ICONS: building characters

With finals coming up, and a few holiday type deals I have decided to indulge and take a break from the serious sessions and go for something else. My group is going to be playing Icons for the next few weeks. This past Friday was used solely to create the various characters they will be playing.

Reactions to this were mixed. One player seemed to embrace it with gusto; like me he also gets very excited about new things. One player is upset with the randomness of it all, and begged to reroll his character. A couple of them seem lost, unsure with how to proceed. Here is what we have so far.

JR: He rolled up an artificial construct that had life support, blast, and interface, He soon came up with the notion of a young man yearning for justice who had his brain placed in a cyborg body. He is taking cues from Robocop and running full on towards that goal. I have an arch villain set up for him already.

Amanda: She ended up rolling a character whose powers were part of destiny, either by birth or fate. One of her powers was alter-ego so she essentially has two characters to play. She is going with the notion that the two characters were twins; two minds in one body. One personality has luck control, the other’s power escape me at the moment.

Jennifer: Also had to create a robot. She got telepathy, life support (robots can choose this in place of one power), and duplication. She decided that she was a rouge sex-bot turned hero. We worked on the concept a bit and she became a companion-bot instead since I want a Saturday morning cartoon feel here. She might be the least action oriented, but she has a full backstory and arch villain all worked out. She also has a name for the character: Fantasy.

I suggested Faux-pal.

Mike: Initially he rolled up a character with low IQ and invulnerability, flight, and plant control. We talked for a bit and decided it was Forrest Gump as a super hero. He became too embarrassed to play such a character so we rerolled his character. He now has emotion control, interface, and invulnerability, and super strength. We decided he was once an archeologist who discovered the shield of Achilles and upon dropping it gained the spirit of the ancient warrior.

Jason: Is the gimmick character. Sadly he got some low scores on his stats but he ended up favoring intelligence over strength. This was done because his character was once an astronaut who discovered a space rock that bonded with his arm He now has the power to fire mental blasts, invulnerability, and turn his body into granite. The granite increases his strength so he now has both brains and brawn.

Charlie: Did not get to complete his character. He also got alter ego and has told me some of his plans for it if the rolls work out well.

Most of the group got stuck on challenges and qualities for their characters. I’ll probably end up grafting a few unique ones on them. We also haven’t done the team building exercise yet. The team looks pretty good I think. JR is the blaster, Mike is the main muscle, Jennifer and Jason are support muscle and mental powered, and Amanda is full on support role.

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2 thoughts on “ICONS: building characters

  1. Overall, would you say your players were accepting of having full control of chargen taken away, in lieu of randomization? We’ve discussed before how I feel that this is more in-tune with how, narratively, superheroes work, but whether it makes for a fun game is anyone’s business.

    Does the book come with some kind of primer or advice on backstory’ing your powerset?

  2. One seems very excited by the idea, two went hook line and sinker, two are accepting but seem less than enthused, and one stated that he hates the random aspect.
    I suspect his hatred is less in line with the method and more because he wasn’t comfortable witht he character he rolled up. He has a comfort zone and it’s hard to get him out of it. His comfort zone is that of the big bruiser, but sometimes he needs to leave this zone becuae it’s good for him and it lets others occupy that niche if they want.

    That said, I think in general they are good with it, but I have prefaced it with “this is a diversion, it is not our main game.” Which might seem like long term sabotage, however the game was designed to be played as thus. It’s pick up and play, and the only rules for advancement are optional ones.

    Myself? I agree that the random generation mimics the ‘stories’ presented in comics. But no matter how accidental a characters beginning, it was still carefully plotted by a writer to give him cool powers. So, I still think for long term point buy is best.

    There is a bit of GM advice but nothing really new. For the players there is the standard blurbs about figuring out bakground details. However the character creation is staged to present a bit of structure (this is where I came from, this is how I work, this is what I got) and each of the powers presents examples of how that power works.
    Ex: the ‘swinging’ power suggests that thye might be webbing, power bands, or a type of chain.

    There is also the full example of a player rolling up Saguarro the man-cactus which details the process quite well and uses a non-standard character that hopefully inspires people.

    So basically it is big on small bits of inspiration, but not so much on actual guides. The Villainomicon that is due out soon may fix this. I hear it has a section on how to come up with cool villains.

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