People who pre-ordered ICONS: Superpowered Roleplaying received their electronic copy yesterday. (Hard copy coming soon.) That’s my name on the cover, because some sections of the book are by me, but they’re pretty small-fry. The major action is by ace supers RPG designer Steve Kenson, who pulled the system together and did a bang-up job of it.
ICONS is a quick’n’easy role-playing game for four-colour superhero action. It’s geared for broad strokes stuff – Nazi Gorillas in Antarctica, Mt Rushmore coming to life as a four-headed goliath, that sort of thing. I have a lot of affection for it, and not just because my name’s on the cover.
The real selling point, and it surprises me to say it, is that you randomly generate your superhero – there are a bunch of charts to roll on that tell you what super powers you end up with, and then it’s up to you to make sense of all of them. This works really well with the big, bold style of ICONS, where you are free to come up with characters somewhat wackier than the usual – there’s a reason the exemplar hero is Saguaro the Man-Cactus. A big part of the fun people will have is sitting down in a group and coming up with some heroes together.
(This is also funny because random generation was always a problem in previous games to use this approach, like Villains & Vigilantes and Golden Heroes. Those games didn’t encourage this wild-and-woolly aesthetic, which I think is the difference. Credit also to Dan Houser, the illustrator, for showing exactly how a Man-Cactus is a cool character, and by that example how your weirdo hero will also make sense in play.)
Anyway, ICONS does a great job at supporting one of the best kinds of role-playing game fun: sitting around with your friends being wildly creative and making each other crack up. It’s good stuff, and I’m delighted to have my name on it.
Also, announced in the bundle, some PDF-only adventures, including one by me and one by occasional-commenter-here Theron: