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:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I've always enjoyed using drama decks (e.g. Swashbuckling Cards [PDF], Plot Twist Cards, Fortune Cards etc.) in my roleplaying game sessions. I think they add an exciting new dimension to play and help to shake things up a bit. The narrator's toolkit for the old DC Universe RPG from West End Games even included a deck of Dramatic Effect cards, and the JLA Sourcebook supplement included a few additional cards. Inspired by all of these and more, a few months back I started to test out some drama cards in my regular ICONS game sessions. Nothing too fancy - they were originally handwritten on index cards. They got a good response from my players, and we began to tinker with them, toss a few out, and add new cards to the deck as the mood struck us (we spent way too much time coming up with something suitable for "Officially Whelmed", the best Young Justice quote ever!) and saw how they worked in play. Thus the deck of BIFF! BAM! POW! cards was born...

I finally got around to compiling all the best cards and my rules for using them, and I decided to lay them out in a desktop publishing program so I could share the PDF will my fellow ICONS fans. These print out quite nicely on card-stock paper with a color inkjet or laser printer and have guidelines for cutting. You can download the BIFF! BAM! POW! CARDS PDF from my Downloads page, or directly from the link below:

BIFF! BAM! POW! CARDS for ICONS (version 1.1 updated 1/18/2013 with new card "backs" designed by Paul Fini)

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Suggestions for new cards and great quotes for card titles are always welcome!

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Just Add Heroes: One Year Anniversary

Happy New Year, everyone - I hope 2013 brings you and your loved ones health and happiness!

It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed since I started this blog last New Year's Day. A lot of things have changed for me both personally and professionally over the last year, but all-in-all I think I can place 2012 in the "Good Year" column.

Today seems a good a day as any to look back at what I set out to do and what I actually accomplished with JUST ADD HEROES. In general, it was certainly a lot of fun for me, and the best part of all was meeting so many fellow ICONS fans and making new friends. It also gave me a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of working as a writer and developer in the RPG industry, and I'd like to sincerely thank Mike Lafferty (Fainting Goat Games) and Dan Houser (Stark City Press) for giving me the opportunity. You guys have been great friends and mentors. I'd also like to thank my good friend Joseph Bloch (Greyhawk Grognard) for his invaluable advice on blogging when I was just starting out.

One of the most popular features here at JUST ADD HEROES has been Golden Age Throwbacks where I've provided ICONS stats and backgrounds for superheroes now in the public domain. After partnering with ICONS line artist Dan Houser, this has grown into a successful PDF product line called Golden Age Thrilling Action featuring the same Golden Age superheroes spotlighted here along with their greatest arch enemies. I know I haven't done a Golden Age Throwbacks feature in almost two months, but rest assured that more Golden Age goodness is on the way. And Dan and I have plans for more issues of Golden Age Thrilling Action along with a print on demand compilation later this year!

Another popular JUST ADD HEROES feature (at least according to Google Blogger) has been the write-ups I did featuring famous DC and Marvel Comics super-vehicles using the Vehicle and Chase rules from Justice Wheels (published by Fainting Goat Games). I also had the great pleasure of authoring some of the official Justice Wheels releases this year based on the work of some amazing artists and even the Justice Wheels patrons themselves. Bringing another person's artistic vision to life is a valuable exercise for anyone interested in writing for RPGs. The Vehicle and Chase rules found in every issue of Justice Wheels really add depth to the game - I know I have gotten a lot of enjoyment from them in my games - and I hope to see them continue as optional rules as ICONS moves forward in 2013.

Speaking of ICONS moving forward, in 2012 we saw ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying switch hands with its creator Steve Kenson (Ad Infinitum Adventures) taking the reins from Adamant Entertainment. Steve is about to wrap up a very successful Kickstarter for Great Power, a new and expanded look at ICONS powers. In another post, I will share some of my thoughts on the Great Power playtest draft, but suffice it to say that I think the future of ICONS moving forward is very bright and hopefully we'll see a resurgence of interest in this amazing game and the fan base will continue to grow.

Another project I really enjoyed working on over the past year was ICONS 1602, a mini-setting for Elizabethan Supers inspired by the Marvel Comics series. In 2013, I plan on releasing another mini-setting called ICONS BY GASLIGHT featuring superheroes in the Victorian age based on DC Comics' Gotham by Gaslight and my own love of Victorian era roleplaying games. I also plan on improving my page layout skills in 2013 and making downloadable PDF versions of these available for free download as well.

The one thing that quickly fell through the cracks this past year was the development of my own ICONS campaign setting, Grimm City. The main reason for this was that Mike Lafferty and Dan Houser recruited me early last spring to participate in the development of Stark City, a campaign setting and city building tool kit that culminated in a successful Kickstarter last fall and is set to be released to backers and then the general public in the next few weeks. This was an absolutely amazing experience for me, and I had the great honor and pleasure of working with some well-known developers, writers and artists from the supers RPG community. I hope to pick up where I left off with Grimm City in 2013, wiser and with the new ICONS tools provided in Stark City.

And one final last bit of exciting ICONS news for 2013:

I am very pleased to announce that talented RPG artist Jon Gibbons has invited me to work on his epic Iron Age setting to be published by Fainting Goat Games, Extreme Earth. I first had the pleasure of working with Jon on Justice Wheels #12 Frogger, and his masterful illustration and my writing style just seemed to gel. Jon and I will have more to say about this in coming weeks, but I can say that this campaign setting will feature not just ICONS but versions for Mutants and Masterminds 3e, Supers! and more. This book will be very art-intensive, with illustrations that bring something you can actively use at the game table, and Jon has already shown me some brilliant pieces. I'm very excited to be writing for Extreme Earth and look forward to the challenges of bringing ICONS into the Iron Age. Much more on this to come in the following weeks...

Other stuff: With this post, I've officially linked JUST ADD HEROES to my Google+ account. Google+ has really taken off, maybe not as a Facebook social media replacement but certainly as the interactive gathering place of the RPG community for which it has been particularly well-suited. I also want to apologize for the lack of posts over the last few weeks. On Thanksgiving night I came down with a cold that ballooned into bronchitis and eventually walking pneumonia, and that had me down for the count for awhile. Couple that with over 20 performances in December of A Christmas Carol at the theater I work at (the show MUST go on!) along with finishing up my projects for Stark City and Justice Wheels, and there you have it. Fortunately, I'm healthy again and things are looking better in the coming weeks ahead!

Finally, I'd like to thank all of you for reading my scribblings over the past year and sharing your thoughts and encouragement with me. It truly has been a great joy, and I look forward to more of the same in 2013!

Happy New Year!