Monday, April 27, 2015

Some ICONS tricks, part 1

SYSTEM: ICONS

These are some tricks I've developed or been told about ICONS Assembled character creation. I have this as part 1 because I'm sure that others will occur.

Do you need that life support? The rules for exposure indicate a Strength check against Difficulty 0. If the character's Strength is over 5, they're never going to fail the exposure check. There are cases where the life support is necessary, but for things like the Hulk wandering in the Arctic, it's not really needed.

Do you need that leaping? When I was putting together a 45 point Spider-Man, I had Leaping 2...but according to the rules, a character with strength 7 or higher can jump to Extended Range (you need to yell). An early info page on Spider-Man claimed he could jump across the street or up a three-storey building. That sounds like Extended Range to me.

Do you want that gadget to be a limitation? By default, devices are just devices. Yes, they can be taken away, but it's assumed that the character has more, or will get them back, and they're not a limit in game terms. Steve Kenson pointed out that the Source Limit works well to represent the kind of unique gadget without which the powers don't work.

Is that really Alternate Form? Doing conversions for characters from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, I ran across three characters who were said to be made of energy (Wonder Man, Living Laser, and Zzaxx). In the first and third cases, they seem to interact quite well with the world, mostly through punching. Alternate Form: Energy explicitly denies that. Instead, I went with Qualities that said they were made of energy. That meant that players could come up with all those funky energy-related schemes but the characters could still punch and be punched.

Autofire Fast Attack... Something I've come up with. If a character has Fast Attack, let them combine attacks with themselves. This means that, say, Wasp with her stingers of 4 can fire twice at someone, and (assuming they both hit) combine them for a +1 damage, doing 5 damage. I'd probably put the implicit limit that it can't beat Resistance to Damage if the special effect doesn't allow it (armor might have a weak spot the attacks are focusing on, but a force field probably not).

Beware the Rhino! Another possibility I've come up with but not yet tested. Suppose a character has the Specialty: Power (Strength) Expert. He applies one of the specialties to the to-hit roll, increasing the chance of a massive success. If he gets to test for a slam attack, he then applies the other specialty to the roll for the slam attack, increasing the likelihood that the target will be slammed. This is to represent those characters who are very good at hitting people and knocking them out of the way.

Its force is so terrible I can use it only once! If a character has some overpowered weapon that has limited uses, rather than buying it full strength and putting a limitation on it, go the other way: the power is a stunt of some other power, using the +1 damage to push. The character has to have an advantage for this to work, usually gained by taking a trouble like "Other armor systems fail!" Iron Man's UniBeam is, I think, a fine example of this. It works only a limited number of times, and does extra damage.