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!


  1. As a keen fan of character creation in ICONS, as well as a sort of studious of powers, I am very interested in knowing what this book has to offer. Because of it, I stopped working on Eidolons! and all the characters, in fact. What's the use of inventing the wheel when there's a streamlined tyre already in the market? You've piqued my curiosity again, Joe...

  2. Hi Fabrício - long time no see! Glad to know you're still around. :)