So, my husband Matt has an ongoing character creation project in which he wants to make a character for every roleplaying game he owns. As he is a collector of games and PDFs count, he will never be finished. That's beside the point, however. I occasionally join him in this endeavor.
Game: Better Angels, by Greg Stolze
Publisher: Arc Dream
Degree of Familiarity: I played a demo of it at GenCon, haven't really read it, but looked over Matt's shoulder now and again while he did. The demo had pregen characters so this will be my first foray into making one.
Books Required: Just the core.
Step One: Your Human.
So, Better Angels is a game in which people get possessed by both demons and angels, and that's where superpowers come from. People possessed by angels get to be superheros. People possessed by demons end up as supervillains. There are some downsides, of course. No one gets asked if that's what they want before they're possessed by a demon, and once you are, if you let the demon win enough in exchange for phenomenal cosmic power, you get dragged off to hell for the ultimate in itty-bitty living space with a thermostat that never leaves "torment" no matter how many times you call the super. So assuming you're not actually a bad person, you want to be a bit evil, so they don't eat you or go possess someone else (usually nearby, usually unsuspecting). You want to be a grandiose supervillain, whose goal is to control an army of pigeons or take control of the local supermarket or hold an ice rink hostage in the off season, something like that. Enough to convince your demon you're playing along, but not enough to turn you into demon fodder.
The first step is to figure out who you were/are minus a demon. This is a point-buy system, where you've got twenty human points to spend in strategies and tactics and specialties to get your core concept down.
I'm having a horrible time coming up with a core concept, so.... Okay. I'm choosing a grad student who's studying psychoanalysis and dreams. I'll name her Sherry. Sherry Masinger. She picked up her demon by accidentally happening across something in Special Collections that shouldn't have been read, and certainly not read aloud. Just one of those things, I guess.
So, Tactics (main category points) are worth 2 pts each, Strategies (secondary skills) are worth 1 each, and specialties (jobs, areas of knowledge, etc.) are worth two. I gave her one specialty (grad student), and then I bought 2 in Patient, 3 in Knowledge, 1 in Open, 3 in Insightful, and 3 in Honesty.
Step 2: Your Demon
So now you pick a primary strategy, aspect, and power for your demon. Obviously you don't want to choose a strategy for your demon that your human sucks at, or you wouldn't have made it long enough to have a story in the first place. The mirror strategy for Insightful is Devious, so that's what I'll choose. (It's worth noting that each stat has 5 dots -- now that I've picked my primary one, that's the one where if the demon gets 5 dots in that stat, it can drag me off to hell.) Now I need an aspect and a power. For power, I've picked Terror (based in Cruelty). For aspect, I've picked Ghost Form -- walking through walls and such.
Step Three: Switch. Now we switch characters (which is why it's important to have more than one person to make characters for this game). Now we spend points on each other's characters. We start off with spending 20 more points on the other human character (Matt's character is here).You can spend them on strategies and tactics, but not specialties. I put points in the stats his demon stuff uses and spread his points out a bit.
Step Four: Pick another power and aspect for the other person's demon.
Matt's demon is sort of animalistic, so he already had Animal Form and Flame-Wreathed. I added onto that Arrogant and Darkness-Shrouded.
So now we just name our own characters and then the other guy's demons. My character is Sherry Masinger. Matt's demon, I think, should be something using an obviously false-ish name that gives its character away. I like star names, so I think Sirius is good -- the Dog Star. Matt gave my demon "Horned," which just means some sort of physical attack, and Clairvoyance. He names the demon Marax, whose goal according to the Lesser Key of Solomon is to make people knowledgable in astronomy and all the liberal arts. No wonder he picked a grad student.
So there you go!