Author Topic: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled  (Read 48649 times)

Gorkamorka

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2013, 02:06:20 AM »
You know, this game does not sound like it will GO GrimDark at all ::)
Gorkamorka (Fridrik)

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2013, 06:23:07 AM »
Lilith gets +1 Deceit to spend on Tom, and +1 Nurture. She may be lying about her true nature, but kids need love.

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2013, 05:49:09 PM »
Andrews, Henry

DOB: 03/16/1979
Place of Birth: Chicago, Il

Henry Andrews grew up just a few dozen yards away from the perimeter fence of O'Hare International Airport.  To most, living in the neighborhood, the constant sound of planes taking off and landing were a source of intense noise pollution.  To young  Henry, the planes were a source of endless fascination.  At the age of five, he would often go to the fence and watch the planes coming and going, trying to identify each one.  While most kids his age had bookshelves full of comics or fantasy novels, his were filled with books on aircraft, from Cessna's to 747's.  The fascination with planes had a two-fold importance.  For one, Henry truly loved them.  For another, it was a great distraction from his tyrannical mother and depressed alcoholic father.  His mother ruled the household with an iron fist, never missing an opportunity to tell Henry what a disappointment he was, or his father how much she hated him.  His father, despite being a successful venture capitalist, never argued with her.  He just drank scotch and tried to ignore her.  Henry did his aircraft identifying ritual every chance he got.  It got him away from his mother, and it gave him a few brief moments of happiness.  He knew that whatever he did with his life, he wanted to be involved with airplanes.  Not a pilot, as Henry did have an unfortunate fear of heights.  But he wanted to work with them, in some way.

At the age of ten, his mother died suddenly of a stress induced heart attack.  His father was utterly grief-stricken, plunging deeper into alcohol and depression.  Henry, on the other hand, felt an incredible relief.  It was as if a great weight had been lifted from him.  He thought that his father would eventually get over it as well, remembering just how much his wife had tormented him.  But that never happened.  He had never realized just how whipped his father had been.  Soon, Henry's father was having trouble performing at his job.  He would come home and go straight to the bottle, leaving Henry to largely take care of himself.  It destroyed him to see his father in the state he was in.  By the time Henry graduated high school in 1997, he had begun to suspect that his father was in that state because Henry had never properly mourned his mother.  It was untrue, of course.  But Henry believed it enough to have it always in the back of his mind.

Despite the setbacks, Henry decided to pursue his goal.  He enrolled in a technical institute, hoping to learn all he could about avionics and aircraft engines.  As it turned out, Henry had quite a knack for such things, and he found himself at the top of his class.  His time in the school became the greatest time of his life.  He was away from home, working on things he was passionate about, and he didn't think about the self-imposed guilt about his mother.  He graduated in 2001, and wasted no time getting into his desired field.  The obvious choice was to go to work at O'Hare Airport, the very place he had idolized as a kid.  Within a few weeks, he had gotten a job as an aircraft mechanic.  The job fit him like a glove.  His apprenticeship was over in record time, and he developed a reputation as one of the top mechanics at the airport.

His focus on his job was interrupted by a phone call from his father's attorney in 2004.  He was told that his father had been killed in a drunk driving incident.  He had wrapped his car around a streetlight, with a blood alcohol level of eight times the legal limit.  Despite the years as a venture capitalist, Henry's father's funeral was a small, modest affair.  A few people from the firm had shown up, as well as his father's golfing friends.  One person who did show up was James Kramer, a kid that Henry had lived next to back in the old neighborhood.  They had been friends, but not particularly close.  After the funeral, James took Henry out for a drink.  While not normally a drinker, Henry was pouring them back like a pro.  James told him that he was a lawyer now, and was working in a prestigious Chicago law firm.  Over the course of the evening, Henry loosened up and admitted to James that he had hated his father almost as much as he hated his mother.  While his mother was a tyrant, his father just took all the abuse.  He never once stood up to her, and as a result, Henry had never really had a father.  Though drunk, Henry vowed that if he ever had kids, he would be a better father than his own.

Weeks after that night, James introduced Henry to Monica Hughes, a legal secretary from his firm.  It was set up as a blind date, and Henry at first wasn't very enthusiastic.  When they met, however, that changed.  Monica was a gorgeous young woman, and was very smart to boot.  By the time the first date was over, Henry was absolutely smitten with her.  They dated steady for four months before Henry realized that Monica was the one.  She was who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.  He proposed to her a week later.  She agreed, and on May 4, 2005, Monica and Henry were married at a lavish ceremony.  Henry paid for most of it with the inheritance he had received from his father.  They honeymooned for two weeks in the Bahamas.  Henry couldn't believe how lucky he was.  He figured that the next logical step was a family of their own.  It was a chance to do a better job than his own parents had done with him.

That dream, as it turned out, was slow to come.  For several years, all their attempts to have children failed.  Henry was discouraged, but he vowed to not give up.  That sooner or later, their perseverance would pay off.  His dedication to his job went much more smoothly.  In 2009, he was made a senior mechanic at the airport.  With the increased pay and benefits, Henry was able to purchase a dream house in the city.  Monica quit her job at the firm, claiming she wanted to dedicate herself to the house and the eventual family that would they would have.  Henry made more than enough to support them both, and he agreed.  He simply devoted himself entirely to his job.  It was as he did so that he failed to notice a change in Monica.  He didn't quite notice her becoming less open with him, as well as not talking like they used to.  That was lost in his pursuit of his job and house.

Finally, in 2011, Monica became pregnant.  Henry had come home early one day to surprise Monica with a night out.  He came home to her finishing a pregnancy test.  He surprised her, but she laughed it off.  The real surprise occurred when the test results came up.  She was pregnant.  Henry felt an uncontrolled wave of joy.  He hugged her close, telling her that he knew this day would come.  The dinner they went out to that night was a night to remember.  That weekend, Henry wanted to call everyone he knew to tell them the good news.  Monica disagreed, saying that she wanted to invite all their friends and family over to tell them in person.  Henry loved the idea, and let her make all the plans.

That Monday, Henry went in to work, still enthralled by the events of the last weekend.  Around noon, however, several Chicago police officers arrived at the airport with a warrant for his arrest.  They told him that he was being arrested for assaulting his wife.  Henry was sure that it was all a huge misunderstanding.  At the station, he tried to call Monica, but there was no answer.  He called James Kramer next, asking for a lawyer.  Kramer told him that he couldn't come by, but that he would send someone from the firm to represent him at the arraignment.

The next morning, Henry was taken before a judge to enter a plea.  He pleaded not guilty.  The prosecutor asked that he be remanded without bail.  The young clerk Kramer had sent over argued against it, but that changed when Monica entered the courtroom.  She had bruises and cuts on her face, and one eye was swollen shut.  She didn't enter dramatically, but just enough for the court to take notice.  Her presence was enough for the judge to remand him without bail.  Henry tried to ask her what had happened, but Monica recoiled from him like he was a monster. 

The next few months were like a nightmare.  For weeks, he couldn't get any information about what had happened to Monica.  It wasn't until the trial that he learned some of the truth.  When Monica took the stand, the real horror began.  She told the jury that Henry was an abusive monster who had hit her constantly throughout their marriage.  She told them that she was terrified for her life every day.  When the prosecutor asked her what had set him off that morning, she told the jury that she had revealed that she was pregnant.  That news had sent Henry into a rage, and he had beat her nearly to death.  She tearfully said that it was then she decided to go to the police, as she feared now for the safety of her child. 

That would have been bad enough, but then the prosecutor brought forward their neighbors as witnesses.  These were the housewives that Monica often socialized with.  They told stories of how cold and angry Henry was, and that they had seen him almost hit her countless times.  His own lawyer barely cross-examined any witnesses, and Henry felt the whole courtroom despise him.  The jury deliberated for only three hours before they brought back a verdict.  He was found guilty of assault.  The day before sentencing, Henry asked Kramer to watch over his accounts and affairs while he was in prison.  Kramer agreed, and vowed to get behind what had really happened.  The next morning, Henry was sentenced to four years in prison.

TBC
"The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes.  The middle class pays all of the taxes and does all of the work.  The poor are there just to scare the shit out of the middle class.  Keep them showing up at those 'jobs'."  George Carlin

Tom Church

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2013, 06:17:33 PM »
Henry's time in prison was silent.  He never heard from James Kramer, Monica, or anyone else.  Every call he tried to make was never returned.  He lay in bed all night, trying to fathom what had happened.  He did not fare well in prison, and had more than one incident of humiliation.  He tried to keep his head down, and just get through the nightmare intact.

Henry was released after eighteen months for good behavior.  The very first thing he did upon release was to go directly to James Kramer's law firm and demand to know why his call were never returned.  He found that James no longer worked there and had moved away over a year before.He tried to look up Monica, but she too had vanished.  He then went to his old bank to try to access his accounts.  To his horror, he found that all of his accounts had been closed a year ago.  Penniless and homeless, Henry didn't have a clue what to do then.

A few days later, as Henry was eating at a local soup kitchen, a man who identified himself only as Luther came to see him.  He was a very large man, and obviously a bruiser.  Luther asked him if he was Henry Andrews.  Hesitantly, he told the man he was.  Luther then proceeded to tell Henry a very horrific story.  Almost two years ago, Monica had come to him with a business proposition.  She wanted Luther to beat her, so she could frame her husband for it.  He was promised a thousand bucks to do so, half up front, and half after she framed her husband.  Incredulous, Henry asked him why he was telling him this.  The answer was "bitch left town before she paid me the other half."  He felt that instead of demanding his pay, he would let her duped husband know about the arrangement when he was released.  Before he left, Henry asked Luther how Monica had found him.  He said that a lawyer that had represented him in court sent her to him.  Henry didn't ask who.  He knew in an instant.

It took some time, but Henry finally found out that James Kramer had moved to St. Louis.  Henry worked odd jobs for a while to earn enough money for a train ticket.  With his prison term, no one wanted to hire him, despite his skills.  He did whatever jobs he could find.  In St. Louis, he found out what he already suspected.  Monica had married James Kramer and had sold off all the Chicago assets.  They were living a wealthy lifestyle, now with Henry's own children.  Twin girls named Alice and Kaitlin.

Henry found a job at some place called The Brighter Futures Academy, a filing cabinet for doomed children.  He managed to get on as the head custodian, which in itself was impressive.  It was impossible to get a job with his record, and he only got it because he was so insanely overqualified.  With a source of income, Henry began to look in on his ex-wife.  Over a year, he has learned some sickening things.  First, using some disreputable private investigators, Henry learned the name of a doctor back in Chicago that James Kramer had paid money to seven times in the past.  He found out that the payments were for abortions for Monica.  She had been pregnant seven times during their marriage, and she had gotten rid of all of them.  The only reason that she had the twins was that Henry had found out about them before she could get rid of them.  He also found out that Monica had been sleeping with James almost thier entire marriage.  And finally, James had used his influence to get power of attorney over all of Henry's assets and transferred it all over to Monica.  It was from this money that Monica convinced their old neighbors to testify the way she wanted.

It was at that point that Henry realized he had done exactly what his father had done.  He had let his wife dominate him completely.  Only, instead of threats and screaming, Monica had done it with smiles and words.  Something snapped in him at that point.  He still works at the school, and he still finds himself watching the Kramer family.  He knows that his daughters have been told what a monster their old daddy was.  They want nothing to do with him.  He still watches them.  Henry often finds himself outside their house at night, a small .38 pistol in his pocket.  He doesn't quite know why he has the pistol, but he knows he brought it.  He then leaves, vowing he will never go back.  He always does.

Henry is planning something.  What that is, or whether or not he will go through with it remains to be seen.
"The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes.  The middle class pays all of the taxes and does all of the work.  The poor are there just to scare the shit out of the middle class.  Keep them showing up at those 'jobs'."  George Carlin

PaperGangster

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2013, 12:34:47 AM »
And now for something completely different.  :)
Concept sketch of Bran from a friend of mine.

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2013, 06:35:35 PM »
Tom why is it every time I read one of your backstories I'm left hoping your character murders at least 1 person listed in the story. First I've been waiting for Chirop to find the specific agents involved in his wifes murder and literally rip them apart.
Now I want this new guy to take on a full aspect of his demonic possesion to hide all involvement in it and just straight up murder his ex and her new husband.

Or at least use his demons powers to make the truth come to light.
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Cthuluzord

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2013, 10:37:26 AM »
I saw discussion about this campaign falling apart elsewhere and just wanted to clarify some things.

The campaign not working out had zero to do with the system. It is a great system that is interesting, concise, and novel. It has great mechanics for extended play and is very well written. I would still very much like to play/ run it some day.

It is true that the "everyone plays two characters" dynamic can complicate matters if someone doesn't show up, but it really isn't that bad. If one player doesn't show up, another player has less work for the night (e.g. doesn't have to play the demon) and the GM has to do a couple lines worth of impression. It is no big deal.

The problem occurs when two or three players don't show up, without notice, for the very first sessions of the campaign. There is nothing any GM or system can do to overcome no one actually being present to play the game, and it is hard to bring people into a campaign's story when they miss the very first sessions.

To give you some insight on what I'm talking about here, I last edited the Word document entitled "The Spared and the Spoiled" on Nov. 3. It was ready to go then. Granted, we alternate campaigns every other week, but as of the last week of March we had played exactly two times...since November. Every other occasion involved the few who did show up sitting there, awkwardly picking a movie to watch or scrambling for something to play at the last second.

The whole thing began to stress me out and wasn't fun anymore. I don't know if it my concept wasn't attractive and no one had the guts to say so. Maybe it was just some sort of scheduling curse. It doesn't matter; no one was having fun and that is the purpose of the endeavor. So I pulled the plug. I just want it to be clear that it has nothing to do with the game. Greg wrote a great system set in an interesting genre. Anybody that gives the game a shot will have a good time, and don't let this campaign's dissolution turn you off the book. The two have nothing to do with each other.

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2013, 11:41:57 AM »
Thank you for the clarification, Caleb. I'll admit: I was beginning to worry that there was a problem with the game itself.

I actually have a question related to the game I'd like to ask you:

The concept of the demon being constantly invoked or not seems to make a large difference in the way the game is played, at least from listening to the actual play. Do you have any advise for how to design pregens from a convention scenario? Specifically, is it a good idea to have a situation where any of the players demons are constantly invoked? If so, should the entire group be designed that way or does it work if only some are?

Basically, I have to make six pregens. What hazards might I run into that aren't readily apparent?

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2013, 11:44:52 AM »
Tom why is it every time I read one of your backstories I'm left hoping your character murders at least 1 person listed in the story. First I've been waiting for Chirop to find the specific agents involved in his wifes murder and literally rip them apart.
Now I want this new guy to take on a full aspect of his demonic possesion to hide all involvement in it and just straight up murder his ex and her new husband.

Or at least use his demons powers to make the truth come to light.

This. This is why.

22:20 in.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 11:46:41 AM by Setherick »
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Cthuluzord

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2013, 01:37:17 PM »
Quote
Thank you for the clarification, Caleb. I'll admit: I was beginning to worry that there was a problem with the game itself.

I actually have a question related to the game I'd like to ask you:

The concept of the demon being constantly invoked or not seems to make a large difference in the way the game is played, at least from listening to the actual play. Do you have any advise for how to design pregens from a convention scenario? Specifically, is it a good idea to have a situation where any of the players demons are constantly invoked? If so, should the entire group be designed that way or does it work if only some are?

Basically, I have to make six pregens. What hazards might I run into that aren't readily apparent?

I actually made that mistake as well. No demons are constantly invoked. Even if a demon has a higher Sinister Strategy than a Virtuous one, that only means that the demon is aware of everything the human is doing. The demon still cannot speak unless directly spoken to. This keeps table talk and side conversations to a minimum, and the game is otherwise unplayable unless that rule is in place.

Really, the "always on" rule won't have much play in a con game. It really just allows the demon to make a case for Sinister raises that a human could otherwise hide from an uninvoked demon. It's part of the sinful death spiral mechanic. In a con game, I doubt it will make much of a difference.

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2013, 02:17:24 PM »
Excellent, that makes me feel a lot better. I was worried about trying to keep control of a whole table doing double duty nearly all the time.

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2013, 07:59:20 AM »
Just to add further clarification. We wrapped up Iron Heroes in late January and started playing soon after. But after nearly two months or so of only playing the pre-campaign scenario, one session of the actual campaign, and multiple last-minute cancellations, the game was scrapped. And no amount of begging and reassurance from my end at school could convince Caleb otherwise. I don't blame him. It was a very unfortunate situation. I still hope I can play Jesús and Lily sometime though.

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2013, 01:14:22 AM »
I'm surprised that Caleb hasn't mentioned this, but the campaign may soon be resurrected. Jesús lives again!

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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2013, 12:58:21 AM »
So, the campaign rebooted. We retconned the first episode a bit and started up with episode 2 with some new characters. Two sessions and a total of seven hours later we finished the first objective with the team holding a brewery hostage, irradiating the beer by turning a man's arm into uranium, and holding a shapeshifting clydesdale hostage.

All in all, a rousing success.


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Re: Better Angels Campaign: The Spared and the Spoiled
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2013, 01:38:07 AM »
What is the over under on the posting of the AP? Nov 2015?