I'm impressed with Cortex Prime

Miss Atomic Bomb

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Cortex Plus is one of my favorite systems. I've written a lot of hacks for it over the years, and it's been a huge influence on other things I've worked on, so I backed it on KS. Last month, backers got a feature-complete draft, and it's excellent.

If you've played any the Plus-era games, you know the shape of things. But this is the system in full-on toolkit mode. All of the elements from classic, Action, Drama, and Heroic branches are here, and presented separately for creating your own builds.

It's definitely got me distracted-boyfriend-meme looking at some new things I could make!

Anybody else read it over?
 

Chikahiro

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I've not, but am looking forward to it. As someone who usually looks at games like Fate and cries in despair because it doesn't click, plus looked at Marvel Heroic which was *almost* there for me? I'm really looking forward to Cortex Prime. I'm told there's some more... not so much "crunchy" options in it so much as "structural" options that someone like me (a HERO regular) will appreciate/find useful.
 

KingJosh

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I preordered the softcover on Backerkit (though, like an idiot, I failed to order the version that came with a PDF...for free!), but not the Kickstarter. Also, I’ve never played *any* Cortex games, but heard enough praise for them to take a chance on the book.

What is impressive about it? How does the system work? (I *think* the Backerkit is still accepting preorders, if not the only one new to the system.)

EDIT: I don’t have access to any of the drafts. Cam Banks actually said in one of his updates that he’d was going to send out that particular draft to BK-backers, as well as KS-backers, but I never got anything. (As far as Backerkit is concerned, I didn’t order any digital products, so there is no “downloads” area associated with My Cortex Prime order. My Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau pages do have all the downloads they’re supposed to. Oh, well!
 
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Tancred

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Given it’s a toolkit how accessible is it to people new to Cortex in general?
 

Mike McCall

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Cortex in a nutshell:
  • Your character is defined by Traits, like Attributes, Affiliations, Powers, Skills, Relationships, and so on. Each setting has a set of Traits for the characters. You also have SFX, which are special abilities where you pay a cost (like a plot point) for a mechanical effect (like doubling a particular Trait die).
  • One of the Traits is (almost) always Distinctions. A Distinction is a phrase like an aspect, which can be used positively or negatively. When you use it negatively, you get a plot point.
  • The world is described by Assets, which are aspect-like phrases with a die type attached. You can create assets using actions or plot points, or the GM can create them.
  • When you take an action, you roll all the applicable Traits (one per Trait category) and Assets, and keep two dice. The GM rolls applicable Assets and opponent Traits, and keeps two dice. High roll wins.
  • You can use plot points to create temporary Assets, keep Assets longer, keep additional dice, add more dice from a Trait category, or take a Complication (an "asset" which sucks to be you) instead of being taken out after failing to resist an attack of some kind.
  • All of the above stays basically true No matter how you put the game together, but there are a lot of bits that modify this to one degree or another, or include different Traits or Assets in different ways . There are systems for hit points, for persistent Complication tracks, for GM "doom pools" and for static difficulties. There are three different advancement systems.
The book as written explains Cortex from the ground up, and I think it will be a good baseline for newcomers. Like Fate Core, it's a toolkit, but it has a setting/implementation in already, and two more are planned. I think you should get it. I think everyone should get it. It's a great light/medium-crunch game with a whole arsenal of tools that can transform gameplay to make it work the way you think it should, or the way it needs to in order to make a given setting "feel right".
 

PdO

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I backed it, but I haven't looked at it yet. Frankly, I find Cortex+ confusing enough as it is, and I didn't want to tax my brain with a playtest version, or even one that's hard to read. Do you think it's ready for me to tackle?
 

Mike McCall

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It's ready. Not everything is done for it, but Cam seems to have settled on presentation, names, and a layout that, if not final, is at least clean and followable.
 

Alter_Boy

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I've got it, but I'm waiting for the hard copy. I found the system easy to be taught in play, but hard to learn from the book. Hopefully this book will be an improvement.
 

Strange Visitor

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I've not, but am looking forward to it. As someone who usually looks at games like Fate and cries in despair because it doesn't click, plus looked at Marvel Heroic which was *almost* there for me? I'm really looking forward to Cortex Prime. I'm told there's some more... not so much "crunchy" options in it so much as "structural" options that someone like me (a HERO regular) will appreciate/find useful.
Yeah, I'm very similar; I'm normally not a narrative-game guy, but the way Cortex is structured just doesn't seem to hang me up the same way most of them do, and there's more scope to dial it back closer to a trad game in areas where I'm more comfortable with that. I've read what exists so far, but I'm looking forward to the finished product and the worked examples to get my arms around it more.
 
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