Some House Rules for ICONS

I’ve been contemplating running an ICONS game. Nothing heavy duty but something a little more concrete than a one shot. Something to insert between adventures in our ongoing pathfinder game perhaps?

1. Aspects

One of my favorite things about Aspects in FATE and similarly the new Marvel game’s Distinctions is that they are things about you that can be both good and bad. ‘Insatiable Curiosity about Magic’ for instance can give a character bonuses when discovering something new about magic but at the same time can make it that much more likely that he’ll fall down the rabbit hole in exchange for a bene.

Also I like the idea of the High Concept and Trouble as the capstone aspects. Even if they don’t come up too much, they can help define a character much more concretely.

2. Custom Specialties List

I like specialties as a way of doing skills for ICONS. The fact that I’m seeing a mirror of this in D&D Next is actually one of the things that gives me some hope for that game. In practice however, I’ve found that the specialties are used to shore up character weaknesses more than they are used to add depth to the character.

I’d like to tweak it so that specialties are primarily mental related abilities that can be used across. So for instance someone with the Underworld specialty will gain the bonus on Intellect checks to know something about the mob, Awareness checks to notice mob activity, and Willpower checks to interact with the mob. Maybe give them a special Retcon related ability as well so that they can drop determination points to establish the location of mob safehouses or something.

On the physical side of things, I’d want to use specialties to emphasize combat styles. This is mostly how it is used already but I’m calling it out for higher emphasis on the differences. Acrobatics would go towards defenses and dodging while a wrestler would use those benefits in grapple tests.

3. The Origin Table

I don’t know about you but pretty much every time I play, 3 players roll up ‘Transformed’ with the 4th player getting something else. I just want to limit Transformed on the table so chances are higher of seeing other types of characters.