New Game Release: Gaming In The ‘Verse: Gen Con 2013 Exclusive and FAQ

gaming-in-the-verse

If you recall, we announced the pre-order for this convention rulebook back in April. Today, I am pleased to announce that we delivered Gaming in the ‘Verse: GenCon 2013 Exclusive, as promised, on Thursday, August 15th. This preview for the Firefly RPG line, both the corebook and Echoes of War, are now available at DriveThruRPG.com.

By now you should have a good idea what this rulebook is for, so let me address some questions we’ve received to help you understand more general information about the line I’m managing and designing.

1) What is the difference between the Serenity RPG and the Firefly RPG?

The Serenity RPG debuted in 2005 and employed a rule system which is now known as “Cortex Classic.” Based on the movie, this game was licensed through Universal Studios.

The Firefly RPG, which debuted in 2013, employs the Cortex Plus engine which has been the foundation for Leverage, Smallville, and Marvel. The game is based on the Fox television series. This is not a new edition of the Serenity RPG; these are two, separate games and play very differently.

This also means there are setting-related decisions we made to create a strong foundation at the beginning of the Crew’s story arc. As we show in the Exclusive, we’ll first reinforce the television series by providing all rules for secondary characters and dive into actual play examples for every Episode. We will start faithful to the show and will slowly expand into new canon — which we’ve already done by providing new ‘Verse-related locations, characters, ships, etc.

2) Shouldn’t River be more powered than she is? Why is Book presented as secretive? Wait… Where’s Miranda?

We provided rules for the main cast at the very beginning of their story arc. River is still extremely mysterious — no one knew she had combat-related powers until Kaylee witnessed her fighting skills at Niska’s skyplex in “War Stories,” which was the tenth episode in Firefly. Even then, Kaylee did not reveal her skills right away. This also means that we will not be diving into the origin of Reavers due to the boundaries of our licensing agreement. They will be the mysterious boogeymen who haunt the black in their modded ships.

There are marked differences for many of the characters at the beginning of the show versus what we know about them in the movie. So, the reason why you’re seeing that distinction, is because we intentionally provided their character descriptions and rules to line up with the TV series.

3) Do I have to run the Episodes as they are presented?

Our adventures were designed for folk who’ve never run Cortex Plus before and for GMs who prefer a ready-made scenario. The system is incredibly flexible and no two gaming groups are alike. For that reason, I would gauge your decisions (both as a player and as a GM) according to the needs of your table. I’m finding that larger groups (I ran this for a cast of nine Crewmembers) will focus on banter more than smaller teams who’ll emphasize setting.

Our role as a publisher is to provide as much material as possible so all types of GMs and players will get what they want out of these new stories. The sample Assets, Complications, and results table are just that — samples to help guide you as your Crew travels through the ‘Verse. For example, if you were to run Wedding Planners “as is” you’d get two to three sessions of play out of the scenario.

4) Is this the same rule system you’ll use in the corebook?

Yes, absolutely. What our systems team created is amazing and we have no intention of altering game play. I’ve instructed our new folk, led by Mark Diaz Truman, to be faithful to what’s been presented in the Exclusive. My role on the mechanics side is to continue reinforcing canon in the system-related context. So expect new Distinctions in the corebook, advancement, more rules clarifications, game play examples, sample Assets/Complications, and a few new aspects like what happens when you botch. (Hint: players earn a Complication without getting a Plot Point.)

We are going to take the Basic Rules chapter and split that up between player and GM so we can expand on certain points. These rules are the basis for Echoes of War adventures, so if you like Wedding Planners or Shooting Fish — I think you’re really going to dig the new Episodes we have in the pipe by some fabulous writers. Just fabulous.

5) What’s next? When’s the corebook coming out?

First up, we’re releasing the stand-alone editions of Wedding Planners, Serenity Crew, and Shooting Fish that debuted in the Exclusive on September 3rd. To be clear: this has much of the same content. (The Exclusive has more, which is related to the corebook.) We’re separating these out to match the publication schedule for the Echoes of War line, and to provide fans with different options. For example, we anticipated that fans who picked up the Wedding Planners Cortex Classic Set, may prefer not to buy the Exclusive and just try a stand-alone Episode.

Before I left for Gen Con, I finished the third Echoes of War adventure called “Friends in Low Places.”

***SPOILER ALERT*** Mouse over to read the synopsis! ***END SPOILERS***

We will continue to release Episodes in digital ahead of the corebook and this is next in line. Now that that’s over with, my attention is on the corebook and the other, unannounced products we’ve got coming up. I’m really, really excited about this.

If you have other questions, feel free to ask them here. We have already incorporated feedback into what we’re working on; though our time frame is short, we are listening. It’s tough because we have to balance comments with getting games out on time — and that’s something I am hyperfocused on.

Thanks for your interest in this shiny, new game!

New Game Release: Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide

Cortex Plus Hacker's Guide

Today’s new release is the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide. Here’s some information about this project:

We asked creators, amateurs, and professionals alike to share new mechanics, settings, and entirely new games based on our popular Cortex Plus roleplaying games: LEVERAGE, SMALLVILLE, and MARVEL HEROIC ROLEPLAYING. An army of authors contributed their own ideas to the project, which we dubbed the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide. Emboldened by a highly successful Kickstarter project and the investment of over a thousand backers, the Guide has blossomed into a fully featured sourcebook for all things Cortex Plus!



My essay is about role-playing like you’re starring in your own television show. It had two parts. First, I wanted to have a section where I addressed thematic issues about this style of game. Second, I took the Cortex Classic character sheet and modified its contents to put more emphasis on roles and relationships. Combined, the essay will likely be more helpful for newer Cortex Plus fans who have roots in Classic than those who’ve played through this system since the very beginning.

Enjoy the book! There’s a lot of great material here!

Fulling a Firefly Fan Promise

As the brand manager/lead writer for the Firefly RPG, there is nothing that makes me feel happier than being able to make good on a promise. We said we were going to offer the Wedding Planners Cortex Classic Set in July, ahead of the Gaming In The ‘Verse: GenCon 2013 Exclusive, and?

Today is that day.

A Letter From Margaret Weis

My fellow Browncoats:

It’s hard for me to imagine how much time has passed since my company first started in 2005. I remember standing at GenCon with stacks of freshly-printed books talking to hundreds of gamers about the movie Serenity and, of course, Firefly. It’s no secret I’m a big fan of the ‘Verse and have loved the series since it first debuted. I know many of you feel the same way, too.

Some of you may remember that the history of Margaret Weis Productions is closely tied to Firefly and other, popular science fiction shows and movies. Those games used a system we now refer to as Cortex Classic and were published over eight years ago. Since that time, we’ve revised and updated the game mechanics to a more streamlined system we now refer to as “Cortex Plus.”

That’s why I am thrilled to present the first Echoes of War adventure for the FIREFLY RPG. But, more than that, I’m excited that we’re offering my adventure in two systems for our fans: Cortex Classic and Cortex Plus.

This edition of Wedding Planners uses the Cortex Classic stats from our original game system and complements the Serenity Crew in Cortex Classic and the CORTEX CLASSIC SYSTEM ROLE PLAYING GAME included with this release. We are offering this option to fans of our original game mechanics as a way of saying “Thank You!” for being such an important part of my company. We have not forgotten about you!

The Cortex Plus version, which will employ our shiny new FIREFLY RPG game mechanics, will be released separately and will be clearly marked as such.

Regardless of what system you love, I hope you have fun with Wedding Planners and are excited as I am to play in the ‘Verse!

Margaret Weis
July 2013

The above text is republished from a letter that appears in the Wedding Planners Cortex Classic adventure. A PDF version of this letter is available here.

Presenting… Scion: Extras (Supplemental Yet Can Be Somewhat Useful On Occasion Scions)

Scion Extras

While it is well-known that not every God is as potent as Zeus (and not every Goddess as brave as Isis), even the Gods themselves tend to“forget” their long-lost cousins and great-aunts twice-removed on the other side of the family. Among the immortals, the uber-powerful feel there are some deities best left off Junior’s wedding invitation, ignored at holidays, or obscured deep in a poorly updated Wikipedia page.

In Extras (Supplemental Yet Can Be Useful On Occasion Scions), a select number of these rare Gods, Goddesses, and their Scions have been thrown under the spotlight. From the oft-overlooked Queen of the Porcelain Throne to a brave-but-curious Scion who loves the outdoors, discover how the pantheons feel about these add-ons and their place in the War against the Titans.

This book is compatible with Scion: Hero. It includes:

  • 10 playable Scion extras from 6 pantheons
  • Deadpan humor. Because RPGs are dead, ya know?
  • Song lyrics for Sci, Scion Style. We expect to see a fan video.
  • Easter eggs! Not the literal kind. That’d be too messy. The “Oooo…Fans might want to…” kind.
  • …and more!


  • HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S!

    New Hero Volume 1 and Aesop’s Modern Fables Now Available in US

    The New HeroToday, I am pleased to announce that both New Hero Volume 1 and The Lion and the Aardvark, Aesop’s Modern Fables are available for purchase in the US.

    The Lion and the Aardvark CoverThe first anthology includes a detective noir story titled “Fangs and Formaldehyde” about a vampire named Atlas who will die if he gets too emotional. “Bored to Fu,” a modern-day fable about a mouse, a dragon, and productivity, is featured in the second collection.

    You can buy both books, in print or digital, direct from the Stone Skin Press website. If you have questions about other places to purchase them, drop the publisher a line.

    I hope you enjoy these stories! They were a lot of fun to write! :-)

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