Thursday, April 27, 2017

Things I forget in ICONS

Hey, folks. Sorry I've been away; chemotherapy is really busting my butt these last couple of weeks. What I thought was that it was like antibiotics...I'd start, and I'd feel better and better, and eventually we'd be done. Unfortunately, chemotherapy is more like they're trying to kill you and they hope the cancer dies first. So until you're done, you keep getting worse. Still, past the midway point.

SYSTEM: ICONS
Anyway, there are a couple of rules in ICONS that I rarely act on, mostly because I skimmed them on my first read and didn't catch them until recently.
  • Automatic hitbacks So when anyone tries to hit your character with Prowess or Coordination and the result is a massive failure, you automatically succeed in hitting back, if that's plausible. (ICONS Assembled, pages 43, 138, 139) In the case of a Dodge (using Coordination), it's a bit more limited...throw back thrown projectiles...but it's there. Your high Prowess or Coordination hero can attack multiple heroes in this way without stunting Burst.
  • Villains spending Determination When a villain would spend a Determination point (from a power or usually from stunting; Steve Kenson is quite clear on the fact that only heroes have Determination, but some power descriptions include Determination), the affected player gets the Determination. That I remembered. But if the villain uses a maneuver or a tactic to get the Advantage, then the player doesn't get the Determination, because the villain has already paid the "cost" of the Advantage. Good to know.
  • Buying vehicles When I looked at Vehicles and the Vehicles power in the various Justice Wheels supplements from Fainting Goat, I realized that the Assembled version of a vehicle would be a reskinned Servant power. While Servant grants you a pool of points to buy Prowess, Strength, Coordination, and any powers, a Vehicles version would give you a pool of points to buy Handling, Speed, and Structure, a movement power (Flight, Aquatic, Burrowing, or Super-Speed), and any other powers. Stealing from the Justice Wheels power, the default number of passengers is 2, and you can spend a point for each extra five passengers. (No, you don't get points for saying 1 passenger only.)
  • Old Elemental Control vs. New Element Control As originally written, Element Control had five possible descriptors; you got two and the rest could be bought as Extras(we would call them now): Attacking, Defending, Moving, Creating, and Shaping. Creating is now assumed (that is, it's a Limit if you can't create your element or energy). Attacking, Defending, and Moving are usually obvious Effects (probably Blast, Force Field or Resistance, and Telekinesis, but certain behaviours might call for something different). But that darn Shaping has always been an issue for me. However... There are two options:
    • Just call out Shaping as an Extra. You're the GM, of course you can do it.
    • The book Great Power contains the extra "Force Constructs" for Force Control, and I see no reason why you couldn't apply the Extra "<Material> Constructs" to your power to signify creating earth walls or water walls or force walls or darkness walls or whatever. (The Extra is also how you might do the old Champions power "Force Wall".)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Here's your idea for today

Not superheroes today.

So there's a lawsuit against Warner Brothers that's a little different. (Here's a brief YouTube video in summary.)

According to that link, Warner has to shore up its claim that the movies are based on "historical facts" by proving that witches and ghosts are real. 

Wouldn't that be a great set-up for your PCs? And because time is short, they just have to go to the worst places. The studio stands to lose $900 million on this, so the budget for your players is &300 million (after salaries and lawyers). 

And all they need is documented evidence...

(Did someone say, "Belasco Hell House?") 

Friday, April 7, 2017

(Ex) Sidekicks, An Adventure

Norbert was kind enough to let me run a session of ICONS Assembled for some players in his world. So this is it, cleaned up and genericized, as an adventure. Will it really work for players other than the ones I had? I dunno. But you can at least mine it for things. Should be adaptable to most other superhero RPGs. (But read it first. Chapter 5 has a dicey part.)

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Introduction for Players


The Man of Photons is dead.

Once, Doc Cosmic, the man of photons, the ray of hope, he was one of the greatest. Every PC met him, at least once, before he retired, years ago. Some of them might know what his identity was; some might not. Some might have known him well enough that they expect to be at the reading of the will; some might be surprised.

You were all sidekicks, back when he was active. Now? Up to you, because that’s a decade ago. Maybe you’re heroes. Maybe you’re former villains. Maybe you’ve retired, and you run a sporting goods store in Omaha. Doesn’t matter. For this long weekend, you’re wearing a mask again (assuming you ever did), and on Saturday you’ll be at the funeral. Sunday, you’ll be at the will reading. Monday, you’ll wrap up.

Expenses are taken care of by the estate. They’re paying for the flights, for the rooms and for room service. (Hey, they had enough money to have him in that fancy-pants old age home for supers…they can pay for you, too.)


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bullet Redux

Too long since I played the Freedom Force game; I have no idea what Bullet's Qualities might be. But my first draft on his powers are...

Prowess: 4 Coordination: 4 Strength: 4
Intellect: 4 Awareness: 5 Willpower: 6
Determination: 1 Stamina: 10

Pilot Specialist (+1) EDIT: Pilot Expert (+2) instead

Super-Speed 8
Extra: Surface Movement
Extra: Defending
Extra: Air Control Limit: Performance EDIT: Removed Extra: Side Effect on Air Control
Extra: Fast Attack

I know there are a couple of more abilities, but as I recall, they show up later and could be stunted. Or I have the wrong idea about the character....

EDIT: This is revised after the Codger's comments below.

"Why, I Haven't Seen You Since..."

I was reading an article on missing supporting characters and I wondered if there's any way to put the pleasure of returning old characters into a campaign.

If it's a returning campaign, sure. But how do you put a "returning" character into something that hasn't ever existed before?

Well, you need player buy-in, I think. Without player buy-in, you have to drop hints about the character and have them talked about for sessions, before they ever show up. Maybe you can get that little frisson.

A way you might do it is having players generate a background and plucking from that. (The character probably has to have good associations rather than bad.) Obviously, it's easier if your players do lists with character names, but it's not always necessary.  If your player had a character background that mentioned a childhood as a military brat, then you can invent a character, one of whose attributes is "Former friend of player character" and their lifestyles explain why you haven't seen the character before.

I wouldn't do this sort of thing for every player, and certainly not all at once...then it becomes, "Hey, what plot requires all of these people from our past to show up, and what villain might be doing it?" You don't want that.