Supers, supers everywhere!

With the release yesterday of the new superhero game ICONS from Adamant Entertainment my superhero fever has reached new heights. I’m getting my copy today after missing out on the pre-order due to some pay-pal woes, but if I had any doubt about the game, all the stellar reviews, and specifically Greywulf’s excellent 10 things to like about the ICONS RPG, cinched the deal for me!

However all this superhero madness has left me with the age olds conundrum, how do I illustrate the supers in my head? Some of you may be artistically inclined, and heck I can use existing art to represent my character, but how do I bring to life the specific superhero, or super villain, I can see so clearly in my mind?

You can go the art commission route, a great way of employing the many talented artists who offer their services. Although I have never contracted his services, I’m particularly fond of Storn Cook, I just love his style and think he captures the feel of supers so well.

But what if you are on a budget? Besides caped stick figures you can try out some of the applications available online that let you create your own superhero. HeroMachine is perhaps the best known, but I’ve never been a fan of the results, but I’ll admit the new version 3 alpha is a great improvement.

Personally I prefer Fábrica de Heroís, which I believe translates to Hero Factory! As the name suggests the page is in Portuguese, but it is pretty intuitive, and once you select a body type for your superhero, there is an option on the top of the menu where it says Idioma: to switch all menus to English. It may not be exactly what you want, but with all the different options and permutations, I’ve created over 50 heroes and villains using it. On this post you can see a sample of those creations.

Well that’s all for now. I’d love to know how the rest of you go around illustrating the characters in your superhero games. Looking forward to your comments!

13 thoughts on “Supers, supers everywhere!”

  1. Thank you all for the comments…

    Daniel, I haven’t GMed a supers’ game since around 2003. I did play on an excellent Mutants & Masterminds game a friend ran. While it was fun, creating opponents seemed a daunting task and I have put off running a game using the system. I’m more inclined to use Savage Worlds and I got the awesome Super Powers Companion today along with ICONS.

    I’m about three quarters along in the book and like it so far. I’ll save my final verdict for a proper review.

    And Storn DOES rock!

    Andrew I agree, it gives me all sort of old-school vibe with a modern mechanic. I’m also looking forward to running a game using it.

    Greywulf, I definitely like it. It has many of the things you mentioned. I do have some minor nitpicks, but I’ll get to it later. I am really glad you found the Hero Factory useful.

  2. Thanks for the great resource. I discovered a little round "American Flag" button at the top that transforms the menus into English. Bonus!

  3. I rather dig ICONS (I was a pre-order)…overall, I am inclined towards BASH moreso, but a big part of me would like to run three Supers campaigns…one with Marvel SAGA, one with ICONS and one with BASH.

  4. I’m glad everybody lies it!

    Tommyb, I never played Marvel Saga System, and while I do own the BASH science fiction version I wasn’t thrilled…

  5. I won't say that BASH Ultimate Edition will sway you, I can say that BASH UE feels like a pretty big leap from the previous iterations.

    They keep the 1-5 scale, but it "scales" differently. BASH UE removes Power Points (except as an optional limit) for powers, meaning that Cyclops can pop off optic blasts all day without problems, or Spider-Man isn't spending points to use his Spider-Sense.

    Just a very impressive game, IMHO.

    SAGA is my favorite game of all time…even though it has some ugly warts to it…(the mechanics are my favorite game mechanics ever)…BASH captures enough of that essence while fixing most of the problem areas. But yeah, I've been married to that system for 12 years or so, and now I'm suddenly presented with two games that make me think it's time to move on.

    Not a bad place to be for a gamer…=)

    Tommy Brownell

  6. Hey,

    stumbled across your blog when I was looking for some stuff on Icons. I ended up bookmarking it as it's really enjoyable!

    I don't know whether you're aware, but the MMO City of Heroes has a stand-alone version of its character creation software available. It was released officially in Korea but the plug was pulled elsewhere, although there does exist an translation pack for it. I've not used it myself (although if I can find it I most certainly will give it a try), but it does seem like a good route to go. As much as a love Fabrica De Herois, I find the faces, particularly the female ones, extremely limited and that frustrates me a LOT.

    Also, if you ever decide to run that Pbp of Icons I would love to join you. I don't have a gaming group (in fact, I just buy books to read them. Sigh!), so it would be awesome to get a chance to try it out.

  7. @Christian, I’m glad you like the blog; it’s a privilege to contribute here. Welcome!

    I had no idea of the City of Heroes creations software being standalone.

    I’d love to run an ICONS PbP but I got a lot to things to clear from my plate before I could tackle that.

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