Wikipedia says this about Serenity RPG

Its mechanics are the first iteration of the Cortex System.

Which got me thinking, is the Big Damn Heroes Handbook a complete rules update to the Cortex system? Or is it more of an expansion?

Also as an aside, how different is the first iteration of the Cortex System from the current one, whatever that is?


1 Answer 1


Big Damn Heroes Handbook is, functionally, a supplement. It can't stand alone as a ruleset.

It alters the advantages and disadvantages to be more like standard Cortex System, and expands the list. It provides options for tweaking the skill system. It provides some extra material on relationships, as well, giving them mechanical teeth.

Most of it is expansion, but the traits chapter is expansion and revision.

As for the Wikipedia entry, about it being the first iteration, Wikipedia is wrong. Serenity RPG is the second. Larry Elmore's Sovereign Stone is the first, and only later switched over to being a d20 product. But it's not labeled cortex as it was released by Weiss and Elmore DBA Sovereign Press well before Serenity RPG.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So how close does it bring serenity to the latest edition of Cortex? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2012 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Closer; how much closer I can't judge. I got BDHH for the fluff, and don't plan to run the Cortex engine... and the only other Cortex games I've read are Sovereign Stone and Smallville... Comparing to Smallville, it's equally different before and after, but that's Cortex Plus, and so pretty well off topic, even if it is the latest edition. And I don't know a thing about the other settings besides BSG, and the RPG is based in nBSG, which I despise. (I love oBSG. Yeah, I'm one of them.) \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Jan 15, 2012 at 9:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ So am I ;) I think I may need a new question then. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2012 at 9:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret Not very from what I understand: Cortex+ is apparently a very different system then Cortex, based around PC-PC interactions and group character creation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Canageek
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:02

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