Better Angels: The Spared and the Spoiled episode 5

Zombies: A step up from a major radioactive attack on the city. Pic by Lucy KnisleyThe Fiendish Four have secured their turf from rival villains, but a new threat may doom Brighter Futures Academy. A horde of zombies marches on the school! Who is behind the shambling undead and what can the defenders of Brighter Futures do to find and stop them, all while protecting the students and faculty? The villains have learned how to cause mayhem and inflict massive collateral damage, but sometimes that isn’t the right answer, even when it comes to zombies.

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  1. Maybe it’s a little thing, but you should credit the art you use. You never know who might be watching…

  2. I think I’ve heard the “we’re nerds who’ve been waiting for the zombie apocalypse and now it’s finally come and we react according to our conditioning” plot before. maybe in the John Dies at the End sequel? not my favorite narrative device, seems like a kind of worn-out piece of metafiction to underline how obsessed geeks are with zombie survival tropes, but still hilarious, as usual.

    seriously though cardio first, the thing no nerd puts first in his “things to do in the event of zombie attack” is “collapse wheezing to the ground after running a quarter mile.” that’d be where I died.

  3. (I too have thought before it’d be kinda nice if you credited yr art use)

  4. So you guys liked the game then?!

    (Cricket sound)

  5. FRANZIA bitches.

  6. I thought the normal school stuff was hilarious as usual. The zombie parts were good as well, but not as hilarious and/or entertaining as the previous episodes. At least the campaign’s zombie quota is satiated now.

    Leadbitter lying to her husband, failing, and then telling the truth was probably my highlight of the episode. That’d totally be me if I was a super-villain on the side.

  7. First you get down on your knees,
    Fiddle with your rosaries,
    Bow your head with great respect and
    Genuflect, genuflect, genuflect.

    Get in line in that processional,
    Step into that small confessional,
    There the guy who’s gut religion’ll
    Tell you if your sins original.
    If it is try playing it safer –
    Drink the wine and chew the wafer!
    2-4-6-8, time to transubstantiate!

    Make a cross on your abdomen,
    When in Rome do like a Roman!
    Ave Maria,
    Gee, it’s good to see ya,
    Gettin’ ecstatic and
    Sorta dramatic and
    Doin’ the Vatican rag!

  8. Lucious wins MVP always

  9. of course I liked it! it was just “this is well-executed, hilarious, startlingly playerlogic-flexible and adorable” instead of how you’ve spoiled us for it to be, “this is well-executed, hilarious, startlingly playerlogic-flexible and adorable and challenges my expectations.” jeez, one halfway neutral comment in how many years and you’re all sensitive. <3

    I think maybe it's mostly just because this might be your most, like–deliberate, specific popular genre parody? (I was gonna just say 'deliberate, specific genre parody,' then I remembered your genre parody of real-world high school is as deliberate as it is possible to be, it's just that I've never heard anyone do it before so it's completely magically new)

    so our minds as an audience jump to novels or Cracked articles or whatever that've kind of tread the same territory. which is hard to avoid when you're dealing with something as pervasive as zombies. it's a meta-comment, really. they're so banal that it's impossible even to point out how banal they are because it's already been done. and done. and done.

    basically, it's taken you since Andrew's Fortune to come up with an adventure that reminded us of anything anyone'd done before, so you've spoiled us. jeez, Caleb. you could only provide us with 170 hours of improv theater before you drew on a well someone else had? c'mon.

    I feel like I'm embarrassingly earnest in these comments sometimes, but Caleb's ego is so in check compared to his out of control awesomeness that it seems like he needs people to be real explicit about the amazeballs.

  10. thinking more about it: this is actually why I liked World War Z when I finally read it a few months ago and why I like the idea of Red Markets, because both are actually exploring global disaster in very real terms. pandemic in the case of WWZ, poverty in the case of Red Markets.

  11. Once again while the boys plunge into rhetoric, Sara goes lazer eyes on the problem. Love it. Am I weird for thinking that since Sara turns into evil animals that the Clydesdale should return with for an episode in a cape, top hat and monocle?

    The zombie assault was fantastic. I will have to steal that somehow.

    I like the vignettes in the beginning. It really breaks up the story and focuses in on how the PCs are struggling with everyday life.

    Also hats off to Ross. I loved Chang stopping and looking a little nostalgic back on brutal third world dictatorships.

  12. Man, I don’t know about any one else but that throwback to RPPR Cthulhu shenanigans history reveal at the end… Mind Blown!

    The Zombie Apocalypse meta gaming concept was entertaining, and a nice commentary on our current zombie loving culture.

  13. Again, really liking this campaign, can’t wait to know more about what actually happened in the school that fateful day or too see the players meet an angel/angelic powered hero.

    One thing that sort of broke my immersion was just how calm and rational almost everyone, but especially the Master Debator, tried to be on dealing with the zombies. Felt like a wet blanket sometimes.

  14. was that confirmed that Caleb’s youth pastor from The Haunting was Terrorax or was it just joking conjecture?

    A great game, Very fun, and intriguing.

  15. Well, I for one thought it was a great session. Maybe I just don’t get around much, but I think that scaling difficulty zombies is pretty original. Sure, he used the same concept in the New Arcadia annual, but that was specifically a parody of Skyrim.

    Honestly, out of the many, many zombie episodes of RPPR, this one might be my favorite.

  16. I felt so bad for Lucious the Hobo. He was just a silly drunk!

  17. Wait, I thought that the way to debate was call abuse on everything, especially other calls of abuse?

  18. This was pretty postmodern.
    I was entertained and the scaling difficulty mechanis is pretty clever and a good thing to bring back an use for a book of the campaign.

  19. Also felt that Ross was going to get killed by that mob, but he managed to get out. Having no attack powers sorta sucks eh? Still it was a good bad decision to go check that place out at least.

    rule question, so physical damage is mostly Open or Courage damage, and those things shift to Sly and Cowardice right? So does that mean that you are more apt to defend yourself the worse off you are?

  20. wait no, Graceful/Defiance is used to defend, not Sly/Cowardice, right?

  21. In Better Angels, it’s called Cowardice/Endurance, but you are correct. Those are the Tactics for physical defense, most of the time.

  22. Lucius, nooooooooo!! Candypants! You will be missed, Candypants.

    I hope he comes back later, either with a demon of his own or cleaned up enough to realize he probably knows the secret identity of the Unseen Chupacabra.

    (What does a chupacabra have to do with turning things into other things anyway? Shouldn’t his powers involve sucking goats in some way? If one part of his name has nothing to do with his powers, why does the other? He might as well call himself the Super-Strong Chupacabra or the Pyrokinetic Chupacabra. Why not?)

  23. This campaign is magical.

    Also, turning things into other things is totally an attack power. Didn’t we just see how much of one it could be when Ross, y’know, irradiated the entire brewery and caused that poor cop to die screaming of lethal radiation poisoning, or burned down the Grammar Nazi’s house with a garage door made of thermite?

  24. Tenure needs to be the name of another villain.

  25. You guys have to learn to speak Aaron. When Aaron says, “Fuck you, Ross!” what he really means is, “Wow, that comment was really out there! You guys are cool. I like hanging out with you guys.”

    btw, you have successfully basilisk hacked my brain. I went to see Swan Lake last night, and every time the evil sorcerer made gigantic dramatic gestures (quite frequently) I heard Ross’s voice saying, “Wizard! I am a Wizard!”

  26. Hmm, that comment was meant for the Dungeon World ep. Doesn’t make much sense here, does it?

  27. I was so, so hoping that one of the new teacher rolls would go horribly wrong, and Lucious would become the science teacher.
    (Also, as someone involved in game testing…yes, I have given the “this job is not what you think it is” speech.)

  28. The Meta from almost everyone involved(NPC’s especially) using “Zompocalypse” movie/comic/book tropes was pretty funny.

    I don’t even think any of the PC’s did horrible things to people as they have been… are they toning it down? Heh.

  29. Pretty sure they have had to tone it down, or go to hell right quick (although I’m not sure how that works, since I haven’t gotten BA yet :c).

  30. Good session. The highlight for me was the job interviewing. 🙂

  31. I was surprised to see the comments on this one! I really loved the jubilation of the students that the zombie apocalypse had finally arrived. Certainly I can remember many class periods spent wondering about how to respond to a zombie, dinosaur, or zombie dinosaur attack. Just for that reason this is probably my favorite sessions of the campaign so far.

    I also really loved the idea of the zombies getting real with their responses when people attacked them and the off-handed mention of a zombie giving up his seat on the subway.

    The players took the whole thing pretty calmly, though, perhaps due to their own marination in zombie media..

    And while there are many moments in the APs that make me chuckle, picturing Mr. Titmouse’s biomechanical bunker busters that long for death had me just barely keeping it together at work.

  32. It’s funny to hear Ross to make a comment about shooting someone into the sun given what happens in Gate 9 #Gate9hype

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