Jun 282009

I finally scraped together the dollars to pick up the Supernatural RPG PDF. In case you haven’t heard this is the licensed RPG using Margaret Weiss’ Productions Cortex Rules for the Supernatural TV series.  The dead tree version should be coming soon.
First, this PDF has pretty hefty price tag, just under $30. Personally, I don’t think this is because MWP is trying to mess with the PDF market. Licensed RPG’s are always a gamble for the publishers. They have to get approvals from the rights holders and give them a decent chunk of change.
The Cortex rules are pretty solid. I’ll admit that I haven’t had chance to play them but reading through them I can see where they will shine. The system has made some pretty big steps since it’s initial release as the Firefly RPG. A few kinks were worked out and the editing and organization is better. The rules are pretty simple roll Stat + Skill against a Target Number where stats and skills are a die type, just like Savage Worlds. I like it a little better since there are skill specializations add a little more customization to characters. Disads/Advantages are also ranked by die type and will raise the target number or give a bonus accordingly. Another thing is that skills aren’t tied to an Attribute. GM’s are free to mix and match as the situation requires like in World of Darkness.
The Supernatural game is pretty. The layout is like the infamous journal from the series, full of little sketches, sticky notes and newspaper clippings. Another neat and somewhat entertaining thing is that the whole thing is written as if Dean Winchester did it. This makes the book at least entertaining to read rather than a really dry rules dump.
The thing is do you really need the game to play a Supernatural campaign? Not really. There’s enough fluff material available on line or from books like the Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons and Ghouls that you could easily adapt to your favorite system. Personally, I can see using Savage Worlds, Unisystem, WoD, Chaosium’s BRP (with some heavy Call of Cthuhlu influences), possible Gurps or even d20 (OGL Horror would probably be nice). I’ve seen lots of folks posting this point and some home brews are already in the works. In this tight economy, folks might opt to do this more quickly. Also, I know how much “fun” it is to try to introduce a new set of rules to a gaming group.
This book has been really slow to hit the shelves. The last time I checked Amazon still said it will be available last January and the MWP site is still messed up. The best place I’ve found to following anything on the system is the Cortex Fan Forums (and the designers do post there).
Overall, it’s a very nice product. I like the game and probably will pick up a copy of the dead tree version.

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 Posted by at 10:41 am

  2 Responses to “The Supernatural RPG”

  1. As a HUGE Unisystem fan I understand what you are saying here.

    As a player I would have loved to see a Unisystem version of this.
    But as a designer myself I also see the need for this genre covered by other systems.

    That all being said, I loved the way that the Cortex system has “matured” here. Supernatural is a great fit for this system. Doing it under Unisystem would have lead to people wanting to insert Slayers, Protectors and more magic. It stops being “Supernatural the Series” and just another “supernatural” game.

    The book itself is very pretty. An order of magnitude over MWP previous Cortext books. I would say that if anyone has any interest at all in Cortex should get this book.


  2. Thanks for the comment. And you are very correct, using the Unisystem folks would want to insert the stuff from Buffy/Angel which would not make it Supernatural game any more. IMHO, it’s the GM’s job to say, “Yes, we are using Unisystem. We are NOT playing Buffy.”
    I do think that Cortex is a very good choice for the licensed version of the game.

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