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Call of Cthulhu system to re-release under DnD OGL rival

Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying RPG system, which powers Runequest and Call of Cthulhu, will be re-released under DnD OGL competitor, the ORC.

Call of Cthulhu system ORC - Chaosium image of Basic Roleplaying: Universal Game Engine book

Tabletop RPG publisher Chaosium will re-release the core rules for its Basic Roleplaying (BRP) system under Paizo’s Open RPG Creative Licence (ORC). According to a press release from March 20, Basic Roleplaying: The Universal Game Engine will release in PDF form in April, with physical copies to follow later in the year. BRP is the RPG system used by tabletop games like Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest.

It uses d100s as its bread and butter as opposed to d20-based tabletop RPG dice systems, challenging players to roll under a certain requirement rather than over. BRP previously handled third-party content with its own dedicated Open Gaming Licence (OGL). Chaosium says switching to the ORC will allow “game creators are free to use the BRP rules engine to develop their own games, royalty-free and without further permission from Chaosium”.

Pathfinder and Starfinder publisher Paizo launched the ORC in the wake of January’s DnD OGL controversy. Not long after Wizards of the Coast received backlash for a leaked draft of its Open Gaming License, Paizo announced the ORC as an intended alternative. Many creators in the TTRPG space, including Chaosium and Demiplane, pledged to work with the new licence.

Call of Cthulhu system ORC - Chaosium ad for Basic Roleplaying re-release

Wizards eventually released D&D’s System Reference Document (SRD), which includes content like DnD classes and DnD races, under a Creative Commons licence. However, competitors like Paizo and Free League Publishing continue to work on alternative third-party licences.

“Chaosium was one of the first game companies to sign on to the Open RPG Creative License initiative being spearheaded by our friends at Paizo”, says Chaosium COO Neil Robinson in Monday’s press release. “We’re pleased to have our core rules system released under the ORC as an example of an open RPG licence that anyone can use.”

Chaosium says the upcoming BRP re-release will contain all the core rules you expect for tabletop RPGs – character creation, combat, magic, items, and more that will be “applicable to any setting and genre”. Apart from the third-party licence, it’s not clear if other changes are being made to the system itself. The PDF will be available from the Chaosium website and DriveThruRPG when it releases in April.