Thursday, January 17, 2019

Some ICONS Play


A Sample of Play

In response to nobody, I thought I'd put a small sample of a story (that I'll make up) and how it would play in ICONS terms.


For reference, here's Will-o-whap:

Will-o-whap (William Chandler)
6 4 7 4 5 6 1 13
  • Martial Arts (+1)
  • Mental Resistance (+1)
  • Incredible (7) Phasing
    • Extra: Regeneration
    • Extra: Dazzle
    • Extra: Stunning Extra: Affects phased targets Limit: He ends phase in same state as target. (If he had Damage Resistance I wouldn't count it as a limit.) Extra: Burst
  • Good (5) Images
    • Limit: No conscious control
  • Child of the light
  • Arch-enemy: Backstab
  • New at this
Origin Transformed (+2 to Strength)

He got his powers like ten minutes ago, but the supervillains of SWARM have hostages. (No doubt the accident they caused to show they were serious created him.) He needs to infiltrate their base!

Some Minions

The first fictional bit involves minions, the Bug Patrol.

The Bug Patrol agents are pretty standard:

The Bug Patrol
3 4 4 3 4 3 7
  • Military (+1)
  • Weapon (guns)(+1)
  • Uniform & Goggles: Weak (1) Damage Resistance
    • Extra: Sensory Resistance Limit: Sight only (acts as +2 or level 3)
  • Gun. One of:
    • Great (6) Shooting
      • Extra: Burst; Limit: if Extra is used, takes 5 pages to recharge
    • Great (6) Binding (net)
    • Great (6) Blast, Extra: Affects Phasing, Limit: Takes 5 pages to recharge
Qualities Minion

And here we go.

FictionGame Mechanics

It turns out that I suck at being sneaky; maybe because of the whole "glowing" thing. I came out of the wall to find four Bug Patrol agents pointing pistols at me. And yeah, they had dark goggles on so I couldn't do the whole blind-them thing I had done outside.

Four minions. No one here is really surprised.


  • Will'o'whap: CRD + 1d6 = 5+3 = 8
  • Bug Patrol: CRD + 1d6 = 4+3 = 7

So Will goes first.

I held my hands up. “Hi.” No sound came out, because I was still intangible: I didn't interact with the normal world. But a glowing orange speech bubble appeared that said, “Hi.”

Is there a rule that you should have your powers for at least a week before you break into a headquarters? There should be; I didn't know I did that if I talked while intangible.

Still, I lunged and stuck my hand through the nearest one. He stiffened and then fell down. We all stiffened for a moment because none of us knew I could do that, and then I got two more.

The fourth one shot me with something that hurt and I turned solid.

Will'o'whap jabs his hand through nearest one (Prowess vs Prowess): 6+1d6 vs 3+1d6 = 11 vs 4; a massive success.

Because it's a cool thing, now the Bug Patrol members are surprised. He has Burst on the power (anyone in touch range) so he tries them all.

His Stunning is against Str, but his Stunning is 7 and Bug Patrol members are strength 4, so he's got to roll quite low to fail the Stun vs. Str roll. The first 3 he hits and stuns, but he misses the fourth.

It's the end of the panel so he suddenly discovers that he's tangible; limitation on the power but he doesn't know that.

  • Will's Stamina: 7 (13 - 6)
  • Bug Patrol members standing: 1 (4 - 3)

I grabbed him, which he didn't expect, swung him up against the tiled ceiling and down against the floor. He was out cold.

Will'o'whap manages to grab him (Prowess versus Prowess again). He throws the minion up to the ceiling and the damage from hitting the ceiling knocks him out. (Minion rules; otherwise he'd close to out or out, depending on whether the GM applied damage again from hitting the ground: Strength 7 is 7 damage, minus 1 for the uniform, or 6. That means a fall of 2 or more damage would knock him out. A kind GM would do it.)

I quickly checked the three I had phase-punched. Still breathing, still with a heartbeat. Good.

Uh...where is the control room? I asked myself. I smacked myself in the head (gently and figuratively), because being captured would really have been the easiest way to find the control room.

Because they take you there to gloat, right? (Or have decades of mass media been lying to me?)

Rather than wander aimlessly around the corridors looking for the control room, I decided on a search pattern, spiraling in to the center, and began jogging through walls. (I had one oops moment when I walked through the women's washroom but it was unoccupied. Still, it reminded me of one of the hazards of this power.)

He's got Regeneration, so I assume he's back at full Stamina by now: he gets 7 Stamina every 10 panels, so it seems likely.

One of the rooms was a gym. More specifically, it was a workout room for supers, because I found one there, in full costume. (Memo: don't get a cape; then you have to practice all your moves with the cape. Same for dusters.) She was working on a particular move with a robot and I saw her reach through the robot before she noticed me.

Um. She could go intangible too.

This might be a roll of Awareness, or maybe it's a gift. I choose gift, because it makes things so much more uncomfortable.

Better stop for a moment and explain (invent?) who she is.

Backstab: a villain for the ages

Well, we know from those Qualities up there that this is going to be his arch-nemesis. I'll use the method in ICONS Assembled to produce an enemy for Will. I roll a 10, so this character is a Reflection, which means Artificial. Hrm. Didn't see that coming.

Backstab (Felicia Night)
4 5 5 6 6 5 10
  • Weapons (Blades) (+1)
  • Stealth (+1)
  • Fair (4) Slashing
    • Extra: Phasing
  • Incredible (7) Teleportation
    • Limit: Medium (shadows)
    • Extra: Regeneration
    • Extra: Invisibility in shadows
  • Incredible (7) Life Support (needs "food", affected by vacuum, disease-like things)
  • Escapee from another dimension
  • Hates Will'o'whap
  • Constantly fights her programmed nature
Origin Artificial (+2 to Strength)

In my head, there's a whole backstory but essentially she was built and programmed as a servant for the alternate-dimension equivalent of Will Chandler. She managed to escape to another dimension, and she's been hardening herself, killing humans: humans who made her, humans who dictated that she live in servitude. And she's programmed to love William Chandler, so she fights against him the hardest of all.

Heck, she probably saw Will at the site and chose him to go into the accident, assuming he'd die.

Will'o'whap knows nothing about this.

FictionGame Mechanics

“Hey. Um. Backstab. Big fan.” Not that she could hear me, but the damned speech bubble formed right there by my head.

She smiled and grabbed her mouth protector, slipped it into her mouth under the mask. I probably should have charged her but I was wondering if maybe I wanted to run away instead.

Then she attacked and the decision was taken out of my hands.

She gets time to prepare, so nobody is surprised.

  • Will's Initative: 7 (4+3)
  • Backstab's Initiative: 6 (5+1)

He wastes his move in dithering, so she stabs him.

It's Prowess versus Prowess again, and she rolled a 6 and has a +1 from Specialties, for 11; he rolled a 1 and has +1 from Martial arts, so that's 8: A major success. She gets to roll Stun (it's a killing attack) but gets a 1 (for 5) versus his 5 (total 12) so he's not stunned.

He is down 4 Stamina, though: her attack is Slashing 4.

  • Will's Stamina: 9 (13-4) Determination: 1
  • Backstab's Stamina: 10

That hurt but it didn't incapacitate me. It would soon, though; I had to be running on adrenaline. I circled her like it was a bout at the dojo. I considered running but she could turn intangible too.

I didn't have much time. Probably sooner rather than later I'd notice the hole in my side.

I had to try and distract her. I flared to brilliance, hoping to blind her.

I think it worked; her next thrust missed and I chopped at her outstretched arm.

That would be a Dazzle attack, which is Coordination based. He has Coordination 4, she has Coordination 5. He rolls a 5, she rolls a 3, so he has a moderate success. She's dazzled for one page.

She rolls a 1 to attack and he rolls a 6: 6 versus 11. That's a massive failure.

According to the rules, you get an automatic attack back when someone attacks with Prowess and manages a massive fail. So he automatically gets a moderate success. (It would be smart to disarm her but a moderate success isn't enough to apply the Grab maneuver and I'll demonstrate putting a quality on someone in the next page.)

  • Will's Stamina: 9
  • Backstab's Stamina: 3 (10 - 7)

She was better than I was, so I had to be smart and lucky. With luck she was still I stepped inside the robot she had there, the one that hadn't moved since I had come into the room, and tried very hard to be smaller than it was. I held my breath.

He's trying to apply the Quality "Hidden for ambush" to himself. As GM, I figure it's best done with a Maneuver (a roll) of his Stealth (well, his Coordination because he doesn't have Stealth) versus her Awareness. However, she's recovering from being dazzled, so I'll give him a +2 for his Maneuver. The roll sucks though: he gets a 1 and she gets a 5, for a value of 5 for him and 11 for her.

I've already mentioned the quiet of the ghost world, right? Except this time I could hear her, muffled by her mouth protector. "Come out," she said. "I don't want to hurt Sparbot." Then the robot jumped to one side and she lunged again. I dodged away as fast as I could.

She gives instructions to the robot, then phases to stab him. She gets 7 (from 4+1+2), he gets 8 (from 6+1+1), so he dodges. Barely. He blew his panel again, waiting inside a robot.

All I could do was attack, ghost to ghost. I hit her solidly and she fell down and through the floor. Maybe I should have gone after her — what if she couldn't breathe? — but I thought about the hostages up in the control room and decided that was more important. I took a second, though: I turned solid and checked her tablet and phone, which were lying on the bench. The phone was locked but the tablet wasn't and score! it had a map of the base. I memorized it and headed straight for the control room.

He hits, with 10 (6+4) versus 7 (4+3). That does 7 damage so it knocks her unconscious even if you figure she'd gotten some Stamina back from her regeneration.