Saturday, May 30, 2009

The CORTEX System Role Playing Game

Published by Margaret Weis Productions, The CORTEX System Role Playing Game collects the rules previously seen in the Battlestar Galactica, Demon Hunters, and Serenity RPGs. The system neatly rates attributes, skills, and traits (assets and complications) for characters, monsters, and vehicles, by die type (d2, d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12), with skills requiring specialization above the d6 rating. So Guns d6, Pistol d10 means a character can handle all guns, but is a crack pistol shot. Rolled against a target, skill checks will use different attributes depending on a situation; for example, Alertness plus Guns to spot a sniper, Agility plus Guns to shoot him. Plot Points are used to modify rolls and even the environment in small ways. Rules cover cyberware, magic, and psionics, but in a limited fashion, leaving the GM to develop them further.

Included are three settings. The Star Wars-like “Star of the Guardians” and Southern Gothic fantasy “Arcady” are too short and underwritten. The more accessible C.S.I./Law & Order-inspired “Trace” suggests the players take multiple roles, and is better supported by the rules. Although similar to the Savage Worlds system, the equally straightforward CORTEX System is gritty rather than Pulpy or slightly cinematic, and would be hard pushed to do really high fantasy or superheroes. Although its treatment of the classic genres is underwritten and under supported, with solid core rules and GM advice, The CORTEX System Role Playing Game is a good choice for the GM wanting to create his own game.

1 comment:

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