Heroclix Barriers: Unique Abilities & Custom Rules

Green Lantern creating an indestructible barrier, Spidey webbing a baddie in place, the Human Torch toasting a supervillain behind a wall of fire. All comic staples I wanted to introduce to my HeroClix battles. The trick is that after a few games, barriers had become a bit stale and needed some spicing up. So I paprika-ed the sh*t out of them.

Here’s the poop:

The basic barrier rules have been expanded upon with these mods, the most basic of which is that figures can make a barrier as part of their action (attack, movement), not simply as their sole action. This “part of an action” tweak helps liven up the battlefield with an ever-changing landscape while the “sole action” barrier sees an upgrade in smash.

General Barrier Rules
Barriers have an offense & defense equal to the caster (including toughness, invulnerability and imperviousness…ness).
Barriers may be cast as side-by-side sections OR as a vertical column as tall as the sections would allow.
Standard Barriers: The properties a barrier possesses when created as part of a figure’s move or combat action.
Powered barriers: The properties a barrier possess when created as a figure’s sole action. Powered barriers may be the attack portion of a charge, running shot or hypersonic speed action.

And now with the general stuff outta the way, on to the specifics…

Fire Barriers

The Human Torch, Pyro, Heatwave, Firefly…Smokey the Bear hates the most plentiful power in comics: setting things on fire.

Stats & Abilities
Height: 2.
Unless specifically stated, fire barriers may not be picked up, moved or targeted for attack.
Objects passing through fire barrier are dealt 1d6 damage (figures with phasing, hypersonic speed and invincibility may ignore damage).
If one section of fire barrier is dealt force blast, all sections of fire barrier are destroyed.
Figure with hypersonic speed passing adjacent to or through fire barrier section may extinguish fire barrier section.
May not be cast on all-water terrain.
Standard: Create up to two sections.
Ignoring energy deflection and shape shift, roll vs. all adjacent non-ally figures to deliver 1 point of damage.
Powered: Create up to three sections. Adjacent enemy figures lose stealth for turn. Ignoring energy deflection and shape shift, roll vs. all adjacent non-ally figures to deliver caster’s full damage.

Ingredients: I sawed off the flame wing tips from an oversized Dark Phoenix HeroClix figure (that’s not my photo, I don’t have a stuffed Snoopy) and then hot glued ‘em to a 1 ½” x 1 ½” square of foam core. When dry, another glob of hot glue was added to the base and—while hot—I used sculptor’s tools to shape it into a rough finish. The base was then hit with a light coat of yellow acrylic paint, then some orange and finally a hint of red.

Force Field Barriers

The Invisible Woman’s force fields, Klaw’s sonic barriers, Magneto’s magnetic barriers, magical barriers, random energy barrier, deus ex machina barrier, etc.

Also–since all this is for a comic book world–having only clear force fields to choose from just won’t do…

Green Lantern barriers work exactly like regular force field barriers but THESE are minty-fresh. And how can you have Green Lantern barriers without…

…Dr. Spectrum barriers! Haha, GOTCHA, BITCHES! You thought I was gonna say “Sinestro barriers.” Screw him, his head looks like a penis with a pencil mustache.

Dr. Spectrum of the Squadron Supreme can make barriers of ANY color, so suck on THAT, Green Lantern Corps.

Stats & Abilities
Height: 2.
Roll vs. target(s) (rolls not needed vs. friendly figures).
Barrier sections may be placed vertically or horizontally.
Standard: Create up to two sections.
Powered: Create up to four sections, LOS only needed for one section. May “bubble” target(s). Bubble may then be moved anywhere within range/LOS. Targets with phasing may ignore this effect.
On their turn, bubbled figures may roll vs. force field to break free. If the attack is successful, bubble is destroyed. Bubbled figure responsible for successful attack does not receive a token for this action and is free the take a normal action.

Ingredients: Acrylic plastic shaped with a special table saw created for cutting plastics, the pieces then assembled with an acrylic solvent cement. These sound like a pain to make, which is why I’m glad I didn’t make ‘em. My buddy Davis works in plastics and after inhaling plastic fumes for years he’s easily susceptible to suggestion. So, yeah, I got him to make these these suckers.

One more thing about these badboys: since they’re made with two sides open, sections can be placed open side-inward to create a “bubble,” trapping enemies. Let’s get the Hulk to demonstrate…

“RHARGHH, mmmf mmf MMMF mmf!” He’s a good sport. 

Earth Barriers

Terrax, Terra, the Brotherhood’s Avalanche and…is there a fourth “makes earth constructs” guy? Geo-Force…? I couldn’t even tell you what his powers are other than having “GF” on his chest. That’s a good look, ace. Anyway, earth barriers…

Stats & Abilities
Height: 4, 3, 2 or 1.
1/light object, 2& 3/heavy object, 4/massive object.
Barrier starts at any height caster wishes and drops one height per round.
Figures with super strength may simply smash through or pick up barrier section.
Roll vs. target (rolls not needed vs. friendly figure).
Standard: Create one section. Figure elevated on top of earth barrier is considered flying for targeting purposes.
Powered: Create one section. When cast, every adjacent object is dealt a single force blast attack equal to the caster’s damage. Targets with phasing may ignore this effect.

Ingredients: Foam core, foam core, foam core. Long strips of ‘em glued together with Elmer’s and hot glued to a 1 ½” x 1 ½” foam core base. When dry, more hot glue was added to the barrier and shaped while hot, giving it a rough, dirt-like finish. Random bits of junk plastic–pipes, tires and fenders from model cars–were imbedded in the “dirt” for aesthetics and different shades of brown acrylic paint were added when the mess was dry. Clumps of model moss topped it of.

Ice Barriers

The other most popular power in comics: makin’ stuff cold. Iceman, Killer Frost, Captain Cold, Blizzard and, most importantly, Equinox. I know nobody else cares, but I love that guy. Stay gold, Exy.

Stats & Abilities
Height: 1or 2
1/light object, 2/heavy object.
Immediately destroy ice barrier if adjacent to fire barrier.
Figures with super strength may simply smash through or pick up barrier section.
Standard: Create up to three sections. Line of sight only needed for one section.
Powered: Create up to six sections. Line of sight only needed for one section. Ignoring energy deflection and shape shift, roll vs. adjacent target(s). Figures hit in this manner are delivered incapacitate.

Ingredients: Foam core shaped in a haphazard icy way (does that make any sense?) with an index card—shaped exactly like the ice barrier—glued to ONLY the top of the barrier with Elmer’s. The vertical portion of the barrier was then hot glued to a 1 ½” x 1 ½” foam core square. When dry, the index card was affixed to the edge of the base with Elmer’s for a barrier face that was concave (convex? Eh, I can’t remember that stalactite/stalagmite thing either). Hot glue was used to fill the space between the index card and the foam core (that wasn’t fun) and some random hot glue drops were left to run down the barrier face to give it a lumpy/drippy feel. The finished piece was highlighted with white and baby blue acrylic paint.

Web Barriers

Spidey and Venom are the two most obvious guys I built web barriers for, but figures like the Trapster use ‘em as well. “Paste Pot Pete.” God bless Stan Lee.

Stats & Abilities
Height: 1.
Unless specifically stated as a figure’s power, web barrier may not be picked up or moved.
May be cast adjacent to any object.
Immediately destroy web barrier if adjacent to fire barrier.
Figures landing on or adjacent to web barrier from any height are spared fall damage.
If enemy figure successfully rolls break away from web barrier, web barrier is destroyed. Figures with blades get a +2 when rolling breakaway.
When cast, roll as if rolling an attack. All adjacent enemies “hit” are affected by web properties.
Figures with phasing and plasticity may ignore effects of web barrier.
Standard: Create one section.
Plasticity vs. enemy figures when cast.
If cast adjacent to elevated flying figure(s), figure(s) loses flying at the end of that player’s turn.
Powered: Create one section.
Plasticity and leap/climb vs. enemy figures when cast. Adjacent “hit” target(s) lose shape shift, energy deflection, agility and receives a -1 to defense.
When cast adjacent to elevated flying figure(s), figure(s) lose flying.

Ingredients: Two cardboard sheets (comic backing thickness) glued together for the pointy frame, fishing line strung between ‘em for the “web.” That was hot glued to a 1 ½” 1 ½” base and—when dry—drips of hot glue were added to the frame and shaped with sculptor’s tools to give it a rough finish. A coat of dark grey followed by a second coat of light grey finished it up. FUN FACT: Fishing line immediately dissolves when you touch it with the tip of a hot glue gun. I almost pulled my head off building this thing.

Smoke Barriers

…kinda looks like a mini tornado is chasing the Flash, right? Yeah, that’s not at all what I was going for.

Anyway, this is a multi-use barrier for when Eclipso summons darkness, Storm generates fog or Batman drops a smoke pellet. Or is it smoke bomb? Whatever, I’m sure Batman has both. You rule, Batman.

Stats & Abilities
Height: 2.
DFS barriers posses flying.
Unless specifically stated, DFS barrier may not be picked up or moved or targeted for attack.
Destroy DFS barrier if dealt force blast.
Figure with hypersonic speed passing adjacent to or through DFS barrier may dispel DFS barrier.
Roll vs. target (rolls not needed vs. friendly figure).
Standard: Create one section. Friendly figure in DFS barrier receives all hindering terrain bonuses and does not need to roll break away to escape.
Enemy figure engulfed in DFS barrier may not LR target except for mind control. Enemies exiting DFS barrier lose 50% speed.
Powered: Create one section. Target is engulfed, loses all damage-slot abilities and may not LR target. Enemy exiting DFS barrier loses 50% speed. If powered DFS barrier is cast on an elevated enemy, enemy loses flying at the end of that player’s turn.

Ingredients: Ech, making this barrier almost broke me. My goal was to create a barrier that enveloped a HeroClix figure but fit on a single 1 ½” x 1 ½” section. After about a half dozen attempts, I…is “settled” a bad way to describe it? Ech, whatever, I made this *holds out smoke barrier like an eight year-old with a clay ashtray*
I took a sheet of cardboard (about the thickness of a comic backing board) and made a funnel shape narrowing down to a 1 ½” x 1 ½” base (wider at the top so it’s easier getting figs in and out). Random holes were first penciled in and later cut with an x-acto blade. The cardboard was then rolled to give it a round shape (I think I wrapped the cardboard around a can of Pam to give it the curve). The cardboard was hot glued to a 1 ½” x 1 ½” foam core base and then the whole mess was painted a sloppy mix of black & grey acrylic. When that was dry I started the S-L-O-W process of layering in hot glue to give it a murky, hazy finish. If this barrier was junior high school art project I’d have gotten a C+ and been switched to crayon & construction paper.

Hmmm, does that above pic get across that figures can be plopped down inside of the smoke barrier? No…? Let’s get the Hulk to play guinea pig again:

“RHARGHH, Hulk smash puny customizer!” Adorable.

And that’s that. I’m happier with how some barriers came out than I am with others, but eh, it’s all learn-as-you-go, y’know? Some of the custom rules need some ironing out as well…my group is still working out the kinks. I’ll post an update down the road.

For more modding nonsense, you can check out my first take at making custom Heroclix barriers here. The two custom ‘Clix maps I used in some of these photos can be found here and here. And finally, get a better look at the flight stands used by the flying figures by clicking here.



14 Responses

  1. Fantastic job as always. You really put a lot of work into both the physical product and the rules associated with them. Those earth barriers are awesome. I’m big into Earth Elementals, so that’s why I dig them.

    I’m probably gonna lose some geek cred for asking this but… who’s the dude on the right in the Ice Barriers pic? I would guess Iron Man but I’m not sure.

    • …so does that mean you know who the other two guys are? I’d fart a nickel if you did.

      But yeah, that’s Iron Man on the right. To win back the respect of comic fans, refer to him as “Shellhead” from now on and you’ll make up any lost ground.

      • Of course I know who the other guys are.

        The one on the left is the diabolical and devious “Blue Balls” and the guy in the middle is “Doctor Shoulderpads”

  2. Yeah, that is Iron Man in one of his crappy modern armor versions.

    I *get* that Marvel feels like the armor needs to keep evolving to show that Stark is the ultimate technologist but I still think he should stay in his 70’s yellow and red “plates & bolts” armor forever.

    Pat actually prefers the West Coast Avengery red & silver armor but Pat also mentions the character Equinox in back to back blogs.

  3. …what? No I don’t. The “Silver Centurion” suit is awesome, but I’m classic ’70s suit all the way. The silver/red suit ties with the stealth outfit for second place.

    And I’d take half an Equinox over a full Norbert Ebersol.

  4. ‘Kampfgruppe Cottrell’ over at TableTopGamingNews.com showed me some of his set-ups…check out this WWII battlefield complete with super soldiers and Atlantean Kings:



    I love those billowing smoke cloud effects…gotta use that trick in some upcoming pics of my own.

  5. I really like what you’ve done with this… barriers “tutorial.” I’m going to have to see about incorporating some of these into my ‘Clix games.

    “Doctor Shoulderpads.” *snicker*

  6. Thanks man. One of my favorite things about this blog is getting new sets of eyes to critique my work. If any of the barrier powers seem wonky, confusing or broken, feedback is both welcome and appreciated

    And yeah…”Doctor Shoulderpads.” The problem is his real name–“Jack of Hearts”–isn’t any less ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I love the character, but I can see where non comic fans would find him fairly absurd:

    ME: “His name is Jack of Hearts.”

    NORMAL PERSON: “…’Jack of Hearts?’ So does he get his power from magic playing cards?”

    ME: “Er, no…”

    NORMAL PERSON: “Does he have a ‘love power’ or something?”

    ME: “No, he, ah…his real name is ‘Jack Hart.’ He can fly and shoot lasers. And he’s half purple.”

    NORMAL PERSON: “I don’t want you dating my daughter.”

    • I recognized both Jack and Blizzard…

      …but I know what you mean about people and their reaction to comics/comic characters when you bring them up in conversation. And I notice that you didn’t take your imagined conversation in this direction, either:

      YOU: “His name is Jack of Hearts.”

      NON-COMICS FAN: “…’Jack of Hearts?’ So does he get his power from magic playing cards?”

      YOU: “Er, no…”

      N-CF: “Does he have a ‘love power’ or something?”

      YOU: “No… that’s ‘Starfox.’

      N-CF: ” ‘Starfox?’ Wait… wasn’t that the name of a video game from Electronic Arts way back in the day?”

      YOU: “Well… yes, but that’s a different Starfox.”

      N-CF: “There’s more than one? That’s confusing, isn’t it? I mean… how do you keep from mixing one up with the other when you’re talking about it?”

      YOU: “They are completely different genres. It’s pretty easy to keep separate.”

      N-CF: *blink blink* “Well… I think it would be confusing. At least there’s only one Superman or one Batman… or Captain America. That keeps things easy. Could you imagine the confusion if there was more than one of them?”

      YOU: “Well, actually…”

      N-CF: “What…?”

      YOU: “There *is* more than one Superman. Batman, too… but the Earth-2 Batman died back in the 70s. And, there have been… *counts*… three, no FOUR Captain Americas.”

      N-CF: *blink blink* “Stop. Just… stop.”

      • Here is another take on the “non-comic fan” situation:

        YOU: His name is Jack of Hearts

        N-CF: “…’Jack of Hearts?’ So does he get his power from magic playing cards?”

        YOU: No, that’s Gambit from the X-men.

        N-CF: Isn’t that a Chess thing?

        YOU: Well, yeah but this is a different one.

        N-CF: Kay, then so what does this “Gambit” guy do anyway

        YOU: He can Charge the potential energy of an object into kinetic energy, resulting in explosion.

        N-CF: NERD! *Kicks you in crotch and starts laughing*

  7. STAR FOX!

    What a great game, except for…the frog.

    You couldn’t get two minutes into a mission without your frog wingman screaming like a school girl on helium. “Puh-puh-puh please, Starfox, HALP!”

    No anthropomorphic space tribunal would have convicted ‘Fox if he had taken froggy out.

  8. Awesome post. Gnort vs. Sinestro cracked me up. Poor Gnort. And he was looking forward all day to that Baconator. 😦

    Barriers are crazy awesome. I remember that one time someone stacked fire 4 high and then pushed a guy off a building into it. I also remember someone being pretty pissed about it.. haha. Yeah, you had to be there.

  9. I asked this on HCRealms, but since you don’t seem to vist there much I thought I would try here as well.

    Just out of curiosity, what did you you end up doing with the Phoenices that you used to make the barriers? I wanted to do a custom using the Jean Grey used in the center of the sculpt but did not want to buy another Phoenix just to take apart. I was hoping you still had and might be willing to trade/sell a Jean.

  10. It took me a good ten minutes to figure out how I missed your question. I’m all over HCR and was sure I didn’t leave anyone hanging. I went back in and checked the “Barriers” thread over there, nuthin’. Then the last half dozen threads I’ve been active in. Again, nuthin’. Then finally, *DONG*, I checked my messages over at HCR (something I don’t do often enough, I guess). And there was your question.

    Anyway, yeah, I think I still have the Jean Grey portion of the oversized Phoenix that went under the knife. The trick is I’m in the middle of a move and most everything I own is S-L-O-W-L-Y being unboxed. Drop me a line in a week and I’ll know for sure. If I still have it, it’s yours.

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