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Hey all. The new draft of the CP Game Handbook has only been out a few days, but I've already used it to adapt the RPG Cold City (international spies hunting Nazi monsters in Berlin at the start of the Cold War). It's a quick and dirty hack (mostly using CP's default rules to be honest), but I think it gets the job done. Check it out:

I'm wondering if the manuscript could benefit from a section in the Prime Characters chapter about Assets and Complications as Traits.

For Assets, this would essentially be a relocation of the Signature Assets section from the Prime Core chapter: all of the text could remain exactly the same, but it's presented in the context of defining the character. In this new context, attaching SFX to Signature Assets is a natural thing to talk about rather than an out-of-chapter reference. It also lets you discuss the possibility of “Signature Gear” that's essentially Powers or even Power Sets in all but name, with the shared Limit of “Gear”.

Complications as Traits come in a couple of forms. First, this would be a good place to point out that the Stress and Trauma Mods from Prime Core can be used to define a character. I'm thinking primarily of the “Hacking Stress” article found in the Cortex Plus Hacker's Guide, though that article didn't have the benefit of considering Trauma as well: in particular, darker genres like dark fantasy, horror, and post-Apocalypse could benefit from “Trauma” Traits like Corruption, Madness, and Hunger. In the first case, I'm thinking of something like Vampire's Humanity trait; in the second, I'm thinking of Call of Cthulhu's Sanity trait. The third could be used for a monster's need to feed on innocent victims or a post-Apocalypse survivor's need for food and water.

They're Traumas because of how hard it is to get rid of them — and in some cases, even the Trauma recovery rules are too generous: games like Vampire and Call of Cthulhu tend to emphasize an inexorable degradation of the character, a sort of permanent Trauma that gradually gets worse until the character eventually becomes unplayable. (Rifts' Juicers and Crazies also have something like this, with the former explicitly being built around a “live fast and die young” philosophy.) It's definitely not for everyone; but then, what is?

Second: while not as common as Signature Assets, the concept of a Signature Complication could use some examination. David Banner of the 70s-era Incredible Hulk TV show had some definite hardships that would occasionally go dormant, but never actually went away (Hulking out and being on the run); in the DC Universe, Barbara Gordon became Oracle after being paralyzed from the waist down and being confined to a wheelchair, and for over a decade of publication was stuck in that wheelchair even through a saga where Bruce Wayne got his back broken and eventually recovered. That was far more permanent than even Trauma is, but also more specific. Mr. Glass (from M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable series) similarly has an ongoing Complication in his life that never goes away, his brittle bones. For that matter, both the Sentinel and the Horde have their own signature Complications.

Technically, I suppose one could use Distinctions to represent these things, relying heavily on the d4 option. But technically, you could also represent signature Assets as Distinctions; and yet, Signature Assets are very much a thing. The difference, of course, is that Signature Complications are not something that the typical player wants; they are, by definition, problems that the character must cope with. So character creation couldn't just offer the option to anyone who wants it, the way it can with Signature Assets; instead, it would either have to require or incentivize the selection of Signature Complications.


I don't know if I've suggested this before; if so, sorry for the repeat.

Could we maybe move the entry on Trait Statements from the start of the Traits section in the Prime Characters chapter to just after SFX? The two features have this in common: they are not Traits in and of themselves, but rather are attached to Traits. SFX are usually attached to Distinctions, Powers, Roles, or Signature Assets, while Statements are traditionally associated with Values and Relationships; but either can theoretically be applied to any Trait.

I'm curious about how other Cortex players would translate the Area SFX from MHR in a game that uses the Life Points mod. Should it require spending a plot point to avoid players taking it whenever possible? Do we still add all those extra d6s to the roll even if we aren't looking for an effect die?

In cortex, character evolution, is usually divided into Change and Advancement.

Change is a zero sum exchange, losing one benefit for another or stepping up a die at the cost of stepping back another, such as:
~ Step up "Strength" trait and step back "Intelligence" trait
~ Replace your "Compassionate" distinction with a "Cruel" distinction

Advancement is the addition of benefits or increase of a trait, such as:
~ Add the "Dangerous" SFX to your Power Set.
~ Step up your "Strength" trait.

both are permanent, but Change usually occurs in tag scenes and advancements are usually bought with some form of EXP

Now I propose something for use of both without the use of EXP in the vein of growth.
First the game needs the Effect Die, some form of Tag-scene and is assumed to be D&D styled cortex with

Primary ~ "Attributes"(Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha)
Primary ~ "Distinctions"(3 per character + up to 3 SFX +D8 or D4 & PP)
Optional ~ "Skills"(novice[d6], expert[d8], master[d10])
these can be split as per MHRP
Optional ~ 1 Asset or Signature Asset
Optional ~ 1 Opponent Complication or Stress

Second, we assume downtime in between each adventure is handled via the tag-scene, during such a scene each player can decide what they want to spend their time.
In other words, each character decides to spend time on a Project

These Projects are effectively structure as:
Die, Name

such as:
"D6 I wanna get stronger"
Step up your "Str" trait and step back your "Int" trait

Now, during a downtime scene a character spends time on a project by rolling an appropriate pool against some form of opposition, the opposition adds the project die.
if the player succeeds the Project is affected by the effect die as if it was an asset the player wanted to increase(if effect die is higher set the project to the new die, if lower step the project up).
once the project reaches D12+ (going above D12) the effect of the project takes effect

So in the case of my " D6 I wanna get stronger" project, we enter a downtime scene and I go spend the time on the docks, rolls the dice.
On a success(lets say D10) i increase the project to "D10 I wanna get stronger"
after doing this a couple of times I finally succeed in getting it above D12+ so I note the project as completed and change my "Str" and "Int" traits accordingly.

now this type of Character evolution should only be done with character Changes, as it doesn't matter when the change occurs only that the character work towards a goal

Now for Advancements, the addition or increase of general ability, simply allow each player to make a project with the effect of "gain 1 Exp" and set the cost of all Advancements to 10~20 EXP.
Alternately Advancements could require several project dice to be completed, such as:

"D12/D12/D4 I wanna learn to channel my rage"
add the "Rage" SFX to your "Wasteland barbarian" Distinction

and decide that advancement takes 3~5 project dice to be completed, just make it uniform for all advancements

This should create a self stabilising system, without much need for GM interference or arbitration

so in conclusion
~ roll to create or increase a Project during a Tag-scene
~ if creating a project, determine the name, rating and effect
~ once a project die reaches above D12(written as D12+) gain the effect

Change Projects:
~ Step back(min D4) one attribute and step up another(max D12) trait
~ Exchange the rating of two Attributes
~ Replace a Resource name
~ Step back the dice in [Resource](min D4) to gain a die in the resource
~ Lose a die in [Resource] to step up all dice in the resource
~ Rename a Distinction
~ Rename an Asset
All these effects can be mixed and matched at will for something like:
~ Step back [Attribute] and increase [Resource] die by 1(to 3d6)

Advancement Projects:
~ Step up an attribute(max D12)
~ Gain an SFX(max 3 per distinction)
~ Gain a D6 Signature Asset or Step it up(max D12)
~ Gain a 2d6 Resource
~ Increase the number of dice in [Resource] by 1(max 5)
~ Step up all dice in [Resource](max D12)

bit long-winded explanation, but thoughts? comments? questions?

So Castlevania. The video game series where Dracula tries to take over the world roughly every 100 years. Now also a Netflix anime. I'm interested in making a Cortex hack for it.

So far I'm thinking the different die traits should be:
- Traits: 6 classics from D&D (Castlevanias with rpg elements already use Str, Con and Int)
- Distinctons (usual choice between d8 or d4+1 PP)
- Armaments (Weapons, Sub-Weapons, Spells, Monstrous Powers, etc. SFX and Limits are here)

But is that enough? I can't help but wonder if this is too bare bones.

Other traits I'm considering:
- Skills: As presented in the handbook.
- Virtues: Either the cardinal 4 or contemporary 7. Different motivations behind an attack could help you succeed or be used against you by manipulative monsters.
- Sins: The typical 7. An interesting house rule could be that these dice are entirely optional and could be added to your dice pool without spending PP, but would then be added to the Doom Pool. This would reflect a character's baser urges fueling Dracula's Castle and minions.

Can you guys think of another category of dice that could be used? Do any of the ones I proposed sound appropriate?

Other Cortex mods I'm considering are:
- Life Points instead of Stress. Reflects the video game nature a bit better. Effect dice only used for Assets and Complications
- Complications are tied to a Trait. The character suffering the complication can't use that Trait die as long as the complication is on them
- Special complications called Curse, which are not dice proper to be used against you, but video game 'status effects' like poison and blindness. The die is an indication of how long the Curse is in effect, and steps down every round.
- Rename Plot Points to Hearts. This doesn't change the mechanics at all, purely a flavor thing since the video games encourage hoarding and spamming Hearts much like Cortex does Plot Points

Looking forward to what the community suggests!

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(There's some Firefly stuff in there!)

I was intrigued by the "Add All The Dice" Test & Contest Mod in the Cortex Prime Game Handbook draft. How does this work with Mob dice? Are all the Mob dice results also added together under this Mod? If so, a large crowd of thugs (Thug d6,+5d6 Mob dice) would have an average total of 21, which could be quite challenging to beat.

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oops. it happened again. Mythikal Shuffle now has a solid design doc (not enough cards yet, but you can see where I'm going) (the fantasy distinctions are... done!?)
Mythikal Shuffle
Mythikal Shuffle
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