My group and I decided to try playing in the Eberron setting for a bit. Here's how I handled some of the mechanics.
At first I thought the best way to use the 13th Age Icons in Eberron was to make every NPC running every organization an Icon, but then I ran into some organizations that had no defined leader but still had the potential to be Icons, so I included those. When all was said and done I had more than twenty Icons to choose from. It was a mess.
So then I had a better idea: deconstructed Icons. Here is how it works.
Start by putting aside the name of the 13th Age Icon for a moment, it will just get in the way of the thought process because it causes preconceptions of what that Icon represents. We’ll get back to it later anyways.
Next, breaking down the Icons into an individual in the Eberron setting with a simple paragraph that defines their role. Note how we also remove references to specific locales.
So here’s the list of Icons, but without any of the names:
...has preserved the [Empire/Realm/Domain] for centuries and created astonishing new lands. He has also threatened the fabric of reality with experiments you’d have to be brilliant or hugely arrogant to attempt.
...is the armored fist of the [Dark Gods/Bad Guys]. So long as followers of the [Gods of Light/Good Guys] stay the hell out of his way, [this guy] turns his wrath against the [demons/criminals/monsters] that would destroy the world his own [gods/leaders] want to rule. Follow [this guy] if you must win at any cost.
...controls [fiends/monsters/bad guys] and tampers with forces even the [Icon 1] avoids. She likes her victims screaming and her chaos pure while claiming that the [monsters/demons] she summons would otherwise overwhelm the [Great Gold Wyrm/Icon 7] who seals the [Abyss/Gate]. There are two differences between her and her demons: First, she likes keeping destruction personal rather than universal. Second, she’s capable of kindness, so long as it comes as a great surprise.
...is lord of [Forge/some domain], the [race/people] new homeland [beneath the mountains/someplace] (the leader of a displaced people). He’d love to reclaim their ancestral [object/home] lost to war against the [dark elves and the creatures of the deeps/some other guys]. But now that the [Empire/good guys] is stumbling, the [people this guy rules] find themselves manning the [mountain walls that shield the Empire/defenses] from the [orcs/monsters] of [the north/someplace].
...rules the [Court of Stars/government/organization], the one place where wood elves, dark elves, and high elves come together as peers and allies instead of as rivals or enemies. Honed by centuries of experience, the Queen’s innate magic at least equals the Icon 1’s spells.
...rules the world’s greatest [humananoid] kingdom, known as the [Dragonmark house/kingdom]. All the signs suggest that the age is turning, but will this Icon’s realm fall or shift to a new balance?
...is the world’s protector and the inspiration for holy orders of paladins and independent heroes. Although the Icon’s physical form [may not actually exist/is represented in mythology/never leaves one spot], his agents he employs still move through the world, helping those who will fight and even die for what’s right.
...is the champion of the [resurgent Wild/some cause], and the spiritual and magical leader of [spirits of nature and the elements/some group] that were chained by Icon 6 but are now working themselves free. She/he might be the great force that shakes the Icon 6’s realm to pieces or the hero who destroys the destroyers and points to a new way to live.
...is the lord of the [undead/monsters/outsiders], a fallen tyrant who intends to conquer the [another Icon’s realm/the whole continent] and restore [his ancient kingdom/things to the way they were/his way of doing things]. He’s not entirely insane and mostly understands that bringing about change is not necessarily imply senseless destruction.
...is a figure of legend. The last time he walked the land the [some major leader/kingdom] fell, in part because of this Icon’s doings. Who will fall before his hordes this time? Who won’t?
...hears all the [Gods of Light/good guys] and speaks for those who [please her/she agrees with]. She is part oracle, part mystic, and part metaphysical engineer, since she created the [Cathedral/some place or focal point of good], an ever-expanding [symbol of power] which somehow represents all the [organizations/faiths] she favors.
...is part thief, part trickster, and part assassin. To some he is a hero; to others a villain. He has squandered the riches of the Icon 4, murdered the hopes of a [dragon/another Icon], and plundered the dreams of [yet another Icon]. His exploits have changed the world, but none can tell you his ultimate goals or motives.
…[were among the first dragons to walk the world/are so old you can’t possibly imagine]. [The Red/one of them] is a living engine of destruction. [The Blue/another one of them] is a sorceress, perhaps even the original mother of all sorcery. [The Black/the other one] is queen of shadows and assassins. Unlike Icon 7, who [must fight alone/has trust issues with the other good icons], this group have learned to join forces.
Now that we have the Icons represented as generic archetypes, you select the ones you want as in a normal 13th Age campaign. Once you’ve chosen your relationships, discuss who you think the Icon represents in the Eberron setting with the GM.
Here’s some suggestions:
Icon 7 could be the Keeper of the Silver Flame.
Icon 2 could be the leader of the Puritans , but he could also just as easily be the leader of an organization bent on ridding the world of Warforged.
Icon 3 could be Vol herself.
Icon 9 might be Kaius d’Karrnath or might be a new fiend belonging to the Lords of Dust who is making his way to the top of the echelons of power.
Icon 12 could be Morgrave University, or Baron Elvinor Elorrenthi d’Phiarlan from the House of Phiarlan. It could also be the leaders of House Tharashk.
Icon 13 could be the Daughters of Sora Kell or an actual triad of powerful dragons running their own syndicates.
The important thing to note is that the identity of the icons should be connected personally to your backgrounds, and you have final say of who the Icon actually is. The relationships between the Icons stay roughly the same (as documented in the 13th age core book).
Once you’ve sorted out the identity of the icons, list them using the original names from 13th Age, if it helps, think of them as nicknames. This done to keep the references easy to remember, but if it helps you can put some kind of roleplaying spin on it. For example, the NPC you chose to represent the Dwarf King might be an especially short human and the nickname is used behind his back.
Now you’re ready to roll icon dice.