Sep 032014
Rag-NERD-rok Podcast Tree

The dastardly villains of Apex City are back! What will their next caper be? Will they finally confront The Muni Men, the mayor’s new “superhero task force?” Will they pull off another daring robbery or take another beloved city landmark hostage? Will they be forced to face the consequence of their demonic misdeeds when Schadenfreude comes back, seeking revenge?

Nope! It’s actually none of those things.

Turns out, there’s already a group of supervillains operating in town, a national franchise operation that newbie evildoers must either buy into or add to their list of enemies. When Dr. Monstrosity’s robotic butler teleports The Fear Force Five to its master’s floating fortress high above Apex City, our Hellbinder heroes will have to choose whether or not they want to join. Disagreements about the terms of the contract cause demonic tempers to flare, and the Triple-F finds itself in an existential crisis. Can the Hellbinders keep their powers—and their demons—in check before they obliterate each other in a pointless stand-off? Listen to find out!

Campaign Navigator: Better Angels – “Apex City / Bulbous Quarry Capers”

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  • crawlkill

    I reeeally like these PCs, especially Ed’s milquetoast despicability and, super to my surprise, Meyer’s weirdly heartfelt concern for animals and roboids. although the closeted competitive lumberjack is right up there, too. HE’S ALL THUMBS.

  • I love your super themed AP’s so much. This and No Way Squad are always hilarious. The closeted Lumberjack may be the greatest character ever created.

    • Alex

      I really love the lumberjack too. And thanks!

  • Omega

    And this is why you shouldn’t use powers on your friends, kids.

    The Apex City games are great. As a listener, characters sometime grate a little when they break the story flow to stand stubborn and nothing gets done (but this is as much because I have a Lib Arts degree and have studied a little argumentation, so just going in circles when there’s actual arguments to be made bothers me as purely a narrative critique), and for Dirty World or Better Angels, I probably would have had PCs or NPCs start making rolls to damage Meyer’s attributes (or the group’s) to make things start going faster and force the point mechanically, but that’s just my own stylings I tend to focus on the game as a conglomerate story and not to heavily on anyone character unless the entire group kind of organically directs it that way. The more character directed stuff is brilliant. No offense to Alex (especially since he runs the NPC end very well for the personal stories) but there are times when I feel like the metaplot should just butt out and let the Fear Force Five bumble around with their own plans. They’re pretty adept at damning themselves.

    Also, totes gonna make #FearForceFive a thing.

    • crawlkill

      it’s funny, Omega, but if you read up on some of the campaigns Better Angels creator Greg Stolze postmortem written up on forums, that’s pretty much exactly his style. he’s got something going on in the background, but mostly he just riffs on the players’ fucking -terrible- decisions to let them mire themselves deeper and deeper in the shit. if a GM can keep snaring PCs with their own awfulness, interactivity goes way up and prep time drops sharply. seems win/win.

      • Omega

        I mean, as much as I /love/ my metaplot (I’m a writer-type, so that shit just happens), I’ve also had some of the most fun of my GM-ing experience just rolling with some improv ideas, so that sort of direct sandbox is probably how I would address something like Better Angels. All the motivation to do more stuff should be prebuilt into the character to start. From there, just let the presence of their Screwtape and the addition of demonic powers do the rest. The Mexican standoff at the end of this session is a great example. Alex did nothing other than decide when it was “combat” and maybe inform what roll to use, the rest was all the PCs and their demons.

        • Alex

          I usually go for metaplot too, but I decided to put it on the back burner for this campaign, which really kind of spry get up as something to fill the gaps between our other games. But now that it has gotten off the ground d, things are starting to come together, and I think I see more of an over-arching plot emerging.

          Just so you know, I do very little planning for these games. I have a Google doc with a bunch of names and places in Apex City, and then usually come up with a few different things the characters can go be super villains at. My plan has always been to see how the story unfolds and base what happens on what the guys do in the game. But I think I’m starting to get an idea of where to guide the story. It’ll still be based on what they do, but hopefully with a bit of direction from now on. One of the unit ended benefits of inducing them into the League of Super villainsoft I suppose.

          • Erik

            Alex, you need to punch your autocorrect in the face.

          • crawlkill

            in skim mode I didn’t even notice–

            “kind of spry”
            “unit ended benefits”
            “League of Super villainsoft”

            I don’t know about punching this seems like procedurally generated wonderfulness I think the League of Super Villainsoft could be a viable brand and should maybe be the guild’s name (maybe the founders were disgruntled 90s game engineers who got their powers together in a freak press conference)

          • Alex

            Whoops. New tablet. Still getting the hang of the keyboard.

          • Drooloverme

            I have the same problem with my damn tablet, have to reread everything twice because of this shit gggrrrrrrrr

    • I realized just recently that we’ve been forgetting about the rules for gaining advantage and asking for Master Dice, too. Might be one of the reasons a lot of us roll so poorly all the damn time in this campaign.

      I understand your frustration though. As I’ve said before, the arguments and the endless debates that go nowhere aren’t in-character embellishments; that’s just how we are. I remember crawlkill remarking in one comment thread that it took this group nearly half an hour to agree on whether their characters were taking the bus someplace or renting bicycles.

      Trust me, it’s worse from the inside. 🙂

      • Omega

        I mean, having had a couple of the in character arguments before (And I even let them roll Social skills on each other. Which mostly involved Intimidation and ‘Okay, he passes. You believe his threat is credible, what do you do now? You continue to snark back and forth, okay, well, Tactical Units break down the door and throw in smoke.’), I can say that while it’s not necessarily more fun, it breaks the flow a lot less when your in the situation and interacting with it. As a listener, I can’t interact directly with the game (no matter how hard I try) so when the narrative of the game lags its a pretty immediate pull out for me. Now, with tangents you guys are usually pretty entertaining, but with arguments that’s less interesting, usually.

        I don’t mind you guys failing. If the GM is doing his job right (not saying we do that all the time, mind), failure should only occur when something interesting will happen anyway, and for the #FFF, that usually happens. Alternatively, you guys succeed and something terrible happens.

      • crawlkill

        I was just remembering that walk-or-bike argument the other day! it was fucking hilarious, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. sometimes game breakdowns get hard to listen to (Mage rules…), but usually you guys keep it sufficiently in character that I can enjoy it.

        • The more we play Titor House, the less I love the Mage: The Awakening system. And even though it’s the only system we ever played, it of course did start out as and Ascension game to hearken back to our pre AP days, and we all decided that Ascension was too clunky and moved on to the, in my opinion, clunkier Awakening system. And here we stand, three or four chapters from the endgame, and I admit I wish I had just taken the magic idea away and made it based on a simpler system. C’est la vie

          • crawlkill

            it is one of those fundamental and often unasked questions of any edition of Mage you pick. “is it a better game because the PCs can use an incoherent overflexible system to derail your game? you decide!” in light of your saying that, I’m suddenly wondering what the value of the Titor House PCs being mages actually -is.- it could probably have been run much more cleanly in Wild Talents, to name the first system to come to mind. or even just mundane people swept up into a time travel story.

  • Whyco

    Can we expect Weyland’s mental side-trips to become more disturbing as he sinks deeper into villainy?

    • Alex

      I sure hope so. Someone got some plot in my game, so we’ve been dealing with that. There might not be side plots for another game or two, but we’ll get back to them. And I don’t plan on anything good happening to these characters.

      • Except for The Silver Standard. Nothing but good things are going to happen to him.


        • Alex

          You mean the guy who’s been using his demonic powers to get better treatment from his boss at work? No, nothing bad will happen to him. He’ll be the one exception. Nothing but sunshine and rainbows for that guy.


    For future listener reference, here is a photo of muli-year lumberjack world-champion Jason Wynyard::

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