Like comic book superhereos, ICONS characters may change and grow over time. If you plan a long-running series, consider the following options for hero improvement.
Adjust the costs as you see fit, increasing them to make improvement slower and more difficult, or lowering them (or providing more for the same cost) to encourage improvement. You can also control the frequency of particular milestones as suits the heroes and the series.
Minor Milestones: A minor milestone comes at the end of a session of play, when some significant part of the story has been resolved: If the session ends on a cliffhanger or is otherwise unresolved, there’s no milestone yet.
- Add a permanent extra to a power, reducing the hero’s starting Determination by 1 or adding a limit to the power to compensate.
- Gain a permanent ability stunt (Great Power, p. 24), reducing the hero’s starting Determination by 1 to compensate.
- Permanently raise an ability by 1 level, lowering another ability by 1 level to compensate. You cannot raise an ability above level 10 or lower it below level 1.
- Permanently gain a level in a specialty, up to Master level.
- Gain a new specialty.
- Exchange an existing extra for another extra.
- Exchange an existing specialty for another specialty of the same level.
Moderate Milestones: Moderate milestones come during significant events in the series, roughly every 3–4 sessions of play.
- Raise an ability by 1 level.
- Swap the levels of any two of the hero’s abilities.
- Change one of the hero’s permanent aspects to something else.
- Gain a new permanent aspect, and increases the hero’s maximum number of permanent aspects by 1.
- Remove one of the hero’s permanent challenges.
Major Milestones: Major milestones are major events in the series, like the end of a long story arc, the defeat of a major villain, and so forth, roughly every 8–10 sessions of play.
- Increase the hero’s starting Determination by 1. This additional Determination can immediately be spent on a new power or extra, if desired.
- Gain a new power of the player’s choice, level rolled on the Level Determination Table.
- Completely re-roll all of the hero’s powers (starting from Phase 3 of hero creation) from scratch.
- Retire the hero and create a new one, increasing the new character’s starting Determination by an amount equal to the major milestones the previous hero accumulated.