‘Better Angels’ Story Seed: The Spectacular Wing-Man!

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

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.

The Spectacular Wing-Man!

The superhero Winged Justice has a plan. It’s not about redemption.

Genesis

Evan Simmonds is a superhero, now and again. He brings his angel to the fore, puts on a skintight suit and a codpiece, then crusades as Winged Justice. He’s tooled up with high Endurance to fuel his Meek Endurance power, along with a Righteous Arm. Add on the Aspects Wings (of course) and Radiance and he’s set up to be a huge pain in the ass to demonic supervillains. (Radiance in particular isn’t much good for stopping runaway trains or fighting house fires or, really, anything other than handing demons a beat-around.)

That said, Evan isn’t too crazy about crime-crushing. I mean, it was okay back in high school and college, but he’s graduated now and is looking for a job. He’s had some close calls that put the fear of God’s enemies in him, but there’s a deeper malaise in play. When he was a student, he had a lot of structure, and between classes and crimefighting, his days were very busy. Now that he’s graduated (thanks in part to an angel that gave him lots of homework help) he feels lost. He doesn’t realize it, but while he was punching demons, his peers were figuring out what they were good at and what they wanted to do. So he’s lost and having an existential crisis. His angel’s no help—it doesn’t understand purposelessness and sees no reason he can’t just fight crime more and support himself with some shitty (I’m sorry—some humble) job, greased with periodic MD infusions.

So Evan’s talking more with his buddies and not so much with his invisible friend, and that’s only driving home his sense of isolation and loneliness. But things really get ugly when he misinterprets his general sense of dissatisfaction explicitly as a sexual (I’m sorry—romantic) lack.

Exodus

Winged Justice swings back into intermittent action, but seems drawn especially to crimes and areas of town where, to be blunt, Evan thinks he might get a chance to rescue someone cute. This very much needs to impact the lives of the PCs, either in their supervillain identities or in the courses of their bluejeans-not-spandex lives.

The script Evan is trying to follow is where he swoops in to save some dewy-lipped young coed from a thuggish criminal, she’s bosom-heavingly grateful, and it turns into a total Lois Lane romance. Never mind that most women do not (in fact) consider mortal threat an aphrodisiac. Never mind that most people who go through a traumatic or violent encounter want to avoid anything that reminds them of it. No, Evan’s got the idea that he’s entitled to the gratitude of an innocent he’s rescued. He’s actually getting kind of fixated on the idea.

This could let him (1) horn in on a PC’s romantic interest, if there’s one in play, (2) fixate on a PC herself (if she conceals her demonic infestation from him), (3) bug a PC’s sister, best friend or even well-preserved mother. He is impervious to subtle hints. Moreover, when he gets frustrated with his progress as Winged Justice (with angel active and a +3 bonus due to beauty, remember) he can power down and make an oblique approach as Evan, snooping around to try and find a back door to his intended’s heart when the front way is barred.

Revelation

Evan’s desperation increases until he hatches a plan even more hare-brained than his ill-conceived grand passion. He decides to get a supervillain on his side. His scheme is to have some costumed crime animal (like one of the PCs!) threaten his intended. Just not, you know, a real threat. Then, as Winged Justice, he can swoop down and save the day, giving her a chance to fall in love with him all over again, since it mysteriously didn’t take the first time. (Yeah, Evan kind of views women as slot machines, with nice behavior being the coin you have to stick in to get a pull at the handle.) What does he offer in return? Why, he says he’ll back off and let the villains do their villainy unmolested, as long as they don’t kill anyone.

The choicest complication, of course, is that Evan can only negotiate with the PCs when his angel is dormant and can’t hear his sleazy schemes. Which means Evan’s relatively powerless if they decide to hulk out and smear him into ground beef. Though if they do try that, his angel’s only a plea for help away…

But supposing they keep their fists unclenched, this could in fact be a golden opportunity. Evan wants a safe, kayfabe-style throwdown with a supervillain. The PCs want to put on a spectacular show for their demons without actually hurting anyone. Surely they can work something out, right?

The only sticking point comes when the object of Evan’s obsession remains solidly immune to his charms.

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