Icons:Taking Action

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Now that you've created a hero, it's time to take action! This section covers how to do things in Icons, from meeting different challenges to fighting foes in titanic clashes, all based on the hero's various capabilities.

Time

Icons measures time in a series of abstract segments. The two basic types of time keeping in the game are action time and narrative time.

Action time is when things in the game really start happening quickly: fights, chase scenes, and so forth. The basic segment of action time is a panel, which covers an abstract amount of time equal to the action depicted in a single comic book panel. A character can perform any action in a panel that would fit into a standard panel, including attack, dodge, or move.

All of the characters' panels add up to a page, which is enough time for every character involved in the action to do at least one thing. As a default, ten pages of action time are assumed to equal about a minute, in cases where that matters. The GM may use an abstract number of pages as a measure of things.

Narrative time is based more on the progress of the story than a series of actions. It is also more abstract. The basic unit of narrative time is a chapter. It is essentially like the chapter of a longer story like a comic book or novel, focused on a particular locale or event. For example, if the heroes foil a bank robbery, everything that happens at the bank -- including pages of action time -- is one chapter. When the scene switches back to the heroes' headquarters, another chapter begins, and so forth. The Game Master ultimately places breaks between chapters.

All the chapters of a single game session make up an issue, like a single comic book. A particularly long session with many chapters can be a "giant-size issue" while a self-contained story completed in a single issue may be a "one-shot issue."

Lastly, multiple issues make up a series, just like an ongoing comic book series.

Reactions ®

You may be called upon to make various tests during or outside of your panel in reaction to something someone else does. These tests require no effort on your character's part and generally impose no penalties (apart from the effects of failing them); you can perform as many reactions in a page as the Game Master requires.

Reactions are noted with the icon in the header.

Supplemental Actions ⊕

You may only perform one active test in your panel (the exception is the Fast Attack power which grants characters the ability to make multiple attack tests in one panel) and as many reactions as the GM requires. It is possible to perform supplemental actions during a page, doing additional things that do not require a test, such as movement, but you suffer a -1 penalty to your active test for each supplemental action in that page.

Supplemental actions are noted with the icon in the header.

Conflict

During a conflict in action time, you go back and forth between the heroes' panels and their opponents' panels for each page of the conflict. Typically, the conflict starts off with the panels of whichever side initiates: if a villain launches an attack, start with the villain's panel. If the heroes spring into action, begin with their panels. Once one side's actions are resolved, go to the other side, then back and forth until the conflict ends.

If there's a specific need to know who is able to act first (two characters grabbing for the same object, for example), test the appropriate ability (usually Coordination) with a difficulty equal to the opposing character's ability. Otherwise, actions on a page are largely simultaneous.

If the initiation of a conflict is unexpected, it may count as a Surprise Attack (see Maneuvers later in this chapter).

Distance

Distance in Icons is measured abstractly in ranges, roughly describing a level of distance, how far apart two things are. The ranges are:

Personal Close enough to touch someone, or to have someone standing right behind you. You can communicate by whispering.

Close Close enough to hit someone with a melee weapon or shoot them at point-blank range, or move up to them and do so in a single panel. You can communicate by speaking normally.

Extended Out of range for close attacks, but still within range for firearms and similar ranged attacks. You can only communicate by shouting.

Visual Out as far as the eye can see. You can make out outlines and shapes, but not individuals. You can't communicate except by visual or long-distance means (such as radio).

Beyond As in "beyond visual range." This is a catchall for greater distances, which are usually expressed in general or real-world terms (such as "a continent across" or "100 miles").

Doing Things

Your Icons hero can attempt pretty much anything you wish in the context of the game that is within the character's capabilities. This section looks at some common things characters do and how to determine if a particular attempt is successful and, if so, by how much.

This section uses the information from The Basics section, particularly on how to roll tests of different abilities and interpret the results.

Combining Abilities

Characters may combine their abilities for some tests. In this case, the lowest ability level is used for the test, but it gets a +1 bonus from the higher ability, if the two are equal, use that level with a +1 bonus. Obviously, this makes equals combining their abilities the most useful when it comes to improving the outcome, other combinations are too uneven.

Limiting Abilities

In some situations, one ability may limit another, applying the lower of the two abilities to the test. For example, juggling is a Coordination test. However, a juggling contest involving who can go the longest without getting tired brings Strength into the equation, so it can be said that Strength limits the test and the characters involved use the lower of their Coordination or Strength levels (how good they are at juggling or how good they are at going for a long time without resting).

Prowess

Use Prowess for tests of combat skill, whether it's punching someone in the jaw, fencing with swords, or fancy footwork to keep from getting tagged in a fight.

Bashing

Any unarmed attack or attack with a blunt weapon or object is a bashing attack. Test Prowess against a difficulty of the target's Prowess. On a failure, your attack misses. With a moderate success, you deal the attack's damage in Stamina. With a major success, you may slam the target. With a massive success, you may stun the target. See Damage (p. XXX) for details.

Evading ®

You use your Prowess to evade attacks through a series of feints and maneuvers. Evading only works against Prowess and Strength attacks, not Coordination (ranged) attacks. Test Prowess against a difficulty of the attacker's ability level. With a success, the attack misses. On a failure, the attack hits; determine the effect and outcome from the margin of failure. For example, if you fail to evade an attack by 3 levels, the attacker achieves a major success against you.

Slashing

Any attack with a knife, sword, or other sharp or pointed object is a slashing attack. Test Prowess against a difficulty of the target's Prowess. On a failure, your attack misses. With a moderate success, you deal the attack's damage in Stamina. With a major success, you may also stun the target. With a massive success, you may also kill the target! See Damage (p. XXX) for details.

Coordination

Use Coordination for tests of agility, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, aim, precision, mobility, and similar things.

Blasting

A blasting attack uses blunt force: either actual force beams or "mercy ammo" like rubber bullets or a simple blunt object. Test Coordination against a difficulty of the target's Coordination. On a failure, your attack misses. With a moderate success, you deal the attack's damage in Stamina. With a major success, you can hit a precise target (see Called Shots under Maneuvers, p. XXX) or may slam the target. With a massive success, you may stun the target. See Damage (p. XXX) for details.

Catching ⊕

On occasions when characters need to catch a falling or thrown object, roll a Coordination test. The usual Difficulty is 3, modified by the object's size; see Growth and Shrinking under powers for guidelines. So, for example, catching something insect-sized is difficulty 6 (the usual 3 with a +3 modifier for size). You also have to be able to lift an object's weight in order to catch it: trying to catch a 10-ton bolder hurled at you when you're unable to lift 10 tons is a bad idea!

A failure on the catching test means you miss. If the object was being thrown at you, you're automatically hit by it. A moderate success means you catch the object, but inflict your Strength in damage on it in doing so. Alternately, you can choose to suffer damage equal to the object's Strength to prevent harming the object, a useful option if you're Invulnerable and able to easily absorb the damage. A major or better success means you catch the object easily and without harm.

Climbing

You can automatically climb stairs, a ladder, a knotted rope, or something similar, assuming you have Strength and Coordination of 2 or better (those with only 1 level in either or both find climbing anything but a flight or two of stairs too difficult).

If you're climbing a difficult or treacherous surface (a wall, for example), you have to make a Coordination test with the difficultly based on the surface you're climbing. Failure means you fall and may suffer damage. Success means you climb the surface. The GM may increase the difficulty for especially long climbs (up the side of a skyscraper, for example) but only one test is required.

Dodging ®

Dodging is the art of not being there when an attack arrives. Roll a Coordination test against the attacker's ability. With a success, the attack misses. On a failure, the attack hits; determine the effect and outcome from the margin of failure. For example, if you fail to dodge an attack by 3 levels, the attacker achieves a major success against you.

Moving ⊕

Your Coordination determines the distance you can cover in one page: personal for Coordination 1 (just shuffling along), close for Coordination 2-5, and extended for Coordination 6 or more (Olympic sprinting speed). No test is required unless you're moving over difficult or dangerous terrain, in which case you either have to slow down by one step or make a Coordination test (difficulty based on the terrain) to avoid slipping and falling.

Shooting

Shooting attacks use potentially lethal ammunition, from bullets to deadly energy beams. Test Coordination against a difficulty of the target's Coordination. On a failure, your attack misses. With a moderate success, you deal the attack's damage in Stamina. With a major success, you can hit a specific part of the target (see Called Shots, p. XXX). You can potentially use this to stun the target (see Shooting to Stun, p. XXX). With a massive success, you may kill the target! See Damage (p. XXX) for details.

Swimming ⊕

Without a special power, a character covers only close distance each page while swimming. Characters underwater must make a Strength test each page: failure means you're unconscious and begin losing Strength levels (see Killing, p. XXX). Moderate success means you're winded and lose 2 points of Stamina. A major or better success means there's no effect that page. Continue rolling once each page, with a cumulative +1 difficulty per page, until the character reaches breathable air.

Throwing

If you have two levels of Strength above the level required to lift an object, you can throw it out to close distance. Every two additional Strength levels let you throw it one more step distance. So a Strength 8 character can throw a 50 lb. object (Strength 2) out to Visual distance, and can even pick up a bus (Strength 6) and fling it out to close distance!

Hitting someone with a thrown object is a test of Coordination against the target's Coordination: on a failure, the object misses the target. On a success, it hits and deals its damage in Stamina. With a massive success, the object might also stun the target (see Stunning, p. XXX).

If the thrown object is sharp or pointed, then a major success results in a possible stun, but a massive success can potentially kill the target (see Killing, p. XXX).

Strength

Use Strength for tests of a character's physical strength and endurance, from exerting muscle power to resisting fatigue or poison.

Bending and Breaking

To break through or damage an inanimate object, make a Strength test against the object's Strength: success bends, breaks, or puts a hole through the object. Sample object Strengths are listed on the table on the following page.

If the material is less than two inches think, reduce its effective Strength by 1. If it is more than a foot thick, increase Strength by 1; if more than two feet thick, increase Strength by 2.


Strength Level Material
1 Paper
2 Plastic
3 Aluminum
4 Brick
5 Concrete
6 Stone
7 Iron
8 Steel
9 Diamond
10 Magical or super-science material

Blocking

Sometimes it's necessary to pit Strength against Strength. Blocking involves bracing for an attack, resisting damage with sheer Strength. Blocking is only effective against Bashing, Blasting, and Rushing attacks. When blocking, roll a Strength test against the attack's damage level: reduce damage inflicted on you by the amount equal to the effect (the effort minus the difficulty). So if you exceed the attack's damage by 3, for example, you reduce the damage inflicted by 3.

If you have the Invulnerability power (p. XXX), you can also block Slashing and Shooting attacks, putting up your arms and pushing on through or even punching through Blasting or Shooting attacks!

Use the lesser of your Invulnerability power level or your Strength for the blocking test in these cases. Your normal level of Invulnerability applies to any unblocked damage.

Exhaustion ®

Characters can move continuously for a number of pages equal to (Strength x 10) before running the risk of suffering from exhaustion. Make a Strength test: on a failure, the character collapses and must rest for at least ten minutes. On a moderate success, the character collapses and must rest for one minute. A major or better success means there's no effect that page. The player continues rolling once each page, with a cumulative +1 difficulty level per page, until the character rests for at least one minute.

Escaping ®

When you're being held by an opponent (see Wrestling, following), you can attempt to escape the hold with a Prowess or Strength test against the attacker's Strength. With a moderate success, you escape a partial hold. With a major success, you escape a complete hold, and with a massive success you not only escape, but also place your opponent in a partial hold!

Grabbing

When you want to grab or wrest something out of an opponent's grasp, make a Strength test, limited by your Prowess, against the opponent's Strength level. With a major success, you grab the object away from the target. With a massive success, you grab the object, but damage it; it suffers damage equal to the combined Strength of you and your opponent!

Jumping ⊕

The distance you can jump is based on your Strength: personal for levels 1-3, close for levels 4-6, extended for levels 7-8, and out to visual distance for levels 9-10. With a Strength test against your own Strength level and a major success you can jump one extra step.

If you have the Leaping power (p. XXX), you can jump much greater distances than your Strength allows.

Lifting ⊕

Your Strength level determines the amount you can lift, as follows:


Strength Level Strong enough to lift...
1 a heavy sack
2 a child
3 a couple heavy sacks
4 an adult man
5 a motorcycle
6 a car
7 a tank
8 a jet or train
9 a building
10 a mountain


You can increase the amount you can lift with a Strength test against your own Strength level; a major or better success lets you lift something one category higher for one page.

Rushing

You can rush or charge at an opponent, using sheer Strength to bear down on them. To rush an opponent you must be at close or greater distance. Roll a Strength test limited by Prowess against the target's defensive ability. On a failure, you miss and rush right past the target. With a moderate success, you hit, inflicting damage equal to your Strength. With a major success, you may slam the target. With a massive success, you may stun the target. See Damage (p. XXX) for details.

Wrestling

When you want to grab and restrain an opponent, roll a Strength test limited by Prowess against the greater of the target's Prowess, Coordination, or Strength. With a moderate success, you achieve a partial hold. The target can perform actions, but at a –2 penalty, and can't move away from you. On a major or better success, you put the target into a complete hold. The target is fully restrained and can take no physical action except to escape from the hold. In your panel, you can automatically inflict Strength damage on a character in a complete hold, if you wish.

Intellect

Use Intellect for tests of the character's memory, reasoning, knowledge, or raw brainpower.

Inventing

You make Intellect tests to invent and modify equipment.

The GM sets the difficulty for making any necessary repairs or modifications to existing technology. So tuning up a car might be based entirely on the effort of your Intellect test, while fixing a time machine could be difficulty 6 or even higher.

If you have a level 6 or higher Intellect, or specialties giving you an effective level that high, the GM may allow you to perform stunts (see Stunts, p. XXX) to whip-up temporary inventions to overcome problems in an adventure. So, for example, you might be able to modify a device to do something different, or make a temporary device, like short-term psionic shields that provide the Mind Shield power against a villain's Mind Control, for example. In general, the level of the stunt is the difficulty of your Intellect test. The GM sets the requirements in terms of time and resources for the invention.

Knowing ®

To see if your character knows a particular piece of information, make an Intellect test against a difficulty set by the GM based on how obscure the information is: success reveals the information, with greater levels of success providing more detail.

The Game Master may choose to simply base common knowledge on your Intellect level without a test, using it as a benchmark of how much your character can be expected to know. Various specialties are useful in this regard, since they increase your effective Intellect level; a Physics Expert can be expected to know more about physics than most people, and more about physics than other topics.

Languages

All characters can speak (and read and write) in their native language.

If you do not want to deal with the issue of the language barrier, just assume everybody speaks the same language, unless there's a dramatic need for the language barrier to arise.

If you do want to take languages into account, then an Intellect 4 character is fluent in one additional language. Each additional level of Intellect doubles the number of additional languages, and each level of the Languages specialty (p. XXX) counts as a level of Intellect in terms of known languages.

By Intellect 9, a character speaks over thirty languages, over sixty at Intellect 10. For simplicity, you may prefer at this point to simply assume the character speaks and understands every commonly spoken language.

Learning

You also make Intellect tests to figure out puzzles and riddles and to learn about new things your character encounters. So, for example, if you have to find your way to the heart of a maze in time to rescue a villain's hostage, that's an Intellect test. So is figuring out the various riddles and traps in the maze along the way, unless you use some other ability to overcome them, such as avoiding a trap through superior Awareness or Coordination.

Awareness

Awareness applies to tests of a character's intuition, instinct, cunning, and sensory acuity.

The Game Master may make Awareness tests for characters in secret, just telling the players the outcome of the test, such as "you don't see anything." This way, players don't necessarily know if they were not aware of something, or there wasn't anything to be aware of in the first place!

Noticing ®

Make an Awareness test to notice things, from subtle clues to the villain trying to sneak up on you from behind. Noticing tests involving static things use a difficulty set by the GM while noticing what someone else is doing usually involves a difficulty based on the effort of their test, such as a Coordination test in the case of someone sneaking around. Success means you notice something, with higher levels providing more detail and accuracy.

Tests to notice things are often rolled in secret, so the GM may prohibit players from using determined effort (since no real effort is involved). The GM may also wish to occasionally roll a random noticing test for nothing, ignoring the results, just to keep players from knowing something is up whenever a real noticing test occurs.

Searching

This is the active counterpart of noticing (previously): you are searching, looking for particular things. Searching involves the same kind of test as noticing, except you can declare it a determined effort and it takes a bit more time to search than just to notice something; searching consumes an action, while noticing happens automatically.

Tracking

You can use Awareness to pick up on subtle signs people and vehicles leave behind in order to follow their trail and track them. This is considerably easier (or at least possible) if you have one or more Supersenses (p. XXX) to pick up on signs other people can't, such as tracking people by scent or microscopic traces they leave behind.

Willpower

Use Willpower for tests of a character's strength of will, force of personality, or charisma.

Intimidating

You can use your Willpower to overawe people and intimidate them into doing what you want. Make a Willpower test against the target's Willpower. Success makes them willing to do things that aren't likely to get them in trouble. A major success gets the target to do more difficult things and shakes their confidence, applying a –2 to actions to oppose you that page. A massive success means the target will do almost anything you want, and flees or surrenders rather than opposing you. A failure to intimidate a target means you cannot try intimidating that character again until circumstances change without using Determined Effort.

Performing

If you give a performance with the intent of impressing an audience, make a Willpower test, with the effort determining how impressive your performance is. The GM may apply a difficulty depending on the circumstances of your performance and the overall attitude of your audience.

Persuading

Make a Willpower test to persuade someone of your side of an argument. The difficulty is based on whether or not the subject is set against you. If they are, then the difficulty is their Willpower. If not, then the GM sets the difficulty based on how persuasive an argument you need to give. If you're arguing against someone else, you need to exceed their persuasive effort as well as achieving the difficulty. The outcome determines whether the subject disagrees, grudgingly agrees, or wholeheartedly sides with your case.

Maneuvers

The following are some maneuvers and modifiers that may apply to conflicts.

Aerial Combat

Airborne targets can be slammed regardless of comparative Strength levels (see Slamming under Damage), and a flying character executing a rushing attack by diving at the ground gets a +2 bonus to the test.

Aiming

A character taking a full page to aim a ranged attack, taking no other actions, gets a +1 bonus on the attack test on the following page.

Called Shots

On some occasions, a character may want to hit a precise target with a ranged attack, like a button, lever, or the bull's-eye of a target. This requires a major success or better. A called shot does not stun or slam targets, as those effects have specific success requirements already, but see Shoot to Stun, following.

Combined Attacks

Characters may attempt to combine attacks to overcome the armor of a target they can't otherwise damage. So long as the attacks' damage levels are within 1 point of each other, the highest damaging attack gets a +1 bonus.

So, for example, two heroes with attacks doing level 4 and 5 damage, against a foe with 6 points of armor, have a combined damage of 6, not enough to inflict Stamina damage, but capable of slamming or stunning the target with a good enough attack test.

Immobile Targets

The difficulty level to attack an immobile target is generally 0, meaning the effort of the attack is also its effect. This includes opponents in a complete hold, or ensnared in a Binding power (see p. XXX).

Interposing

You can choose to give up your next action in order to jump in front of another character within close range targeted by an attack, even when it's not your turn to act. Make a Coordination (3) test. If you succeed, you become the target of the attack intended for the other character and defend against it normally. If the attack misses you, it misses both of you (you're assumed to get the other character out of the way).

Limited Visibility

If darkness, heavy fog, or similar obstacles impair visibility, attacks beyond close range suffer a –2 penalty.

Luring

In some situations, you may want to try and get an opponent to attack you. If you take an action to lure, your foe gets a +2 bonus to attack you, but you get a defensive test, as usual.

If your defensive test is successful, you avoid the attack and the attacker hits something behind you, your choice as to what. It could be another foe, an electrical junction box, a support beam, or what have you, depending on the circumstances.

Multiple Targets

When surrounded by multiple opponents at close range, a character may elect to attack everyone at once. Roll the attack test with a –4 modifier and apply the effort to all the targets.

Pulling Punches

You can choose to mitigate the damage done by your attacks. Prior to attacking you state the maximum outcome of your attack. If your attack hits, any outcome over your limit is reduced to the outcome you set when you made the attack.

When using an attack capable of a killing outcome, such as slashing or shooting, you can't pull your punches, although you can attempt to shoot to stun with a shooting attack (see the following). This is one reason why few heroes use such potentially deadly attacks.

Shooting to Stun

A character may attempt to use a shooting attack to simply stun a target (creasing the skull or some other non-lethal hit). This requires a major success, treated like a stun result for a blasting attack. A massive success may still kill the target, however. Note that when using Determined Effort, you declare your desired success, and do not achieve more than it.

Surprise Attack

If you manage to surprise an opponent unaware of your presence (sneaking up using Stealth or Invisibility, for example), you get a +2 bonus on your attack test.

Underwater Combat

Characters fighting underwater need to hold their breath, if they're unable to breathe water (see Swimming, p XXX). Additionally, they suffer a –1 penalty to actions due to the resistance of the water. The Underwater Combat specialty (p. XXX) negates this penalty, allowing the character to act normally. The Aquatic power (p. XXX) may increase the character's Coordination and Awareness for actions under water, offsetting the penalty as well.

Like aerial combat, underwater targets can be slammed regardless of Strength level.

Damage

Any successful hit inflicts damage that is subtracted from your Stamina. When your Stamina is reduced to 0, you are unconscious. The amount of damage an attack inflicts varies according to its type:

  • Close Attack: Inflicts damage equal to the attacker's Strength if weaponless or according to the weapon's damage, if wielding a close attack weapon.
  • Ranged Attack: Inflicts damage based on the weapon or power used. For thrown objects, use the lesser of the attacker's or the object's Strength.

Armor

Armor reduces the amount of damage suffered in an attack by subtracting the armor's level from the amount of damage inflicted; any remaining points are then subtracted from Stamina. If the target has no armor, the attack does full damage.

Example: A character wearing armor 1 hit by a punch dealing 2 points of damage suffers only 1 point of damage to Stamina.

Slamming

If an attack achieves a potential slam outcome and inflicts 0 or more Stamina damage to the target, test the target's Strength against the damage level. Attacks inflicting less than 0 damage cannot slam a target.

Failure sends the target flying out to the next range, typically from close to ranged. The target must spend next panel getting up and can perform no other action. If there's an obstacle along the way, and the attacker's damage is greater than the obstacle's material Strength (see Bending & Breaking, p. XXX), the target is knocked through it. Otherwise the target hits the obstacle and stops.

Moderate success knocks the target down. Getting back up is a supplemental action (for a –1 test penalty that page).

Major or massive success means no effect from the slam.

Stunning

If an attack achieves a potential stun outcome and inflicts 0 or more Stamina damage to the target, test the target's Strength against the damage level. Attacks inflicting less than 0 damage cannot stun a target.

Failure reduces the target's Stamina to 0 and renders the character unconscious.

Moderate success stuns the target for 1 page, during which the character cannot take any actions.

Major or massive success means no effect from the stun.

Killing

If an attack achieves a potential killing outcome and inflicts 0 or more Stamina damage to the target, test the target's Strength against the damage level. Attacks inflicting less than 0 Stamina damage cannot kill a target.

Failure reduces the target's Stamina to 0 and renders the character unconscious. On the following page, and each page thereafter, the character loses a level of Strength. When Strength falls below 0, the character dies.

You can prevent your Strength level from dropping for one page by spending a point of Determination. Assistance from another character for one page stops loss of Strength and stabilizes your condition, leaving you unconscious.

Moderate success reduces the target's Stamina to 0 and renders the character unconscious.

Major or massive success test means no effect.

Option: Minions

Villains often have gangs of minions, henchmen intended primarily to keep heroes busy with superior numbers. Most minions are relatively weak compared to heroes, with abilities rarely more than 3 (and maybe even less in the mental department). Still, tracking the Stamina of a large number of minions, along with rolling slamming, stunning, and even killing tests for them can become tedious, so Game Masters may wish to use the following optional rule:

If a hero makes a successful attack against a minion, the minion is reduced to 0 Stamina and unconscious, just like a failure against a stunning outcome. If you want a slightly less harsh version, require the hero's attack be a major or better success; moderate successes against minions still have their normal effect. This speeds up dealing with large numbers of minion opponents so the heroes can get on to the main event!

Recovery

Unconscious characters regain consciousness in 2d6 (2–12) pages. They have Stamina equal to their current Strength level (minimum of 1) when they awaken. Thereafter they recover their Strength level in Stamina per hour.

During most adventures, the Game Master may wish to assume characters simply recover all lost Stamina in-between chapters in the adventure, since it involves less book-keeping.

Getting Your Strength Back

Characters recover one lost level of Strength per week, or one per day of hospitalization and medical treatment. Certain powers like Healing and Regeneration can speed the recovery of lost Strength.

Characters who have lost Strength levels suffer a –2 penalty to all other tests until they have fully recovered their Strength.

Back From the Dead

In the real world dead is dead, but in the comics, death is more often than not a temporary condition.

If an Icons character dies (from a killing outcome in combat or other deadly circumstance), the character remains out of play for at least one issue, but thereafter may return. The GM and player come up with a suitable explanation for the hero's miraculous survival or resurrection.

The GM may also want to insist on one or more of the following requirements:

  • The character permanently loses a point of starting Determination, reflecting the massive retcon (or determined effort!) needed to return to life.
  • A special adventure must be undertaken to restore the character to life, ranging from the heroes going to the afterlife to questing for a particular device able to restore their friend.
  • The player needs to re-roll some of the hero's traits, perhaps even all of them, resulting in a very different character, like a former trained hero with no powers coming back as an incorporeal ghost!
  • The character's traits are exactly the same, but the "returned" hero is actually a new person, like a long-lost twin, parallel Earth duplicate, time-traveler, or the like who is not the original hero, who is still dead... for now.

Option: Lasting Injuries

At the Game Master's option, characters who have taken a significant beating (particularly if they have suffered a significant slam, stun, or have lost Strength levels) may have lingering injuries, ranging from a concussion to broken bones, lacerations, and numerous other conditions.

Such injuries can be treated as a temporary challenge, which the GM can compel normally, awarding the hero's player Determination for the difficulties associated with, say, trying to concentrate with a concussion, or swing from the rooftops with a dislocated shoulder.

As in the comics, these injuries should be treated more as story devices, rather than marks on a characters sheet, and they only come into play when the GM wishes. Otherwise, stick to the simpler damage system given previously.