Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Extreme Earth at AetherCon II this Sunday, November 17, 2013!

Extreme Earth and Fainting Goat Games will be featured this coming weekend at AetherCon II, the online gaming convention that runs this Friday November 15 thru Sunday November 17, 2013.

On Sunday November 17, 2013 at 10am Eastern, Jon Gibbons and I will be having a one-hour Q&A session about Extreme Earth at AetherCon in the Coin & Quill. We'll talk a little about the setting and the upcoming Kickstarter, and answer any questions you might have. The Q&A will take place in The Coin & Quill at AetherCon: We hope you can join us!

Adrian Smith will also be running an Extreme Earth Mutants and Masterminds demo in Roll20 with Skype starting at 11am Eastern on Sunday, November 17, 2013. Space is limited but there are still slots available, so head on over to AetherCon to register and sign up! The event code for this game is EE1Su1.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Colorado Flood Relief Bundle

RPGNow and Fainting Goat Games have put together a Colorado Flood Relief Bundle for $20. In addition to a plethora of ICONS PDF products, there's a ton of other great products included for other supers roleplaying games like Bulletproof Blues, BASH!, Mutants and Masterminds, Capes Cowls and Villains Foul, and SUPERS! And there's still more, so check it out!

This is a great opportunity to help out the victims of the Colorado floods and pick up some great roleplaying games and supplements!

Many thanks to the publishers who contributed:

9th Level Games
Ad Infinitum Adventures
Basic Action Games
Battlefield Press
Chronicle City
Evil Beagle Games
Fainting Goat Games
Green Ronin
Harsh Realities
Kalos Comics
Melior Via
Pinnacle Entertainment
Soultaker Studios
Spectrum Games
Stark City Games
Xion Studios

Saturday, August 3, 2013

New Release: Stark City Campaign Setting and City Building Toolset

The Stark City Campaign Setting and City Building Toolset PDF is now available at RPGNow and DriveThruRPG.

Stark City is a setting for the ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game that puts the PCs in the center of the action.

To quote Steve Kenson, ICONS creator, from the Foreword:

ICONS wasn’t intended to have just one setting, officially sanctioned. It’s a game meant to encompass a wide range of superhero settings, and Stark City is just such a setting. It is both a source of inspiration and a home for all of those diverse ICONS adventures to comfortably take place, a framework to tie them together, and a springboard for your imagination. From the streets of the downtown Silver District to the ultra-modern Telsa Industrial Park, from the wealthy Platinum Coast to the seedy dives of Geartown, you’ll find endless opportunities for taking the ideas found in this book and transforming them into stories of your own, because Stark City is ultimately about your heroes and their stories, an additional player to add to the ensemble cast of your ICONS game.

As a very special bonus: Steve Kenson has written an accompanying city/setting building toolkit for ICONS -called ICONIC Settings. Partly inspired by the city building rules in the Dresden Files RPG, the ICONIC Cities rules allow the players to tie setting creation into character generation and devise aspects that are tightly incorporated into their own setting.

A Print On Demand (POD) version will follow shortly.

This project was made entirely possible by the support of our generous backers of the Stark City Kickstarter in 2012.

Authors: Steve Kenson, Mike Lafferty, Walt Robillard, Jason Tondro, John Post, Steve Perrin, Dan Houser, Joe Bardales, Dave Woodrum, and Andrew Collas

Artists: Don Griggs, Dan Houser, Rick Hershey, Scott Harshbarger, Adrian Smith, Jacob Blackmon, Walt Robillard, Jon Gibbons, Bradley McDevitt, and Jessica McDevitt

My contributions include the Catacombs chapter (Stark City's criminal underground, both literally and figuratively), the supervillain Botanika and her secret lair the Vanities Health Spa on the Platinum Coast, and the nefarious MAKO Commander.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you check out Stark City!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Zenith Comics Presents: HEROIC

Who hasn't dreamed of putting together their own comic book? Well Andrew Collas has, and he has a Kickstarter going to try and do just that. Produced by Friend of the Just Add Heroes Blog Walt Robillard, owner of Hazard Studios (publishers of the SUPERS! RPG as well as ICONS products), Zenith Comics has been the campaign setting for much of Andrew's work. I think it would be really cool to see an actual comic book associated with a supers RPG, so please take a look and consider making a pledge.

Update: Anyone coming from the JUST ADD HEROES blog who pledges $5 or more to the Zenith Comics Presents: HEROIC Kickstarter will receive a free HAZARD Studios product - just make sure to let them know you came from here!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying PDF for FREE! (Today Only Sunday 6/16/2013)

To celebrate his birthday today and yesterday's Free RPG Day, Steve Kenson is giving away the ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game PDF for FREE!

Download Now at RPGNow
Download Now at DriveThruRPG

This offer is only good today (Sunday, June 16th, 2013), so if you've ever wanted to check out ICONS, now's your chance.

Happy Birthday, Steve!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Q is for Qualities!

The other day when I posted about the Organization rules I'm tinkering with and used Marvel Comics' S.H.I.E.L.D. as a example, I forgot to include the a list of qualities. Here's a quick update:


Resources 8
Response 8
Force 9
Information 9
Secrets 8
Influence 7

Stamina 16

Computers Expert
Criminology Master
Investigation Expert
Law Expert
Military Master
Weapons (Guns) Master

Connections: The Avengers
Connections: S.W.O.R.D.
Emergency Response
Secure Base

Enemy: HYDRA and Baron von Strucker
Enemy: Doctor Doom

Friday, April 19, 2013

P is for Power Conversions!

A little while back, I talked a little about the new Great Power sourcebook for ICONS by Steve Kenson. Today I thought I'd share an example of what a "classic" ICONS character converted to the new Great Power version looks like. Here's one of my first ICONS characters who appeared in ICONS Hero Pack I from Ad Infinitum Adventures.

Desert Storm - Classic ICONS
First Appearance: Desert Storm #1
Art by Joe Bardales and Hero Machine
Origin: Transformed
Real Name: Dr. Richard "Rick" Rogers

Prowess 6
Coordination 6
Strength 6
Intellect 5
Awareness 3
Willpower 4

Stamina 10
Determination 3

Archaeology Expert

Alternate Form (Liquid: Sand)
  • Invulnerability
Elemental Control 6 (Earth: Sand)
  • Attacking (Earth/Sand Blast)
  • Defending (Earth/Sand Blast)
Burrowing 4

Epithet: The Wall of Living Sand
Connections: General George Rand
Motivation: The Sands of Time Eventually Reclaim All

Weakness: Water
Appearance: Weird-Looking Sand Man
Personal; Obsessed with Relocating Irem, the Lost City of Pillars

Desert Storm - Great Power version
Desert Storm: The Animated Series
Art by Dan Houser
Origin: Transformed
Real Name: Dr. Richard "Rick" Rogers

Prowess 6
Coordination 6
Strength 6
Intellect 5
Awareness 3
Willpower 4

Stamina 10
Determination 2

Archaeology Expert

Blast (Blasting) 6
Burrowing 4
Earth (Sand) Control 6
  • Extra: Force Field 6
Fluid Form (Sand) 7
  • Damage Resistance 7
  • Stretching 7
  • Limit: Constant
Epithet: The Wall of Living Sand
Connections: General George Rand
Motivation: The Sands of Time Eventually Reclaim All

Weakness: Water
Appearance: Weird-Looking Sand Man
Personal; Obsessed with Relocating Irem, the Lost City of Pillars

Prior to his transformation, Desert Storm was a retired United States Army Captain with a Ph.D. in Archaeology named Richard “Rick”Rogers. Angered by the mistreatment and theft of antiquities from the Baghdad Museum during the Iraq War, Dr. Rogers contacted his old Army friend General George Rand, who arranged for the archaeologist to come to the war torn country and help protect their national treasures from looting and destruction. After several weeks of routine cataloging and preservation, General Rand contacted Rogers about a startling find in the desert along the Iraqi-Saudi border.

A week earlier, an army platoon on patrol in the region chanced upon the ruins of an ancient city apparently uncovered by the shifting desert sands. Dr. Rogers assembled a team of archaeologists and Army specialists to investigate the site. It wasn’t long before it became apparent that they had discovered none other than the fabled city of Irem, the Lost City of Pillars. For three months, the dig was going along slowly but surely, until one fateful day when Dr. Rogers accidentally broke the seal on an ancient burial crypt marked with strange hieroglyphs.

Instantly, Dr. Rogers was overcome by a powerful elemental force composed of sand escaping from the crypt. Within seconds, the entire camp was engulfed in a sand storm of epic proportions. Overcome with the ferocity of the storm, Rogers was knocked unconscious, and when he recovered, the entire dig site camp and its occupants, their equipment, and the city of Irem itself, had completely vanished in the desert sands. Even more shocking, Rick Rogers found himself transformed into a living being composed entirely of sand.

Horrified by his appearance, Dr. Rogers contacted his old friend General Rand in secret, and told him the tragic story. They agreed to keep what happened to Rogers a secret, and Rand sent recovery teams to investigate the scene, but not a single trace of the dig site or the team could be found. The City of Pillars was lost once again...

Notes on the Great Power Conversion
Obviously, some power names have changed in Great Power. Earth Control (part of the Element Control group) still gives us a Force Field (Desert Storm's protective Wall of Sand) but no longer a Blast. I had to purchase Force Field as an extra though. There are a lot of cool new stunts that come with Earth Control that Desert Storm now has access to by spending a Determination point such as Earthquake, Tremor and Earthwave.

Starting Determination has changed as well, dropping from 3 to 2. I calculated it like so: 6 minus 4 (number of powers he has) minus 1 (the Force Field extra) plus 1 (the Constant limit) equals 2,  or:

6 - 4 - 1 + 1 = 2

I hope you enjoyed this side-by-side comparison. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

O is for Organization Rules!

I've been tinkering on and off with a rules system for representing organizations in ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying. By organizations, I mean anything like S.H.I.E.L.D. or HYDRA or even the FBI or CIA. An organization can also be a cult, a corporation, or a street gang.

This is a work in progress, and I will revisit it again. It is heavily inspired by the rules for organizations found in Mongoose Publishing's OGL Horror by Gareth Hanrahan.

Organization Abilities
Resources (Organizational Prowess) - financial strength and backing.
Response (Organizational Coordination) - how long it takes to respond to a member's request.
Force (Organizational Strength) - manpower, combat strength or military might.
Information (Organizational Intellect) - scientific knowledge and research ability.
Secrets (Organizational Awareness) - any information not generally known. May include the occult.
Influence (Organizational Willpower) - how much "pull" an organization has.

Like character abilities, organization abilities are rated on a scale of 1 to 10.

Organization Stamina is equal to Force + Influence. This represents how much disruption an organization can take to its structure and plans before collapsing.

Organizations can have specialties just like characters and use the same list. This represents having people or other resources within the organization to provide the skill to any member requesting it.  How fast the response time will be on any request, however, depends on the organization's Response. An organization's specialties may add up to no more than Resources + Influence.

Qualities and Challenges
Organizations have qualities or challenges just like characters. Here are some suggestions:

Bad Reputation
Emergency Response
Fanatical Loyalty
Financial Sway
Forensics Lab
Good Reputation
Research Lab
Secure Base
Widely Known

I'm still tinkering with a "damage" system and benchmarks for what Force 7 or Secrets 3 represent. It also needs to address access to powers.

Here's a sample organization:


Resources 8
Response 8
Force 9
Information 9
Secrets 8
Influence 7

Stamina 16

Computers Expert
Criminology Master
Investigation Expert
Law Expert
Military Master
Weapons (Guns) Master

I think this has some potential. Please feel free to share any thoughts, suggestions or criticisms in the comments. And thank you for reading!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

N is for New Computer!

I want to apologize for disappearing off the radar the last couple of days. My computer died earlier this week, which sucks, but now I have a brand new one, which doesn't suck at all.

If I can share one bit of advice with all of you - MAKE REGULAR BACKUPS OF ALL YOUR FILES!

Having backups of all my files made the whole process of transferring to a new computer nearly painless, mostly seamless, and most important of all, stress-free.

Now I can get back to the A-Z Challenge. See you a little later today with "O"!

M is for Marathon Heroes

I just want to take this opportunity to recognize the first responders and everyday citizens who went above and beyond the call of duty on Monday in Boston. They are the real superheroes, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Monday, April 15, 2013

In Memorium

After today's tragic events, I find myself heartbroken and at a loss for words. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,  as well as the people of Boston.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Love Interests!

Love interests have always played a large role in comic books and the lives of superheroes. Superman (Clark Kent) has Lois Lane. The Thing (Ben Grimm) has Alicia Masters. Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) has Steve Trevor. Spider-Man (Peter Parker) has Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy. Batwoman (Kathy Kane) has Renee Montoya. Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier) has Kyle Jinadu. It's only natural for significant others to play a large part in a tabletop roleplaying game about superheroes as well.

When creating a love interest for your character, there are several key questions you have to ask yourself:
  • What does the love interest do for a living?
  • Does the love interest know about your character's secret superheroic identity? 
  • Is the love interest a superhero as well? 
  • Is the love interest secretly a supervillain?
  • What supervillains know the identity of your character's love interest?
  • Am I putting this person I love at risk because of what I do, and if so, how?

A love interest should be a collaborative character, one developed jointly between the player and GM (Game Master), or if the love interest is with another player's character, the relationship should be developed between both players with the GM's approval. Everyone should try to work together to create a fun and challenging roleplaying experience for all.

In ICONS, a love interest is usually listed on the character sheet as a quality aspect, a connection to be exact. As a player, you can tag any of your hero's quality aspects to spend Determination points to do various things - a determined effort, a focused effort, a power stunt (a new application of one of your superpowers that you normally can't do), recover from injury, or a retcon. The GM on the other hand can compel any of your qualities just as they can your challenges (another type of aspect, usually a weakness or some other negative connotation) and bring them into play in the game, awarding you a point of Determination to do so.

As a connection, this opens up a lot of storytelling possibilities involving love interests. Supervillains will frequently target the love interest of a superhero in their evil machinations, making the significant other a potential weakness. A love interest's career or station in life can sometimes provide the superhero with an important connection in his or her fight against crime - reporters and police officers can provide valuable insider information, scientists and professors can provide knowledge and cutting-edge technology, a lawyer can defend you when needed. The CEO of major corporation can provide you with all of this and more. Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot!

And just like your love interest is there for you, you must be there for them in their time of need. If you should fail, therein lies the tragedy that is the stuff of legends.

Thanks for reading, and see you on Monday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Knowledge Replication!

New Power: Knowledge Replication
Knowledge Replication, also known as Knowledge Absorption, allows you to replicate the learned knowledge and skills of others.

Knowledge Replication
You may instantly gain all the knowledge and skills possessed by another person within visual range. Make an Intellect or Knowledge Replication (whichever is higher) test against the target's Willpower. If you succeed, you gain access to all of the target's specialties, and you retain them for a number of pages equal to your power level in Knowledge Replication. The target still retains access to their specialties during the duration of the power. During random character generation, this power may be taken in place of Absorption.

Powers: Ability Boost (Intellect)
Standard: Rangeless 
  • Erase: The specialties you replicate from a target become simultaneously drained and therefore unavailable to that target. When your power duration expires, the knowledge you absorbed returns to the target.
  • Objects: You may instantly absorb the contained knowledge from an object such as a book, computer storage device, or ancient tablet or manuscript within visual range, and retain this knowledge for a number of pages equal to your power level in Knowledge Replication. The GM chooses the appropriate specialty or specialties, and whether or not they are at specialist, expert or mastery levels, depending on the object source.
  • Permanent: You retain the target's knowledge permanently.
Standard: Close Range, Stunt Only

This is a work in progress. Please feel free to share any thoughts or criticisms in the comment section below.

Thanks again for reading!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jactitation!

Jactitation: The ability to absorb kinetic energy and use it to prevent oneself from ever becoming immobilized. As a superpower, the poster boy for jactitation is Hellfire Club member Sebastian Shaw.

In ICONS Great Power, the Absorption power allows you to absorb energy attacks to avoid physical damage, and then do something with that absorbed energy, such as release a concussive Blast attack, boost an ability score temporarily (Ability Boost), or heal yourself. If you want to add jactitation to your ICONS game, I suggest making it a new stunt or extra (i.e. permanent stunt) of Absorption. Since the Absorption power as written in Great Power basically covers the physical attack stuff that could potentially immobilize you, I would limit Jactitation to preventing mental attacks aimed at immobilization:

Jactitation: You may use absorbed energy to avoid being immobilized by a mental attack (Mental Blast, Mind Control) as if you had Mental Resistance equal to your Absorption power level. 

Short and sweet. Thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Initiative!

When superheroes and supervillains collide in epic battles and final confrontations, naturally there will be a lot of action going on. When they bring a multitude of superpowers and superweapons to the party, things can get chaotic really fast, especially in a tabletop roleplaying game. You need rules to sort through the chaos, to determine what happens when.

So who goes first?

In roleplaying games, the answer to this question is usually determined by initiative. The initiative order lists which character - be they one of the player's heroes or one of the Game Master's villains - is allowed to act first, then second, and so on until everyone engaged in the combat has taken an action.

ICONS is a very fast and loose "rules lite" roleplaying game, and the question of initiative (who goes first) is handled in that same spirit. Whoever initiates the conflict - be they hero or villain - goes first. So if the heroes attack first, each of the players take an action for their character (usually by going around the game table in order), and when they have each acted the Game Master describes each of the actions taken by the villain(s), henchmen, or other adversaries (or at least the ones still standing), resolving each in order.

Aside: I should probably note that ICONS is a little different than a typical tabletop roleplaying game in that only the players roll dice and not the Game Master. So the player rolls dice for their hero to attack. Likewise, if a villain attacks a hero, then the player rolls dice for their hero to defend him or herself from that attack, so even though it is the villain's turn to act, the player is always the one rolling dice.

This process continues until the situation is resolved, for good or ill. Sometimes the heroes go first, sometimes the villains. Everything is assumed to be happening at about the same time. If for some reason you need to know who gets there first (e.g. the hero and villain are both grabbing for the same object), you make a Coordination test with a difficulty equal to the opposing character's Coordination.

This simple approach works just fine, but sometimes you may want a more detailed, "realistic" approach to determining initiative order, since going first means someone on the opposing side might not get to take an action at all if you take them down in your first action. For important combats in my games, I make a list based on the Coordination scores (modified by their Acrobatics specialty, if they have it) of the heroes and villains, and the character with the highest Coordination gets to go first, and then we work down the list until the character with the lowest Coordination gets to act. This (usually) results in some degree of alternating between hero and villain actions. If a hero and a villain have the same Coordination score, the player makes a Coordination test against villain's Coordination to determine who goes first. If two players have the same Coordination, I usually let them decide who gets to go first - "after you, good sir!" - when their turn comes up. As before, the process continues until the combat is finished.

Sometimes, I'll shake it up a bit. Depending on the situation (like an ambush or surprise attack), I may let a player use their Awareness (if it is higher) instead of Coordination to determine their place in the initiative order. I may even let them spend a point of Determination to modify their Coordination by a specialty other than Acrobatics if they can justify its use in that particular situation - Athletics, Drive, Martial Arts, Pilot, and Stealth are the usual suspects.

So at my gaming table, that's how we (ahem) roll!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Helicarrier!

Short and sweet: here's a quick ICONS build for Nick Fury's flying fortress in the sky. The S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier is built using the ICONS Vehicle and Chase rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier
[Built from Vehicle power at rank 10]
Prowess 6
Coordination 8
Strength 8
Speed 7 (effectively Flight 7)
Stamina 15

Extra Passengers x10
Vertical Take-Off and Landing
Blast (Shooting) 6 - Weapon Systems
Supersenses 9 (Enhanced +3, Extended +3, Infravision, Radar, Night Vision)


'S.H.I.E.L.D.' 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.

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Great Power!

ICONS creator Steve Kenson recently had a successful Kickstarter for Great Power, a new rules supplement for the game that really takes superpowers up a notch. As a backer of the project, I got a playtest copy of the book, and Steve was really great about collecting feedback from the fans to include in the final release coming soon. As an added bonus, I got to ask Steve a lot of questions on converting characters to Great Power as part of my work on the soon to be released Stark City Campaign Setting. And believe me there were a lot of characters to convert from the original ICONS system! So I've spent a great deal of quality time with this book.

The first thing you will notice is that this book is about as long as the original ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying core rulebook, which naturally contained a section on superpowers. But don't let that scare you. Most powers in Great Power work almost exactly the same as they did in the original ICONS. What has been expanded are the descriptions of the powers and more options for their use.

Sure, some things have changed, must notably Invulnerability is gone and replaced with Damage Resistance (part of the Resistance Powers Group), Fast Attack works differently (a much needed change for the better), and the powers found in the Wizardry Powers Group - Magic, Gadgets, and Cosmic Power - each working differently from each other now, with Cosmic Power being the closest to the original Wizardry power description. There's also no more of that some powers cost twice as much thing to keep track of either, mostly because of the way they have been rebuilt and things like stunts, extras, and limits (see below). But all-in-all, the changes are for the better and easy to implement (this is ICONS, after all).

For the most part, however, this book expands on the existing powers, providing things like detailed lists of stunts you can attempt for a given power. You can also take these stunts permanently (as extras) during character creation to better fine tune your hero. Great Power introduces a new concept called limits to powers, and these are great for further fine-tuning your character. Limits also give you points back that you can spend to cancel out the purchase of a power, or use to do things like increase your starting Determination. Additionally, device powers are explained in far greater detail, as well as types and sources of powers.

Having done well over 60 conversions now, I can honestly say you won't have any problem taking an ICONS character and updating their powers list to Great Power. You can still do random character generation (complete with an updated chart) or point buy too. It's a great addition to the game that really takes ICONS to a whole new level without losing what makes ICONS such a great, easy to prep and run, enjoyable experience. Once you see the possibilities in Great Power and try them out, you won't want to turn back!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fake News!

No, I'm not talking about The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or even FOX and Friends. I want to share with you this cool little resource called The Newspaper Clipping Generator, which I learned about today indirectly from the Miskatonic University Podcast by way of the Gaming on the Cheap Community on Google+. This online app lets you create images of newspaper clippings that you can use as props or handouts in your roleplaying games. You supply the name of the newspaper (real or fictitious), a headline, and a short news story, and the image generator does the rest. The only thing noticeably missing is a byline, but hopefully they will consider adding that option in a future version. In the meantime, I suppose you could Photoshop or GIMP one in.

Metropolis has The Daily Planet, Spider-Man's New York City has The Daily Bugle, and Gotham City has The Gotham Gazette. In the soon to be released Stark City Campaign Setting, we have The Siren:

Well, you get the idea. See you in 48 for G (apparently they give us Sunday off for good behavior) and thanks for reading!

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Extreme Earth!

Imagine a world on the brink of chaos. A world where natural disasters, human conflict, corporate greed, and mass paranoia shape the day-to-day lives of the 7 billion people who call the Earth home. Genetic manipulation and mutation has altered the human genome bringing forth an influx of unusual men and women who possess strange and powerful talents. Advancements in scientific discoveries, mutated viruses, and international terrorist organizations now affect the daily lives of the population.

Welcome to Extreme Earth... 

As some of you may have heard me mention before, I've been working with artist extraordinaire Jon Gibbons on a new campaign setting for ICONS (along with a host of other supers roleplaying games including BASH!, Bulletproof Blues, Fate Accelerated Edition, Mutants & Masterminds, and SUPERS!) called Extreme Earth. We've been sharing teaser artwork and plan on releasing some teaser PDF previews for each game system over the next few weeks. Extreme Earth will be published by Mike Lafferty and Fainting Goat Games.

Extreme Earth is very much inspired by the comics of the Iron Age, set in a dark, dystopian world that isn't too hard to imagine within the realm of possibility. While this isn't an Iron Age sourcebook per se, we will be examining each game system in terms of how they might be applied in an Extreme Earth campaign in the character creation chapter. It's a lower powered campaign setting, slightly higher than street level. You won't see magic or the supernatural, or travel through time or other dimensions in Extreme Earth. Skills and Specialties – both knowledge and training – play a larger role on par with powers (or Super Talents). Combat is dangerous, even deadly, and a bullet is still something to be feared. There are still a wide variety of Super Talents available, and these are assumed to come from genetic manipulation, scientific experimentation and something know as the Wildstrain mutation.

Some of the Iron Age tropes, touchstones, and themes found in Extreme Earth include:
  • Moral Dilemmas and Ethical Quandaries
  • Investigation
  • Black Ops Missions
  • Knowledge and Training are as Important as Powers
  • Flawed Heroes
  • Former Villains turned Anti-Hero
  • Combat is Dangerous and Lethal
  • Weaker, but not Impotent, Powers
  • Corruption, Distrust, and Betrayal (at all levels of government and society)

We also have an All-Star lineup of RPG pros working on the various game systems for the different versions of Extreme Earth that will be available:
  • BASH! - Benjamin Marsh-Norman (HAZARD Studios, BAM! Basic Action Magazine)
  • Bulletproof Blues - Brandon Blackmoor (Kalos Comics)
  • Fate Accelerated Edition - Stacey Montgomery
  • ICONS - Joe Bardales (Fainting Goat Games, Stark City Press)
  • Mutants & Masterminds - Steve Perrin (Living Legend of Runequest and Superworld fame)
  • Mutants & Masterminds - Ade Smith (Fainting Goat Games, Vigilance Press, Basic Action Games)
  • SUPERS! - Walt Robillard (HAZARD Studios)

We will be launching a Kickstarter for this project in Summer 2013. You can learn more and receive regular updates by joining the Extreme Earth Community on Google+, or Like the Extreme Earth Page on Facebook.

Thanks for reading!
Original Artwork by Jon Gibbons

RIP Carmine Infantino (1925-2013)

Carmine Infantino
I am greatly saddened to report that legendary Silver Age comic book artist and editor Carmine Infantino passed away yesterday at the age of 87. He is probably best remembered for reinventing the Flash (Barry Allen), thus ushering in the Silver Age of Comics, as well as being the co-creator of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon). He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

Comic Book Resources Tribute

Comics Alliance Tribute

New York Times Tribute

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Downloads!

For those of you interesting in learning more about ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying, here's a list of free downloads to help you out and enhance your games.

John McMullen's What Do You DO With ICONS? - an introductory PDF on how to play and run ICONS.

ICONS Hero Creation Quick Sheet - from ICONS creator Steve Kenson available at RPGNow.

Official ICONS Character Sheet (PDF)

Collection of Fan-Made ICONS Character Sheets

A.P. Klosky's ICONS Crib Sheet (PDF)

Ron Blessing's ICONS Cheat Sheet (PDF)

Malistyr's ICONS Crib Sheet (PDF)

Kenny N's ICONS Crib Sheet (PDF)

Dr. Chris Heard's Alternate Combat Resolution Chart for ICONS (PDF)

Finally, you can download PDF copies of my ICONS Clarification Notes and BIFF! BAM! POW! Drama Deck cards on my own Downloads page here at Just Add Heroes.

Special thanks to the ICONS Truth, Justice and Gaming Wiki for hosting many of these files. 

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Capers!

Slang An illegal plot or enterprise, especially one involving theft.

Here is a simple random table to determine what type of caper a supervillain might attempt to pull off, should you ever need such a thing.

1d6: for the uninitiated, in a tabletop roleplaying game (or RPG, like Dungeons & Dragons or ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying, the focus of my blog), this notation means to roll one six-sided die (like you would find in most board games) to get a result of 1 to 6.

Location: The Scene of the Crime. Roll 1d6 to determine caper location, then see below.
1. Bank
2. Museum
3. Store
4. Charity Ball
5. Science Lab
6. Private Residence

Bank: Roll 1d6
1 to 4: Money (i.e. cash, clams, dead presidents, dough)
5 or 6: Safe Deposit Box Contents

Museum: Roll 1d6
1 to 3: Ancient Artifact
4 or 5: Rare Painting
6: Mummy

Store: Roll 1d6
1 to 3: Jewelry Store (gold, silver, diamonds)
4: Coin Shop (numismatics or coin collecting)
5: Furrier (mink coats, sable wraps)
6: Pawn Shop (practically anything)

Charity Ball: Roll 1d6
1 to 2: Money
3 to 5: Jewelry
6: Specific Person (kidnap and ransom)

Science Lab: Roll 1d6
1 to 2: Secret Formula
3 to 5: Prototype Invention
6: Lab Notes

Private Residence: Roll 1d6
1 to 2: Money
3: Rare Painting
4: Jewelry
5: Private Papers (wills, deeds, personal diary or journal for blackmail!)
6: Specific Person (kidnap and ransom)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Batcave!

B is also for Belated, as in Birthday, to Arlee Bird, the founder of the A to Z Blogging Challenge who celebrated his yesterday. Thank you, Arlee!

One of the really cool new toys you will find in the soon to be released Stark City Campaign Setting and City Building Toolkit is the ICONIC Settings Rules by the creator of ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying himself, Steve Kenson. Building on the Fate-inspired Aspects (qualities and challenges) already found in ICONS and the city building rules from the Dresden Files RPG, Steve's toolkit not only lets you build your own cities, but everything from the neighborhood diner right up to interplanetary galactic empires (not to mention your own character's personal Batcave or Fortress of Solitude!) They really mesh well with the existing ICONS rules and add to the collaborative setting building we've already seen with team and villain creation in the ICONS core rulebook and the Villainomicon. It's a wonderful collaborative process, allowing input from both the Game Master and the players if you so desire. Kickstarter backers have already seen these new rules, but I thought I'd give everyone a sneak peak by using them to build one of the most famous secret hideouts of all, the Batcave!

The Batcave
Scale: Gotham City Place - Batman's Secret Hideout and Command Center
Location: Cave Complex Beneath Stately Wayne Manor on the Outskirts of Gotham City
People: Bruce Wayne/Batman, Alfred Pennyworth, Dick Grayson/Robin
The Batcomputer
  • Batcomputer
  • Butler On Call (Alfred Pennyworth)
  • Garage and Hanger Bay (Batmobile, Batcycle, Batcopter, Batplane)
  • The Most Sophisticated Security System in the World
  • Secret Entrance: Wayne Manor Bat-Poles Hidden Behind Bookcase
  • Secret Entrance: Camouflaged Exit to Service Road
  • Secret Entrance: Artificial Fog-Concealed Hanger Entrance
  • Trophy Room
Further Reading

Thanks for reading, and "C" you tomorrow!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Arms Akimbo!

"Well, a dictionary is a useful tool..."
Stan Lee, How to Write Comics
Bazaar of the Bizzaro: ARMS AKIMBO!

It's the classic superhero stance, a pose as old as the comic books themselves: standing with arms akimbo! It means to stand with hands on the hips and elbows turned outward. To this day, I judge the quality of a dictionary by whether or not they include an illustration of arms akimbo, but only because it's the first word I ever recall seeing in the dictionary as a small child, probably because of that picture. According to Merriam-Webster (no picture, epic fail), you can apparently sit with legs akimbo too, but that just doesn't seem quite as heroic. Akimbo is actually an English word, its origin from the Middle English (and possibly Old Norse) in kenebowe.

Kenebowe - I'll have to remember that as a surname for the secret identity of some stretchy power guy down the road, but I digress.

A is for Aquaman with arms akimbo!
Nothing says to the world "I am a Superhero!" more than standing with your arms akimbo when you face off against that evil supervillain, survey the city streets beneath you in search of crime, or receive a commendation from the mayor on the steps of city hall. According to body language experts, standing with arms akimbo is "a territorial display that establishes dominance, and suggests the subject has "issues" with the current situation." Sounds about the right message I'd want to send to any supervillains if I were a superhero. I won't get into what the experts say about sitting with legs akimbo...

Aquaman's Little Fish
Awhile back, I posted my BIFF! BAM! POW! cards - a drama deck I made for the ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying game. Here's a new card to add to the deck. You can write it in on one of the blank cards included with the deck until I have enough new cards to update the PDF file.

Add a +3 bonus to the Effort on a test to Intimidate (Willpower action), Notice, or Search (Awareness actions) while standing with arms akimbo.

One down, 25 more to go. "B" sure to check in tomorrow, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel! Thanks again for reading!

(By the way, if the letter B of the A to Z Blogging Challenge had fallen instead on April Fool's Day today, you'd probably be reading something stupid I'd written about boob windows...)

Friday, March 29, 2013

ICONS A to Z 2013

It dawned on me today that it has been far too long since I've posted anything here at Just Add Heroes. The reasons for that have been many, but mostly just excuses. I've been very busy finishing up work on the soon to be released Stark City Campaign Setting and City Toolkit from Fainting Goat Games, and recently started work on the upcoming Extreme Earth Campaign Setting with artist Jon Gibbons. I also had the opportunity to perform this month in a production of Sean O'Casey's classic Irish tragedy, Juno and the Paycock, something my schedule rarely allows me to do anymore. Throw in the demands of life in the real world and well, there you go.

To get myself back on track, I've decided to participate in this year's Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Starting this Monday, I will endeavor to post one ICONS-related post for every day of the challenge. I have a few ideas already, and look forward to seeing where the alphabet takes me.

So, welcome back, and thank you for reading! See you on Monday.

A to Z Challenge April 2013 Schedule

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fainting Goat Games 50% Off Sale at RPGNow

Hey ICONS Fans!

Fainting Goat Games is having a 50% Off Sale at RPGNow to celebrate their first successful year as an RPG publisher. All of their already low-priced PDF titles are marked down 50% over the next couple of days, so check it out and fill in some of the holes in your ICONS collection. Now is a great time to check out Improbable Tales adventures and Justice Wheels NPC character and vehicle packs.

From Mike Lafferty, Head Honcho at Fainting Goat: 2012 was Fainting Goat's first year as an RPG publisher and it was more successful than we imagined. As a way of saying 'thanks' to the ICONS fans who have supported us - everything from Fainting Goat is 50 percent off for the next 3 days!

Congratulations to Mike on a successful first year!

Here are some of the Fainting Goat titles I had the pleasure of working on in 2012:

And now in Mutants and Masterminds 3e flavor!

And content from JUST ADD HEROES can be found in these great products: