The Marvel Icons Role Playing Game

Marvel Super Heroes RPGIt has a nice ring to it, right? This past weekend I revisited the Icons RPG Assembled Edition and gave it a good read through. There needs to be a new Marvel RPG and Icons is the perfect fit for it. Icons is the spiritual successor to the Marvel Superheroes Role Playing Game* released by TSR in the 80’s and it shows because it’s easy to learn, has a simple dice mechanic and it’s a no-brainer to convert characters from the old system.

Marvel Superheroes Adventure GameMarvel had quite a few role playing games since the first release of Marvel Heroes. It was followed in 1998 by the Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game, also by TSR. It used a modified version of the SAGA system first introduced in the Dragonlance RPG. Cards were used for action resolution that allowed players more control over the action. Using custom cards has its disadvantages (losing them or damaging them) but all in all a pretty decent game.

Marvel Universe Roleplaying GameThe next release was in 2003 by Marvel Comics themselves, called The Marvel Universe Role Playing Game. It used a resource allocation mechanic where players would get a pool of stones to represent the characters energy that they would divide up for and use to determine success. They system was meh and only three books were released before Marvel cancelled it for not selling well enough.


Marvel Heroic RPGThe fourth and final release was 2012’s Marvel Heroic Role Playing by Margaret Weis Productions. I didn’t care for this game.  There are Powers (Power Sets), Skills (Specialties), Gadgets (part of Power Sets) and Distinctions (think Fate Aspects) but not stats.  Half the fun of a supers RPG is comparing Thor’s strength to the Hulk’s or Iron Man’s intelligence to Mr. Fantastic’s.  This is personal preference on my part and I’m probably going to steal the Distinctions and use them in my Marvel Icons game as Qualities.  Even though it won a few awards and had some favorable reviews, they cancelled it the following year sighting an expensive license and low sales.

It’s time for a Steve Kenson led Marvel Icons Role Playing Game.  He’s got the talent, love of the subject matter and game system to do it.

(* Whereas the Mutants and Masterminds RPG 3rd Edition is the spiritual successor to the DC Heroes Role Playing Game)

The Batman First Wave Revisited (Savage Worlds Write-up)


Real Name: Bruce Wayne

Base of Operations: Gotham City (near Los Angeles, CA)

Occupation: Businessman/Investor/Playboy
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 210 lbs.
Eyes: Black
Hair: Blue
Marital Status: Single

Group Affiliation: None


Attributes: Agility: d10, Smarts: d8, Spirit: d8, Strength: d8, Vigor d8

Charisma:+2 , Pace: 6, Parry: 8, Toughness: 7

Skills: Climbing: d8, Driving: d6, Fighting: d10, Intimidation: d6, Investigation: d8, Lockpicking: d8, Notice: d8, Persuasion: d6, Piloting: d6, Shooting: d10, Stealth: d8, Streetwise: d6, Swimming: d4, Throwing: d8, Tracking: d6.

Edges: Alertness, AB (Super Powers), Filthy Rich, Rich, Two-Fisted

Hindrances: Heroic, Vow (Major), Wanted (Minor)

Rank: Novice (15 XP)


M1911’s (x2)
Range: 12/24/48  Damage: 2d6+1  RoF: 1 Shots: 8+1  Notes: AP 1, Semi-Auto

Utility Belt
Smoke Capsules: MBT (-6 to sight based rolls)

Grapple Gun:
Bat-line (As per Swinging, Ensnare)



Bat Cycle:

Hang Glider Cape:


This is a revised Batman First Wave built with the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion.  He’s built with Street Level campaign points (30), the Super Karma rule (+5 points) and three advances (15 XP) that still leaves him at Novice experience level.  I would have liked to squeeze in a couple extra Edges just so I can use some from Thrilling Tales but it is what it is.


Adventure in Middle-earth (5e)

Cubicle 7 has just released the Adventures in Middle-earth Players Guide.  Unlike their One Ring Role Playing Game, this one is utilizing the rules from the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (arguably the most popular role playing game in existence).

Adventures in Middle-earth RPG


Pick the PDF up here from RPGNow.

The First Wave RPG in draft

I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that I’m a fan of DC’s First Wave comic series.  Well, I’m a pretty big fan of the concept because I am such a lover of the hero pulps.  The series itself wasn’t executed that well.


The Doctor is in.

I’ve previously posted write-ups of Batman and Doc Savage using the Savage Worlds core rules and the Thrilling Tales RPG.  When I created them, I just picked the abilities that felt right for that particular incarnation of the character.  Upon doing the math, they would be well in to Legendary rank which would not reflect how they are written in the comics.  I then re-created them using the rules from the Super Powers Companion and I was much happier with the results.  However, I didn’t care for how the extra levels of Attributes, Skills, and Edges that were bought are actual powers (with appropriate training type Trappings).  Not a big deal really but I would like a cleaner way of doing it.


He’s got powers.

The First Wave universe doesn’t have any major super powers (I’ll get to that later) so I have decided to go with the term Build Points.  Build Points are a pool of additional points used to purchase Attributes, Skills, and Edges. The newly purchased Traits are added directly to the character sheet for a much cleaner look.

A player would create a character the standard way via the core rules and Thrilling Tales, then use the builds points to further increase his Traits.  Build Points are spent just like Power Points from the Super Powers Companion.  This gives the feel of a ‘non-powered superhero game’.  This front loads new characters with greater abilities and still makes advancement worth something.

There are some characters in the First Wave universe that have minor super powers.  The first that springs to mind is The Avenger with his face molding ability.  If the GM allows it, a player can have pulp appropriate powers by purchasing the Arcane Background (Super Powers) Edge.  The power to cloud men’s minds and the previously mention face molding ability are suitable to a pulp campaign but should be very rare.  A power like flight wouldn’t fit the campaign (unless it’s a piece of gear like a rocket pack) nor would most other innate super abilities.  Work with the GM to determine what would fit the feel of the campaign.

How To Create a First Wave Character

  1. Create a hero using the rules from the Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition and Thrilling Tales RPG.
  2. Determine how many Build Points you get (WORKING ON IT).
  3. If powers are wanted, work with your GM.
  4. Purchase new Traits (and/or powers). The cost listed are the same as the Super Powers Companion. 2 pt’s per advancement for Attributes, 1 pt per level of Skill and 2 pt’s per Edge.
  5. If purchasing powers, use the Super Powers Companion and appropriate Trappings.


And that’s pretty much it.  The only thing I need to figure out is how many Build Points to assign.  The Super Powers Companion says 15 points for Pulp level and 30 for street level.  Since most points won’t be spent on powers, I’m thinking about splitting the difference and giving players around 22 Build Point.  Also since there are these added points I wouldn’t want a power gamer to jump in and max out his Attributes at d12, so a limitation of no more than one Attribute at d10 max at character generation is allowed.

I’m going to re-build my previous Batman and Doc Savage write-ups using the Build Points and see where that gets me.

As always, a work in progress.

Mutants & Masterminds on Bundle of Holding!



My favorite superhero RPG, Mutants and Masterminds (3rd Edition) is for sale on The Bundle of Holding.  For $8.95 you get The Starter Collection which includes The Deluxe Hero’s Handbook, Gamemaster’s Guide, and The Sentinels.  That’s a steal.

The Bonus Collection includes, the Threat Report, the Gamemaster’s Kit, and Emerald City Knights for only $18.17 (as of this writing).

Don’t miss this opportunity to get an RPG game that can easily scale from street level heroes to cosmic level supers.

Celebrate H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday with RPGNow.

20% off select Call of Cthulhu RPG games and supplements at RPGNow.

Linda Carter on Supergirl

She still looks great!

New Web Host

I had to switch hosting providers because they decided to change the pricing on their plans.  I would end up getting much less for almost double what I was paying.  It’s a shame because I’ve never had a problem with their service and was with them for over 10 years.

Astronomy Day

It’s Astronomy Day.  I would be remiss in not posting something.

Orion's Constellation

Savage Rifts

Savage Rifts GM's Manual

The Kickstarter for the Savage Worlds version of Rifts is in day three now.  It was funded in two and a half minutes and, as of this writing, is sitting at $188,446 (asking $8000 to fund it).  Fantastic.  I cannot express my joy that one of the my favorite game settings is getting converted to one of my favorite RPG systems.

I’m 100 bucks shorter in the bank account and it was worth every penny.  The game looks beautiful, is being handled by a stellar company and I’m super excited to see the finished product.  If you are interested in one of the most imaginative game settings using a great RPG system then check them out.