Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Special 2012: Irish ICONS

Top 'o the morning to you on this fine St. Paddy's Day!

Banshee (Sean Cassidy)
Marvel Comics
It is an understatement to say the Irish have left their indelible mark on the world - from politicians and soldiers to authors and playwrights, from singers and musicians to scientists and inventors, the Irish have always made themselves known and heard. Irish labor helped build America upwards, downwards, and outwards. It only makes sense that the Irish would also be well represented in the ranks and legions of superheroes as clearly evidenced by such characters as Sean Cassidy (Banshee) and Matt Murdoch (Daredevil). Even Captain America (Steve Rogers) himself was the son of Irish immigrants.

So before I head out to celebrate the Wearing o' the Green and the Drinking o' the Guinness, I thought I'd share with you some random Irish-themed ideas for your consideration that you may enjoy using in your ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying games!

New Weapon/Device: Shillelagh (Sail éille)
You can accomplish more with a kind word and a shillelagh than you can with just a kind word. - Irish saying.

Part walking stick, part club (or cudgel), a shillelagh is made from the wood of a blackthorn (sloe) or oak tree and has been given a shiny, black finished appearance by polishing with butter and then curing it in the chimney. A wrist strap is then attached and the heavy "hitting" end is hollowed out and filled with molten lead to add weight. As a weapon, the shillelagh is used for striking, parrying and disarming and is a proud symbol of Irish martial tradition and heritage.

In ICONS terminology, a shillelagh does Bashing damage 5 as a blunt melee weapon and adds a +1 bonus to any blocking (Strength) attempts to parry or grabbing (Strength) attempts to disarm.

As a device, the shillelagh can be outfitted with any number of Powers depending on the device's origin and power source. Some common Powers associated with the shillelagh include Blast, Strike [Bashing], Elemental Control [Weather], and Reflection, but anything is possible with a little imagination and the magic of the Little People (e.g. Danger Sense, Shrinking).

New Quality: The Luck of the Irish
'Tis himself!
Good fortune always shines on you - you may tag this Aspect and spend a point of Determination to gain an advantage any time you like just for being a son or daughter of Ireland! GMs should automatically compel this challenge once (and only once) a game session if you ask them to do so when you are all out of Determination points and could really use one more right then, there and now.
Variant: Everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day
If one hero in the group has The Luck of the Irish Aspect, on St. Patrick's Day (be it the actual day or the day in-game) all other heroes aligned with that character can use this Aspect as if they had it themselves.

New Quality: The Gift of the Gab 
Irish Diplomacy is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip. - Irish saying.

Blarney Castle
Having kissed the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in County Cork, you are forever blessed with a silver tongue and a way with words. Your words have the power to bluff, charm, influence, sway, and intimidate others to get whatever you want or need. You may tag this Aspect by spending a point of Determination to gain an advantage in situations where your words can have meaning or influence (even if this just means turning on the charm and talking yourself out of further trouble!)

New Quality: The Quiet Man
You are a private person of few words, and you tend to keep to yourself. But still waters run deep, and your unobtrusive nature allows you to see and overhear things others miss. You may tag this Aspect by spending a Determination point to gain an advantage whenever you are in a situation that requires alertness, listening, spotting, information gathering, silence or stealth while going unnoticed.

New Challenge: Irish Temper
You are quick to anger and more likely than not to settle an argument with your fists. In fact, you would much rather fight than eat. You gain a point of Determination whenever the GM compels this Aspect, but that requires you to make an unarmed attack on someone - anyone - nearby. You can refuse the compel instead by spending a point of Determination to avoid a fight - unless of course you enjoy the prospect of a good old fashioned donnybrook!

Inspiration: Irish Superheroes
In my Web research, I came upon this link from St. Patrick's Day in 2009 where MTV published this list of Irish Superheroes.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and thanks for reading! Now I'm off to the pub...

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