The Basics

Levels and Scale

Everything in ICONs is rated in Levels on a Scale of 1-10. This provides a basic benchmark to compare various things within the game and the setting.

A rating of Level 3 is considered Average Human ability.

Level Description
1 Weak, Minimum Human
2 Below-Average Human
3 Average Human
4 Above-Average Human
5 Exceptional Human
6 Maximum Human
7 Low Superhuman
8 Superhuman
9 High Superhuman
10 Cosmic Superhuman

Off The Scale: The scale is intended to cover a broad, but limited, range of levels. There are many cases when things are simply “off the scale.” The 1 to 10 scale doesn’t accurately measure the strength of an ant, for example, or the mass of the entire Earth; those things are off the scale. For these, simply use common sense.


Whenever a character needs to perform a task that has a chance of failure or variable success rate, a Test is needed. All Tests are made against a character’s Level in his various Abilities.


To make a test, roll 2d6, once of which is considered positive, one of which is considered negative, and add the result (positive, negative, or zero) to the relevant ability level. This
determines the effort that goes into the test.

For example, a roll of +1 and an ability of 3 gives an initial effort of 4.


Some tasks are harder to perform than others, represented by a test’s difficulty. The difficulty of a test is determined by the Game Master and is considered a penalty to the test’s Effort.

For example, if the Test rolled above (Effort 4) was against a Difficulty 2 task, the result would only be an effort of 2 (4 – 2 Difficulty).


Some circumstances impose modifiers on a test. A modifier takes the form of an additional value
added the effort (a Bonus, expressed as a plus) or the difficulty (a Penalty, expressed as a minus). For example, moving and attacking on the same page results in a –1 penalty on your attack test, increasing the test’s difficulty by 1.

Final Outcome

Once the initial Effort is determined and all Difficulties and Modifiers applied, compare the Final Effot with the chart below:

Final Effort Outcome
Less than 0 Failure. The effort fails to achieve the desired effect.
0-2 Moderate success. The effort succeeds by a small margin.
3-4 Major success. The effort succeeds enough to be noticeably well done.
5 or more Massive success. Not only is the effort noticeably successful, it has additional secondary benefits.


With its focus on the heroes, only the players make tests in Icons, the Game Master does not. Whenever a GM-controlled character takes an action against a player-controlled hero, it is a test of the hero’s ability to avoid or resist it. The hero’s player makes a test to oppose or resist that action as a reaction (so called because it happens in response to another character’s action).

So, for example, when a villain attacks, the hero’s player tests a defensive ability (Prowess or Coordination most often) as a reaction against a difficulty of the villain’s attacking ability, determining the outcome of the attack. Similarly, the heroes’ attacks are made against the difficulty based on the target’s defensive ability, but the target doesn’t make a test, the hero’s player does.

The Basics

Freedom Throughout the Ages Psiko_GM