Cortex Fridays: Knight, Spellsword, Cloaker, and Orcs

Here are the Cortex Prime versions of the Human Knight, Orc Spellsword, Cloaker, and the Orc Warband. Again, there were some stunts and effects in this group that were rather tricky to translate, given the differences between Fate Accelerated and Cortex Prime.


Human Knight

Distinctions:

  • I Must Restore My Family’s Honor
  • Nothing Like A Good Ax By Your Side
  • Seen Everything Twice

Approaches:

  • Careful d6
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d10
  • Quick d8
  • Sneaky d4

Roles:

  • Holy One d6
  • Mage d6
  • Scoundrel d4
  • Warrior d12

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d12 may be split into 2d10, 3d8, or 4d6, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Small Group Tactics (Warrior) d6
  • Heraldry (Mage) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • My Mother’s Heavy Plate Armor d8
  • Two-Handed Battle Axe d6

Stunts:

  • Built Like a Tank: Because I can shrug off wounds, once per session I can
    remove a complication representing physical damage or injury from myself. The GM adds a die to the doom pool equal to the size of the complication cleared this way.
  • Eye For Battle: Because I can instantly assess a charged situation, I add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die whenever I Quickly create an asset representing a superior tactical position in both mental and physical conflicts.
  • Stunning Blow: Because I strike with such tremendous force, whenever I
    Forcefully attack with a physical weapon and achieve a heroic success, I may turn an additional die from my pool into a Stunned complication attached to my target instead of stepping up my effect die.

Orc Spellsword

Distinctions:

  • I Must Attract the Notice of The Tusked Mother
  • Failed Initiate of the Ebon Circle
  • Everything Has A Price

Approaches:

  • Careful d4
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d10
  • Forceful d6
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d8

Roles:

  • Holy One d4
  • Mage d8
  • Scoundrel d8
  • Warrior d8

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Dirty Fighting (Warrior) d6
  • Pyromancy (Mage) d6
  • Tracking (Scoundrel) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Wickedly Sharp Arahk d8

Stunts:

  • Arcane Siphon: Because I drain magical energy from my opponents, whenever I achieve a heroic success on a Sneaky attack, I may choose one of the following options: step down an asset representing some sort of beneficial magical effect on that opponent; or step up an asset representing some sort of beneficial magical effect on myself.
  • Cunning Offense: Because I am always looking for ways to take advantage of the situation, I add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die whenever I Cleverly create an asset representing flaws, weaknesses, or oversights in an opponent’s plans or arguments.
  • Overcharge: Because I put more power than necessary into my spells, whenever I attempt to Flashily overcome an obstacle using magic, I may include a third die in my total without spending a plot point. If I do, I add a Dangerous Arcane Feedback d8 distinction to the scene.

Cloaker (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Large Flying Manta-like Aberration
  • I Must Eliminate Mortals from This Plane
  • Xenophobic Subterranean Lurker

Approaches:

  • Careful d6
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d10
  • Forceful d12
  • Quick d10
  • Sneaky d8

Roles:

  • Brute d6
  • Controller d8
  • Lurker d10
  • Reviver d4

Specialties:

  • Camoflague (Lurker) d6
  • Shadowmancy (Controller) d6

Signature Assets:

  • Razor-Sharp Tail Spike d6

Stunts:

  • Engulf: Because my wings hold victims in place while I bite them, I step up my Forceful die when attacking someone whom I’ve trapped this way, represented by a complication such as EnsnaredSuffocating!, or Wrapped Up.
  • Phantasms: Because I can magically create mirror images of myself, I double my Clever die when defend against attacks while an asset such as Mirror ImagesIllusory Duplicates, or Dancing Images is present.
  • Subsonic Moan: Because I can emit a nauseating moan, I can spend a plot point to Sneakily attack every other character in my zone, turning my effect die into an Unsettled complication on each defender I succeed against.

 

Scale:

The Cloaker is a Large creature (weight 2). It adds a d8 scale die to its dice pool and keeps an extra die in its total for every time it weighs twice its opponent.


Orc Javelineer/Warrior (Minor NPC)

  • Medium Savage Humanoid d8
  • Scavenged Weapons and Armor d6
  • Robust Physique d8
  • Incredibly Short Temper d4

Stunts:

  • Opportunist (Javelineer):
    Because I am armed with javelins, I can attack opponents in adjacent zones. I also double the largest die in my pool when actively opposing anyone attempting to move into my zone.
  • Heavy Hitter (Warrior):
    Because I carry a big honking axe, I step up my effect die on a successful Forceful attack.

Orc Chieftan (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Medium Savage Humanoid
  • I Must Lead the Warband to Victory
  • Only the Strong Deserve to Rule

Approaches:

  • Careful d4
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d10
  • Quick d8
  • Sneaky d6

Roles:

  • Brute d10
  • Controller d6
  • Lurker d4
  • Reviver d8

Stunts:

  • Breaker: Because my blows leave my opponent’s’ defenses in ruins, add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die whenever I Forcefully create an asset related to destroying armor, such as BrokenDestroyed, or Rent Asunder.
  • Summon the Horde!: Because I keep most of my force in reserve, I can spend a plot point to bring two orc javelineers/warriors into the scene.

The character illustration are the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Cortex Fridays: Knight, Spellsword, Cloaker, and Orcs

Cortex Fridays: Minstrel, Mercenary, Purple Worm, and Ogre

Here are the Cortex Prime versions of the High Elf Minstrel, Cyclops Mercenary, Purple Worm, and the Ogre. There were some stunts and effects in this group that were rather tricky to translate, given the differences between Fate Accelerated and Cortex Prime.


High Elf Minstrel

Distinctions:

  • Dramatic High Elf Minstrel
  • Traveled To Every Corner of the World
  • My Reputation Precedes Me

Approaches:

  • Careful d6
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d10
  • Forceful d4
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d8

Roles:

  • Holy One d6
  • Mage d8
  • Scoundrel d8
  • Warrior d6

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Arcane Lore (Mage) d6
  • Bluff (Scoundrel) d6
  • Heraldry (Mage) d6
  • Oration (Scoundrel) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Heirloom Wyvernbone Lyre d6

Stunts:

  • Charming and Open: Because I can trick people into saying more than they should, after I Sneakily create a complication related to lies, deceit, or doublespeak, I may double my Sneaky die when creating a complication on that character for the rest of the scene.
  • Flashing Blade: Because I am a master duelist, at the start of a conflict, as a free action before anyone else acts, I may take an action against the doom pool to attempt to Flashily create an asset demonstrating how impressive of a fighter I am.
  • Story Collector: Because I have memorized hundreds of stories, I may double my Clever die to overcome obstacles if I can recite a story or poem of a famous hero facing similar circumstances and how they triumphed.

Cyclops Mercenary

Distinctions:

  • Precise Cyclops Mercenary
  • Former Bloodstone Wastes Bandit
  • Civilization Is For the Weak

Approaches:

  • Careful d10
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d8
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d4

Roles:

  • Holy One d4
  • Mage d6
  • Scoundrel d8
  • Warrior d10

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Small Group Tactics (Warrior) d6
  • Survival (Scoundrel) d6
  • Tracking (Scoundrel) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Behemoth Hide Armor d6
  • Behemoth Hide Buckler d6

Stunts:

  • Giantkin: Because I tower over most other humanoids, I count as a large creature with weight 2. (I add a d8 scale die to my pool and keep an extra die in my total when acting against creatures smaller than I am.)
  • Limited Prescience: Because I can foresee my opponents’ next actions, I may double my Careful die and keep an extra die in my total when defend myself against physical attacks. If I do, I can not use my effect die to inflict stress or a complication on my opponent.
  • Voice of Command: Because I am used to commanding troops, I add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die whenever I Forcefully create an asset for one of my allies representing my tactical orders or advice.

Purple Worm (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Gargantuan Magical Worm
  • I Must Consume Massive Amounts
  • Nearly Blind Tunneling Terror

Approaches:

  • Forceful d12+d8
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d6
  • Others d4

Roles:

  • Brute d10
  • Controller d4
  • Lurker d10
  • Reviver d4

Specialties:

  • Burrowing (Lurker) d6

Signature Assets:

  • Massive Tooth-Filled Maw d8
  • Inch-Thick Purple Armor Plates d8

Stunts:

  • Belly of the Beast: Because I swallow creatures whole, when I achieve a heroic success on a Forceful attack against a single creature that weighs less then me, I may move the defender to the Worm Guts zone instead of stepping up my effect die (see Digested! below).
  • It’s an Ambush!: Because I ambush my prey from beneath, I can spend a plot point to burrow into the ground, vanishing from the scene. Then, at the end of any later turn, I can spend another plot point to reappear anywhere in the scene and immediately attack.
  • Venomous Stinger: Because my tail is tipped with an envenomed spike, when I succeed with style on a Sneaky attack, I may forgo the boost to give the defender a Poisoned aspect with a free invoke.

Digested!:

The Worm Guts zone is a separate zone representing the gullet of the massive worm. The only way for someone to move into this zone is by being swallowed by the beast, either as a result of the Belly of the Beast stunt or by willingly jumping into the creature’s mouth. This zone has Hunks of Unrefined Ore, Littered with Precious Gemstones, and Grinding Muscular Contractions scene distinctions. When someone enters the Worm Guts zone, they gain the Digested! d6 complication.

Getting out of the Worm Guts zone requires a successful action against the doom pool, plus an additional d12 for the worm’s esophageal muscles. At the beginning of the purple worm’s turn, each Digested! complication automatically steps up. If it would step up past a d12, the character is dumped into the roiling pool of acid that is the worm’s stomach. They’re most likely dead.

Scale:

The Purple Worm is a Gargantuan creature (weight 8). It adds a d8 scale die to its dice pool and keeps an extra die in its total for every time it weighs twice its opponent. (In other words, against a lone adventurer, the worm is getting to add 3d8 to its roll and keeping four dice for its total. It takes an entire party of at least five characters all engaging it at once to negate the scale bonus.)


Hill Ogre (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Large Brutish Humanoid
  • I Must Vent My Rage on Those Nearby
  • Built Like a Brick Outhouse

Approaches:

  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d10
  • Others d4

Roles:

  • Brute d10
  • Controller d4
  • Lurker d4
  • Reviver d4

Signature Assets:

  • Giant Spiked Club d6

Stunts:

  • Grim Trophies: Because I wear bits of those I’ve killed as jewelry, I add a d6 and step up my effect die by +1 when including Flashy in my dice pool to create or step up complications related to instilling fear in my opponents, such as Cowed, Daunted, or Intimidated.
  • Heavy Hitter: Because I hit with the force of a freight train, I step back the highest die in my dice pool but keep an extra die for my total when making a Forceful attack.

Scale:

The Hill Ogre is a Large creature (weight 2). It adds a d8 scale die to its dice pool and keeps an extra die in its total when acting against opponents that weigh less than it does.


The character illustration are the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Cortex Fridays: Minstrel, Mercenary, Purple Worm, and Ogre

Cortex Fridays: Rogue, Monk, Oozes, and Kobolds

It’s a day late, but here at last are the Cortex Prime versions of the Changeling Rogue, Elf Monk, Black Pudding, Gelatinous Cube, & Grey Ooze, and the Kobold Tribe.


Changeling Rogue

Distinctions:

  • Devious Changeling Rogue
  • Born in the Slums of Freeport
  • Devotee Of Our Lady Of Obfuscation

Approaches:

  • Careful d8
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d4
  • Forceful d6
  • Quick d8
  • Sneaky d10

Roles:

  • Holy One d4
  • Mage d8
  • Scoundrel d10
  • Warrior d6

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Dirty Fighting (Warrior) d6
  • Sleight of Hand ((Scoundrel) d6
  • Shadow Magic (Mage) d6
  • Ventriloquism (Scoundrel) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Displacerbeast Hide Leather Armor d6

Stunts:

  • Shapeshift: Because I can change my appearance, I may double my Sneaky die when creating or stepping up assets related to creating a disguise that does not change my size or mass.
  • Deft Fingers: Because I have deft fingers, I may double my Careful die when overcoming obstacles related to disarming traps and picking locks.
  • Shadow Caller: Because I can call on shadows, if I include Sneaky in my dice pool and achieve a heroic success when making a physical attack, I can give myself a Shadowcloaked d8 asset. I cannot be attacked until an opponent removes the Shadowcloaked asset, usually by targeting it with an effect die, or I make an overt action, such as attacking or moving between zones.

Elf Monk

Distinctions:

  • Agile Elf Monk
  • A Stranger In A Strange Land
  • Lightning Dragon Kung Fu

Approaches:

  • Careful d6
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d4
  • Quick d10
  • Sneaky d6

Roles:

  • Holy One d8
  • Mage d6
  • Scoundrel d6
  • Warrior d8

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Acrobatics (Scoundrel) d6
  • FIrst Aid (Warrior) d6
  • Meditation (Holy One) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Bodhi Tree Mala Bead Necklace d8

Stunts:

  • Flurry of Blows: Because my fists strike with the speed of lightning, if I include Quick in my dice pool and achieve a heroic success when making a physical attack, I may make another Quick attack against the same opponent or another opponent in my zone, instead of stepping up my effect die. (I only get one additional attack per exchange.)
  • Hardcore Parkour: Because I can perform feats of alarming acrobatics while I move, may step up my Flashy die to overcome physical obstacles that can be jumped, flipped, or climbed over or to move extra zones.
  • Stillness of Mind: Because I have spent years training to control my emotions, I may double my Careful die when resisting attempts to create complications affecting my mental state, such as Afraid, Charmed, or Enraged.

Black Pudding (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Large Blob of Amorphous Black Goo
  • I Must Absorb All Organic Matter
  • Extremely Sticky and Viscous

Approaches:

  • Forceful d12
  • Sneaky d10
  • Others d4

Roles:

  • Brute d10
  • Controller d4
  • Lurker d8
  • Reviver d6

Specialties:

  • Camouflage (Lurker) d6

Signature Assets:

  • Deadly Corrosive Secretions d8

Stunts:

  • Bifurication: Because I split into successively smaller oozes when damaged, whenever I succeed in defending against an electrical or physical attack, I may convert my opponent’s effect die into a More Puddings, They’re Everywhere, or We’re Surrounded! stunt asset. I can spend a die from the doom pool to use this stunt asset if my opponent succeeds.
  • Pseudopods: Because I can extrude multiple pseudopods from my body at
    once, I may add a D6 and keep an additional effect die for each additional target in my zone when Forcefully attacking.

Scale:

The Black Pudding is a Large creature (weight 2). It adds a d8 scale die to its dice pool and keeps a third die in its total when acting against opponents that weigh less than it does.


Gelatinous Cube (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Large Cube of Quivering Jelly
  • I Must Sweep the Area Clean
  • Almost Totally Transparent

Approaches:

  • Forceful d10
  • Sneaky d12
  • Others d4

Roles:

  • Brute d8
  • Controller d4
  • Lurker d10
  • Reviver d6

Specialties:

  • Camouflage (Lurker) d6
  • Extremely Resilient (Brute) d6

Signature Assets:

  • Numbing Acidic Slime d6

Stunts:

  • Anesthetizing Secretions: Because I secrete a powerful anesthetizing
    agent, I add a d6 and step up my effect die by +1 when including Sneaky in my dice pool to create or step up complications related related to my paralytic touch, such as Paralyzed, Numbed, or Stunned.
  • Engulf: Because I can envelop creatures by moving over them, I may step up my effect die by +1 when including Forceful in my dice pool to attack, as long as I moved at least one zone before attacking.

Scale:

The Gelatinous Cube is a Large creature (weight 2). It adds a d8 scale die to its dice pool and keeps a third die in its total when acting against opponents that weigh less than it does.


Gray Ooze (Minor NPC)

Traits:

  • Medium Blob of Slime d6
  • Magical Immunity d8
  • Surprisingly Quick d8

Stunts:

  • Active Hunter: Because I am adept at hunting mobile prey, I add a d6 and step up my effect die by +1 when creating a complication representing my ensnaring pseudopods, such as Held In Place, Grappled, or Restrained.

Kobold Warrior (Extra)

Traits:

  • Small Reptilian Humanoid d6

Kobold Tribe (Major NPC)

Distinctions:

  • Small Reptilian Humanoids
  • We Must Expand Our Territory
  • Overwhelming Numbers

Approaches:

  • Careful d8
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d6
  • Forceful d10
  • Quick d10
  • Sneaky d12

Roles:

  • Brute d6
  • Controller d8
  • Lurker d10
  • Reviver d4

Specialties:

  • Dirty Fighting (Brute) d6
  • Grappling (Controller) d6
  • Trapmaking (Lurker) d6

Stunts:

  • Absolutely Everywhere: Because we’re actually a whole tribe of countless small creatures, we may add a D6 and keep an additional effect die for each additional target on my zone when Sneakily attacking.
  • Cunning Plans: Because we riddle our warren with hidden traps, we add a d6 and step up our effect die by +1 when including Sneaky in our dice pool to create or step up representing one of those traps, such as Spiked Pit, Tripwire, or Poisonous Vermin.

Scale:

The Kobold Tribe is a Huge creature (weight 4). It adds 2d8 scale dice to its dice pool and keeps two extra die in its total when acting against opponents that are less than a quarter of its weight; it adds a d8 scale die and keeps an extra die in its total against opponents half its weight.


The character illustration are the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Cortex Fridays: Rogue, Monk, Oozes, and Kobolds

Cortex Fridays: Runepriest, Druid, Umber Hulk, and Basilisk

Welcome to the first Cortex Fridays post! Last Saturday I said that I’d start making Cortex Prime versions of the fantasy adventurers and monsters on this blog. I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to organize things, but for the time being I’m going to try and post two adventurers and two monsters every Friday: one of each will be from an older post, and the other will be from the current week. That’ll allow the Cortex Prime content to eventually catch up with the Fate Accelerated content, at which point each Cortex Friday post will just be that week’s monster and adventurer. So let’s get started!


Dwarven Runepriest

Dwarf_Runepriest

Distinctions:

  • Cautious Dwarven Runepriest
  • By the Will of the Forgelord
  • Solid As Stone

Approaches:

  • Careful d10
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d8
  • Forceful d8
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d4

Roles:

  • Holy One d10
  • Mage d6
  • Scoundrel d4
  • Warrior d8

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Smithing (Warrior) d6
  • Stonecraft (Mage) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Dwarven-forged Heavy Plate Armor d8
  • Rune-scribed Heavy Warhammer d6

Stunts:

  • Defensive Fighter: Because I fight defensively, if I include Careful in my dice pool and achieve a heroic success when defending against a physical attack, I may turn my effect die into a Wide Open complication attached to my opponent.
  • Unrelenting: Because I am relentless in my advance, whenever a trap or
    opponent attempts to create a complication hindering my mobility, such as
    Slowed or Net Trap, I may step up my Forceful die when opposing.
  • Wards and Sigils: Because I can scribe runes of protection, I may double my Careful die whenever I create or step up assets on myself or my companions representing magical defense or shielding.

Vigilant Minotaur Druid

Minotaur_Druid

Distinctions:

  • I Must Halt Civilization’s Advance
  • Hurloon Tribe Stone-Caller
  • Ridiculously Bull-Headed

Approaches:

  • Careful d10
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d6
  • Forceful d8
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d4

Roles:

  • Holy One d10
  • Mage d6
  • Scoundrel d4
  • Warrior d8

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Astrology (Holy One) d6
  • Earth Magic (Holy One) d6
  • Stonecraft (Mage) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Ironbark Quarterstaff d6
  • Ironbark Buckler d6

Stunts:

  • Burden of Stone: Because my counterstrikes magically weigh down my opponents, whenever I succeed in defending against a physical attack and included Careful in my dice pool, I may convert my opponent’s effect die into a Weighed Down stunt asset.
  • Hymns of the Earth: Because I can raise spires of rock from the ground with my song, I add a d6 and step up my effect die by +1 when including Clever in my dice pool to create or step up assets related to rough, impassible or hazardous rocky terrain in my or an adjacent zone.
  • Thunderhoof Charge: Because I hit with the strength of an avalanche after building up momentum, I may double my Forceful die to attack with my horns as long as I moved at least one zone before attacking.

OK. I hadn’t really meant to put notes on these entries, as four characters makes the post pretty long already. But I feel the need to clarify that I’m still feeling things out with the Cortex Prime versions of the monsters. Major NPCs are meant to be built with the same pieces as PCs (distinctions, attributes, skills, and signature assets/specialties if you’re using the “standard” Cortex Prime pieces). But I’m using approaches and roles for the heroes, rather than attributes and skills. It makes sense for the monsters to have approaches, but unless they’re intelligent, the holy one / mage / scoundrel / warrior roles that PCs have don’t really fit.

But as major NPCs should have similar number of “dice buckets” to the PCs,  I suppose I could use behaviors instead of roles. Something like brute / controller / lurker / reviver, to help reinforce how the monster acts. Does it wade heedlessly into battle? That’s brute. Does it toss out effects that make things more difficult for the heroes to deal with? Controller. Hang back and harry the PCs directly but run from a fair fight? Lurker. Reinforce its monstrous allies rather than directly engaging the heroes? Reviver. (MMOs aren’t really to my tastes, but you can see I’m borrowing some of their terminology here.) I think that sounds pretty good, so let’s go with that for now.


Umber Hulk (Major NPC):

Umber_Hulk

Distinctions:

  • Large Gorilla-Beetle Hybrid
  • I Must Gorge on Humanoid Meat
  • Subterranean Juggernaut

Approaches:

  • Careful d4
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d4
  • Forceful d12
  • Quick d8
  • Sneaky d8

Roles:

  • Brute d10
  • Controller d8
  • Lurker d4
  • Reviver d6

Specialties:

  • Burrowing (Forceful) d6

Signature Assets:

  • Steel-Hard Chitin Plates d8
  • Super Sensitive Antenna d8

Stunts:

  • UMBER HULK SMASH!: Because I am an insectile engine of destruction, I may double my Forceful die when attempting to overcome physical obstacles that can be smashed through.
  • Sharp Digging Claws: Because I have claws sharp enough to burrow through solid stone, I add a d6 to my pool and step back the highest die in my pool by one when making an attack. If the attack is successful, I step up my effect die by one.
  • Mind Scrambler: Because I have a hypnotic gaze, I may double my Sneaky die whenever I create or step up a complication representing my mind scrambling effects, such as Confused, Dazed, or Hypnotized.

Scale:

The Umber Hulk is a Large creature (weight 2). It adds a d8 scale die to its dice pool and keeps a third die in its total when acting against opponents that weigh less than it does. Two Medium creatures (each weight 1) or four Small creatures (each weight 1/2) must engage the Umber Hulk at once to negate the scale die bonus.


Stone-Eyed Basilisk (Major NPC):

Basilisk

Distinctions:

  • Medium Magical Lizard
  • I Must Add To My Den’s Statuary
  • Incredibly Slow Metabolism

Approaches:

  • Careful d8
  • Clever d6
  • Flashy d6
  • Forceful d10
  • Quick d4
  • Sneaky d8

Roles:

  • Brute d4
  • Controller d6
  • Lurker d8
  • Reviver d4

Specialties:

  • Lying in Wait (Sneaky) d6
  • Extremely Robust Digestive System (Forceful) d6

Stunts:

  • Cunning Ambush Predator: Because I attack from ambush, whenever I include both my Sneaky die and an asset related to concealment, such as Buried, Disguised, or Hidden in my dice pool on an attack, I keep a third die for my total.
  • Paralyzing Gaze: Because I can turn creatures to stone by locking eyes with them, I can include my Forceful die in a roll to create a Slowly Petrifying complication on an opponent at any distance, as long as we can both see each other. In addition to creating the complication, a success begins the Stone Curse effect for that character (see below).

The Stone Curse

At the beginning of the basilisk’s turn, each Slowly Petrifying complication automatically steps up. If it would step up past a d12, the character is taken out of the scene and the complication becomes Totally Petrified d12.


The character and monster illustration are the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Cortex Fridays: Runepriest, Druid, Umber Hulk, and Basilisk

Saturday Surprise: Cortex Prime Content

In addition to Fate (both Core and Accelerated versions), Cortex Plus is another game system that I enjoy. There are similarities between the two, which is probably why I like them both. So, although the name of this blog won’t change, I’ve decided to branch out and start making fantasy monsters and characters for Cortex as well.

The first Cortex Plus game I played was Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. (Which is sadly out of print now.) I’m honestly not that big of a supers fan, but was really surprised when I first opened the MHRP book, as it was nothing at all like what I was expecting. I thought the game would be much more rules heavy, with levels and classes, long lists of action types, and detailed rules for movement, possibly even using a grid. Instead I found a much more “free form” game, where die sizes not only represented how powerful characters were in certain areas, but also how much they cared about certain things. Once I understood how the Cortex Plus Heroic Roleplaying system worked, I really liked it. The Leverage game introduced me to the Action Roleplaying variant, and the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide showed me the Dramatic Roleplaying version (as well as a generic version of Action Roleplaying). All three versions of Cortex Plus have similar base mechanics, but change things so that each is a better fit to tell heroic, action, or dramatic stories being told at the table.

The latest version of Cortex Plus is called Cortex Prime, headed up by Cam Banks, which had a kickstarter last year. This new version of the game brings all three versions of Cortex Plus (heroic, action, and dramatic) together into a unified system with lots of dials, switches, and variant rules to highlight different aspects of the stories you want to tell. (It’s totally possible to replicate the heroic, action, and dramatic versions of Cortex Plus with the optional variant rules found in Cortex Prime.)

Full disclosure, I was lucky enough to be part of the Cortex Prime kickstarter, writing a Spotlight, a setting for the game, as a stretch goal. I’ve written a paranormal romance setting about teenage witches called Spellcaught that uses many of the variant rules for dramatic roleplaying. It’s very much inspired by the Secret Circle book series by L.J. Smith.

Alright. After a very long introduction, let’s get to what you all came here to see: Dungeons & Dragons inspired fantasy content for the Cortex Prime game. I’ll start with a character, then use that as an example to explain the variant rules I’ve used. While I’m also going to explain a bit about how the system works, this will make much more sense if you’re familiar with Cortex Plus or Cortex Prime. Unfortunately, Cortex Prime isn’t available to the general public yet, but you should have access to the SRD (system reference document) if you backed the kickstarter, or if you support Cam Banks on his Patreon. The Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide is available on DriveThruRPG, and two versions of Cortex are very similar, and even backwards compatible. Onto the character!


Audacious Human Battlemage

Distinctions:

  • I Must Learn To Control My Magic
  • Raised In The Thornwood War Camps
  • The Blood Of Dragons Runs In My Veins

Audacious_Human_Battlemage

Approaches:

  • Careful d4
  • Clever d8
  • Flashy d10
  • Forceful d8
  • Quick d6
  • Sneaky d6

Roles:

  • Holy One d4
  • Mage d10
  • Scoundrel d6
  • Warrior d8

Note: For both Approaches and Roles, a d10 may be split into either 2d8 or 3d6, and a d8 may be split into 2d6.

Specialties:

  • Combat Casting (Mage) d6
  • Flame Magic (Mage) d6
  • Military Tactics (Warrior) d6

Note: Specialties may only be included in a dice pool when the listed Role die is also included, unless the player spends a plot point.

Signature Assets:

  • Vials And Pouches Of Spell Components d8

Stunts:

  • Burning Hands: Because I can hurl balls of magical fire, whenever I include Flashy in my dice pool and achieve a heroic success on an attack, I may attach a d6 On Fire! complication to my opponent or create a d8 On Fire! scene distinction instead of stepping up my effect die.
  • Explosive Runes: Because I can scribe explosive runes on inanimate objects, whenever I attempt to overcome a physical obstacle by breaking it, I may step up my Forceful die. If I do, the GM adds a die to the Doom Pool equal to the size of my effect die.
  • Flamecrafter: Because I can make fire do my bidding, while it is present I may add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die by one whenever I create or step up a fire related asset.

Yup. That’s the Cortex Prime version of the first fantasy character I ever posted: the Audacious Human Battlemage. She looks different from her Fate Accelerated version, so lets go over those changes.

Distinctions are fairly straightforward, as they act somewhat like character aspects. If a player narrates how one of their character’s distinctions benefits them in the current situation, they add a d8 to their dice pool. Or, if they narrate how a distinction hinders their character, they gain a plot point and add a d4 to their dice pool. Plot points are rather similar to Fate points. Cortex Prime characters always have three distinctions.

Approaches and Roles are the meat of the character. In Cortex Prime, characters should always have at least two “dice buckets” to pull dice from. Whenever a character takes an action the player will add one die from the approach list and one die from the role list that best fit the action being taken. The six approaches are exactly the same as those in Fate Accelerated (Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky), and describe how a character is doing something.

Roles are sort of like jobs, or classes if you prefer. They’re collections of abilities, skills, training, and knowledge in a certain field. For these characters, I’ve gone with four roles that cover archetypical fantasy classes: holy one, mage, scoundrel and warrior. (These are the same four roles from “The Old School Job” by Philippe-Antoine Menard in the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide.) The holy one role covers knowledge of religion, casting divinely empowered spells, and the swaying of crowds with sermons. Mage covers knowledge of lore and history, deciphering ancient languages, and, of course, casting arcane magic spells. Wizard-y stuff, if you will. Scoundrel covers sneaking, hiding, disarming traps, knowledge of poisons, use of thieves tools, and other “fantasy thief” actions. Warrior covers fighting with weapons, maintaining armor, knowledge of tactics, and other fighter-y type actions.

Specialties and signature assets are, respectively, narrow areas of expertise within a role and physical items that benefit a character in certain situations. As with just about everything in Cortex Prime, if the player can explain how something on their character sheet is relevant to the current situation, they get to add that thing’s die to their dice pool. But you can generally only add a single die from each category, or “dice bucket”, to your roll.

Stunts are similar to the stunts in Fate Accelerated. They’re little rule modifications that kick in under certain circumstances and help define and differentiate characters from one another. Cortex Prime doesn’t have action types as Fate does, but how a player decides to use the effect die from their roll sort of establishes different action types. Using your effect die to create or step up a useful asset is sort of like Create an Advantage; using your effect die to remove or step down an asset or complication that’s hindering your character is like Overcome an Obstacle; and forcing an opponent to either take your effect die as a complication or be taken out of the scene is an attack. Including a specific die in your dice pool is similar to using a specific approach in Fate Accelerated, and heroic successes (beating the difficulty by 5 or more) are pretty close to success with style. With those as rough guidelines, I’m going to try and keep a character’s stunts as similar as possible between the two systems.

Lastly, the doom pool. The doom pool is a collection of dice that the GM uses to set the difficulty of tasks attempted by characters when they’re not being opposed by an NPC, as well as a GMing resource. Whenever a player rolls a 1 on any of their dice, the GM can give that player a plot point to add that die to the doom pool. The GM can then spend dice from the doom pool for various effects, such as adding more dice to an NPC’s dice pool, creating assets, complications, and scene distinctions, separating the characters, or even ending the scene. It’s a fantastic pacing mechanic and I absolutely love it. Part of the reason I like it so much is that I don’t really like setting the difficulty of PC attempted tasks, as I don’t trust myself to be fair. It’s a lot of pressure to get it right, and I’d rather just avoid all that. With the doom pool, there are clearly defined mechanical game effects that increase the doom pool, and there are clearly delineated effects I, as GM, can spend those dice on. I vastly prefer running Cortex Plus/Prime games with this variant rule.

As a bonus, let’s stat up a ghoul and a ghast so people can see what Cortex Prime monsters might look like. Again, they were the first Monday Monsters I posted to this blog. Cortex Prime divides NPCs into three categories: Major, Minor, and Extras. Major NPCs are the important characters that PCs will be interacting with fairly often, are created with the same elements as player characters, and are further divided into Light, Medium, and Heavy power levels. Minor NPCs are less important characters, but are still going to interact with PCs in a meaningful way. Extras are faceless, nameless mooks, similar to filler enemies from the Fate Adversary Toolkit.

Ghouls could be either Minor or Extra NPCs, depending on how the GM wanted to handle them. As Minor NPCs they’d be more dangerous, giving the players a fairly decent challenge. As Extras, they’d be a horde of ravening undead that the characters could mow through to look awesome. I’ll do both versions so show the difference. Ghasts are meant to be beefier, so I figure it should be a Minor NPC.


Ghoul (Minor NPC Version):

  • Ghoul

    Medium Diseased Undead d6

  • Grave Dirt Encrusted Claws d6
  • Unnaturally Agile d8

Ghoul (Extra Version):

  • Medium Diseased Undead d6

Ghast (Minor NPC):

  • Medium Diseased Undead d8
  • Grave Dirt Encrusted Claws d6
  • Unnaturally Agile d8
  • Nauseating Charnel Stench d6

Ghast

Stunts:

  • Paralyzing Touch: Because I can paralyze foes with a touch, I add a d6 to my dice pool and step up my effect die by one when inflicting or stepping up a Paralyzed complication on a target.

Note: Both the Minor NPC and Extra versions of the ghoul have the Paralysing Touch stunt as well. It seemed a bit silly to put it up there two more times.


That’s pretty much it. Minor NPCs in Cortex Prime have at least three trait dice that don’t need to follow the same categories as PCs (though they can). Extras are even simpler; just a single appropriately named trait die. Both versions of ghouls can use the Paralyzing Touch stunt, but as an Extra will still only be rolling 2d6, it probably won’t be very effective. Which is why you should probably group Extras, and even the Minor versions of ghouls together into mobs. Just add an additional d6 to the Medium Diseased Undead trait for each additional ghoul in the mob, up to about six or so, and give them the following stunt:

  • Mob Cohesion: Because I am a mob of creatures, I act as a single unit, and opponents may target my Medium Diseased Undead trait with attacks (each trait die counts as a separate target for area effect SFX). Each attack that would create a d6 or higher complication or effect die removes one of my trait dice instead. When my last Medium Diseased Undead trait die is gone, I am taken out.

So a mob of five ghouls would have the trait Medium Diseased Undead 5d6. All of those dice are included in the dice pool (along with any other relevant traits) making mobs fairly dangerous. At least until the PCs start targeting the mob trait dice with attacks, and begin whittling them away.

Well, I’ll wrap things up there as this post has grown to over 2000 words. Going forward, I’m going to try and post two or three Cortex Prime monsters or adventurers every Friday. Once I’ve caught up with the Fate Accelerated versions, that will slow down to a single monster and adventurer per week – the same ones for that week’s Monday Monster and Wednesday Warrior posts.


The character and monster illustrations are the free paper minis made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you back the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Saturday Surprise: Cortex Prime Content

Random Jaeger Name Generator

Nearly three years ago I made myself a bunch of tables to randomly generate some Jaeger names for a Cortex Plus Pacific Rim game I was tinkering with. I spiffed it up a bit design-wise, and decided to share. That’s 2,880 possible names, and yes, the tables are arranged so that you can get names like Gipsy Danger, Cherno Alpha, Striker Eureka, and Crimson Typhoon.

Nothing’s really come of that Cortex Plus Pacific Rim inspired game I was working on (as usual I lost interest but kept the notes), but people might still find these tables useful. You could use then for atlas names in Stras Acimovic’s upcoming Atlas Reckoning game (which is in closed beta now). I should really convert the tables to use playing cards rather than dice in that case though.

JaegerNameGenerator

Random Jaeger Name Generator