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Better Angels: No Soul Left Behind
 
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Better Angels: No Soul Left Behind
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Better Angels: No Soul Left Behind
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Petri W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/22/2016 01:54:12

Ok, I'll admit I backed this Kickstarter just on the strength of it being done by one of the RPPR guys (excellent podcast!), and it being a campaign for a game by the awesome Greg Stolze didn't hurt. I received the book some time ago, but only now got around to reading it. Wow. Just... wow. I read a lot of rpg stuff, and this is the best thing I've read in a long, long while.

It's a cynically hilarious take on modern (U.S.) high school education, and it shows that it's written by a real-life teacher -- there is a ton of darkly humorous material here about the realities of meager budgets, political backstabbing, and burned-out teachers. However, it's not nihilistic -- quite the opposite. The general theme is making a difference (however small) and the possibilities for redemption in a world where doing the right thing isn't usually all that easy. The book is giggle-inducingly funny, poking fun at pretty much everything, and the amazing this is that in addition to being a fantastic read it also sounds like a kick-ass campaign to play. The writing is flat-out excellent.

The plot? A group of random students & faculty get superpowers via getting possessed by demons, and must use their powers of eeeeviiiiillll to work good. Or not, depending on player whims. There's a nicely convoluted back plot, and the whole thing culminates in an apocalyptic showdown well worthy of Buffy. The campaign is split into ten linked scenarios, with lots of extra material helping flesh out the town and inhabitants. Some very nice GM advice is also sprinkled among the general mayhem.

It doesn't matter if you have the core game (Better Angels) or not. Get this. Read it. You'll be glad you did.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Angels: No Soul Left Behind
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2015 18:20:05

This book is everything my black heart ever desired and more.

I listened to the original playtest campaign over at RPPR--Role-Playing Public Radio--and was instantly jealous of all the hilarious shenanigans the players got up to. As someone who sidestepped the crucible of student teaching by majoring in Literature instead (Winning move there!) but had a front-row seat to the trials of his roommates, who did not, this campaign book is exactly the kind of creative expression of pent-up frustration and nerdrage my friends need. It's absolutely stuffed with content, from fun writing to fantastic artwork to extra rules and powers and aspects...and then, of course, there's the actual ten-part campaign (Which, with the enormous number of optional sideplots provided, could easily double in length at the table!), which includes scenarios (And suggestions on making them one-shots) characters (Everything from Brighter Futures students and staff to rival Hellbinders to angelic singing bodybuilding Christian superheroes) and an overarching plot that can only be described as "Stokesian" in its fiendishness.

If I had to narrow down the book's greatest strength, however, it would be the aforementioned writing. As a wannabe scenario writer myself I've read a lot of RPG campaign books, and many of them suffer from dry and lifeless tone that attempts to present information to its readers as clinically and detached as possible. The author of this book, thank God or whomever else you worship, does not. He's colloquial. He's conspiratorial. He's funny. This is not a book that came off an assembly line--it's one dude's passion, and rather than try to hide that with dull word choice and bland sentences he owns it. It's like he's reading the damn thing to me over a couple of beers, stopping to let me laugh and shake my head every so often before continuing for more. It brings a life to the book that fits the tone of the parent game so perfectly, which is absolutely critical for something like Better Angels. If the GM isn't feeling the magic, then neither will their players.

I dropped twenty bucks for the pdf of this, but I'm already kicking myself for not ordering the digital/physical combo instead. As soon as I finish this review I'm out the door to my local game store to see if they'll take a special order.

Buy it. FOR THE KEEDZ.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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