DCAU / MEGS House Rules

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Cgeist7’s ICONS House rules!

Hi all,

In a nutshell, the mod takes the first 10 columns and rows in the DC Heroes / MEGS game, which covered APs 1 (weak) to 24 (just below Superman's strength), and renames them as ICONS attributes 1-10. This means that each ICONS (1-10) rank increase is x4 the ability of the previous rank. The mod was designed to:
  • Make some of the ICONS concepts a bit less hand-wavy (I want to know how far my players can throw stuff, move, how much damage a pistol does, etc.)
  • Make combats a bit more frenetic and maneuver oriented, but also get away from the 1-2 shot KO’s that we’ve been seeing in our game
  • Make it feel like a successful hit ‘means’ something, even against the big tough villains with invulnerability
  • Get rid of the 2 ranks (Feeble, Poor) that most of us wouldn't even have to roll against - IMHO, just don't need 'em in a supers game
  • Fit into the DC Animated Universe game that I’ve always wanted to run

    EDIT: as an added bonus, for folks that don't have the old DC Heroes system floating around: with DC Adventures now using a compatible MEGS based system! To convert to the modified ICONS you just divide the DC Adventures ability or power level by 2 (round up)!

All of this said, I’ve yet to playtest these ideas, so any feedback is welcome. I have modelled the dice rolling and the system below models the old DC Heroes RPG very closely in terms of attacks, defences, character durability, etc, while (in my mind at least, being a much smoother, slicker system – ICONS).

A GM’s Screen with the charts and benchmark tables can be found below. It also includes a RAPs table for those with a sense of nostalgia. To use it, you cross index the Effect Value and Resistance Value and shift one column left for each level of the Action Result.

Anyways, here goes:

Major ideas – Broad Rules[edit]

  • These house rules modifies ICONS to fit into a DC Heroes / MEGS style system
  • Attribute and difficulty scales change to the values in the table below
  • Each attribute or power level is approximately 4x the preceding level (see the Benchmark table for examples)

4 sec
Heavy Sack
Weak, minimum human
16 sec
Human Adult
Average to good human ability
1 mins
10' high tree
Excellent level human ability
4 mins
1.6 tons
Ideal or Maximum Human Strength, peak human ability
15 mins
6 tons
"Semi-" Truck
Enhanced Human
1 hr
26 tons
DC-9 Airplane
Low Superhuman
4 hrs
100 tons
Boeing 747
16 hours
400 tons
High Superhuman
3 days
1,600 tons
Small Building
2 weeks
6,400 tons

Maximum Metahuman
2 months
26,000 tons
Ultimate superhuman

Major ideas – Characters[edit]

  • All characters have a new statistic, Durability, which is the character’s Strength -1. Durability reduces Stamina damage done to a character by its level.
  • If Invulnerability or any other protective power is rolled, the player may choose to substitute Invulnerability or add +2 to the character’s Durability when that power is active.
  • Power and attribute levels above 5 are “super” – they yield an extra +1 Effect (this increases the impact of super beings affecting normal stuff, but also makes it so that when the big guys start going at it, it doesn’t take forever to determine a victor)
  • Determination starts at 6 and is reduced by 1 for each power or ability over 4
  • Characters roll on the following table for Ability levels:

2d6 Roll
Optional Name
Average – Above Average human
Typical, Good
Exceptional Human
Ideal or Maximum Human
Enhanced Human
Low Superhuman
High Superhuman

New Combat Damage Rules:

  • If the die roll is positive and the Effort exceeds the Difficulty, any remainder is the Effect (neutral, 0 or negative rolls, even if they are successful, do not add to the Effect)
  • The Effect is added to the damage rating of an attribute or power. This total, minus the opponent's Durability is the Stamina damage inflicted.

Any unarmed attack or attack with a blunt weapon or object is a bashing attack. Test Prowess against a difficulty of the target’s Prowess. On a failure, your attack misses. If your test succeeds, count the Effect of the attack roll. If the result is positive, you add an amount up to the positive number on the die roll to the damage you inflict (you never add bonus damage for a die roll of less than 0). You thus deal stamina damage to your opponent equal to your attack’s level plus the positive result level of the attack minus his Durability.

Example 1: Eagle-Claw (Prowess 5, Strength 5, Durability 4 and Strike 6) is slashing the Sword Saint (Prowess 6, Strength 3 and Durability 2). He rolls a +2 on the dice which is added to his Prowess (5 + 2 = 7, which minus the Sword Saint’s Prowess of 6, yields an Effect of +1). This is added to his Strike 6 power, resulting in a total damage of 7. Sword Saint’s subtracts his Durability of 2, resulting in 5 Stamina damage. If the Sword Saint’s Prowess were 3, Eagle-Claw would do 6 base damage + 2 for the Effect (which is limited by the positive result of the die roll).

Example 2: Hummingbird (Prowess 6, Strength 3 and Durability 2) is making a flying jump-kick against The Girth (Prowess 2, Strength 7, Durability 6). Hummingbird rolls and gets a pitiful result of -2, matching his Prowess of 6 – 2 = 4 against The Girth’s Prowess of 2. Hummingbird’s flying kick, despite the poor rolling, still connects with the Girth (beating the difficulty by 2), but because the die roll was not positive, he doesn’t get to add a bonus to his damage (the kick connects because of the Hummingbird’s incredible skill, but was sloppy overall). Hummingbird pits his brawling damage of 3 against The Girth’s Durability of 6, yielding no Stamina damage at all – The Girth doesn’t even notice the Hummingbird’s feeble attack and winds up for his Haymaker punch!

If Hummingbird had rolled a +4 on his dice, he would have inflicted 7 damage minus The Girth’s Durability of 6 = 1 Stamina. Even with a roll this good, The Girth is just too strong. Hummingbird had better find some determination fast!

Optional Rule: If a character’s Action Value is greater than the opposing value in a test (Prowess 6 vs. Prowess 4), they can add 1 to the Effect. This rewards high skilled low powered characters by letting them count the die roll of 0 as a success level.

Optional Maneuver: Called Shot - the character can take a -2 to an attack roll to reduce the opponent's Durability by 2 for that attack only.

Slamming and Stunning: If you beat your opponent's difficulty by 3-4, you Slam your opponent as per the rules. The Stun rule is no longer required because of how damage has been tweaked, but I would let characters choose their own secondary benefit for a Massive Success.