In the Shining Court of Drinax!

Running Pirates of Drinax with Cortex Prime.

We’ve wrapped up two sessions so far of Pirates of Drinax using Cortex Prime. So far I’ve been hard framing the start of these sessions. I have a question in mind for each that I hope the players answer during play.

What’s the “big” plan?
Who is in charge?
What kind of “crew” are you?

We have the space and time, so I prefer if the players show me through their character’s actions. I’ve also been mindful to make them episodic so that Callbacks can be awarded in these early sessions. I can see us moving into multipart sessions since we’re only playing for two hours at a time, then Callbacks might span two sessions.

In the first session, we started on Drinax a the floating palace in the aftermath of a limited bombing during the King of Drinax’s Gala event. The crew, Rada, Parak, and Callum, found the rebel scum that did the deed, or the corpse of the rebel from planetside. The crew allied with an Aslan agent —from the Pathways R-map, and broke out an Aslan prisoner from the palace’s gravity prison.

In session two we take the Harrier warship out for a spin Princess Rao tags along offering up a job. Some ruffians down in engineering try to take Callum’s face. The crew spaces two of the three ruffians.

What have we learned? Without asking, the players showed me what kind of crew they are and the tone of actions in the game. This feels more on tone with grittier shows like Cowboy BeeBop than say Star Wars. Mechanically, I’ve been buying hitches ( dice rolls of 1s in Cortex) to expand the Doom pool, instead of applying complications. I felt like we were trying out the setting, new game, let’s see how it goes before messing up player-characters.

We had a by-week, but for the upcoming session three, I’ll throw two more opportunities on the table to go along with Princess Rao’s offer. If they are still waffling about jobs then I’ll “make an MC Hard Move”. The Pirates of Drinax sandbox is very laissez-faire about what the players do. I think a little GM “lifting” here is required to get some inertia going. Our game has a strong TV drama vibe over the Traveller setting. I believe using Values and Relationship traits add to the level of character drama created. Whenever players pull these traits into a pool it colors what we understand about that character and the player usually volunteers a few words about the trait justifying the dice.

Foundry VTT continues to be fun to play in, explore, and prep with. The base Cortex system made for Foundry VTT is fine, but it is generic. That’s not a knock, Cortex is a toolset, right? But Cortex-powered Pirates of Drinax is very specific and I’d like our VTT to be more bespoke to our game —so I’m working on that!


Jaanel, Aslan PoW [2D6]

  • Sleeping Giant

  • Survived the gravity prisons of Drinax

  • Wrench Monkey

Princess Rao [2D8]

Play Fearless

-Mad Jay