Regeneration — A New Power for ‘Better Angels’

Better-Angels-cover-v4-front-612pxWritten by Greg Stolze, © 2013

Regeneration (Cowardice)

The power of healing really, really quickly is coveted by anyone who’s ever had to deal with the persistent itch and horrible aroma of a broken leg in a cast.  It’s also, naturally, a powerful temptation for a cowardly demon to offer a timid mortal.

In many games, Regeneration is easy to implement because characters have Hit Points, but Better Angels has a different focus. It tracks how able you are to fight back (or do other actions) and doesn’t explicitly address how bloodily you’re injured.  The rules don’t say when you’ve got a broken arm or are bleeding out — exactly what “I lost 2 points of Open” means is up to you and the GM — so Regeneration can’t say when your arm is fixed or when you’re back to normal.

At the same time, Endurance and Cruelty and similar physical traits are so much more than just how battered you are at a particular moment.  If, in the course of a fight, someone held you down and slowly sliced your eyeball until the fluid inside had completely drained, that would be a significant reduction in Courage (and probably Open).  Having your eye grow back ten minutes later is a powerful consolation (as long as she doesn’t immediately cut it out again) — but does it fully restore your will to fight, or is an entirely natural reluctance likely to remain?

These are issues of characterization, so Regeneration deals with them by re-balancing Courage and Cruelty, or Endurance and Cowardice, over the course of scenes to reflect attitude changes going along with physical healing.  This power maintains a gross balance between Open and Sly.  It works quite simply.

Put a line between the dots on the Open-Sly continuum so that you know what your levels are at the start of a scene (or a game session).  If they shift around during the scene, don’t erase the lines.  Once per scene, you can make an Open Cowardice roll to restore your lost or shifted dots to Open and Sly.  Any success is sufficient to restore the previous levels.  (Though it’s possible that you may wish to remain at your altered levels, if you’ve shifted and not lost stuff.  If you decide to stay shifted, you can change the lines at the end of the scene and Regenerate to them in future scenes.)  If the scene ends without you succeeding at the roll, you can automatically reset the traits before your next scene begins

Note that you can only Regenerate in scenes where you lost or shifted those traits due to injury.  If you find something else that burns your Open or Sly, you can’t Regenerate it away.  This is trebly true for anything that gives you a benefit for sacrificing one of those traits: You can’t sacrifice, Regenerate, sacrifice and Regenerate ad infinitum. Use scratch paper to keep track of losses that can be restored with Regeneration.