Better Angels: The Spared and the Spoiled episode 8

This may or may not be an artist's depiction of the RPPR table.The school year is over halfway complete, yet the problems of the Fiendish Four never let up! A new super villain has set up shop in the area, a gang boss who is more than ready to unleash his powers on the public. He’s also challenging the Four’s own gang, in that he pays them and offers them work. Clearly, this gross injustice cannot be allowed to stand. What ace does the villain up his sleeve? Find out in this action packed episode!

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  1. Hooray! Can get my BA fix. Thanks a ton RPPR crew, keep up the awesome. This game has hit the perfect stride for affably evil characters.

  2. Awww I wanted Ross to go to hell!

    So I don’t get how people die in the game if you keep sliding from Open to Sly and back? I heard in the middle of that, that after Open is gone, any slides just obliterate Sly, and THEN you die, is that right?

    I know you guys had to deal with rule changes, I’m just trying to get a grasp on it.

    Another great game, the campaign is a lot of fun!

  3. @zero There’s actually a whole sidebar in the book about that very issue. You have to get the hellbinder you want dead down to one Open or Sly which will then bounce back and forth indefinitely until someone hits them with a set wife enough to obliterate the Strategy point directly, which I believe is a Width 5+. As you’d imagine, this makes Hellbinders really hard to kill. Stolze suggests giving people bonuses to help them roll a wide enough set if the combat starts to drag, or just saying, “To hell with it! He’s dead!” at a dramatically appropriate moment.

  4. Kinda miffed that Chan got out of being dragged to hell by just being punched in the face. A goddamn hard punch infused with flame, sure, but dragging someone to hell is damn hard already and it would be nice to see one of the players burned by the fire they’ve been playing with for most of the campaign.

    Even still, great session. Demonically infused combat is awesome.

  5. I too was disappointed Ross did not get dragged to hell! but not for rules reasons. only because PC death is one of the few things that warms my frozen bones.

    this campaign is so joyful and terrible and I love it

  6. I do love the thing that screws the Fiendish Four over most often is their tendency to forget that NPCs are capable of simple inference and deduction

  7. Guys, guys … if Ross gets dragged to Hell *now*, think of how many opportunities he will miss to turn things into uranium … and then *still* get dragged into Hell, because damned if the Fiendish Four aren’t still on a downward spiral. I particularly look forward to Miss Leadbetter’s continued marital troubles.

  8. I just thought it would fit the character and episode if he did in fact get dragged to hell. The episode started with Chan handing out testaments to the other characters in case something happened to him. His super-villainy would be the perfect theme for his son’s essay and to be frank, Chan is pretty dumb at times. I’d have bet on him being the first to reach 5 Primary Sinful first and so it went.

    I understand why it might have been a bother to go “Bill, here’s your chance to drag Ross to hell” in the middle of a big fight, but it doesn’t make sense for Hanchu (wut, how do you spell his name? Hanxhu? Han Shu?) to sit nicely and wait for the battle to be over for his chance to hit demon jackpot and take Chan to hell (especially since fucking over the other PCs right away would give him an excellent start). Then again, it could have gotten real weird for Bill to hump the other players as a demon (most of dragging someone to hell is absolutely evil and parts horrifying) and in the next scene be a nice guy saving Sejourner(?). Now, from what the end of the episode teased at, Chan will just go chill out in prison with Toxic Assets (will always be Error Margin to me :c) so it feels like he got off the hook really cheap.

    Also, PC death give me some sadistic satisfaction few other things can touch.

    I’ll just chalk it up to the trials and tribulations of play-testing the game and campaign. Still enjoying the hell out of it. Giving players nearly free reign to be terrible people always ends up in hilarity.

  9. There was something I think Caleb referenced in a previous actual play. About a demon or the devil who just give the person everything they want and is super cooperative until the person is damned. I don’t remember exactly and was wondering if any of you guys know what i’m talking about. I think it was an inspiration for a certain npc he was playing.

  10. @toolboks
    I think you are referring to Caleb’s “The Devil doesn’t lie- he tells you the truth until you damn yourself” philosophy.

    The incident you’re referring to occurs in the last episode of Know Evil (27). During the meeting with the Ozma agent (from around 00:44:00) who trades information with the Firewall cell Caleb mentions the philosophy from 1:03:00 to 1:05:00 and 1:09:00 to 1:10:25.

    Caleb took this interpretation of the Devil from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” comics (Volumes 1 and 4) and the Vertigo Comics “Lucifer” series. Ross gives Lucifer a shout-out in RPPR episode 78 at 1:07:50.

    Caleb seems to love adapting this philosophy into games because it’s a pillar of player logic:
    1. The “No Security” scenarios work because players love to uncover the truth- especially if they go insane for their victory.
    2. “The Devotees” is centered on the players performing horrific tasks for an (insane?) crime lord while justifying their tactics with “We have a quest!” or “It’s for the greater good!”
    3. Better Angels seems to have taken this concept and written an entire game. Human players have objectives. They ask other players as demons for help. Everyone goes to hell. Like Fiasco, it cuts out the gm-as-middleman and makes the people at the table cooperate to their own detriment. Isn’t damnation fun?

  11. omg Thesauradon is an even crazier RPPRchivist than I am

    I don’t remember that at all, I should go listen to the last couple episerds of Know Evil again

  12. @Thesauradon

    What the ef. That was an amazingly accurate breakdown of exactly what I was referring too. You should just be my muse. That’s how i feel like they would function.

    How many times have you listened to these episodes, or do you just have a crazy eidetic memory?

  13. This campaign is getting better and better.
    Chan should totally have gotten dragged to hell. I so wanted that…

    But there is still hope.

  14. I think Better Angels could be improved by the player not knowing how close he is to being dragged to hell.

  15. I mean, personally, I think as much fun and as appropriate as it would be for Chan to be the one to get dragged to hell, it’s decently fair play that if he can get punched into Hell, he can be punched out of going to Hell. While obviously the involuntary possibility has to exist (because unfortunately, as good a suggestion as Zero has, the way Better Angels is designed it’s hard to function. You have to not tell the human player what the demon’s primary strategy was, yet also be able to keep track of when they hit 5), it’s only fair game that it switches back.

    Also, while technically, the book says “The Demon starts the process automatically”, as Caleb says, it makes a lot of sense to not, given that it would draw a lot of attention to itself wandering of with Chan’s body in the middle of a fight, and that’s just asking for a sibling to notice and book the kibosh on that. So, while it’s a drift, it makes sense.

    Plus it’s way cooler if Chan were to damn himself somehow, rather than just “You get slapped, this is the final straw in your path to damnation”.

  16. Can I just say that, I love Caleb and Sara snickering and outright scoffing/laughing at assumed things about the school board procedures from the non-initiated players. XD

  17. One thing they should have done is give the hellbender the ability to “Redeem” their demon somehow. It would be hella hard to do mind you but with enough righteous actions one might be able to convince their demon change their sinful existence and embrace their angelic origins once again. I’ed probably have something like you have to destroy the demon’s primary strategy by acting against it as well as shifting a lot toward virtuous strategies. Most of all they must resist the urge to call on Demon Aspects and the various temptations of their demon. They also would have to minimize the use of their powers and when they do use them, use them in positive, non-sinful ways.

  18. I think it’d be pretty hard to run BA that way. I mean, when you get stuck in the story, you literally make a deal with your personal devil for plot information. That, and it wouldn’t be much human-demon interaction, with the demon not seeing anything until called and when called he’d just be pissed. Even if it’d try to force aspects on, it wouldn’t have many dice to roll.

    I guess it could work, since I haven’t read the entire book yet (currently have a player that can’t really handle confrontation, so BA isn’t high on the priority list atm) but to me BA is a game where decent people are given demonic power and try to do good with it, but fall to the allure of sweet, sweet demon juice as all the players in the campaign seem to be doing, although I think David’s somehow fine at this point despite being probably the most evil at this point although you could argue Ross/Bill with stupefying alchemy and creating a cult, respectively.

    Can’t wait for angels to show up (Ross, why y no next episode yet? Need my fix :c).

  19. in would have been interesting if everyone went to deal with ElDeablo and booked it to the exercisum (spelling sucks, pleas ignore it )

  20. Anyone else get a “No Soul Left Behind”/”Better Angels” vibe from ” Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones”? (Especially based around the point of this session where the exorcism is starting?)

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