Last time I presented a sample superhero combat on my humble blog, it was for Mutants & Masterminds, and intentionally street-level in style. This time around, let’s ramp up the power level! Here’s a blow-by-blow slugfest between the gods – Thor versus Galactus!
Here’s a quick summary of the action so far:
The heroes of Earth breathed a collective sigh of relief. Once again, the World Eater known as Galactus had visited our planet and departed without taking so much as a mouthful. What the world didn’t know was that Galactus had used our planet as a mere stepping-stone to his true destination: ASGARD!
He stands now at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, his mouth watering at the prospect of an immortal feast. This realm could serve as his banqueting table for all eternity and satiate his hunger like no other. Only one stands in his way while the other residents of Asgard prepare their defences. THE MIGHTY THOR!
First, we need a couple of stat blocks. Here is Galactus in all his glory. As a Cosmic-level Entity I’ve allowed him to break ICONS’ “wall” at level 10; he is beyond the mere power-levels set by man, as far above the superheroes as they are above us.
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
Here’s Thor. As with Galactus he is converted across from the Marvel RPG Advanced Judges Book though I reduced his Prowess down to 8. His Weapons Expert Speciality with the hammer Mjolnir bumps his skill with that up to 10, but I don’t see Thor as being the best fighter, ever, with any weapon. He is formidable, but its only with his Hammer that he really shines.
Prowess 8, Coordination 5, Strength 10, Intellect 3, Awareness 5, Willpower 8
Stamina 18, Determination 0
Invulnerability 5, Flight 8, Weather Control (Storms, Blast & Creation) 10
Specialities: Weapon Expert (Mjolnir, 10 damage), Medicine
Qualities: Connections (The Avengers, Asgard), Enemy (Loki), Social (Temper Tantrums)
Both Thor and Galactus begin the scene with zero Determination points. They are both extremely powerful guys who are confident (some would say over-confident) in their own abilities. They need to have their buttons pushed hard before they grit their teeth and push back. In ICONS terms, this means something has to happen in-game (such as their Challenges being triggered by the GM) before they get any Determination points to spend. Compare that with someone like Nick Fury who could enter a scene with 6 Determination points ready to spend and push abilities, come up with creative Stunts and prove that he’s da man right from the start. All because he’s frickin’ Nick Fury.
Some terminology before we begin. In ICONS, a player or NPC’s turn is called a Panel, and an entire turn around the table is a Page. Put several Pages together (one whole combat or encounter, for example) and you get a Scene. Several Scenes together in a single game session is an Issue and multiple Issues maketh a Chapter. Got that?
Yeah. Comic-book terminology in a comic-book superhero role-playing game. This isn’t an original concept – Golden Heroes used the idea of comic-book Frames in much the same way back in 1984, among others. It’s refreshing to see a modern system putting effort in to reinforce the genre with game-term language though. Love it!
In ICONS the players roll all the dice, so I’m going to designate Thor as the PC in this little demonstration, with Galactus being a GM-controlled super-villain. As before, I’ll present the prose describing the action, followed by the game mechanics for that Panel in italics.
It begins, like this…….
Panel 1, Page 1 Thor lets out a mighty shout, “THOU ART NOT WELCOME HERE, EATER OF WORLDS!” The sky darkens as winds and rain lash the ground, thunder crashing overhead. “LEAVE NOW AND THOU WILT NOT BE HARMED THIS DAY!”
Thor uses Weather Control to summon a storm (he needs to do this before he can use his Lightning Blast), and attempts to intimidate Galactus into leaving. Yeah. Right. Willpower vs Willpower. (2d6-7)+8 with 14 to beat, and Thor rolls a 7. Not a chance.
Panel2, Page 1 “You dare to threaten me, little god?” Galactus looks down with contempt and casually unleashes a bolt of raw Cosmic Energy at the comparatively tiny (but awesome) Thor.
Thor needs to roll equal or higher than a 9 (Galactus’ Coordination) on (2d6-7)+5 – and gets exactly a 9, barely dodging out of the way. There is now a big hole in the ground where Thor once stood.
Panel 1, Page 2 “I do, for YOU THREATEN ASGAAAAAAAAARD!!!!” Thor throws Mjolnir up to the heavens, and the heavens respond. A huge lightning strike erupts from the sky, hitting Galactus!
Thor gains a Determination point because one of his Connections is being attacked (well ok, eaten). He spends that to use Focused effort, using Strength (the hammer toss to ignite the lightning) instead of Coordination to target his Blast. That’s (2d6-7)+10 against Galactus’ Coordination of 9, and gets a 14! That’s a Massive success (oh yeah!). Normally Blast 10 isn’t enough to get through Galactus’ Invulnerability 11, but due to the Massive result I allow it to automatically both Slam and knock Prone the big purple dude, even though it knocks nothing off his Stamina. Ouch!
Panel 2, Page 2 Galactus falls! The impact from the lightning threw him back onto the Rainbow Bridge….. which shows signs of damage from a Cosmic Level Entity landing on it! Galactus rises, slowly. “Impressive. Most impressive. Little god, I have need of a new herald. Swear fealty to me from this day forward, and Asgard shall be spared. What say you?”
Page 3, full page spread…..
Introducing Thor, Herald of Galactus!
Of course, things could continue with them trading blows. Galactus could size-up making himself dead easy to hit but almost impossible for Thor to harm, then slowly wear the Thunder God down – at which point the Asgardians will be ready to counter-attack. It’s a stalemate. Between Thor’s dedication to Asgard and Galactus’ reputation as an honourable guy, I reckon Thor would take the job. At least until he figures out a way to make Galactus promise some other way he’s not going to try and eat Asgard again. What do you think?
Till next time!