I have been pretty stubborn when it comes to my superhero RPGs. Unlike fantasy RPGs, I just could not see where, as far as systems would go, the genre can go. Arc Dream Publishing emphasizes that there is plenty of room for Growth with Better Angels, a truly unique take on the Superhero RPG
Why This Book IS Iron
Better Angels has a lot of things very similar to other superhero systems. It has a quick and easy your roll versus my roll conflict mechanic and a small amount of stats and powers to make conflict resolution quick. Better Angels is a game where the players play villains, but even that is possible with most superhero RPGs.
What other superhero rpgs do not have is Better Angel’s character creation system. In most RPGs, each player builds their own character. In Better Angels, players create their character as a group, with players adjacent to you helping to designing major aspects of your character. Each player designs and implements the good parts of their character. However, the player next to him adds in all the vile, evil and awful things about the character. This unique character creation makes playing Better Angels a blast. The player next to you plays out the demon in you, and your character is always in conflict with this character. This weird game play makes for a fun game where you feel like you are arguing with yourself and attempting to push your own limits.
Outside of the actual game play, it should not be overlooked that the players are playing evil characters, and the book goes to great lengths to make sure players are playing comic book evil and not real life evil. The advice provided and campaign structure aids really help bridge the difficult gap it takes to run and play in an evil campaign. Because of the fun nature of Better Angels, the whole system feels more breezy than it actual is.
At 178 pages, book is pretty light for a single campaign book, a nice feature when you’re introducing a truly new system. The layout is spectacular, with everything from bookmarks to table of content fully linked and neatly organized. The art is gritty, but still possess that Iron Age of comics vibrant color look.
What is NOT Iron
The character creation can take a bit of time, and its important to make sure that each player understand the rules. There’s an example in the book of a player who just glossed over the system and ended up screwing over himself and making a less “conflicted” player next to him.
The Iron Word
Comic book fans who want to taste villainy in a system that is built for the bad guy should try out Better Angels. Character creation is a bit lengthy, but its worth it to play a character who is always fighting against his nature to lose control. I would love to see a system like this in a fantasy setting or as a supplement for other systems.