Better Angels: General Null of the Villainous Nine

Better-Angels-cover-v4-front-612pxWritten by Greg Stolze and illustrated by Kurt Komoda, © 2013

Tito Marquez never set out to be a hero, villain or anything of the sort.  He’s shy.  Nerves plagued the first half of his life, right up to the point that a girl he kinda liked mentioned that she was taking aikido and he signed up.  While he didn’t stick with the martial art (and she moved away to Fort Meade), he did get into meditation and found that it really helped with his nerves, tics and phobias.  He eschewed the world of maya, became a full-time disciple of Zen (to the dismay of his parents, who’d been subtly encouraging him to go into endocrinology), studied in Japan for five years, moved back to the U.S. and discovered it was crawling with demons.

It wasn’t that his meditation had given him any paranormal ability to perceive demons.  It was simply that his clear thoughts and personal tranquility let him think about the behavior he observed in the caped forces on both sides of the law and their particular hysterias.  They were not acting like people… not even like crazy, unhappy people.

But it wasn’t until he stumbled across an amulet (in the form of a corrupt demonic book of sutras) and entered into dialogue with his own demon that he really got what was happening.  This nonverbal entity (referred to in the sutras by the title “Annihilating One”) seems to approve of his attempts to place demons in restrained hosts, and has not encouraged him to do anything violent, gross or overtly satanic.  The impression he gets is that it seeks to transcend the categories of ‘evil’ and ‘good’ that hobble all the angels and all the other demons he’s encountered.  He kind of thinks it wants to destroy the world of matter altogether.  Seeing as how some Buddhist texts represent the sensible realm as the source of all pain and conflict, Tito isn’t 100% opposed to the notion.  But it’s early days yet.  First step is to do something about all those angels and demons.

General NullCUNNING 3, PATIENT 4
Greed 1, Generosity 1
Espionage 3, Knowledge 3

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

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

POWERS: Animal Form, Telekinesis

ASPECTS: Cloven Hooves, Invisible

PRIMARY SINFUL STRATEGY: Devious

The Nullzooka

The signature weapon of General Null has taken years of effort to perfect, but it’s definitely worth it. A seven-foot long tube that barfs flame and darkness from the twisted face at its front (while ejecting exhaust from the twisted face at its back—both faces resembling Tibetan demons from Buddhist statuary), the Nullzooka breaks glass, shreds drywall, turns furniture into matchwood and generally makes a mess on about the scale of a hand grenade.  That’s a Minor Environmental Change and it cost Tito a point of Generosity.  That’s not such a big deal.

The big deal is what it does to people who are on its receiving end.  The Nullzooka targets Endurance, based on the Width of the hit.  That cost Tito a point of Knowledge.  Moreover, it has +5 Advantage, which cost him five more points of Knowledge.  (This was not something he just knocked together in the garage over the course of a couple all-nighters, obviously.)

Now, a device that cost six points of Knowledge requires a lot of Flaws, and the Nullzooka has them.  It’s Blatant (much like a mundane bazooka) and Bulky.  Moreover, it has a Cooldown flaw, so it can be fired only every other round. Finally, building it took two Rare Components (the toenail parings of a sitting U.S. president and a stone from the bottom of the Marianas Trench, if you’re wondering). But can you really put a price on a weapon that knocks over subcompact cars and carves through a target’s physical ability to resist?

Activation: SLY Cruelty

Effects:

  • Attacks Endurance
  • +4 Weapon Advantage
  • Minor Environmental Change

Flaws:

  • Blatant
  • Bulky
  • Cooldown, 1 round
  • Rare Component x2

Cost: 1 Generosity, 5 Knowledge

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About Arc Dream Publishing

Arc Dream Publishing creates roleplaying games and fiction including Delta Green, Godlike, Wild Talents, Monsters and Other Childish Things, Better Angels, The Kerberos Club, The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man, and the award-winning magazine of Cthulhu Mythos gaming, The Unspeakable Oath.