RPG Crowdfunding News 047: Cortex Prime, Aces & Eights: Reloaded, Journey To Ragnarok, Alternity, Th

Welcome back to our weekly look at tabletop roleplaying game, and accessories, crowdfunding roundup! Each week we’ll be looking at a few campaigns currently running that have caught our eye as well as occasionally speaking to some of the creators about their campaigns, or looking at some of the ‘behind the scenes’ business aspects of putting together, launching, operating and then delivering a crowdfunded project. If you have anything you’d like us to cover, or questions about anything we talk about, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly.


[h=3]Cortex Prime: A Multi-Genre Modular Roleplying Game by Cam Banks[/h]
(Campaign Ends : Monday 29th May 2017; 07:00 UTC)

Cam Banks announced the creation of Magic Vacuum Design Studios last year and, alone with it, an agreement with Margaret Weis Productions to license the rights to all Cortex related publishing and distribution. Cam was the lead developer and designer of Cortex and Cortex Plus for MWP between 2010 to 2014, and served as managing editor before that. Having co-designed an impressive list of Cortex games, such as Marvel heroic Roleplaying, Firefly, Leverage, Smallville and Dragon Brigade as well as having worked on some of the earlier product lines such as Supernatural and Battlestar Galactica he certainly knows his stuff. All that now leads us to this project, Cortex Prime, the latest version of this award-winning system.

“It embraces its roots as a means of adapting your favorite movies, television shows, and comic books, while emerging finally as a truly multi-genre modular roleplaying game in its own right.

Orc revolutionaries! Giant mechs! Swashbucklers of the far future! Hard-boiled police detectives! Whether you’re a fan of genres and genre mash-ups, any of the older Cortex-powered games, or you’re just looking for a tabletop game system you can customize to your own specifications, Cortex Prime is primed for you!

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.

Because the game is modular and customizable, your character traits in one game might be different from the next. You could play a high-octane science fiction game that focuses on the raw abilities and expertise of your heroes against impossible odds, or you could play an intrigue-laden courtly romance drama that concerns itself more with your character's desires and motives than skills.

· Want to get started quickly? Cortex Prime offers easy-to-use archetypes to make choosing a character as painless as possible.
· Want more depth? The pathways character creation system not only establishes your character's background and personality, it can even build the setting around them.
· Want to sweat the details? Pick and choose your character's traits and distinctive qualities from a huge array of options.

Regardless of the genre or the tropes, Cortex Prime provides the means to capture those qualities and provide authenticity to your character and the game itself. And now, with this new edition of the game rules, the tools to play the game any way you want are baked into the system, even the Classic Cortex style.

Cortex Prime promises backward compatibility with an eye toward an exciting future!

[h=3]Aces & Eights: Reloaded, a Wild West role playing game by Kenzer and Company[/h]
(Campaign Ends : Wednesday 24th May 2017; 04:00 UTC)


Aces & Eights: Shattered Frontier won an Origins Award for Roleplaying Game of the Year, has had over two dozen supplements and a number of print runs since its first release. Now Kenzer & Co are returning to the Wild West with a tenth anniversary edition called Aces & Eights: Reloaded.

This new edition is not a reprint of the original, it’s got new rules, tweaks, artwork among other things to help your blaze through the western trails as a gunslinger, lawman, rail baron, prospector, muleskinner, rancher, desperado or whatever hat you feel like donning.


What is Aces and Eights: Reloaded?

Simply put, the Aces and Eights: Reloaded game is the second edition of the world’s best selling, state-of-the-art, game-of-the-year wild west role playing game. This new edition will be leathered (if you choose Gunslinger! or higher reward level) and gorgeous, just like the first edition. Aces & Eights is a game that has the fastest, yet most precise combat system while still focusing more on roleplaying opportunities and character development than any other game. There are no levels and dozens of professions from which players can choose and even change as opportunity presents itself. Want to be a prospector because gold’s been found, sure thing. The mine’s played out before you stake a claim, you can turn to selling hardware or become a bandito or gunslinger. That doesn’t work, maybe a lawman or gambler? At each stop you can further develop skills and abilities used while following those professions. The final game will be 300+ pages, the last edition weighed-in at 400. All versions of the game except PDF come with 2 silhouettes, Standard Shot clock and Shotgun Shot Clock.

[h=3]Journey To Ragnarok: A Norse Mythology Adventure for 5e by Michele Paroli[/h]
(Campaign Ends : Sunday 7th May 2017; 07:00 UTC)


Journey To Ragnarok is a 5th Edition 270 to 300 page Hardcover supplement and adventure that will be available in both English and Italian editions. The game, as you may expect with such a title, delves deep into Norse mythology with The Nine Worlds setting and an adventure for players taking the characters from 1st to 15th level. In addition the book will also include…

· New archetypes for all classes
· The Rune Master: A new playable class.
· The Norse Pantheon: an indepth description of deities and semi-deities
· The Runic Divination System
· Mythological and Magic Items
· Creatures and Encounters from The Nine Worlds
· Adventure Maps
· Stunning Artworks by Art of Guardino


The Nine Worlds
You will climb from the roots the World Tree Yggdrasil that sustains The Nine Worlds, where everything is balanced by his opposite:

Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, Fire and Ice, Natural and Artificial.


· Asgard, Aesir Domain, the Golden Stronghold
· Alfheim, Home of the Light Elves, the World of Ice and Summer
· Vanheim, Vanir Domain, the Big Forest
· Midgard, the Land of Men
· Jotunheim, the Land of Giants
· Nidavellir, the Land of Dwarves
· Muspelheim, where Fire and Flames dominate, the Land of the Fire Giants
· Svartalfheim, the Land of the Dark Elves
· Niflheim, the Frozen Realm of Dishonorable Death, and under its surface Helheim, Hel's Domain

The Adventure Module of Journey To Ragnarok will be set in The Nine Worlds, each one designed as a sandbox.


Our main reference is the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, then the Poetic Edda, and some of the Sagas. We also took inspiration from many monographs about Norse last but not least, Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology.

[h=3]Alternity 2017 – A Science Fiction Roleplaying Game by Sasquatch Game Studio LLC[/h]
(Campaign Ends : Friday 5th May 2017; 03:59 UTC)


Alternity sees the lead designer of the original Alternity RPG (published by TSR in 1997) Bill Slavicsek and writer Richard Baker return to a new game, inspired by the original, under the same name. A free download of a Beta release, including an overview of the rules, an introductory scenario and a sample adventure, is already available to download.

Alternity is back – and it’s better than ever!

Strange new worlds and deadly aliens? Mercenaries for hire? Post-apocalyptic survival? Explore your favorite visions of sci-fi adventure in the new Alterntiy Science Fiction Roleplaying Game from Sasquatch Game Studio.

Many worlds, One Game: The Alternity Core Rulebook includes a wealth of campaign-building guidance and a modular rules design so that you can model your favorite SF setting or create your own. We’re also launching with one “pre-built” setting, our Protostar universe.

The Alternity Core Rulebook is a single volume 240 digest sized hardcover (or PDF) that covers character creation, futuristic technology, adventure design, and a selection of dangerous aliens and villainous adversaries, as well as guidelines for building the universe that you want to run and play in.

· 5 character archetypes: battler, expert, leader, striker, survivor
· 5 character species: human, cyborg, mutant, and more
· 40+ sci-fi skills and 80+ character talents
· 50+ adversaries and aliens ready for immediate play
· Campaign design, discussing genres and tech levels
· Encounter design and terrain templates
· Exploration and planetography
· Sample setting: The Protostar Universe
· Sample adventure
· And much more!

[h=3]The Halls of Runehammer – A Classic Dungeon Crawl for 5E by A Hole in the Ground Terrain & Games[/h]
(Campaign Ends : Monday 8th May 2017; 16:31 UTC)


The Halls of Runehammer is a classic Dwarven Dunegon Crwl for 5th Edition, for characters levels 2 to 4.

150 years ago a horrible plague called the Red Death swept the known world. When faced with the destruction of their entire clan some of the dwarves of Runehammer turned to a dark evil in an attempt to survive. Until recently that evil lay dormant, but now it threatens to engulf the entire region surrounding the Halls of Runehammer including the small town of Last Stop.

The game begins on a dark stormy night in the small town of Last Stop at the Inn of the Buxom Wench. (Multiple plot hooks are included to quickly bring the players into the game). The players quickly find themselves involved in a large battle as the town is invaded by an undead skeletal army. The aftermath of the battle begins them on their quest to explore the source and cause of the invaders, which is the Halls of Runehammer.

After a journey through the wilderness the brave adventurers find their way to the dwarven ruins of the Halls of Runehammer where they will explore multiple levels deep into the mountain halls and face many exciting and dangerous encounters into the dark below. The stretch goal sketch at the bottom of the page below will give you a hint at some of the encounters within the Halls of Runehammer.

[h=3]d20 Dice Ties by Kaleb Mankey[/h]
(Campaign Ends : Sunday 14th May 2017; 16:00 UTC)


Wrapping up this weeks column is a campaign that you might be able to wear to work. Kaleb Mankey received some ties with dice patterns on as a child and, after receiving compliments and interest in them, he has designed his own and brought them to Kickstarter to make them.

The ties are available in three colours – Blue, Black and Red – and start at $15 for a single tie.



I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention that our very own EN Publishing Kickstarter A Touch of Class: 7 New Classes for 5th Edition is finishing on Friday 5th May. So if you've not already backed it now's the time!


If you like what we do here at EN World (the Forums, Columns, News, ENnies, etc) and would like to help support us to bring you MORE please consider supporting our Patreon. Even a single dollar helps Thanks!


If you have a forthcoming Kickstarter, or see one that excites you, please feel free to drop me an email on angus.abranson@gmail.com You can follow me on Twitter @ Angus_A or on Facebook where I often post about gaming.

Until next week, have fun and happy gaming!

Angus Abranson

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I'm interested in the Aces & Eights game, but a PDF copy of the game is $40. That's a bit expensive when they are selling the softcover version for $50.


I'm interested in the Aces & Eights game, but a PDF copy of the game is $40. That's a bit expensive when they are selling the softcover version for $50.
I agree a little pricey, but hey just throw in $30.00 more bucks and pledge at the $70.00 Gunslinger lvl. and get the leather bound edition. If this edition is any thing like the 1st ed. the books are worth the money. They remind me of the old Time?Life Old Western Series. I pledged the Gunslinger limited lv. and will purchase a HC and SC edition later.

J.L. Duncan

First Post
Nice to see Aces & Eights mentioned. Something to consider is that right before this Kickstarter, the first edition of this game was being sold on Ebay and such at $250-$300. I don't play western themed RPGs but I might and save that I'm just pack it in a box and see what the market has to say in 5-10 years...


Mind Mage
Cortex Plus looks interesting. Anyone have any experience with it?

AngusA, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Cam Banks

Cortex Plus looks interesting. Anyone have any experience with it?

AngusA, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Happy to answer any questions you have. It's Cortex Prime now, though - this new edition is backwards compatible with all the Cortex Plus RPGs as well as the Classic Cortex RPGs, because it's a modular toolkit. I decided to throw out all of the various sub-edition titles and qualifiers and just go unified rules set all the way.


aramis erak

Cortex Plus looks interesting. Anyone have any experience with it?

AngusA, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

The Cortex Plus engine works by a "Roll a bunch of dice (2-10 is my experience, usually in the 4-5 dice range, 3 is the normal start point), size of each determined by source. Keep the best two, except in exceptional cases. Compare to TN or opposed roll. 1's hurt."

It gets the reward cycle right - you get rewarded with Plot Points for bad things happening, which allow you to do good things, like count extra dice and/or roll more dice and/or bigger dice.

I've run both Marvel Heroic and Firefly; I like them both. Marvel does a few things differently from firefly; in Firefly, the biggest roll I've seen was 8 dice - d8 for distinction, d6 stat, d8 skill, d8 for signature asset, additional d8 for distinction special, additional d8 for signature asset special, plot point to invoke an additional asset, and 1d12 from opponent condition.


Mind Mage
I appreciate the responses, Cam Banks and Aramis Erak.

Two cool things about the Cortex Prime system are, the ease for representing completely different genres, including reallife settings for urban scifi (supertech, urban fantasy, magical realism, etcetera), including some of my favorite tv shows.

(I am sick of D&D because the baked in polytheism and baked in Cleric make every setting feel samey. Once you read the rules, everything becomes gods in Medieval Europe, gods in space, gods in detective stories. Like OD’ing on a particular kind of alcohol, I cant stand a whiff of it anymore. I value a set of rules that can describe a genre, completely sans gods.)

Relatedly, the system makes it easy to swap entire ‘abilities’ (Strength, Intelligence, etcetera) for different abilities depending on whatever abilities are relevant to the genre.

I care about mechanical balance. Is the Cortex Prime mechanics robust enough to handle typical player optimization abuse?
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