Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Something Wonderful

No long post today. Instead, I will only point to this picture and the link it represents.



Now, I can't really say much, but I can say this:

  • It's just quickstart, so what rules there are remain limited to what's necessary for the adventure. You can derive a sense of what's going on with the system from it, but not a full picture. The actual game is not yet available.
  • The rules in question are still recognizable as Cortex, but you need to squint a little. Small tweaks have broadened the engine in interesting directions while still keeping it simple.
  • Were I to summarize the changes, I would say the game is better designed to scale with interest. That is, the less interesting or important something is, the lighter is it. The more engaging something is, the more it engages the system.
  • Credits page has some wonderful names, people who I should dedicate a whole post to singing the virtues of sometime. And also me.

So I say no more than that, but if you've read my stuff then you now my love of capers is nigh unto a sickness, and I feel it's something that's never quite been served by RPGs[1] primarily because it's hard. This is one of the few remaining white whales, and I'm optimistic we can catch it.

1 - Closest is
Wilderness of Mirrors which, yes, rocks, but it's a subtly different beast.

20 comments:

  1. This seemed inevitable, and the only question was whose hands it would end up in. Great news, though. I'm looking forward to it!

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  2. Wow. When I first saw the post on my feed, I though it was a Rogers post from Kung-Fu Monkey, a bit of a gag, after he put up some of the Leverage characters in True20 format a while back...

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  3. Surprisingly, there is actually a lot of "Who would play a Leverage RPG" sentiment out there. I do not understand it at ALL, but I accept the world is a weird place.

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  4. Just curious, have you seen any of Hustle (BBC)?

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  5. Reverance: I've seen all of Series One and Two of Hustle. But it's actually a different creature than Leverage. Nate Ford's team has a Robin Hood/A Team approach to things, whereas Mickey Stone's team is all about the con, much like Danny Ocean.

    With the Leverage RPG, we assume the Crew follows more or less the same moral compass (as a group) that Nate does, but the game is wide open for all sorts of capers and heists, yes.

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  6. Cam, so what you're saying is that I can use this run an A-Team game.

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  7. @Cam: Leverage only made it out to Oz on cable, I'm afraid so I've never seen it, but I've heard it frequently compared* to being an American version of Hustle.

    Although, in reply to your comment, I would say that there is an appreciable, if subtle, moral dimension to Hustle, which is probably best expressed in the maxim is that a con only really works if the target is themselves greedy and wants something for nothing. That if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

    Good luck with it!

    [* With the usual sentiments of what usually happens when the Americans remake a UK show. Although it's not always the case that the US remake of a UK show is particularly bad, but it happens often enough to expected.]

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  8. @Mike yes in broad strokes. I would only disagree in ways that delve into truly nerdy esoterica about the comparative plot structures of the two shows.

    That said, the A team is totally the example of a 4 man team.

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  9. One essential element of the con (though, curiously, not always of the caper, though even there its the norm) is that the protagonist is the lesser evil. The subtleties of what that means are their own topic of discussion.

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  10. If I hated the Serenity RPG, am I going to hate this, too? I love Leverage to death, but Cortex seems very "meh" to me.

    If you and Macklin are involved, I have hope, but I'm skeptical. And supplements already on the schedule! Sheesh.

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  11. And $5 for the quick-start? Really?

    Ok, I'll stop now.

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  12. As I've been reminded today, it's *called* the Quickstart Job, but it's a full intro adventure that just happens to have rules support in it for being stand-alone.

    And it's $2 in PDF form on RPGNow.

    I'll admit (though, grain of salt, I'm one of the folks involved with the project) that Cortex's baseline didn't excite me very much, even if it was a solid and capable beast. But things are being done to it for Leverage that make it a different animal. I hesitate to say it's like how Fate is different from Fudge, though -- especially given the design team -- there's at least a little truth to that.

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  13. @buzz: Try it out. You might love the game to death, too. And where Leverage is definitely a structured, refined version of Cortex to meet the genre requirements, you should see what we're doing to the system for our other (as yet unannounced) license.

    As project lead on MWP's slate of licenses, it is absolutely my intent to make the system bend to embody the license. In the case of Leverage, I could not have asked for a more kick-ass crew than Rob, Fred, Ryan, Clark, Deborah, and (leaping in, Tara-like) Matt Forbeck.

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  14. @Buzz: If the version of Cortex used for this is similar to the version I playtested a few weeks ago under the pseudonym "Project K," then it's much, much better than the Cortex of, say, the Serenity RPG.

    Also, if it is along the lines of Project K, then that'll make two licensed RPGs MWP's putting out that I'll want to buy even though I'm not a fan of the licenses themselves. What up with that?

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  15. @Mike the answer to your question is a quiet kiwi. The creative teams are great but the man who pulled the trigger on making it all possible is Mister Cam Banks. with these two products, he moves from developer to lead, and he is more attached to the idea of making these games rock than he is to any specific vision of the cortex system. To that end, he has extended a lot of trust to the development teams, and I think we all I intend to be worthy of that trust.

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  16. @buzz I can only promise you that if you hate this, you will hate it for ENTIRELY NEW reasons!

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  17. @Cam: Looks good, except it does seem a lot more along the lines of the A-Team or Mission: Impossible. I keep hearing the M:I theme* in my head reading it.

    One question though, can players generate complications themselves in order to get plot points?

    @Rob: Re: Morality, I also can't help thinking about the old 1940/50's British heist films from Pinewood Studios in comparison, where morality was very lacking. Except possibly, "don't rat on your comrades," and, "when the police gnab you, give up peacefully."

    [* It's a pity that the plans to make a M:I movie never actually came to anything.

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  18. Thanks for the assurances, folks. The team of authors will definitely incentivize my looking long and hard at this game. I hope you guys kick the crap out of Cortex and make it awesome!

    I'd still say that giving the quickstart away for free would have made much more marketing sense.

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  19. @buzz, I know MWP at least examined the possibility of giving it away, but the numbers (or the license terms) may not have allowed that to add up to possible. I can't say, really. That said, I do still believe the product (that I worked on, granted) is worth paying a couple bucks for as a PDF, at least. It'll give you a night of entertainment for a fifth of the cost of a movie ticket for one person. ;)

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