Building Iron Man: a Marvel to ICONS conversion

Just to get more of a handle on ICONS‘ power levels, I converted Iron Man over from the Classic Marvel RPG. Here’s how it went.

If you want to follow along, download a copy of the Marvel RPG Advanced Judges Book from Classic Marvel Forever and turn to page 31.

The first thing we need to do is work out how to convert Marvel RPG Ranks into ICONS Levels. Steve Kenson has cheekily already done the heavy lifting for us – they’re listed in the Optional Names for each Level! Pulling them out and extrapolating a touch, we get this:

ICONS Level Marvel Rank
1 Feeble
2 Poor
3 Typical
4 Good
5 Excellent
6 Remarkable
7 Incredible
8 Amazing
9 Monstrous
10 Unearthly

 

For the attributes, ICONS’ stats map neatly onto Marvel’s FASERIP system:

 

ICONS Marvel
Prowess Fighting
Coordination Agility
Strength Strength or Endurance
Intellect Reason
Awareness Intuition
Willpower Psyche

 

Working from the Judges Book and converting across we get Iron Man’s attributes both in and out of the armour:

Prowess 5/3*, Coordination 6/3*, Strength 7/3*, Intellect 7, Awareness 5, Willpower 3

* without Armour

I’m loving how Tony Stark has (in superhero terms) very low willpower. Sounds about right – especially if the thing he’s looking at comes in a bottle, in a skirt or with cool flashing technology.

Now for his Powers which, as per the Armour option of ICONS’ Invulnerability power, are all a part of his red metal suit. Marvel lists a load of secondary abilities which I’m happy to simplify and count as Stunts. There’s only so many Blast powers you can list, after all. Distil it down to Essence of Iron Man and we have just four powers in ICONS terms: Invulnerability, Flight, Blast and Supersenses. I use the Marvel ranks and convert them as above, but nudge Flight down to level 9. That’s around Mach 3 which sounds about right – Shift X on a straight conversion would be off the scale! I add the Exploding option to his Blast. This gives Tony a wide beam attack (his Chest-beam perhaps) as well as his narrow beam Repulsors.

Iron Man Armour: Invulnerability 8, Flight 9, Blast (exploding) 8, Supersenses (Enhanced Extended Vision, Enhanced Extended Hearing, Radar, Sonar, IR, Digital Overlay) 8

For his Specialities it was tempting to make Tony Expert or Master level in everything related to business and technology but instead I pulled back. He’s the undoubted Electronics Master in the Marvel Universe so that stays as a hallmark speciality. I set Business at Expert level; he’s not the undisputed Master of All Things Business Related – too many business failures haunt his past to be able to claim that. Add Aerial Combat, Leadership (he’s good, but not great, as a leader) and Mechanics, and we’re done.

Aerial Combat, Business Expert, Electronics Mastery, Leadership, Mechanics

Last of all we have Iron Man’s Aspects. These are the Qualities (good) and Challenges (bad) which round him out.

Qualities: Connections (The Avengers, Stark International), Identity (Billionaire Playboy), Motivation (Be a better man than dear ol’ dad)

Challenges: Reformed Alcoholic, Enemies (Mandarin among others)

And there you have it. Not just Iron Man, but ICONIC Iron Man!

ironman_icons

Iron Man comes in at a whopping 74 points – well above the suggested 45 points for a starting non-random character. I’d say that’s a fair reflection of his experience and countless upgrades over the years, wouldn’t you?

Any questions? Anyone else you’d like to see converted over to ICONS?

Tony Stark, Iron Man

Prowess 5/3*, Coordination 6/3*, Strength 7/3*, Intellect 7, Awareness 5, Willpower 3
Stamina 10/6*, Determination 2
* without Armour

Iron Man Armour: Invulnerability 8, Flight 9, Blast (exploding) 8, Supersenses (Enhanced Extended Vision, Enhanced Extended Hearing, Radar, Sonar, IR, Digital Overlay) 8

Aerial Combat, Business Expert, Electronics Mastery, Leadership, Mechanics

Qualities: Connections (The Avengers, Stark International), Identity (Billionaire Playboy), Motivation (Be a better man than dear ol’ dad)
Challenges: Reformed Alcoholic, Enemies (Mandarin among others)

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30 Responses

  1. I’m interested to see how the big boys scale up in Icons – such as Galactus and Fin Fang Foom – but I’d also like to see Captain America and Thor to see how ‘the big three’ of The Avengers compare to each other.

    Great work, by the way, I’m still reading through the rules, but your articles are helping to convince me that this is a game I want to run with my group.
    .-= Acrobatic Flea´s last blog ..Supernatural: Point Of No Return =-.

    • greywulf says:

      For Galactus-class characters I’d extend the ICONS levels beyond 10 so that Shift X = 11, Shift Y = 12, etc, all they way up to Beyond at Level 17.

      I would set the proviso that only Cosmic Level Entities can break the “wall” of 10th level. For other heroes and NPCs, that’s their limit. Gods have no such limitations, of course :)

      With that in mind, Galactus works out something like this, converted over from Marvel RPG.

      Galactus
      Prowess 9, Coordination 9, Strength 14, Intellect 14, Awareness 14, Willpower 14
      Stamina 28, Determination 0

      Invulnerability 11, Growth 14, Cosmic Energy Control 15, Telepathy 10

      Qualities: Epithet (Eater of Worlds), Honourable
      Challenges: Cosmic Level Entity, Constant Hunger

      Surprisingly simple, all told. I added Growth because it’s strangely absent from the Marvel RPG write-up. When Galactus sizes up he gains +1 Strength and his Invulnerability increases to the value of his Growth if it’s higher than his “natural” 11.

      At full size (Growth 14) he would be 1,920 feet tall and at -6 to Defense assuming the Growth table continues to scale. Not that much could damage him, of course.

      Captain America next!

    • greywulf says:

      …. and here’s Captain America!

      Captain America, Steve Rogers
      Prowess 8, Coordination 7, Strength 5, Intellect 4, Awareness 7, Willpower 4
      Stamina 9, Determination 3

      Specialities: Leadership Mastery, Military, Weapons Expert (Adamantium/Vibranium Shield, bashing damage 6)

      Qualities: Connections (US Army, SHIELD), Epithet (Super-Soldier of World War II), Motivation (Patriotism)
      Challenges: Enemies (Red Skull, Skrulls, bad comic writers)

      Cap comes in tantalizingly close to the 45 point allocation for starting points-based heroes. Drop his Awareness to 5 and his Shield damage down to 5 to match his Strength and he hits it. This also gives him another point of starting Determination too, bumping it up to 4. Which is nice.

      There’s no body armour in this build because he has none in the Marvel RPG write-up – and frankly, he don’t need it.

      Badass!

  2. Elton says:

    The myths we dream up are wonderful, don’t you think? :)
    .-= Elton´s last blog ..Succubus =-.

  3. DarkTouch says:

    I’m currently working my way through the characters I had Dan Houser draw for me. Once those are all done, I may end up hitting http://www.classicmarvelforever.com/cast_list/all.htm and going to town.
    .-= DarkTouch´s last blog ..Kali for ICONS =-.

    • greywulf says:

      I’m finding ICONS is a great shoe-in for the Marvel style of superhero gaming. I reckon Steve Kenson is secretly planning to single-handedly control both DC and Marvel superhero RPG markets. Ha! I see through his evil plans!

  4. Dan Houser says:

    Hey!

    This is an idea I’ve used in my home Marvel Campaign, because I wanted to bust out my Children of the Atom box set, and do an awesome 198-based adventure. :)

    Your method is precisely the same as mine, I’m happy to see that we both share the vision to use our old stuff. :)

    Oh! And I actually was commissioned for an ICONS character in my Hero Pack series of pdfs — Galacticron: a shmup of Galactus and Unicron.

    http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e238/supervillain75/Wave%20One/galacticroncolorsample.png

    Again, awesome job. :)

    Dan Houser
    Line Artist, ICONS
    Adamant Entertainment
    .-= Dan Houser ´s last blog ..Free MARS One-Sheet Adventure! =-.

  5. Doc Rotwang! says:

    …you’re totally selling me on this game, Greywulf.

  6. Another thing I noticed about the system…

    “Iron Man comes in at a whopping 74 points – well above the suggested 45 points for a starting non-random character”

    If you randomly roll up your character you get a guy waaay more powerful than you could build with 45 points. Not better – Crazy Super Stupid Better! I rolled five random characters up and the weakest required 55 points to ‘build’.

    I let my players build their characters with 60 points to generate Justice League Animated Series level characters. Who the heck has 45 points? Robin? Maybe. Surely not Batman, who without vehicles and a cave who still be over 55 I would think.

    BTW Dan, really nice pick.
    .-= Adam Dickstein´s last blog ..Secret Origins – Part II =-.

    • greywulf says:

      The justice League are a pretty powerful group, to be fair :D

      I’d say 45 points is a good point for an inexperienced superhero, especially one in a newly formed team. It feels about the same as Power Level 8 in Mutants & Masterminds terms. If you’re running a solo Street-level supers game or a starting team, it’s ideal. Otherwise, bump it up a touch to reflect their prior experience.

      When it comes to random generation, the rule is don’t mix it with non-random. Do one or the other. If the heroes are randomly generated you’re going to get a mixture of heroes with powers ranging from barely superheroic at all up to Superman-class heavyweights. Pretty much like The Avengers from Marvel, then :D

      That’s why Determination points act as a balancing factor – those “less capable” heroes will be able to push themselves that much further to prove their value to the team. In other words – it’s Jimmy Olsen who will save Superman’s ass, every time.

      I reckon I could stat up a pretty awesome Batman for 45 points. Batman would have the Trained human origin – no Powers but 6 specialities. If he has no stat above 6 (and I see no reason why he would) he’d start with 6 Determination points and ultimate flexibility in-game. Could he kick Superman’s ass? Quite possibly. I’ll stat them up and run a sample combat sometime.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Allen Shock says:

    Y’know…by taking the old MSH to Champions conversion system from Adventurers Club and applying a little reverse logic, one could convert Champions characters to ICONS :)

  8. Dan Houser says:

    Here’s a Superman Analogue. :)

    http://www.adamantentertainment.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/allstar.pdf

    And a Batman Analogue. :)

    http://www.adamantentertainment.com/?p=117

    Designed by Steve Kenson, himself. :)

    Dan
    .-= Dan Houser´s last blog ..Free MARS One-Sheet Adventure! =-.

    • greywulf says:

      I’m liking both of these! So far, I’m pretty impressed by what the little system can throw around. We’ve going to thoroughly put it through its paces next week. Watch this space!

  9. Just picked up the rules the other day. I’m enjoying it so far and hope to get my group into a few sessions. I’ve been thinking about translating the Marvel characters over to Icons but you’re doing such a Merry Marvel job!

  10. Greywulf, I have the Icons corebook and new Great Power supplement and I don’t have the Point Buy rules. What page and was it in some sort of Errata somewhere?

  11. David Semmes says:

    Just getting into the game and I like what I see so far! Out of curiosity, how are the physical Abilities paid for (Prowess, Coordination and Strength)? Did you buy the Abilities at the armored level, then adjust them down to get Stark’s out-of-armor level?

  1. June 5, 2010

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