I came across a reference to the new supers game, ICONS, by Steve Kenson recently purely by chance, buried in an interview about M&M 3e. I quoted it in my recent “Player Empowerment or Player Entitlement?” post because its random character generation tickled my fancy.
Steve is the designer of Mutants & Masterminds, my favorite supers RPG. In fact, really my only supers RPG. I could never get into the other ones back in the day. I ran a M&M campaign that I enjoyed, though it didn’t go over big with some of the players. I played in a Hero System game that did not thrill me.
But after I read that one thing about ICONS, I noticed that it’s just EVERYWHERE. It’s clearly the new RPG.net darling, there are many huge threads about ICONS in the main RP forum. Now I’m seeing blog posts, stuff on every forum, etc. It’s the new hotness.
Sounds like it’s a light supers RPG with good production values. It uses the FATE system to an extent – that’s actually somewhat becoming a turnoff because of all the FATE fanboys out there, where the answer to any query about “what’s a good RPG that does X” is always “FATE!” regardless of whatever X is (and the person has never used FATE for X, they’re just “sure” it’d be just the right thing). That’s tiresome. I like FATE all right but it’s just like any other generic system over the years (from Risus to Savage Worlds to GURPS) that its fans tirelessly tout as being the end all be all for everything. FATE fans, you’re on notice.
But I do like having character stats that are extremely short. Here’s Greywulf”s version of Thor:
Prowess 8, Coordination 5, Strength 10, Intellect 3, Awareness 5, Willpower 8
Stamina 18, Determination 0
Invulnerability 5, Flight 8, Weather Control (Storms, Blast & Creation) 10
Specialities: Weapon Expert (Mjolnir, 10 damage), Medicine
Qualities: Connections (The Avengers, Asgard), Enemy (Loki), Social (Temper Tantrums)
Beats huge ass character sheets/stat blocks (why even a goblin has to be 4x as complicated as this nowadays in D&D I’ll never know).
Anyway, seems interesting and the hype is loud! I don’t have the game yet (I prefer print to PDF so I’m waiting) but here, check out Greywulf’s 10 things to like about ICONS.
I loved M&M 1e, but when they went to 2e it just got a little too much more crunchy and complicated for me. So a deliberately light game from the same designer is a slam dunk in my book!
Also just to note it is the #1 pdf product on both RpgNow and Drivethrurpg portals.
Sounds like you’re exactly the audience ICONS is designed for. If M&M is too crunchy for your needs then it’s a great little system, that’s for sure.
Glad you liked my Thor stats!
Oh gosh yes. The FATE-evangelists are really starting to bore me now.
Kenson is a good designer, and a very decent bloke; when I was putting together a SAGA (the TSR card-based one) game, he kindly sent me the text of his Dragon articles on how to convert it to other settings. So I’m pleased to see him doing well.