Lets build a superhero

It’s time to take another trip into the wonderful world of ICONS! I am going to build a new superhero completely from scratch using nothing but pen, paper and a couple of d6s. Oh, and a copy of the ICONS rulebook (currently only $1.99! Cheap!) of course. Mustn’t forget that.

ICONS is one of a rare breed of modern role-playing games in that it uses random character generation. Before you look away with a groan – this is a dying art, and the rpg world is a poorer place for its passing. Seeing the numbers fall and being able to interpret them is a great skill to have. Characters which have been randomly rolled always seem to possess a life of their own in a way that fabricated over-optimised cookie cutter clones don’t.

Here. I’ll show you what I mean.

The first step in ICONS chargen (I’m bored of writing character generation repeatedly already) is to roll the Origin for your hero’s powers. I’m secretly hoping for Birthright as an origin as I quite fancy playing a mutant so the dice roll and I get….. Artifical.

OK. Artificial is cool. I’m a robot or a construct of some kind. Being artifical means I get +2 Strength and can take Life Support as my first Power if I wish. Not too shabby. It’s worth mentioning that rolling for your Origin is entirely optional – if I wanted my character to be a Mutant (or whatever) I could have just said “he’s a Mutant” without rolling, but wouldn’t gain any of the advantages or weaknesses from the results of a roll.

Anyhow. He isn’t a mutant. He’s a not even real person. And that’s good too.

Next: Abilities. For each stat I roll on the Level table, remembering to add two to the result for Strength. This gives me:

Prowess 4, Coordination 7, Strength 6
Intellect 4, Awereness 4, Willpower 7

This hero is above human average overall, possesses remarkable (maximum human) strength and incredible (superhuman) Willpower and Coordination. He is sure of his movements and convictions. I picture him as an artificial human (something akin to Data) rather than a hulking great killer Robot – artificial, yet still disconcertingly human.

On to the Powers, and roll that he has three. I take Life Support as suggested (what’s the point of being an artificial human if you can’t survive the vacuum of space?) and roll that the next one is Sensory. Rolling on that table tells me he has Precognition!

I have a Precog Android. Oh my. This is beginning to sound like a Gamma World character.

Danger Sense is an optional Power for Precognition so I take that as his final power as an idea begins to form.

The hero is an artificial human sent from the future to prevent a Major Plot Event. The problem is that his data storage was damaged during the timeslip and he has badly fragmented history files that comes as “flashbacks” when triggered by locations and events. He’s not seeing the future, but seeing the recorded past – a past he has been sent to change.

This guy is Data meets the Terminator. The Daterminator.

Rolling for Power levels, we get

Life Support 8
Precognition 5
Danger Sense 7

For Life Support I take all options except Eat and Sleep (there’s 10 in all, he has 8 of them). He doesn’t need to breath and is unharmed by environmental heat, cold, toxins, pathogens, vacuum or radiation, but needs raw materials (“food”) and a sleep cycle to recharge.

Precognition 5 allows the player (me!) to request a roll to foresee a future event, and it’s also open to use by the GM as a Plot Device. Danger Sense 7 lets me use that instead of Prowess, Awareness or Coordination to spot, evade and dodge attacks. My android “remembers” your attacks moments before you make them. Suck on that, Batman.

Finally, his Specialities. I roll, and he has three of them. Keeping with the Danger Sense idea (he also “remembers” where you are going to be), I make him a Martial Arts Expert (taking up 2 slots) and an Electronics Specialist. Who else could repair him when he’s injured?

So. He is a broken artificial human from the future with a fragmented memory of future events.

Fragment. I like that.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Fragment. I hope you like him. I certainly do. Random generation rocks!

Origin: Artificial

Prowess 4, Coordination 7, Strength 6, Intellect 4, Awareness 4, Willpower 7

Life Support 8 (all but eat and sleep), Precognition 5, Danger Sense 7

Martial Arts Expert, Electronics

Stamina 13, Determination 1

Any questions?

4 Comments on “Lets build a superhero”

  1. My question is how do you handle Bonus powers? The two times I’ve run ICONS, I’ve let the players roll up their allotment powers normally and then offer the option of trading them out for bonus powers after the fact.

    1. We have both done that and just taken the Bonus power straight away if it’s something we want as soon as the base power is rolled. I don’t mind players swapping out one of the random powers for Bonus powers at all if it helps them come up with a good character concept.

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