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.



Basic Heroclix Barriers

Only Iceman’s quick thinking saved him from the coconut.

Anyway, barriers. The idea of a constantly changing battlefield with walls of ice and fire sprouting up all over sounded cool, but you could count on one hand how many times my gaming group used that “barrier” ability. To give that power some legs, we whipped up a house rule:  if a figure can create a barrier, they can cast it as part of any other action (movement or attack) either at the start or end of that action. Each barrier also has a defensive value equal to the caster’s current defense.

Another wrinkle was that depending on a character’s power, they’d create a specific barrier type. Iceman, Captain Cold, Mr. Freeze, those guys would create ice barriers. The Human Torch, Heatwave, Pyro and the like would create fire barriers. Force fields for the Invisible Woman and Dr. Light, webs for Spidey and Venom, earth for Avalanche and Terra, blah, blah, blah.

Once that was settled, I went into the workshop to whip up some custom barriers…

Ice Barriers

Foam core (or foam board) cut to shape with the exposed foam interiors (mostly just the edges) coated with a thin layer of Elmer’s glue to protect it from the corrosive properties of paint. Let that dry, then drip some hot glue on ’em to get that runny, lumpy ice effect. Some acrylic paint, a spray of matte and dat’s dat.

Ice barriers have the ‘Toughness’ modifier and if one section of ice barrier is destroyed, all adjacent sections also shatter. If a section of fire barrier is placed adjacent to a section of ice barrier, that section of ice barrier is destroyed. On the flip side, an ice barrier placed next to fire barrier–while almost immediately destroyed–will also put out that (and all adjacent) fire barriers. They cancel each other. Remember, FIRE, WATER, WATER PUT OUT FIRE!

Instead of a standard ice wall, a figure can opt to use the barrier ability to lock an opponent in an ice prison. While the rules for ice barriers also apply to the ice prison, casting the ice prison must be counted as the caster’s attack action. Standard line-of-sight attack rules apply and, if successful, the target is dealt the figure’s attack damage AND is encased in the ice prison. On your frozen opponent’s turn they can attempt to break free (rolling vs the ice prison’s defense, which was Toughness + the caster’s defense). If successful, the escape is not counted as an action and your opponent is now free to take any action. If the escape roll misses, your opponent receives a token and is stuck until the prison melts at the start of the caster’s next turn (or they can be freed by an ally).

The walls of the ice prison are bits of action figure clamshell glued to a cardboard frame. I f*cking hate action figure clamshells. I then used index card paper shaped like frosty stalactites and stalagmites encroaching over the clear walls. Some hot glue *carefully* applied  for some icy bumps (don’t melt the clamshell!), let dry and then acrylic paint took it home.

Another option for frosty figs? The ice bridge. These, like the barriers, can be cast as or part of any action and provide a quick way to move among rooftops or as a hasty retreat off a building. Plus they look neat stretched across two buildings and hosting a battle between some figs.

Unlike every other barrier type, these suckers stay around for up to six rounds (mark with a die that counts down every round). The caster decides how long they last when conjured.

Each section of ice bridge is one section wide, two long and they plug into each other so you can customize the shape. These, like everything else, are foam core, hot glue and in all likelihood ridiculously flammable. Speaking of which…

Fire Barriers

Whoa, everyone get ready to stomp out Ragman when he catches fire.

More foam core cut to shape, then liberal amounts of hot glue added and, with the help of some modeling tools, shaped while hot. Some sloppy application of acrylic paint, some matte and done.

Fire barriers can do a couple of neat things:

1) Put one next to an ice barrier and SLUSH, that section of ice–and all adjacent sections–are melted. Trouble is all that water will also extinguish all adjacent fire barriers. So sad.

2) Put a fire barrier next to a web barrier and PING, PING, PING, all those web strands snap apart, the fire destroying any adjacent web barriers.

3) Unlike all the other barrier types, fire barriers can be moved through (though not targeted through). Any item (including figures) moving through a fire barrier is dealt 1d6 damage (all damage modifiers can be used against this “attack”). Any figure that can cast fire barrier can move through a fire barrier without taking any damage.

4) When cast, fire barriers attack all adjacent enemy figures for 1 point of damage using the caster’s offense (all damage modifiers can be used here, including agility).

Force Field Barriers

Foam core bases cut to shape and hand painted with acrylics, action figure clamshells then used for the vertical “force field.” To get ’em to stand, put a slight bend in the plastic–make them concave–before sticking ’em in the foam core base. Oh, and use an x-acto to make a thin slit in the foam core for the clamshell to slip into, add a thin smear of Elmer’s at the base of the clamshell when plugging it in to help it stay put.

These buggers–the strongest of all the barrier types–have an impervious defense modifier.

Earth Barriers

…who pooped the board?

Yeah, the earth barriers didn’t come out so hot. Eh, what can you do? More foam core cut to shape with random scrap of foam used to give ’em that irregular shape. Then some hot glue added to the mix and–while hot–shaped with a modeling tool to give the surface a rough look. While still hot I wedged some twigs and pebbles in there, let it dry, gave it a few coats of acrylic paint, let it dry a final time and then added some modeling moss. Granola crunchy!

Tied for the second toughest barrier type, these suckers have the invulnerable defense modifier and, when cast, attack all adjacent enemy figure for Force Blast: 1.

Web Barriers

That Hulk figure makes me laugh every time I see it. I love how much he hates that shirt.

More of that trusty foam core cut to shape, edges sealed with Elmer’s and hit with some speckle paint for texture and hand painted with acrylics. A thick needle was used to punch holes on either side of the “walls,” fishing line was strung between the uprights and…well, to be honest, I’m the least happy with how these came out. How do you make self-standing web walls? I dunno, but I’m pretty sure I can now tell you how NOT to make ’em.

Anyway, these suckers have the invulnerable defense modifier and any enemy figures adjacent to the web barriers when cast must roll a breakaway vs. plasticity to escape. And yep, that’s as annoying as it sounds. To help offset that irritation, if a fire barrier is placed next to a web barrier, kiss those webs goodbye.

The maps used as backdrops in this post are two custom Heroclix boards I cobbled together. There’s a flat, modular one you can check out by clicking here and a double decker map with subterranean levels you can see by clicking here. Get a better look at the flight stands used by the flying figures by clicking here.

…and that’s that. A special thanks to the always fragrant Doc Schrute for his help in setting up these pics and to his impossibly patient wife for putting up with the mess we made.