[ICONS] Field Guide to Superheroes…

By on 15 November 2010

The Field Guide to Superheroes 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 check out the Field Guide to Superheroes at RPGNow and DriveThruRPG

About Dave McAlister

Dave has been roleplaying for over 30 years, having played and/or run most mainstream systems with the espionage genre being an early favourite. So much so that, in 1999, he started Modus Operandi. That same year he joined the Sarbreenar "Living" campaign team as their plotline controller before moving across to the Living Spycraft campaign team (as UK Regional Branch Director) in 2003. 2003 also saw the birth of UK Role Players as well as Dave's first freelance writing appointment (co-writing World Militaries and consulting on both US Militaries and Battlegrounds, all for Spycraft). Since then, Dave has concentrated on supporting the UK gaming scene. He has organised and run several small, one-day, events and was the RPG Area Manager for Gen Con UK in 2004. His current favourite systems are Dungeons & Dragons (specifically 5th Edition), Savage Worlds and Cinematic Unisystem. He has a (currently neglected) blog at dave.mcalister.org.uk and runs a D&D 5e SRD website at DnD5e.info.

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