15 June 2023


The Basic Role-Playing System (aka ‘the Chaosium system’) started out as a very slim introductory booklet with just the barebones D100 rules. It wasn’t sold separately but was a free addition to many of the early Chaosium role-playing games that were sold in boxes.

The first game that was marketed as an expansion of the BRP System per se was the boxed set titled Worlds of Wonder, which contained three mini-games that used the same core rules applied to three different genres: fantasy, super-heroes, and sci-fi.

The fantasy mini-game was called Magic World [not the same as the later standalone frp game]; it was translated to Swedish and published as a standalone game in 1982 under the name Drakar och Demoner (Swedish for ‘Dragons and Demons’). As with many BRP-derived games, it went through a tortuous life of its own, changing publishers and/or names several times, and even having a system overhaul once before getting back to the BRP System (albeit with D20 instead of D100, à la Pendragon).

The game was purchased by Fria Ligan (Free League Publishing) in 2021, and is now coming back in English as ‘Dragonbane’. Fria Ligan already own several successful role-playing games, and apparently Dragonbane has adopted a few features from them.

Anyway, I’ve downloaded Dragonbane’s Quickstart, and I will try and highlight the differences I have found with the Basic Role-Playing System.


SIZ has disappeared. As a result, HPs are equal to CON instead of ½(CON+SIZ) or CON with SIZ-dependent adjustments.

Power points/magic points are called willpower points (WPs) and are used for special actions on top of spellcasting.

Game System

A ‘1’ is a crit, and a ‘20’ is a fumble, instead of having more refined D100-based values.

There is a system of boons & banes à la D&D 5E where you roll an additional D20 for each boon/bane and count only the lowest/highest result.

There is also a ‘push’ system like in CoC 7th ed., but it can quickly result in your character getting a bane.


Each combatant has a single action for each combat round.

Initiative is 1-10 and drawn from a set of numbered cards. Meh.

Parrying is a fully-fledged action and uses up your single action. Meh.

You can do nothing during a round and recover 1D6 WPs. Given the prevalent use of WPs this is pretty cool.

When you roll a crit in combat you get to choose amongst three different effects (double damage, extra action, ignore armour) rather than automatically apply a given effect. This is super cool.

Weapons get damaged more easily than in the BRPS because whenever the armour protection completely negates the damage from a melee attack the attacking weapon itself suffers the damage instead. Ouch.

There aren’t any hit locations. If an opponent is partially covered by an obstacle, you get a bane on your attack.


This is where Dragonbane shines: each monster has its unique abilities and attack table. The GM rolls on this table when it is the monster’s initiative (also randomly from the cards). A monster never rolls the dice to hit its target: monster attacks succeed automatically.

I really, really like this. Obviously I haven’t tested this in actual play, but I’d love to see some monster fear instilled back into my players’ eyes. Today they’re only afraid of criticals.

As an example, the giant spider from the sample adventure in the Quickstart has the following attack table:

It’s obviously massive work at the GM’s side to build such a table for each monster in their campaign. However, I really feel like this is the major innovation in Dragonbane.

Given the similarities with the BRPS I reckon any GM could pick and choose whatever they like best from this game to add flavour to their BRPS games. I guess you should at least download the Quickstart (available for free on DriveThru or directly here).

08 June 2023

Ultra-Fast As-You-Go Character Generation

QuestWorlds features a character generation option called the ‘As-You-Go Method’: instead of fully statting your adventurer at the beginning of the campaign, you simply sketch it to have a general idea and then you fill your ability slots during the course of the game whenever you need to roll under an ability, i.e.:

When events in the story put you in a situation where you want to overcome a story obstacle, or discover the answer to a story question, make up an applicable ability on the spot.


Today’s post is a suggestion to try and use this method for RuneQuest. However, instead of “making up an ability” you will choose among the skills printed on the RQ character sheet.

As with my previous character generation methods, this should work for any character type, except the assistant shaman.

Character Concept

Create a character concept: a homeland, that will give your adventurer their starting languages, and a general profession/background, that will give them reasonable equipment when needed.



Do not roll for characteristics but freely assign the following values: 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 to your characteristics, +4 extra points.

Do not apply the Rune or Homeland modifiers to characteristics (p53 of the core rules) as the values above have already taken them into account.

Compute the skill category modifiers per the rules.



Reserve three slots for three starting Passions: one at 70% and two at 60%. You will assign them during the course of the game.



Reserve three slots for three Elemental Runes: one at 60%, one at 40%, and one at 20%. You will assign them during the course of the game.

On top of this, you will be able to add an extra +10% (or +5% twice) to any of these Elemental Runes during the course of the game.


You have a grand total of 50 percentage points that can be added to any Power/Form Runes (max. +25%) during the course of the game.



Reserve 20 slots for 20 skills that will be improved during the course of the game. You have a grand total of 450 skill points that can be added to these initial skill values during the course of the game. You needn’t use all of the 20 slots – that will depend on whether you want to end up with a specialised adventurer, or one with a broader set of skills. Instead of improving a skill, you may also use a slot to add a new Passion that will start at 60% + the amount of skill points used up.


Skills that fully correspond to the character concept can be raised up to 100%.

Skills that are close to the character concept can be raised up to 75%.

Skills that are unrelated to the character concept can be raised up to 50%.



Once you have chosen which cult your character will be initiated into, distribute +45 skill points among three to four skills that fit in with the deity’s portfolio or with the deity’s Runes, e.g., Speak Darktongue for an initiate of a Darkness deity.

You also get to choose 5 points of Spirit Magic amongst the cult’s available spells. Your adventurer receives 3 Rune points dedicated to their cult, and an extra Passion at 60% amongst the ones listed under their cult. 

02 June 2023

New BRP Handouts

The Chaosium has just made available a free, 21-page downloadable PDF booklet with all the useful Basic Role-Playing tables and charts from the new edition of the Basic Role-Playing System.

Amongst what the booklet contains, I have found the following as being the most interesting:

★ the Optional Rule Checklist (this is really super useful for all the GMs who like tinkering and, well, if you’ve purchased the Basic Role-Playing System I guess you do),

★ a matrix with all (?) the possible results between attack, parry, dodge, etc. depending on the skill success levels,

★ a summary of fumbles, wounds, etc. and their effects,

★ and last but not least a summary of personality traits and reputation effects [new to this edition if I’m not mistaken].