Nice job, Ron!
I agree with you that the early Marvel Superheroes game’s random character generation, as fun as it is, rarely produced characters that were balanced on their own - balance in that game was achieved in other ways. As much as I adored rolling up character after character in high school and putting them into a giant sheaf of characters that I could pull from for various things, most people just want to show up and play their character. This is not a real draw for most players.
What's interesting to me is that Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, balance is primarily achieved through the limited number of dice that can be rolled and the Plot Point economy. The choice of a single die between d12 and d10 really isn’t that significant - it does make a difference, but only at the margins. The typical die pool is large enough that the alteration of one or even two dice isn't crucial to your expected outcome. The differences that the stats create are created over a long period of time rolling a very large number of dice.
Plus, I like a guy who lives on the sun, little darlin, it’s all right. Great hero, Sunray. He and my Animal Master guy would make a great team.
So next let’s come up with a scenario and show off how these random characters would work in a scenario. Fortunately, there’s a ton of really good Icons materials out there, so I can come up with one for us really fast.
Let's say Sunray and The Animal Master are teaming up in the Adamant Entertainment module "The Mastermind Affair", all about a contest between two villains to determine who will be called "Mastermind".
The first encounter, a "setup" fight between an evil organization calling themselves the Clique (hurray for mean girls, have you been watching Revenge? Why not?!) as they knock over a bank. Everyone loves knocking over a bank! They are there to obtain an item that's the "stake" for the villainous contest.
One of the options is to negotiate with the Clique, who do have a hostage in the form of a little old lady and her "yappy dog." (Cruelty to animals, the best way to show your villain is really villainous.) So let's say the characters try to get them talking as a distraction to taking them out.
Destiny, the leader of the Clique, has abilities around 3-4, the Aura Power at 3, and Probability Control at 4. She has a Stamina of 7. Her Challenge is her Mean Attitude and her Qualities are "The Girl Of Your Bad Dreams" and "Fortune Favors the Beautiful"
Scorcher, the fire-wielding villainess who directly threatens the hostage (and the puppy dog!!) has a Prowess of 5, and an Intellect of 2 but the rest are also 3-4. Her powers include an Alternate Form (Fire), Invulnerability and an Aura, all at 4. Her Stamina is 7. Her Challenge is Overconfidence. Her Qualities are "The Girl Who Can't Say No...To Trouble" and "Too Hot To Handle", ironically a Distinction someone chose in my upcoming Marvel game...
So show me how Sunray would deal with the situation, what he would roll, and so on. Assume he's got backup in the form of an animal controlling/plant controlling spirit host dude, but don't worry too much about his stats.
Is Sunray really a viable ICONS character? Did the random generation system create someone who can actually accomplish things in a typical ICONS adventure?
(By the way, maybe you can explain to me why Adamant is good enough and smart enough to actually put hyperlinks in the back of their electronic modules so that I can just one-click and buy other modules or supplements from them, and other companies are not good enough and smart enough to do this? Are all people in the world stupid or are gamers especially stupid? Discuss.)