Exselsior! Astounding! Amazing!
I love ICONS. It's by far my favorite still-in-print superhero game. It reminds me so much of the classic DC Heroes and Marvel Superhero RPG (T$R d100, not Saga) that I grew up playing. Origins adds another dimension to the game without getting too technical. And as always, the art in this book is phenomenal. Keep up the good work, Dan Hauser.
The Archetypes are perhaps long overdue. It's something I treasured in Mutants & Masterminds (Thanks Steve Kenson...) As a GM. I enjoy having them handy as villains or even rivals that can be thrown together on the fly.The math is even explained for each one, which some games don't do. They're balanced and very well thought out.
A lot of veteran ICONS fans were probably already generating characters in the system described in By the Numbers, but it was nice to see it officially outlined in a book. There were a few things some of us may have been guessing at.
I really enjoyed the Character Modeling section. I've attempted to approximate iconic characters from DC and Marvel before, often with staggering point totals and stats completely unbalanced with regular ICONS characters. Most random or 45 point ICONS pc's are like Peter Parker, any of the Teen Titans, or most of the New Mutants in their earliest fledgling days, which is good for an rpg setting. Lots of room to grow. However, if a full, experienced version of any of the named characters shows up in a regular ICONS game? The pc's may as well put in for vacation. Unless of course, the whole group is built and approved this way!
Thanks again for the benchmarks!
The background generator rocks, especially for players who don't have an extensive background in comics or gaming. It's also a nice idea generator for veteran gamers and GM tool.
It was great having the Specialties and knacks expanded upon. If you don't have ICONS A-Z, this was a great introduction to knacks.
The roles section was proprobably a little old hat for veteran supers gamers and life long comic fans, but again very well written an super useful for demonstrating the concepts to beginners. Good refresher course for the rest of us. I think every game needs new blood, and any way to bring more players in and make them feel at home is awesome.
Last, but worthy of mention and much praise, is the expanded list of supporting characters. I can't thank the authors enough for this time-saving treasure. Anything that makes ICONS, which is already a joy to GM, go any faster or easier, is very welcome.
A+ All around. I can't wait to see what comes next.