In part one we looked at how the various Cortex Plus rules released so far have handled the mechanics of two or more characters cooperating on a task. Now, I’d like to explore a third way between the two.
I must honest: I have a slight dislike for the Leverage version.
In the Cortex Plus Action rules we have so far, during a cooperative action, only one person gets to roll the dice. Gamers like to roll dice, but in this system, unless you’re leading things, the best you can really hope for is picking up a d10 and passing it to your friend.
This isn’t such a huge deal in Leverage due to the way that every character is going to have their own niche to fill, and you’re not going to see people stepping on each others’ toes too often. Generally, everyone will stand back and let the Hitter take on the gang of mooks themselves, because while combat in the system is fun, it’s just as much fun as all the other players have in their own opportunities to shine.
Where is a middle ground or third way?
Middle Grounds and a Third Way
Not all campaigns will fall so neatly at the ends of the Drama-Action axis as Leverage and Smallville do. Which side would a Firefly hack lean towards? The show is undoubtably about the relationships between the crew of Serenity, but again, they very rarely work against each other. If we use the Smallville rules, we’re going to fall into the trap of making everything too easy for the players, but as there is much less of the niche protection of Leverage, there’d be a lot of players watching their friends roll “for them” when working together.
As such, I’ve opted for a modification for my own Firefly hack, which is basically as follows: –
All players participating in an action roll all their applicable dice. The rolled values form a combined pool when calculating the result by adding the two highest dice together, but remain as individual pools for purposes of spending Plot Points to include additional dice in the total result. Using this method, you may see cases where you can’t add the third highest rolled value if the person who rolled that particular die has no Plot Points remaining.
Example: Craig rolls 6,3,2,2; Mark rolls 8,3,2; Chris rolls 5,5,5,2. The total for their combined action is 14 (Craig’s 6 + Mark’s 8). If either Craig or Mark spend a Plot Point, the total comes to 17 from adding their next highest of 3; if Chris spends a Plot Point, he gets to add one of his 5s to the total for a result of 19.
So with these mechanics, the benefits to teaming up are gaining a larger dice pool, which improves the chances of a higher result and gives more options when spending plot points. Furthermore, you can share the cost of buying up a higher result. What this way doesn’t produce are results that are particularly high without the expenditure of further resources (Plot Points) as sometimes occur in Smallville. This option occupies what appears to be a nice middle ground; I wouldn’t suggest this for either Smallville or Leverage, but it seems to be a nice fit for our Firefly hack.
- United We Stand – Teaming Up in Cortex Plus, Part 1 (atminn.wordpress.com)