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'Tales from Xadia' Dragon Prince RPG Announced

Tales of Xadia is an upcoming RPG powered by the Cortex system, based on the Netflix series The Dragon Prince. It will be published by Fandom, the company which owns D&D Beyond.

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The RPG was announced during a Comic Con panel this weekend which announced four more seasons of the TV show. Tales of Xadia will "bridge" seasons 3 and 4 of the show. The game is slated for a 2021 release, with a pubic playtest preceding it.

There's an official website, with a trailer.

The Cortex system is a universal modular tabletop gaming engine. It was originally crated by Margaret Weis Productions for the Serenity roleplaying game, and has been used for various games since. Fandom, the owners of D&D Beyond, acquired the system last year.

 PRESS RELEASE



Players can explore the ruins of Lux Aurea, try to restore the corrupt sunforge, and fight to stop the evil monstrosities they emanate from spreading. This off-screen story comes alive in both game additions and organized game events prior to the release of Season 4.

Stories from Xadia is being prepared by Cortex, a rule system previously used in award-winning games in the Universes of wonder, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, and more. Cortex Prime was developed by Cam Banks and is the latest version of the system. While waiting for the public game test from Stories from Xadiayou can try out the Cortex Prime rules for free with Hammerheads Spotlight game, available now at cortexrpg.com.


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BadEye

Chief Development Officer at Demiplane
scratches head
Burning magical butterflies to fuel (not merely activate) a spell or have black veiny skin as a cost to casting.
... are not things that I've seen Wizard PCs do.

Then again, you can make those particular things have a mechanical/narrative benefit in a bespoke game or say, "meh, window dressing."
Right - the six primal sources of magic plus the dark magic of humans will have an impact and cost, just as it does in the show.

The Dragon Prince is set in a more or less medieval fantasy world, but much of the story focuses on revenge vs. redemption, overcoming self-doubt, breaking free of expectations, searching for belonging, trust vs. naivety, etc. D&D can certainly capture those elements depending on how your group wants to play/roleplay, but Tales of Xadia will have rules and mechanics that bring those elements alive deliberately.

For example, one of the traits characters have at this point in internal playtesting is called Values:
  • Devotion: Have you ever been obligated to others? This value is about duty, faith, and friendship. You’re motivated by the bonds of loyalty and your love for others.
  • Glory: Have you ever wanted to be celebrated by history? This value is about legacy, fame, and fortune. You’re motivated by praise, acclaim, and your desire to be remembered.
  • Justice: Have you ever been compelled to fix what’s wrong? This value is about balance, righteousness, and reward. You’re motivated by adherence to fairness and what you think is right.
  • Liberty: Have you ever resisted the control of others? This value is about freedom, independence, and autonomy. You’re motivated by a world without oppression or suppression.
  • Mastery: Have you ever needed to rise above your own limits? This value is about control, achievement, and skill. You’re motivated by power, growth, and self-development.
  • Truth: Have you ever sought out all the answers? This value is about fidelity, certainty, and authenticity. You’re motivated by finding strength in facts and by the principle and pursuit of knowledge.

Your die rating in a particular value goes into your dice pool if your character is taking action motivated by that value.

Using an example from the show (SEASON 3 SPOILERS, do NOT expand if you don't want to know!):

In the Season 3 finale, Callum learns the words to a spell from a wingless Skywing Elf that could turn his arms into wings to allow him to fly.

He tries to cast the spell to no avail - he can't get it to work. It's fair to say at that point in the story that he was motivated perhaps by the Mastery Value, and maybe his Mastery is a lower die rating.

At the end of the episode, his friend/new love Rayla is falling to her death. Callum desperately tries the spell again - perhaps this time adding his Devotion Value with a higher die rating - and he succeeds. His arms transform and he takes flight.

This is just one example of how we are creating the game from the ground up to capture the feel of the world of Xadia and The Dragon Prince as closely as possible - no square pegs and round holes.

Additionally, it's important to mention that the Cortex digital platform will enhance gameplay and provide convenience like D&D Beyond does for D&D. Creating/playing characters, referencing rules, prepping for games - all of that will be there.

Thanks!
 

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Von Ether

Adventurer
Material components.
Hence why I specifically stated fueled (like spell points) vs. activated (like material components.) I'm open to better names for this discussion.

There's a distinction that provides a different experience at the table. For me, I'd want to explore that difference in Xadia. (I once had a whole table of Mage players discuss the metaphysics of the game for an hour in character. I've NEVER had that happen in D&D and that's because D&D doesn't have metaphysics for magic as it does a justfication for spell slots; see Ars Magica.)

Then again, for various valid reasons, some are more comfortable with window dressing (reskinning material components.)

Either way it's perfectly fine to play Xadia how you want at your table, but either some themes the show tackles will be skipped over or in GM fiat territory than part and parcel of a more customized experience.
 








Aldarc

Legend
The Dragon Prince is set in a more or less medieval fantasy world, but much of the story focuses on revenge vs. redemption, overcoming self-doubt, breaking free of expectations, searching for belonging, trust vs. naivety, etc. D&D can certainly capture those elements depending on how your group wants to play/roleplay, but Tales of Xadia will have rules and mechanics that bring those elements alive deliberately.

For example, one of the traits characters have at this point in internal playtesting is called Values:

Your die rating in a particular value goes into your dice pool if your character is taking action motivated by that value.
This is what I was talking about when I said it depended on how the adapt Cortex. It sounds like a great direction!
This is one of things that I love about the Cortex system. Cortex emphasizes a design principle that forces players to engage the core themes of the settings. Simply assembling a dice pool requires you to think about the drama and themes of the fiction.
 




Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Could you expand on how that would work?

Sure. Let us take the Leverage game as the example, as it already does this:

A character has six attributes with a die rating in each: Agility, Alertness, Intelligence, Strength, Vitality, and Willpower.

The character as a die rating in each of five roles: Grifter, Hacker, Hitter, Mastermind, Thief. These are basically skill sets.

So, you want to hack the Pentagon? Take your die in Intelligence, and your die in Hacker, roll them, and add them together.
You want to punch the bad guy? Strength+Hitter.
You want to demonstrate in the ballroom to your mark that you're a competition-level dancer? Agility + Grifter.

The character may have assets or specializations that add dice to the pool - then you roll them all, take the best two results and add them.

Some Cortex games have other types of attributes - in the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game, a character has Affiliations - a rating in being Solo (working alone) Buddy (working as part of a pair) or Team. Captain America works really well in a Team - he has a d10 in that. Wolverine prefers to work Solo, so he has a d10 there, if I recall correctly.

So, emulating a theme means having stats appropriate - like the Values example @BadEye gave above.
 
Last edited:

Sure. Let us take the Leverage game as the example, as it already does this:

A character has six attributes with a die rating in each: Agility, Alertness, Intelligence, Strength, Vitality, and Willpower.

The character as a die rating in each of five roles: Grifter, Hacker, Hitter, Mastermind, Thief. These are basically skill sets.

So, you want to hack the Pentagon? Take your die in Intelligence, and your die in Hacker, roll them, and add them together.
You want to punch the bad guy? Strength+Hitter.
You want to demonstrate in the ballroom to your mark that you're a competition-level dancer? Agility + Grifter.

The character may have assets or specializations that add dice to the pool - then you roll them all, take the best two results and add them.

Some Cortex games have other types of attributes - in the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game, a character has Affiliations - a rating in being Solo (working alone) Buddy (working as part of a pair) or Team. Captain America works really well in a Team - he has a d10 in that. Wolverine prefers to work Solo, so he has a d10 there, if I recall correctly.

So, emulating a theme means having stats appropriate - like the Values example @BadEye gave above.

Many thanks for the extensive example, appreciated. I got the hacker's toolkit a while ago but never invested the time to go through it. I think i'll revisit it in anticipation of the Xadia iteration. (y)
 

Cam Banks

Explorer
D&D emulates one thing well and one thing only. D&D. While that is a very broad and pretty flexible situation, it cannot be expected to be all things for all settings.

Cortex feels like a good fit. It is modular enough to be re-built for a number of setting styles without losing the core mechanics.

I'm a huge fan of D&D, especially this latest edition. I play a lot of it, I've run multiple campaigns with it, all of them different. However, I think anyone who plays or runs D&D is fairly aware that, as a game, it is heavily centred around combat—every class is defined in terms of how it handles itself in a battle with monsters, in addition to exploring dungeons and all of the other stuff that seems to connect fights together. That's true of any game that occupies the same niche as D&D, from Pathfinder to 13th Age. For Tales of Xadia, we felt that the show truly depicted something else entirely, with much less focus on combat and battle, and more focus as @BadEye says on what matters to the characters, why they do what they do, and how they can deal with the situations they find themselves in.

Cheers,
Cam
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The effects of dark magic in Dragon Prince seem to be somewhat similar to the corruption rules that used to exist for Ravenloft (I don't know if they still do).

They havent' gone too deeply into the actual effects in the series. However, graphically it looks less like "corruption" and more like, "loss of life force". It looks to me like humans lack a connection to a source of magic, so they use the life energy of those things that do have a connection, but some of their own life does go with the stolen energy. With very large workings, the impact is notable, but with smaller workings, maybe it is only noticeable in aggregate.
 

Sunsword

Adventurer
Perhaps. Maybe it can be done, but several elements of it (the rather Wuxia level of action, and the magic system, f'rex) would be fairly "square peg in round hole". You could do something like it, but it wouldn't be a great fit.

Time will tell, but I'm not a fan of Marvel Heroic or Smallville so I'll be looking for another system to run it and 5E is pretty popular around my hometown.
 

Stone Dog

Explorer
I think humans don't have a default connection to a magic source, but they can all forge their own connection.

The problem is that this is very hard and dark magic was discovered first, so everyone went for that route and assumed there was no other.


I haven't seen the whole series though, so I don't know if that has been addressed.
 

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