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Thread: Legends of Grayskull RPG

  1. #1
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    Legends of Grayskull RPG

    Coming sometime in 2021. You can sign-up for e-mails at http://www.legendsofgrayskull.com and they will be opening up the game for playtesting sometime soon.





    Demo game presentation from Power-Con with Felicia Day, Tiffany Smith, Phil Lamarr and two of the game's designers:





    Q&A session with the game designers:






    So, has anyone played any games using the Cortex System?

  2. #2
    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    I'm actually one of the winners of the Legends Of Grayskull RPG Guide Book! I can't wait to receive it in the mail!
    "Tell me I am beautiful - it means nothing to me. Tell me I am intellectual - well, I know it already. Tell me I am funny however, and that is the greatest compliment in the world that anyone can give me".

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    Warrior of Evolution 13977's Avatar
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    So with the player characters all able to have the Power of Grayskull, does that not make the rolls really easy to achieve? I would think it would make the charters over powerful and very similar (if not the same) in skill sets.

    Any details on the Legends Of Grayskull RPG Guide Book yet, is it just game mechanics or is it an in universe source book as well?
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    Cobra Saboteur Firefly's Avatar
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    So would this be in competition with the CMON set coming that will have minatures?

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    Heroic Master of Music baileyrecords's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    So would this be in competition with the CMON set coming that will have minatures?
    IMO, no. They will compliment each other well. This is a RPG... no figures needed. CMON is releasing a board game chock full of minis. Assuming the CMON game is 28mm, their minis will work great in the Legends of Greyskull RPG as well if the players want to use minis.
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    i even came up with a character for it.

    He-Bot

    Bio

    formerly known as Roboto, He-Bot comes from an Eternia where Faker overthrows Skeletor and begins to wipe out all organic life in the universe and replace it with machines. He-Man is killed in the battle but he chose Roboto to inherit the powers of Grayskull. on that day Roboto became known as He-Bot.

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    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    I'm listed on the Power Con website as one of the winners of the Masters Of The Universe: Legends Of Grayskull Tabletop RPG!

    https://thepower-con.com/
    "Tell me I am beautiful - it means nothing to me. Tell me I am intellectual - well, I know it already. Tell me I am funny however, and that is the greatest compliment in the world that anyone can give me".

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    Heroic Master of Music baileyrecords's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I'm listed on the Power Con website as one of the winners of the Masters Of The Universe: Legends Of Grayskull Tabletop RPG!

    [video]https://thepower-con.com/[/url]
    Congrats! This is one 2021 MOTU item I'm very excited about. Only with it were 5E and not Cotrex.
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    Does anyone know when this is coming?

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    Is this still happening? I'm starting to wonder.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I'm listed on the Power Con website as one of the winners of the Masters Of The Universe: Legends Of Grayskull Tabletop RPG!

    [video]https://thepower-con.com/[/url]
    Have you heard anything from them about like it potentially happening?

  11. #11
    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BooperScoop View Post
    Is this still happening? I'm starting to wonder.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Have you heard anything from them about like it potentially happening?
    I haven't heard anything about this for a long time either.
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    The website is still live ( https://www.legendsofgrayskull.com/ ) and the YouTube teaser video is still up... ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXxhgGep7To , as well as the sample game and Q&A videos) so I would assume that it is still happening. I'm not sure where I got it, but I got the impression that the game was going to be released late Q3 or early Q4. That isn't anywhere on the website or the video but maybe it was part of the videos released during Power-Con last year, unfortunately I don't have the time right now to sit through those again. I would think that they're probably waiting for Revelation's release before launching. Of course, the virus may have caused delays...

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    I sent a message to customer support at Cortex about the game...

    Just wanted to know if there was any new information about Legends of Grayskull and if there is a more specific date for its release. Thank you.
    ...and this was the response I got back...

    Hi Jim,

    Currently, the information on our socials is the only information released about this. Please keep an eye on our socials for more updates.
    So, yeah... that was helpful...
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    Can't find a link now but IIRC they tweeted a month or two back that this would be happening after the Dragon Prince RPG releases, so it's still coming but it's a fair way off.

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    There's still talk on the Discord server

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    Widget silverback4335's Avatar
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    I'm really looking forward to this RPG. I wish there was some NEW news to keep the hype alive.

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    While I think it's fantastic that we have an official MOTU RPG now, I'm not sure about the system it's based on -- Cortex. The dice rolling mechanism seems unnecessarily complicated (with the magnitude aspect), and the fact that characters earn points for bringing their disadvantages into play seems very "mechanical". Does anyone here have experience with the Cortex rules and can give some insight on these issues?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSElshoff View Post
    While I think it's fantastic that we have an official MOTU RPG now, I'm not sure about the system it's based on -- Cortex. The dice rolling mechanism seems unnecessarily complicated (with the magnitude aspect), and the fact that characters earn points for bringing their disadvantages into play seems very "mechanical". Does anyone here have experience with the Cortex rules and can give some insight on these issues?
    Sure. I can do my best. I would also recommend downloading the free playtest rules for the Dragon Prince RPG: Tales of Xadia, which is also "primed by Cortex." This online Tales of Xadia primer also explains the basic of the rules and likely better than I can.

    Cortex is not a complicated roleplaying game. Cortex Prime is overall lighter and far less "mechanical," as you put, than more familiar games like D&D, which is generally regarded by tabletop hobbyists as the heavier side of rules medium, including "lighter" editions like 5th. Cortex doesn't care about your character's speed per round, armor class and associated penalties, weapon proficiencies, night vision, your character's cover from ranged attacks while under a Tuesday full moon in knee-high swamp water, etc.

    Cortex Prime is essentially just a dice pool system that involves assembling a dice pool from your character traits, rolling, and adding two dice from that of your choice together to beat an opposed roll (often made by the game master). The Effect die is similar to a damage die, but (1) it's based on the die type used (e.g., d8, d10, d12) rather than the actual face value on the roll, and (2) it can apply to other things other than physical health/stress. For example, the stress tracks for Tales of Xadia include Afraid, Angry, Corrupted, Exhausted, Injured, and Insecure. You can tell based on these stress tracks for Tales of Xadia that this would be useful for simulating the young adult fantasy fiction of Dragon Prince.

    Cortex is a fiction-first narrativist roleplaying game that is useful for simulating genre fiction, much like games like Fate (e.g., Spirit of the Century) or Powered by the Apocalypse (see the recent Avatar the Last Airbender Kickstarter). This fiction-first principle is important for play, because you are assembling your character's dice pool from your traits based on what (and sometimes why) your character is doing things in the fiction. Some games of Cortex don't only care how smart or strong I am or how trained in a skill I am, but also the fact that in the fiction my character is "the Champion of Castle Greyskull," that my actions are motivated by Justice in this moment, or the nature of my relationship with another character, who I may be trying to help or hinder.

    Instead of rating your traits with a numerical stat, your traits are often rated using dice. Whereas in D&D 5e, you would roll d20 + your Strength Modifier + your Proficiency + other bonuses to make a weapon attack. In Cortex that same roll would potentially be represented by a dice pool that included d10 (Strength), d8 (Glory: what value is motivating your action?), d8 (Soldier of the Garden distinction), d8 (Spearfighting Specialty), d8 (Durenian Spear asset). The roll in Fate is meant to represent more than just your abilities but also who you are as a character.

    When assembling a dice pool, you get to pick one applicable die from each set of your traits. If you look on the Tales of Xadia character sheet provided, there are three core trait sets: Distinctions, Attributes, and Values. There are also secondary traits (e.g., Specialties, Assets) that you can add to your roll if applicable. So in the case of ToX, when you roll, you will pick one die from Distinctions, one from your Attributes, and one for your Values. Traits can vary between Cortex games. For example, Hammerheads has Attributes, Training Packages, Distinctions, and Relationships. Legends of Greyskull has Distinctions, Affinities, and Abilities. Smallville has Distinctions, Relationships, and Values.

    Distinctions are akin to fictional descriptors you create that are meant to help personalize your character. Some Cortex games have guided Distinctions, which are akin to prompts for your Distinctions. Your Distinctions in Tales of Xadia, for example, includes your Kindred, your Vocation, and your Quirk. Each Distinction is rated with a d8. Good written Distinctions aren't just positive, but also potentially have a downside. This is because you can choose to downgrade a Distinction from a d8 to d4, if it makes sense in the fiction. This risks the chances of rolling a 1 on one of your dice, which is a complication called a "Hitch." The GM can also do things with Hitches or use them against you. But in downgrading your Distinction for a roll, you get a Plot Point, which can be used for a variety of different things, including to power some of your abilities.

    IME, the people who have the hardest time with Cortex aren't newcomers to TTRPGs, but, rather, players who are primarily used to less narrativist games, such as D&D. I usually have an easier time teaching fiction-first TTRPGs (e.g., Fate, Cortex, PbtA) to newcomers than I do with teaching these same people how to play D&D.

    Again, if you look at the character sheet for one of the sample characters from Tales of Xadia, there isn't really that much going on, especially (again) when compared with a character sheet from D&D.

    dc4ce79317f174d14830ed0febb2a192.jpg

  19. #19
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    Thank your very much for this detailed look into the system.

    Actually, I'm a long-time role-player who has primarily played D&D and similar more traditional game systems. I do like RPG rules mostly on the "simulative" side, but I also like simple and universal rules. My problem with bringing narrative elements *into the rules* instead of handling them free-form is that it might make them less organic and might take the actual "narrativeness" out of them. My players and I tried Fate a couple of times some years ago and had a lot of issues with it for feeling too artificial and forced.

    But maybe Cortex really is different there? I'm currently browsing through the "Rules Primer" you provided a link to. What seems both interesting and strange to me is that the system doesn't seem to have something like skills, talents, or proficiencies. How would I go about determining whether a character knows something particular -- like, say, a particular herb. Is this just up to a GM decision based on the character background?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSElshoff View Post
    Thank your very much for this detailed look into the system.

    Actually, I'm a long-time role-player who has primarily played D&D and similar more traditional game systems. I do like RPG rules mostly on the "simulative" side, but I also like simple and universal rules. My problem with bringing narrative elements *into the rules* instead of handling them free-form is that it might make them less organic and might take the actual "narrativeness" out of them. My players and I tried Fate a couple of times some years ago and had a lot of issues with it for feeling too artificial and forced.
    I happen to enjoy Fate, which is why the transition to Cortex isn't all that difficult for me. I don't necessarily share your sense of roleplaying aesthetics, but I can sympathize and understand where you are coming from.

    But maybe Cortex really is different there?
    There are a lot of similar principles and design philosophies that the two systems (i.e., Fate and Cortex) share - enough so that there are several Cortex-Fate hybrid games and writing collaborations - but they tend go about them differently in terms of their game system architecture.

    I'm currently browsing through the "Rules Primer" you provided a link to. What seems both interesting and strange to me is that the system doesn't seem to have something like skills, talents, or proficiencies.
    Cortex can have skills. It's a toolkit option. Some games of Cortex do use skills. I can attach an image of a sample character from the core book that does use skills.

    Screenshot_20200929-223832_ezPDF-Reader.jpg

    However, Fandom chose not to use skills for Tales of Xadia or Greyskull Legends, because it's generally not what the fiction of these stories tend to stress. Instead, Greyskull uses Affinities, which are broadly like themes or roles: e.g., Might, Mind, Magic, Machines, Mobility, etc. Because these Affinities say more about how these characters tend to approach the world of Eternia than whether they are trained in Herbology or not.

    How would I go about determining whether a character knows something particular -- like, say, a particular herb. Is this just up to a GM decision based on the character background?
    D&D is a high GM authority game and it uses lot of "GM decides" as an approach. Cortex is more collaborative in how it tries to more evenly distribute narrative authority over the fiction between the GM and players. Although the GM is the final arbiter of the rules, it's less a GM decides what the character knows and more something that the player and GM may talk about. Does the player think that it's reasonable for their character to know this herb? Does the GM agree? Is there uncertainty or some interesting consequences that could result from the success and failure in the roll? Does it even matter? What traits make sense for the PC to use to determine this?
    Last edited by He-Man-at-Arms; October 5, 2021 at 06:27am.

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    Heroic Warrior FASAfan's Avatar
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    This may be lost on some younger folks here, but I always thought TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes would have been a perfect system for a MOTU RPG.

    ABILITIES:

    FIGHTING
    AGILITY
    STRENGTH
    ENDURANCE
    REASON
    INTUITION
    PSYCHE

    POWER TERMS (LEVELS):

    Feeble-Poor-Typical-Good-Excellent-Remarkable-Incredible-Amazing-Monstrous-Unearthly. Then, Shift-X-Shift-Y-Shift-Z.

    So, “The Amazing Spider-man” had “amazing” Agility, hence his name (clever, huh?). The terms told you what column to role under on a chart for success, etc.

    So, Teela might have:

    FIGHTING: Incredible
    AGILITY: Incredible
    STRENGTH: Excellent
    ENDURANCE: Excellent
    REASON: Good
    INTUITION: Good
    PSYCHE: Typical

    Of course, no one would ever agree on the actual stats, lol! You might think Teela has Excellent REASON and Amazing FIGHTING, but it is a lot of fun to “stat out” characters - especially if you compare MOTU to Marvel characters (What’s MAA’s REASON compared to Reed Richards’? What is Skeletor’s PSYCHE compared to Dr. Strange? What is He-Man’s STRENGTH compared to the Hulk?).

    It’s not very granular at lower levels. A lot of “regular humans” are going to look similar (Clamp Champ, Rio Blast, etc.). Their special abilities is what would define them.

    There are clones of this system available at Drivethrurpg; search “FASERIP” if interested.

    And if you’re still reading, for fun is a link to Black Widow’s FASERIP to compare against my Teela:

    https://classicmarvelforever.com/cms/black-widow.html

    There are a ton of Mutant and Masterminds home brew MOTU characters, but that system is so convoluted (for me) that I never could find the time to learn it.
    Last edited by FASAfan; October 4, 2021 at 05:00pm.

  22. #22
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    @ He-Man-at-Arms:

    Quote Originally Posted by He-Man-at-Arms View Post
    However, Fandom chose not to use skills for Tales of Xadia or Greyskull Legends, because it's generally not what the fiction of these stories tend to stress. Instead, Greyskull uses Affinities, which are broadly like themes or roles: e.g., Might, Mind, Magic, Machines, Mobility, etc. Because these Affinities say more about how these characters tend to approach the world of Eternia than whether they are trained in Herbology or not.
    Depends on the character type and the adventure/scenario, I'd say. Knowing stuff like mechanical engineering (as a character like Man-At-Arms would certainly do) might make all the difference when, say, a giant robot warrior needs to be stopped.

    Quote Originally Posted by He-Man-at-Arms View Post
    D&D is a high GM authority game and it uses lot of "GM decides" as an approach. Cortex is more collaborative in how it tries to more evenly distribute narrative authority over the fiction between the GM and players. Although the GM is the final arbiter of the rules, it's less a GM decides what the character knows and more something that the player and GM may talk about. Does the player think that it's reasonable for their character to know this herb? Does the GM agree? Is there uncertainty or some interesting consequences that could result from the success and failure in the roll? Does it even matter? What traits make sense for the PC to use to determine this?
    Involving the players here is definitely a good and viable method, too. What I'm really interested in, though: Do the Cortex rules *intend/say* that character knowledge and proficiencies should be handled free-form based on the character's background? Or do they expect players to *ignore* this aspect for the most part?

    ---

    @ FASAfan:

    Interesting. So the Powers and Talents are what mostly defines the characters and distinguishes them. Is there a system for creating the Powers/assessing their effectiveness -- or is it done "by eye"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSElshoff View Post
    Depends on the character type and the adventure/scenario, I'd say. Knowing stuff like mechanical engineering (as a character like Man-At-Arms would certainly do) might make all the difference when, say, a giant robot warrior needs to be stopped.
    In which case, Man-at-Arms would likely roll using his Machines affinity in his die pool. Furthermore, Man-at-Arms likely has a Distinction reflecting his position as The King's Man-at-Arms, so he would add that to his dice pool too, alongside whatever abilities and/or assets (e.g., Power Suit, Utility Belt, etc.) he may be using to achieve his goals of stopping this giant robot warrior.

    FYI, the Affinities we have seen for Greyskull Legends: Machines, Magic, Might, Mind, Mischief, Mobility, Mystery.

    Involving the players here is definitely a good and viable method, too. What I'm really interested in, though: Do the Cortex rules *intend/say* that character knowledge and proficiencies should be handled free-form based on the character's background? Or do they expect players to *ignore* this aspect for the most part?
    Cortex Prime is a toolkit system. How "knowledge checks" or proficiencies are handled and player characters approach the game will depend heavily on how the individual game is constructed using the various dials and knobs.

    If you look, for example, through the Tales of Xadia sample characters on the website, the characters do not a have skill list. They do have Attributes, and if you have read the the Attribute section on the Tales of Xadia primer, then you will know that Intellect reflects "Your capacity to comprehend. Use this to study, learn, recall things you know, or figure out a puzzle." Does that sound like that would be used for knowing about a herb? Probably yes. Moreover, some characters have Specialties, which reflect specialized areas of expertise that the character has acquired (e.g., Cooking, Sneaking, Agriculture, etc.). These Specialties are also not attached to any Attribute: knowledge about cooking (e.g., Intellect die + Cooking specialty die) vs. tasting to discern ingredients (e.g., Awareness die + Cooking specialty die). This is despite Tales of Xadia using any sort of formalized skill list as one of its Traits. So for the above linked character from ToX, a test regarding an herb may involve assembling the following dice pool: Intellect (d6), maybe Durenian Freefolk (d8), the applicable Value reflecting why he's doing this,* plus his Agriculture speciality (d6).

    (* As far as Cortex is concerned here: If none of your character's Values are pertinent to the roll, then why are you rolling? Your core traits, including Values in this case, should always be relevant.)

    But now that you've learned all this for Tales of Xadia, I have to stop here to remind you that Greyskull Legends will not necessarily have these particular rules regarding Attributes, Specialties, etc. So how we approach the "herb knowledge problem" will differ between these games. From what we saw in the playtest video, it uses Affinities, Distinctions, Abilities ("Superpowers"), and Assets. But like with games like Fate, there is rarely one "THE" answer or way to do these things. The fiction and mechanics used are often negotiated as part of the conversation between the GM and player based upon what makes sense: again, "fiction first."


    Furthermore, the Cortex rulebook doesn't say anything about what a character does or doesn't know. I can say for certain that Cortex doesn't say that the GM decides what a player character gets to know. It doesn't say much about how players should run their characters or how GMs should run them either.

    It says that tests are performed when opposition exists for the player's action (e.g., another character, the environment, time, etc.) and there are interesting consequences from the success and failure of the roll. Moreover, failure should have consequences that change/affect the status quo of the scene. Your character being an ignoramus about a herb doesn't necessarily change the status quo of the fiction.

    So if we are rolling a check about whether or not the character knows something about a herb, we need to know per the fiction why they are doing so. What are the stakes? What are the consequences of failure here in this roll? How does simply not knowing something actually result in a change of the status quo of the scene? In itself, simply knowing or not knowing - the state of the character's "quantum knowledge" is not particularly interesting as a consequence nor does it seem (at least to me) like it changes the status quo. So why are we rolling this test about a herb in the first place if there are no stakes to the roll than simply establishing whether a knows something or not?

    I suspect that you are trying to force a D&D-shaped problem into a Cortex-shaped hole. One of the biggest recurring issues I see with gamers trying out new game systems is how commonly they try to make a new game system work like the one they are more familiar with (often D&D or BRP). I recommend sitting down and reading the Tales of Xadia primer attentively on its own merits. Cortex is not trying to be D&D. It's not trying to approach roleplaying or fiction the way that D&D does. My advice is not to approach the game, whether that is Cortex Prime and Greyskull Legends or even Fate, as if it should be played like D&D or any other TTRPG, but, instead, on its own merits just as you wouldn't try to make Chess play like Checkers.

    Again, I hope this helps.
    Last edited by He-Man-at-Arms; October 6, 2021 at 08:42am.

  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior FASAfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSElshoff View Post

    @ FASAfan:

    Interesting. So the Powers and Talents are what mostly defines the characters and distinguishes them. Is there a system for creating the Powers/assessing their effectiveness -- or is it done "by eye"?
    Although a fan of the system mainly due to how it describes a character’s main attributes in an adjective form (Feeble, Remarkable, Unearthly, etc.), I’ve never run a game and only played in a few. I’ve mainly read the character write-ups.

    Keep in mind, too, that Marvel had a basic game and an “advanced” game. I think the basic game would work pretty well, but obviously the advanced game has more bells and whistles.

    That said, you are right about the Powers and Talents. They mainly provide “column shifts” on the resolution table to make it easier or harder for a character to use an Attribute in a particular circumstance. Karma, Popularity and Resources are also stats that help round out a character.

    There is a book called “Ultimate Powers” that lists a slew of powers and how to tweak them. There’s also a magic book that was confusing as heck to me. I would hope that the modern FASERIP-based games/interpretations at DrivethruRPG have streamlined and clarified how to do powers and especially magic.

    I don’t know how, but classicmarvelforever.com has all the original TSR works available as PDFs. The site has been around for YEARS.

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    @ He-Man-at-Arms:

    Quote Originally Posted by He-Man-at-Arms View Post
    FYI, the Affinities we have seen for Greyskull Legends: Machines, Magic, Might, Mind, Mischief, Mobility, Mystery.
    Thanks for posting these -- very helpful! Based on this choice of affinities, a lot of areas already seem to be covered. Knowledge of machinery certainly is.

    I like the fact that character features and abilities are largely based on the specific setting. That can certainly help to emulate a setting's style and feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by He-Man-at-Arms View Post
    I suspect that you are trying to force a D&D-shaped problem into a Cortex-shaped hole. One of the biggest recurring issues I see with gamers trying out new game systems is how commonly they try to make a new game system work like the one they are more familiar with (often D&D or BRP). I recommend sitting down and reading the Tales of Xadia primer attentively on its own merits. Cortex is not trying to be D&D. It's not trying to approach roleplaying or fiction the way that D&D does. My advice is not to approach the game, whether that is Cortex Prime and Greyskull Legends or even Fate, as if it should be played like D&D or any other TTRPG, but, instead, on its own merits just as you wouldn't try to make Chess play like Checkers.
    Oh, I *do* understand that games like Fate and Cortex are mostly concerned with the narrative aspects of role-playing whereas traditional RPGs like D&D are more about simulating the world/the environment. What's always been confusing to me, though, is why these "narrativist" games have a tendency to "systemize" and "rulify" narration. To me, this makes them more "gamist" in some regards than traditional systems.

    ---

    @ FASAfan:

    Quote Originally Posted by FASAfan View Post
    I don’t know how, but classicmarvelforever.com has all the original TSR works available as PDFs. The site has been around for YEARS.
    Thanks for the link. The website seems to be a great resource. It's wonderful that classic game systems are still supported like this.

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