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Classic Cortex: Serenity

MeetsInTaverns

Retired User
I was going to do that + sign for when folk want to talk about something in a positive light, but I though putting it in the thread title might confused things with Cortex Plus :p

I'm aware that a new Firefly rpg is out early next year, but my players are wanting a more traditional game, rather than Cortex Plus. They like their exp, gear and monies you see.

It has a been an AGE since I ran Classic Cortex in any form. I know it's not the most popular system for many, but I have some fond memories of it.

However, my Serenity book is falling apart and although I have Big Damn Heroes I was wondering if it might be better to run it out of the Classic Cortex book itself so I don't have to flip between books so much.

As it's been a long time since I've gone through the system and I don't cherish the thought of reading through three books I was wondering, for those who might know, what rules might be different from Big Damn Heroes update to Serenity and the Cortex Classic blue book?

Apart from gear and the monetary system (and obviously the fluff, but I'm good on that) what else would I need to import to the generic system and will Serenity work pretty much just out of the generic book?

One final question has to do with Attribute benchmarks. Has anyone got a good comparison chart for what is achievable at each die step of an attribute? I realise someone with a D10 is stronger than another with D6, but as the probability can be a bit screwy (without the use of PP) so I'd like to know for non dice rolling times what a D10 in Strength allows you lift, or how quick a guy with D6, for example, in Agility can be. The generic book was always too vague for me on this.

Thanks

:)
 
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Cam Banks

Kiwi Game Designer
Validated User
When I wrote up the Classic Cortex stats and rules for the Wedding Planners episode that's available from DriveThruRPG, I went entirely from the Classic rulebook, rather than Serenity RPG. You could always use that as a guideline for how to best do it. I was the project lead for the Big Damn Heroes Handbook, and most of the mechanical support in that sourcebook was intended to address issues that came up in extended play of the original game.

Cheers,
Cam
 

MeetsInTaverns

Retired User
When I wrote up the Classic Cortex stats and rules for the Wedding Planners episode that's available from DriveThruRPG, I went entirely from the Classic rulebook, rather than Serenity RPG. You could always use that as a guideline for how to best do it. I was the project lead for the Big Damn Heroes Handbook, and most of the mechanical support in that sourcebook was intended to address issues that came up in extended play of the original game.

Cheers,
Cam
Thanks Cam, so does the Wedding Planners adventure have some more specific rules for the setting in it based off the cortex classic book? i.e. anything in there that's not in the Big Damn Heroes Handbook, or condensed versions thereof (probably more of a firefly bent than a serenity one due to licensing?) .

If that makes sense?

I have a bunch of adventures in mind as well as stats for crew members from the original Serenity book, so apart from the adventure itself (and the crew stats which I guess might be more up-to-date?) is there anything else the package offers that I might not have?
 

Rulandor

Registered User
Validated User
When I ran a Classic Cortex Serenity campaign, I used the blue book and Big Damn Heroes. The old Serenity rulebook proved to be worthwhile nonetheless: basic equipment lists, nice pictures, nice deckplans and background information.

Fond memories are my term for those days as well. In a quarter century of gamemastering, Classic Cortex proved to be one of the two or three systems (out of around ten systems played) where never any hiccups occured.

Serenity, Battlestar, my own Urban Fantasy setting using creatures and systems, but not the official background of Supernatural, those were days of unmitigated fun. I miss them.
 

MeetsInTaverns

Retired User
When I ran a Classic Cortex Serenity campaign, I used the blue book and Big Damn Heroes. The old Serenity rulebook proved to be worthwhile nonetheless: basic equipment lists, nice pictures, nice deckplans and background information.

Fond memories are my term for those days as well. In a quarter century of gamemastering, Classic Cortex proved to be one of the two or three systems (out of around ten systems played) where never any hiccups occured.

Serenity, Battlestar, my own Urban Fantasy setting using creatures and systems, but not the official background of Supernatural, those were days of unmitigated fun. I miss them.
If I remember correctly, I don't have it to hand, BDH clears up some of the problems with ships? I have the book of Six Shooters and Space Ships that should also help out on general gear and stats.

Is there much mechanical difference between BDH and Classic Cortex (combat etc), or much specific setting, such as advantages/disadvantages that might not be in CC?
 

Cam Banks

Kiwi Game Designer
Validated User
Almost every Asset or Complication is represented in some fashion in the Classic Cortex rulebook. Big Damn Heroes gave some suggestions for converting to the system of using die types rather than Major/Minor, but for Wedding Planners I designed the rules and statistics such that you wouldn't need any of those Serenity RPG books, just the CC.

Cheers,
Cam
 

MeetsInTaverns

Retired User
Might get me some Wedding Planners set, even if I do own the Cortex Book already, it's still pretty cheap.

Of course, if you know anywhere where I can find attribute benchmarks somewhere Cam, then that'd be a mighty fine incentive ;)

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
 

Rulandor

Registered User
Validated User
Might get me some Wedding Planners set, even if I do own the Cortex Book already, it's still pretty cheap.

Of course, if you know anywhere where I can find attribute benchmarks somewhere Cam, then that'd be a mighty fine incentive ;)

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
The closest thing to benchmarks might be the sidebox "Interpret the Numbers" on p. 19 of the CC rulebook and the Skill Level table on p. 50.

In general, you won't have many difficulties in adapting every movie or tv franchise with just the CC book and some imagination.
 
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MeetsInTaverns

Retired User
The closest thing to benchmarks might be the sidebox "Interpret the Numbers" on p. 19 of the CC rulebook and the Skill Level table on p. 50.

In general, you won't have many difficulties in adapting every movie or tv franchise with just the CC book and some imagination.
Yeah, it's not quite as good as a proper benchmark table would have been.

Keeping it vague works to the advantage of something like FATE or of course Cortex Plus, but I feel that in Classic Cortex because a lot of people didn't quite like the probability of the system (which I have no problem with as even skilled folk can miss and it can benefit narrative, and there's always PP to off-set things) it would have been beneficial as it would really helped to distinguish say a character with Strength d8 and another with d10.

Having benchmarks of things you could accomplish either automatically at a given dice step, or at least would be considered probable and not necessarily rolled for, would have at least one of my players not bemoaning the probability issues (which again I have no problem with myself).

So yeah, having benchmarks can give you a good impression of what folk are capable of, this can be very beneficial when you don't really want to roll for something trivial or time consuming.
 
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Cam Banks

Kiwi Game Designer
Validated User
I'm not much help here. I don't really like benchmarks beyond vague statements like "Peak human potential" or "above average" etc. I feel it kind of turns it into a physics engine, rather than a story engine, and even games like Classic Cortex were originally intended to be the latter for all that the original designers were traditional minded.

Cheers,
Cam
 
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