Chaosium to Release Basic Roleplaying Game Engine Under ORC License in April

Chaosium is releasing the game engine that powers most of its major tabletop roleplaying games under a new open license next month. Chaosium will become one of the first publishers to use the Open RPG Creative License (or ORC for short) when it publishes the Basic Roleplaying Universal Game Engine in PDF form later this month. A physical hardcover will be released later this year. Basic Roleplaying (or BRP for short) is the game engine that powers Call of Cthulhu and Runequest, two of Chaosium's best known games. Additionally, by releasing the ruleset under the ORC, game creators can use the BRP rules engines to develop their own games, without further permission from Chaosium. 

The re-release of the Basic Roleplaying ruleset under the ORC is the latest fallout from Wizards of the Coast's attempt to revoke the OGL, a separate game license that provided a legal framework for using Dungeons & Dragons rules in other published works. When Wizards announced plans to radically change the OGL and more importantly "de-authorize" previous versions of the OGL, Paizo announced plans to develop the ORC as an alternative open game license that anyone could use. Eventually, Wizards dropped plans to change the OGL and released the 5E System Reference Document (a collection of basic rules and mechanics) under a Creative Commons License. Many other publishers are moving forward with releasing their own rules under either the ORC or other open game licenses as a response to the controversy. 

We'll note that Chaosium previously released the Basic Roleplaying ruleset under its own OGL, although many designers seemed put off by restrictions in that OGL meant to prevent designers from creating direct competitors to various Chaosium games. It's also unclear whether the BRP's release under the ORC allows for the publication of works compatible with Call of Cthulhu and other games, in part because Chaosium has a separate license to allow for those kinds of works to be published via the Miskatonic Repository, a DM's Guild-style site managed by DriveThruRPG.