‘Better Angels’ Story Seed: It Should Be ‘WunderKIND,’ Dammit!

Better-Angels-cover-v4-front-612pxWritten by Greg Stolze

A sinister story seed lays the groundwork—genesis, exodus, and a shocking revelation—for an evening of fun and corruption in Better Angels. The GM should draw up stats for one or two crucial NPCs as needed based on the abilities and attitudes of the player characters. Put the Hellbinders and their Screwtapes into the mix and watch what happens.

If there’s anything more irritating than a superhero cramping your demon’s style, it’s angelic interference. This means the superhero ‘WonderKid’ annoys you coming and going. He’s a superhero and host for an angel, so not only does he ruin diabolical schemes left and right, he does it while looking like a cherub from a Valentines’ day card.

Genesis

Introduce WonderKid as a complication to the Hellbinders’ own plans. As angels go, he’s not all that strong—he has the powers Circle of Abjuration and Righteous Arm, but his only aspect is Wings. He’s persistent though, and the media loves him.

What he’s not good at is covering his tracks. Nor is he particularly crafty or sneaky when it comes to concealing his secret identity. That’s because he’s seven years old.

Exodus

Chet Moorehouse has been having a great time. Lots of kids have imaginary friends, but his not only gives him good advice and reminds him to clean up his stuff, it also makes him great at skateboarding and helps him study. When he found out his angel pal could let him fly and wanted him to fight crime, well! He thought he’d died and gone to heaven!

Chet is doing fine in school, he’s comfortably middle class, and he adores his kindly older sister Margaret. His parents, Jill and Bill, are having some money problems and have had to borrow money from Bill’s mom to get the roof replaced. (Grandma Terry spoils Chet rotten, but she and Jill have always rubbed one another the wrong way, to Bill’s enduring discomfort.)

Revelation

Getting rid of WonderKid isn’t that hard, if you’re willing to be a real dick about it. Some options include…

1) Trashing His Family. Bill and Jill, despite the rhyming names, aren’t the world’s best match. They have to work hard to stay in love and remain married. Bill’s tendency towards sarcastic carping and Jill’s passive aggression leave either one of them vulnerable to a few Corruption rolls. It would be a short step from an affair to a divorce, and that’s going to send happy young Chet into a spiral of misery. Ditto with murdering his sister, or just threatening her. He simply is not at all equipped to handle an ethical conundrum as weighty as “Give up doing the right thing or risk someone you love.”

2) Trashing His Little Body. Without his ‘invisible friend’ invoked, Chet’s just a little boy. Even with an MD to add to his attempts to dodge and block, he does not have a lot of body mass, and he’s not completely developed (meaning, clumsy). A supervillain who is willing to murder a child, can. But (speaking of ethical weight) surely there’s a less extreme solution…?

3) Bewildering Him. Chet’s great vulnerability is his immature attitude and naïveté. It’s not hard to present right as wrong to him—especially when his angel isn’t invoked and the adult raising the difficult issues is someone his parents respect, or is someone like a doctor or a teacher. Questioning the motives of a celestial power that uses him as a tool seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Especially in the light of option #1, or the threat thereof.

As with many well-raised children, the simplest solution is to rat him out to his parents. If he’s persuaded to swear off crime-fighting with his angel active, the bind is pretty tight: He can’t use his powers without breaking his word, and breaking his word is unacceptable to the source of his powers.

Written by Greg Stolze, © 2013