ICONS: Nonlinear Scale

The opportunity to review the forthcoming ICONS Team-Up from Adamant Entertainment got me thinking about different variants and options again, so here’s another.

As Great Power established with its benchmark table, the various scale levels in ICONS translate into different, often nonlinear, real world terms: Average weight (level 3) is a heavy sack while Supreme (level 10) is a mountain, Fair speed (level 4) is a race car while Amazing speed (level 9) is escape velocity. Why should damage and resistance to the same be any different?

So, instead of a 1-to-1 ratio of level and damage on the scale, we give damage its own nonlinear progression:


Damage & Resistance

Weak (1)


Poor (2)


Average (3)


Fair (4)


Good (5)


Great (6)


Fantastic (7)


Incredible (8)


Amazing (9)


Supreme (10)


Cosmic (*)


Look sort of familiar? It should to some, since it’s similar to the progression of values for the old Marvel Super-Heroes RPG, which has a scale with the same basic spread as ICONS (ten levels)

All the numbers involving damage now use this new scale, including Stamina, which is still Strength + Willpower, but uses the values from the Damage & Resistance column. So the strictly average person still has Stamina 6 (3 + 3) but a hero with Supreme Strength and Good Willpower has ten times that (Stamina 60)! Damage Resistance, rather than reducing level, subtracts its resistance value from the attack’s Damage value. So Good Resistance absorbs the first 10 points of damage; a Good Damage attack would do no Stamina damage, but a Great Damage attack would do 5 (15 – 10).

One of the additional options here is to allow an attack test that scores a major or massive outcome to bump the attack’s damage up by a level (two for a massive outcome). This doesn’t make much difference when each level is 1 point, but at the higher ends of the scale, it makes a big difference! An Incredible damage attack does 35 damage with a major outcome and 50 (or double damage) with a massive outcome. Indeed, at the Supreme level, each increase in damage doubles the amount: 100 with a major outcome, and 200 (!) with a massive one.

As with any ICONS variant (including those in Team-Up and on the ICONS Wiki), if you give this one a try, feel free to comment or drop me a line and let me know how it works out!

One thought on “ICONS: Nonlinear Scale

  1. Not a bad idea, before I saw Icons coming I was writing my own system, base 10, but I do like 2.5 or 4.5 to have a smoother scale, easy too translate it, though. I use the Icon / My game scale to translate every rpg I own because I tend to use multi universe travel (or at least astral travel and I do like the feeling of other rules in another universes, in far region of astral)… I will test your idea next time, I’m Iconing 🙂

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