This appeared as an article in Haymaker! issue 43.
THE LEARNING CURVE
Around January of 2006, I knew that I wanted to run another Hero game. Having been in Maryland for a couple of years by this point, I had only gamed sporadically here and there—I was itching for something a little more long-term. Therefore, I gathered some friends of mine together to explain my idea.
What is Shadows Angelus?
The idea I presented was a campaign using the HERO System where the player characters are all members of a special police force in a dark, cyberpunk-style future—and the main twist is that the city they live in is threatened by Lovecraftian creatures from another dimension inimical to human life. The setting is a particular city—known as Angelus—that is extremely technologically advanced. Artificial life-forms known as Clades have been developed by megacorporate interests to serve as living tools, soldiers, and companions. Anti-gravity “spinner” vehicles transport the rich and powerful through the air while most of the city's teeming millions rely on older ground vehicles. The contrast between wealth and poverty is exacerbated by the emergence of Espers, humans that have evolved powers of the mind (primarily psionic and psychokinetic in nature). Lastly, the arrival of the aforementioned Lovecraftian demons—hereafter referred to as Entities—has also triggered a rise in magic, meaning that some specially trained individuals can manipulate sorcery to alter reality.
Everything & the Kitchen Sink—But, Individually Wrapped
So, with the above in mind, Shadows Angelus is in the “Kitchen Sink” genre of settings, where there are quite a few different elements all co-existing together. Cyberpunk dystopian future meets magic and monsters meets Cthulhu meets Akira meets Blade Runner… just for starters. I knew that I needed to make some necessary adjustments to keep things from blending and mixing together in ways that would threaten my player's enjoyment and suspension of disbelief.
I settled on a core foundation of niche protection. Each potential role that a character could have would be strictly segregated from the others. The main idea, as I articulated it, was, “no Cyborg-Esper Sorcerer-Power Armor Pilots, please.” Hand in hand with that limitation, I realized, I would have to make sure and include opportunities in each session for the character's niches to shine and get equal spotlight time. A challenge, to be sure, but it would help keep the widely different elements of Angelus “special” and unique.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
From decades of experience in various RPG's, I've learned that communicating with your players is essential. Getting your group to “buy-in” to your vision, and making sure that what the players expect to see in the game and what kind of stories you intend to tell are understood by all is critical to success. More than a few games that I've been in over the years have been sunk by bait-and-switch or poorly communicated agendas on the part of the GM or the players themselves.
So, keeping all that in mind, we had a pre-game meeting with all the players where I laid out the main themes for the game:
Cinematic, Anime-Style Action. Shadows Angelus was going to be a horror game, it's true, but I was also interested in bringing in some really stylish “bits” during combat and social scenes. One of the strongest influences on the “feel” of Shadows Angelus was the anime Silent Möbius, so I tried to get across some of the salient points of that show as well. Scenes in Shadows Angelus were meant to have a cinematic feel, using some movie terminology such as “wipes” and “dissolves.” Using this approach meant that we would have more of a focus on fun and style rather than realism.
Outgunned, But Never Outclassed. The player characters would all be members of XSWAT, a special tactics police group in a high-tech city of the future. However, Angelus the city is under certain restrictions similar to Japan after WWII—no standing military force is allowed, thus XSWAT can field good equipment, but must remain below “military” standards. In addition, the Entities that the PC's would often be opposing varied in power from frightening to nightmarish. The PC team would have to be innovative, and there would be some opponents that simply could not be defeated by strength of arms.
You Can Change the World. Angelus is a dynamic setting. I provided the players with several options of allies or enemies, and there would always be more than one way to succeed at any given challenge. The opportunity existed for the characters to have significant, lasting change on the campaign setting—the status quo would definitely be different by the end of the game.
In point of fact, this particular element of Shadows Angelus was one of the player's favorite things about gaming in my setting. Over the course of 26 sessions, the group managed to literally restructure the way that Angelus was governed and made significant changes to the existing status quo of both the megacorporate factions and the Order of Enoch, a powerful religious group that had a great deal of influence. Unfortunately, the group also underestimated the Yakuza, and at the end of the game, Angelus had been set up for a bright future that was slowly infiltrated by the agents of organized crime.
Cosmic Horror—with a Light at the End of the Tunnel. Shadows Angelus was a game about cosmic horror in the Lovecraft style. The Entities came from a “black world” beyond our own and cared for nothing but the desecration and devouring of the Earth. I wanted to create some of the same butterflies in the stomach one gets from reading The Dunwich Horror or from watching In the Mouth of Madness. At the same time, I wanted to reassure my players that hope existed. The Entities were certainly bizarre and powerful adversaries, but they could be beaten, if the players were smart and determined enough.
Tough Choices. Part of the “feel” of Angelus is that it is a place where the tough choices get made. I did my best to include a moral quandary in each climax, where the players would have their characters debate the best course of action when that course wasn't clear. For example, in the first story arc, a cursed painting was set to destroy the entire city. The painting could only be stopped by two things: either the player characters had to place the entire city in danger by shunting every erg of power into a risky attempt to destroy the painting from within, or they could simply kill the last remaining members of a prominent and wealthy family who owned the painting. Either solution would save the city—and it was not an easy decision by any means.
This element was also a popular one among my players—who often mentioned how it made the challenges that much more memorable. Each character had to wrestle with these choices in his own way, and it led to some exceptional scenes of roleplaying.
House Rules and Bonuses
In the Shadows Angelus campaign, I added some bonuses to individual character types, and instituted some house rules suggested by the players. I’ll summarize both here:
Bonuses were granted to help achieve an individual character type’s “shtick” in Angelus. The following listed bonuses are examples, not the complete exhaustive array.
- All force fields and force walls generated by magic or esper abilities was automatically Hardened. This bonus was put into place to help represent the “anime” feel of the game – where force fields/force walls could stop even a tank shell cold.
- Cyborg characters (those whose concept included limb replacement and conversion of over 70% of their body to bionics) gained x1 ½ Knockback on their STR automatically. Cyborgs were meant to be the “bricks” of Angelus, and knocking things around really helped reinforce that idea.
- Power Armor Pilots did not have to pay for their vehicles. The power armor “mecha” of Angelus were built as vehicles, with some trade-offs to balance their firepower and protection. Generally speaking, the Power Armor pilot character was able to use his mecha roughly one out of every three sessions, and the group liked that level of balance.
- For every 20 points of Stun inflicted in a single attack, characters also suffer 1 point of Body damage. This rule represented the cinematic effects of being hit really hard (or rattled around inside the cockpit of the power armor, for instance). It also brought a level of grittiness into the combat scenes, making fights a bit more challenging. The group really liked this change overall, as Body damage is fairly rare in normal Hero games.
- Characters below -10 Stun were allowed to take recoveries on their phase in combat if they succeeded at a Con roll with a penalty of -1 for every 5 points of Stun below zero. Every failed roll grants a +1 to the next attempt until successful. This rule meant that characters who were KO’d still had some investment in the combat scene when their turn came around, and allowed for measures of rising drama when a character grimly fought his way back to consciousness.
What I Learned About Horror Gaming
During the 24 sessions of Shadows Angelus, I experimented with various techniques for horror roleplaying. I found that some ways worked better than others—though my players were enjoying things immensely, they still found themselves creeped out. One of my players even had nightmares, which I consider to be both good and bad. Good, because nightmares are a testament to vivid imagery—bad, because I wouldn't wish real nightmares on any of my friends. Here are a few of the horror techniques that I found worked the best:
Fear the Unseen
The mind is a very impressive instrument—it fills in the details from the smallest of clues. Trust me when I say that the players themselves will come up with far creepier details than a GM can ever truly provide. So, for the horror elements of Shadows Angelus, I came up with frameworks and let their minds fill in the rest. For instance, during the first story arc the characters came to investigate an asylum in the middle of a rainstorm. Suddenly, after a crack of thunder, I described an unearthly loud and low bellowing sound, clearly inhuman, cutting through the air like a roar of triumph. Although the characters couldn't see what had made that sound, couldn't even begin to guess why, their imagination was more than up to the task, and the “creepy factor” for that session had just jumped up a notch.
No One is Safe
In Shadows Angelus , I wanted the risk of death to be present as a tangible threat. Part of that process involved making all rolls out in the open—few things concentrate the mind like watching a 4D6 RKA coming at you—but the far more effective path was to utilize contacts and DNPC's. During Shadows Angelus, I got some very impressive mileage out of one character's DNPC family merely by mentioning they didn't answer the phone during a tense moment (the DNPC was out walking the dog… ). Another time, one of the character's contacts ended up dead, simply taken out of the picture when he dug too deeply on the PC's behalf. Threatening the people close to and involved with the player characters really helped keep the suspense high during the “horror” segments of the campaign. At the end of Shadows Angelus, one player turned to me and declared that he would never, ever, ever, have DNPC's on ANY of his character sheets again. That's kind of a compliment, but I hope he's actually joking. DNPC's can be such a good source of character tension, no matter what kind of game you're involved in. On the other hand, in any horror game setting, I can certainly see where he's coming from…
Description and Inspiration
Any GM who plans to run a horror game should definitely study up on the classics, both in literature and film. A little digging on Google or at your local library will certainly bring up plenty of examples for whatever style of horror you seek to evoke. For Shadows Angelus, the cosmic horror style had several influences, primarily short stories by Steven King (“Crouch End” and “1408” to name two) and H. P. Lovecraft. I also took advantage of opportunities to expose my players to other examples of the genre, such as the film In the Mouth of Madness and the anime Silent Möbius. Getting immersed into the genre through the works of these authors and filmmakers helped me keep my head in the game and translated into a wealth of both story ideas and descriptive details.
One thing about horror that I really like is that you don't necessarily have to explain everything from the start. Vivid, detail-laden descriptions can really sink home the creepy ambience without any exposition whatsoever—but be prepared for your players to research these details later! A good example is the asylum encounter mentioned above. My players found scrawled writing in blood all over the walls of one of the isolation cells and debris everywhere—but no inmates or staff at all. I lingered on the details of the deserted, eerily quiet asylum, slowly building the suspense until they finally encountered a Class 2 Entity lurking inside the structure. And by then, my players were on the edge of their seat.
The Presence of Evil
Horror is best utilized as an interaction between the story, the setting, the NPC's, and the imagination of the players themselves. However, there are some mechanical elements that can add drama and represent the in-game impact of exposure to sanity-shattering creatures from beyond. For Shadows Angelus, I chose presence attacks as my mechanic of choice.
Entities almost always began a confrontation with a presence attack—and as you'll see from the sample Entity writeup, they usually had plenty of presence to spare. I scaled up the presence attacks based on how powerful or horrific each Entity was, and used the +20 and above results as a rationale for lasting psychological problems… in other words, a deterioration of sanity is the result of being around Entities for too long. The in-game effects of these presence attacks led to some great interactions with my players.
One character (a “paladin” concept) came up with a “bravery field” power to help counteract the demons' psychological impact. Another character used “scientific detachment” to keep the madness at bay. Ultimately, none of the characters emerged from the campaign unscathed by the terrors of encountering the Entities—the worst scars of Shadows Angelus were on the inside.
What I Learned About Long-Term Campaigns
Over 26 sessions, a lot of little things started to make sense. The players were really responding to every shift in the story. They were anticipating the Entities' next move, they were pro-actively seeking out ways to take down the Big Bad Guy, they were excited and motivated and generally surprising the hell out of me. Afterwards, I was able to analyze how and why this happened.
Factions—Sources of Dynamic Change
Shadows Angelus began with two main factions: The Entities, and XSWAT who opposed them. Over time, more factions made themselves known, from the civil-rights-seeking Clades to the just-want-to-be-left-alone Espers. These neutral factions were joined by others, like the Order of Enoch—a scholarly Catholic organization aligned against the Entities, and an ally of XSWAT, plus a splinter group, the far more radical and zealous Enochians. By the end of the game, there were even more factions—the megacorporations, an enemy of XSWAT, and a more morally ambiguous Yakuza clan. The characters found ways to interact with these factions, significantly improving the lot of both the Espers and the Clades while nearly wiping out the Enochians in a desperate battle for control of the city.
The point of including several factions in a long-term game is to provide the characters with levers that either motivate the group to act or serve as a fulcrum for the group's own goals. Shadows Angelus functioned well with the factions working more or less behind the scenes, each one showcased in a different story arc… with the major two, XSWAT and the Entities, always present.
Listen to the Players
Often I would find myself listening to the players discuss the game and the options laid out before their characters. Before long, I was taking notes on which particular plot threads and NPCs were being discussed the most, which names kept coming up, what areas they seemed most interested in. Sometimes, I would have some carefully laid plans and plots which had little or nothing to do with what the players seemed to really be excited about… and I threw those plots and plans away. Not without a bit of regret, but most of my ideas ended up coming into the game anyway at another place and time. Meanwhile, my players were reaping the rewards by getting to dive into the portions of the game they found most entertaining.
I've learned that players will write the most interesting plots if you simply give them some tools (plot hooks, NPC's, factions, a detailed setting, campaign notes, and the like) and simply sit back. Shadows Angelus, for example, quickly shifted from a technological focus to a more occult-supernatural one as the players grew more and more interested in determining how the Entities were arriving in Angelus and sealing the gate once and for all.
In a long campaign, I learned that story arcs of around 2-3 sessions work very well. I began Shadows Angelus with a 3-part story arc that introduced the characters to the setting, the themes, and the prominent NPCs. From there, I mostly went with short story arcs showcasing each character while developing the overarching story plot.
Sometimes in a long campaign you don't need to ALWAYS advance the plot. Especially if you are looking to maintain the fun over a long period of time, some “just for fun” sessions can help break up the angst- and story-heavy elements to keep things flowing naturally. One session of Shadows Angelus was entirely unrelated to the main plot—it simply involved the characters taking a vacation in Rio de Janeiro.
Downtime and Cliffhangers
My gaming group was very partial to investigations and bluebooking in-between sessions. My players really enjoyed figuring out how their characters would react to the events of the last session and interact with each other, or speculate on what was coming up next and try to find out ways to improve the odds. This meant that nearly every scrap of “downtime” was used to its fullest extent. I kept the in-game schedule of events in Shadows Angelus fairly relaxed. As Body damage was a bit more common due to the house rules and challenge level in the game, extended hospital stays happened more than a few times to let the characters recover. These “pauses” on the in-game calendar were worked out by the HERO System healing rules, and it gave us between several days (typically) to several weeks (for the most massive injuries) in between sessions. I tried to keep the hospital stays “off camera” during the session itself—the bluebooking more than made up for that online.
Because the style described above really appealed to my group, I tried to limit the amount of cliffhangers—any session leaving off in the middle of the action or a pause that would be picked up immediately upon next session. Recently, I've been involved in another campaign that's moving towards a long-term run, and I've discovered that my own preference is to avoid a cliffhanger most of the time. Every so often, it can be an effective tool, but cliffhangers should remain one of those things you don't overuse—going to the well too many times limits the impact.
Make Every Character Special
Over a long campaign, it can be easy to fall into a pattern—I noticed that I was often referring to the more mystical side of the setting during the campaign, and made a conscious effort to put elements in for the technological characters as well. One way that I used to make sure every character got equal opportunities to shine is I gave each one his or her own story arc. This plan didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to, but making the effort really clicked with my group.
In addition, I tried to give each character a special “spotlight” scene. In the first story arc, there were a series of prophetic glimpses into the future for each character. It wasn't easy, but I made all those glimpses come true in one way or another. Additionally, I worked in unique bonuses for each character based on their “shtick.” The power armor pilot's mecha received a powerful upgrade, the sorceress discovered a powerful grimoire, the esper made contact with a hive-mind of other espers, and so forth.
Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em
Shadows Angelus began with an ending point in mind. I knew that at the culmination of the campaign, my players would have to make sacrifices and choose how the world would change from that point forward. Keeping the destination in sight helped me pace the story arcs and keep the story-line moving towards this goal.
I found that 24-26 sessions fits me just fine for a long-term campaign. Given that my group meets roughly bi-weekly, with breaks for holidays and the occasional scheduling snafu, the total amount of sessions stretched over a year quite comfortably. By the end, both myself and the players had received a solid return on our investment of time and energy—we could look back at all the great times we'd shared by telling this story of horror and courage and savor the memorable moments.
NPC's and Villains
A game is defined by many factors, but few are as influential as the villains and denizens who populate it. Those who help or hinder the characters along the way influence the overall “feel” of a campaign like nothing else—so I learned to pay close attention to developing interesting NPC's. I also maintain that nothing motivates your players quite like a villain they dislike personally. I call it the “I want to punch him in the face” factor.
First, the Entities were developed as these truly sickeningly violent and frightening opponents. Entities never surrendered, rarely fled, and were all but impossible to subdue—making every encounter with them a pitched battle for survival. Other villains in Shadows Angelus were developed over time—such as Lieutenant Shayd, the Internal Affairs agent. Subtle cues I was able to portray through Lieutenant Shayd made certain that the characters all knew that one some level, this guy was slime. And yet, Shayd ended up as a character who is remembered not only for being a complete jerk who got his comeuppance, but also for the reasons why he acted the way he did—his sister was held hostage by another villain!
For the main, ultimate Entity, Gurzorath, I built him up through the actions of other characters—the Enochian faction, for instance, was entirely created to stop Gurzorath's emergence into our reality. This indirect approach used the players' own imaginations to help develop just what kind of threat Gurzorath represented—real end-of-the-world stuff.
Enemies alone can't sustain a campaign over time—I learned that the players will really appreciate a more complex arrangement than “us good, them bad.” Therefore, I created some NPC's that were both memorable and morally ambiguous. Perhaps the most influential NPC of the campaign was the XSWAT Director, Alice Cadbury. >From the first session, the characters were aware that she was more than she seemed, and discovering just who and what Alice Cadbury was became a major story factor later on down the line. Similarly, the Yakuza oyabun (leader) Hanzo was another ambiguous character, alternately assisting and fighting against the characters… it pleased me when the players later confessed that they really never knew exactly where they stood with Hanzo and his organization: friend or foe?
Gaming is about more than slinging dice and telling a story—it's a social time to be together with friends, to laugh and enjoy their company. During Shadows Angelus, we scheduled our game time for about six hours, between 3-9 PM. The usual sequence of events started with people showing up between 2:45 and 3:10, then sitting around talking about various geeky things until about 3:30-3:45, at which time we would begin the game in earnest. By keeping the starting point flexible, it gave us (as a group) a chance to get the socializing out of our system and transition to where we were ready to begin the game itself. This method also kept our out of character hi-jinks manageable!
We also planned most sessions around a brief dinner break, and ended every session with what we called our “roundtable.” The roundtable involved each player briefly giving some feedback on the session and then listing on memorable event from the game for every other character. The roundtable helped us focus on the “really cool parts” from each session and ended every single game on a high note—something I consider almost critical for the long-term health of a campaign.
In addition to the above, we also had a Shadows Angelus-themed “Secret Santa” for Christmas, found a place to design some custom caps with “XSWAT” on the front, and came up with custom miniatures to represent both the characters and the Entities. These little things may seem inconsequential, but in my opinion, it's the little things that count, especially in the long run. Each contribution by myself or the players helped keep the game in motion (at least in our minds), even during a holiday break or extended scheduling difficulties.
Next, I'd like to present some of the tools that I used to make Shadows Angelus function over the length of the campaign.
Note-taking. It's difficult to stress enough the importance of taking good notes over the course of a long campaign—and that goes both for players and the GM. I took notes whenever I thought something significant occurred to any of the characters. An example:
Yiska failed an EGO roll to resist the influence of Omega Sector. Possible followup?
Notes such as the above helped me keep a handle on the long-term effects of the campaign on the characters.
Similarly, the players took excellent notes. I was blessed with two particularly detail-obsessed players with entire notebooks devoted to Shadows Angelus quotes, clues, and hints. There were more than a few times I relied on my players to fill me in on what the in-game date was and where we left off last time.
When working on the next game session, I always referred to my notes. What plot ideas had I not yet explored? Were there any elements that I needed to foreshadow for upcoming plot points? Any NPC's that hadn't shown up lately? Had I taken into consideration all my character's Hunteds, Reputations, and Psychological Limitations?
For Shadows Angelus 2, I've developed a “plot tree” of character-specific subplots and how they weave into the overall story-line. Each branch of the plot tree has notes about where they take place in the city and which NPCs are important to the story.
Bluebooking. Shadows Angelus has become somewhat infamous for the amount of bluebooking that took place during the campaign. We ended up with over 90 bluebooked stories, something more than three for every session we actually gamed in. Several of those stories came as epilogues after the campaign was nominally over!
The benefits of bluebooking are many: first, bluebooking allows the GM to take care of investigative and other detail-oriented game activity away from the table. In general, the time spent actually in-game should be focused on the group's activities—if an individual wants to go off by himself, it's better to handle that through bluebooking rather than make the other players sit around and wait.
Second, bluebooking allows the players to participate in the game in between sessions. It can be quite fun to get together for a one-on-one between a character and an NPC for some in-depth roleplaying that would be very awkward to try and accomplish in person at the gaming table, for instance. Bluebooking helps maintain the game's momentum—secrets are revealed or villains are tracked down, leading up to the final confrontation which takes place in the next upcoming session.
Third, bluebooking represents a record of activities that the GM and the players can use to refresh their memories about the current state of the campaign. In other games, a commonly-heard question is “So, where were we? Who's the bad guy again?” Bluebooking provides a handy reference that the players can look back to before the game (or during, if they have a laptop computer) to stay abreast of current events in the game world.
The Shadows Angelus Yahoo Group. This element was an invaluable resource during the campaign. Not only did the group allow us all to interact via e-mail conveniently, the group provided a place for us to share files, character sheets, pictures, and more. As the GM, I often used the Yahoo Group to help set up the schedule for the next session and poll the players about issues pertaining to the game. I strongly encourage anyone planning to run a long-term campaign to set up a Yahoo Group—it's free and quite, quite useful.
We ended up using the Yahoo Group more than anyone ever thought we would, in fact. Looking at the statistics provides some startling numbers: 7 players, 18 months, over 8,000 messages. In between particularly eventful sessions, the players would sometimes comment about their “inboxes exploding.” It's not difficult to pinpoint the climactic events of the campaign simply by studying the amount of messages per month spiking sharply upwards in the middle of 2006.
Soundtracks. I created two soundtracks for Shadows Angelus 1 and am in the process of creating another for Shadows Angelus 2. The soundtracks are not a major tool, but they can help get across the “feel” of your campaign. Sometimes music can really capture a place, or a character, or even a battle or confrontation in a way that dry prose cannot. I encourage any GM looking to run a long-term game to give it a try—and be sure to solicit ideas from your players. It can really surprise you to see what kind of music they think fits best in your campaign setting…
A few words of advice on campaign soundtracks—first, poll your gaming group to see if there are any styles of music that are simply unacceptable. Some players may have a thing about rap music, for instance. Secondly, try to limit the amount of foreign-language music. J-pop and anime tunes can be great, but there is such a thing as too much. Lastly, watch out for explicit versions of several songs—many players have families and children.
Laptop Computer. In the age of flash drives and easy-to-burn CD's, the laptop computer can be a powerful tool for the gaming table. Rather than printing out full-color pictures of NPC's or places, I would simply store the picture file onto a flash drive and bring it to the game. Another player brought his laptop, and I was able to share the picture and show it around with a minimum of fuss. Laptops are also handy if you have to look something up on the internet, or (gods forbid) someone forgot their character sheet… but it's on the Yahoo Group or campaign website! One warning, however: a laptop connected to the internet can be a major distraction if you have a surf-prone player or two.
Webpage Resources. A campaign web site is another excellent advantage for a long-term campaign. It presents a handy place to store character pictures, character sheets, NPC's, session recaps, bluebooking stories, or anything else you might want to have handy to show someone (or to show yourself if you forget and aren't at your normal PC). Mike Surbrook did a great job with the Shadows Angelus web site, and I often point to it as a great example of a good campaign resource. To take a look, the web site can be found here: Shadows Angelus
Battlemat & Miniatures. Crystal Caste makes a very nice double-sided vinyl hex-map for HERO System gaming. Some wet-erase markers (I've found that wet-erase do better on vinyl than dry-erase) and some miniatures can really expand the experience of a tense battle. A Jenga set can provide easy-to-use walls, or you can find HeroClix sets of various odds and ends (lampposts, desks, mailboxes, etc.) at e-Bay for not much money. Over time, the players in Shadows Angelus began to associate a particular model of their own characters or the NPC villains with memorable combats—some of the larger Entities required some very creative thinking on the GM's part. I ended up using some rather large Transformers action figures to represent the truly giant Entities such as Gurzorath.
Shadows Angelus was truly a milestone event for me as a gamer. Never before had I been able to run a single campaign from start to finish and feel so satisfied with the way things worked out. Oh, I had a few small things that could've gone better, certainly, but overall it was truly significant to me how much of the campaign just really “clicked.” 26 sessions is a heck of an accomplishment, and I am truly blessed with an excellent gaming group that made the whole thing possible.
Somewhere around the 18th session, I knew Shadows Angelus was going to be one of my most memorable campaigns. I watched the webpage on Mike Surbrook's site grow and grow with a sense of pride and victory, that the story our group was telling was evolving into something unique. I'd like to take a moment to thank the players that turned Angelus into a solid check mark on the “win” column:
Brent Smith—Roger Davies
Grady Elliot—Officer Malachi Brogan
Jarreas Underwood—Officer Richard Hemelshot
Josh Dowdell—Officer Tyger (NSN)
Mike Surbrook—Officer Jamadigni Renuka
Nestor Rodriguez—Officer Nathan Carpenter
Robert Harrison—Doctor Graham Burton
Steve Furlani—Officer Yiska Karuk