View Full Version : Cortex System (BSG, Supernat, Demon Hunters, Serenity)

April 9th, 2010, 14:39
Just wondering if anyone besides me is interested in seeing a port of the Cortex System for FG? I've been trying (admittedly somewhat haphazardly) to get together a Serenity game using the core rules, but I'd love to see an actual rule-set put together for it (if we can get Margaret Weiss Productions to go along, of course).

April 9th, 2010, 16:33
I have contacted MWP in the past and they did not show any interest in having an official ruleset. Their opinion may change one day, so it may be helpful to post your thoughts on such a thing to their forum.

April 9th, 2010, 17:26
I would love to see that system done, as well as the Original Deadlands system (pre-SW)

April 12th, 2010, 17:50
Thanks, DD, I'll do that. I haven't had much satisfaction from my previous contacts with them, either, but a guy can hope! ;)

April 13th, 2010, 15:58
I had officially started work on a Cortex ruleset for the following settings: Cortex/Supernatural/BSG or Demon Hunters/Serenity.

However, initial contacts with MWP showed they are not interested in seeing this product develops in any ways at this moment either free or commercially... So my interest and time schedule has been reduced to fixing things and reimplementing stuff in the current state of the ruleset instead of pushing new things out...

So far, the character sheets has complete support for:

- character information
- attributes/derived attributes
- skills
- feats
- assets
- complications
- plot points management
- injury management
- difficulty system

I used to spend 2 hours/day on this ruleset... I'm now spending 1 hour/week during my daughter's dance class due to the lack of interest by MWP. When I'm done with my current redesign, I will switch to the combat/inventory sections including support for the combat tracker...

Unfortunately, this work might never see the light of day... MWP don't seem to worry about cortexsystemrpg.org or Lone Wolf's Hero Lab releasing stuff related to Cortex, but do seem to have an issue with a FG ruleset... I'm wondering why ? I know they do participate at cortexsystemrpg.org forum... so maybe a post there would push things ;) A post I've decided was not proper to write myself.

I was actually thinking this morning while on my way to work, to try to contact them again, but this time, be ready for a small demo of what is working and how FG works and how it can push the sales of their product !!! Not talking releasing the stuff, but basically, showing them how it works using Skype and FG :)

But I only use FG as a player for a weekly game we run... and FG as a developper for the ruleset... I never, ever ran a game as DM with it ;)

April 16th, 2010, 21:06
Wow, LilCthulu! That's a hell of a lot further along than I thought we might be. I entirely understand your lack of desire to spend too much effort on this, given MWP's lack of response. I've found them generally unresponsive to any attempt to improve their products, but I keep hoping.

So far, at least, my post at cortexsystemrpg.org has generated an overwhelming lack of response, but if you feel like adding to it, the subject is "Running online (or does anyone play through a virtual table top)". I think the demo thing is an excellent idea. Perhaps someone could put together a short video high-lighting some of the features and functionality, along the lines of Xorne's tutorials, that could be shown to the MWP folks to get them interested? Just a thought - I don't have the capability, myself, and I realize that's also not a small amount of effort for relatively little return.

June 24th, 2010, 05:11
Love to BSG mod

January 19th, 2011, 11:10
LilCthulhu are you still working on this? My group is looking to play serenity, which would basically mean we would need to create our own char sheet or just use fg as chat and map not char sheets etc.

Also sent you a pm incase you don't see this post.

January 20th, 2011, 08:54
I'd like to see a generic Cortex system sheet available to the FG2 community. Without support from MWP, there's unlikely to be an official version. So, community versions will be all that we're likely to get. There are several character sheets out there in PDF form, without protest from MWP. I can't see that there'd be a problem if we follow the usual community ruleset rules - no game mechanics, no rules, no branding or copyrighted imagery.

February 8th, 2011, 21:21
Wrote a long answer, and FG.com logged me out... Frak that !!! I'll make it shorter... They're not interested, their agent made it clear... either free or commercial ! I still have the source code... Now with Cortex being almost dropped, licences being dropped... we're seeing more Cortex Plus and less pure Cortex...

Ruleset was well advanced... Attributes/Traits/Skills taken care of, etc Health System, Difficulty Threshold etc, done... I was at the part of Combat equipment and inter-combat rolling/defense automation with NPCs !

February 8th, 2011, 21:24
Oh and btw, Cam Banks ignored my last PM on Cortex System Rpg.org ... ;) But I'm fine, I learned ;)

You try your best to offer free 3rd party support... and they don't answer !

March 25th, 2011, 09:42
I'm surpised you got no response, this was my response (2009):

Would you be willing to enter into negotiations for an official Cortex Ruleset for Fantasy Grounds?


I think that would definitely be possible. If it was based on the Cortex System RPG core book, or had the licensing trademarks removed (in the case of other games we publish, i.e. "horror action Cortex" and "sci-fi cowboys Cortex") we wouldn't need to worry about licenses.

Please send me a proposal to my email: [email protected] and I can discuss it with Margaret. Thanks!


I forwarded this to either/both LilCthulhu/Doug, I think... :confused:

April 5th, 2011, 18:15
And I still have that messages, however I lost my communications with MWP publishing, mainly with MW's agent. But anyway, it's not like it's going to change something

April 5th, 2011, 19:45
A shame :(

April 6th, 2011, 15:17
I know I can come as pretty negative about the subject, but the way the discussions went, it became too quickly legal-mumbo-jumbo-you-can't-do-it-without-our-approval-and-we-are-not-interested-at-this-point.

Really, the only reason why they might not have been interested is that they were looking into phasing out old cortex products to the new cortex plus. And also the fact that I had emailed also the original author of Cortex who had started a new RPG company where he said he would create Cortex products... I thought the split was a common-friendly understanding, maybe it was not...

Rarely do I hold a grudge, and in this case, I don't since I stopped working on the product. The only thing that I find sad is that they never gave a iota of interest in the project. Which I find strange considering the market of RPGing today ;) Furthermore, I don't understand how a "free" extension that can expand the sales of your products would not be at least considered !

April 20th, 2011, 04:41
Well this is a shame! I would have been one of the first in line for this or ANYthing SerenityRPGish...I do hope it can happen, they can never stop the signal!

Get all Browncoat on them :)

September 9th, 2011, 15:13
Hey, LilCthulu! Lookin' for some advice, if you would. I'm trying to build myself a Serenity rule-set for personal use and I'm stuck on implementing the crazy Cortex die system. How did you manage it? Or did you just convert their skills, etc. to a more common mechanic?


September 22nd, 2011, 16:48
The only thing I had to convert from Serenity, is the Traits, basically I had boxes for all attributes, list of skills, and traits, all with die, and somekind of diebox with multiple fields and a final field with all dice, you would build up your roll by selecting attribute, skills, traits, and + - as required and they roll that or roll that against a difficulty field by dragging and dropping that... it was nice and awesome, quite complicated ;)

The health management system was the same, multiple fields keeping score of everything automatically... it was nice !

The combat system would have been a nightmare to do ;)

September 23rd, 2011, 01:14
I've dugged up the rulesets from one of my backup ;) So here's a few screenshot of what would have been...

Screenshot 1 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/1.jpg)


This is the Abilities page, where you drag/drop your dice into the field. Putting a d12 would allow you to add an additional d4 or d2 (d20 are converted to d2). Initiative, Endurance, Life Points and Resistance are derived automatically, noticed a life points modifier is used for any traits that would modify the life points (in Dean Winchester's case : Though)

The plots points are calculated depending on what your a spending and as soon as you double click on the bonus die, it goes in the roll box at the bottom. Fields are used for advancement purposes.

As discussed earlier, the bottom section shows the roll box, where when you click on an attribute/skills/traits/plot die/ complications (negative traits), it ends up there. With the last field being what you would throw to roll the "skills".

We'll come back to the injury and difficulty boxer later.

Screenshot 2 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/2.jpg)

Here Initiative has been drag and drop...(or double-clicked)

Screenshot 3 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/3.jpg)

Here, we've taken our previous roll and drag and drop against a non-complex difficulty 11 (Hard) ... Afterwards, the checkbox in the modifier was clicked by the user, switching to a complex task.

Screenshot 4 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/4.jpg)

Now, Dean is trying to convince this super demon girl, so we're using new stuff ;) we're drag and droping in the difficulty section for complex difficulty, notice the result is saved as the next modifier (something is wrong here but it should work ;))

Screenshot 5 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/5.jpg)

Results were added and we're successful !

Screenshot 6 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/6.jpg)

Here damage were taken, all checkbox indicate state (passed out, coma, etc) and are calculated automatically. Increasing damage is simpyl done by rolling mouse wheel over the proper box (basic, stun, shock, wound, damage)...

Screenshot 7 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/7.jpg)

Skill pages, with specialties... underlined specialties are "uncommon per ruleset description"), double-clicking a skill die box, would put the skill dice in the roll box at the bottom ;)

Screenshot 7 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/7.jpg)

Skill pages, with specialties... underlined specialties are "uncommon per ruleset description"), double-clicking a skill die box, would put the skill dice in the roll box at the bottom ;)

Screenshot 8 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/8.jpg)

Traits pages... underlined traits are "uncommon per ruleset description"), double-clicking a trait die box, would put the trait dice in the roll box at the bottom in asset or comp depending ;)

Notice the new trait created (lucky) and available levels as per ruleset description...

Screenshot 9 (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4540586/cortex/9.jpg)

We've put in a die in the trait box, rendering the available levels empty... putting a d12 would block, allow d2 or d4 or all d2-d12 depending on the trait declaration (ruleset)... for newly created traits, the whole range would be available all over again...

That's it folks... the ruleset that never was !!!

September 23rd, 2011, 08:58
A great looking ruleset.

:( Such a shame it was never released.

September 24th, 2011, 00:13
Even though you can only use it for your own personal use, you should probably back it up on github so you don't lose it to a hard drive crash. Just sayin.

September 24th, 2011, 02:54
Even though you can only use it for your own personal use, you should probably back it up on github so you don't lose it to a hard drive crash. Just sayin.

Yep, that's what I did, it's burned on some cds at job and house... AFAIK, I'm okay ;) !

September 24th, 2011, 02:55
But... ok.

September 24th, 2011, 03:16
I still say develop it for "personal" use
And personally share it with others discretely :D

September 26th, 2011, 21:20
Wow! Nicely done, indeed! Have to look at it more closely, see if I can pick up some pointers for what I'm trying to do. And yes, the combat system (esp combining personal and vehicle combat) is going to be a royal PITA.


March 23rd, 2012, 17:07
Any new info on this? Buddy of mine is wanting to run a game using Cortex.



March 27th, 2012, 23:39
Very interested to know if there has been any headway with this. Getting ready to start a Serenity game and would like to FG if possible.

March 30th, 2012, 16:11
I'd be way more interested in Cortex Plus, specifically the new and very popular Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

August 2nd, 2012, 01:32
I am very interested in learning if there is any good news. I am in the military, and I love Serenity. 9 months out of the year, FG is the only way me and my buddies back home actually get to tabletop, and frankly 3.5 is getting rather boring.

August 2nd, 2012, 12:15
There's always Savage Worlds, Cthulhu or one of the community sets (Dresden Files?) ;)

January 22nd, 2014, 14:53
Thread necro (I started it, so I feel I can do that ;) ). Anyone started (or considering starting) a Cortex or Cortex Plus rule set with the new CoreRPG functionality in place (obviously it would have to be community, since Margaret Weiss Productions isn't interested in expanding into the VTT market, apparently)? I still want to run serenity in FG and never got anything in place I was happy with trying to use the Savage Worlds or old Core or Unicore functionality. Don't want to double up work if someone's started it, but if no-one has I might give it a go.


January 5th, 2018, 12:35
It looks like someone has been developing a "new" cortex system that looks suspiciously like the cortex classic system. it's still in the kick starter phase but Cam Banks may be open to negotiations. here is a link to the page.


January 5th, 2018, 13:36
What are the dice rolls that are required for Cortex?

January 5th, 2018, 16:11
I already purchased a PDF of the book redubed Cortex "Classic" so I am a little reluctant to shell out another $10 for a book that from the description will be largely the same. the Kickstarter home page discribes it as a "rewriten version of it's two protosessors, Cortex (classic) and Cortex Plus. here is a quote of the rule system.

At its heart, Cortex Prime is a system that starts with engaging characters.

Rank your character's core traits with varying sizes of dice.
Choose which traits are appropriate for the actions your character takes in the game, pick up their dice, and roll 'em.
Choose two of the dice that you rolled and add them together, comparing that result to an opposing result or difficulty number.
Did you beat the opposition? Fantastic, you succeed! If not, you don't get what you want and now you've got to deal with the consequences.
Want to increase your chances of pulling off those cinematic actions? You've got a pool of plot points you can spend to make that happen, or to activate special abilities.
Want more? Earn those plot points by having your character express their worst tendencies or making their lives more difficult.

January 5th, 2018, 16:20
I haven't read the Cortex Plus ruleset but the classic version is my favorite ruleset. No classes just abilities and skills. When you want to perform an action. want to attack someone with a sword, are you trained? roll a die for each, the attribute (strength) and skill (sword). Beautifully simple. you can put it in any setting efortlessly. if there is a way to make savage worlds roll combinations of attribute and assoiated skill I would love to know how.

January 6th, 2018, 02:21
Hi Rlvaughn could you clarify one more time as you seem to have two slightly different descriptions...

Do you roll a max of two dice or can you roll more?
Do plot points add additional dice, additional modifiers, story elements, other?

Are most skills going to always roll with the same attribute?
How often do Attributes increase?

Is the Target number pretty static?
Are there critical successes/failures or other scaled results?

How does damage work?

January 6th, 2018, 12:14
You USUALLY roll two dice. the exception being if you are not trained in a skill, in which case you only roll one or if you spend plot points do add an extra die.
plot points can also be spent to add flair to the story by allowing a character to do a fantastic feat.
I would say yes, usually, a skill is associated with one attribute but the GM could see fit to change it based on the situation.
attributes and skills should change slowly over time. A story-driven campaign would say that a halfling traveling across the continent with a group of soldiers might spend some time learning how to handle a sword. hmm, that sounded familiar.
The target number changes. often. unfortunatly that would be one of the harder things to code and for the GM to keep in mind. but shooting an arrow at a moving target is harder than shooting at a standing target.
Damage is calculated after the attack succedes. you compair the attack roll and the damage roll to the deffence roll and the armor. the armor is static damage midigation simulair to toughness in savage worlds.