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Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 2 (ICONS) $7.95
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 2 (ICONS)
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Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 2 (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by andrew b. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2013 15:36:42
I gave a negative review of this series. I have come to regret this choice the more I reviewed this product. I now feel I should update my conclusions and try to be a more informative reviewer for my readers and not vent my financial venom into the RPGNow community.

I will list my negative conclusions, all of which one might have immediately upon purchasing the product and after an initial review. My reactions were this. Too expensive. I write it out into two paticular paragraphs which I will now repost.


"I have to say I was highly disappointed by this product. I have been really craving new Icons products, and this does fit that bill... but is highly expensive for what you end up getting. Each of these products are about 50 to 70 pages and they charge top dollar for everything you get. Each installment covers about ten archetypes... tells some general things about it... comic world examples... aspects... and 1 character example. For this they charge 8 to 10 dollars each. That means for the complete set of 40 archetypes and characters covered over lets say 240 pages you are going to play $34."

"Now compared to some text heavy systems like D&D and Hero, this really isnt a lot. If you compare this to the Icons Villianomicon, my golden standard on this line which is sold for just $10 dollars and covers 51 characters, you see why this is so painful in comparison. Not to mention that all of the Field Guides (and Villianomicon as well, unfortunately) do not use any of the new and wonderfully utilitarian rules used introduced in Great Powers."


Now this may have felt right when I wrote it then... unbudgeted money is hard to come by sometimes. ICONS is a wonderful rules light RPG and many of its products seem to have a lower price tag. This means that... for me... everything in the ICONS series that I have an interest in, I own. Try saying that with one of the big boy systems. Can't do it. All those huge volumes of books with dense blocks of game statistics to chew through right in the middle of combat or an intense roleplaying scene. Not ICONS... which fits the storyteller's hands like silk gloves... minimalistic and smoothe and airey even.This is why this product kind of dinged me kind of hard.

Now I have read of the books, and the more I do the more I have come to enjoy this product. At the time, I just wanted ICONS stuff. Give me scenarios, characters, vehicles, base aspects. I wanted all of that... like a sugar addict in a brightly lit mall candy store. This book is a little light on this aspect, and yet so much more.

As it lists in its description, the author, a bonafide doctor of the subject of superheroes, lists different archetypes all comic book characters fall into. He offers a traditional explanation and suggests where to draw inspiration for aspects and even important tips on the archetype mentioned. Each one has a prim example rolled up so you see what an Animal Hero would look like up against a Woman Warrior. Also the author sneaks in his own world around the book. He offers a glossary of terms and some new powers, etc. So I would consider this work more of a guide to an outlined superhero rpg setting. The academics are fun considering how candy coated ICONS can get sometimes. Someone new to this system could purchase these books and then attach an interesting scenaro or two... and have a very functinal world outlined with very broad strokes painting a very unique, yet faithful setting. This aspect of these books took me a bit to discover.

So changing my conclusions before. This book has a lot to offer and is unique in the ICONS series. I highly recommend it and continue to find reading it pleasurable and useful. The cost was kind of steep for me but with all things considered I am glad I aquired it and believe you will too.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 2 (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by John P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2011 16:19:17
This is a solid effort by Tondro. The example characters are a mixed bag in this book too, but seem to be better than Volume One. The Road Scholar is one of my favorites, and his new power of Super-Vehicle is a great addition to the ICONS system. The problems I have with it are relatively minor. The Inspiration is a nice addition too. I don't know how it will work in play, with the wrong game master, it might be used to short circuit adventures, and players who don't get enough information, might think it was a waste of a power, but it is a good idea.

I still think that the price for the page count is a little high. I think $5.00 would make it a better deal. The use of all caps makes reading long paragraphs difficult. The Jungle Hero and Feral Hero examples are a little too similar and could have been combined in my opinion.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 2 (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/25/2011 02:33:19
Like volume 1 in the series, Jason Tondro’s “Field Guide to Superheroes, Vol. 2” presents ten superhero archetypes: the descendant, the divine hero, the embodiment, the ex-con, the femme feline, the feral hero, the focused hero, the gadget guy/girl, the handicapped hero, and the jungle hero. For each of these archetypes, Tondro first gives an overview of the archetype, then illustrates the archetype with a specific example hero from Vigilance Press’s “Worlds of Wonder” setting.

Volume 2 improves slightly on volume 1 (which I have also reviewed for DriveThruRPG) by assigning names to the heroes who appear (illustrated by Dan Houser) unstatted alongside the archetype descriptions as well as those who are statted out as examples. However, volume 2 does no better with regard to ethnic and gender diversity. Out of 20 illustrated heroes, 12 are white males; three are impossible to characterize due to their appearance, armor, or mutations; three appear to be white females; and two are black males (one of them a boxer). I hope that future volumes will seek broader representation. In a similar vein, the Veil (a Muslim “resurrected” as an atheist with a Punisher-style approach to crimefighting) from volume 1 and Gabriel (an angel with wings dripping blood) and the Grail (a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, ripped from the pages of Dan Brown’s fiction) from volume 2 seem almost calculated to offend Islamic and Christian sensibilities, respectively.

On the other hand, for readers interested in the “Worlds of Wonder” setting, volume 2 provides a more direct look at that world than did the lexicon in volume 1. A concluding section on “Wonder Culture” describes the national (USA) and interplanetary contexts in which superheroes (“wonders”) operate in the “Worlds of Wonder” setting. As always, Dan Houser’s artwork gives the product that extra ICONS look and feel.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 2 (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/12/2011 16:33:59
Another great release from a promising product line, Field Guide to Superheroes Volume 2 adds the next 10 heroes of the 40 total. Of note here is the Super Vehicle power. Mr. Kenson chose to leave out vehicle rules from the main icons book even though the 4C Creative Commons system included them. The Field Guide team has spent some Determination points and "retconed" them back in [yes I realize how nerdy that statement is :)]. Icons fans won't be disappointed with Dan Houser's art either. His art does as much for the icons brand as any write up. It is a key element to Icons' characterization. Any publisher wanting to release Icons products should strongly consider retaining his services.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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