I'm impressed with Cortex Prime

Blackwingedheaven

Crystal Human
Validated User
So, in Prime, what are my options if my players like the "numbers go up" style of play?
It's not cyberpunk, but my Exalted hack Blood & Fire is pretty good at emulating the "characters get more powerful over time" style of play, though it's more like "epic hero to god-stomping badass" instead of "zero to hero." XD
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
I know you can do a pretty decent emulation of Cortex Classic, which was a pretty traditional game in terms of how advancement was handled.

Far as that goes, maybe I play too many modern games, but I don't even particularly consider a system that has the GM giving out metacurrancy for active fiat particularly unusual or nontraditional at this point.
 

Dawgstar

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
It's not cyberpunk, but my Exalted hack Blood & Fire is pretty good at emulating the "characters get more powerful over time" style of play, though it's more like "epic hero to god-stomping badass" instead of "zero to hero." XD
Yeah, in a far too-brief game run on these very forums I played in an Exalted hack using MHR for Exalted's sci-fi BSG-esque setting and it worked well in all respects including leveling up. Getting a new SFX or increasing a die type is a pretty big deal.
 

shockvalue

The Puncher Strikes!
Validated User
I think I kind of understand how the game works from the detailed description above. What I am not sure of is why I would want it if I already go to FATE for my narrative crunch games?
(EDIT: After I wrote this, I realized other people had already covered this. Oh, well. Here's my thoughts anyway, as disjointed as they are.)

One of the things I like about Cortex over Fate is how "aspects" work (in Cortex, they're called "Distinctions.") In Fate, Aspects are essentially controlled and triggered by the GM. "That action goes against your X Aspect. Here's a Fate Point for not being able to do it." Players can self-compel, but it still depends on the GM agreeing that it's a valid compel in order to give the Fate Point.

In Cortex, a player can use a Distinction as a d4 in a roll and gain a Plot Point whenever they feel like it. The GM doesn't really have much say in the matter at all. Maaaaaybe if a player is trying to use a Distinction in a situation where it clearly just doesn't apply at all a GM might call shenanigans, but since the general idea is that you should be able to use one of your Distinctions in almost any roll, this doesn't come up often.

I find this a pretty big difference in play. It's much more player-empowering because it short-circuits any hint of "GM, May I?", and it takes another little bit of responsibility off the GM's plate, which is always too full anyway and anything that lightens the load is appreciated.


There's tons of other small differences people will point out, I'm sure, but this is one that made a surprisingly large difference at my table between the two games.
 

Cam Banks

Kiwi Game Designer
Validated User
Because everything in Cortex is ranked in dice, spending XP to make the dice get bigger over time eventually becomes ridiculous. We had this problem with advancement in Serenity and Battlestar Galactica: you'd have Viper pilots with d12+d12 ratings in Pilot and so on. You have to think about the game in terms of this granularity and see the dice ratings as being tiers, and think about how to make characters feel as if they're improving and growing without just kicking the dice up.

So some examples include allowing players to spend XP or Growth on adding more things that suit their character and what they see their character doing in the game. More specialties, more relationships, more signature assets, new SFX attached to their distinctions or powers, and so forth. Cortex isn't much of a bean counters game, so in place of counting beans, it offers narrative elements baked into mechanics, elements that can have a positive effect on play.

If your PCs start out somewhat basic and with only a handful of defining traits, but over time they acquire more of those and gain some depth and complexity, that pretty much serves the same purpose as levelling up your D&D character or increasing your scores in other games.
 

kronovan

Registered User
Validated User
One of the things I liked about Cortex+ and are now liking about Cortex Prime in contrast to FATE, is that I can make it map/tabletop friendly with little effort for those players that want that. For action scenes featuring heavy combat, I just use a slight variation of a Scaling dice for the range increments/bands for weapons. I'm currently using the 3 default CPrime attributes and it's worked well to base character tabletop movement on the Physical die type; albeit I'm toying with allowing certain Roles to define or bonus it. I've attempted the same in FATE, but in my experience zones just get iffy when you try to make them relate to something on a tabletop/map and range increments defined more finitely than zones, about as ineffective. I'm sure it can be done in FATE and FAE with enough tinkering, but it seems more natural and intuitive in CPrime. Meanwhile, with CPrime's SFX for distinctions and signature assets, doom/disaster pools, plot points and complications, we can still have a very narrative experience.
 

Mike McCall

Registered User
Validated User
The doom pool is optional in Prime. Most builds will only have player-facing metacurrency. When I mentioned the GM buying spoilers, those plot points come from an infinite pool.
While you are correct about that, the "default" build also includes GM plot points, which is what the doom pool replaces.
 

NinjaPaladin

Member
Validated User
Eagerly awaiting the final product. I’ve liked what I’ve read so far, but I’m mostly a D&D-or-similar player, and I think I’m gonna need a session at a con to really feel the difference in how it plays. I’m having trouble figuring out the “loop”, for want of a better term. (This is not a request for an explanation. I’ve read the docs. I’m saying I don’t FEEL it yet in a way that would make me comfortable running my own game.)
 

Spatula

More Ideas Than Time
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Playing (well, fake-playing) the game was the only way I was able to really understand MHR. It made a huge difference in seeing how it all fit together.
 
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