Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last Night's ICONS Session

So we finally got back to our Icons game last night since our last session in late January.

Since part of the concept of the campaign is to go through rotating GMs (like different writers on a comic book) Corey ran the show. He did a great job expanding upon the previous sessions events and then taking the team off into his own nefarious plot featuring the notorious Mr. Roboto! I'll have a full session report in the next day or two.

The 1942 era team, Vanguard 13, expanded into a full roster of heroes:
Lord Genovasis - The father of Meta-humans
Automaton - The Mechanical Marvel
Nate Brown - Lowly janitor (AKA The Sponge)
The Scarlet Hood - The bane of organized crime and political corruption
Prophylatica - The woman wonder of rubber!
The Cobra - Superhero (don't quite remember what he was)
On to Icons itself....

Again, it's a pretty fast and loose system. In fact, it was commented on that OD&D was loose, Icons is even more sparse than that. And that's true to some extent especially when it comes to the powers. I am even more convinced that with campaign play many of the powers need to be tweaked and house ruled to flesh them out. I think I'll touch on this area in a future post.

Character creation is pretty fast and fun. It's best to not have any concept of a hero and just let the dice create the basic character. There's plenty of room after that to then flesh the rest in.

I'm convinced that this game really brings out a loose, on the fly GMing style. Though the GM can have his plot and villainous situation fleshed out he's best to keep things loose and ready to adapt and improvise the situations. In that sense it's a great learning tool to help GMs break out of a rigid framework. I think that will show itself more as well play out.

For the players, it's pretty open to doing whatever you feel like your character can do. There's not rules for covering every situation but those are the games that I like. Just state it, go with it, and move on.

Corey also gave the session a nice balance of having to use various abilities throughout the adventure and investigation which was nice in having to use more than just your character's powers.

We still had trouble getting into the use of Determination. I did use a point of determination to retcon a flashlight but beyond that, I think we're still all a little vague on how best to incorporate it into game sessions. More sessions should hopefully help with getting that ironed out.

As with last session we were a little rough on the combat results but by the end of the session that became much smoother. Having a month between sessions didn't help with that. With our next session in two weeks that should flow much better.

Overall, I still think it's a great little Supers game - incredibly rules lite but with enough to really give it some teeth. I had a blast playing as a character and not running a session and we all had lots of laughs at the table.

Corey is going to run part two of his adventure next session then we'll move on to the next 'writer'.

Looking forward to it already!


  1. Yes, Great game. Very open to rules definition. There are some posts about that, with clarifications and house rules. Lots of people have house ruled things to get the flavor and power level of things the way they want it. Looking forward to playing this more. I'd like to try and find more examples of actual game play using the fate system and especially tagging qualities and challenges for determination.

  2. I've been to a number of ICONS related sites and there's plenty of great info there. There's a yahoo ICONS group with a ton of play questions and info. I think the authors post on there too.


  3. Sounds like a fun time! Yeah, ICONS plays fast and loose, and I really like that. Using Aspects and Determination can be fast and loose too, you just have to remember to do it. One way a GM can encourage players to tag their Aspects more is by remembering to compel their challenge aspects, and compel them often. Also remind them they have Determination to spend if they want to improve their results or retcon something a little more often than you might otherwise in the first few sessions.

  4. I've been running it for about 2 years, and I haven't felt any need to tweak the powers for campaign play. I've had to calrify a couple of things- like the Reflection power.
    As for random character gen I think it can work or not work depending on the GM's campaign concept. We converted over from BASH mid-campaign and found that designing the characters worked pretty well.

  5. @jaerdaph - Thanks for the advice. We definitely want to tighten up using determination as that seems to be a big portion of the game - and a fun aspect too.

    @Aos - I can see if the GM has a specific campaign in mind the random chargen may or may not work out. I like to keep my campaigns loose and let the players 'define' it. A point system might work out better in that case.