Angel RPG – a GMs
This game is based on the spin-off show to Joss
Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and is published by Eden studios. Eden studios
also published the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG which we have also reviewed, and so this review will be mainly a
comparison between the two. If you haven’t already, click here to read our Buffy review. For those who don’t
know, Angel was a character on Buffy, he was a Vampire who had had his soul returned to him (via gypsy magic) so
that he would suffer the guilt of his crimes as a vampire for the rest of his immortal life. He and Buffy fell
in love but realised, because of that pesky gypsy magic, that theirs was a love that could not be so he left
town, turning his back on his true love forever (except in cross-over episodes). He moved to Los Angeles and,
with a couple of other cast members, set up a supernatural detective agency, helping the
Angel never received the critical success or audience
numbers of predecessor, but still managed to gain a loyal fan base (myself firmly included in that group!). But
we aren’t here to compare the shows, how do the games stack up against one another?
As with Buffy, Angel uses the cinematic unisystem
which is fast and simple and works well with the tone of the show as it did with Buffy. It uses drama points as
before for players to boost their rolls etc in fact it is almost identical to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.
These two games can be used in any combination with one another, taking elements from one and adding it to the
other, the only area where there is a bit of tweaking to be done is with the characters. Angel characters are a
little stronger straight out the box than Buffy characters but the book gives you ample advice on how to deal
with this. Apart from that they are pretty much the same game.
The big difference is with character creation, and is
what, in my opinion, set these games apart. Angel includes pretty much all the Qualities (feats and talents your
character choices at character creation) there were in Buffy but also a whole load more demonic powers. Demons
and half-demons make up a large proportion of the characters in Angel, and this section allows you to build not
only ones from the show but also make your own. The possibilities in this section are enormous and, whereas in
Buffy I felt character creation was a bit limited, in Angel it is its strongest selling point. The powers in
this section do not have to be demonic either, a creative GM to suit any setting (ie super powers, magic,
bionics etc), which expands this game immensely.
The show was set in the same universe as Buffy and
again, this book does an excellent job of bringing that across. The chapter on L.A is not only a fun read for a
fan, but really shows the scope of the city as a setting for an RPG. The Buffy RPG is, probably not
surprisingly, dominated by the slayer, pretty much everything going on (supernaturally speaking) in Sunnydale is
in some way affected by the presence of the Buffy. In other words, if you want to run a game that doesn’t
somehow involve the slayer and/or the watchers council then you will have a bit of work to do. Whereas with
Angel RPG, it would be very easy to have a game set in L.A and it have absolutely nothing to do with Angel
Investigations, Wolfram and Hart or anything else on the show. There is a whole community of demons living (and
fighting!) amongst us which could give raise to all sorts of gaming possibilities.
Are the players demon hunters? Are they demons being
hunted? Are they half-demons trying to live amongst the human, using their abilities to help people? Or help
Both games, Buffy and Angel, are excellent products
from a fans point of view, they have captured Joss Whedon’s humour in the writing that you can hear it being
read in the Sarah Michelle Gellar or Charisma Carpenter’s voice. For fans who want to play as their favourite
characters they will not disappoint, and for that it gets 5/5 for fans of the show.
However, for those who are not huge fans of the show
and are just looking for a good RPG they can play again and again, Angel wins hands down. There is so much more
potential with this game, more choices at character creation, more flexibility in the setting and with less
“baggage” from the show. If you are looking for a fast and fun game thats easy to learn and can be used to cover
a wide range of games, then this is the one for you. 4/5 recommended.
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