I really didn't want to write mine first simply because I hate going first. But I guess it is better to get this done and out of the way.
Anyway, I chose to focus more on what Shadows Angelus 1 meant for me and a little history from my perspective from someone who played in... well... I guess you could call it Shadows Angelus 0, because this was the first iteration and it was nowhere near as well put together as Shadows Angelus 1 was.
So here it is. I know it's a little long, so don't kill me.
Shadows Angelus started with myself and about three or four other guys stationed at Fort Knox with Ross as the GM way back in 1999. Ross had a world that he was working on, basing it a lot on Mike’s Kazei 5 setting, but with the intent on having more magic and supernatural elements (making it far more like Silent Möbius—at least which was my initial impression at any rate).
I remember sitting down with Ross back then trying to figure out the HERO System and make my character for the game, Officer Tyger. I didn’t have a background for him, and I really hadn’t put much thought into the matter, especially given my prior experience with gaming both in the Army and before. I honestly didn’t expect the game to last terribly long. And it didn’t. This was due to a number of factors, most of it being the Army has a way of ruining campaigns and there was a definite lack of direction. I mean, the game was not episodic, nor was there much of a meta-plot or any long range goals.
However, when the game finally imploded (not in a bad way mind you!), I kept Officer Tyger’s character sheet. Which, oddly enough was in a folder! Something new and interesting at the time for the exceedingly casual gamer that I was. Also due to Army life, Ross and I pretty much lost contact with each other around 2000/01. There were times that we regained contact, and I made it a point to tell him that I still had Tyger’s character folder when the conversations drifted back to gaming.
Fast forward to 2006.
By this time I had gotten out of the Army and moved to Maryland. With Ross as my roommate, he brought up the idea of running a campaign, and to play a new and improved version of Shadows Angelus. I gleefully pointed out that I still had Tyger’s character folder (now in pieces and the original character sheet barely legible thanks to numerous packing, unpacking, repacking and moving). He countered that we would be using the Revised 5th Edition rules (Tyger was built on 4th Edition), and with more points. It didn’t take very long to make the conversion and give Tyger a new Blue Steel Special.
The reason why I have taken the time to get all of this out is the fact that Tyger was my first HERO System character. Tyger was also one of my more favorite characters that I had been pretty much forced to put aside. I hate making new characters simply because of my past experiences in being forced to abandon them for any number of reasons.
The fact that Ross let me play Tyger again and actually finish and enjoy that character meant, and still means, a lot to me.
The fact that at many points during the campaign that we played in held several holdovers from the campaign played on Fort Knox (although nobody in the current game but myself and Ross experienced) were established as canon—even with some changes—makes me feel that I was part of the initial creation. That things that my character did back in 1999/2000 actually meant something, that I was still playing the same character several years later in 2006/07.
For me, I think the best parts and most enjoyable aspects of playing Shadows Angelus was the fact that I got to actually create, establish, enjoy and finish a character. I have never, ever retired a character because I was happy with where the last session ended. I am happy with Tyger. I can actually sit back and look at his character folder (yes, he still has one) and feel a sense of nostalgia and accomplishment. I don’t really think I could pick up Tyger again as a player character again (with the possible exception of needing to NPC/cameo him). The character has closure and, I think, his story is told. And I am happy for that.