[20:05] <+SteveKenson> Hello, all. I’m Steve Kenson. You know me from such game products as: Mutants & Masterminds, Icons Superpowered Roleplaying, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, Blue Rose, True20, or any number of other books I’ve worked on.
[20:05] <+SteveKenson> I write alot about superheroes, as I’m a near life-long comic book geek.
[20:06] <+SteveKenson> (done)
[20:06] <~Dan> Thanks, Steve!
[20:06] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[20:06] <@Silverlion> Hi Steve: SO why did you write two superhero games?
[20:07] <~Dan> And on a related note, how would you describe the different gaming experiences they offer?
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[20:07] <+SteveKenson> Because I had ideas for two? I touch on it in the intro to Icons but, basically, I wrote M&M and Icons to fulfill different design goals and scratch different itches as it were.
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[20:08] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, IanW! Here for the Q&A?)
[20:08] <@Silverlion> Awesome.
[20:08] <+SteveKenson> M&M was mandated to be a d20-based game from the start, which provided parameters, and it came into being initially to get Freedom City published.
[20:09] <+SteveKenson> Icons started out as a kicking-around-ideas project predicated on: 1) Random rolling heroes. 2) Melding some concepts from Marvel Super-Heroes and Fudge (both of which I liked). 3) Offering an “animated series” style pick-up game. Later came some bits from Fate like aspects (qualities in Icons).
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[20:10] <~Dan> (Howdy, GenoFoxx!)
[20:10] <+FaerieGodfather> What does the Assembled Edition add to the original Icons?
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[20:11] <+SteveKenson> M&M is more structured and lends itself more to character-building and a certain amount of tactical game play. Icons is more free form and a bit more story based, a bit more improv than structure.
[20:12] <+SteveKenson> FaerieGodfather, that’s a fair list, so I’m going to cheat and point you here: (Link: http://stevekenson.com/2014/05/05/icons-assembled-whats-different/)http://stevekenson.com/2014/05/05/icons-assembled-whats-different/
[20:12] <+FaerieGodfather> Ta.
[20:12] <+SteveKenson> That’s pretty much the summary of what’s added/changed.
[20:12] <@Silverlion> Where do hyou get your ideas for so many characters?
[20:12] <+Daikoku> If M&M was intended to be a vehicle to publish Freedom City, where did Freedom City come from?
[20:12] * +Corvus clicks that because he bought I:AE a couple hours ago, inspired by this Q&A appearance. >_>
[20:12] <+SteveKenson> Thanks, Corvus, much appreciated!
[20:12] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:13] <+Corvus> I’m gonna throw this out here because people keep beating me to the punch. 😛 Most of tonight’s questions are likely to be about supers. which is fine with me, but I’d like to sneak in a question about Blue Rose. Are there any future plans for it?
[20:13] <~Dan> (Question pause after Corvus’s question.)
[20:14] <+SteveKenson> Silverlion, I keep a notes file where I jot down pretty much any idea that comes into my head, then sort things into themed files. Some I toss out but many I dip back into once some ideas have simmered for a bit.
[20:14] <@Silverlion> Cool. (I do that.)
[20:15] <+SteveKenson> Daikoku, Freedom City started out as a Champions sourcebook, actually, but the plans for it fell through. Hero Games was in legal limbo and third-party Champions publication became pretty much non-existent.
[20:15] * +Corvus glances at his copy of Champions Complete. >_>
[20:16] <+SteveKenson> Corvus, I can tell you that Blue Rose is a topic of conversation at every yearly Green Ronin planning meeting, and has been since its publication. Whether or not well see anything new for it, time will tell.
[20:16] <+Corvus> Better chance than a no!
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[20:16] <~Dan> (Howdy, Abstruse!)
[20:16] <@Silverlion> Any plans for a sourcebook for Icons?
[20:16] <+Abstruse> (Hello…Hey Steve, it’s Darryl from Gamer’s Tavern)
[20:17] <+SteveKenson> (Hi, Darryl!)
[20:17] <+SteveKenson> Silverlion, yeah I’m working on some Icons stuff for next year, and Dan Houser is cranking out more adventure content, in addition to his art duties.
[20:18] <@Silverlion> Cool.
[20:18] <@Silverlion> I’ve not sadly heard from Dan Houser lately.
[20:18] <+SteveKenson> Plus Mike over at Fainting Goat is putting out more Icons material than I am! There’s a shocking amount of third-party content.
[20:18] <@Silverlion> Which is awesome.
[20:18] <~Dan> Can you say anything about what’s planned, or is it all still on the downlow?
[20:18] <+Abstruse> (Can someone PM me what I’ve missed so far?)
[20:19] <~Dan> (Just a sec, Abstruse.)
[20:19] <~Dan> (Abstruse: Just sent it to FB.)
[20:20] <+SteveKenson> Basically, I’ve two things in mind: one is a series called “Icons A to Z” that is an every two weeks release of 6 pages of content on a particular topic, starting with “A is for Aliens” and “B is for Battles” – ranging from random tables to new rules to story and how-to stuff.
[20:20] <+Corvus> Ooooh.
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[20:21] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, kroh01!)
[20:21] <@Silverlion> COol.
[20:21] <+Daikoku> Can’t wait for X is for Xenomorphs
[20:21] <+SteveKenson> The other is another series called “Icons Adversaries” – which is basically “villains of the week.” I both want to update a lot of the villains to the style and format of Assembled along with creating some new ones. Still working out the format there.
[20:22] <+kroh01> Hi Steve, Hi all, are all of these slated for 2015?
[20:22] <@Silverlion> Any chance of some settings?
[20:22] <+SteveKenson> Daikoku, yeah, I hesitate to put out a list of entries because I keep changing them around as things progress.
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[20:23] <~Dan> (Howdy, Damiar_the_Wolf!)
[20:23] <+Damiar_the_Wolf> heya folks
[20:23] <+SteveKenson> kroh01, yes, I’d like to do both in 2015. A to Z is pretty much definite. Adversaries is going to depend on both my available time and how the format shakes out.
[20:23] <@Silverlion> (Damiar!)
[20:23] <+Abstruse> If you had to put Icons in terms of an era of comic book in terms of tone, would you say it’s more Golden Age, Silver Age, Dark Age, or Modern Era? And no copping out and saying it fits all of them. If that’s your answer, please expand how you address each :p
[20:23] <+Damiar_the_Wolf> (whoa, it’s Steve Kenson! your games rock man, just saying)
[20:24] <+kroh01> That’s groovy. Will there be new Adversaries along with the familiar favorites?
[20:24] <+SteveKenson> Silverlion, settings … I don’t know. I certainly have IDEAS for settings (or bits and pieces of settings) but the main things standing in the way are…
[20:24] <~Dan> (Question pause after kroh01’s question.)
[20:24] <+SteveKenson> 1) The time available to produce a big, comprehensive setting, which is pretty involved.
[20:25] <+SteveKenson> 2) Not cranking out something that is just another Freedom City, which I’m already working on revising for M&M 3e (and where a lot of my setting ideas are getting funneled).
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[20:25] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest15! Please set your name with the /nick command. 🙂 )
[20:25] <@Silverlion> I’d like to see some small setting bits–maybe a locales book..
[20:25] <+SteveKenson> 3) The fact that I kind of conceived of Icons as an “implied setting” superhero game, like Champions and V&V in the early days.
[20:26] <+SteveKenson> I have indeed considered a locales book of some type, it’s just lower on the to-do list.
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[20:26] <+SteveKenson> kroh01, the idea would be that Adversaries would be a mix of new and previous edition characters.
[20:26] <~Dan> (Thanks, Charly! Here for the Q&A? 🙂 )
[20:26] <+SteveKenson> (Thanks, by the way, Damiar! You’re very kind.)
[20:26] <+kroh01> Sweet! Count me in for that series
[20:26] <+SteveKenson> (done)
[20:27] <+Charly> yeah, saw it over on Gplus and thought I would listen in.
[20:27] <+Daikoku> Love the idea of Icons Adversaries. Supers character books are among my favourite reads. Are you thinking one big book or a series of folio types?
[20:27] <~Dan> Charly: Cool. The floor is open to questions. 🙂
[20:27] <+Damiar_the_Wolf> (any time, fellow bearer of the name Steve – been a fan of M&M since the first edition!)
[20:27] <+Abstruse> I think mine got skipped…
[20:27] <+Abstruse> If you had to put Icons in terms of an era of comic book in terms of tone, would you say it’s more Golden Age, Silver Age, Dark Age, or Modern Era? And no copping out and saying it fits all of them. If that’s your answer, please expand how you address each :p
[20:28] <+SteveKenson> Daikohu, I’m not sure about the format yet, honestly. If it’s done in a series of small releases, more comes out sooner. If it’s more of a traditional book, then it won’t see release until the second half of 2015, at least.
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[20:29] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, I’ve actually always thought of Icons as the “animated series” superhero RPG, more in the tone of, say, the Superman, Justice League, or Spectacular Spider-Man cartoons.
[20:29] <+Abstruse> I may have missed this, but is Green Ronin still publishing the new Icons?
[20:29] <+kroh01> I have to tell you, Using Icons for a Young Justice on the fly game saved my bacon more times than not at a game con
[20:29] <+Corvus> Woo!
[20:30] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, Green Ronin is distributing the Assembled Edition rulebook, but Ad Infinitum is still publishing Icons.
[20:30] <+Abstruse> Who is doing the art?
[20:30] <+SteveKenson> Glad to hear it, kroh01. Pick-up games like cons is one of the things Icons was designed for.
[20:31] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, Dan House is THE Icons artist. He’s already done some stuff for A to Z and we’ll be talking about Adversaries soon.
[20:32] <+kroh01> A friend runs local cons and the ability to drop the rule book when a GM cancels and say… ICONS it is… is a huge load off
[20:32] <@Silverlion> I love Icons far more than I ever loved M&M, which is also awesome, just less my thing.
[20:32] <+Abstruse> Can you talk a little about the gameplay for those who aren’t familiar?
[20:33] <~Dan> SteveKenson: Silverlion here has good-naturedly talked me into running ICONS, which, IIRC, will be my first 100% superhero game since Marvel Superheroes. 🙂
[20:33] <~Dan> (To run, that is.)
[20:33] <+SteveKenson> A lot of Icons game play is pretty traditional RPG fare: individual characters have actions they can perform, and there’s a core resolution system for testing their abilities and such.
[20:34] <+SteveKenson> Where things get interesting is in the application of activating qualities for advantage and creating trouble.
[20:35] <+SteveKenson> Both bringing different qualities into play and using different options for activating them. One thing I enjoy about Assembled Edition’s approach is setting up different ways to discover, create, and activate qualities.
[20:36] <+SteveKenson> So you can spend your Determination Points, but you can also maneuver (which is basically anything that takes an action and reveals/creates/activates a quality), or you can even deliberately create trouble for yourself in order to trade it off for an advantage.
[20:37] <+SteveKenson> (done)
[20:38] <+Yalborap> I have kind of a side question, more about supers in general, if that’s cool with you, Steve.
[20:38] <+SteveKenson> Sure Yalborap
[20:38] <~Dan> I’m still in the process of reading ICONS. Is it correct to say that the game uses Qualities to cover weaknesses rather than a more specific mechanic?
[20:38] <@Silverlion> I love Icons, but I’m tired of the affliction power showing up a lot.
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[20:39] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest92! Please set your name with the /nick command. 🙂 )
[20:39] <+SteveKenson> Dan, that’s correct: having your “I
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[20:39] <+SteveKenson> “Metal Man” quality activated to cause your trouble in that you’re vulnerable to magnetism would be one example.
[20:40] <+Guest92> Will we see updated stats for classic Icon heroes like All-star?
[20:40] <+Yalborap> I was wondering if you had any thoughts about writing superhero fiction, for games or otherwise. Specifically, creating a new superhero universe to play in. It seems like, to me, there’s this very tricky balance of how much heroics are established versus the PCs or protagonists being the first ones.
[20:40] <+SteveKenson> I’m not in a big hurry to provide a lot of additional pre-generated heroes, although I might go back through some of the previous ones.
[20:41] <+Yalborap> So do you have any opinions or thoughts on actually putting that kind of world together, figuring out that balance, seeing how people probably react to a costumed super, etc. ?
[20:41] <+SteveKenson> It can be, Yalborap. It’s the “horror movie problem” where people in a horror movie don’t KNOW they’re in a horror movie and, sometimes, act like they’ve never even SEEN a horror movie.
[20:42] <+Abstruse> I see you too will be at ChupacabraCon in Austin the second weekend of January, but I didn’t see any Icons games on the schedule. Will you be running demos?
[20:42] <+Yalborap> *nod* And mixed with the trouble of having to establish that it is a horror movie and what the horror is, to follow the metaphor.
[20:42] <+SteveKenson> Comic book superheroes can be similar: They get kind of meta and self-referential. So do new costumed heroes exist in a world that already has comic books? I played around with that idea in my home Aberrant game a bit.
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[20:43] <+SteveKenson> I am slated to run an Icons game at ChupacabraCon, Abstruse, and an M&M game as well.
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[20:43] <+IanW> (Did someone say Aberrant? ;D )
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[20:43] <@Silverlion> (No.)
[20:44] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Jenner!)
[20:44] <+SteveKenson> With super-powered settings, Yalborap, I’d start with the kind of setting you want to have and work your way back from that, setting things in place that facilitate it.
[20:44] <+SteveKenson> (Hi, Ian!)
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[20:45] <+SteveKenson> (done)
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[20:45] <~Dan> SteveKenson: I’m curious regarding the thinking that went into the ICONS scale. Why use a closed scale for a supers game?
[20:45] <+kroh01> Any chance we can get an Icons book with a Sketch Cover (just kidding)?
[20:46] <@Silverlion> I’ve always wondered about the mythology of settings..
[20:46] <@Silverlion> Like the story of the Hangman and stuff.
[20:46] <+SteveKenson> Dan, I think it’s useful to say someone or something is “Supreme” (in Icons parlance) and at the top of the scale, although in “C is for Cosmic” I talk a bit about extending the scale in different ways.
[20:47] <~Dan> Really? Now that’s interesting. Can you give us a sneak peak at that?
[20:48] <~Dan> See, I’m a big stats guy. Some people think this is pointless, but I want to know how strong Galactus is, and if he can punch out a Celestial.
[20:48] <+SteveKenson> Ideas for different ways to either add to the upper end of the scale (some linear, others not) or to “shift” the scale to keep it the same “width” but focused on the range that matters for the series, where human-level abilities might be “off the scale” at the bottom end because they’re irrelevant.
[20:49] <+Abstruse> Balance is always a problem in superhero games, the classic example is Hulk vs. Hawkeye. Do you address this in Icons, and if so, how much do you worry about balance?
[20:50] <@Silverlion> Galactis us Cosmic Strength.
[20:50] <@Silverlion> is..
[20:50] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, Icons mostly addresses issues of power balance with Determination Points and a fairly compressed scale of ability levels. The more powers you have, the fewer DPs you start with and vice versa.
[20:51] <+SteveKenson> So the “skilled human” types frequently have more DP to spend.
[20:51] <~Dan> I have a related question about skilled humans, when you’re ready, Steve.
[20:52] <+SteveKenson> Dan, I think stats serve a purpose … to a point. On the other hand, while I think DC Heroes is a brilliant piece of game design (as Greg Gorden’s work tends to be), I also don’t see a point in assigning Mr. Mxyzptlk 55 APs of Reality Control (or any stats at all).
[20:52] <+SteveKenson> Sure, go ahead.
[20:53] <~Dan> How well do you think ICONS handles “super-skilled” characters like Green Arrow?
[20:54] <@Silverlion> Most ways of defeating beings like that is plot related.
[20:55] <@Silverlion> What do you think of games which have a “fighting” stat (MSH, ICons etc)
[20:55] <+SteveKenson> Pretty well, overall. I think the quality mechanics are perhaps a touch too conservative when it comes to allowing them their full breadth of tricks (be it utility belts, quivers, or Q-Branch gadgets) but both advantage and pyramid tests are built with them in mind.
[20:56] <+SteveKenson> Silverlion, I think most superhero RPGs have a “fighting” stat, just that a lot of them don’t call it that, or it does double-duty as something else (Dexterity/Agility being the Usual Suspect). Given how big a deal combat ability is for super-types, I thin it fits the genre.
[20:57] <~Dan> Actually, I think a Fighting stat helps with the “super-skill” thing.
[20:58] <+SteveKenson> It helps to consolidate, Dan. So you can have a “master of all forms of combat” character more easily than buying up X number of skills or whatnot.
[20:58] <~Dan> Some “normal” superheroes like Captain America and Batman have what amounts to superhuman levels of fighting ability.
[20:58] <+Abstruse> (Hellooooo Shadowrun’s Quickness!)
[20:58] <~Dan> It does make me wish that ICONS had a separate stat for ranged combat, so that you could do Green Arrow without making him a gymnast.
[20:59] <@Silverlion> Well you give him a high Agility, but Mastery of BOws
[20:59] <@Silverlion> Mastery is a HUGE bonus…
[20:59] <+SteveKenson> Well, putting aside that GA *is* pretty acrobatic and athletic, he’s definitely … what Silverlion said.
[20:59] <+SteveKenson> 🙂
[20:59] <@Silverlion> So he’s agile but no gymnast.
[20:59] <@Silverlion> (ifyou want him that way.)
[20:59] <+SteveKenson> Plus Bows Master lets him do archery stunts.
[21:01] <+SteveKenson> Master-level specialties is another way the skilled guys are better than the equal level ability guys.
[21:01] <~Dan> Ah, due to the stunt thing?
[21:03] <+SteveKenson> Both the stunt thing and, often, Determination Points. Great (6) Coordination and Bows Master is Fantastic (9) ranged combat ability and the ability to do stunts. Whereas Fantastic Coordination is the same level of range ability (with ALL ranged weapons) but it counts as a power for Determination.
[21:03] <~Dan> Fair point.
[21:03] <+SteveKenson> So the 6+3 = 9 character has 1 more DP than the level 9 guy.
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[21:04] <+Corvus> (Oh my gawd, it’s Nate!)
[21:04] <~Dan> (Howdy, DrNate!)
[21:05] <+SteveKenson> I *think* I’m caught up on questions.
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[21:06] <~Dan> How does ICONS handle heroes who rely on gadgets?
[21:06] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest67! Please set your name with the /nick command. 🙂 )
[21:06] <@Silverlion> Gadget “power”
[21:07] <+SteveKenson> Two ways, Dan: There are heroes with “devices” which are specific things-that-do-things like Thor’s hammer and heroes with the Gadgets power, which is basically an economy for turning advantage into different power effects on-demand.
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[21:07] <~Dan> (Thanks, PFJKyle! Here for the Q&A?)
[21:08] <+Pteryx> What about ICONS would you say makes it more of an “animated series” style?
[21:09] <+SteveKenson> Pteryx, that it’s a bit lighter, both in tone and in system approach, and more geared towards being able to both quickly create new characters and to play through a game relatively quickly as well.
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[21:10] * @Silverlion likes Icon’s so much its his second favorite superhero game
[21:10] <~Dan> Silverlion: After your own? 😉
[21:10] <+Abstruse> How would I pull off a character like Wolverine or Deadpool with their healing factors and keep them relevant in the game?
[21:10] <+SteveKenson> (Thank you kindly, Tim!)
[21:10] <@Silverlion> Yes, after my own.
[21:11] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, well there’s a Regeneration (and an Immortality) power. Could you explain more of what you mean in terms of “relevance”?
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[21:12] <+Abstruse> Again, it’s back to Hawkeye.
[21:12] <~Dan> (Howdy, BlasterKyubey210!)
[21:12] <+Abstruse> Yes, he’s a highly trained field operative for a secret intelligence agency and is described as an “assassin”…but it’s still just a dude with a bow. How can he stand in a fight with someone who is effectively immortal?
[21:13] * @Silverlion could answer that..
[21:13] <+kroh01> Explosives!
[21:14] <@Silverlion> But I’ll let Steve.
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[21:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wooboy!)
[21:14] <+Wooboy> hey
[21:14] <+SteveKenson> Because he’s sneaky and has trick arrows and he’s determined to win. Unfortunately, if “normal guy in a colorful costume with some gadgets goes up against a virtual god” tweaks your suspenders of disbelief, then four color superheroics may not be for you.
[21:14] <+Abstruse> “Crap, my kidney! I’ll grab that in a second after I soak up every attack this guy can do, twist his head off, and still have time to read War & Peace before I actually die.”
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[21:15] <+SteveKenson> After all, in Avengers: EMH, Hawkeye and Black Widow take down the HULK together.
[21:15] <@Silverlion> I’d say he shoots him with bola arrows, traps him in place, then goes and sticks him in super cement in a barrel and drop him somewhere
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[21:15] <~Dan> (wb, kroh01)
[21:15] <+Abstruse> Well, it’s an issue of translation. In games, we expect at least an attempt at balance between characters.
[21:15] <@Silverlion> Or drops a building on him using acid arrows, encase him in molten metal …
[21:15] <+kroh01> Thanks… the technologies… they hates me
[21:16] <+SteveKenson> Honestly, I think “balance” can be taken too far, to the point where you might as well do a coin toss and say best 2 out of 3 wins. It’s often the IM-balanced match-ups that are tense and interesting and fun.
[21:16] <@Silverlion> In old MSH I wonce fought Omega Red…
[21:16] <+kroh01> Now you are talking my language Silverlion. Of course… Strapping dynamite to an arrow and then blowing him up a bit and then tying him up and throwing his immortal ass into a blast furnace works
[21:16] <@Silverlion> With a character way way not suited to it…
[21:16] <@Silverlion> So 😀
[21:17] <@Silverlion> You don’t have to kill someone to beat them, just stop/trap/capture them
[21:17] <+Abstruse> I completely agree. But there’s a blurry line between “Oh, he’s a bit stronger than me” and “Why do I have a character at all?”
[21:17] <+IanW> “I happen to have an arrow made of pure Plotonium which nullifies your regenerative capability.”
[21:17] <+kroh01> Nice one IanW
[21:17] <+maxmahem> Plotonium, my only weakness!
[21:18] <+SteveKenson> I talk some about the concept of what I call “lateral wins” on my blog in terms of design. Icons taps into that with pyramid tests, amongst other thing.
[21:18] <@Silverlion> Steve is awesome that way.
[21:19] <+Abstruse> (I’m pretty sure we brought a lot of this up when Steve was on Gamer’s Tavern back when Icons was in an early beta)
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[21:19] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, yeah, the same topics tend to go round-and-round in certain RPG genres.
[21:20] <+PFJKyle> If that’s an issue, than maybe it’s a matter of limiting certain characters to certain scales of play, like weight classes in boxing; Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Hawkeye are at one scale, Hulk and Thor at another.
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[21:20] <~Dan> (Howdyk, Ginkomortus!)
[21:20] <@Silverlion> Not everyone gets exposed to the same info though
[21:20] <+SteveKenson> PFJKyle that’s certainly an option if you WANT that kind of separation.
[21:20] <+SteveKenson> But some want to play Thor and Hawkeye on the same team with Cap, Iron Man, and the Wasp, for example.
[21:21] <+kroh01> PFJKyle – Do you think that the random generator produces characters of the same grade though?
[21:21] <+Abstruse> (I tend to like playing support characters…)
[21:22] * @Silverlion has played everything.
[21:22] <+SteveKenson> PFJKyle, no I don’t. It’s not intended to. It largely produces characters within an acceptable RANGE, however, and the way Determination Points are awards tends to fill-in the differences to even things out.
[21:22] <+PFJKyle> Personally, I don’t, but I understand why someone would question what Batman or Green Arrow is doing on the same team as Supeman and Wonder Woman.
[21:23] <+SteveKenson> Like I said, if you can’t swallow that conceit of the comics, you either need:
[21:23] <+kroh01> PFJKyle – Because they need some one with a vehicle to bring coffee back for the team?
[21:23] <+SteveKenson> 1) A better explanation (e.g. all “skilled humans” are actually “stealth” supers with reality manipulating “luck” powers).
[21:23] <+SteveKenson> 2) A different genre to play in.
[21:23] <~Dan> In game terms, it really depends upon how the characters are written up.
[21:23] <+Abstruse> BTW, this is completely off topic, but I wanted to say that Gamer’s Tavern has three Actual Play podcasts in various stages of editing, and two of those games are ones Steve Kenson has had a strong influence on: Shadowrun and Mutants & Masterminds.
[21:24] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, now there’s some contrast for you.
[21:24] <+SteveKenson> (Although I’ve been told my approach to Shadowrun is “too superhero” by some.)
[21:24] <+Abstruse> The third is the new edition of D&D. Which should put Mr. Kenson’s accomplishments in perspective.
[21:24] <@Silverlion> For Steve’s next triock a new superhero game using cards? 😀
[21:25] <~Dan> I mean, I maintain that characters like Batman are superhuman.
[21:25] <~Dan> They just have superhuman levels of ability.
[21:25] <+IanW> If nothing else, Batman is wicked smaht.
[21:25] <+SteveKenson> FWIW, Dan, I agree. Guys like Batman and Green Arrow are larger-than-life HEROES, not “normal people”.
[21:26] <+PFJKyle> Dan, His bank account certainly is.
[21:26] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:26] <@Silverlion> I’d argue that masked crimefighters do have superpowers called ‘plot’.
[21:26] <+kroh01> Although with guys like Batman – You have to suspend your quick twitch “C’mon” muscles as the rich thing i get – but everything he is supposedly capable of is just funny
[21:26] <+SteveKenson> Well, yeah, Silverlion, actually all superheroes do.
[21:27] <~Dan> I recently ran a pulp game that involved the pulps transitioning into the Golden Age of supers, and the confusion between pulp “mystery men” and “superheroes”.
[21:27] <+SteveKenson> That’s the issue between comics and RPGs: in comics, characters can do (or not not) whatever the writer wants.
[21:27] <+IanW> You’re speaking my language, Dan.
[21:27] <+kroh01> That sounds groovy Dan
[21:27] <~Dan> I posited that ALL pulp heroes were actually superhuman. It’s just that some didn’t have obvious superpowers.
[21:28] <+IanW> That’s the conceit of Adventure!, certainly.
[21:28] <@Silverlion> I’m not a fan of “Bad…” meaning “superhuman”
[21:28] <+SteveKenson> Ah, so the Adventure/Aberrant approach…
[21:28] <+SteveKenson> 😉
[21:28] <~Dan> Something along those lines, yes. 🙂
[21:28] <+Abstruse> If every human was able to be a superhero, the world would be boring. Even counting Hawkeye, Batman, Black Widow, Green Arrow, etc.
[21:29] <+SteveKenson> Yeah, to use the Aeon Continuum as an example, Batman would most certainly be an Inspired Daredevil.
[21:29] <+IanW> (I’m lead dev on the new editions of Adventure!, Aberrant, and Aeon, for what it’s worth)
[21:29] <~Dan> (Cool, IanW! I was wondering about that, based upon your earlier comment. Nice to have you here!)
[21:29] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, true, but the same could be said of every person being an Olympic athlete or Nobel-winning scientist. Just because a few people are capable of those things doesn’t mean everyone will achieve it (or even want to).
[21:29] <~Dan> (Perhaps we should set up a Q&A for you as well. 🙂 )
[21:30] <+IanW> (Maybe once we’re closer to release, sure!)
[21:30] <@Silverlion> I can’t wait for new Aberrant/Adventure.
[21:30] <@Silverlion> Despite my love of psi, I didn’t like Aeon.
[21:30] <+PFJKyle> Part of the problem — in my mind — with the perspective that Hawkeye can’t contribute because he can’t punch a hole through a bank vault’s door is that it reduces all superheroics to violence. There should be more to superhero RPGS games than just punching. Again, IMO.
[21:30] <+SteveKenson> PFJKyle, you and I are in total agreement.
[21:30] <+IanW> Glad to hear it, but I don’t want to rain on Steve’s parade, here. This is his show.
[21:30] <+kroh01> SteveKenson Do you feel game design in regards to superheroes is moving away from taking a break in the action to grab a trig-calculator in favor of games that are more cinematic in play?
[21:31] <@Silverlion> Agreed PFJkyle
[21:31] <+SteveKenson> IanW, I’m happy to talk about Aeon Continuum as well.
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[21:32] <+IanW> Oh, if you want to, certainly. I just didn’t want to hijack discussion myself, that’s all.
[21:32] <+Abstruse> SteveKenson: That’s my point. We still love stories of even mundane people kicking all sorts of butt.
[21:32] <+SteveKenson> kroh01 I think tabletop design in general is swinging a bit back towards simpler and faster game-play but there are hundreds if not thousands of flowers blooming in the game design garden fitting all kinds of tastes.
[21:32] <~Dan> SteveKenson: Are there any powers you wish you’d included in ICONS in retrospect? Just at a glance, I don’t see any sort of animal control power, for example.
[21:33] <+SteveKenson> Abstrust, I certainly think part of the enduring appeal of Batman is that he is the “possible” superhero, as it were.
[21:34] <+SteveKenson> Dan, Animal Control was broken out as a separate power in the original Icons book. I dropped it from Assembled Edition for streamlining and consolidation, since it was just a special case of Mind Control or Servant with particular limits. It’s pointed out (along with a lot of other power “re-skins”) in Great Power.
[21:34] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[21:35] <~Dan> I was concerned that ICONS might not be able to handle Squirrel Girl. 🙂
[21:35] <@Silverlion> Squirrel Girl, is awesome.
[21:35] <+SteveKenson> Perish the thought!
[21:35] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:36] <+IanW> I’m not sure any supers RPG is sufficient to adequately handle Squirrel Girl.
[21:36] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:36] <+Abstruse> So how much should we expect out of the Icons rulebook in terms of page count?
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[21:37] <+IanW> I believe, using Marvel’s own rating system, each hero’s given ratings from 1-7, based partially on who they’re capable of defeating. Squirrel Girl has 7s across the board, IIRC.
[21:38] <+SteveKenson> Assembled Edition is just over 200 pages, Abstruse, including sample heroes and villains. The basics chapter covers the essentials in about 30 pages.
[21:38] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest89! Please set your name with the /nick command. 🙂 )
[21:39] <+kroh01> Assembled Edition is a nice little book (still wish I had a sketch cover;-)
[21:39] <+BlasterKyubey210> Granted well
[21:39] <+BlasterKyubey210> Squirrel Girl often has a moment of “What”
[21:39] <+BlasterKyubey210> Like “The heck just happened as the other Supers catch up, and is utterly confused
[21:40] <+kroh01> The PDF is a huge asset all bookmarked and what not. A tablet at the table with a decent processor can whip to pages fast when you need to look something up.
[21:40] <~Dan> SteveKenson: Are there any superheroes you can think of that ICONS could not handle very well?
[21:40] <+SteveKenson> Yeah I often tend to work with the PDF on my iPad.
[21:40] <+kroh01> Dan – Me
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[21:41] <+kroh01> Dan – although these days I am more super broken than super hero
[21:41] <+Abstruse> Do you know of any sort of OGL for the game? Or any way for fans to share their adventures or characters or even worlds without violating your IP?
[21:41] <~Dan> (Thanks, Jason! Here for the Q&A?)
[21:41] <+Jason> Thanks
[21:42] <+Jason> Yes
[21:42] <+SteveKenson> It’s not so much specific superheroes as it is specific styles or interpretations that Icons might not suit, Dan. For example, it can do Green Arrow, but I don’t know that it would be my go-to game for the Arrow TV show as a tabletop RPG.
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[21:42] <~Dan> (Welcome back, PierceFraser!)
[21:42] <+PierceFraser> thankye
[21:42] <+SteveKenson> Abstruse, Icons is published under the OGL and there is a free compatibility license: (Link: http://stevekenson.com/ad-infinitum/)http://stevekenson.com/ad-infinitum/
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[21:43] <+Abstruse> Sweet!
[21:43] <~Dan> SteveKenson: For what it’s worth, the author of Cold Steel Wardens, the Iron Age supers RPG, says he was inspired by the way ICONS handles Silver Age.
[21:44] <+SteveKenson> And I think Icons could handle different styles and genres, with a bit of adjustment. I haven’t run across too many character concepts that don’t work out.
[21:44] <+Jason> Any idea of the status of the character generator?
[21:45] <~Dan> I think that’s one of the big tricks to making a superhero RPG: It’s basically making a multigenre RPG by default, if it’s the “anything goes” sort of supers setting.
[21:46] <+SteveKenson> Sadly, no, Jason. I’d be open to finding someone else who could code one, but that’s outside my skill-set and I haven’t had time to do any kind of hiring search.
[21:46] <@Silverlion> Shame, I sometimes use the old one just when I’m bored (I also just do that with dice.)
[21:46] <+Jason> Ok cool
[21:47] <@Silverlion> IS there any character you want in Icon’s you’ve not used yet Steve?
[21:47] <+Abstruse> (I’m sure if you donate the remaining $375,000 Codename: Morningstar needs for their Kickstarter, they’d do it…)
[21:47] <+SteveKenson> I don’t always think of it in terms of characters, but there are certainly ideas I haven’t used yet, Silverlion.
[21:48] <@Silverlion> Yeah me too. I’m having ahard time to narrow down bad guys for the core book.
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[21:49] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
[21:49] <~Dan> SteveKenson: Just a quick note that you’re welcome to hang out with us as long as you like.
[21:49] <+SteveKenson> Yeah, I know how that goes. Fortunately, the ones who don’t go into the main book are the seed material for your first sourcebook! 🙂
[21:50] <+Jason> I have stated on Google plus that i am going to school to learn to code. I’m almost at a point were I could work on something like a character generator. When I do get to that point we might be able to arrange something if you haven’t by then already.
[21:50] <~Dan> That said, with 10 minutes left of “regular time”, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:50] <+kroh01> SteveKenson – When you are doing characters for adventures, do you roll them randomly or create them (and do you ever see a piece of art and say – THAT is my next villain)
[21:50] <+SteveKenson> Thanks, Dan. I’ll probably head out in 10 minutes or so, since I’ve got a fairly long day tomorrow.
[21:50] <+SteveKenson> I’m happy to open it to any remaining questions folks didn’t get answers, while I have time.
[21:51] <~Dan> Fair enough. 🙂
[21:51] <+kroh01> SteveKenson – When you are doing characters for adventures, do you roll them randomly or create them (and do you ever see a piece of art and say – THAT is my next villain)
[21:52] <+Jason> What is The next big thing for Icon
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[21:52] <+Jason> *Icons
[21:52] <+SteveKenson> All of the above, kroh01. Sometimes I write-up a specific idea. Other times I roll some up and see what that sparks or Dan hands me a sketch and that sets up an idea. Usually it’s just writing up something I’ve thought up.
[21:53] <+kroh01> SteveKenson – Thank you sir!
[21:53] <+SteveKenson> Jason, some short essays about different aspects of the game, released on a twice monthly basis, plus more adventure content and bad guys are the future plans right now.
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[21:55] <+Jason> Hey Dan,any chance that you could make a process video on your workflow
[21:55] <+kroh01> SteveKenson – Thanks for coming out and chatting up, tonight. More creators should do stuff like this!
[21:55] <+IanW> Thanks, Steve!
[21:55] <~Dan> Jason: I’m… honestly not sure what that means. *blush*
[21:55] <+SteveKenson> Happy to do it. Thanks for having me! Y’all should have Ian back to talk about Aeon Continuum. 😉
[21:55] <+Jason> Thanks guys!
[21:55] <~Dan> Thanks, Steve!
[21:56] <~Dan> If you can wait just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link.
[21:56] <+PierceFraser> tah!
[21:56] <+Jason> The process that you use to make a piece of art
[21:56] <@Silverlion> Hy PF!
[21:56] <+SteveKenson> G’nite and happy holidays everyone!