AquaVertigo Publishing

Debut Cortex Con Online, 3-5 Nov, 2023

This week I’m taking a short break from the usual design suspects to talk about an upcoming online convention, Cortex Con, 2023. This will be the first of its kind that I know of gaming convention focused exclusively on all games Cortex-related.

(Note: Cortex Con in not officially associated with or supported by Dire Wolf Digital, the current owners of Cortex Prime.)

If you’re curious about what Cortex games are, especially as part of Cortex Prime, this is the convention to try. And you are of course welcome to join the official Cortex Discord community

From the website, 

Gamers everywhere are invited to join the world’s first online convention devoted to the Cortex tabletop RPG system, including Cortex Prime as well as other flavors such as Cortex Plus, Cortex Classic, and the recent free intro version, Cortex Lite! This fully virtual, fan-driven event runs November 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 2023!

To get details, or if you have any questions or concerns, head to the official Cortex Discord and find the #cortex-con channel! If Discord isn’t the right option for you, you can also reach out via email using the “Email the Event Staff” link.


There are quite a number of games already with more on the way, and you don’t need to have any prior experience to play. 

Why Cortex Works for Me

While I haven’t been a huge fan of Classic Cortex games so far, I fell in love with how Cortex Plus and later Prime adapted to the needs of the story experience.

Cortex Plus started to really customize its rules as modular components, building an experience for each game’s IP. Smallville, Leverage, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and Firefly are all Cortex Plus with a similar design system at its core, yet each plays differently for each story.

Cortex Prime, the current iteration, works to streamline and align all the rules under one banner to make it easier to build the game for the story experience you want, but the rules remain modular so that with each combination of rules you get a different kind of game.

I’ve been tinkering with designing for Cortex for a while and I’m looking forward to sharing some of my creations at this event, such as the following.

Aethernity RPG: Transcendental Baroque Intrigue and Adventure – “Handle With Care” (3-Hour Session, 2x) (Cortex Prime)

They meant something to you, and now they’re gone. You’ve been tasked with handling a matter of importance that may tip the balance of power. What will you do?

Aethernity is a transcendental baroque intrigue and adventure RPG in playtest that’s inspired by Lord of Light, The Chronicles of Amber, Night Watch, and other ideas about reality and our relationship with it.

Found RPG: Shared Consciousness Clone Conspiracy – “Finders Keepers” (3-Hour Session, 2x) (Cortex Prime) 

You’ve seen that face before, in the mirror. Or was it a dream? A nightmare with someone chasing you. What’s that sound?

You’re on the run from the Foundation, a ruthless research company that claims it owns you. You travel with others like you who share your origin, pain, face, and even capabilities at times. What will you do next to save yourself and your siblings? Found is a shared consciousness clone conspiracy RPG in playtest that’s inspired by Orphan Black and Sense8.

Introduction to Cortex Prime (2-Hour Session, 1x) (Cortex Prime)

A 2-hour introductory learning session for Cortex, an award-winning tabletop roleplaying game system that has existed in one form or another for over twenty years, powering multiple licensed roleplaying games. Explore some of the basics of Cortex Prime, the newest version of this much-loved set of game rules, refined and redesigned for a new, digitally-supported generation. This session will better familiarize you with the system and what you may do with it. No prior experience is required.

Used in several acclaimed RPGs based on comic books and television shows, Cortex Prime is a multi-genre, modular, session-centered roleplaying game system. The Cortex toolkit allows you to create your own custom-built game using hundreds of mods, traits, and mechanics, based on themes and genres you already know and love.

Space Station Omega RPG: Political Dramatic Action among the Stars – “The Promise of Peace” (4-Hour Session, 2x) (Cortex Prime)

What do you do when your space station responds to an automated distress call for a derelict ship that shows up after missing from the War nearly 10 years ago?

The game is a love letter to sci-fi that focuses on communities of people fighting for what they believe in against impossible odds. The characters in these stories have found their way by choice or chance to the same place in the middle of a crossroads for both the larger story and for themselves. The characters aboard this station are on a mission post-galactic war, assigned and challenged to use every tool at their disposal to help reshape the future for an entire galaxy. 

Next Steps

I’ll be continuing to promote Cortex Con and putting the finishing touches on my events. I hope to see you there online or hear about your experience.


Let me know what you think. Was this helpful or insightful?


DMK, the founder of AquaVertigo, is a creatively curious artist, author, designer, educator, entrepreneur, and organizer based in the Midwest, USA.

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