Better Angels: The Spared and the Spoiled episode 2

Tired of having sand kicked in your face? The damned soul of Charles Atlas would like to talk to you...The orbital retcannon has struck! Four new superhumans are all that stands between Brighter Futures Academy and bankruptcy. A teacher, librarian, assistant principal, and parent volunteer make for strange supervillains, but they have embraced their new roles. There’s no manual for super crime, so the Fiendish Four need help. And money. Find out how this unlikely quartet of villains adapts in the first episode of the campaign reboot.

  26 comments for “Better Angels: The Spared and the Spoiled episode 2

  1. JWhit
    January 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Welcome Sera! I hope you enjoy yourself here.

    And this session probably was one of my favorites ever.

  2. Jace
    January 15, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    If this campaign ever gets a poster like Know Evil, the tagline needs to be “It’s for the kids”.

    And the giant laser honey badger needs to feature prominently. Golf clap for that, Sarah (Sera?).

  3. Levi
    January 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Hot damn, that was a hilarious session. Lasers for all!

    Curious though – Will Jason re-enter the campaign? He seemed so intent on getting it back together and I really liked his character.

  4. Bill
    January 15, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    @Levi – Nope, sorry, no Jason. I think he was finishing up student teaching when we started last May, then moved to Kansas City to (ironically) take a teaching job. Or had already taken the teaching job. Or was eaten by a grue. It’s hard to remember, but the long and short of it is he won’t be around for this game.

  5. January 15, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks this system might work to run a “Saints Row” game? (mainly from the 3rd and 4th Saint Row games). When the fiendish four were prepping for and starting there first act of villainy, that’s all I could think of.

  6. January 15, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    @Jace Following @Caleb’s suggestion of heist music and what not in the game, I could see the poster being done as a 70′s movie poster style. That would be badass… hmmm…

  7. Levi
    January 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    :c

    Oh, well. Glad to have you in another campaign at last, Bill. Thought you were hilarious as Reginald in the New World.

  8. crawlkill
    January 16, 2014 at 3:50 am

    GASP. is this Sarah, Caleb’s girlfriend? I love that her shell-out-coming moment was when she had the opportunity to charbroil some cops. hopefully you nerds keep coaxing her out!

    in general: there is nothing about this I don’t love. you…don’t realize how much energy Aaron and Tom contribute til they’re gone. I’m sure I’d always have missed them if they were gone for five episodes at a time, but I’m surprised how much I missed them after just one. Stolze moral qualities ORE continues to be my favorite system ever ever ever.

  9. Caleb
    January 16, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Yeah, that’s Sara (no H). She does a great job throughout the whole campaign.

    As Dr. Phil once said, “If a woman really loves you, she’ll help fill out a playtest group for your next RPG campaign book. It’s the true test of a relationship.”

  10. zero
    January 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    @Review_Cultist Yes, I totally saw Saint’s Row as well.

    I am enjoying this campaign, but I have a question. I believe 3×6 happened a few times, but nobody mentioned it as an auto-success, is that still a feature?

    Lots of fun, I enjoy the superhero genre, I’m still a bit hesitant about the basic mechanics IE:Sly/Courage/Open Not sure how being shot makes you more cruel, but I love the demon mechanics so far.

  11. Omega
    January 16, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    This is shaping up to be a wonderful campaign to listen to, and getting me really interested in maybe running Better Angels sometime. Probably not as a campaign though, because I don’t know if it’s my group’s style enough to be a long game. But a single scenario or two might be fine. While I will miss those who are no longer part of the campaign, you gotta do what you gotta do. I do hope that in future Sara might speak up a bit and make herself heard more along with the towering forces of personalities that is the normal RPPR crew.

    @zero: That’s just how the emotions/attitudes style of Better Angels (and similarly A Dirty World) works. If you want to do straight up ORE supers, I’d pick up Wild Talents (probably the Essentials Edition if you’re not in it for a specific setting) and work from there, it’s a lot more conventional. As for the Cruelty slide, first, everything in BA is a pair, so Cruelty is paired with Courage. Every attack is an attack on a stat you have. Thus, being shot at is an attack on your Courage. Being hit makes you less courageous, and more petty and vindictive (I personally think I like Dirty World’s Courage/Wrath better). If you don’t have any Courage left, the attack would slide your Open, which in Better Angels represents your physical well-being also, and if you run out of Open, you’re dead.

  12. zero
    January 17, 2014 at 6:11 am

    @Omega: Right, I get that for more noir style games, since physical combat is usually quick and brutal in them, most of the actual combat is verbal. It’s an unusual way to do it, but I like it.

    I do think I’d prefer playing Wild Talents, but perhaps with some of the style of BA. Either way, I like Caleb’s idea for the campaign.

    Now if only I can do something on gameday for my tabletop group. >.>

  13. Caleb
    January 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

    The way I think of paired Strategies and Tactics in BA differ from the way I think of the same mechanic in A Dirty World. ADW is more a representation of your characters entire personality: Intellectually, Physically, and Emotionally.

    BA’s character sheet, though the same mechanics, is solely a representation of your character’s morality. The dice pools are constantly informed by your actions, and things that happen to your character make certain decisions easier to make. For instance, if you’re rich, it certainly is easier to be generous (Generosity vs. Greed). You don’t HAVE to make that moral choice, but it’s more likely to succeed if you do.

    Everything in the game, especially superpowers, is fueled by the morality of the action. Even if you’re being beaten and shot to death, the moral thing to do would be to persevere and silently suffer (so long as you’re not fighting pure evil). The cops “know not what they do,” so any retaliation is evil, and it’s more evil if you do it as a form of petty retaliation or revenge.

    However, when you have four extra dice in Cruelty and nada in Courage, the psychopathic tendancies of a PC almost always win the day. It’s a really interesting way to bring the temptation and threat of damnation that occurs in the setting to the table in an immediate, tangible way.

  14. Burn the Unclean
    January 17, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Long time lurker, BA is up at drivethru for 19 bucks. Great game, great episode.

  15. Biest
    January 17, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    I love the dark and often political humor Caleb brings into it. Nice to see you all do another genre and making it work.

  16. Ethan C.
    January 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    This was really an incredible session. It’s hilarious. I can’t say whether Ross or Caleb is a “better” GM, but Caleb is definitely a funnier GM — and Ross is fabulous as a player, letting his horrible monstrosity run a little looser than he does as a GM.

    Also, this is a fantastic game concept. Doing supervillainy for the good of an underfunded school is like the perfect Better Angels hook.

    But the greatest thing is just seeing how the game uses the natural looseness and bizarreness of typical PC behavior to build a completely authentic — which is to say, absolutely preposterous — picture of supervillain behavior.

    And welcome, Sara! You were fantastic, and I hope to hear you on plenty of RPPR sessions in the future!

  17. zero
    January 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    It’s weird to handwave away the real ‘wound/hitpoint’ aspect of a game, and instead focus on the nuances of behavior, but I suppose the posts in reply do make a fair point of the WHY of the situation.

    I think the main mechanics work a bit better for A Dirty World, since gunfire and such is generally less likely, but absolutely brutal when it occurs. The mechanic I like best is that of the devils themselves, especially forcing players to take on secondary roles to entice and lure other people into sin. That is a magnificent idea.

    I do look forward to more Better Angels and Base Raiders.

    also, Kudos for the campaign concept, I like anti-villain stories.

  18. Beej
    January 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Loved Giant Eye Lazer Honey Badger. The only complaint is Sara wasn’t close enough to the mic. It was hard to hear her at points. But yeah, hearing what is planned and then how horribly it spins out of control when executed is awesome.

  19. zero
    January 21, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I agree, I couldn’t hear Sara at all.

  20. Caleb
    January 21, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Sara’s just not very loud guys. Her shout is equivalent to most peoples’ whispers, and she rarely gets above that volume. You can turn it up or figure out what she’s doing in context. As it usually involves eye lasers, it’s pretty easy to figure out once everybody starts reacting to it.

  21. Ambulatory Cortex
    January 21, 2014 at 9:00 am

    The podcasts(all of them) are difficult to understand without headphones. Since I do use headphones, I could understand Sara perfectly. I tried listening to the podcasts on speakers a couple times and gave up quickly. These really seem optimized for headphones.

  22. Thorn
    January 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Excellant sessions guys. While this was funny as hell, I especially enjoyed the real world knowledge vs. English major observation.

  23. crawlkill
    January 24, 2014 at 3:49 am

    some people are quieter! I imagine Sara will get noisier as she gets used to being recorded, but even in this episode, she got quite loud when she had the opportunity to eyebeam policemen, which is the important thing.

  24. zero
    January 24, 2014 at 6:17 am

    that it is! If Night’s Black Agents was characterized by driving cars into vampires and blowing them up, then Spared and Spoiled is probably characterized by eyelazering a policeman via giant honey badger

  25. malkav11
    January 30, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    When Better Angels was originally pitched on Kickstarter, for some reason I thought it was going to be Wild Talents based. But adapting the A Dirty World version of ORE makes a certain crazy sense for a reluctant supervillain game. As for the screwtapes…it’s an awesome concept, but although I think it has a stronger hook in Better Angels, as far as I know the idea first appeared in my favorite of the World of Darkness games: Wraith: The Oblivion, where players played their wraith and the next person’s personal representative of the self-destructive forces of Oblivion, their Shadow.

  26. Ben Wenham
    January 31, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Hey Caleb and Ross, on the whole volume thing.

    Please bare with us poor listeners, we are conditioned to Tom ;)

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