Icons Print-on-Demand Price Increase

As you may have heard, changes in print-on-demand services over at DriveThruRPG will mean an increase in the cost of the “premium color” option for printed books, starting in July, roughly a 30–40% increase in cost. This is due to the arrangement between DriveThru and their printer, and not something publishers can control, apart from lowering already tight profit margins on print-on-demand titles.

I’ll be looking into some additional print-on-demand options for Icons titles, including the “standard color” option and possibly even lower-cost black-and-white versions for some titles. However, implementing these options may require a significant investment of time, and my priority is on providing monthly content for the Icons Patreon, along with updating some of the classic adventures and Dan’s Hero Pack products, so new POD options may be slow in coming. I appreciate the patience of all current and prospective Icons fans, since Ad Infinitum Adventures is pretty much a one-person production shop (me) with Dan providing artwork and some writing as well.

So, if you have been holding-off on picking up that printed Icons title, now is the time, before prices go up!

Annual Icons Patreon Memberships

Thanks to Patreon, you can now choose an annual membership tier to support the Icons Patreon and get 10% off in the bargain! You’ll be charged for the full year up-front, minus the 10% discount, and then your membership is good for the whole year.

What You Get

This is a great time to consider subscribing to the Patreon: patrons have been enjoying monthly Icons PDFs since the start of 2021 and your patronage at the Sidekick tier or greater gets you access to all of those products. The Super and Hero tiers also get to vote on upcoming projects, monthly personal updates from me, and occasional bonus content. In two weeks, I’ll be releasing “Even More Trouble,” a deeper look at the trouble mechanics in Icons, at the Patreon’s June product.

Don’t Miss Out on the Bundles of Holding

Also, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out the fantastic Icons PDFs deals from Bundle of Holding: the 2016 Icons Bundle (updated with Adversaries and the new version of The Skeletron Key) along with the new Icons Universe Bundle. They’re only on-offer until the end of May and who knows when (or if) they will be offered again?

An Icons Two-in-One Bundle!

It’s an exciting opportunity for Icons Superpowered Roleplaying! Over at Bundle of Holding, you can get the revival of the 2016 Icons bundle, including the all-new Icons Adversaries and an updated version of the adventure The Skeletron Key. Plus, you can get an all-new Icons bundle, featuring eleven titles added since the 2016 offer, such as Icons Presents, Rogues, and Menagerie, along with a half-dozen more adventures.

Whether you’re looking to round-out your Icons collection or start one, don’t miss out on this opportunity! A portion of proceeds from the Icons bundles goes to support the Transgender Law Center, where heroes are made. Both Icons bundles are available for 21 days, until May 31st, so don’t wait to claim yours!

Marvel’s Next Generation of Heroes

Now entering Phase 4 with the release of Disney+ series like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and films like Black Widow, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is also looking well past its current huge slate of movies and television series. Longtime Marvel readers are seeing a number of pieces moving into place suggesting Marvel is setting up for the “next generation” of heroes, and some familiar names and personalities have already cropped up. Here’s a look at who’s who and what might be coming.

The Next Generation

When we talk about the “next generation” heroes, we’re basically talking about the teenagers (and maybe twentysomethings?) who are members of the Young Avengers, the Champions, and maybe the Runaways. The latter were already the subject of a television series, but it remains unclear if that series is MCU canon (probably not) or if anything from it will be incorporated into the MCU. Given what we know about the Young Avengers and Champions characters, what signs of their appearance have we seen?

Ms. Marvel

The definite next-generation hero we know to expect is Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel, a Pakistani-American teen from New Jersey who is a shape-shifting Inhuman and a big fan of Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel). Kamala gets her own Disney+ series and is supposed to appear in The Marvels (Captain Marvel 2).

Stature

Cassie Lang, Ant-Man’s daughter, uses some stolen Pym particle tech to adopt the size-changing identity of Stature in Young Avengers. Cassie has already appeared in the Ant-Man films and, thanks to the Blip, is now a teenager. Her set-up might be in the forthcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Interesting intersection: The time-traveling Kang the Conqueror is the announced antagonist for Quantumania, and Stature and a teenaged variant of Kang dated in Young Avengers!

Wiccan & Speed

Two of the Young Avengers, Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) and Tommy Shepherd (Speed) are long-lost twin brothers with the powers of probability-altering magic and super-speed. They later discover they are the time-lost twins of Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. Viewers of WandaVision already know about Billy and Tommy, their potential powers, and that they may still exist somewhere out in the multiverse. The ending of WandaVision makes it likely Billy and Tommy’s future may come up in the forthcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Of big interest to fans is that, in the comics, Billy is gay and Tommy is bisexual and both of them are currently in relationships with men: Wiccan is married to fellow Young Avenger Hulkling (Teddy Altman) and Speed is dating mutant and X-Factor member Prodigy, who was briefly a Young Avenger, although Tommy and Kate Bishop (see Hawkeye) were also an item for like a hot minute. Given how Marvel Studios and Disney have shied away from LGBTQ representation in their media, it will be interesting to see how they handle a generation of out-and-proud new heroes.

America Chavez

Speaking of The Multiverse of Madness, we know from casting that America Chavez, another Young Avenger, appears in the film. America is the daughter of two prominent heroes from another timeline in the multiverse, and her mothers send her to the mainline Marvel Universe to save America from the destruction of her home timeline. Miss America is a super-strong Latina lesbian who can literally kick holes in reality, another big addition to the diversity of the next-generation heroes.

Ironheart

Young inventor Riri Williams develops an Iron Man-style suit of armor to become Ironheart, later a member of the Champions. Marvel Studios has already announced an Ironheart series for Disney+. Riri joins the ranks of young black women of genius in the MCU along with Princess Shuri of Wakanda. Chances are good she might also be involved in the forthcoming Armor Wars series on Disney+ involving the legacy of Tony Stark’s technology.

Hawkeye

Kate Bishop is cast to appear as Clint Barton’s protege in the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+ and will likely take over the Hawkeye mantle from him. Kate is a founding member of the Young Avengers and notable for being one of its only members without any super-powers, along with…

Patriot

Eli Bradley, the grandson of super-soldier Isaiah Bradley, joins the Young Avengers as Patriot. Eli and Isaiah have already appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and his grandfather’s legacy and Sam Wilson becoming Captain America may well inspire Eli to adopt his own heroic identity. In the comics, Eli doesn’t have any powers, and takes to using strength-enhancing drugs for a time to fake being a super-soldier (which causes him some problems). We don’t yet know the future of the MCU version of Eli.

Waiting in the Wings?

So who haven’t we seen from the next generation of Marvel heroes to be on the lookout for?

The big missing hero is Teddy Altman, Hulkling, Wiccan’s future boyfriend and husband. Despite his name, Hulkling isn’t related to the Hulk, apart from being green and muscled. Instead, he is a Kree-Skrull hybrid. In the comics, he is the son of Mar-Vell (the original Captain Marvel) and the Skrull Princess Anelle. In the MCU, Mar-Vell is a woman, Carol Danvers’ Kree mentor. Captain Marvel established the Skrulls have had contact with Earth long enough for a half-Skrull foundling to have been raised here for the last 16-20 years. The forthcoming Secret Invasion series on Disney+ is likely to focus on the Skrulls, and it and The Marvels (Captain Marvel 2) might set up Teddy’s backstory.

Related to the Kree is Noh-Varr, Marvel Boy, a “Utopian Kree” from another timeline. Marvel Boy has access to advanced Kree technology and is gene-spliced with insectoid DNA, giving him certain enhanced powers. There’s no indication of plans for him to show up as yet, but he is a member of the Young Avengers for a time, before going on to join the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Speaking of alternate timelines, there was a young alternate timeline Kid Loki who belonged to the Young Avengers for a time. With the new Loki series on Disney+ exploring alternate timelines, it’s possible Loki might meet up with a younger variant of himself who could end up in the mainline MCU.

We could speculate further about other Champions characters like Viv Vision, the Vision’s synthezoid daughter (created along with other “family” members to try and recapture idyllic suburban life), Nova, Snowguard, or Brawn. Of all of them, the only hints we have are that Xandar (the home of the Nova Corps) appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, and Dr. Helen Cho (sister of Amadeus Cho, alias Brawn) appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Whichever phase brings us the next generation of Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes, it’s clear we have a lot to look forward to!

Icons Assembler v.1.2 update

Inkwell Ideas, the producers of the Icons Assembler character creation and management app, have announced a version 1.2 update of the software, available from DriveThruRPG. Purchasers of Icons Assembler can download the updated files for free from their DriveThruRPG account.

The 1.2 update includes bug fixes and the addition of options from the popular Icons Origins sourcebook, including additional specialties and the option of creating a form-fillable space on the character sheet for adding knacks, an option introduced in Icons A to Z and expanded upon in Origins.

Icons Assembler steps the user through an automated version of random hero creation in Icons and also offers the means to manually create and save characters and tools for character management during play. For more, visit Icons Assembler on DriveThruRPG.

GridShock 20XX

Icons Superpowered Roleplaying is published under the Open Game License and, as you may know, offers its own Icons Compatibility license. This has allowed third-party publishers like Fainting Goat Games and Rogue Genius Games to produce—to name two examples—to produce some great third-party content for Icons.

Now Paul Vermeren, academic librarian and amateur game designer, has joined their ranks, launching a Kickstarter for GridShock 20XX, “a superhero world where something went very wrong in 1986. Reality was warped, civilization collapsed, and the world as we knew it was turned upside down. Now the bad guys are in charge of what’s left – but a new breed of superhumans called Vectors strive to restore freedom to their ravaged world. Like the heroes of the past, Vectors use their powers to address injustice directly, and with style: by punching it in the face, or blasting it with laser eyes. And with a totalitarian state called the Supremacy in control, there are a whole lot of things in need of punching and blasting.”

Paul plans to present the GridShock setting in a set of four 32-page ‘zines for ZineQuest. You can find out more, and support the project, at its Kickstarter page!

Ask the Icons Oracle!

In talking with Icons Superpowered Roleplaying players on the Icons Facebook Group and my own Icons Patreon, it was clear there were questions, about the game, its rules, and how it plays, so I wanted to make a point of addressing them more regularly. So I have created an Ask the Icons Oracle document of questions and answers, which you can download here as a PDF, as well as from the Facebook group and the Patreon.

As other questions come along and get answered, I’ll add to and update this document and continue making it available. If you have questions, please feel free to drop them in either of the venues above, or to email me about them and I’ll do my best to get you answers!

Announcing: The Icons Patreon!

Today I’m launching a new Icons Superpowered Roleplaying Patreon. It will provide a venue for the creation of various content for Icons, from short rules and designer’s notes essays to character write-ups, adventure concepts, optional rules, and possibly the serialization of longer projects, including updating “classic” first edition Icons products and materials or serialized sourcebooks or adventures.

Best of all you, the Icons Patron, get a say in what gets produced! Patrons at the Hero ($5) and Super ($10) levels get to vote on the priorities of the Patreon and various possible projects, and will generally be my “beta-test” audience for possible ideas. There may be more rewards and opportunities as things progress; I’m still feeling-out how Icons will interact with Patreon going forward in our brave new world of online content production.

One immediate goal I can share with Patrons and potential Patrons going forward is, if the Patreon begins generating enough income, I want to bring Icons line artist Dan House on-board to illustrate our various offerings. Dan has been a tireless and patient partner in all things Icons and I’d love to be able to collaborate with him here as well!

So, if you’re interested in the future of Icons, from offering your financial support to being involved in the process, check out the Patreon!

Stone of Shaitan

The Mysterious Ship, the Mist-Shrouded City

The cargo ship Stone of Shaitan may be involved in smuggling illegal goods—and something far more sinister. When heroes investigate the disappearance of the ship’s crew, they discover clues to a mysterious cult, occult secrets, a being known only as “The Old Fellow,” and a scheme to loose eldritch horrors upon the world!

Stone of Shaitan stands on its own or can be a “sequel” of sorts to the classic Icons adventure Danger in Dunsmouth. It is also the next chapter in Dan’s Fall of the Phalanx series, but can be played as a stand-alone adventure.

Available now on DriveThruRPG!