Friday, September 20, 2019

News - Cortex RPG System Acquired by Fandom

Full announcement below:

Bringing the award-winning RPG system back to the table, with digital support like never before.

We are excited to announce that Fandom has acquired the Cortex roleplaying game rules system from Margaret Weis Productions. The Cortex system was previously used in award-winning games in the universes of Marvel, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, and more. Additionally, Fandom has brought Cam Banks, lead designer and developer of recent versions of the system, on board to guide the future of Cortex.

An updated version of the system—called Cortex Prime—was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2017. Fandom will fulfill all the commitments of the Kickstarter, plus integrate full digital support—like we have done for Dungeons & Dragons with D&D Beyond—to enhance the experience. Cortex Prime will become the first time digital tools are built-in from the ground up to augment gameplay.

“This new and exciting direction for Cortex really checks all the boxes for me,” said Cam Banks, Creative Director of Cortex Prime at Fandom. “First-class digital support, worldwide remote play opportunities, a way to connect thousands of fans of Cortex, and of course the tremendous team at Fandom all make this the best of all possible worlds for the system.”

Cortex Prime handles multiple genres from books, television, movies, and video games—almost any genre you can imagine can be represented with the system. It has been used in the past for science fiction, steampunk, fantasy, space opera, prime time drama, super heroes, crime capers, and supernatural action. It works best for genres that emphasize a cast of interesting and interconnected characters in settings that let them show off their talents, personalities, and relationships.

Cortex Prime is built to be modular, not a single fixed set of rules. It could be considered as a toolkit, or a big box of building bricks. From a central system of dice and descriptive traits, you can assemble your own game from modular parts to best suit the way you and your friends like to play. You include only those parts that suit your preferences and leave out those that you aren’t as excited by. This process will be easy to undertake through the digital game building tools that will be a core part of the Cortex Prime service.

With Cortex Prime, the tools and resources to create your own custom-built game from a myriad of switches and dials are now yours.

“Cortex Prime will give creators and fans a unique way to participate in shared storytelling,” said Adam Bradford, General Manager of Cortex Prime/DDB. “Tabletop roleplaying games typically integrate the benefits of technology to enhance gameplay after the game is created, resulting in the digital offerings feeling tacked onto it. We are leveraging those benefits from the ground up with Cortex Prime to make the most of a flexible ruleset that props up a wide variety of roleplaying experiences for fans of any genre. This is the kind of thing I have personally wanted to see for years.”

In addition to giving fans a toolkit to create their own types of games, Fandom plans to publish our own games in the future using the Cortex system, including bespoke roleplaying experiences for some of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world today. We will share more about these exciting opportunities soon!

Special Note:
As part of this transition, all sales of legacy Cortex products on DriveThruRPG.com will end on September 30th. Between now and then, you can pick up those products there if you would like to own them in PDF format. Any PDF you purchase in this way will be available for download in your library on DriveThruRPG going forward as usual.


  1. I like the idea of Cortex getting a Beyond type website, too bad there will be zero support for Classic Cortex. :/

  2. Classic Cortex appears within Cortex Prime as various "mods," in the same way that the particulars of Marvel Heroic's Doom Pool does, or Smallville's Growth Pool advancement, or Leverage's Flashbacks, etc.


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