Featured Product: Better Angels – Final Thoughts (Part 3)

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Better Angels – Final Thoughts (Part 3)
By Aaron T. Huss

Welcome to Part 3 of the Featured Product series for Better Angels RPG, powered by the One-Roll Engine and published by Arc Dream Publishing. Part 3, Final Thoughts, takes a look at the characters and game-play.

CHARACTERS

So after creating characters that mimic the comic books I enjoyed, how does Better Angels rate? In terms of characters, very high! This is possibly the first superhero game where I was able to truly create a vigilante who’s concern is something less than heroic. Yes there are many other systems and settings where this is possible, but Better Angels embraces the concept much more. I love the demon force driving the characters’ powers, but more importantly, I love having another player being that demon who can then manipulate your character into performing deeds they may find immoral.

You can easily play Better Angels as a straight-up super-villain game where your characters go around causing mayhem and fighting against the superheroes. I, however, would play it as a group of vigilantes or anyone bent on revenge that sought out supernatural powers for the sake of making a difference. However, this force is powerful and though it allows you, and encourages you, to continue with your quest no matter who gets hurt, at the same time it urges you into dark areas where you may not want to be. It’s an epic battle of mental and physical prowess over the being that provides you with the power you wanted to fulfill whatever deeds you think are necessary (such as revenge against a gang that killed your wife). You get the good and evil at the same time, and who’s going to win? What righteous deeds will you perform? What malevolent acts will ultimately prevail as the demon bargains to provide you with those powers? Everyone wants to be satisfied, and the possible role-playing hooks are endless.

RULEBOOK SUPPORT

I do have one issue with the core rulebook. The adversaries section provides a list super-powered antagonists to pin against the PCs in a fairly vanilla comic book fashion. This strikes me as a little odd in that there isn’t much more than that given Better Angels’ overall theme. Yes I fully understand that life in comic books is typically super versus super, but for Better Angels, I was expecting to see that alongside organizations the PCs may need to confront. Or possibly presenting mundane people the PCs will ultimately have to overcome. I would also think a military presence may be appropriate. I just felt the standard super versus super seemed to simple for such a unique setting.

Please note that none of this is a problem. This is just my tastes of how I perceive the setting and obviously not the only way it should be played. It was more of a surprise to me that there wasn’t more variety.

My issue is a note on how the rulebook supports the adventures you could run. But what is typical with Arc Dream Publishing, they never let a game they publish suffer and have been busy posting free content to their website. I wouldn’t be surprised if they begin publishing full adventures before the end of the year.

WOULD I PLAY IT?

Absolutely! In fact, with all the twists on superhero settings lately, Better Angels takes a nice turn by giving the players the opportunity to play something completely different – the bad guy. But it’s not that simple and everything will make a lot more sense once you begin reading how the system ties in directly with the setting. This is super-villain role-playing with a completely new look.

Part 1 | Part 2

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