Blogs

New Website and V5 Progress Report

26th May 2019

Welcome to the new website! If you're reading this then chances are you're doing it on the new website. In this post I'm going to talk about what I did to put it together and then talk about how V5 editing is going. Website v12 - 2019 It's clean… more...

Designer's Notes

28th April 2019

An author is often asked why their game was designed in a certain way, what choices they took and why. This page attempts to outline what decisions were that I made and how this affects the style of the game. A set of Designer's Notes, you could say… more...

Game History

28th April 2019

Icar has been around for a long time. This begs the question, where did come from? What got is started, how did it change? A lot of the my life has been spent playing, writing, modifying and messing about with Icar. Please note that this history is… more...

New Website Research

21st November 2018

Making Icar open source includes making all of the website files, blog posts images, and data open source too and that means a new website! Over the years, I designed a great number of websites, the early ones in in 1996 being little more than a… more...

Reigniting progress

23rd October 2018

Progress has crawled along since I decided to work on version 5. Partly due to family constraints and partly because I wanted to try my hand at writing a computer game. I did that. It was largely fun but now my spare time has become more fragmented… more...

Race and gender in Icar

3rd April 2018

Icar is set 90,000 years into the future. The races that left Earth to live on the the Ariane 1001 space station intermingled for thousands of years, producing a single human race. That race then evolved over the 90,000 years to cope with the broad… more...

Version 5 - Space combat progress update

23rd February 2018

Space combat - Building up Combat Initiative Version 5's core mechanic comes into it's own when built into space combat. The core principal is still the same as in version 4: every player character has a job to do, they roll skills to keep the… more...

What can - and can't - be hacked in Icar

17th February 2018

Hacking is good fun. As virtual worlds bleed into and augment the real world, the amount of fun you can have increases. In Icar, reality and the virtual seep into each other seamlessly such that inventive hacking can cause chaos in the real world… more...

Pubfinders play Icar and I shed a tear

19th May 2017

They say don't blog in an emotional state . Oh well, here goes. Coincidences can be powerful. They can cause cognitive dissonance . They make you stop and think. I've been struggling to keep motivation on Version 5. With kids in the house… more...

Void Rescue

7th July 2016

Void Rescue is the space rescue service. If your spacecraft has broken down, you can call Void Rescue to come and help. With over 1 million spacecraft across all Human Occupied Space, their yellow and black stripes are instantly recognisable and… more...

Air grenades - where you should stop worrying about the science

23rd January 2016

I had a great idea for a grenade that had super-compressed air in it. When it "explodes", it's harmless but lets out enough breathable air to pressurise a sphere 5 metres in diameter. What a great non-lethal device! Pair it with a portable Gravlock… more...

Fleet Setting Released

18th January 2016

I am proud to announce that the Icar Fleet Setting source book is ready for you to download . You are a proud member of Recon Squad 2 of Trooper Unit 555 operating from the Star Clipper Orion’s Scabbard. Your job is to protect the human race from… more...

2015: The Year of Demon Slaying. 2016: Finishing

1st January 2016

Twenty fifteen, Icar's 21st year, has been a good one. Let's have a healthy round-up of this year before setting out what 2016 will hold. It's important to do this because it can be easy to forget the progress you have made when looking at what is… more...

The Fleet Stub Wing, I first drew it at 14 and I don't have the heart to change it

22nd November 2015

Icar has grown up with my friends and I . A collective hallucination that has become more detailed (and complex) with each passing year. There are still strong echoes from the early days: infectious mutant-zombies, killer robots and lots of big… more...

Spacecraft systems

1st November 2015

Technically minded players love science fiction detail and being one of those roleplayers, I love it too. Giving tech-minded players technology detail gives them more choice to delve into. When the spacecraft is broken and can't light jump to… more...

Text first: a new way to fill in campaign detail

17th August 2015

My Imperial Investigation campaign came to a close. Although it was Total Party Kill, they did win in the final act - scything the best possible path through what were seemingly impossible odds. I doff my cap to them and say "Bravo"! It has been the… more...

Work in progress - the Fleet Setting front page

22nd June 2015

I have an image in my mind of a Mex city in the thick of a firefight. I want a Mark 8 droid busting its way through in the background, while Fleet Troopers and Mark 3s battle in the foreground. I want to get a Stone dropship in there, lots of… more...

New Download: NPC Character sheet

3rd June 2015

What is the bare minimum you need to know for an NPC? Well, it depends... it depends on how much time the characters are going to spend talking with the NPC. Sometimes a single sentence is enough, or a few adjectives. There's usually a name. There is… more...

Quite the unexpected surprise: Droid Mk8 complete!

5th May 2015

I probably shouldn't be posting this so soon but I'm really excited! I've managed to create the Droid Mk 8 - and I don't hate it! I've been sketching like crazy for what seems like an eternity and this one made it into 3D. I'm happy with it, I'm… more...

Fleet Setting progress report and how I stay motivated

4th May 2015

I've been hammering away at the Fleet Setting and it's coming along very well. Most of the graphics are ready and the Droids (as you've seen from the other posts) have mostly crawled from my digital easel. I'm rushing towards getting an very rough… more...

Droid Mk7 - a colonial factory turned destroyer

15th January 2015

When the Droids overran the Imperium's artificial intelligence in 91001, it raided humanity's knowledge and chose those designs that best helped wiping out all life. The Droids turned a beloved colony factory robot known as a Big Eye into the mobile… more...

Droid Mk 6 (the pod) complete

6th January 2015

Success! If you've been following along, you'll know that the Droid Mk6 (Pod) has been something of a saga. My first attempt to create it fell over because the Droid Mk3s that I needed to go inside were too high in polygon count and it took forever… more...

An example of the graphics going not-so-well

29th December 2014

I want to show you how my art can go quite wrong. I'm currently working on the Droid pod (the Mk6), a single use light-jumping lump for delivering Droids to a distant system. The idea for the pods has been around for years, inspired by the Apollo… more...

Never leave well enough alone

17th December 2014

A problem with any mature homebrew system is that it doesn't necessarily mature at the same rate you do. I started Icar when I was 14 years old: mutants, guns, killer robots, warrior monks, more guns were all prime features. As I grew up, so did… more...

New vehicle: The Bull utility vehicle

23rd August 2014

The Bull is a ubiquitous utility vehicle found across human occupied space. It attaches onto a huge variety of rear sections, making it extremely versatile. Get it in the free, updated Equipment Index on DriveThruRPG . The size of the Bull is… more...

The Fleet Cruiser

10th August 2014

The Fleet Cruiser is the most common warship in the Imperial arsenal. It is the jack-of-all-trades spacecraft that carries Troopers and Stub Wings enough to take down ten or more Droid craft of a similar size. All are atmosphere capable and at 1700m… more...

The Pink Stripe - scavenger spacecraft

8th March 2014

The Pink Stripe is a Scavenger Spacecraft based on a Blackwater design with lots of "modifications". The invention of two of my players "Aggro" and "Byrn" for our current campaign. Download this ship as either an image or PDF . Here's the… more...

Going off-grid in Icar

12th February 2014

Off-grid is when you live your life without touching Gaia. Being on-grid does not mean that you're being tracked all the time by the Imperium. The Imperium have very strict laws to protect people's privacy and will not track someone's actions on… more...

Information, privacy and the law in Icar

12th November 2013

In this post, I look at how I deal with information, privacy and the law in Icar. When far future technology allows you to record everything with amazing levels of detail, how could criminals operate? What are the ramifications for privacy? The… more...

Summer 2013 Update

23rd July 2013

Icar has been updated, the new PDFs are ready for download from the homepage. The changes include: New full colour Sector maps for Dorian, Sayshell and Remmar. Updates to Space Combat Additional rule examples The New Sector Maps It is difficult… more...

Nothing quite like a campaign to get me fired up

8th March 2013

So, I'm running a new Icar campaign. My last campaign (playing my free RPG The Wall) sadly fizzled over Christmas and a change in job made it hard for me to have any head space for working on a campaign setting. Last Tuesday, while sitting chatting… more...

A quiet family day and a burst of output!

13th January 2013

I have been hammering our Icar today, thanks to me dear wife who has disappeared out with my son, Felix. Only with a quiet house and clear plan of what I wanted to achieve would anything get done. Nothing new has been released but by getting over… more...

Introducing the Rapier

1st September 2012

Fleet Troopers need fire power. Every Trooper, regardless of their rank or role, get issued with the Rapier. The most reliable weapon the Fleet have ever had. It is a powerful pulse laser, which weaves light and raw energy into translucent blue bolts… more...

Why are there no alien races in the Icar universe?

6th July 2012

The answer is twofold, a scientific justification and a reason. Scientific Justification In 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi asked why we had not detected alien civilisations. The Milky Way is 13.2 billion years old and there are 400 billion… more...

Designing the Rapier

12th June 2012

The Rapier cannon is the stock laser weapon for all Fleet Troopers. It's a no-nonsense affair that is sturdy and powerful. It can be used for accuracy and range but it's normally used for throwing as much raw energy at a Droid as it can. The best… more...

Tactical Armoured Flying Attack Conveyance - TAFAC

28th May 2012

Troopers are the foot soldiers of the Imperial Star Fleet. Popular culture like to think of a Fleet Trooper as an unthinking mechanical grunt and the media perpetuates this view. It hides the truth that Troopers are highly trained and better… more...

Let the proof reading begin!

25th April 2012

With only a couple more Lulu iterations, I have managed to get a print copy through their system! A quick flick through has shown that there are some layout problems but I was expecting that. For example, the white box behind the text could do with… more...

The Lulu print on demand struggle continues

3rd April 2012

This is utterly frustrating. Lulu have failed to print Icar again. Each time I lose a week waiting for them to try and print, fail, wait 3 days for feedback, then do an update to the PDF and so on. Months are rolling by and there is nothing I can… more...

The Lulu print on demand struggle

16th March 2012

For an RPG to be considered high quality, it needs to be properly proof read and edited. If you can afford a professional proof read through then it is worth its weight in gold as it will take your game to a high level of quality. It doesn't matter… more...

New Website Live

4th March 2012

The new Icar website has gone live. It comes from a long line of websites dating back to 1996. The aim of this new site is to simplify it and to make it easy for people to get at the downloads. Now that there are only two downloads (the core rules… more...

Version 4 Beta released

20th February 2012

I've been throwing huge amounts of spare time into the up and coming release of Icar version 4. I've just completed the beta version that you can find on Google Docs . The next steps for the game will be more graphics and a read-through by a proof… more...

New release of Icar core rules version 4 alpha

6th November 2011

An updated release for the Icar core rules is now on Google Docs . After stripping a lot of technology out of the equipment index, it needed to be re-rendered, better explained and added into the core rules. I've also included stat blocks for… more...

Equipment Index Version 4 Complete

26th February 2011

Something of a milestone has just been hit! All the re-renders for the new Equipment Index have been complete. You can download it from Google Docs . It has been something of a struggle to replace old models and re-render them with shiney new… more...

Equipment Index Version 4 Complete

5th February 2011

Hammering away at the Equipment Index has been a long slow slog - and it's not over. However, I feel that I have completed enough of the images to make it worth a look. This Equipment Index is designed for use with version 4 of the rules. Download… more...

January 2011 Progress Report

17th January 2011

I've been hammering away at the new version of the equipment index (to go with version 4 of the core rules) for months now. I have made a big list of things I need to do before I release version 4 and the items are slowly getting done. I am… more...

Icar Version 4 Alpha Available for Download

5th June 2010

SHODDY WARNING! It's taken me a few years to get into a state that's releasable: the Alpha of the Icar Version 4 book is now ready for download (there's no preview for big PDFs on Google just yet, you have to download it). It's far from finished… more...

Version 4 Progress

9th April 2010

I've been beavering away on Version 4 now for what seems like an age and it is coming together very nicely indeed. I might even go as far as to say I'm proud of it. Before I launch Version 4, I will be putting out an 'Alpha' version, which will… more...

Icar Forum has moved to 1KM1KT

11th October 2009

I have moved the Icar forum over to One Thousand Monkeys, One Thousand Typewriters (1KM1KT) to bring Icar into the Free RPG community a little more and to generate more traffic. It also gives me one less place to Administer. The 1KM1KTers are a… more...

Version 4 progress update

11th October 2009

Version 4 is cutting along at a pace. It's grown, shrank and grown again. I have dumped the Hacking and Space Combat rules (hated them), replaced hacking with a series of action that can be performed in and out of combat with Skill rolls and a new… more...

Random Acts blogs Icar

27th February 2009

Aaron , over on Random Acts . He gives a nice description of the setting (he rightly notes being the best thing about Icar) and includes some of the stock pictures. Go and check it out. It's heartwarming to find unsolicited articles written about… more...

New character sheet three

27th January 2009

My apologies for blatting your feedreaders with two updates today but I've had a stupidly productive time and I thought I'd share it with you all. This is the new character sheet three (or body/armour sheet in old language). In beautiful high… more...

New character sheet two

27th January 2009

Writing The Free RPG Blog has been a very valuable experience for me. Not only have I felt like I am not alone in my internet philanthropy and that every other amateur designer wants cash for their games but I can now see what is good and bad about… more...

New character sheet two

27th January 2009

The previous character sheet two (the one with the skills and equipment) was knocked up in Photoshop in an afternoon and I was never really happy with it. I liked the layout, skills on one side and equipment on the other. It fitted its purpose but it… more...

Icar and Blogs

4th October 2008

I have been reading and downloading other Free RPGs for quite a long time now and it occurred to me that there was no blog for reviewing and commenting on these free RPGs. So I have created The Free RPG Blog . A place to collect and highlight all… more...

Tales from Gencon UK

31st August 2008

I had a wonderful time at GenCon UK 2008 , played loads of games and made some great new friends. This is a brief report of what went on, what I learnt and what I'm going to do about it. The Lethal Rings of Obyrworld The RPGA (Roleplaying Games… more...

New character sheet one

17th August 2008

It's been a while since the halcyon days of redesigning the front page of the character sheet every ten minutes. Version 8 of the front character sheet has been around for years now. The new sheet is built into the Elements (version 3.5.6, now… more...

Icar is going to GenCon UK 2008

4th July 2008

I'm pleased to announce that I will be running two games on Thursday 28th August 2pm and Friday 29th August 2pm at GenCon UK. Here's the advertising information: The Lethal Rings of Obyrworld Join a risky expedition into the debris rings around… more...

Equipment Index Version 7 Released

1st March 2008

Thank you all for your patience, the Equipment Index first release is now ready for download. It now officially replaces all the downloadable weapon and equipment sheets (it's now removed from the menu on the left). Although released, there is always… more...

Equipment Index Version Progress Update

17th February 2008

Now in Version 7.12, the Equipment Index is coming along very well. I have only three more equipment sheets to finish - some of which already have 3D models for them. I am working on the Shakespear items now, splitting them up from their tech… more...

Equipment Index 7 Alpha Released

11th January 2008

It's here and it's as ropey as anything I've produced but I thought I'd get it out there so you can have a peruse, a ponder and look. It's really, really, really not finished! It will (eventually) replace the JPG images and then some. It's not… more...

All Games Considered: Cheap Bastard Award of 2007

2nd January 2008

I hope this doesn't turn into an AGC lovefest (but it might) but I have just found out that Icar has won the Cheap Bastard Award for 2007. It's an accolade I am proud to accept and I'd like to thank AGC for pointing a spotlight at Icar. I'd also… more...

Featured on All Games Considered

21st December 2007

The lovely people over at the All Games Considered podcast have done a feature on Icar (Early September this year) in their podcast under the 'Gaming for Cheap Bastards' (fantastic title). It's an excellent round up of the game and its mechanics… more...

General Update

3rd August 2007

General Update, although a superior officer of Major Update, isn't quite as fun packed. Just to let you know what's been going on and what progress there is. My Campaign Finished This might not seem important but whenever I finish a campaign game, I… more...

Bionics 2 Alpha

20th May 2007

You can't breath in without me starting another Icar book and not finishing it properly. Here's another example, the Bionics 2 Alpha has just been finished. This book is really rough and ready, missing the many images it's going to need and… more...

New RSS Feed

27th April 2007

2019 update - this story is a little out of date! Kept here for posterity. It's back and it's better than ever before. Now you can get the latest content from the News, Downloads and the Toon all in one handy stream. Just copy this link into your… more...

Subtle but important change - site now in PHP

20th April 2007

Not only did I accidentally delete an old news story about the RSS (you already knew anyway, surely) but I've converted the whole site over to php. Yes. PHP. Nice safe PHP. It probably works on Safari and Opera now. Not only that but it means I can… more...

Society 2.1 Alpha

4th March 2007

It's another shocking Icar update. Unfortunately, the frequency is not quite as high as I'd like but I'll blame that on the government / Battlefield 2142 and the University of Reading. A big thanks to Byrnie for proof reading and Timothy Beaulieu for… more...

Society 2.0 Alpha

21st January 2007

It's been a long time coming but the Society Alpha is now here. No doubt there is stuff I've missed out of it (all the graphics, for a start) but I think I've covered the major parts of the game world in this one. It does need a few people to read… more...

Review Page now online and Works in Progress

2nd October 2006

Thanks to Golgotha, I have put up a Reviews page, with just the one review at the moment. It's a little long in the tooth, being of Version 3.4 but it's quite nice to see that I've sorted out some of the pRob Langlems he outlined. Now onto Society… more...

Icar is out there in the net

20th September 2006

Any game designer will tell you that getting their game noticed is really difficult. There are some wonderful games out there that are given little truck. So, it's nice to get some recognition. RPG Blog, a very popular blog has featured Icar and… more...

Elements 3.55 Released

11th September 2006

Finally some big news here. The Elements (core rules) is now complete with all of its images. No longer in 'Alpha', it's complete. I have replaced the old rulebook with the new one. It's now complete and ready to use. It's a bit achievement and I'm… more...

Elements 3.55 Released

28th August 2006

My recent spurt of graphical output has stemmed from a holiday that didn't quite happen. Got loads of graphics done for the Elements, though. So that's good. At this rate, I'll probably finish it before I'm dead. So, the Elements 3.5 Alpha has been… more...

Equipment Index in a Single Zip

28th August 2006

You don't have me to thank for this. You have Dwain, Byrn, Fish, Pete and all the other Icar players for nagging me for the past few years to create a single zip file of all the weapon items in one place. It's about time I did it. Perhaps next there… more...

Google Group

17th July 2006

2019 update - the group is still there but isn't used I've been looking at solutions to the problem of the forum. I have created an Icar RPG Google Group that you may all post to with your thoughts, ideas and questions! Please feel free to join up… more...

Forum and Wiki Hacked

24th April 2006

Unfortunately, those hacking people got into the wiki and forum and hacked it, deleting all the tables. How? I don't know. probably due to some poor coding or incorrectly setup administration. I am not, as you might understand, particularly happy… more...

Lots of small updates

14th January 2006

A batch of updates for the New Year. All of them little, so if you're using the old versions of things don't worry too much about downloading the new versions, the changes are quite minor. If you're good with a crayon, you can always scribble on the… more...

Icar Toons

14th December 2005

Just a quick news item to say that there is a new Cartoon section (under Misc in the menu) with my stick cartoons. There are only four at the moment but I do intend to keep rolling them out. For those that have not been watching, they are a tribute… more...

Elements Alpha: 3

8th December 2005

Having added a lot of graphics to the Alpha, I thought it was time to update the one on the website. As you can see, I'm trying to keep the quality of the graphics to a high standard. If there are any of the images that you think lower the tone of… more...

Toon, Download and Spilling Brains

17th November 2005

Some little updates have been happening recently. You'll have noticed that the Download section has now been split into different sections. The page before was getting a little large and so difficult to load. It needs a bit more tuning but should… more...

Wiki Online and Growing

11th October 2005

2019 update - sadly, the wiki was hacked just 6 months later and was lost. There's a bit of break happening with the rules at the moment due to some other commitments I've got. However, I managed to quickly set up a Wiki to keep hold of the quickly… more...

Spacecraft Updates

24th August 2005

I have finally got around to updating the information on the space craft. Before, it was difficult to get a sense of scale of the craft. Now each space craft has the following two items: Cargo : Is the number of 10m x 10m x 10m space crates that will… more...

Spacecraft Updates

23rd August 2005

Some of you might be having problems accessing the forums. This problems should not persist for long, so please keep checking back. The Technical Reason Why As Byrn suggested, the domain name chomisis.net ran out this August and although I paid for… more...

Work Restarted

1st August 2005

My Uncle's website is mostly complete and new memory arrived for the laptop just before last week (when I was on holiday) so I have now restarted work on the Element's graphics. I am currently doing a number of really useful objects such as Mex Lifts… more...

The Month of Upload

29th June 2005

June has definitely been the month of uploading things to the site. You'll have noticed brand new equipments items going into the (download.xml)downloads] section every couple of days. While this has been going on, work on the Elements has come to a… more...

A Plethora

15th June 2005

"Yes, El Guapo. You have a plethora." - The Three Amigos Version 3.5 is eating away my life. But in a good way. As I have been rendering new images, I realised that I did not have models for various, quite important things. Also, various players… more...

Elements Alpha 2

31st May 2005

For those who like to read and read and read, the (download.xml)next version of the Alpha] is now out. I think the only thing that it is really missing is the graphics now and that's going to take a while. If you're really interested in playing 3.… more...

Icar in Italian

16th May 2005

No-one would have ever predicted that Icar would be translated into Italian. But it has. Paulo Longoni has spent an incredible amount of time translating Icar into Italian! The rule version is 3.4 (Italian 1.1) and it is available in PDF format… more...

Elements 3.5 Alpha Released

16th May 2005

After much brain melting, the alpha version of the Elements is ready for your perusal. The Alpha does not have many pictures and is typeset in quite a rough manner. However, it does have all of the text of the ruleset and will allow those who like to… more...

Icar PBP to begin over in Salroth

7th April 2005

Completely out of the blue, Kitkatman from Salroth: The Chronicles , emailled me to ask if he can run Icar over on the Salroth forums. I was flattered (and surprised). He's now in the process of uploading the whole equipment index to their Gallery… more...

Work in Progress

30th March 2005

Now the new website is done, all the other things that have been put on hold can now begin in earnest. The big things coming up are: Elements 3.5. This is new version of the ruleset. Everything will be compatible with it but the look and feel will… more...

New Icar website

1st January 2005

I've pulled out the stops on this new website, it's about as high tech as I can make it. It's Firefox compliant, if you're using IE, then there are going to be a few issues. more...

2002-2004 News Omnibus

1st January 2004

2019 Update - I have amalgumated the news from 2002 to 2004 into a single post. Scavenger Setting V1.0 2004/02/13 The new Icar PDF version of the Scavenger Setting is a massive improvement on the previous HTML document. Now includes much more player… more...