Friday, August 31, 2012

New Release Roundup: August 2012

Well, it's the end of August, so once again it is time to look at all the ICONS releases for the month.

I've already featured Justice Wheels #8 Galaxy Warden from Fainting Goat Games and Heroic Moments: The Possession of Dr. Diamond from Purple Duck Games earlier in the month, so here's a quick run down of some other great ICONS products released in August 2012:

Justice Wheels #7 Headgasket
Author: Mike Lafferty with Daniel Gallant and Steve Kenson
Artist: Dan Houser
This installment of Justice Wheels features Headgasket, a cyborg supervillain with nothing to lose and an urge to cause chaos in your ICONS game!
On sale now for only $1.00 at RPGNow.


Justice Wheels #9 Darkness
Author: John Post with Mike Lafferty, Daniel Gallant and Steve Kenson
Artist: Jacob Blackmon
This installment of Justice Wheels features Darkness, a shadowy crime fighter who prowls the streets of Stark City on his customized motorcycle.
On sale now for only $1.00 at RPGNow.


Improbable Tales: Vampires of Red Square
Author: Mike Lafferty, Dan Houser and Chris McGroarty
Artists: Adrian Smith, Jon Gibbons, Dan Houser 
Vampires of Red Square is a short, fun, fast-playing scenario that is ideal for a quick evening's entertainment or to drop as a set-piece into a longer adventure. This adventure contains art, maps, standees of the important NPCs and antagonists and play-tested tips on getting the most fun from the adventure. Can your heroes stop the undead army that has besieged the Kremlin? And the vampire rules found in this adventure were developed right here at Just Add Heroes!
On sale now for only $1.50 at RPGNow.


Justice Wheels #10 Bodhivajra
Author: Kirby Arinder with Joe Bardales, Mike Lafferty, Daniel Gallant and Steve Kenson
Artist: Scott Harshbarger
This installment of Justice Wheels features Bodhivajra, an enlightened mystic in the pulp tradition who uses his cosmic-awareness (along with a stiff left hook and his flying car; the Vajramobile) to help those in need.
On sale now for only $1.00 at RPGNow.








Please excuse my brevity today. I'm thinking of changing the way I present new releases here at Just Add Heroes - in September, I'm going to experiment with doing a quick blurb whenever a new ICONS product is released on the day of release (or as close to that as possible). I may also revisit some products in more detail, especially if they are something I'm particularly excited about, or my own shameless self promotion. I'm also considering creating a new page tab that will list every ICONS product published to date (hopefully when I get some free time).

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

BAMF! Podcast: Stark City Preview of The Catacombs

In the latest BAMF! podcast, Mike Lafferty and I chat a little about the STARK CITY Kickstarter and the neighborhood I've been working on as my contribution to the setting, the Catacombs! We also share some insight into the development process behind Stark City and the collaborative process that's been going on over the past few months between the authors and artists. To finish things up, we also talk a little about the latest release for Justice Wheels, Bodhivajra by Kirby Arinder with additional material and editing by yours truly, Joe Bardales.

Click here to listen to this BAMF! podcast hosted by Podbean.
Johnny Clank

Monday, August 27, 2012

Free Stark City Sneak Peak: Pinball!

I'm happy to report the STARK CITY: Setting and City Building Toolkit for ICONS RPG Kickstarter has now passed the $2,000 mark! To celebrate, we've put together another FREE sneak peak featuring Pinball, an amnesiac hero from the Silver District (the modern center of the metropolitan marvel that is Stark City). You will also get a peak at some of Jason "Doctor Comics" Tondro's notes for the Silver District, as well as a closer look at one of the finest restaurants in Stark City, "No Regrets"!

You can download your FREE copy of Stark City: Hero Turf Profile 3 featuring Pinball from RPGNow and DriveThruRPG.

We are now in the final stretch and very close to reaching our Kickstarter goal. If you enjoy what you've been seeing so far, please consider donating to the STARK CITY Kickstarter. And a HUGE thank you to all our wonderful supporters who have contributed to the Stark City campaign so far, and we hope to see more of you jump on board as well!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy 50th Birthday, Spider-Man!

With this week's release of The Amazing Spider-Man #692, Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man celebrates his 50th anniversary at Marvel Comics. I remember when Superman turned 50 back in 1988. That didn't really bother me because, after all, my father read Superman comics when he was a boy. But Spider-Man at 50? Yeah, I'm getting old.

For his Birthday, Spider-Man is finally getting a sidekick named Alpha. That's probably a much better present than the Spider-Mobile ever was.

Spider-Mobile
[Built from Vehicle power at rank 3]
Prowess 2
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Speed 4 (effectively Super-Speed 4)
Stamina 3

Extras:
Binding 6 - Front-Mounted Web Launchers

Refrences:
Marvel Universe Wiki
Wikipedia

The Spider-Mobile is built using the ICONS Vehicle and Chase rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games.

50 years. That's a helluva long time to suffer from teen angst...

Happy Birthday, Spidey!


'Spider-Man' is a registered trademark of MARVEL COMICS and is used without permission. No infringement of the trademarks or copyrights of MARVEL COMICS or any other corporation, entity or person is intended by this article.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New ICONS Publisher: Purple Duck Games

Purple Duck Games is a publisher that's been around for awhile now and probably best known for their products supporting the PATHFINDER Roleplaying Game. I recently discovered their inexpensive Heroic Moments series for the 4C FASERIP system (a.k.a. TSR's classic Marvel Superheroes RPG), and I decided to test drive a few for use as inspiration in my own ICONS games. Heroic Moments is an ashcan series of mini adventures complete with setup, locations and villains that can be dropped into any campaign almost seamlessly and with little effort on the part of the GM. I was so impressed with the first couple I picked up to try out that I went back and purchased the rest of the series. Even though the original Heroic Moments products were written for another system, the lineage and simplicity of ICONS is such that FASERIP products like these can be used with minimal GM effort in an ICONS session. Great stuff, and I probably should have brought them to your attention sooner. Imagine my joy when earlier today I saw that Purple Duck Games had just released a new Heroic Moments, this time for the ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game!

Heroic Moments: The Possession of Dr. Diamond is the first ICONS product from Purple Duck Games. Written by Bill Olander with artwork by Brian Brinlee and Gary Dupuis, this 9-page PDF is available now at RPGNow for $1.60. From the product description:

‘Doctor Diamond’ is a name known to most of the inhabitants of the City. He is an obsessed scientist overtaken by his theories of using diamonds and other crystals to break the dimensional barrier. Over the years this obsession has led him into several diamond and jewel heists attempting to get the materials he needs for his experiments. This almost always leads him back to jail at the minimum sentence for being just that pathetic.
All of that changed a week ago when Dr. Diamond succeeded in opening a doorway to another world. Zyr-Khan the Conqueror, a crystalline spider from the world on the “other side” leapt onto Dr. Diamond and instantly possessed him.
Since then the doctor’s reputation has changed. Dr. Diamond continues to plot ways to steal dimensional technology, but now there is a dark edge to the formerly soft spoken Doctor’s plots. In the last two heists two bystanders have been gravely wounded. Most troubling of all, the heists have been successful. Few suspect Zyr-Khan’s true plan is to create a dimensional bomb to send itself home, dragging the city with him in the process.
Events come to a head when the possessed Dr. Diamond breaks into the best equipped physics lab in the city, taking hostages in the process.
Heroic Moments is the series of single scenes (or heroic moments) for four-color superheroic games like the ICONS Roleplaying Game. This series is designed to be dropped seamlessly into any existing superhero campaign. All Heroic Moments are set in “The City,” which has many of the same features of any typical comic book setting. Locations in The City are left somewhat vague to make adaptations easier.

This is a good, solid initial ICONS offering from Purple Duck Games. Everything you need to run a night's ICONS session with minimal GM prep is included. The full page illustration of Dr. Diamond by Brian Brinlee is particularly well done. I look forward to seeing more in this exciting series!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blue Beetle's Bug

The next famous super-vehicle up for examination is the Blue Beetle's Bug, built using the ICONS Vehicle and Chase rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games.

The Bug is a solar-powered airship and was initially built by research scientist Ted Kord (alias of the Blue Beetle) from old auto parts and some of his failed experiments. Over the years, Ted and the Green Lantern Kilowog (a fellow member of the JSI) improved upon its design and capabilities. It features solar collector panels, thick titanium alloy and steel-reinforced armor panels, automatic deflector shields, laser beam weapons, and is capable of projecting solar and electromagnetic impulse blasts. The Bug's flight capability is provided by anti-gravity units located port and starboard, and booster jets allow it to reach supersonic speeds. Despite all this, it is amazingly quiet in flight. The Blue Beetle's Bug is also capable of traveling and operating underwater to depths of 300 meters thanks to watertight bulkheads. It can launch solar-powered probes called Miniature Bugs that are capable of transmitting and receiving audio and video signals. It is also equipped with robotic claw arms, a sky wire and portable crime lab. The original Bug was destroyed in a conflict between Doomsday and the Justice League, but afterwards Ted Kord built two more versions - the Mark I and the Mark II.

The Bug
[Built from Vehicle power at rank 9]
Prowess 5
Coordination 7
Strength 7 (includes Sky Wire and Grappling Hook Winch)
Speed 7 (effectively Flight 7)
Stamina 10

Extras:
Remote Control - Located on Blue Beetle's gloves
Vertical Take-Off and Landing
Blast 5 (Blasting; Shooting) - Solar and Electromagnetic Impulse Blasts; Laser Beams
Binding 7 - Robotic Claw Arms
Force Field 5 - Automatic Deflector Shields
Aquatic 4 - Diving Mode
Supersenses 4 (Extended Vision +2, Extended Hearing +2) - Miniature Bugs (solar-powered probes)

Stunts:
As a vehicle stunt, Blue Beetle can spend a Determination point to reconfigure the Electromagnetic Impulse Blasts to electrify or magnetize the Bug's hull. Treat as Blast 5 (Blasting) for electrical damage or Binding 5 for magnetism.

References:
'Blue Beetle' is a registered trademark of DC COMICS and is used without permission. No infringement of the trademarks or copyrights of DC COMICS or any other corporation, entity or person is intended by this article.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Golden Age Throwbacks: The Ghost and his Ghost Plane!

The Ghost!
For this installment of Golden Age Throwbacks, we are not only going to take a look at a superhero now in the public domain but his signature super-vehicle as well using the ICONS Vehicle and Chase Rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games. The Ghost (not to be confused with the similarly-named Ghost character from Nedor Comics that we examined earlier) was published by Lev Gleason Publications and appeared in the pages of Daredevil Comics as a filler character taking second billing to the Claw. The secret identity of criminologist Brad Hendricks, the Ghost had no superpowers but instead relied on his unarmed combat abilities and possessed a high-tech (for the time period) airplane, the Ghost Plane.

During his short run, the Ghost fought an epic serial battle against the Claw and actually faced off against him more than Daredevil ever did (see Golden Age Thrilling Action #2: Daredevil vs. Claw). Every month the Ghost would thwart the Claw's plans to conquer America, and in turn the Claw would form pacts with other villains (the Nazi spies Miss X and Kloglo, the mysterious and cruel Cobra Queen, the Japanese Navy and even Hitler himself) to remove the Ghost as an obstacle. The Ghost had his own allies, particularly Professor Bloodcut, a brave and courageous bookworm who dedicated his scientific research to studying the Claw in hopes of finding his weaknesses. With the ongoing conflict of World War II as a backdrop, their battle royal would span from New York City and the United States, to across Europe, Asia and Mexico.

The Ghost was one of Lev Gleason Publications 'B-List' heroes (making only 15 appearances from 1941 to 1943) and never made the cover or even had his own title - he always appeared as a guest star in the Claw's monthly feature. Nevertheless, the stories were exciting, patriotic and always picked up from the previous month's cliffhanger.
The Ghost vs. The Claw!

THE GHOST (Lev Gleason Publications)
Origin: Trained
Real Name: Brad Hendricks
First Appearance: Daredevil Comics #5 [Lev Gleason Publications November 1941]

Brad Hendricks
ABILITIES
Prowess  6
Coordination  6
Strength  5
Intellect  3
Awareness  3
Willpower  5

Stamina  10
Determination  5

SPECIALTIES
  • Acrobatics Expert
  • Aerial Combat Expert
  • Criminology Master
  • Investigation
  • Martial Arts Expert
  • Pilot Expert
POWERS
  • Vehicle 5
The Cobra Queen
QUALITIES
  • Connections: Professor Bloodcut (The Ghost's Assistant)
  • Epithet: Brave and Mysterious Man in White
  • Motivation: Defend America and Democracy from the Axis Powers
CHALLENGES
  • Arch Enemy: The Claw
  • Enemy: Nazi Spies (Miss X, Kloglo)
  • Enemy: The Cobra Queen
 Point Total: 45

Ghost Plane

The Ghost and Professor Bloodcut
aboard the Ghost Plane
Prowess 4
Coordination 5
Strength 5
Speed 5 (effectively Flight 5)
Stamina 6 

Extras:
Affliction 5 - Gas Bombs (Close Range Area Effect)
Blast 5 (Shooting) - Machine Guns

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
The Ghost first appeared in Daredevil Comics #5 (November 1941) published by Lev Gleason Publications and was created by Bob Wood.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The X-Men's Blackbird

It's time to take a look at another famous super-vehicle from the pages of the comics and give it the ICONS treatment: The X-Men's Blackbird (or X-Jet). Originally a scaled-up and modified version of a Lockheed SR-71, the Blackbird is a strato-jet capable of hypersonic speeds that has been souped up over the years by the mutant inventor Forge and enhanced with alien Shi'ar technology. The Blackbird is built using the ICONS Vehicle and Chase rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games.

Blackbird (X-Jet)
[Built from Vehicle power at rank 9]
Prowess 5
Coordination 7
Strength 7
Speed 8 (effectively Flight 8)
Stamina 9

Extras:
Extra Passengers
Vertical Take-Off and Landing
Blast 6 (Shooting) - Laser Guns
Blast 6 (Blasting) - Concussion Missiles
Invisibility 7 - Shi'ar Cloaking Device (Holographic Active Camouflage)
Life Support 6 (Cold, Breathing, Heat, Pressure, Radiation, Vacuum) - Deep Space-ready Cabin

References:
'X-Men' is a registered trademark of MARVEL COMICS and is used without permission. No infringement of the trademarks or copyrights of MARVEL COMICS or any other corporation, entity or person is intended by this article.

Joe Kubert 1926 - 2012

1926 - 2012
Requiescat In Pace

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Free STARK CITY Sneak Peak: Doc Chimp!

To celebrate the STARK CITY: Setting and City Building Toolkit for ICONS RPG Kickstarter passing the $1,000 mark, Dan Houser has put together another FREE sneak peak featuring Doc Chimp, a hero from Tesla Industry Park (a cutting-edge technological district designed to make Stark City a Town on the Edge of Tomorrow!) Also, you'll get a peek at all of the districts of Stark City and a taste of Tesla Industry Park's Background! Additionally, suggestions for using Doc Chimp as a villain are also included.

You can download your FREE copy of Stark City: Hero Turf Profile 2 featuring Doc Chimp from RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. If you like what you see, please consider donating to the STARK CITY Kickstarter. A big thank you to everyone who has supported the project so far, and we look forward to seeing more of you get in on the fun as new backers!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My First Justice Wheels Release: Galaxy Warden!

This week, Fainting Goat Games released Justice Wheels #8: Galaxy Warden written by yours truly, Joe Bardales. It  features Chip Carrington, 1930s Earth-man lost in space and now fighting for interplanetary justice on the other side of the galaxy aboard his spaceship, the VSS Lightingstrike. The Galaxy Warden is inspired by and loosely based on Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Adam Strange along with Spacehawk, a character I recently discovered at the Golden Age Comic Book Stories blog. The very talented Scott Harshbarger provides the artwork. Like all issues of Justice Wheels, it contains suggestions for using the characters as either a hero or a villain, cut out standees of the character and his signature ship to use as miniatures in your game, and the ICONS Vehicle and Chase rules. This 9-page PDF is for sale now at RPGNow.



To celebrate the release of my first Justice Wheels title for Fainting Goat Games, I created this sector map of the Galaxy Warden setting using Cosmographer 3 from Profantasy Software and Scott Harshbarger's art as a way of saying thank you for all the support and encouragement!
Click on image to enlarge!

BAMF! Podcast: Talking 'bout Stark City

Although the Fates conspired against our ICONS live play session this week on Mike Lafferty's BAMF! Podcast, Mike, Dan Houser, John Post, Adrian Smith and myself still found a little time to talk about the Kickstarter for STARK CITY: Setting and City Building Toolkit for ICONS.

Now that we've hit the $1,000 mark (thanks to our amazing patrons!), we'll have a new PDF freebie for everyone very soon featuring the one and only Doc Chimp!

You can listen to us chat a little about Stark City over at the BAMF! Podcast. Next week we'll return to the Golden Age of Comics with an ICONS actual play session.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Free STARK CITY Sneak Peak: Laughing Boy!

Dan Houser has put together a free sneak peak of the Hero Turf rules from Welcome to Stark City, the first supplement of the Stark City setting material for ICONS. It features Laughing Boy, a hero from Geartown (the run-down industrial section of Stark City). You can download your free copy of Stark City: Hero Turf Profile 1 from RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. And be sure to check out the STARK CITY: Setting and City Building Toolkit for ICONS RPG Kickstarter if you like what you see!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Batmobile

Today's inductee into the Super-Vehicle Hall of Fame is none other than Batman's signature ride, the Batmobile, built using the ICONS Vehicle and Chase rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games.

The Batmobile
[Built from Vehicle power at rank 7]
Prowess 5
Coordination 7
Strength 6
Speed 6 (effectively Super-Speed 6)
Stamina 8

Extras:
Remote Control
Blast (Blasting) 4 - Machine Guns (Rubber Bullets)
Invulnerability 4 - Armor Plating
Strike (Bashing) 6 - Bat-tering Ram
Blinding (Burst) 2 - Bat Smoke Screen

References:
'Batman' and 'The Batmobile' are registered trademarks of DC COMICS and are used without permission. No infringement of the trademarks or copyrights of DC COMICS or any other corporation, entity or person is intended by this article.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

STARK CITY Kickstarter is now live!

The Kickstarter for the STARK CITY Campaign Setting and City Building Toolkit has now launched. Be sure to check out this exciting new campaign setting for the ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game!



Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane

I really like the ICONS Vehicle and Chase rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games. I know I've said that before, but they make building super-vehicles for ICONS so much fun. Over the next few days, I'm going to be writing up some of the famous super-vehicles from the Marvel and DC Universes and sharing them here. Today, we're going to take a look at Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane, but stay tuned, true believers, for the Avengers' Quinjet, the Fantastic Four's Fantasticar, the X-Men's Blackbird, Batman's Batmobile and Blue Beetle's Bug!

Invisible Plane
[Built from Vehicle power at rank 7]
Prowess 6
Coordination 7
Strength 7
Speed 7 (effectively Flight 7)
Stamina 7


Extras:
Remote Control - Telepathically via Wonder Woman's Tiara
Extra Passengers
Invisibility 7
Life Support 6 (Cold, Breathing, Heat, Pressure, Radiation, Vacuum)

References:
'Wonder Woman' is a registered trademark of DC COMICS and is used without permission. No infringement of the trademarks or copyrights of DC COMICS or any other corporation, entity or person is intended by this article.