was full-on black and white, almost in the style of a 90s book, but more impactful. Certainly, it brings it up on par with the recent full-colour editions of Savage Worlds.

The devil is in the details, and only a full read will see if the new version really makes it a streamlined generic system that you can put together a new game out of. BGB was more like a reference book of BRP’s greatest hits and a bit dry with it for my tastes.

One thing as a publisher that is exciting is that the WHOLE of the book, sans product identity (trademarks etc) is released as open content under the emerging Open Roleplaying game. Even the draft version of the ORC license, this is a much more generous license than the previous BRP-OGL.

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