I read a review of a system to do with the walking dead, last week or so, but I have lost the reference to it.

It was a system which rather than using Strength, Dexterity, etc. used Motivations and Careers and so on.

The example it gave was from The Walking Dead - I have no idea who is stronger between Daryl and Rick, but I can tell you what is different between their personalities.

I quite liked this idea and want to include it in a homebrew game, but cannot quite remember the details. Does anyone recognise a game like this or used this mechanic before?


2 Answers 2


My guess would be on Fate (either Core or FAE).

Fate is a really popular game at the moment and, since it is a generic system, it's being used for pretty much everything now, from the published settings to homebrew My Little Pony or Doctor Who games.

Unlike D&D and its brethen, Fate uses short, character-defining sentences called aspects such as "Uncontrollable power when raging" (the Hulk), "Steel man of Krypton" (Superman), "Fire solves all problems" (the usual character of a D&D player at @BESW's table). They're not called motivation nor careers, but motivation and careers make for good aspects.

Googling around, I saw many different attempts at playing The Walking Dead in the Fate system. The article you've been reading might have been one of those. I think it's worth a search to see if I'm right.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Fate still has skill points, which are rather important for adjudication. \$\endgroup\$
    – smcg
    Aug 11, 2014 at 18:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @smcg The question doesn't say skills are absent, just stats. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2014 at 17:33

It could be the Cortex Plus engine.

This gets hacked in different ways for different games, but I'll use Smallville for this example.

Instead of attributes you have Values (as in "Abstract things that you value"):

  • Duty
  • Glory
  • Justice
  • Love
  • Power
  • Truth

all of which get a dice type and a personalised description ("Love is all I need d4" or "I have no time for Love d12").

Instead of skills, you have relationships to other characters (which also get descriptors and die types).

Then you can add other dice for situational things such as The Fortress of Solitude.

An example from the book:

When Oliver [Queen, the Green Arrow] shoots arrows at a thug trying to run off with Lois over his shoulder, Oliver’s player rolls Love + Lois + Tricked-Out Compound Bow.

Sadly, Smallville is now out of print but if you are lucky enough to spot a second-hand copy I recommend grabbing it. A version of it with the parts owned by DC Comics replaced will be in the forthcoming Cortex Prime.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Cortex Plus Drama is the system I came here to answer. The Cortex Plus Hacker's Guide is probably the best way to get going with a Cortex game that's not one of the official settings. \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Aug 12, 2014 at 8:42

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