The Icon is something of a paradox in Voidheart Symphony. Most of your characters are ostracised by society, pushed to its margins, breaking its mores. The Icon, though? They’re adored.
But that’s its own set of chains – other people are relying on them, their coaches and managers have their own plans for them, and their fans expect them to behave according to their public persona. Will the Icon be able to use their fame to aid the struggle, or will it end up a liability?
If the void feels overwhelming, just watch me shine.
The Icon is all about appearance. They’re a perfect distraction, a gleaming rallying beacon, an inspiration to their fellows. But if that perfection is marred – or if they don’t have an audience – they’ll find it hard to face the castle’s slings and arrows. Good job they have allies.
Inspirations: Ryuji in Persona 5, Spider Jerusalem in Transmetropolitan, Tahani in The Good Place, Richard Castle in Castle.
The Icon and the Crew
What’s your relationship to others? Are they your fans, your groupies, your roadies? Or are they the people you can relax around, and let the mask slip for a time?
The one who would master the world must first master themselves. An Icon who’s aligned with Strength has a strong sense of who they are, and uses that self-image to drive them in excelling at their chosen craft. And what’s more, they’re teaching the other rebels how to find confidence and resilience too. When they hang out with other rebels, they can walk them through their emotional issues and give them a bonus the next time that emotion causes problems. In the city, they find solidarity in the presence of their allies, using weight of numbers to more effectively Make a Stand. And in the castle they can make the ultimate sacrifice, jumping in front of blows that would otherwise take out their allies.
Pick Strength if: You want to be a confident, inspiring beacon, a rock of stability for the team.
An Icon following the Chariot is a incredibly driven, a constant force of motion unwilling to allow anything to control their movements. They might be a daredevil athlete, a musician always playing new venues, a streamer working themselves to the bone to build their audience. And that has a cost – at least one of the rebels regularly gives you a place to crash when the stress gets too much. When you hang out with others, you can dare them to do something risky – if they follow through with it, your bond deepens, though if they turn it down the next dare will have to be more extreme. In the city you’re great at getting places fast, dodging obstacles and commandeering forms of transport. And in the castle you can channel your motive power into a thundering charge, pushing them away from your allies and smashing them into the scenery.
Pick the Chariot if: you want to live fast (and hopefully not die young).
And then there’s the Icon who lives in the hearts of others. binding your group together with love and affection. By default, picking this means you’re in a romantic relationship with at least one of the other PCs – maybe more – and so it’s important to make sure that fits the story the group wants to tell before picking this. You help those you love become their best selves – when they hang out with you, you can tell them why you love them and give them advantages when they act in line with that. In the city you can look into the hearts of others, learning more about what they find precious. And in the castle, your love gives you endurance to hold on – getting wounded makes you more effective, though you give yourself an obligation to show your lover(s) what they mean to you.
Pick the Lovers if: You want your love (and matters of the heart in general) to be a major feature of your story.
Moves and Powers
The Icon is larger than life. Their abilities reflect this – making them a glorious rallying point, an inspiring speaker, a paragon of athletic virtue.
Each of the Icon’s moves plays into their themes of perfection and excellence. Eyes on Me lets the Icon stage a distraction and the drop of a hat, drawing minion’s eyes and giving your allies an opportunity for action. Or if you wish to be more active at the centre of attention, Best of the Best lets you perform impossible feats of strength, grace and endurance, though it might be painful.
Or if the attention of your allies is more important to you, Words of Fire makes you far more effective at rescuing your allies from danger and getting them ready to keep going when you rest. And if boosting your allies is something you wish to do as a side benefit of being cool and stylish, Reflected Glory is a great addition – meaning that any time you roll a 12+ another ally gets inspired and your bond deepens.
And when you’re already at the apex of humanity (or so your fans believe), adding the supernatural leads to explosive results. Improvisation is the simplest – if you need a weapon to do something else, just mark a shroud and its perk or drawback is something completely different. Turn a spear into a bow into a beam of light into a lightsaber! Impossible Perfection unmarred by wounds and harm, though it works best if your allies are more roughed up to provide contrast.
And then there’s the effects that let you wield your charisma as a weapon. Steal Your Heart lets you sway the castle’s minions, filling them with a desire to please you even if it’s only temporary. And Audacity lets you get right up in the Vassal’s face, forcing them to get on your level and reveal key weaknesses to you.
For your shadow look, the big question to ask is: are you going to invest more and more heavily in your Icon’s myth? Or are you going to do something different, show the avatar they wish they could have in the real world? A star athlete gaining champion’s laurels, a wrestler’s costume, and an aura of glory is one thing; a demure book author gaining those is quite another!
The Mundane World
The Icon needs to decide what brings them fame. Do they excel in the physical sphere, like the Track Champ or Athlete? Do they make art, like the Author or the Vandal? Or are they trying to build a following around themselves, like the Diva, the Streamer, or the Pundit? And once you know who their adoring public is, ask yourself – who is benefiting from my fame? Who would be hurt if I stopped doing this? Who is going to try to keep me on-brand?
The Icon is larger than life, and that gives them a lot of power and privilege. But it’s important they remember that it’s a pretence, that maintaining that facade costs them and costs others, and that they are all too human at their core.
But that’s not true of all the rebels. Next time, we delve into the strangest of our playbooks – the void-spawned Inhuman!