A distinguishing feature of the Icon system, as developed by Last Unicorn Games, is its
flexibility of design. Within the course of play you will undoubtedly find new ways to adapt
the system to your needs. Outlined within this Icon Link are some alternate methods to
expand the Icon system to provide more options.
Before using, ensure that your Narrator has approved the use of these, or any other,
When creating a character and developing their Background, you are afforded the
opportunity to spend Development Points on pre-designed "packages." These packages
represent particular experiences common to Starfleet officers (or Klingon warriors,
Romulan soldiers, or Ferengi merchants) such as combat duty, deep space exploration, or
training in advanced engineering, to name a few. Within these packages, characters receive
additional skill levels, attributes and/or edges, advantages, and disadvantages, associated
with the particular experience. Deep space exploration gives you skill in space and
planetary sciences, and sensor use, for example.
To suit the player’s individual tastes, alternate skills and traits may be selected, if
appropriate, in lieu of those given. This allows you to customize your character even
further. Come up with a story for your character, then modify the Background package to
fit. While on your deep space mission, did you discover a new alien species? Then take the
Diplomacy, Culture, or World Knowledge skill, the Cultural Flexibility or Species Friend
advantages, or Chronic Pain (you were injured on duty). Was the ship attacked by a
strange, space-borne creature? Then you could choose Systems Engineering (Electro
plasma system) or Life Sciences (Exobiology), the Commendation advantage, or the
These substitutions should be within the scope of the package and have a reasonable
justification. You might pick up Diplomacy skill during a Medical/Rescue mission (you had
to negotiate with the Regent of Palomar to obtain the needed medicines), but it would be a
stretch to say you acquired the Heavy Weapons skill and Vengeful disadvantage as a result
of your Political Upbringing. Whenever you change an entry in one of the Background
packages, be sure to balance out the Development Points; if you drop the Space Sciences
skill from the Deep Space Exploration Mission package, you have three DPs to spend on
something else. In many cases, these substitutions provide an opportunity to expand a
character’s background and develop background-related skills.
Carl is creating a character who had a rather unfortunate childhood, selecting the
Early Life Background package of "Orphaned" to reflect his character’s growing up
on the street. However, the addition of a +1 Empathy edge doesn’t really sit well
with his concept of Duron—a smart-mouthed cynic who has a knack for staying one
step ahead of the law. Carl, with his Narrator’s approval, substitutes the Shrewd
(+1) Advantage in place of the +1 Empathy edge. Notice that the DP values remain
Matt wants to modify the First Contact Training package to suit his character
concept. He figures his character—William Heller—is interested in studying alien
cultures. He wants to keep the Diplomacy and Social Science skills, but wants to
drop the Perception edge and take another skill—Culture. Dropping the edge gives
him one DP to spend, two DP less than he needs to buy the extra skill. Matt elects to
take the Code of Honor (Prime Directive) disadvantage, explaining that Heller takes
the Prime Directive very seriously indeed. This gives him the two extra DPs Matt
needs for the Culture skill.
Remember, during character generation, no skill should start higher than 4 (5) without the
The Icon System builds characters on the foundation of Development Points—the number
of DPs spent can compare the relative strengths of characters. This allows a Narrator to
scale his or her campaign towards a certain number of points, be it more or less than those
given in the Core Game Book and other Star Trek®: The Next Generation™ RPG
supplements. This means that while Icon System currently uses a 54-point threshold to
represent Starfleet Academy training (the Overlay), within an individual campaign
Narrators can adjust the point values to better reflect their needs.
The reduction of points to simulate a more competitive environment, where Crewmembers
have less of an "edge," should be done with care to ensure that necessary skills are not
In Alessandra’s campaign she wants to have the characters begin with slightly fewer
points, and have them start play during their cadet cruise. She never really agreed
with the principle that all Starfleet officers learned how to be marksmen, so she
eliminates the Energy Weapon (Phaser) skill from the Starfleet Overlays. For the
Security Overlay she lowers the Energy Weapon (Phaser) skill to 1 (2). The players
may, however, purchase the skill if they wish—they simply no longer receive it for
free. The net result is that characters in her campaign are built with three less DPs.
When a Narrator increases the number of DPs allotted at a stage, he or she should weigh
the costs appropriately, perhaps including an additional skill level or setting aside points for
purely background-related skills.
John would like his Crewmembers to develop their character’s background skills a
little bit more to give them more personality. Happy with the allotment of points at
the later stages of the Background History, John gives each player an Artistic
Expression skill at level one and three Development Points to purchase an additional
skill during the Early Life History stage. John qualifies the points with his players,
stating the points must be spent on background-related skills that integrate with the
character’s history. Susan, as an example, has her character select Slight of Hand
(Magic Tricks) to represent her character’s fascination with tricks and entertaining.
She purchases this skill with the three extra Development Points allotted for the
Early Life stage.
Similarly, the Narrator can choose to scale individual stages of Background History
creation, to provide player characters with greater depth and detail, and to suit the series’
demands. If the Narrator wants a group of highly-experienced, seasoned Starfleet officers,
he can give the players more Development Points, in the form of "bigger" Background
packages. As an example, the TNG Players’ Guide introduces an optional four-point
Cadet Cruise, to simulate truly momentous experiences during this period of a character’s
life (like single-handedly saving a Federation commissioner, receiving the Kragite Order of
Heroism, and gaining her as an Ally). The original Core Game Book provided one point
during this stage.
For your convenience, here are the points used to develop characters from the Core
|Species Templates – 50 each|
|Starfleet Overlays – 54 each|
|Early Life History – 5 points|
|Academy Life History – 8 points|
|Cadet Cruise – 1 point|
|First Tour of Duty – 10 points|
|Subsequent Tours of Duty – 5 points each|
This system is particularly useful for characters generated using the Advanced system as
outlined on page 77 of the Core Game Book. To create a new character for a campaign
where the average Crewmember has three tours of experience, simply give the player an
additional 10 points to spend beyond their initial 125.
The Core Game Book provides many skills and specializations from which players can
choose for their characters, but these do not comprise the limit. The Icon System can be
expanded to include new skills or specializations as required, with no alteration. If you
perceive a missing skill that you would like to include, check with your Narrator about
possibly creating the new skill. Many times these skills can instead be best represented as
new specializations, not meriting the creation of a new skill.
Owen wants his character, Halkin, to have some familiarity with temporal
mechanics, but notices there really is no skill that effectively represents this field.
After some discussion with his Narrator, Owen creates a new specialization under
Space Sciences called Temporal Mechanics. Although his character only has a level 1
in Space Sciences, Owen purchases the newly created Temporal Mechanics for one
Development Point to have Space Sciences (Temporal Mechanics) 1 (2).
For those instances where a new skill is required, a number of specializations should be
created. When we created the Politics skill for the Way of D’era, we thought about how
politics is "played" in the real world. Turning political events in your favor (such as using a
vote to embarrass a political foe) became the Maneuver specialization while gathering
information in the political arena became the Intelligence specialization. Think how the skill
could be applied practically—those are your specializations. When defining the attribute off
of which the skill is based, use common sense; skills relying on physical activity should be
Fitness skills while those depending on eye-hand coordination should be Coordination
skills, for instance. Keep in mind some edges may apply to certain skills and/or
specializations that you create.
David plans a series of adventures linked together that deal with some unusual
temporal phenomena. Knowing the characters in his campaign will need to make
numerous tests during their adventures, he decides this merits its own skill (which he
will provide the Crewmembers with for free). He creates the skill Temporal
Mechanics and links it to the Intellect attribute. Because of the confusing nature of
dealing with time, he resolves that the Logic Edge is particularly relevant when
dealing with Temporal Mechanic Task rolls. Under the Temporal Mechanics skill he
creates three specializations, Cause & Effect, Paradoxes, and Time Fluidity. He also
decides to create a new Law specialization called Temporal Prime Directive. Because
it is a Law specialization, his Crewmembers will automatically have the skill, as they
all have the Law skill.
Remember that skills cost three Development Points per level to raise and include a free
specialization at the initial time of purchase. Specializations cost one DP each.
While the Icon System provides you with the tools, remember that you ultimately build the
game that suits your needs!