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[Savage Worlds + Cortex Prime] Savage Cortex?

Malckuss

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Thanks for the link, digitalronin. There is some good stuff there.

I could definitely see the advantage to doing military conflicts with Savage Worlds, kronovan. At least, as long as I was simply interested in modeling mass combat. If I wanted to focus on the horrors of war, I would go with Cortex. I think that's one of the main reasons I'm doing this, is to get my chocolate in my peanut butter.

I think the dice for difficult ranged shots has merit; dice do fit more snuggly in Cortex' toolbox. However, I think I would tie them to ranges for specific weapons, as Savage Worlds does. This has two advantages 1) models closer both my personal experience at the gun range and matches everything my grandfather ever told me about firearms (he was retired and fired so much brass, the FBI & CIA came to him with ballistics queries). 2) This allows me to introduce a module that will permit players who want that level of granularity to do Fallout-style weapons modding. Swap out a receiver, switch to a new gun barrel, and you have a new set of range statistics without needing to alter the way weapons work.
 

kronovan

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Oh for sure about unique range bands for specific weapons - would definitely make weapons & ranged combat better mimic SWD. If I was using the 3 short/medium/long range bands in SWD, I'd probably have shooting within short range add a d4 (very easy) to the opposing dice pool, within medium a d8 (challenging) to the opposing pool and for long range a d12 (really hard.) My thoughts there, are that since most opposing targets are going to keep 2 dice from their pool, the min and max dice type for short and long would give a better sense of the impact of distance.

I'd probably make firearms signature assets, and reflect custom enhancements by stepping up that asset's dice type. There's also triggers that can be added for sig assets, so lots of flexibility with them.
 

Malckuss

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That would work nice, as you could have an Edge/Talent that could reduce the die type for ranged focused characters.
 

Malckuss

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Apologies for the double post.

I could use some feedback from Savage Worlds fans who may be reading this thread. My design goals are at odds with my design preferences.

First, I have my list of Attributes:

  • Agility
  • Charisma
  • Smarts
  • Strength
  • Spirit
  • Vigor

Derived stats to come later.

My conundrum is this: On the one hand, I could just insert the updated skill list for Savage Worlds and call it good. I could also use the default Skill list for Cortex Prime, and call it good. Cortex Prime rates Skills in a similar fashion to Savage Worlds - d4 is untrained, d6 is competent, d8 is an expert, a d10 is a master, and d12 is a grandmaster. What Cortex has that Savage Worlds lacks is Specialty dice, rated (at the default level) at a d6 that you add to your Attribute, Distinction and Skill dice. As a note, all of the various Knowledge focuses would now be Specialties. These Specialties could also allow me to reduce the skill list to just 14 skills, with diversification through Specialties. If I really wanted to focus on skill diversification, I could use a variant rule which only provides a base d6 competency die for the skill, and after that, you must specialize in order to acquire higher ratings. So, you might have an operative with Shooting d6 (Pistols d10, Rifles d8).

My current inclination is to use the 14 proposed skills with a single d6 base Skill proficiency and d8-d12 Specializations, but I'm not sure that is really a faithful merging of Savage Worlds and Cortex. I think the most faithful port would to suck up my inclinations and use the Savage Worlds Skill list as planned with the Cortex default Specialties and move on to other things.

Savage Worlds fans, if you were to touch this thing, what would be your preference?

The updated Savage Worlds Skill list (from Savage Worlds of Flash Gordon):
  1. Athletics
  2. Boating
  3. Driving
  4. Fighting
  5. Gambling
  6. Healing
  7. Intimidate
  8. Investigation
  9. Knowledge
  10. Notice
  11. Performance
  12. Persuasion
  13. Piloting
  14. Repair
  15. Riding
  16. Shooting
  17. Stealth
  18. Streetwise
  19. Survival
  20. Taunt
  21. Thievery
  22. Tracking

The Cortex Prime Skill List:
  1. CRAFT: Crafting things, includes building, assembling, or creating stuff.
  2. DRIVE: Land and surface vehicles, including cars, boats, and trucks.
  3. FIGHT: All kinds of close-combat, including weapons or fists.
  4. FIX: Repairing things.
  5. FLY: Piloting air vehicles or spacecraft.
  6. FOCUS: Focusing on something, to study or steel your will or whatever.
  7. INFLUENCE: Making others do, think, act, or feel the way you want them to.
  8. KNOW: General knowledge and recall. Use specialties to cover specific areas: Business, Navigation, Religion, Animals, Fine Arts. KNOW is best left to academic fields.
  9. LABOR: Carrying out tasks of manual labor, lifting, pushing, digging, pulling, hauling.
  10. MOVE: Running, jumping, climbing trees.
  11. NOTICE: Spotting things. Perception, basically.
  12. OPERATE: Using things like computers, gadgets, and devices.
  13. PERFORM: Acting, putting on a show.
  14. SHOOT: Guns, big rocket launchers, things that you point and shoot.
  15. SNEAK: Sneaking around. Sneakily.
  16. SURVIVE: Surviving in the outdoors or wherever.
  17. THROW: Throwing things.
  18. TREAT: Taking care of people. Heal, treatment of injury, but also counseling.
  19. TRICK: Deceiving or conning somebody, sleight of hand, using spin.

My proposed Skill list:
  1. Athletics – Body control and physical exertion: Climbing, Lifting, Marching, Parkour, Riding, Running, Swimming and Throwing.
  2. Awareness – Covers active and passive observational skills, and also covers understanding emotional context and body language.
  3. Bushcraft – Covers animal husbandry, understanding of flora and fauna, survival and tracking.
  4. Close Quarters Combat – Physical altercation in Close Quarters Battle range: Boxing, hand-to-hand Weaponry, Martial arts, Tactical firearms, Thrown objects, and Wrestling.
  5. Coercion – Social interaction aimed at subversion of another’s will that may be subtle & friendly or overt & hostile, but are generally frowned upon by society as a whole: Blackmail, Bribery, Drugs, Extortion, Intimidation & Threats, Provocation, Ransom, Trolling and Torture
  6. Driving – Encompasses the navigation and operation of simpler vehicles, including automobiles, motor boats, scooters, and draft wagons.
  7. Engineering – Crafting, Designing, Operation and Repair of physical goods, including art, food, magic, and technology.
  8. Knowledge – General comprehension, trivia, and specialized fields.
  9. Medicine – Healing arts of the mind and body.
  10. Performance – Singing, dancing, poetry, etc. Anything that might motivate or captivate.
  11. Persuasion – Personal interaction aimed and getting what you want from another in a socially acceptable form: Carousing, Backchannels, Favors, Gambling, Networking, Seduction.
  12. Piloting – Encompasses vehicles which require specialized knowledge and training to handle, including big rig trucks, helicopters, modern jet fighters, rockets, and sailboats.
  13. Ranged Combat – Combat at greater than CQC range: Archery, Airstrikes, Grenade Launchers, Longarms, Ordnance, Squad Assault & Vehicle weapons.
  14. Subterfuge – The art of disguising and covering your intentions and movements.
 
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digitalronin

Registered User
Validated User
Nice skill list, my suggestion would be.

Add
Academics - in place of Knowledge – General comprehension, history, trivia.
Science - Chemistry, Physics, etc.
Occult/Lore - Mystical, and fringe stuff.

Then allow skill specialization, similar to Cortex Prime.
Ranged Combat - Rifle
Science - Physics
 
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Malckuss

Game Design Hobbyist
Validated User
Nice skill list, my suggestion would be.

Add
Academics - in place of Knowledge – General comprehension, history, trivia.
Science - Chemistry, Physics, etc.
Occult/Lore - Mystical, and fringe stuff.

Then allow skill specialization, similar to Cortex Prime.
Ranged Combat - Rifle
Science - Physics
The way both Savage Worlds and Cortex Prime works, everything you listed after Academics - a nice catch-all term, BTW, I may use it, or a derivation - would be a Knowledge focus or Know Specialty, respectively. Knowledge (Science) is a specific focus listed in Savage World of Flash Gordon and Savage Rifts. I am seriously considering Academia to replace Knowledge if I decide to stick to my list, though. I am guessing you liked my short list?
 

digitalronin

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Validated User
Yes, I do like your list. Short skills list that covers everything from broad strokes appeals to me. It makes character creation quicker, and a small group of players can include the full list of skills.

I also like Fates skill pyramid (and the Cortex option), forces people to specialize and build a broader base of skills. Instead of maxing a few skills, you end up with more rounded characters.
 

Malckuss

Game Design Hobbyist
Validated User
Going to allow a few more days for some additional feedback while I work in the background. Planning to go with Savage worlds Skills with my shortlist as a variant unless more people want to chime in. Planning to post Wednesday with MOAR STUFF!
 

Zadmar

Registered User
Validated User
Apologies for the double post.

I could use some feedback from Savage Worlds fans who may be reading this thread. My design goals are at odds with my design preferences.

First, I have my list of Attributes:

  • Agility
  • Charisma
  • Smarts
  • Strength
  • Spirit
  • Vigor
Personally I would drop Charisma from that list. The attributes and skills in Savage Worlds have many direct parallels with the stats and skills in D&D 3rd edition, however what Savage Worlds calls "Charisma" is mechanically just a flat modifier which is added to all Persuasion and Streetwise skill rolls.

Persuasion and Streetwise are pretty much the same as D&D's Diplomacy and Gather Information skills (right down to using the same five NPC attitude levels), but whereas Diplomacy and Gather Information are both linked to Charisma in D&D, in Savage Worlds the Persuasion skill is linked to Spirit while Streetwise is linked to Smarts.

In practice you could easily drop Charisma from Savage Worlds, too. Consider this: The Alertness Edge gives +2 to Notice rolls, Mr. Fix It gives +2 to Repair rolls, Strong Willed gives +2 to Intimidation and Taunt rolls, etc. The Charismatic Edge gives +2 to Charisma, but that could just as easily have been written as "+2 to Persuasion and Streetwise rolls", and it would have been mechanically identical.

So whatever solution you're using for converting Edges, I would suggest treating Charisma the same way. It's just another skill bonus.

My conundrum is this: On the one hand, I could just insert the updated skill list for Savage Worlds and call it good. I could also use the default Skill list for Cortex Prime, and call it good. Cortex Prime rates Skills in a similar fashion to Savage Worlds - d4 is untrained, d6 is competent, d8 is an expert, a d10 is a master, and d12 is a grandmaster.
An "untrained" character in Savage Worlds has d4-2. d4 represents basic training, d6 is competent, d8 is the requirement for most Professional Edges. A d10 or d12 would be a better representation of raw talent than true skill (you might find the last two paragraphs of this blog post of interest). A "grandmaster" would be a Legendary character with d12+2 and a d10 Wild Die, and they'd also have an appropriate Professional Edge that might grant a further +2 bonus.

What Cortex has that Savage Worlds lacks is Specialty dice, rated (at the default level) at a d6 that you add to your Attribute, Distinction and Skill dice.
Savage Worlds does have a "Familiarization" rule (a flat -2 penalty to specific uses of a skill that you're not familiar with) as well as a "Skill Specialization" setting rule (also a flat -2 penalty, to uses of the skill that fall outside of your area of specialization). There are also various Edges that grant flat bonuses to specific uses of a skill, perhaps those would be the closest parallel to Specialty dice?

My current inclination is to use the 14 proposed skills with a single d6 base Skill proficiency and d8-d12 Specializations, but I'm not sure that is really a faithful merging of Savage Worlds and Cortex. I think the most faithful port would to suck up my inclinations and use the Savage Worlds Skill list as planned with the Cortex default Specialties and move on to other things.

Savage Worlds fans, if you were to touch this thing, what would be your preference?
The skill selection in Savage Worlds is a fairly common source of complaint. Those who defend it tend to be hardcore Savage Worlds fans, who probably wouldn't play Cortex anyway.

Having said that, it would certainly make it easier to convert adventures, settings and players from Savage Worlds to Cortex if the skills had the same name and general use. As you're already doing that for the attributes, I could see the sense in handling skills the same way.
 

Malckuss

Game Design Hobbyist
Validated User
Personally I would drop Charisma from that list. The attributes and skills in Savage Worlds have many direct parallels with the stats and skills in D&D 3rd edition, however what Savage Worlds calls "Charisma" is mechanically just a flat modifier which is added to all Persuasion and Streetwise skill rolls.

Persuasion and Streetwise are pretty much the same as D&D's Diplomacy and Gather Information skills (right down to using the same five NPC attitude levels), but whereas Diplomacy and Gather Information are both linked to Charisma in D&D, in Savage Worlds the Persuasion skill is linked to Spirit while Streetwise is linked to Smarts.

In practice you could easily drop Charisma from Savage Worlds, too. Consider this: The Alertness Edge gives +2 to Notice rolls, Mr. Fix It gives +2 to Repair rolls, Strong Willed gives +2 to Intimidation and Taunt rolls, etc. The Charismatic Edge gives +2 to Charisma, but that could just as easily have been written as "+2 to Persuasion and Streetwise rolls", and it would have been mechanically identical.

So whatever solution you're using for converting Edges, I would suggest treating Charisma the same way. It's just another skill bonus.
That is a good point, one I hadn't thought of - Spirit as an analog for Persona/Strength of character & Sense of self. This also allows me to transform Charisma into a Power; after all the only people who take it want to their characters to really excel with it, and I can make some Powers (speaking of Cortex Powers) into buff Edges. I am planning to rename Talents as Edges to make conversion and groking the system easier for those who might look into moving Savage Worlds to Cortex and will help more things look familiar on the character sheet.

An "untrained" character in Savage Worlds has d4-2. d4 represents basic training, d6 is competent, d8 is the requirement for most Professional Edges. A d10 or d12 would be a better representation of raw talent than true skill (you might find the last two paragraphs of this blog post of interest). A "grandmaster" would be a Legendary character with d12+2 and a d10 Wild Die, and they'd also have an appropriate Professional Edge that might grant a further +2 bonus.

Savage Worlds does have a "Familiarization" rule (a flat -2 penalty to specific uses of a skill that you're not familiar with) as well as a "Skill Specialization" setting rule (also a flat -2 penalty, to uses of the skill that fall outside of your area of specialization). There are also various Edges that grant flat bonuses to specific uses of a skill, perhaps those would be the closest parallel to Specialty dice?
Most of this I was familiar with, as I GM Savage Rifts. I merely described the way skills work in Cortex for those coming to the thread wondering how they will look in Savage Cortex. I was unaware of the matter regarding Legendary characters getting access to a larger Wild Die and able to increase Traits past d12. I skipped that section as I don't have any Legendary characters in my game, yet. (Opens PDF, reads) OK, so that is the factor of a few Edges. Good to know.

Yeah, the bonuses do seem remarkably close to Specialties. I will need to delineate the major differences between the two systems at the front of the document, then.

The skill selection in Savage Worlds is a fairly common source of complaint. Those who defend it tend to be hardcore Savage Worlds fans, who probably wouldn't play Cortex anyway.

Having said that, it would certainly make it easier to convert adventures, settings, and players from Savage Worlds to Cortex if the skills had the same name and general use. As you're already doing that for the attributes, I could see the sense in handling skills the same way.
I was unaware of the complaints about the Skill list, though that would explain the streamlining that took place in Savage World of Flash Gordon and is to be the basis for SW Black. Is there a notable place to read up more on this?

Familiarity and ease of conversion for those who do want to give Cortex a try are the reasons I decided to keep the updated Skill list and use my condensed list as a variant. Thanks, Zadamar!
 
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