Advanced Search

Basic Roleplaying
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Basic Roleplaying

Watermarked PDF

The Basic Roleplaying System

Welcome to Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying system, a book that collects in one place rules and options for one of the original and most influential role playing game systems in the world.

This book comprises a roleplaying game system, a framework of rules aimed at allowing players to enact a sort of improvisational radio theater—only without microphones—and with dice determining whe­ther the characters succeed or fail at what they attempt to do. In roleplaying games, one player takes on the role of the gamemaster (GM), while the other player(s) assume the roles of player characters (PCs) in the game. The gamemaster also acts out the roles of characters who aren’t being guided by players: these are called non-player characters (NPCs).

From its origin, Basic Roleplaying was designed to be intuitive and easy to play. Character attributes follow a 3D6 curve, and the other Basic Roleplaying mechanics are even simpler. Virtually all rolls determining success or failure of a task are determined via the roll of percentile dice. This means that there’s less fiddling with dice of different types, and the concept of a percentile chance of success is extremely easy for beginners and experienced players to grasp. There aren’t many easier ways to say a character has a 70% chance of succeeding at an activity.

The core virtues of the system are as evident today as they were when it was first introduced. Primary characteristics of Basic Roleplaying that have emerged from decades of play, across many different varieties of the system are as follows:

  • The system is remarkably friendly to newcomers. It is easy to describe the basics of the game system, and the percentile mechanics, to non-gamers.
  • Players of other game systems often find Basic Roleplaying to be much less mechanistic and less of a barrier to the actual act of roleplaying. Less time spent on game systems usually equals more time available for roleplaying and thinking “in character.”
  • Most of the information players need to know is present on their character sheets.
  • Characters tend to evolve based on practicing the skills they use the most. They do not arbitrarily gain experience in skills and qualities based on ephemeral elements such as levels or experience ranks.
  • Combat can be very quick and deadly, and often the deciding blow in a conflict is the one to land first.
  • Basic Roleplaying is remarkably modular: levels of complexity can be added or removed as needed, and the core system works equally well with considerable detail as it does with a minimal amount of rules.
  • The internal consistency of Basic Roleplaying allows for rules judgments to be made rapidly and with little searching through the rulebook for special cases.
  • This book represents a first for Basic Roleplaying—a system complete in one book, without a defined setting. Previously, Basic Roleplaying has been an integral part of standalone games, usually with rich and deep world settings. Due to differences in these settings, Basic Roleplaying has had many different incarnations. Variant and sometimes contradictory rules have emerged between versions, to better support one particular setting over another.

Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying system reconciles these different flavors of the system and brings many variant rules together between the covers of one book, something that has never been done before. Some of these rules are provided as optional extensions, some as alternate systems, and others have been integrated into the core system. By design, this work is not a reinvention of Basic Roleplaying nor a significant evolution of the system. It is instead a collected and complete version of it, without setting, provided as a guide to players and gamemasters everywhere and compatible with most Basic Roleplaying games. It also allows the gamemaster the ability to create his or her own game world (or worlds), to adapt others from fiction, films, or even translate settings from other roleplaying games into Basic Roleplaying.

By Jason Durall and Sam Johnson; Illustrated by Kevin Ramos, Lisa Free, David Ingersoll, et. al.; Cover by Paul Carrick. 400 pages, illustrated, indexed. 8.5 x 11" watermarked PDF.

ISBN 1-56882-189-1


  • Introduction
  • Characters
  • Skills
  • Powers
    - Magic
    - Psychic Powers
    - Mutations
    - Sorcery
    - Super Powers
  • System
  • Combat
  • Spot Rules
  • Equipment
  • Gamemastering
  • Settings
  • Creatures
  • Appendices
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (4)
Discussions (18)
Customer avatar
Leiah M November 17, 2021 5:14 am UTC
Adding my voice to the chorus asking for a PoD version of this game. I much prefer the older version of BRP to newer versions that have been coming out.
Customer avatar
Robert R October 20, 2021 3:56 pm UTC
Yep, another request for POD. I'm not sure why this isn't an option when so many other BRP titles are POD; heck even Chaosium themselves no longer offer a printed version, why not?
Customer avatar
Christopher H September 29, 2021 2:42 pm UTC
Another request for POD... in hardcover, please!
Customer avatar
Andrew L June 05, 2021 9:17 am UTC
One Thing I would say Is If No new Vesion is Created Please make the BRP Products POD, Rpgs need to flow quickly and PDF's are way to slow to find what you want during Gametime, Ok in Downtime but a Printed Book Is Always Monarch on a Games Table :) and I would Love to see the Other Old Chaosium Titles as Pod's To, Stormbringer, Hawkmoon, Ringworld etc etc all great Titles it would be Nice to get New printed versions Have done Like Wizards with Star Frontiers for example, and Some of the other Old Classic Editions othe Games Companies have re-released, It Dosn't take a Huge expensive re-write just a Jiggling in of Errata is good enough as do you really need to Fix Classics :)
Customer avatar
Andrew L June 05, 2021 9:00 am UTC
One thing About Updating BRP, Chaosium seems to realse new titles as PDF Then go to Print as Hardbacks great I love this, I can only assume its a Finacial Stratagy, Wouldn't it make more Sense to Offer the Titles as POD as soon as Available, No Wait for a Printed edition and Could Be offered as Soft or Hardback Options, I personally Love the Publishers who do this and I most cases POD is available in the Customers Home Country :)
Customer avatar
James C June 04, 2021 7:00 pm UTC
Another request for POD.
Customer avatar
Rob L April 29, 2021 10:31 am UTC
POD would be great...
Customer avatar
Jody C March 26, 2021 11:46 pm UTC
No POD? I really wanted this in print and PDF.
Customer avatar
Frederick W October 31, 2020 11:18 pm UTC
Is this the very close to 2nd edition Runequest? I am not familiar with later versions, so I do not know how much or what was changed.
Customer avatar
Clyde G June 14, 2020 11:04 pm UTC
I would absolutely buy a PoD version of this.
Customer avatar
Dominic T August 11, 2020 9:19 pm UTC ask and ye shall receive.
Customer avatar
Clyde G August 22, 2020 8:44 pm UTC
And ordered...
Customer avatar
Sándor L November 22, 2019 8:35 pm UTC
+1 for POD. As Andrew said, the shipping cost from the US makes ordering this book from the Chaosium website a no go for so many of us.
Keeping fingers crossed for a new/revised edition as well. It would be great to have such a fantastic game system as an offset printed hardcover book.
Customer avatar
Keith M November 04, 2019 7:14 am UTC
Great to hear about a possible PoD!

Too bad about it not being a big seller. It is such a good system!
Customer avatar
Andrew L September 26, 2019 1:21 pm UTC
Ok so Runequest has been fabulously reproduced, Chutulu also so Why not BRP, And why no print on demand Softback, anyone but US Gamers is hammered for Postage :( :(
Customer avatar
Rick M September 27, 2019 4:50 pm UTC
BRP was last updated about 12 years ago. We are working on making this a PoD title.
As for making it a beautiful full color book like the new RQ or CoC books, we are doing a financial analysis of whether it is worth it.
Past sales history of the book shows it was never a big seller, which is why it was not reprinted after the initial print run sold out (after many years).
Customer avatar
Emmanuel P November 15, 2020 3:53 am UTC
Any news about the PoD? Highly interested as shipping from ordering from Chaosium tripples the cost of that book for europeans.
Customer avatar
Adam Steen B March 21, 2019 9:49 pm UTC
I wish there could be a new and improved BRP rulebook.
Customer avatar
Dani J January 13, 2019 4:10 am UTC
I will only consider buying this product, if there is a bookmark... Even then, this is like a product from 2007. I should expect new edition like it's offspring products (COC 7th ed, and Runequest)
Customer avatar
Rory H April 26, 2019 4:30 am UTC
Unlike it's offspring - and BRP was actually an offspring of RuneQuest - it's not really deemed a creative priority by Chaosium. I'm not sure it sells anything like as well as Call of Cthulhu, for example.
Customer avatar
Andrew L June 05, 2021 8:47 am UTC
Actually, BRP Was the Offspring Of Runequest IT was included in the Boxed set of RQII as sort of Intro to Runquest, The entire Range Of Chaosium games Stem from RunQuest, Basically to create a simplified Core to the Chaosium Universe of Games that Followed, So its not a Given it will ever be re-done as a New edition since Greg Stafford is Now Very Sadly gone Anything Post RQ Glorantha like anything Post GARY GYGAX In the D&D line of games would not be Quite the Same and would Need alot of input from the Other Originals who Co-created Runequest, Not saying the RQ Glorantha Products Post Stafford arn't Great I have them All with all of Staffords works, And Yes A re-work of BRP is very needed IMHO, Chaosium games are way better than Other RPG's as the treat of PC perma-death is really high so PC's have to think more about thier actions :)

Customer avatar
Andrew L July 07, 2018 3:55 pm UTC
Like most of Chaosium's books I have this Direct from Chaosium's own webpages, However Considering I am a UK gamer and Import costs are way to High it would be nice if they Offered Print on demand Via Drivethru :)
See 16 more
Browse Categories
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History

Product Information
Platinum seller
Publisher Stock #
File Size:
25.19 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Information
Watermarked PDF
Watermarked PDF

These PDF files are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the PDF containing your name and the order number of your purchase.

Warning: If any files bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

Here is a sample of a page from a watermarked title:

File Last Updated:
January 17, 2007
This title was added to our catalog on January 17, 2007.