Kid Hell and Vicicle: Erstwhile Enemies for BETTER ANGELS

“Kid Hell and Vicicle” is the closing short story in Better Angels, where the two erstwhile enemies find common cause. Here they are in game terms, ready for your campaign.

Written by Greg Stolze and illustrated by Kurt Komoda, © 2013 respectively.

Better-Angels-Kid-HellKid Hell

CUNNING 2, PATIENT 1
Greed 2, Generosity 2
Espionage 0, Knowledge 1

SLY 1, OPEN 3
Cruelty 4, Courage 3
Cowardice 1, Endurance 1

DEVIOUS 2, INSIGHTFUL 1
Corruption 0, Nurture 1
Deceit 2, Honesty 0

POWERS: Dominator Strike (Hot), That Hideous Strength

ASPECTS: Wings, Invisibility

PRIMARY SINFUL STRATEGY: Devious

Kid Hell is a rangy, skinny teenager in a garish red-and-yellow costume with fractal-inspired flame patterns on the forearms, ankles and waist. His real name is Stanley Prentice, and he’s a privileged kinda guy.  (Some demons look for folks like that, the same way some people just get all giggly and flustered around skinny redheads.)  His mom’s a doctor, his dad’s an expert in medical insurance payment mediation, and he’s supposed to go off to college in the fall on the East Coast.

But Stan’s always had a wild streak, and a summer job in Peru helping his archaeologist uncle unearth and preserve Moche artifacts went all interesting when they ran afoul of local antiquities thieves.  (Moche artifacts are highly sought on the black market, for a variety of reasons including “they are often made of gold” and “they feature badass spiders and screaming monkey faces.”)  When the looters tried to muscle him and uncle Oscar, Stan instinctively used a golden statuette (depicting a sort of crab-gnome) as a bludgeon and broke a grown man’s arm with one swing.  Oscar was genuinely upset that he’d risked the idol, and Stan immediately lost all respect for his uncle.  If Oscar couldn’t appreciate that his nephew was a badass who stood up for himself, then Stan was done with him, and he didn’t even resist when his parents insisted that he return home where it was safe.

He had to leave the statue behind, of course.  That’s fine.  His demon’s amulet was a little ceramic spider-bat that his uncle had identified as being largely worthless and given Stan as a keepsake.

Spurred by dreams of greatness, Stan awoke to find he was soaring, unseen, over his hometown. He didn’t know what had happened to him, but he felt it was his duty (as a courageous badass) to protect those lesser souls who couldn’t fly and fight like him.  He really wants to have a proper nemesis—someone he can reliably beat up, unlike Vicicle.

Better-Angels-VicicleVicicle

CUNNING 3, PATIENT 1
Greed 2, Generosity 3
Espionage 3, Knowledge 1

SLY 4, OPEN 1
Cruelty 3, Courage 2
Cowardice 2, Endurance 3

DEVIOUS 4, INSIGHTFUL 3
Corruption 4, Nurture 2
Deceit 4, Honesty 2

POWERS: Dominator Strike (Enervating), Impossible Beauty

ASPECTS: Carapace, Ice-Wreathed*

PRIMARY SINFUL STRATEGY: Devious

* This works just like Flame-Wreathed, mechanically, except that instead of setting everything on fire, it makes things slippery or wet.

Keith Simmons scraped and scrimped and schemed for everything that he’d gotten by the time he picked up his demonic parasite in 1977… at least, that’s how he sees things.  An equally valid argument is that he’s gotten where he is on the backs of others’ labor, and that those others mainly performed those labors on their backs.

Keith, now known as Vicicle, known as “Keith the Chief” in the late seventies, is and was a pimp.  He grew up in dire Indianapolis poverty, the son of a hard-working, bitter alcoholic father and an equally bitter, equally alcoholic and equally hard-working mom.  Despite all they had in common, Keith’s parents loathed each other and Keith sided with his dad in the inevitable breakup.  He imbibed a deep draught of misogyny from his family of origin, and that lets him treat women as objects to be manipulated for his profit.

If you ignore his absolute contempt for 51% of humankind, and his lifelong pursuit of criminal vice, Keith isn’t such a bad guy.  He works hard.  He keeps his promises, even to his prostitutes.  He won’t back down from a challenge.  He has a spectacular sense of fashion, and (to keep things in perspective) he hasn’t killed anyone in 40+ years of demon hosting.

As Vicicle, he looks like a blue-suited 1970s pimp covered in the ice that his superpowers control.

Better Angels is now available from Arc Dream Publishing.