The Lore System [Narrative Basic Roleplaying]

The Lore System is a narrative Basic Roleplaying system with elements of Gumshore and FATE thrown in.

So this week I have been looking at The Lore System. This is a Basic Roleplaying (BRP) based system with its own SRD, making it easy to develop for.

For me, what makes it stand out is the inclusion of a lot of narrative elements. It is very much like Gumshoe meets Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition.

In Gumshoe, if you have an investigative skill, and you use it to look for a clue, finding the clue is automatic. The logic is that when was the last time you watched CSI Miami and the forensic guys didn’t find the blood splatter or they couldn’t work out where the bullet was fired from?

The fun starts AFTER the characters have found the clues and the players can get to work on trying to put things together.

That is how Gumshoe does it, that is also how The Lore System works.

Another cute element are Lore sheets. These are single paragraph descriptions of a characters professional background, they define the kinds of skills the character will be trained in, and may give a special bonus. Every character has a professional lore sheet, they may also get a special lore sheet and a general loresheet. Think of them as a freeform description of the characters background skills and knowledge, but they also contain references to the settings lore. They help anchor the character in the game world.

Lore sheets by necessity need to be created between GM and player. They are not dished out by the GM but the GM needs to have some input to provide the cultural references.

Solo Lore System

The Lore System looks to be very solo friendly. What I normally call the Drama Die, a mechanic where each ‘fail’ in a task triggers a countdown towards a bad event, is a core mechanic in the rules here. What this means is that if these are core, then published adventures will come with these built in.

Combat is a “If I make my attack, you take my damage. If I fail my attack, I take your damage” combat system. When you only have one side needing to make the rolls, this converts nicely to solo. Although damage is recorded in HP done and received, final blows are to be described narratively.

Because the BRP chassis is CoC 7e, we have a system of Advantage and Disadvantage on rolls, these just cry out to be the basis of Likely and Unlikely Yes-No questions and answer.

You must all know of my love of Post-it notes as a GMing aid. This game is post-it note friendly. These Lore Sheets, don’t really deserve the monika Sheet at all. They are little more than a line or two. There is one below for you to look at.

Now, surely that is as post-it note friendly as you can get? NPC stats average 25 across the board and their skills are defined by their lore sheet. You can pretty much create an NPC is 45 seconds, entirely in prose. Introducing an NPC into a solo game should not hold up play. You can retrofit actual skills and stats after the session, if the NPC is going to be a recurring character.

Basic Roleplaying

If you have been following my solo playing, and the rules I use, you will no doubt be aware that I am not really a big player of BRP/RuneQuest/Call of Cthulhu. I think I have written solo rules for two games in this system stable, BlackSpear and Call of Cthulhu. The first appeared in the BlackSpear playtest edition and the other as Monophobia. One reason I am not a massive Basic Roleplaying fan is that I am not keen on d100 roll-under systems. In my head on a d100, 100 is good. I think the 40 year association with Rolemaster has somehow corrupted me.

Lore System’s take on Basic Roleplaying pours on such a thick layer of narrative description it is verging on the OSR style of play. I don’t have a problem with that at all. I like having to imagine how I am doing something, rather than rolling the dice to test a skill.

I am looking forward to playing this and see it works out in practice.

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