10 Things to like about the ICONS RPG

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28 Responses

  1. DarkTouch says:

    I do believe that I heard in a PodCast recently Steve said that even in the new DC Adventures (M&M 3E) Superman and Captain Marvel have the same strength. ;-)

    Yes, I’ve been loving on ICONS. There are some areas of the game that I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around and probably won’t until I’ve gotten a chance to play it.
    .-= DarkTouch´s last blog ..Senor Misterioso for ICONS =-.

    • greywulf says:

      I heard that too. Won’t stop people from endlessly debating which is strongest and writing up their own versions though (I say Superman) :D

      I look forward to your first playtest report.

  2. Looks very cool! I don’t think I’ve played a straight-up superhero game since the Marvel FASERIP days. The random element sounds very old-school and appealing. I might have to give this a look at some point.
    .-= Daniel Swensen´s last blog ..Gaming On the Cheap, Part 1: Paper Miniatures =-.

    • greywulf says:

      Wait until you see my next post – I’ve written a conversion for Iron Man from the Marvel RPG, just to show how it’s done. I suspect you might like it!

  3. Vincent Diakuw says:

    The system has a choice of two (mathematically equal) dice mechanics. Either use 2 differently coloured d6s, one for positive, one negative…. Alternatively (and the option we picked), just roll 2d6-7. Either way you end up with a number from -5 to +5 along a bell curve.

    Couldn’t you also choose to roll2 differently coloured dice and just keep the lower as your result, eliminating the math entirely?

    • greywulf says:

      No, because that will only give you a number from 1 to 6. To get a range from -5 to +5, either taking one die away from the other (take the red die from the blue die, for example), or rolling 2d6-7 works best.

      • DarkTouch says:

        It works out the same. You declare the Positive and the Negative dice as normal but when you roll you select the lowest absolute die value. So far example -3 and +5 gets you -3, +1 and -6 gets you +1. Duplicates count as 0.

        Its one of 5 trillion variant FATE rolls.

  4. Andrew Modro says:

    The inclusion of both the random chargen and the point-buy system is actually part of what sold me on ICONS. Not being allowed to make the character I want to make is generally a non-starter for me, but there are times when I don’t have my own ideas or when I don’t plan to get terribly invested, and that’s when the dice rolls and tables come in handy. The random ICONS chargen reminds me strongly of the old FASERIP Marvel system (I don’t think this is a coincidence) and should come up with some interesting results.

    I also like the way it handles Aspects (which I ordinarily do not care for) and I don’t mind the d6-d6 rolling (which, again, I ordinarily do not like). So that’s three things I don’t typically like in a game that ICONS does in a way that I think I can enjoy. That speaks volumes to me. I’m definitely going to enjoy this one.

    • greywulf says:

      Agreed. I’m a fully signed up Mutants & Masterminds fanboi but there’s something about ICONS which appeals. It manages to combine the best of both Marvel RPG and M&M and put it together in a light, fast package that just hits the spot.

      Looking forward to kicking off a full story arc soon!

  5. I want to love ICONS but I don’t. I like it for sure but as someone who counts super hero comic book gaming among his favorite genres, I find this game almost too simple. Because there are only 10 ‘power levels’ and very few rules to differenciate one power from another, many of the characters generated with this system seem to ‘taste the same’.

    I’m a big comic book fan and its much easier for me to generate a cool superhero, code name and costume included, than it is for me to create a character for D&D for instance. As a result, random superhero generation is a fun curiousity that’s good for some laughs or to challenge myself but I just don’t know a single player or GM who would use it to play a campaign.

    I eagerly await DC Adventures and M&M 3E!
    .-= Adam Dickstein´s last blog ..Secret Origins – Part II =-.

    • greywulf says:

      Our own superhero campaign was born about 30 years ago using Golden Heroes, then Marvel RPG and through several other systems to M&M right now. I guess you could count us as the guys who have successfully run a campaign using random character generation – some of those first random heroes are still very much alive and well to this day :D

      Where random chargen helps is to avoid the Batman/Superman syndrome where every character is either a supertalented normal or a strong dude who can fly and fire blasts of energy. My favourite heroes (and villains, for that matter) began life as a couple of random rolls for inspiration. Sometimes I still use the Marvel RPG to spawn ideas before building the character using M&M. A little randomness keeps things fresh, even though I’m far from short on ideas myself. And it keeps the players guessing.

      Each to their own, of course :D

  6. Tourq says:

    You had me at, “I pick up the train and hit him with it.”


  7. benpop says:

    I’m greatly tempted to purchase the PDF at the sale price. But that there’s no option for print… I can’t legally have this done print-on-demand, correct?

    Greywulf: Tempting Me to Buy Stuff Since 2008.

    • Dooflegna says:

      I know exactly what you mean. I just bought the PDF. Greywulf, you’ve made me buy so many good RPG purchases! I love it!

  8. BlaqueSaber says:

    My problem is that I don’t really have people to RPG with. I own several RPGS, all waiting for the slight chance to be played one day, but the price is a little steep for a “slight chance”

  9. Sean says:

    OK, but can I play D&D with it? :D

  10. kelvingreen says:

    many of the characters generated with this system seem to ‘taste the same’.

    Moon Knight. Batman. Nighthawk. The Midnighter. Darkwing.

    It’s a feature, not a bug. ;) It’s all about how the character is portrayed, not their statistics. After all, Thor is essentially a variant of Captain Marvel (Shazam!) in terms of abilities, but the trappings and personality are different enough to separate them.

  11. Utu says:

    Great review. The random generation reminds me of a supers system that Games Workshop sold in the 80s back before they went over to miniature wargaming almost exclusively. That random generation is one of the things I’ve seen people say they liked, for the same reasons you gave.

    I’m curious though; what upcoming DC Universe RPG? I did a search, eagerly hoping a new DC RPG was forthcoming, but all I found was references to the WEG DC Universe system(and of course the old standby DC Heroes).

    • greywulf says:

      That’ll be Golden Heroes. It was one of the first Superhero systems to be released and way ahead of its time in terms of game design. Unfortunately some of the rules (the Parry rules in particular) were incomprehensible, but apart from that it was a terrific game. It’s even still alive, as Squadron UK!

      DC Universe is coming along very nicely. Rules-wise it’s 3rd Edition Mutants & Masterminds (which will also be released as a stand-alone ruleset at the same time) and an evolution of the current 2e system. Some of the rules will change (Feats are gone/altered and stats are now replaced with just the bonuses, etc), but most of the system should be familiar to we hardcore 2e M&M gamers.

      The best source of information about DCU is the main DCU site in which Steve Kenson is posting his design journals and teasers on the run-up to launch. Looking good so far!

  12. greywulf:

    I almost forgot – there’s Icons & Sorcery (pdf), a fan conversion of ICONS suitable for low fantasy gaming. It’s well worth a look.
    So the answer is “yes” :D

    Two things:
    1- Do you know who is doing this conversion and how to get in touch with them? There’s no email/website and the root URL for that file has nothing.

    2- Check out the Icons game I hope to run at Gen Con this year. See the link to my post right below. :-D

  1. May 25, 2011

    […] that several role-players in my groups have asked about D20 Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Ed. or Icons! Fellow Game Master Jason E.R. may run a one-shot of Dark Pages this coming […]

  2. August 17, 2011

    […] rules, was similar to the more recent Icons, even though that loosely FATE-based, rules-light game uses art similar to the animated DC universe. Speaking of superheroes, I'm still waiting on […]

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