Cortex Expanse

Suppose we do the game using Cortex/Serenity rules?

After my first run through with Cupbearer, I'm less impressed with the system. Calling your hit points/health "Fortune" takes away most of the flavor of describing combat and wounds. Also, the average character can be shot 3-5 times with a pistol before escalating to any kind of injury, so that's ridiculous. I also miss the stun rules from Cortex.
The roll doubles for points and the drama die is a little cumbersome, but interesting. There need to be more non-combat stunts.
Several skills are noticeably lacking. There's no Streetwise, Dodge or Space Suit skills. Starting with only three skills ( or "Focus") also seems very weak.
The abstract money rules are also lame. Tipping people and bribes are weakened (Mike "I tip him one Income"). I will do some kind of conversion from Serenity Alliance Credits over to some kind of Expanse money.

This all having been said, it makes me want to adapt Cortex. The Drama die and rolling doubles for Stunt Points are the only things we liked, so, we could use Cortex rules and roll a Drama die alongside the normal Cortex roll. In this case, the Drama die would be there only to add flavor and increase the chance of rolling doubles. Now, since Cortex uses larger dice than the AGE system, the chance of rolling doubles is greatly reduced. I would allow players to spend chips to buy stunts, but only once during an encounter. You can add chips and Stunt Points together, but that still counts as your spending chips once during an encounter.

Character Generation

We will start with the standard character generation in Serenity, but your planetary background will come with some required stat modifiers and Assets and Complications.

1 step penalty to starting Strength
1 step penalty to starting Vitality
Bonus Asset (minor) Belter Creole
Bonus starting skill Vacc Suit d2

1 step penalty to starting Strength
Bonus starting skill Vacc Suit d2, Technical Engineering d2 or Knowledge d2

Complication (minor) Branded: Earther
Bonus starting skill Covert d2, Technical Engineering d2 or Knowledge d2

New Assets and Complications
Belter Creole Asset (m)- You speak the patois of Belters, a mish-mash of many languages on a foundation of English with hand gestures and body language used to communicate while wearing space suits. Non-Belters who have lived in space long enough can take this Asset as well, but tend to understand it better than they speak it and have a noticeable accent. A non-Belter who takes it as a Major Asset can speak it fluently with no accent.

Branded: Earther Complication (m)- In the Belt and Outer Planets, your obvious Earther origin brings a negative reaction from native Belters. One step penalty on all kinds of social skill rolls, the penalty stacks with any penalties if the Belters in question also have Prejudice: Inner Worlds. Tycho Station and the Titan resorts are general exceptions.

Memorable: Bone Scars Complication (M or m)- Belters who did not get good bone growth treatment growing up may have surgical scars or minor deformities from improper bone growth and corrective surgery during childhood and adolescence. As a Major complication, the deformities affected your face and appearance and also gives a one step penalty to any rolls involving personal appearance or attractiveness.

Space Sickness Complication (M or m)- Earth and Mars born may not be able to adjust to zero and micro-gravity. Make an Average Willpower (Discipline) roll for minor or a Formidable roll for Major not to become ill and incapacitated. A Belter can take this Complication as well, but receives an extra Complication of Branded (m) for not being a "true" Belter.

Space Combat

Leader- Captain/Command Pilot makes Average Intelligence/Leadership or Tactics to earn one Stunt Point, plus any additional from doubles. Two Stunt Points on an Extraordinary success.

Maneuver- Opposed Piloting roll, ship's Agility plus Pilot's skill roll. Winner gets to open/close distance one range band, two on an exceptional success. +1 to roll per relative Gs of acceleration. For acceleration over 2 Gs, crew must make an Average Endurance roll, +1 step for good juice, -1 step for bad juice, -2 steps for no juice, -1 step per 2 Gs of acceleration over 2 Gs. Failed roll is d6 stun damage, success is d3 stun. Extraordinary success is no damage, botch is d6 wound damage.

Electronic Warfare- Opposed roll, ship's Alertness + character's Tech. Engineering/Sensors. Winner gets one half of Drama die's roll in bonus points (not Stunt points) to spend defensively (Pilot's Evasion) or offensively (Gunner's to hit), divided as EW player chooses.
Extraordinary success gives full value of Drama die.

Gunnery- Opposed roll, gunner's Agility plus Heavy Weapons versus defender's Agility plus Piloting roll. -1 step per 2 G's of each ship's acceleration over 2 Gs. Success is simple hull damage, Extraordinary success or defender's botch, roll on hit location. Torpedoes require an Easy roll to hit, modified by EW bonuses. PDCs can shoot down torpedoes, requiring an Average roll using Ship's Alertness plus Heavy Weapons/PDCs skill. Alternatively, torpedoes launched at short range can be dodged with a Hard evasion roll by the pilot. Torpedoes fired at long range are moving too fast to dodge.


After a couple of sessions, integrating the AGE Stunt point system with Cortex is too annoying. Even just playing with the AGE system straight, stunts are annoying. So I'm dropping it.