Star Wars with Cortex Prime, Episode VII

Spaceships! Spaceships! Spaceships! Part of the reason I’m going with Cortex Prime for my Star Wars build is that I think it can avoid two of my main issues with previous games’ takes on starships. The other reason is the Firefly rpg.

Maps and Minis

I like the X-Wing Miniatures game quite a bit, and if I’m being honest it would be neat to be able to use my tiny spaceships for this application. I don’t really like trying to boil a chaotic dogfight or chase down to hexes/squares of movement. These types of systems usually do a fair job at distinguishing different vehicles because they have this axis of play to expand on, so they often will have crunchy subsections full of upgrades and mods for ships.

Roll Pilot… Again

My other issue with most spaceship mechanics is the prevalence of rolling your piloting skill over and over again. You abstract out movement or positioning and suddenly you lose some of that play area for distinguishing types of ships or what’s important other than who’s a better pilot.

The Ouroboros

I think my answer is actually contained within the Firefly rpg, which is deliciously ironic. Cortex Prime lets you form your dice pool out of several sources, including pilot skill, sure, but also things like your ship’s engines or distinctions (either your own or your ship’s). This pool might be made differently round to round, which helps assuage my misgivings about rolling Pilot ad nauseum. The ship you’re flying and the pilot matter because they’re working in concert. I don’t have to deal with hex maps because it’s Cortex Prime. Sounds good so far.

The Firefly rules have a bunch of example ships for their universe, all with SFX and engines/hull/systems ratings. I’ll need to write up a handful of Star Wars ships to test with and see if it works for me before I put in more specific prep.

Would It Help If I Got Out and Pushed?

There are a few areas where Star Wars needs to break from the Firefly rules or I need to have some conventions in place to handle commonly seen situations.

Angling Those Deflector Shields

We can use resource pools for deflector shields – probably only 1 or 2 dice for starfighters and increasing the pool or the dice size for larger ships.

You’ll Have to Use Proton Torpedoes

By the same token, concussion missiles and proton torpedoes can be represented by resource pools as well. The bulk of Star Wars space battles are done with lasers, with missiles used for big moments. Resource pools work great for this.

I’ve Got My Ion You

Ion cannons deal Ionized complications that can affect Engines and Systems rolls. Step Ionized up past d12 and the ship is disabled. Super easy.

All this is predicated upon actually playtesting, of course. It sounds pretty solid on paper and it feels good so far because I’m using the Cortex Prime tools (distinctions, sfx, resource pools, etc) to build this out rather than trying to attach custom rules to it.

That part will no doubt come later once I think I know what I’m doing.

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