Better Angels: The Spared and the Spoiled episode 12

fiendish-fourThanks to Laura for the art!

The end is upon us! The Fiendish Four have tracked down the true villain and have discovered his dastardly plan. The question is: can they stop him without damning themselves in the process? Between the governor’s security, the demonic staff, and the true mastermind of the plot, the Four have their work cut out for them. Of course, they didn’t totally burn all of their bridges, so they aren’t totally alone. But even with angelic help, it may not be enough to save the day! Find out how the school year concludes in this dramatic campaign finale for No Soul Left Behind!

  30 comments for “Better Angels: The Spared and the Spoiled episode 12

  1. Thorn
    June 22, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Haven’t listened to this epic finale, but a
    wesome art Laura!

  2. darren t.
    June 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Just started listening to this now after fun Cthulhu role playing gaming & love the wonderful art for this episode that Laura did.

  3. crawlkill
    June 23, 2014 at 2:45 am

    I hate to be at all bitchy, but the thing I least liked about this campaign got a full half hour of screentime here–like…I really don’t enjoy it when PCs actively deny things that NPCs definitely know. it’s up there with “it’s not technically a lie” for most irritating behaviors a player can break out. c’mon. it was clearly part of the narrative that La Mano knew the Caped Corvid was who he was. just saying NUH UH over and over made that scene incredibly boring for everyone involved. there was so much more that could’ve been done there. CC could’ve tried to convince her of the necessity of what he’d done, to admit to having made a mistake, to show the only shred of regret he has all game…c’mon. it coulda been something. instead it was nothing.

    apart from that, I thought this was a great endgame! I hope the final product has the endgame antagonists tying in a little more than they did here, but for its discontinuity, it was still super fun. concrete collateral damage rules make almost every conflict feel high-stakes, really a stroke of Stolze genius. I enjoyed the nontheistical angelpossessed as a concept, and the weird inversion of him ending up overtly possessed after all.

    I thought Painbow was super cute, and I felt an ache for the NPCs who’d been foolishly dismantled along the way rather than being preserved-recruited.

    really a glorious campaign, day one purchase/Kickstart from me, no question. I’ve said it before, but the write what you know angle is just too good.

  4. David
    June 23, 2014 at 5:47 am

    @Crawlkill

    Yes, it’s obvious she knew. However, until I was certain there was no recording equipment in that room I wasn’t about to say it out loud. The girl had a forklift loaded down with nailguns and a knife-trap set up in the door; she could have easily planted a tape recorder. So no matter how I was pressed, deny deny deny. And the more I was pressed to say it, the less I wanted to. This is a Caleb game; I half-expected there to be a camera crew, a daytime talk show host, and a live studio audience hiding in the dark.

    “Congratulations, you figured it out.”
    *floodlights*
    “You all heard it right from the Corvid’s mouth! Cuff him and cart him off!”

  5. zero
    June 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Hope you didn’t get frustrated with how that played out, David. Semantics and truth are always big points of contention in games, especially ones with such social combat. I can’t blame Bran for his paranoia over everything, I’d have loved to see him attack her socially and win though.

    That said, Long live the Caped Corvid and his Bird E-Bolas πŸ˜€

  6. crawlkill
    June 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    weeell, yeah, that’s fair. room rigged for recording would be pretty traditional. I should add that I thought she in general was fantastic and I hope the published book has sidebars devoted to “the Batman one of your PCs may have earned.”

  7. Ethan C.
    June 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    David, I actually really liked your interaction with Tila. I wish it could have resolved better. If only there could have been a final session to work it out! Or if only you’d killed one of the other demon hosts, giving Tila a shot at getting powers…

    It always seemed to me that the Caped Corvid was the one who really worked the hardest to maintain the secret identity, so I can understand not wanting to crack it there. Maybe Caleb could have guided you into some better social combat options.

    Anyway, what a cool campaign. And the big scene at the end leading up to the boss fight was phenomenal. Great tension. I think the brewery heist was the high point of the campaign, though. Hard to top the Clydesdale infiltration, and the uranium arms.

  8. zero
    June 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    spoilers-ish

    at first I kept saying ‘Get one of the demons to take control and do the whole slaughter thing, then take the unconscious girl to hell to make Seneschal your bitch’

    Timing was off on that

    Now I’m screaming ‘drop the girl into her father’s arms!’ πŸ˜€

  9. darren t.
    June 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Greatest combinations of words in the game slightly-devilish Lassie, kitten bonuses & kitten snipers all around.

    Overall loved the setting & once I get the book for Better Angels, it’d be fun to play for a campaign, at the same time it just won’t be the same without the Honey Badgers (or would that be Badgerz?) so hopefully they make it in even if just mentioned in name. Despite early on being a bit of a odd mix of powers for the characters, it seems everyone got really creative with them & the devices.

    Definitely going to add this to the list along with the New Arcadia campaign with the actual plays if wanting to introduce people to the One Roll Engine as they helped me quite a lot on getting used to that ruleset.

    Great job everyone with this campaign & excessively enjoyed listening to it!

  10. sandcastles
    June 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    …I really did not get why Painbow was a gay name until I saw it written in another comment

    only about half through, but way invested

  11. Lankhmart
    June 24, 2014 at 1:15 am

    So who would Dungeon Master and Golden Gloves have been?

    And does this connect to the D&D players from way back at the start of everything?

  12. zero
    June 24, 2014 at 7:40 am

    just finished the AP finally. I truly loved the campaign, but the end fight was a wash. I hate it when boss fights get neutered like that. I’ve noticed that as a weakness of most genres, that the numbers game beats about anything. With the ORE having rules specifically to knock down attacks if you’re beaten to the punch, it makes bosses exceedingly easy to fight.

    Everyone but Ledbetter should’ve gone to hell, I think.
    Chan has poor decisions that could be played upon by Ciralla, now that his son is out of school
    Mr. A was unrepentant for what he did and continues along the line.
    And the Caped Corvid was forced to kill his nemesis two years into the epilogue. I think that’d have been the moment, because I feel that that’d be the sole person he had ties to, so in her death, he’d cut his ties, and that’d be that.

    Still a great game, and a fun look into education. πŸ˜€

  13. Doug
    June 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I’ll be honest, I was just waiting for Ledbetter to get tired of Honey Bear’s shit and kick his butt to the curb…. Then have to kill him when he tries to write a tell-all book. Then spin into a downward spiral that leads her to Hell.

    But that’s a testament to how good this game series was, I was writing fan-fic in my head after nearly every episode! Though some of the moral dilemmas were a bit forced, I still found myself pausing the game to form counterarguments to the GM’s accusations.

    Great work guys, keep up the awesome.

  14. sandcastles
    June 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    the final battle was a bit easy with all the help, but caught the mind’s eye terrifically as an epic battle all the same.
    really got brought in by Dave and Bill voicing the Ministry of Strength singing “Bringing In the Sheaves” together while clapping/punching to the beat

    but satisfied with where things went overall. hell (har har) of a campaign overall

  15. Chados
    June 24, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I had to add a few of Bill’s “Flat What’s” to Bran/the Caped Corvid’s interaction with Teela. Deny it to the very end, David. πŸ˜‰ I enjoyed the whole scene, the whole episode, the whole campaign.

    Excellent performances from everyone, some good/bad choices, and the whole thing was extremely entertaining. This has to be one of my top two favorite campaigns.

  16. malkav11
    June 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    I think that up to a point ORE will do combat just fine with the versions of the system that have separate health etc stats, but this version very much privileges striking first and numbers because of the sliding/removing the same stats that power actions. (Though, conversely, the fact that removing a point of something is as much damage as you can do even if you have a ridiculous width makes combat more of a slugfest and deprivileges power level to an extent. I mean, yeah, Righteous Arm potentially being a +5 bonus is terrifying and all, but it doesn’t expand the damage space beyond what the players have ready access to.)

    I don’t know that combat is really the point, though.

  17. Hooligan Tuesday
    June 24, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    As a system ORE really lends itself to ensemble bosses than single big bosses. A team of bad guys with complimentary powers is a lot more dangerous and a lot more fun to try and dismantle.

    Action economy and the fact that nobody can really go about 10 die makes it super easy for a team of weaker characters to dog pile one super powerful guy, completely shut him down and kill him a death of a thousand cuts.

  18. Ink
    June 24, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    An excellent end to an excellent campaign. I really learned a lot from this campaign, mostly that I have trouble telling Bill and David’s voices apart. I only figured out David was the one playing the Caped Corvid this session. I’m sure it was mentioned at the start, but that was a while ago.

  19. Larken
    June 26, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Caleb this was a really fun campaign you created for Better Angels!
    I’ve been really wondering in the past how to create a meaningful campaign for this system and this series really helped in showing a way to do so.
    I loved your framing device in setting the campaign within a single year of these poor school teachers lives.
    I also think using a centralized MacGuffin (like that school) that needs protection was a helpful element in quelling a possible rise in random, campaign derailing, “demon infused” murder hobo rampages. (yeah going to hell is in itself a built in check for this sort of behavior but it still doesn’t stop players from potentially going off to china for giggles to become vodka swilling, demon powered, triad panda assassins or some other such nonsense)
    they were good ways to provide a context for the players actions/existence and I will keep that in mind if my group ever decides to give Better Angels a go.

    I think the only things I would add to this campaign now that I’ve heard it in full would be some subtle setting descriptions that mention the governors campaign drive. (when did you have the idea for what the final villain and end game would be? Was it from the start or only midway through?) I think I would maybe give it a small news story mention before or after a fiendish attack or perhaps there’s an uptick in yard posters and volunteers pestering players at their doors?
    Anyways another idea that occurs to me is to have a final collateral damage roll help determine each players epilogue. Maybe it’s based on their final stats or based on some sort of hidden checklist throughout the sessions? I thought that letting almost all the players have carte blanche control over if they can exorcise their demons felt a little too fair for some reason.
    Anyhow awesome series guys and I look forward to hearing what you’ve got coming next!

  20. Corwin
    June 26, 2014 at 10:28 am

    @David
    Well what WOULD have the Caped Corvid said to Teela if he was sure of no camera equipment in the room?

  21. David
    June 26, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    @ Corwin

    Nothing I could have said would have changed the outcome. She was out for blood and that’s all there is to it.

    “Yes, I killed him. Shot him in the head; I’m the reason he had a closed casket, and let me tell you the way he thrashed around it HAD to have hurt! I mean, no two ways about it, he died bad. Ha ha, good times!”

    “Yes I shot him and I’ve regretted it ever since. His death has haunted me in ways you can’t possibly imagine, and it started YOU on a downward spiral from which there seems to be no escape. I’m sorry. Had I known then what I know now, I would never have pulled that trigger.”

    Really, once a person builds an elaborate deathtrap involving a bulldozer and a pallet of nailguns, they’ve *committed* to a certain outcome. A lot of sweat equity went into that and there’s really only one way for it to pay off.

  22. Ethan C.
    June 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Ya gotta go full Vader Gambit at that point: “Yes, I killed your brother. And I made you into the glorious hero you are now! Now, you must JOIN me! Together, we will save your family and rule this city!”

  23. crawlkill
    June 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    ehhh I dunno. Caleb did mention being ready to bring Tila in on the smackdown if she’d been talked around. I think the best approach would’ve been a heel-face turn thing, offering to turn himself in for his crimes (or otherwise put his fate in her hands) after dealing with the endgame if she’d come and help. “just let me do this one noble thing!” and hey, if she’d died in the encounter, free lunch.

    but CC was always the character who seemed most at peace with being villainous. I’m not surprised it went the way it did, just, y’know.

  24. malkavianmadman
    June 29, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    If I had been playing…..I don’t think there would have been an epic boss fight at all I would have ventillated the host to prevent it….Maybe I am just crazy or something

  25. Clint
    June 30, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Great end to a great game. Also, wow ganging up on opponents is great. Loved the character epilogues. Specially Chan’s for obvious reasons.

  26. Levi
    July 8, 2014 at 12:49 am

    Amazing campaign. Simply amazing. Loved the PCs towing the line between being evil MFers and doing good. The funniest campaign thus far.

    I tended to like Mr. A the most, with his consistent juicing up of the students after first trying not to. I think he’s the one with an actual shot of going the rest of his life with a demon in him.

    The end-game felt like it came from nowhere (were there clues we could have picked up on?), but I thought it was very satisfying, albeit the actual fight was a bit sad (but big RPG fights are hard to make).

    You also saved the kiiiiiids, which was great. Good job by all! Totally backing the Kickstarter project.

  27. corwin
    July 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    @David

    I know that this is late, but I think option one is more understandable.

    Personally I would have told Teela that I have given her the one thing an instructor wants to impart into there students. Motivation. Because until she met the Caped Korvid (Corvid?) she really wasn’t going to do much with her life.

    Sometimes you just need that little push for greatness.

  28. Thorn
    July 9, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    I for one like how David stuck to his guns.

    Great game guys. I was sad to see this one end. My only regret is not seeing how Tom’s character would have played out.

  29. zero
    July 15, 2014 at 6:20 am

    @Corwin

    “I’ve always found that heroes work best when dealing with crippling emotional pain” – paraphrased from the Joker.

  30. KenR
    February 7, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Wow. What a finale.

    While the last confrontation was very cool – great imagery – it was definitely the confrontation between the Corvid and Tila that stays with me from this. On the post-mortem Caleb compares Bran to Walter White and I think that’s apt. It feels like his whole story has been coming towards this point of confrontation and admission and he just – won’t. This is the part where the anti-hero realizes the cost and admits his flaws, but not Bran. He feels hard done by life and doesn’t see why anyone else expects something different.

    It’s an amazing scene for that.

    And then we have kitten laser eyes, to follow. I also loved how the players aren’t really sure what to do when granted a boon and it’s Susan/Sara who has to remind them to look after the keedz. Impulsive and self-serving to the end, Fiendish Four.

    Anyways, great campaign. I went through it quickly and now I’m going back to the initial playtest for another Better Angels fix.

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