Thursday, October 31, 2019

Review: Icons Presents



Icons Presents is described as "kind of a sequel to Icons A to Z" and presents "an alphabet soup" of options for Icons Superhero Roleplaying: Assembled Edition. The PDF is 142 pages long, the art is by the awesome Dan Houser and written by Steve Kenson. A PDF of Icons Assembled was given to for review purposes.

I've always been fascinated by Icons and Steve Kenson has, in my opinion, a spiritual successor to TSR's Marvel Super Hero RPG (AKA FASERIP), with Dan Houser's art being truly on point.

Armed Forces and their weaponry are covered in this chapter. We are given stats for vehicles used by Land Forces, Sea Forces, Air Forces, and Special Forces (in this case battlesuits and drones).

Next come Countdown to Doomsday!, which walks you through choosing a your game's Apocalypse. Are you just destroying civilization, life on earth, the earth, or everything? And what motivates your villain? Are they bluffing about what they are willing to do? Are they seeking power by sacrificing countless lives? Are they looking to protect a planet from those who endanger it? Are they simply trying to make sure that no matter what they survive? These questions really help you plan your campaign. There are three chapters to your Doomsday Scenario: the looming threat comes first and allows your heroes to become aware of the threat they are facing. The gathering storm is second and can be the longest of the three chapters, it allows the heroes to beginning fighting the main villain and gain insight into what they are trying to destroy. Finally, the final confrontation is the climax where the heroes make their stand, but will they succeed or fail? Failure is explored in this section and expands on how the heroes can move forward and what they might be able to do to pick of the pieces.

Deities and Demigods explores playing or interacting with the gods and their children. It helps you decide who and what the gods are in your game and then explores appropriate Divine Abilities, including Attributes and the various powers, specialties, and qualities they might have. A template is provided as a basis for a god. The differences between demi-gods, divine heroes, divinely empowered and the divinely created are highlighted. And the interaction between god and mortals is explored.

Enemy mine explores the roles of villains. Are they the twisted reflection of a hero, are they equal but opposite to them, the all-important nemesis, or merely an adversary with no restrictions to their theme? Team villains also get spotlighted.

Fists of fury details martial arts and explores if they are Ability or Quality driven, how to use martial art Qualities, explores Maneuvers, explores tactics where the character makes a sacrifice in order to gain a benefit, and presents some martial art Powers.

Icons of infamy presents how to run the bad guys in your campaign. Have all the heroes been defeated and it requires the villains to step up and fight the good fight? And if they win will they continue to work together? Or would you like to run a game inspired by Suicide Squad? Are the new heroes in town really villains in disguise like Marvel Comics' Thunderbolts? Have you ever wanted to be a part of a villain school like the Hellions in the X-Men universe? Are you the type of villain that would help going after worse villains? Is your hero posing as a villain to get on the inside of a sinister team or organization? Or have your heroes been wrongly dubbed outlaws and have to operate illegally to prove their innocence? All of these scenarios are covered in this chapter.

Minions and Masterminds outlines different ways to treat henchman, rivals, masterminds, and menaces within the Icons rules.

Panels vs pages give advice on how to tell your stories, including help with advanced techniques such  as flashbacks, foreshadowing, interludes, retcons. There are also some great tips on handling events, arcs, and even imaginary stories in your campaign.

Situational qualifiers covers Advantages, Trouble, Limited Qualifiers, Place-Based Qualifiers, Time-Based Qualifiers, Status-Based Qualifiers and how to handle Qualities in play.

The space patrol explores handling sci-fi settings such as DC's Tommy Tomorrow or cosmic police al a the Green Lantern Corps.

Sword and sorcery handles using Icons for a fantasy game or moving your heroes to a fantasy setting. New character creation options are presented and common fantasy monsters are presented.

Taking initiative gives new options including variant Abilities for initiative, rolling for initiative each round, who goes first, declared actions, round robin initiative, card-based initiative, bidding for initiative, tiered initiative, and one-shot conflicts.

Tell me the odds presents the dice probabilities of Icons and presents several dice rolling variants.

The world is mine presents schemes for villains to use and include conquest, extortion, mind control, and altering reality. Then we are presented how to rule the world once your scheme succeeds.

The unobtanium factor explores materials like adamantium, Nth metal, and tritanium that permeate comics. Their properties and origins are explored and several examples are presented.

Vigilantes and Villains concludes the book and coverer street-level heroes, their foes, and the gray areas they face. Additionally, new character creation rules, rules options, and tools of the trade are explored.

There is a lot to love about Icons Presents and I think it can help breathe new life into an existing game or help a fledgling Game Master craft their tale. I heartily recommend it and find it a great expansion for Icons.

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