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[ICONS Assembled] Some Questions

drkrash

Fighter
Validated User
#1
I've been reading ICONS Assembled and have been enjoying it and wondering about some possibilities with it, but I have a number of questions for people with much more experience with it.

1) If I were to acquire either Great Power or Team-Up, which is better for adding to what is already included with Assembled edition?

2) Has anyone done quick-n-dirty conversion guidelines for M&M 3e to ICONS?

3) The game is dripping with Silver Age conventions. Has anyone run the game with much more seriousness? Not quite Iron Age, but, for example, could you do a storyline like Marvel's Civil War or Secret Invasion with ICONS and have it "feel" right (in your humble opinion)?

4) Any stories of experiences with long-term play (i.e., a year or longer)?

I think I have a couple more questions, but I can't remember them at the moment. Thanks in advance!
 

Theron

The Best Legionnaire
Validated User
#2
1. Great Power, IMO is the better option
2. Not to my knowledge. I'd just eyeball it.
3. I haven't but there is an ICONS sourcebook for the "Extreme Earth" setting that might help you out.
4. Nope, I've only played one-shots to date.
 

Soylent Green

Polar Blues
Validated User
#3
1) If I were to acquire either Great Power or Team-Up, which is better for adding to what is already included with Assembled edition?
Team Up is an amazing book, the perfect companion to the original edition of ICONS. However the best bits have of Team Up were included in ICONS Assembled so you'd end up with a lot duplication. Great Power is useful if you find you want more granularity for the available superpowers.

2) Has anyone done quick-n-dirty conversion guidelines for M&M 3e to ICONS?
I've included one below. I did not write this conversion, don't remember who did and don't know if it is any good.
3) The game is dripping with Silver Age conventions. Has anyone run the game with much more seriousness? Not quite Iron Age, but, for example, could you do a storyline like Marvel's Civil War or Secret Invasion with ICONS and have it "feel" right (in your humble opinion)?
Technically there is no reason why not. The silver age mood of ICONS comes largely from the fluff, the illustrations, the pun-named villains and a number of the adventures. The cover for the French edition of ICONS already gives a much darker feel.


On a more subtle level, ICONS tends to reward creative rather than tactical play. I think that tends to generate a more upbeat, optimistic tone than games with more rigid constraints.


4) Any stories of experiences with long-term play (i.e., a year or longer)?
I'm playing in an ICONS "universe style" campaign which is getting close to the two mark. What "universe style" means in ICONS-speak is that we periodically rotate GM and each player has multiple characters. It works really well.

Here the M&M conversion, make what you will of it.
Spoiler: Show

Stats and Powers
*bold number is ICONS Ability levels
ability number/ ability bonus
1
1-7 / -5- (-2)
2
8-9 / -1
3
10-11 / +0
4
12-15 / +1-2
5
16-19 / +3-4
6
20-25 / +5-9
7
26-29 / +8-9
8
30-39 / +10-14
9
40-47 / +15-18
10
48-above / +19-above

Specialties
When determining Specialties hit the highlights of your skills and use the skill chart below to determine the rank of your Specialties. When picking Specialties you have to go for the right feel of the character rather than the exact skill set.

Basic
4-6 Ranks

Expert
5-7 Ranks

Master
8-above

Determining Prowess and Coordination Ranks

1
2
3
+0-3
4
+4-6
5
+7-8
6
+9-10
7
+11-12
8
+13-15
9
+16-18
10
+19-above

Prowess levels and Melee Attack Bonuses
Consider using Martial Arts to achieve Prowess levels higher than 6 with non powered humans. Feats that enhance melee attack bonus need to be figured in when determining melee attack bonuses.

Coordination
Use the average of the reflex and defense bonus to determine the bonus used for determining Coordination. Specialties can be use to improve ranged attacks if needed. Also you can add in Ranged Attack bonus Feats before averaging the two bonus.

Strength
Use the Stats and Powers chart to convert Strength. Also consider superstrength and your heay load lifting ability when determining Strength. If your MnM character could not lift a building but your Icons stat says you can, you may want to drop the STR level down one to get the feel right.

Intellect
Use the Stats and Powers chart to convert Intellect from Intelligence.

Awareness
Use the average of the Sense Motive and Notice Bonuses and compare it to the Stats and Powers Bonus Chart.

Willpower
Use the average of your Will Save and Charisma bonuses and compare it to the Stats and Powers Chart.

Powers
Pick what ever powers fit your character and use the Stats and Powers chart for the ranks. You should pick the powers that best representation of your hero and leave the rarely used or less used powers for using power stunts.

Aspects
Here you can tie up a few of the loose ends like flaws or feats that might not fit into Icons. Feats like attractive can be made as a Quality or flaws like limitations can be made as a Challenge.
 
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jhmcmullen

Registered User
Validated User
#4
The conversion is for 2nd edition M&M. I've taken a stab at a third edition-ICONS Assembled version because someone will want it...but a better choice is knowing both systems and converting by "feel" rather than by numbers. A much better choice.

My opinion only: in general, I feel like in ICONS a level of 8 in something is best in the world. When you get to level 9 and 10, you're talking best in the universe/century/millennia kind of territory. Nobody should ever be saying, "Oh, my character has only level 8 in this." A character with level 8 in a power can take on and succeed against a character with level 10. (Of course, the opposite is also true: it depends on the powers involved, and the lower-power-level characters might need to team up.) The Troll, for example, is an epic villain. With a Damage Resistance of 9, he is tough to beat: players have to team up or use his qualities...and if they have a character with Mental Blast, he falls apart.

Please remember that I didn't write the original, of which vast swathes remain. I only updated it.

The following will look ugly; I don't know if you can even do tables here.

General conversions: powers and abilities

First number is M&M 3rd edition, the second is ICONS Assembled.
Code:
M&M         ICONS
 -            -
<-1           1*
-1            2
0             3
1-2           4
3-5           5
6-7           6
8-9           7
10-14         8
15-18         9
>18           10*
* Maybe a candidate for a Quality as well.

And when you're done that, you have guidelines only.

So, those abilities...

Prowess This is the M&M Fighting ability. If you really care about the powered/non-powered thing, consider using Martial Arts to achieve Prowess levels higher than 6 with non powered humans. Remember also to add in feats that enhance melee attack bonus. What you're looking at is how good the character is at his/her best.

Coordination Use the average of the agility and dexterity plus any ranged attack bonus and defense bonus feats rolls to determine the number used for conversion. You can improve ranged attacks with the Power or Weapons specialties. Again remember that non-powered humans can be boosted with the Power or Weapons specialties.

Strength This is converted from the M&M Strength ability. Consider superstrength and your heavy load lifting ability when determining Strength.

Intellect Convert the Intelligence ability.

Awareness Use the average of the Perception and Insight skill totals. Yeah, technically Insight should be Will based, and you can do it if you want, but I've had better effects averaging them. Except when I don't.

Willpower Use the average of your Will Save and Presence and compare it to the Stats and Powers Chart.

Specialties

When determining Specialties, determine what your character is really good at: those are the things that might be specialties. In ICONS there are no requirements to have a specialty in order to do something: any shmoe can try Medicine (as first aid). Yeah, skill monkeys are still difficult, but since you can say "Science" and mean all of them, it's not quite as painful.

In both systems, the skill/specialty rank adds to the character's ability, so consider comparing the sum in both cases to see if you need a specialty at all. If your doctor in M&M has INT 10 and Medicine 5 just so he can be a doctor, consider putting the doctor bit in a Quality and leaving it out of the Specialties entirely. Your character will probably need fewer specialties because the ICONS specialties are looser. (The ICONS version will get fewer specialties, as well.)

Remember that most of the fighting skills are absorbed into Prowess and Coordination, above. You can still add them as Martial Arts, Wrestling, or Power specialties, but consider whether you need to. We'll talk about them in a moment.

But, assuming the skill ranks are seriously different from the ability...

If the skill is less than 6 in M&M, don't even consider buying a specialty unless the character is meant to be an idiot savant

Code:
Skill, M&M      Specialty in ICONS
6-10              Specialist
11-20             Expert
>20               Master
Yes, I think the rules allow you to have an ICONS character with rank 10 in something and a Master specialty, but why? Remember scale. If that level of expertise is important, maybe you need to re-scale your game.

Advantages

ICONS doesn't even have advantages. Most of the are going to be roleplaying handwavy things. If you want the GM to use them as plot hooks and make a big deal of them, maybe they could be a Quality. Something like Fearless, consider if you want to be fearless. If you really, really want it--if it's at the core of your character--then consider something like Resistance: Fear effects. But really, that's probably better done as a stunt if you have a Quality that somehow alludes to it. There's a different feel between a character with the Quality "Man without fear" and someone with Resistance 5: Fear effects.

Powers

Pick what ever powers fit your character and use the Stats and Powers chart for the ranks. You should pick the powers that best representation of your hero and leave the rarely used or less used powers for using power stunts.

If a power can have a specific limitation, consider a Limit for it. If the limitation affects multiple powers or the whole character, maybe it's a Quality.

In M&M a character can have a lot of powers in an array for relatively little cost; there's no equivalent to arrays (or Multipowers, for the Hero Games players). In that case, consider Magic or Gadgets or Cosmic Power. All three allow you to pluck powers from out of a hat or utility belt for the cost of a test. Or have a Quality that generates many determination points that you can use for stunts.

Qualities

Here you can tie up a few of the loose ends like flaws or feats that might not fit into ICONS. There are only three of them now, so look for things that can be advantages and limitations.

Determination

In my experience, Determination points are more powerful than Hero points, though that will depend on the GM. It also applies only to player characters.

Benchmark it!

Consider the scale you're working at. It doesn't matter if the conversions aren't appropriate for the original game, what's important is that they work relative to the current game. Batman has different abilities depending on whether he's in Detective comics or Justice League.

This goes along with scale. Look at the benchmarks for both games. If your M&M character could not lift a building but your ICONS ability says you can, consider dropping the strength level down.

Now take it out for a test drive. Tweak it.

But really, I think you'd be better off starting with the idea and working from the ground up.
 
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Arthur De Martino

Registered User
Validated User
#5
3) The game is dripping with Silver Age conventions. Has anyone run the game with much more seriousness? Not quite Iron Age, but, for example, could you do a storyline like Marvel's Civil War or Secret Invasion with ICONS and have it "feel" right (in your humble opinion)?
I've run both serious and fun adventures with Icons. Like previously said, the game rewards more creative plays than tactical ones, and if there is something I learned from all these years when players get creative, they often get silly.

That said, there is nothing on the system that would hinder a particular style of super heroing. As long you are running a super hero game, Icons got you covered.
 

drkrash

Fighter
Validated User
#6
I've run both serious and fun adventures with Icons. Like previously said, the game rewards more creative plays than tactical ones, and if there is something I learned from all these years when players get creative, they often get silly.

That said, there is nothing on the system that would hinder a particular style of super heroing. As long you are running a super hero game, Icons got you covered.
I get how this happens, but my players are playing M&M3, which also encourages creativity (Kenson's Hero Points and Assembled Determination are virtually the same), and "silly" doesn't happen very often.

I'm asking all this because I'm finding ICONS Assembled to basically be M&M3-lite (especially with Great Power, from what I've read about it). We chose to play M&M3 because it was HERO-lite, but now I'm wondering if I want something even simpler (and much better supported).

But I will say that the general art style of ICONS, though vastly improved since the original version, doesn't really scream modern comics the way that M&M does, and those first impressions to players are going to come straight from the cover art.
 

Arthur De Martino

Registered User
Validated User
#8
But I will say that the general art style of ICONS, though vastly improved since the original version, doesn't really scream modern comics the way that M&M does, and those first impressions to players are going to come straight from the cover art.
That's because the author was trying to channel the Justice League animation show flair. And honestly? It really doesn't scream Silver Age to me, but "Super Hero Cartoon". Which can turn to "Batman Brave and the Bold" to "Young Justice" - In fact Kenson on his blog even has some posts about Young Justice and Icons.
 

jhmcmullen

Registered User
Validated User
#9
In my updated conversion, I said that ICONS didn't have advantages... I didn't know about Kenson's K is for Knack at that moment.
 
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