Sunday, November 28, 2010

(ICONS) Werewolves of the Gestapo, new from Vigilance Press

We just received word that Jean Fontaine, a high-ranking member of the French Resistance was kidnapped by some new kind of superhuman Gestapo field agents. Our sources inform us that he has been spirited away to a mansion in a wooded area near Stausberg and is under heavy meta-human guard while the Gestapo's best interrogators work him over.

If he breaks, he could compromise the entire French Resistance. Our double-agents have provided us with the location of the mansion where he is being tortured by Gestapo interrogators. Your job is to rescue him immediately.

Check it out here.

USHER Dossiers Preview: The Forever Man

Got this today in my email and just had to share.

A personal note about the Field Guide

Hey guys, something was mentioned in a recent review, and its been mentioned to me privately a few times in emails from folks who bought the Field Guide, so I thought I'd take a second to address it.

What I'm talking about is the lack of search text and copy/paste.

The Field Guide PDF is not protected. I don't believe in DRM beyond watermarks and never use them.

However, the Field Guide was built in a different way from any PDF we've ever released, which resulted in three differences from our usual: a bigger file size, lack of text search and lack of copy/paste.

Basically, the book isn't a PDF in the strictest sense. The text isn't just embedded in the book, alongside images, like most PDFs. Every page (text and images) were built in photoshop, then turned into an image, and then placed in the book. This had some disadvantages, namely everything I mentioned above.

I ultimately went with this method however, because it also resulted in the book looking *awesome* in my opinion.

Now, these issues are compounded by the lack of bookmarks, and that is 100% on me. Every version of the book I sent around internally to Vigilance Press writers and artists for proofreading was bookmarked. Just not the one I put on sale. So that's just me being a goober.

We have an update on the way, which will both correct some typos in the book, and add bookmarks.

I'm pleased with the book's sales, and think Jason Tondro and Dan Houser both did some of their best work on it, I just wanted to take a second to let you know I didn't cripple it on purpose.

Thanks as always for the support,


Sure, you wrote one of the greatest game books of all time, but what ELSE have you done?

Shorter MerricB: Sure, you guys designed Gamma World, Deities and Demigods, Red Box, BECMI, Temple of Elemental Evil and edited Dragon Magazine for its first three years, but what ELSE have you done to lay claim to being significant game designers.

There is no way to express how hard that post makes me roll my eyes.

But I tried anyway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

USHER Dossiers: People you'll meet (Part 4)

Interview for MNN’s Veterans Day coverage, looking back at the contributions and sacrifices of Metahumans to America in wartime. Interviewer is in bold, Old Glory in normal type.

“Well, thank you for joining us, General! I’ve done some big interviews but never anything like this. What would you prefer to be called, General, Old Glory, something else?”

“Chris, please, Ma’am. I never really had a secret identity. Never saw the need for it. Anyone close enough to be considered family, well, I don’t need to worry about some punk ‘supervillain’ kidnapping them, let’s just put it that way.”

“All right then, Chris it is! You mentioned your ‘family’ and I gathered you meant your fellow metahuman heroes. Your best friend, and I don’t think this is any secret, would have to be the Savant. We’re showing that famous picture of you and he, arm in arm on VE Day. He’s gone missing and some have characterized him as, to use your word, a ‘supervillain’. They also say you haven’t done your usually thorough job bringing him in. What do you say to that?”

“No comment. Next question.”

“But clearly you and he…”

“I thought we had agreed there would be no questions about ongoing investigations, miss.”

“Fair enough. So, restricting your comments just to your relationship with the Savant, maybe?”

“Fred Williamson is a hero. He saved America during WWII, he saved Brazil during the Horde and he saved this planet during the Scion invasion. That was two years ago. Calling him a supervillain after that is a sick joke. How’s that for a comment?”

“Blunt? You mentioned the Scion invasion. You worked with some real heavy hitters during that dark time, and also some more obscure metahumans. What was that like?”

“I sent out a call on shortwave, asking for help. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. There was no one obscure in that fight. Every single metahuman who answered my call is a hero. Most didn’t. You, for example.”

“Well, I never claimed to be a hero, now did I?”

“No, you didn’t. I’m sorry, miss, I have a developing situation that requires my attention, we’ll have to cut this short.”

“Christian Thomason, ladies and gentlemen, true, blue American hero. What? No… no, don’t try to follow him. He doesn’t like it when I try to follow him. No… well, he really doesn’t like me, for starters. What? We’re still on the air? Well maybe you should- ”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New for ICONS, Field Guide to Superheroes!

The Field Guide Volume 1 is the definitive encyclopedia of superhero archetypes in modern comics.

Written by Jason "Dr. Comics" Tondro, who studied comics for his PhD in Literature, the Field Guide is a gold mine of ideas and inspiration for your next hero. After a discussion of each archetype generally, the Field Guide then gives a fully fleshed out hero, suitable for immediate use as a PC or important NPC in your ICONS campaign.

Rather than break archetypes down by power set, the Field Guide looks at the character's origin and role in the story. This makes the archetypes much more versatile and puts the emphasis on character, rather than power.

Here's a short list of the ten archetypes discussed in this volume of the Field Guide to Superheroes.

· The Alien Hero is not from this world. He may have either a science fiction or fantasy tone to his powers, which are often unrelated to each other.
· The Android is a Pinocchio character who has incredible powers but also trouble relating to humanity. He could be either metal or organic in nature.
· Animal Heroes are one of the simplest kinds of characters. Pick an animal or insect and base your hero on it, using either natural powers or unusual weaponry.
· An Armored Wonder is a normal person in an advanced battlesuit, usually humanoid in shape and size. He could be a scientist or just know someone else that is.
· The Astronaut is an Earthman who has traveled to other worlds. He makes up for his lack of powers with courage and cleverness.
· An Avatar is a being that identifies with, is, or thinks he is, a god. High power level but a strict moral code goes hand in hand with the Avatar.
· Comic Relief characters are always welcome. Typically they have either silly powers (like stretching) or else awesome abilities but no idea how to use them.
· The Creepy Hero is a street hero with a sense of humor, weird powers, and often a frightening appearance. He may be hunted by the police.
· The Dark Avenger is a person who has suffered at the hands of the criminal element and come back to deal harsh justice. He often uses weapons instead of powers.
· The Defender protects or fights crime in a particular place, or to safeguard a particular group. He will help other heroes out when trouble from outside finds him, but he's more focused on his turf

You can pick it up here!

USHER Dossiers: People you'll meet (Part 3)

Exclusive: She brings you the metahuman scene as only a metahuman can. She's a reporter with superpowers and flying robot cameras, with the super agility to follow metahuman battles as they take place.

Since she burst on the scene 20 years ago, she's gone from plucky freelance journalist, to buying time infomercial style at 3am, to hosting the hottest syndicated reality show in America. Now she prepares her biggest move yet, as managing editor of MNN, the Metahuman News Network.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

USHER Dossiers: People you'll meet (Part 2)

The Minuteman: In 1775 a lone, wounded minuteman discovered a stranded, dying time traveler outside Lexington, Connecticut. After giving him a proper burial, he kept his time manipulator for himself and used it to wage a one-man guerrilla campaign against the hated British occupying his beloved Manhattan.

As he lay dying, he passed the time piece, and his heroic legacy, on to his son. Since then, whenever America has needed a hero, the Minuteman has defended her. From the War of 1812, to the outlaws of the Old West, from the battlefields of WWII to the back alleys of the 21st century.

Learn all the secrets of the Minuteman in the USHER Dossiers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

USHER Dossiers: People you'll meet (Part 1)

The first in a series letting you know some of the people you'll meet in Vigilance Press' upcoming setting, the USHER Dossiers.

USHER (United States Headquarters for Emergency Response): Since WWII USHER has defended America from all metahuman threats, both foreign and domestic. Today this organization consists of the Atlas Battalion, the Blue Knights, the Nighthawks and the Pegasus Squadron.

Do you have what it takes to stand with them and defend America? Can you keep their secrets? Be warned, what they know might keep you up at night. Learn what they know in the USHER Dossiers.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

New from Vigilance Press: The Ice Palace (ICONS)

In the last days of WWII, in a secret fortress buried in the Antarctic ice, a devious mastermind is hatching a strategy that will land a knockout blow on the Allies and hand victory to the Nazis.

The world hangs in the balance.

Can your heroes stop this madman in time?


This scenario is intended for ICONS characters in the late World War 2 era. You could easily
incorporate (either as PCs or NPCs) the characters from the Allied superteams Crown Guard, the People's Revolution and Vigilance Force or the Axis superteams Eugenics Brigade
and Shinjuwan Juunigatsu (all of which are also available from Vigilance Press.)

Whether you use these characters or your own, the assumption is that the PCs are superheroes employed in the Allied war effort.

This mini-adventure is intended as a sandbox style, non-linear scenario. The flow and sequence of the events depend largely on how the PCs decide to enter the base and where
they go and what they do once inside.

We provide a description of the Ice Palace base and suggestions for the encounters the PCs will have there, but the GM will be called on to improvise to some degree.

You can purchase this WWII-era adventure for ICONS, superpowered roleplaying, here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Interview with the Forever Man (from the USHER Dossiers)

Recorded October 2nd, 1999, for convenience, interviewer’s transcription is in bold, Forever Man in normal type; special thanks to Exclusive for the rights to include this interview for our dossiers.

“No… no, it’s fine, I can just record the audio if you’re not comfortable with the camera. There, how’s that? Ok? Good. So, let’s start at the beginning, I mean, you are the beginning really. I… you… is something funny?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I have had these conversations many times before. You’re going to assume I was at every major historical event from the crucifixion to Woodstock and, after wasting a lot of each other’s time, I’ll be frustrated and you’ll be horribly disappointed.”

“The truth is, I don’t have a sixth sense to let me know when something important is going to happen any more than you do. And in the past, getting from China to Babylon was something of a journey. By the time you heard about something, it was long over, you might not even be able to find the wreckage.”

“And of course, the truly important things, no one can really understand anyway. My family, my tribe, we were all… different to varying degrees. Most of them were geniuses. Way smarter than me. We were the first to tame fire, domesticate plants and animals. Those days, and the days that followed, when I realized I alone was eternal, when I traveled the world and taught what we had learned to others, those were the really special days. But it’s impossible to put into words. Building a fire is something children can learn now, but they don’t even bother. And why would they? Strike a match. It’s easy. Simple.”

“You look confused.”

“I… well, honestly, I didn’t expect you to talk to me at all. And I certainly didn’t expect you to be so… gregarious, I guess? I mean, you’ve spent so much time trying not to get involved…”

“I’m not involved. You’re a pretty girl who asked me to have a conversation. I like talking to people; I do it all the time. That’s not really getting involved though, is it? Getting involved is telling people who to vote for, what to think, who to kill. I don’t do that sort of thing, not anymore.”

“Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. In my experience, those are the truest words ever written. The truth of my life is that, no matter how much power I might think I have, I can’t stop that. You folks are the only ones with that kind of power. Oh yes, don’t look so shocked. Strength in numbers, dear. I was Emperor of the Roman Empire once, and I couldn’t stop it from falling apart. Only they could have done that and they didn’t have the will.”

“This place, this time, this civilization, all of it will come crashing down. Soon, I think. That, I kind of have a sense for. Like the way your sinuses ache before a big rain, you’re feeling the atmosphere expand in your head and you know the storm is coming.”

“You think civilization is about to end?”

“This one, maybe. It’s inevitable of course. Did you think you were special? I mean, more special than the Han? Than Rome? Eventually the foundation rots and the house comes crashing down. And you build a new one. That will be my time, I suppose.”

“I’m sorry, your time? You mean you won’t get involved until it all goes to hell? Where’s the logic in that?”

“I told you, I can’t stop things from happening. But once it does, once the really ugly, chaotic mess has washed away the bad, it will be time to build something new. People will be ready to listen again. Not to my notions of right and wrong, people always make those decisions for themselves. Or won’t, as more often happens.”

“What I mean by ‘my time’ is to fill in the gaps. Maybe that’s why I’m really here. Something will get lost, something really important. How to make a compass, or a yoke to pull a heavy plow, the things that seem so simple to you now you can’t even be bothered to learn them. The things that will help people put the pieces back together. I can help with that.”

“When you said… sorry… the way you said ‘maybe that’s why I’m really here’, it almost, do you believe you were put here for a purpose? Like, by god… a supreme being, whatever?”

“Everyone has a purpose. That’s the saddest thing about getting involved, is seeing all the people who have convinced themselves they can’t make a difference. They think because I can punch a hole in this wall, or that I’ve a lifespan measured in millennia, that I can make a difference. And I can, but not anymore than you. This is where we started. You have the real power, all of you. No one can drag you down into evil and chaos without your consent. And you allow it, because too many of you think you don’t matter.”

“I’m sorry, dear, I have to go. This has been especially enjoyable, but that black SUV across the street has a certain government aura about it. They want to talk to me too, but unlike you, they’re not interesting or pretty. Thank you for the conversation.”

“Well, that’s certainly different. He- ow! They didn’t see him coming. They just don’t make SUVs like they used to I guess. This is Exclusive, your source for the metahuman beat, signing off!”

Night Ride Part 1

Night Ride Part 1 “Look, Pa, it’s my turn. Also, Nana is having one of her spells again and she has no idea who I am when she gets this w...