Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tommy's Take on DOOM (ICONS)

DOOM is the first ICONS release by Misfit Studios, and a conversion of the book by the same name which was released under the Mutants & Masterminds Superlink license.

First, a disclaimer: I did serve as a playtester on the book...which really just means I got to see it in play before I reviewed it, instead of just reading it.
DOOM by Misfit Studios, featuring
the Four Horsemen

It is nominally a villain book for ICONS, but it has a very specific focus to it: DOOM is an conspiracy/organization/cult that is not married to a specific setting. In fact, in my one go with the ICONS rules in play, I combined it with the ION Guard book...(the magic focus of DOOM makes them absolutely frightening adversaries for ION Guards).

First up, we get a Metahuman Threat Scale, meant to be an eye-balling guide to baddies, ranked from Alpha to Omega, with Alpha being the weakest and Omega the scariest. As well, there are notations that further defined the threats, such as "-P" meaning the threat is psychic or "-E" meaning extraterrestrial.

WHAT IS DOOM?

This is a two page background on the DOOM organizaation, an occult organization worshipping the "Lost Ones", who are very Lovecraftian in nature. It is noted that the Lost Ones should probably never be battled directly, as they are INSANELY powerful.

DOOM PERSONNEL

This is chock full of villainous game stats.

We get a section on the Counil of Nine that rules DOOM, but no concrete information at all, as GM is expected to design their own Council of Nine, if they choose to allow the PCs to confront them directly, whether built from scratch or drawn from the magical villains already in the setting.

We then get a selection of mooks, starting with rank and file cultists, then the assassin-like Daggers, the spellcasting Sorcerers and the Imps - people who have been...changed...by the dark powers of DOOM.

Next up as the very powerful lieutenants of the Council of Nine, known as the Doomsayers. We get eight of them, and they are an interesting bunch. Each entry gets a background, stats and three "Capers" you can use as inspiration for your own adventures.

Up first is the Immortal known as Acolyte. He is immortal in the Highlander sense, complete with the whole head-hunting power game. He is a powerful spellcaster and the leader of the Doomsayers, constantly looking for magical shortcuts in order to foul-up the other Immortals.

Bone is a veteran of the Iraq war who has been changed by an expirimental nerve gas that caused his bones to errupt from his body. Now he's capable of removing bones from his body and hurling them at his foes.

DOOM's Cerberus is a three-headed dog-man, and because of the three heads, you never know what you're getting, personality wise.

Chain is based off of the D&D Kytons, or "chain devils", which I have been a big fan of for years. He's not as big of a believer in the cause...just taking advantage of the opportunity to do death and destruction.

Deadman and Switch are an inseperable duo, with Switch possessing people's bodies and Deadman...er...taking stuff from people's bodies. Kinda like the old Marvel character Terror Inc., Deadman can rip off body parts and attach them to himself, using any powers that they have.

Fallen Angel is kind of a riff on Marvel's Archangel, being a winged mutant hero who has been twisted by DOOM.

Hellfire is a half demon flame wielder, and the only female on the team.

Nether is a Batman/Shroud like hero who has fallen under the sway of a very specific spell by Acolyte.

Last is Speed Demon, a meek man who cut a deal with demons...he is now host to a fast moviing clawed demon.

Next, we get the incredibly powerful Riders of the Apocalypse, who are the Four Horsemen of Death, War, Famine and Pestilence. They are only loosely under the control of DOOM, and each one should be an impressive challenge.

DOOM IN YOUR GAME

This is a series of "capers" that you can use for inspiration for inserting DOOM as an organization into your game, such as DOOM attacking the mystical heroes and villains of your setting and taking their magic items, or trying to awaken something that may or may not be Cthulhu.

The individual capers are more inspiring than the "DOOM in your game" capers, but some folks will probably still find these to be helpful.

NEW POWERS

Three new powers are included: Conjure, for summoning creatures; Power Boost for, well, boosting powers; and Weaken, which drains one of the six ability scores.

Weaken definitely harkens back to DOOM's M&M roots, and Conjure includes some benchmarks to use to determine appropriate summoned minions for the rank.

MYSTIC DEVICES

Soul Stones are evil little baubles that wizards can use to drain people's life and power their magic with, while the Pendants of Barzani can summon Barzani Demons (which are tied heavily into the DOOM organization) as well as control those of Barzani blood.

NEW CREATURES

First, we get three Templates that can be added to characters. Barzani Hybrids are a template that can be used to make people half-demon.

The Immortal template is much more involved, and is a pretty decent reproduction of Highlander Immortals. Every ten or so Immortals that an Immortal kills provides a full +1 bonus to an Ability, Power or Specialty. This might be a bit too "gamey" for ICONS, your mileage may vary...if so, you can always drop the Immortals and just give Acolyte "normal" Immortality.

Imps are people who have been imbued with dark power to serve DOOM, though they wind up less intelligent in the process.

Next, we get a slew of new monsters and creatures related to DOOM, such as the basic Barzani Demon and Demon Mounts, Chain Devils and Hellhounds. Additionally, a large listing of giant insects are present, for when Pestilence needs to unleash a plague of them.

Again, you can see some of the roots of the d20/D&D here just a little bit, especially with the Chain Devils.

DOOMSPIRE

This is the Super-Secret Headquarters of DOOM, which sits in a Hell dimension and has several powers of its own, from basic defenses to a self-generating supply of food for the inhabitants. Additionally, stats are given for the golem servants inside of it.

CONCLUSION

I'm not a huge Highlander fan, so I'm not sure I'm sold on the Immortals...but I really like the Doomsayers and the Riders of the Apocalypse, as well as many of the monsters such as the Chain Devils and Barzani Demons. Those guys alone would make it worth it for me. You could base a whole campaign *just* around these guys if you wanted to...heck, that's what I'm doing. I could see some folks chafing a bit at some of the new (to ICONS) concepts applied here, however, such as templates (I, personally, have no issue with them).

A great addition to the ICONS line, in my view, with some awesome villains that can be dropped into most any semi-(at least) serious series.