Thanks to the magic of DriveThruRPG’s print-on-demand service, I’ve been able to make a softcover edition of the Icons: The Assembled Edition core book available for order.
Note that this does not replace the initial hardcover printing of the book, still available from Green Ronin Publishing, and in distribution to fine retailers, and the softcover is the same price as the hardcover, due to the cost of print-on-demand versus traditional offset printed books. Still, it’s available as an option for those who want it, and it provides a print version that can be ordered direct from DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.
When the copies of the first printing of the hardcover sell through, Green Ronin and I will reassess whether or not a traditional reprint is called for. If not, then I’ll likely make a print-on-demand hardcover available as well. Since it will cost more than the current hardcover, the takeaway is: If you want a hardcover of the Assembled Edition, buy it before the current stock is gone!
Secret Origins Uncovered
Origins offers additional expanded resources, options, and tools for hero creation for Icons Superpowered Roleplaying, helping you to create the hero you want to play quickly and easily. It includes:
- Archetypes! Thirteen ready-to-play hero archetypes, each with six variations, for a total of over a hundred pre-generated characters!
- Heroes by the Numbers! An expansion of the optional Creation Point system of hero creation for players who prefer a less random and more structured approach.
- Background Generation! A set of random tables for quick generation of character backgrounds, from demographics to past history, important events, and key values.
- Specialties & Knacks! A compilation of specialties from the Assembled Edition and other Icons products, along with an expanded selection of optional knacks (from Icons A to Z) to customized characters.
Origins also offers more on team building, character modeling for free-form hero creation, pre-generated supporting cast characters, and all that you need to create the heroic icon of your dreams! The 92-page sourcebook is available in PDF and print formats (both softcover and hardcover). Buy a print copy and get the PDF for free to download right away!
I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of the point-based hero creation option in Icons (p. 68 of the Assembled Edition). “Rolled-up” heroes is one of the reasons I wrote the game, and the point-buy option runs counter to that, plus I already designed a much more comprehensive point-buy system for superheroes (this lil’ RPG called Mutants & Masterminds). Still, it’s something playtesters all but demanded, both when the game was originally written, and when I put together the Assembled Edition so, it’s in there as an option.
Naturally, the most oft-asked question about the newly released Assembled Edition? About point-based hero creation … naturally. That being:
How many points do extras cost?
The Point-Based Hero Creation sidebar in Assembled Edition says: “Apply power extra and limits to powers normally.”
Since an extra substitutes for a rolled power, with the point-based approach, an extra instead increases the power’s cost per level by 1. In essence, the extra costs points equal to the power’s level.
Example: Creating Miss Tikal (Icons, p. 215) with the point-buy option, her Incredible Magic (level 7) costs 7 points. She has three instances of the Mastery extra (three powers she can call upon without a test or preparation). Each of those extras also costs 7 points, so her Magic costs a total of (7 + 7 + 7 + 7) or 28 points. With 24 points in abilities and two Expert specialties (2 points each), Miss Tikal is a 56-point character.
In place of the third benefit listed on p. 84 of Assembled Edition, a limit can reduce a power’s cost per level by 1 (to a minimum of 1 point per level). In essence, a limit can allow an extra to be added to the power “for free”. The increase to rolled level benefit doesn’t apply, since powers have no rolled levels in the point-based option.
This week’s preview of the forthcoming Icons: The Assembled Edition looks at the good guys, with the nine ready-made “iconic” sample heroes found in the game. You can still sign up to the email list to be notified as soon as the book becomes available for pre-order. Discussion of the Assembled Edition is ongoing over on RPG.net.
In the meanwhile…
Continuing last week’s preview of the new Assembled Edition of Icons, we have another example of play, this one a bit more complex. You can still sign up to be notified as soon as the new book becomes available for pre-order.
In the meanwhile, look over the system in action alongside Dan Houser’s art as All-American Girl and the Hangman are…
Production on Icons: The Assembled Edition has been humming along, thanks to the tireless talents of Dan Houser and Daniel Solis, and primary art and layout are complete, so you should see release of the electronic version and pre-orders for the print edition before the month is out. You can still sign up to be notified as soon as the book becomes available for pre-order.
In the meanwhile, there are some previews of the Assembled Edition to check out. Let’s get started with one of the examples of play: Miss Tikal and the Mighty Saguaro in…
It has been pointed out already, but to add some additional data to the discussion, “pay what you want” for a product is far more of a marketing than “sales” strategy and is not any kind of revenue model.
Case in point: with the upcoming Assembled Edition of Icons in the works, I shifted the existing electronic versions of the Icons rulebook and the Villainomicon sourcebook to PWYW at the beginning of April. Here’s what the April numbers looked like:
- Icons: 155 copies sold, gross sales $73.47 (roughly 47 cents per copy)
- Villainomicon: 167 copies sold, gross sales $62.49 (roughly 37 cents per copy)
Obviously, most of the “sales” of those two books are $0, with a few folks kicking in a few bucks. On the other hand, the number of downloads is nearly ten times what they were in the prior month, when they were on sale conventionally. You don’t make a product PWYW because you’re looking to make big money, you do it to get it into the hands of as many people as possible, with the option of maybe making a little money on the side, which is exactly what happened.
That’s why I made those products pay-what-you-want: to get them out there and raise awareness about Icons leading up to the release of the Assembled Edition. I’m also looking to sell the remaining print editions of both books leading up to the new release, and figure a free taste of the electronic editions may encourage some folks to pick up the print versions before they’re gone (I’ll announce when they’re available soon).
So, if you added Icons or The Villainomicon to your collection this past month, all I’d ask is that you check them out, tell other people about them, and consider some other fine Icons products: adventures, the Great Power sourcebook, the print editions of both PWYW books (when they go on sale again), and checking out (or even pre-ordering!) the Assembled Edition of Icons when it becomes available early this summer. Most of all, give Icons a try at your gaming table!