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Learn the Secrets of Cortex Plus with the Hacker's Guide PDF



Cortex Plus Hacker's Guide PDF Download




If you are a fan of roleplaying games that are flexible, customizable, and narrative-driven, you might have heard of Cortex Plus, a game system created by Margaret Weis Productions. But did you know that there is a Hacker's Guide that gives you even more options and tools to create your own games using Cortex Plus? In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Hacker's Guide and how to download it as a PDF file.




cortex plus hacker's guide pdf download



What is Cortex Plus?




Cortex Plus is a game system that uses dice pools to resolve actions and conflicts. It is designed to be adaptable to different genres and settings by using different types of traits that define characters and situations. There are three main variants of Cortex Plus:


  • Action: This variant is based on Leverage RPG, a game about a team of con artists and criminals who use their skills to help people in need. It focuses on heists, capers, and missions that require planning, teamwork, and improvisation.



  • Drama: This variant is based on Smallville RPG, a game about young superheroes and their personal lives. It focuses on relationships, emotions, and values that drive characters and create drama.



  • Heroic: This variant is based on Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, a game about comic book superheroes and their adventures. It focuses on powers, specialties, and milestones that define characters and create heroic stories.



Each variant has its own rules and mechanics, but they share some common elements, such as dice pools, distinctions, plot points, and complications. You can mix and match different elements from different variants to create your own hybrid games.


What is the Hacker's Guide?




The Hacker's Guide is a sourcebook that gives you more options and tools to create your own games using Cortex Plus. It contains articles, essays, and reference documents that cover various aspects of hacking Cortex Plus, such as:


  • Design principles: The Hacker's Guide explains the core concepts and philosophy behind Cortex Plus, such as how to use dice pools, traits, distinctions, plot points, and complications to create narrative and mechanical effects.



  • Genre emulation: The Hacker's Guide provides examples and advice on how to use Cortex Plus to emulate different genres and settings, such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, western, noir, romance, and more.



  • Game creation: The Hacker's Guide gives you guidelines and templates on how to create your own games using Cortex Plus, such as how to define your game's premise, theme, tone, style, scope, and structure.



  • Game hacking: The Hacker's Guide shows you how to hack existing games using Cortex Plus, such as how to modify or add traits, distinctions, plot points, complications, and other elements to suit your preferences and needs.



  • Game examples: The Hacker's Guide includes three complete reference documents that give you ready-made games using Cortex Plus: Cortex Plus Action, Cortex Plus Drama, and Cortex Plus Heroic. You can use these documents as they are or as inspiration for your own games.



The Hacker's Guide is a crowdsourced and crowdfunded project that involved over a thousand backers and dozens of contributors. It is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to explore the possibilities of Cortex Plus and create their own games using this system.


How to download the Hacker's Guide?




If you are interested in downloading the Hacker's Guide as a PDF file, there are several ways to do so. Here are some of the most common ones:


  • DriveThruRPG: This is the official online store for Margaret Weis Productions and other RPG publishers. You can buy the Hacker's Guide PDF for $19.99 from this link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/117419/Cortex-Plus-Hackers-Guide. You will need to create an account and log in to access the PDF file.



  • Scribd: This is an online platform for reading and sharing documents. You can access the Hacker's Guide PDF for free from this link: https://www.scribd.com/doc/283830586/Cortex-Plus-Hackers-Guide. You will need to create an account and log in to access the PDF file.



  • ePDFx: This is an online service that allows you to download PDF files from various sources. You can download the Hacker's Guide PDF for free from this link: https://epdfx.com/download/cortex-plus-hackers-guide_58f7df79dc0d60bb53da9822_pdf. You will not need to create an account or log in to access the PDF file.



Whichever method you choose, make sure you have a reliable internet connection and enough storage space on your device. You can also print the PDF file if you prefer a physical copy of the Hacker's Guide.


Cortex Plus Action




team of con artists and criminals who use their skills to help people in need. It focuses on heists, capers, and missions that require planning, teamwork, and improvisation. If you like stories like Ocean's Eleven, The A-Team, or Mission: Impossible, you might enjoy Cortex Plus Action.


The basics of Cortex Plus Action




The core mechanics of Cortex Plus Action are based on dice pools. Whenever you want to do something that involves a challenge or a risk, you roll a dice pool and compare it to the dice pool of your opponent or the difficulty of the task. The dice pool consists of several types of traits that describe your character and the situation:


  • Attributes: These are the basic qualities of your character, such as Strength, Agility, Intelligence, and Willpower. You choose one attribute that applies to your action and add its die to your pool.



  • Skills: These are the specific abilities that your character has learned or trained, such as Athletics, Hacking, Persuasion, and Science. You choose one skill that applies to your action and add its die to your pool.



  • Distinctions: These are the unique aspects of your character that set them apart from others, such as personality traits, backgrounds, motivations, or quirks. You have three distinctions that you can use in different ways: you can add a d8 to your pool if the distinction helps you, you can add a d4 to your pool and gain a plot point if the distinction hinders you, or you can create an asset or a complication related to the distinction.



  • Assets: These are temporary advantages that you create or acquire during the game, such as tools, weapons, allies, or favorable conditions. You can add an asset's die to your pool if it helps you with your action.



  • Complications: These are temporary disadvantages that you suffer or inflict during the game, such as injuries, obstacles, enemies, or unfavorable conditions. You can add a complication's die to your opponent's pool or the difficulty of the task if it hinders them with their action.



After you roll your dice pool, you choose two dice to form your total and one die to form your effect. Your total is compared to your opponent's total or the difficulty of the task to determine success or failure. Your effect is compared to your opponent's effect or the default effect of the task to determine the magnitude of the outcome. The higher your effect die, the more impact you have on the situation.


For example, let's say you are playing a Hacker who wants to break into a secure computer system. You roll a dice pool of d8 (Agility) + d10 (Hacking) + d8 (Computer Whiz) + d6 (Laptop). You get a 7 on the d8, a 9 on the d10, a 4 on the other d8, and a 3 on the d6. You choose the 7 and the 9 to form your total of 16 and the 4 to form your effect of d8. The GM rolls a dice pool of d8 (difficulty) + d8 (firewall) + d6 (alarm). The GM gets a 6 on the d8, a 5 on the other d8, and a 2 on the d6. The GM chooses the 6 and the 5 to form their total of 11 and the 2 to form their effect of d6. You succeed because your total is higher than theirs and you create a complication for them because your effect die is higher than theirs. You manage to bypass the firewall and trigger an alarm that distracts the security guards.


The roles of Cortex Plus Action




In Cortex Plus Action, each character has a role that defines their main function in the team. There are five roles in Cortex Plus Action:


  • Mastermind: The leader and planner of the team. They are good at coming up with strategies, coordinating actions, and manipulating situations.



  • Grifter: The con artist and social engineer of the team. They are good at lying, bluffing, seducing, and impersonating people.



  • Hitter: The fighter and protector of the team. They are good at combat, intimidation, and physical feats.



  • Hacker: The technologist and infiltrator of the team. They are good at hacking, breaking, and fixing things.



  • Thief: The stealth expert and acrobat of the team. They are good at sneaking, stealing, and escaping.



Each role has a set of skills and distinctions that are associated with it. You can choose one role as your primary role and another role as your secondary role. Your primary role gives you access to all the skills and distinctions of that role, while your secondary role gives you access to half of the skills and distinctions of that role. You can also create your own skills and distinctions that are not tied to any role.


The hacks of Cortex Plus Action




One of the advantages of Cortex Plus Action is that it is easy to hack for different genres and settings. You can change the attributes, skills, distinctions, assets, complications, and other elements of the game to suit your preferences and needs. Here are some examples of how to hack Cortex Plus Action:


  • Sci-Fi: You can add futuristic attributes, skills, distinctions, assets, and complications to the game, such as Cybernetics, Engineering, Alien, Laser Gun, and Gravity Failure. You can also change the roles to reflect different types of sci-fi characters, such as Pilot, Engineer, Scientist, Soldier, and Explorer.



  • Fantasy: You can add magical attributes, skills, distinctions, assets, and complications to the game, such as Magic, Lore, Elf, Wand, and Curse. You can also change the roles to reflect different types of fantasy characters, such as Wizard, Bard, Warrior, Rogue, and Cleric.



and Zombie. You can also change the roles to reflect different types of horror characters, such as Survivor, Investigator, Fighter, Hacker, and Medic.


These are just some of the possible hacks of Cortex Plus Action. You can use your imagination and creativity to come up with your own hacks and create your own games using this variant.


Cortex Plus Drama




Cortex Plus Drama is another variant of Cortex Plus. It is based on Smallville RPG, a game about young superheroes and their personal lives. It focuses on relationships, emotions, and values that drive characters and create drama. If you like stories like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, or Riverdale, you might enjoy Cortex Plus Drama.


The basics of Cortex Plus Drama




The core mechanics of Cortex Plus Drama are also based on dice pools. However, instead of using attributes and skills, you use values and relationships to define your character and the situation. The dice pool consists of several types of traits that describe your character and the situation:


  • Values: These are the moral principles and beliefs that guide your character's actions and decisions, such as Duty, Glory, Justice, Love, Power, and Truth. You choose one value that applies to your action and add its die to your pool.



  • Relationships: These are the emotional bonds and connections that your character has with other characters, such as Ally, Enemy, Family, Friend, Lover, or Rival. You choose one relationship that applies to your action and add its die to your pool.



  • Distinctions: These are the same as in Cortex Plus Action. You have three distinctions that you can use in different ways: you can add a d8 to your pool if the distinction helps you, you can add a d4 to your pool and gain a plot point if the distinction hinders you, or you can create an asset or a complication related to the distinction.



  • Resources: These are similar to assets in Cortex Plus Action. They are temporary advantages that you create or acquire during the game, such as tools, weapons, allies, or favorable conditions. You can add a resource's die to your pool if it helps you with your action.



  • Stress: These are similar to complications in Cortex Plus Action. They are temporary disadvantages that you suffer or inflict during the game, such as injuries, obstacles, enemies, or unfavorable conditions. You can add a stress's die to your opponent's pool or the difficulty of the task if it hinders them with their action.



After you roll your dice pool, you choose two dice to form your total and one die to form your effect. Your total is compared to your opponent's total or the difficulty of the task to determine success or failure. Your effect is compared to your opponent's effect or the default effect of the task to determine the magnitude of the outcome. The higher your effect die, the more impact you have on the situation.


and a 4 on the d6. You choose the 7 and the 6 to form your total of 13 and the 4 to form your effect of d6. The GM rolls a dice pool of d8 (difficulty) + d8 (Friend) + d6 (Fear). The GM gets a 5 on the d8, a 4 on the other d8, and a 3 on the d6. The GM chooses the 5 and the 4 to form their total of 9 and the 3 to form their effect of d6. You succeed because your total is higher than theirs and you create a stress for them because your effect die is equal to theirs. You manage to persuade your friend to join your cause and cause them some fear that might affect their future actions.


The roles of Cortex Plus Drama




In Cortex Plus Drama, each character has a role that defines their main archetype in the story. There are six roles in Cortex Plus Drama:


  • Leader: The hero and visionary of the story. They are good at inspiring, motivating, and guiding others.



  • Lancer: The rival and foil of the leader. They are good at challenging, competing, and contrasting with others.



  • Heart: The emotional and moral center of the story. They are good at caring, supporting, and empathizing with others.



  • Rebel: The troublemaker and outsider of the story. They are good at breaking, changing, and defying the status quo.



  • Mentor: The teacher and advisor of the story. They are good at educating, training, and counseling others.



  • Outsider: The stranger and newcomer of the story. They are good at exploring, discovering, and adapting to new situations.



Each role has a set of values and relationships that are associated with it. You can choose one role as your primary role and another role as your secondary role. Your primary role gives you access to all the values and relationships of that role, while your secondary role gives you access to half of the values and relationships of that role. You can also create your own values and relationships that are not tied to any role.


The hacks of Cortex Plus Drama




Like Cortex Plus Action, Cortex Plus Drama is also easy to hack for different genres and settings. You can change the values, relationships, distinctions, resources, stress, and other elements of the game to suit your preferences and needs. Here are some examples of how to hack Cortex Plus Drama:


  • Superhero: You can add superpowers as a type of trait that you can use in your dice pool. You can also add superhero-related values, relationships, distinctions, resources, and stress, such as Heroism, Nemesis, Secret Identity, Gadget, or Collateral Damage.



helps you with your action.


  • Complications: These are the same as in Cortex Plus Action and Cortex Plus Drama. They are temporary disadvantages that you suffer or inflict during the game, such as injuries, obstacles, enemies, or unfavorable conditions. You can add a complication's die to your opponent's pool or the difficulty of the task if it hinders them with their action.



After you roll your dice pool, you choose two dice to form your total and one die to form your effect. Your total is compared to your opponent's total or the difficulty of the task to determine success or failure. Your effect is compared to your opponent's effect or the default effect of the task to determine the magnitude of the outcome. The higher your effect die, the more impact you have on the situation.


For example, let's say you are playing Spider-Man who wants to web-swing across a busy street. You roll a dice pool of d10 (Solo) + d8 (Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man) + d8 (Web-Slinging) + d10 (Acrobatic Master) + d6 (Web-Shooter). You get a 9 on the d10, a 7 on the d8, a 5 on the other d8, a 6 on the other d10, and a 4 on the d6. You choose the 9 and the 7 to form your total of 16 and the 6 to form your effect of d10. The GM rolls a dice pool of d8 (difficulty) + d8 (traffic) + d6 (wind). The GM gets a 6 on the d8, a 4 on the other d8, and a 2 on the d6. The GM chooses the 6 and the 4 to form their total of 10 and the 2 to form their effect of d6. You succeed because your total is higher than theirs and you create an asset for yourself because your effect die is higher than theirs. You manage to web-swing across the street and gain an advantage for your next action.


The roles of Cortex Plus Heroic




In Cortex Plus Heroic, each character has a role that defines their main function in the team. There are four roles in Cortex Plus Heroic:


  • Solo: The lone wolf and individualist of the team. They are good at acting on their own, relying on their instincts, and taking risks.



  • Buddy: The partner and friend of the team. They are good at working with others, building trust, and providing support.



  • Team: The member and follower of the team. They are good at cooperating with others, following orders, and contributing to the group.



  • Watcher: The leader and narrator of the team. They are good at directing others, creating challenges, and telling stories.



Each role has an affiliation die that represents how well they perform in different social contexts. Solo characters have a d10 for solo actions, a d8 for buddy actions, and a d6 for team actions. Buddy characters have a d8 for solo actions, a d10 for buddy actions, and a d6 for team actions. Team characters have a d6 for solo actions, a d8 for buddy actions, and a d10 for team actions. Watcher characters do not have affiliation dice; they use different dice depen


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