London Ramblings

Musings of a London Migrant

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Cortex Classic vs Cortex Plus...
Been looking respectively at my Serenity and Firefly RPGs. Both by Margaret Weis Produtions, both using their in house Cortex System, but while Serenity uses the older Cortex rules, when Firefly came out they switched to their new system, Cortex Plus.

I must admit the look of the newer books is beautiful, and Cortex Plus did promise a lot, but even then I had something in me that just didn't click with it. I think it's the whole Asset/Complication thing, the way players can elect to gain or step them up during play to balance out other effects. Some say it's a way of incorporating storytelling into the game, but for me it seems like it's a way of reducing storytelling to rolling dice. Why not simply roleplay, for example, your players taking cover rather than have to create a D4 "Under Cover" asset. It's like poker, but I don't want to play poker, I want to play a Firefly RPG and with Cortex Plus I get the feeling that you end up playing the system rather than the game.

I did see another review of both where the reviewer could see players gaining more and more complications in order to stay in play until it turned into a "Death Spiral" (his words) where the player had no chance of winning. In the end he and all his players went for Classic over Plus. Cortex Plus has received a lot of acclaim and users say that the old system was too linear, but there's a part of me that wants linear, it keeps the overall plot of the adventure on track and makes the game flow faster. Cortex Classic is a simpler system and, to an old hand like myself who grew up with GURPS, D20, Traveller, etc., it seems to suit the setting of Firefly better. I also like the way the ships are more of a character in the old system.

So while I really do like the look of the shiny new Firefly books, I'll be using them as source material and adventure ideas, I'll be playing them with the good ol' Serenity Cortex Classic system.

Besides, the Serenity books have deck plans in them. The Firefly ones? Not so much, and what's the Gorram use in that?
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