2d20 deconstructed

So it doesn’t look like we’re getting an official 2d20 core any time soon, so I’m going to have a look at doing my own. I’m going to take the cortex+ approach.

Cortex+ included Smallville, Leverage, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying and then some quickstarts. Eventually they released a hackers guide where they renamed the variations to Drama, Action and Heroic. Cortex Prime is intended to offer a choice of different Cortex options all working on the same basic core. I figure we can do the same with 2d20!

So far We have 3 Main Versions of 2d20;

Original, as seen in MC3e, Infinity, Conan and Devil’s run.

“Medium” as seen in star Trek Adventures

Momentum as seen in John Carter

What is the basic core of 2d20?

Roll 2d20 looking to roll equal or under a value based on the player, counting successes versus a difficulty. Extra successes give momentum which has various spends. You can get more dice from burning threat or momentum. Damage tends to involve rolling combat dice.

What differentiates the 3?

All have the same basic rules, the differences are mainly in how the characters are presented.


  • Original characters have 7 (or 8 in MC) main attributes with skills linked to these attributes. Attributes Range from 6 to 13 with an average of 8-10. Skills are split into Expertise (which adds to the attribute) and focus (which gives double succeses); both range from 0-5.
  • Characters have talents linked to skills which grant special abilities
  • In combat characters take damage to tracks like physical and mental, and then also suffer wounds, with 5 wounds being death.


  • STA characters have 6 attributes and 6 fields of expertise. All rolls are against attribute + field. Attributes range from 7 to 13 and field from 1 to 5, similar to Original. characters also have specialties which grant double successes.
  • Characters have talents linked to fields and race which grant special abilities
  • In combat one wound (injury) takes you out for the scene, but you can spend momentum to avoid this.


  • Momentum characters have 6 attributes but no skills. Rolls are made against two attributes added together. Attributes range from 4 to 12.
  • Characters have talents which can be created using a provided system
  • In combat characters take damage to tracks like physical, mental and emotional, and then also suffer wounds (afflictions), with 4 wounds being incapacitated


So ideally you can mix and match;

  • Detailed skills, custom talents, simple damage…
  • Basic attributes and fields, complex damage, detailed talents…
  • and so on…

So now i just need to start writing this up…








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