NEW POWER: Vehicle
Written by Daniel Gallant and Mike Lafferty
With helpful input from Steve Kenson
Published as OGL rules content in Justice Wheels from Fainting Goat Games in 2012

You have a vehicle. It could be a motorcycle, car, aircraft, hovercraft, airship, space fighter, or anything that can carry you. The base vehicle has the following characteristics:
  • It can carry the pilot/driver plus one passenger
  • It has a Speed of your power level.
  • It has a Coordination, Strength, Prowess and Stamina equal to the rolled power level
  • It can travel either underground, on the land, on the water, in the air as if it had the appropriate power at the at same level as the Vehicle Power (Burrow, Swimming, Flight, Super-Speed etc)
  • In random character generation, Vehicle can be substituted for any movement power

You also get extra features equal to twice your Vehicle power level (rounded down). Possible extra features are:
  • Carry 5 extra passengers
  • Add one to Speed
  • Add one to Coordination, Strength or Stamina. You can also add 1 level per point to the default travel power level of the vehicle.
  • Add other appropriate powers or buy up existing powers at 1 level per point.
  • Vehicle can transform (create a second vehicle form of one level less). No more than 3 different vehicle modes per vehicle.

Note: At the GM’s discretion, you may move points around between the various extras, and attributes to customize the vehicle.
A few notes on a vehicle’s ability scores
  • Stamina is a measure of a vehicle’s structural integrity and (to some degree) the protection it provides its driver and passengers. When a vehicle’s Stamina is reduced to zero, it is considered disabled and inoperable.
  • Speed is the relative speed of the vehicle in relation to other vehicles. This provides a standard measure of speed across the various movement powers. This is intended for tests during chases.
  • A vehicle’s Strength is a measure of its towing and/or lifting capacity.
  • A vehicle’s Coordination is used for appropriate tests (such as piloting or driving) instead of the character’s Coordination. It may be modified by an appropriate specialty such as Pilot.
  • Generally, it’s recommended that the vehicle’s Coordination attribute also is used for attacking with vehicle mounted weapons. However, at the GM’s discretion, a character’s Coordination can be used instead. In addition, a character’s Coordination should be used for attacking from a vehicle with a weapon that is not mounted on the vehicle.
  • A vehicle’s Prowess is used for strictly physical attacks such as ramming during vehicle combat.

Vehicles in Combat
In combat, a Vehicle acts as a partial shield for its driver and passengers. Any damage is absorbed by the vehicle’s Stamina and not the characters inside.

In order to hit a passenger or driver inside a vehicle, a successful called-shot maneuver (pg 67, ICONS) is necessary.

The benefit of any other defensive powers added on to the vehicle (such as Invulnerability, perhaps described as armor and bulletproof glass) or Force Field would be in addition to this default level of protection.

Some common sense is in order. A souped-up skate board will not provide the same protection as an armored sports car and the GM should feel free to waive this rule as she sees fit.

Note: Chases Without A Vehicle
Characters with an appropriate movement power can take part in a chase. This is at the GM’s discretion. We suggest using the level of the movement power as the Speed attribute for the purpose of the pursuit.

Below, there’s a Speed bonus chart attached to this page that can be handy when dealing with pursuits that involve vehicles or characters with different powers.

Maneuvers in Vehicle Combat
Steve Kenson has written an article detailing how a character can (with a successful test) place a temporary aspect on another person or situation.
This makes a fun addition to vehicle based combat.

For example, the hero Inferno (in his customized, super-charged sports car, the Firestarter) is chasing the ice-based criminal Frostbite (who is in his modified hover-tank) through the streets of the city. Inferno attempts to use his car’s flame throwers to add a “melted tank tread” aspect to Frostbite’s tank. Inferno’s player rolls a Coordination test and gets an effort of 10. Compared to Frostbite’s difficulty of 7 (for Coordination 5 and Expert Driver), that is an outcome of 3; which is a major success. Frostbite’s tank has a damaged tread for the rest of this chapter and Inferno gets a free tag for that aspect.

Team Vehicle
A team can pool their determination and buy a vehicle, Spending their collective determination to buy the Vehicle power at a rate of 1 to 1.

Chase Rules
The default recommendation for chase rules for ICONS is a Success Pyramid with tests based off relevant traits such as Speed or Coordination (factoring in Specialties like Piloting or Drive.)
In a nutshell, a character, or group of characters, would do a series of related tests in order to accumulate enough successes to equal a massive success (an effect of 5 or more) in order to catch up with their target or to escape from their pursuer.
Optionally, some Pyramid Test variations (like Balanced, Competitive, Fragile, and Triggered (for accidents, collisions, etc.) could be added in to add variety and customize the feel of the chase.
The following link provides more details about the Success Pyramid and Pyramid Tests

Optional Extra Crunchy Chase Rules
These rules present a “crunchier” alternate set of chase rules for ICONS.
In a chase there are two individuals or groups, a Chaser and an Escapee. There is no question as to who is chasing who. The Chaser wants to catch the Escapee, and the Escapee wants to get away.
( In the case where there is no reasonable way for a party without a vehicle or a movement power to take part in the chase (either pursuing or evading), then the party with the movement power simply escapes or catches up, depending on their intent.)
The goal of the Escapee is to increase the distance to 11 “zones”, at which point, they get away.
(Note that “zones” is an abstract unit and does not necessarily mean physical distance; it could also mean they are separated by city blocks, crates in a warehouse, asteroids, a sufficient number of twists and turns in a maze, crowds in a mall – whatever would be appropriate for the scene and the characters involved.)
Before starting the chase, the GM should determine the starting distance in zones between the Chaser and the Escapee:
  • Start with a base of 2.
  • Add 1 if the Chaser was monologuing, blinded with a hand full of sand, or was somehow distracted from the chase.
  • Subtract 1 if the Escapee was distracted, is starting prone, or disadvantaged somehow. This will yield a result from 1 to 3.
Possible actions during a panel in a chase:

1) Get Away – The Escapee tries to increase the distance.
  • First roll a Coordination test between the Chaser and the Escapee.
  • If the Escapee wins, they can add their success (i.e. the difference between the two totals) to their Speed. If they lose, they subtract the difference between the two totals.
  • Add the Speed of the Escapee to the distance then subtract the Speed of the Chaser. This is the new distance. If it is 11 or more, the Escapee has successfully made a get-away.

2) Trick – The Escapee attempts to deceive and evade the Chaser.
  • The Escapee rolls a test of their Vehicle power (or other movement power being used). The Chaser rolls a Coordination test.
  • If the Escapee wins, add the level of the power used to the Escapee's Speed.
  • Next, add the new Speed of the Escapee to the distance
  • Then subtract the Speed of the Chaser from the distance. If the new distance is 11 or more, the Escapee has successfully gotten away.

3) Attack – A normal made by either the Chaser or Escapee.
  • Handle the attack per usual ICONS rules, adding an appropriate difficulty to reflect the conditions of the chase. If the other character survives and remains in the chase, proceed with the next step.
  • Subtract 2 from the attacker’s Speed.
  • Add the Speed of the attacker to the Distance then subtract the Speed of the defender.
  • If the new Distance number is 11 or more, the Escapee gets away.

NOTE: Additions and subtractions to speed are only for that round.

Optional: Relative Effectiveness of Powers
Sometimes one power will have an advantage over another. The value (obtained from the table linked below) is a bonus available to the Chaser or Escapee and can be used once each turn as a bonus to Speed or Coordination.