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ICONs Podcast

Found an interesting little podcast for a 4 color superhero game system which is vaguely FATE based (i.e. heavy narrative, not numbers).

Overall ICONS is significantly simpler than hero or even Mutants and Masterminds which has the tag line of (80% of the depth of Hero system with 20% of the work).  It's not about ads and disads, adders and such, it's about the big view picture of being a super and doing super type stuff.

If I was to ever run a supers type session, this would certainly be at the top of my list of systems to choose from.

You generate your character at random and then have to come up with the raison d'etre.  In the podcast they're using it less like a 4 color Hulk Smash!, Xmen style and more a average guy with some above average abilities and going after normal humans.

Mechanics -

The mechanics are pretty simple, you roll two d6's of two colors.  One is a negative and one is positive You figure the total on the dice so a negative die of 4 and a positive die of 5 = 1 as a result.  You add your value to the result for a final "Effort"

Subtract the DC for whatever you're trying to do from the Effort and if you have anything left over you get an Effect.

So a die result of -2 + an ability of 5 = 3 Effort.  Against a DC2 yields a 1 Effect which is a Moderate success, the minimum needed to do whatever it is you're trying to do.

DC's range from 1 to 10 with a 1 the equivalent of beating up a small child and a 10 beating up someone in a purple hat.   Human ability runs from 1 to 6 at the lowest and peak points of possibility.   So picking the lock on a good safe or making a 1000 meter shot would be a DC 4 or 5 for example.  Of course if you're trying to make that 1000 meter shot with a 22 pistol then it would likely be a DC 9 or 10.

Pretty simple stuff really.  On your turn you narrate what you're trying to accomplish and then use your powers or stats to achieve it.

For damage, the amount of Effect you end up translates to damage against the target's Stamina.

The random character I rolled up has 9 stamina.  Let's say he gets in a fight with some security guards at the library of congress as he plans to steal the necronomicon.   He bzzt's one of the guards but there are four more and before he can have the guard start shooting the other guards open up on him with AR's loaded with penetrator rounds.  (Library of congress doesn't screw around).  Those count as damage 6,  and the guards have a Coordination of 4 which covers shooting things.  They all attack after Wes mind controls their friend.  They roll a 2, -1, -1, 3.  Add their coordination and get an effort of 6, 3, 3, 7.    We subtract Wes's coordination of 2 (he's below average) and get results of 4, 1, 1, 5.  Well that's not good.  All four guards hit.  Wes's forcefield of 5 is subtracted from the damage 6 and he takes 4 x 1 point hits, dropping his Stamina from 9 to 5.  In one salvo he's almost halfway down.

Wes unfortunately had assumed they'd be armed with pistols, damage of 4 which his force-field 5 would have ignored. Too bad for Wes.

Now he retaliates by having the mind controlled guard shoot one of his friends.

Hopefully he can keep stay up long enough to get them all down and get the necronomicon before the whole library is roused, he's stunned or is forced to fly away.  If he had any Determination he could

So in a quick test, game play is pretty quick and simple, just some basic and straightforward subtraction and addition for the most part.

Test Character

In trying the system out, using purely random results, no fudging other than I picked Flight as my free birthright power of choice because I didn't roll a movement power, I ended up with a guy 'who's seen the dark places of the universe and it didn't end well for him' kind of character.

Origin - Birthright
The hero was born with or destined to develop superhuman
powers. The character gains your choice of one additional power, which
should be innate, and not a device, or +2 to a rolled power level.

Attributes - (ironically they use most of the same attributes I chose for K.O., swap Social in for Prowess)

These range from  a low of 1 to a high of 8.

Prowess  6
Coordination  2
Strength 4
Intellect  5
Awareness 4
Willpower  5

Powers - (I rolled max powers of 5, you can start out with as few as none, same 1-8 range)

Mental - Mind Control 6 (uses up two slots)
Defensive - Force Field 5
Control - Telekinesis 5
Offensive - Life Drain 5

4 powers = 5 slots because bzzzzt is pretty powerful stuff.

And I chose as my free Birthright power a movement power although I could have boosted one of the above by 2, but what's a super without a movement power?

Movement - Flight 6

Specialties (I rolled 3 slots and chose from a fairly basic list of what would be skills in most systems.  A specialty gives you a +1 when you try to do something associated with that specialty) -

Occult - Because at this point the mind control and life drain was leading me to a dark cultist kind of figure.
Medicine - A dark cultist who did autopsies of the things he found in the shadows to see how they tick.
Investigation - Trying to uncover the dark and mysterious clues to the other world I now sense is trying to enter our own.

And the last stats -

Stamina 9 (Str+Will)

Determination 0 (6 - starting power slots of 6, determination is the ubiquitous fate points, bennies, karma chips, hero points, awesome sauce, plot poitns etc etc etc)

Background -

Wes Artimus was a normal kid, or as much as normal goes when you occasionally see things in the shadows or tentacles in the toilet (I said tentacles!).

As he grew older, such sights become more recurring and led him to many an ancient tome of mysterious and dark lore.  Reading those pages by flickering candlelight bent and twisted his mind, giving him visions of the elder gods and bestowing upon him the faintest of tastes of their powers even as they insidiously wore away at his sanity.

As the encounters grew more frequent he started to find motionless bodies of those things he saw in the corners and using his ever present leatherman... well let us just close that rather crimson chapter in his background and move on.

Wes now provides for himself as a Ghost Hunter, using his powers to create the things that the slack jawed cattle stare at in amazement as plates rock about and doors slowly close.

But no, not not forever as soon the great old ones  will break down the walls between the here and now and the great void they're trapped in and then truly will the aether shiver with the great spawning!  MUWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA,

Wait was that camera on? *bzzzzzzt* destroy that memory card and then forget everything you've heard and seen for the last 5 minutes.


He's very tall, 6'6" but a permanent hunched posture drops him down to 6' 2" most times and gives him a secretive cast.  Very slight of frame, he's often been compared to a q-tip thanks to the massive shock of white hair at the top of his head which he seldom tries to rein in.

Wes dresses in casual but tough clothing as he frequently has to go into dingy and dirty locations.  He frequently wears a watch can as a token prison for his hair and always a pair of gold rimmed glasses perches on his nose from behind which is dark brown, almost black eyes see the secret world around him.


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