Better Angels: The Spared and the Spoiled episode 4

Now you're playing with (demonic) powerAfter saving the school through highly illegal, reckless, and utterly amoral methods, the Fiendish Four want to take it easy for a bit, but new threats emerge! It seems that they aren’t the only new superhumans at Brighter Futures and unlike the Four, these interlopers are using their powers directly on the students. Territorial disputes seem inevitable, but how mature will the Fiendish Four be when it comes to resolving conflicts with their colleagues?

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  1. Awesome. I loved the super-villain-beat-down. Ross’ character turning things into things that cause terrible, terrible damage is quite hilarious.

  2. I love how into it Sara gets when there’s murder to be done! for the keeeds! excellent addition to the group, I hope she sticks around after Better Angels!

    although after this campaign nothing could be anything but a disappointment, what the fuck, this is the best thing ever. the write-what-you-know, the high farce combined with abject darkness. it’s tonal whiplash of the best, best kind.

  3. Oh yes! So good! And I’m will crawlkill – you guys are at your absolute best when you’re farce+deep, deep darkness.

    It’s just… something about you. Specifically you. Yes, you. ALL OF YOU.

  4. “Children are TacNet.” is my favorite line yet. So hopeful and yet so troubled.

  5. That was an excellent game of Better Angels. It has actually made me consider buying the game. For a future demon in the game might I suggest the “DUNGEON MASTER” as a possible villain. Have one of the D&D kids be possessed by a demon that grants him the power pull people into an illusionary world where they are at the wims of the evil DM. >:-)

  6. @darkfire14

    Done and done. I have already picked that low-hanging fruit and thrown it in the book 🙂

  7. on listening again: a thing I’ve been dying to say for years: chloroform (and anything that can render a person unconscious) is HIDEOUSLY TOXIC. like, if you don’t get the dosage just right, you will kill the shit out of the person you’re chloroforming. it’s about as realistic as hitting someone on the head to knock them out. I don’t think there’s any chemical (or pummeling) you can safely introduce to a body to render it unconscious without seriously risking murderfying it. except weed, of course, as Aaron showed us.

    since we’ve finally run into a game that seems to be trying to emphasize the consequences of, y’know, turning hands into radium, I thought maybe it was finally the time to say something about fantasy soporifics XD

  8. on the other hand, if chemistry isn’t a concern: I turn his jaw into chloroform!

  9. @crawkill

    Have you actually HEARD the players in this game? If I extrapolated realistic consequences from their every insanely dangerous action, the campaign would have lasted 15 minutes. I’m under contract to write this stuff up, man; no way I was making it that much of simulation. As it is, I basically dealt with the unintended consequences of one action per session per player and we pulled 15 sessions out of it.

    Christ, the Unseen Chupacabra alone probably would have killed the whole city ten times over…at some point you have to just scream “SUPERVILLAINS” and wave a Silver Age wand at it for the sake of narrative survival.

  10. I suppose! it’s one of those things that’s always bothered me about a lot of fiction, how easy it is to render someone a non-threat without permanently harming them when irl that’s, like, a super hard thing to do. but it’s such a trope it’s probably not going anywhere in the cultural consciousness anywhere in the near future. that Alpha Protocol game from Obsidian had an “Orphans made:” field on your stats page that incremented as you killed people, but it should probably have also had a “severe brain damage inflicted:” and a “vegetable created:” column. “life supports tearfully disconnected by families: 4”

  11. Don’t know what you’re talking about. Chloroform = magic happy sleepytime juice. That’s all there is to it.

    You should just use the “mistakes were made” tag for all the APs.

  12. @crawlkill

    Alpha Protocol’s “non-lethal” counter is “bones broken” I believe. Which is kind of underplaying it since I’m pretty sure beating people until their unconscious probably does plenty of brain damage to. Human beings are not intended to just stop functioning willy-nilly. We’d make a very poor organism if we were.

    But now you’ve got me interested in someone doing a “stats” counter for RPPR campaigns. I’d love to see the results tabulated for figures such as “bodies made”, “people chloroformed”, “sanity lost” and “childhoods ruined”, etc.

    And then compare those numbers to say, campaign/system related goals, vis a vis say “Vampire Slain” for Tribes of Tokyo or “Days Saved” for Heroes of New Arcadia.

  13. If someone could tell me what they’re referencing with the “it’s for the keeeeeeds” I would love you forever.

  14. I am glad I gave you a good idea Caleb. The Dungeon Master so should have a devlish device called “The Deadly D4”.

  15. Edward James Olmos has a unique delivery of the line “I have to help these kids” in the movie Stand and Deliver. South Park made a spoof episode of it that rips on the line even more. So, in light of both, whenever we mention the kids, we’re really talking about “da keeeeeddddssss.”

  16. The chloroform thing has been bothering me for a while too, almost every time it’s used it would not only kill the person being attacked, but the player character as well. That stuff is way more potent than any fictional depiction gives it credit for. There’s a reason Anesthesiology is such a technical skill.
    Then again if we were playing by the actual rules of the universe that security guard would have gone instantly supercritical and destroyed most of St. Luis…

    Also If there were a stats counter for RPPR it would need to include “Unintended consequences engendered: ∞ “

  17. My personal ELA instructor in-joke title for this episode is, “A Disquieting Pedagogy.”

    There are so many wonderful things about this campaign. I love the way the Better Angels rules (and Caleb as the GM) allow the players to generate their own complications. The relationships between the players and their Screwtapes are also wonderful. I can’t wait for someone to reach an endgame with their demon. (I have a feeling that Ross’s character is heading there first.)

    I’m looking forward to hearing more!

  18. now I want Ross’ go-to takedown to be to turn lips into chloroform though

  19. Ross needs to take that potato gun, alchemize the potato into something more dangerous, and THEN fire it.

    A great episode, lots of fun, but I’m guessing you’re not having the devils lobby for sins anymore?

  20. I honestly couldn’t get them to stick to it. The players wanted the power so much that they would call for sins themselves every time. The game makes a character’s moral degradation directly attached to power gaming, and it is the downfall of every PC.

  21. Because turning the potato gun into a Fat Man can have no consequences….

  22. well Caleb, I hope they get their just rewards for their wicked ways when it comes to the end. It’s a very fun story you’re telling here, and I like the moral questions within it.

    @darthrex – Of course it’d have consequences, but now the Invisible Chupacabra would be slightly further away from ground zero!

  23. Ross is a great parent. I really like the regular “flat what”s from Bill.

  24. secrets and lies, secrets and lies!

    I keep laughing at Ross’ talking about his entire relationship with his son being built in a web of secrets and lies.

    Normally, Ross is just a bruiser in the games he’s in, with some exceptions in Call of Cthulu, but here, he’s totally a content generator, and probably has had some of the funnier moments so far.

  25. The Fiendish Four should be using Real-world/project-based/inquiry-based projects that are student-centered and Common Core-aligned. Digital literacy is important and I must really stress to this PLC the importance of utilizing devilish devices to address 21st century technological needs. Students today are digital natives and perhaps implementing a school-wide bring-your-own-devilish-device policy ( byoddp), as spearheaded by the science department will educate to innovate while providing differentiated instruction. The Fiendish Four should also unpack research-based aesthetics with synergistic effects to expedite competency-based presentations through cognitive disequilibrium while engaging constructivist methodologies for high-performing seats.

    I will be presenting on this very topic this year at NCTE.

  26. It wasn’t a coincidence that the apple was both the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and a symbol for teachers and the teaching profession.

  27. I’m actually making educationese a power in the campaign book. I’m calling it Babel Babble. You spout nonsensical strings of buzzwords and depress people into submission or madness.

  28. I also enjoyed the “Flat What’s” from Bill.

    Wow, you guys really have had me shaking my head, mouth agape, in horror the last few episodes. Laughing, too, but mostly just amazed at all the Evil. I’m surprised you guys weren’t dragged down to hell by this point… 🙂

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