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    Colorado_Flood_ Relief [BUNDLE]
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/17/2013 12:28:30

    Thank you for providing this convenient (not to say enticing!) opportunity to help this good cause.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Colorado_Flood_ Relief [BUNDLE]
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    [ICONS] Defy the Prophecy: A Stark City Adventure
    by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/07/2013 23:58:33

    “Defy the Prophecy,” an ICONS adventure for the Stark City setting, has a rather cliché core plot: the bad guys are stealing objects to perform a dark ritual they must not be allowed to complete. What keeps the adventure from being hackneyed is the nature of the thieves—a bit of mystery that actually shouldn’t take the heroes too long to unravel—and the main villain’s motivation. The best thing about the adventure plot is the tie-in to Stark City lore.

    Unfortunately, the text’s references to the game mechanics are imperfect, possibly even downright confusing. For example, there is no such thing as a “Know Test” (p. 3) in ICONS; rather, you make an Intellect test to find out if your PC knows something. Similarly, ICONS has no “Occult test” (p. 5), though it does have an Occult specialty that can give PCs bonuses on Intellect tests when dealing with occult matters. I can easily imagine a new GM reading this adventure and wondering, “What on earth is a [whatever]?” when the terminology doesn’t follow the core rules. On the other hand, grammatical errors and inconsistencies are few and minor.

    The cover art by Jon Gibbons and the interior art by Jacob Blackmon are quite good. In fact, the cover art is almost too good, as it depicts a scene unlikely to occur during the adventure!

    If you consider the “stop the ritual before it’s too late” plot to be “tried and true” rather than “overdone,” you should be able to give a group of ICONS players a fun evening of play with “Defy the Prophecy.” On top of that, if you’re kicking off a Stark City campaign, the adventure provides a good way to introduce players to a major potential threat in the campaign world. Adapting the adventure to non-Stark settings would be difficult, I think, unless you want to adopt the whole Gloriana storyline into your world as well.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    [ICONS] Defy the Prophecy: A Stark City Adventure
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    Stark City Soundtrack
    by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/28/2013 14:01:15

    Your reaction to this soundtrack is likely to depend on your taste in music. Most of this soundtrack is simply too dance-techno for my own personal tastes. If you’re into more into EDM than I am, you’ll probably like the soundtrack a lot better than I did. But to me, most of the tracks evoke the feel of a dance hall or a low-budget ’80s crime drama rather than modern superhero epic. It’s hard for me to imagine any of these tracks behind scenes from any recent superhero movie, for example.

    The two Geartown tracks, done in a more rock style, appeal to me more than the rest. But two tracks do not redeem the whole album for me, and “The Geartown Grinders” still has a considerable dose of EDM in it. My favorite track of the bunch is “Geartown Trouble”; I really like the rock style, quick tempo, and driving guitars, and it’s one of the better tracks with respect to looping. It could serve as good background music for a gritty Stark City fight scene, if it’s not too distracting (turn down the volume). However, it’s also very short (2:24).

    Some of the tracks (“Crawling the Catacombs,” “Geartown Trouble,” “Platinum Coast Nightlife”) loop reasonably well if you don’t listen too closely, or if you set your player to eliminate the silence at the end. Others (“Freefall”) have beginnings and endings that are too definite for looping. None of the tracks sound like they were actually designed to loop, which is a big oversight in gaming background music. Also, the ID3 tags did not include an album name in the release that I downloaded, and the cover artwork provided separately (rather than embedded in the MP3s) has the rectangular aspect ratio of a letter-sized piece of paper (i.e., the cover of the Stark City sourcebook) rather than of a typical CD or MP3 album insert (square). This makes the cover art look odd and disruptive next to the other albums in my iTunes collection … and just trimming the cover artwork down isn’t a good option because of where the words are placed in the image.

    To sum up, the quality of the music isn’t bad, but heavy dance-techno feel of the music clashes for me with the superhero genre.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Stark City Soundtrack
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    Stark City Soundtrack
    by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2013 18:06:56

    A very solid soundtrack overall with a great variety of songs that covers a wide spectrum of moods and situations for a near-future setting. The only problem I really had with this collection is that the third track, "Geartown Trouble," ends a little abruptly. I don't know if I'm the only one who has experienced this problem, but thankfully, it alone wasn't enough for me to give this product a lower rating.

    On the whole, then, good job, Mr. Woodrum! Keep up the good work.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Stark City Campaign Setting and City Building Toolset
    by Sean F. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/05/2013 14:42:25

    SEAN'S PICK OF THE DAY: Two of the Great Steves of Supers Gaming - Steve Kenson and Steve Perrin - are among the many talents behind what I predict will be the "Aaron Allston's Strike Force" of the ICONS system. Welcome to Stark City.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Stark City Campaign Setting and City Building Toolset
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    [ICONS] Improbable Tales: Through the Looking Glass
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2013 11:01:50

    This is a neat and innovative adventure that will keep characters on their toes, presenting a unique challenge in that they will not be able to rely on their superpowers to overcome the obstacles presented.

    The situation seems straightforward enough: someone's experiment out in the desert has gone a bit awry and the characters are asked to investigate, see if they can sort things out where the likes of the US military have failed. Some kind of a strange bubble has isolated the experimental facility and those who've already gone to investigate have not come back, nor has any word been had from them.

    It's easy enough to get in, but once there things begin to get... strange. The people you meet are quite strange too. Some neat twists and turns, and it's going to take quite a lot more than regular use of whatever superpowered abilities you have to get out.

    By the way, it's not quite a time-travel story, so if you tend to avoid standard time-travel adventures (and many do, they can be a bit of a headache to run!) you still might have fun with this. I certainly intend to!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    [ICONS] Improbable Tales: Through the Looking Glass
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    Creator Reply:
    Thank you for your kind words. --John Post
    Justice Wheels #16 Black Rider [M&M]
    by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2013 03:27:40

    I have been waiting for Justice Wheels to come out for Mutants and Masterminds pretty much since they started coming out as vehicles are something the game is rather lacking. And while in some ways this offering is rather cliche in that you kind of know what TV series is being emulated this is also part of its charm. If you are not familiar you are missing out on one of David Hasselhoff's most classic roles.

    What you get here is a very brief overview of the character and his ride. There is a little more to the character as presented as he is given something the character he is "spoofing" never did. There is also a villainous option if you want to go that route but in some ways this is better served as a heroic NPC for the heroes to meet or as pre made character for someone that really loved the show and would like to play the character in the game. Either way this is well worth picking up.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Justice Wheels #16 Black Rider [M&M]
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    Justice Wheels #16 Black Rider [ICONS]
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2012 09:02:39

    This addition to the Justice Wheels line presents Black Rider and his intelligent car, a vigilante pair who prowl the highways seeking to aid those who cannot help themselves - a well-developed character, and clear homage to the old 'Knight Rider' TV show (even without the red running lights on the front of the car!).

    The background text is full of detail that can be used to good effect whether Black Rider is used as a player-character or NPC in your game: if an NPC, there is plenty of scope for him to become a recurring ally to your superheroes - or even a bit of an annoyance, perhaps he has a habit of turning up first and stealing their glory!

    If you are in need of a villain, on the other hand, the same background can be retooled with one important difference - Black Rider STOLE the super-car and you can add Grand Theft Auto to whatever else you decide that he gets up to!

    Full statistics for both Black Rider and the car (called CORA, by the way) as well as some enhanced chase rules are accompanied by paper 'standee' miniatures for both car and driver. A nice addition to the collection.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Justice Wheels #16 Black Rider [ICONS]
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    Justice Wheels #3 Bluejay
    by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/10/2012 00:11:10

    WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: You know the deal by now...a character and their vehicle. This becomes the first release to feature an aerial vehicle instead of a car, as we get Bluejay and his Golden Eagle airship. Adrian Smith provides the art this time, and it's very good, though lacking a bit of punch that Scott Harshbarger's first two releases had. Bluejay is the weakest concept thus far, being a boy genius who won the lottery and decided to build an airship to fight crime. He has villain version where he steals the material for his airship and decides to take revenge on everyone that doubted his intellect. An adventure hook for the villain version is provided, as well as the Vehicle rules and cut outs of the character and vehicle.

    WHAT WORKS: The links inside this document are clickable, whereas they weren't in the past, and the layout looks a bit better. It is a welcome sight to see a non-car vehicle utilized in the Justice Wheels set.

    WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Neither the hero nor the villain version of Bluejay clicks as well as the Black Scarab or the August Anarche did.

    CONCLUSION: Better technical improvement to the PDF compared to the first two, even if the creative end falls a bit shorter this time. The vehicle proves to be the most interesting part of this release, showing off the range of the Vehicle rules. Now we just need a Wizardry (Gadgets)-like allowance for multiple vehicles, ala Batman.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Justice Wheels #3 Bluejay
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    Justice Wheels #2 Auguste Anarch
    by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2012 23:52:26

    WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The August Anarche is the second Justice Wheels release, featuring a character and their vehicle, and comes across a lot like The Joker if he were built like Kingpin. He has enemies in both the police and mafia, because he's trying to make his mark in the underworld, and he has a sweet, sweet roadster. The hero variant recasts him as a modern day Robin Hood, making his stat block continue to work completely unaltered. The vehicle rules from volume #1 are reprinted in #2, so you don't need #1 in order to use #2. You also get a printable stand up of the August Anarche and his roadster.

    WHAT WORKS: The hero/villain twist works out well once more, and August Anarche being inspired by the Joker but having a few tweaks isn't bad. It is nice that the rules are included here as well, in case you want to jump in here instead of volume 1.

    WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Half the product is reprinted material (the veihicle and chase rules), but one could argue that's as much a pro as a con.

    CONCLUSION: If you just want the rules, get The Black Scarab...it's $1 cheaper. Otherwise, it's a really good, low cost pick-up. Scott Harshbarger again provides the art, and it looks great, though I prefer Black Scarab's art over Auguste Anarch, if I had to pick just one.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Justice Wheels #2 Auguste Anarch
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    Justice Wheels #1 Black Scarab
    by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2012 23:36:37

    WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The first in the Justice Wheels series for ICONS by Fainting Goat Games, it includes a character (Black Scarab) and his car (F.A.L.C.O.N.). With art provided by Scott Harshbarger, both the car and the character looks fantastic. Black Scarab is essentially a much cooler looking Moon Knight, with a villain variant that has him going all Azrael and thinking the only way to save the world is to burn it down. Perhaps most importantly, it provides crunchier vehicle rules, as well as chase rules, or teams buying the Vehicle power as a group. There's even a handy chart to compare movement powers (fliers getting a bonus to escape burrowers, for instance). Finally, the PDF includes a printable cutout for both Black Scarab and his car.

    WHAT WORKS: If you want more vehicle rules, this is fantastic. Black Scarab is a cool Moon Knight twist, and the villain variant is interesting enough that I would put him to use in a supers game, easily. Great art.

    WHAT DOESN'T WORK: At 50 cents, there's not much to complain about. The ultra crunchy rules are not a great fit for ICONS, but that's not surprising as it's not an ultra crunchy game.

    CONCLUSION: My understanding is that the Vehicle rules here are supposed to show up in...Team-Up, I believe. The art is great, the character is interesting...really, the biggest complaint is that you'll need to buy it with something else in order to avoid the small order surcharge from One Book Shelf.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Justice Wheels #1 Black Scarab
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    Justice Wheels #1 Black Scarab
    by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2012 00:06:05

    Each entry in the Justice Wheels series presents a superhero or supervillain who uses a distinctive vehicle. The characters are presented as heroes by default, with tips on how to use them as villains instead. Black Scarab strikes me as basically “Moon Knight in black”; even his origin is very similar. I presume that was intentional. Scott Harshbarger’s illustrations of Black Scarab and his car, F.A.L.C.O.N., are excellent. The page formatting is minimal and, frankly, unattractive. A relatively high number of misspellings (“anhk” instead of “ankh,” “profecient” instead of “proficient,” “machineguns” spelled as one word) and inconsistencies (especially with regard to capitalization) mar the two pages of substantive text. It’s also worth noting that Justice Wheels #1 does not seem to use the vehicle rules published in Justice Wheels #3; at the very least, it isn’t clear how Black Scarab’s vehicle puts those rules into practice. Black Scarab is an interesting enough character to add to your ICONS roster; in my case, I’m more likely to use him as a villain than offer him to a player as PC. 50¢ is a good price for a pre-statted villain with great artwork.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Justice Wheels #3 Bluejay
    by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2012 00:04:12

    Each entry in the Justice Wheels series presents a superhero or supervillain who uses a distinctive vehicle. The characters are presented as heroes by default, with tips on how to use them as villains instead. Compared to Black Scarab from Justice Wheels #1 (I haven’t read Justice Wheels #2), Bluejay is a fairly unexciting character—sort of a “poor man’s Batman” with a taser-tipped quarterstaff—and his Golden Eagle is a fairly unexciting vehicle. The page formatting is minimal and unappealing, and the text needs another round or two of copy editing. The compelling reason to get Justice Wheels #3 is the set of vehicle rules at the end, which include not only a Vehicle power but also two sets of rules for chases (one simpler and one “crunchier”). These rules are good, and worth having, even if the presentation is humdrum, beset with grammatical errors, and lacks hyperlinks to online resources referenced. I doubt that I’ll use Bluejay in my ICONS games in any capacity, but I will almost surely use the chase rules.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Justice Wheels #3 Bluejay
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