Argent Adept/References

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  • Confirmed by Christopher during a Q&A session: The Argent Adept is a direct reference to the character Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. In the the book Kvothe is described as having fiery red hair, and a major scene involves him playing his lute to earn an honorific, one that includes a set of "silver pipes." (A small brooch showing a pair of silver pipes, representing his talent as a musician.) A Kvothe promo card for the Argent Adept was displayed at the Vengeance release party, with the lowest starting HP (23) of any hero excluding The Sentinels.
  • Dr. Blake Washington, the alter-ego of Ra, is featured in the flavor text of "Xu's Bell."
  • This was the hero deck that required the most effort by Christopher.[1]
  • Virtuosos of the Void whose names, place of origin, titles, and instruments are known:[2]
    • Akpunku, a woman in Africa, The Amber Accompanist, Drum (AA's deck)
    • Telamon, ancient Greece, The Cerulean Sorcerer, Lyra (AA's deck)
    • Xu Li-hua, Han-dynasty China, The Jade Jinx, Bell (AA's deck)
    • Eydisar Ragnarsson, Scandinavia, The Sallow Skald, Horn (AA's deck)
    • Tomasina Musaragni, a nun in Renaissance Italy, Sister Saffron, Harp (AA's deck)
    • Anthony Drake, bartender from California, The Argent Adept, Pipes (AA's deck, but this is AA himself)
    • Franz Vogel, Germany, The Crimson Conductor, a conductor's Baton carved with rose thorns (the Carbon Adept in Biomancer's deck, plus the "Dark Dynamics" variant of AA's character card - Franz got involved with Blood Magic).
    • Ruairí O'Ceallaigh (pronouned Rory O'Kelly), Ireland, The Chartreuse Chanteuse, Fiddle (Tactics)
    • Argent Adept’s birthday is listed as February 15th which is also Christopher’s brother Anthony’s birthday. Anthony is also known for writing the “Christopher and Adam reading letters to you” theme song.

To Other Works

  • "Inspiring Supertonic" portrays Mr. Fixer fighting a robotic version of Baron Blade. This "Blade-bot" is likely a reference to the "Doombots", the robotic doppelgangers of Marvel Comics villain Dr. Doom.
  • Kvothe Six String from The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss.
  • The art on Argent Adept's Virtuoso of the Void original incapacitated side is an homage to Wolverine crucified in a similar manner on the cover of Uncanny X-Men #251.
  • The Argent Adept has some similarities with Marvel's Doctor Strange, as well. Both have alliterative titles representing a position held: Virtuoso of the Void vs. Sorcerer Supreme, both wear long capes and are often shown hovering around a conflict, both use collections of older relics to aid them, and when using their power there is often glowing effects around their hands.

Questions Answered on The Letters Page

  • Notes from Letters Page 29 - Argent Adept:
    • What exactly is the Void (we're told that there's just the one Void in the multiverse, but after OblivAeon and the timelines are closed off from one another, how does the Void factor into that)? If it's a "void" how do things live there? Why does it need a Virtuoso? Is it related to the nowhen/nowhere that Chrono-Ranger was stuck until La Comodora picked him up? Chrono-Ranger was not stuck in the Void - he was stuck outside of reality and while the Void is a weird part of reality, it's still part of reality. Every reality has its own The Void, but all The Voids are the same (as in, they always operate the same) - the Void is intrinsically linked to physical reality (each to its own physical reality). It's a place, but also an energy/force - the Virtuoso isn't required by the Void, but they're humans who have learned to use the Void; it's not like the Void calls them to a purpose. Even the border between the Void and reality is vague "like jelly in a cheesecloth" it just kind of seeps in. It's a place of magical and psychic energies, but it's not the source of psychic or magical power (except for the Virtuosos who learned to harness it) - although people like Nightmist might use it as a power source to fuel their other magical abilities. In short - it's weird.
    • In the Nightmist and Gloomweaver episodes it was mentioned that the Void is separate from, but connected to all realities - post-OblivAeon, does the Argent Adept suffer from some power loss due to the separation of all realities? Does his connection to the Void mean that he could still work out some means of traveling to another reality? This goes back to the previous question, but brings up something that may have been less than clear in previous episodes - while every reality has a Void, and each of those Voids works the same way, they are still separate instances of "Void"-ness and so the end of the Multiverse doesn't really have an effect in these ways. Also, Virtuosos have an intrinsic link to the Void that is inalienable to them - it's not like he has access to a "little" of it or a "lot" of it, he just has access to it.
    • Between AA, Nightmist, and Harpy who has the most connection to it? Have they talked about it? AA is connected to the Void. Full stop. The other two have had contact with the void and have used it somewhat, but they're just magicians who use spells and happen to have done some Void stuff - they're not "connected" to it. Void effects are different than quote-unquote "magic".
    • How does the Void pick its Virtuoso? It is not sentient and doesn't pick the Virtuoso. Being attuned to it is more of a natural aptitude than anything, and somebody has to be both naturally attuned to the Void and have a natural aptitude for music to be a Virtuoso - a rare combination even in terms of the one-in-a-million level of rare that is Void attunement itself.
    • Does the Virtuoso even have to be human? No - you'd need to be sapient. There's an argument to be had that even an AI could be a Virtuoso, but an alien with the right attributes are certainly capable.
    • Nightmist entered the Void and gained power thereby; could anybody do this or would you have to already be somebody who could use magic? You'd have to have some magical ability to survive there considering the inherent danger of being there (you'd also need magic to get there in the first place, but it's possible that somebody else could send you there if you lacked the ability yourself).
    • Can it just pick a person to give power to become a Virtuoso? No, as mentioned it's not sentient.
    • Could it be a power source for RPG characters? Yes.
    • Why is the Virtuoso of the Void a music-themed position? Does it have to do with the creative/logical dynamic involved in music? Yes, there is something about Void energy that music just tunes in to - it's an expression of both art and math and an innate talent for that is necessary to even hope to be a Virtuoso.
    • It's stated that when picking up an Instrument a new Virtuoso would learn what goes with that title, but do they get knowledge of how to play that instrument or did Anthony have to fumble around with the Bell for a while first? Do the powers come from the instruments themselves or are they more of a focus? They don't give you an automatic knowledge of how to play them, but he has an innate talent for music and connection to the Void. That's part of the deal with how long it had been between Virtuosos and the fact that, normally, the previous one is around to teach the next. It was chance that Anthony even went to the exhibition and was exactly the right person who had the attunement and aptitude to even have this work out in the first place. The bell is fairly straightforward - the Lyra took him somewhat longer to learn as it's more complicated, but he was still able to pick it up relatively quickly given his natural aptitudes/attunements. Their power doesn't come from their instruments, they create their instruments with their power (see backstory above for the creation of "Drake's Pipes").
    • In the Tachyon episode it's mentioned that magic doesn't have reproducible results, but his seems pretty consistent; what's going on? It's because his abilities are Void effects rather than "magic". Analogy to Jazz - there's a lot of precision to be found in something that's entirely improvised. Behind the scenes: Christopher and Adam learned about music together when young and their knowledge and love of music goes back a long way - it was important to them as they built out the setting details/talked about the Void, and created this character.
    • What does AA think of Nightmist and Harpy (citing the chaotic/orderly differences)? Does he ever notice that Unity's powers are actually magical? AA is not a student of "magic" and is not a teacher of anything - he's trying to learn what he can from the instruments about the Void. He might run into a magician and try to get info from them, but then quickly realizes that it operates entirely differently from what he does and so they can't teach him much. He might recognize that Unity's stuff is magic, but he's not able to tease out why and he's also not the type to even bring it up to explain it.
    • AA seems like the hero most focused on supporting others (having limited abilities to deal damage himself) - is he a solo adventurer or is he reliant on a team to be properly effective? Was this the case for previous Virtuosos? He's not really a damage-dealing sort of person, but he still is focused on neutralizing threats. What he does in the card game isn't necessarily a good representation of his non-team efforts. In solo books he rarely is dealing with "fightable" issues and so deals with it in other ways.
    • On several cards we see him shooting beams of some sort, what's going on? First a single 40-card game deck is incapable of showing off everything that a character as complicated as a Virtuoso of the Void is capable of. He can to pretty much anything with Void energy and so it's hard to encapsulate this mechanically. When we see these energy beams, they're not doing "energy damage" - they're not doing damage at all, most likely, but they're the outward manifestation of his music/Void power doing something in the aforementioned "threat neutralization".
    • Who/what is the "Silver Shadow"? It's a Void form that he can summon to aid him in the playing of music (kind of a "clone" of himself that he conjures to play an instrument). This is separate from the "play all instruments at once" trick and doesn't drain him.
    • How do his powers "Vocalize" and "Conduct" work? Vocalize represents the fact that Anthony Drake is a singer and can summon some Void energy even without using an instrument. Conduct might be using Void energy to play an instrument rather than doing so himself.
    • It's been mentioned that Anthony Drake is asexual, is that true? Has he had a romantic relationship? Yes, he is an asexual, aromantic character. This wasn't written into his character from the beginning in the '70s, though. It was the case that, unlike virtually every other contemporary hero, he didn't have a character written in as a love interest - his stories just didn't really allow for it. It was a later writer that decided that this meant that he was asexual/aromantic. He has had no relationships in the comics.
    • Virtuosos used to hand down instruments, if things hadn't gotten screwed up by Akash, who would have been Anthony's mentor? Virtuosos wouldn't be passing down instruments. There isn't any person who "would have been" his mentor - the "screwing up" of things that Akash did didn't disrupt some kind of destiny/lineage thing. The mentor would have taught him and helped him form his own instrument (and may have given him an instrument to use to get things kicked off).
    • Since "argent" means "silver" is/was there a Aurum (Golden) Adept? No. Each Virtuoso had a color associated with them for comic book reasons. More on past Virtuosos later.
    • What's the significance of the "hero" being associated with the Void opposed to the "villain" associated with Nature? Have any Virtuosos been more evil? The first bit more of a topic for next week. There has been one malicious Virtuoso - but even he stood against Akash'Bhuta to protect the world - he was just also more selfish and power-hungry; The Crimson Conductor. More on him in the discussion of other Virtuosos below.
    • How is the title/role of Virtuoso passed down? Going back farther than recorded human history there has been a Virtuoso of the Void. Occasionally there's more than one around at the same time. There's frequently one training up one or two (or very rarely three) new ones. The requirement is an innate musical aptitude and innate attunement to the Void combo is exceedingly rare which limits the chance that a Virtuoso would meet more than a few candidates in their life. Prior to the gap leading up to Anthony Drake becoming one, there hadn't been a time without a Virtuoso of the Void, but more on that next week.
    • His bio said that previous Virtuosos passed on their instruments, does that mean that each one creates their own instruments? Does he share that ability and/or if all instruments are destroyed is that the end of the Virtuosos? With the merging of the timelines, has the "main" Argent Adept learned of any other Virtuosos? It was mentioned that he met the Void-forms of past Virtuosos, but he doesn't meet any as people. Some more in the Future section, but in the card game timeline he's self-taught.
    • In the Ra episode it was mentioned that the first powered person on Earth was a Virtuoso - is there something about angry nature spirits opposed to musicians tied to Earth specifically or could there be Virtuosos on, say, Dok'Thorath? Akash'Bhuta is unique to Earth and so the dynamic happening with Virtuosos is unique to Earth too. Different planets have different things wrong with them.
    • Can we hear more about his connection to previous Virtuosos? His relationship is more with the connection to the Void that they left to him via their instruments rather than to their individual personalities/experiences.
    • How did he choose the pipes as his instruments? It's funny since he's a vocalist and he chose pipes - he realized that these instruments were a means to power and so thought back to the instrument he'd played most recently: a recorder back in middle school. He's much better at these pipes than he ever was with the recorder, though.
    • Did he have any musical experience or interest prior to the encounter with the Bell? He was in a series of bands prior to becoming a hero, but hadn't found the right group. He always wanted to do something with music, and eventually figured it out.
    • Are there any surviving instruments from prior Virtuosos that he hasn't found? Yes.
    • The Dark Conductor variant shows him with a thorny baton also wielded by the Carbon Adept, is this an actual Instrument? How did Biomancer get it? This is a good place to talk about the various Virtuosos (many of whom we see in the Toll of Destiny flashback montage and then not again until OblivAeon). The first instrument was Akpunku's Drum, owned by a woman in Africa - the Amber Accompanist. Telamon was an ancient Greek Lyra player - the Cerulean Sorcerer. Next was Xu Li-hua in Han Dynasty China - the Jade Jinx. Eydisar Ragnarsson was a Norseman - the Sallow Skald. The Italian nun Tomasina Musaragni during the Renaissance was Sister Saffron. Last we have the German Franz Vogel - the Crimson Conductor who had a baton covered in thorns, representing the darkness within him and his lust for more power. He did a dangerous thing - mixing Void power with Blood Magic. Biomancer has been around a long time and has known about the Virtuosos for a long time (ask more about him for his own episode). After fighting Biomancer and the Carbon Adept, AA gets the baton and finds it's a real "instrument", but it changes him. This isn't a comprehensive list of Virtuosos or their instruments, it's just the ones whose instruments Anthony Drake has and whom he deals with.
    • Does he ever contact previous Argent Adepts for training? First off, he's the only "Argent Adept", but no he doesn't contact previous Virtuosos beyond the events already discussed.
    • How does he feel about Akash'Thriya being "good"? He's initially wary, but overall pretty pleased with how things turned out. He's not interested in fighting opponents, but in removing threats and having his greatest foe being on his side is a pretty killer way to have them not be a threat.
    • Do Virtuosos generally get curb-stomped immediately or is he unique in this regard? He actually does worse than general given that he's self-trained.
    • Did previous Virtuosos work with a team like the Prime Wardens? There have been teams consisting of multiple Virtuosos but not typically team-ups with other heroes.
    • [Sign-off referring to The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss] This is a series (currently standing at 2 novels with a third fothcoming, a novella about a side character, and a short story about another) about a character named Kvothe who is a magic-using person who also is a magician. While there's some intentional similarities, they are by no means the "same" person and the Virtuosos of the Void as a concept has nothing to do with the books. However, because of the similarities, they did a cross-promotion with Rothfuss' charity Worldbuilders to make a promo character card with Kvothe in place of Anthony Drake. You don't need to know anything about the books to understand the Argent Adept.
    • Given that the Legacy line has been around for a long time (as has Haka, Bunker, or others) has a Virtuoso of the Void interacted with any other heroes? The Legacy line has been around for a shorter time than there was a gap between Virtuosos, so no previous Virtuoso interacted with a powered Parsons person. No previous Virtuoso was a character in the past of Sentinel Comics. None have met Haka (although the timelines could have allowed it since he's been around so long). Of the villains, probably only Akash'Bhuta and Biomancer interacted with them in the past.
    • Anthony Drake, the "Dark Dynamics" variant, and Kvothe are all gingers, but it's hard to believe that all Virtuosos were - is that a common trend with them? They're from all over the world. The Dark Dynamics variant is still Anthony Drake, none of the other Virtuosos have any reason to look like him.
    • Could there be a Virtuoso who's tone deaf? What if AA lost his musical abilities? "Tone deaf" is tough, it's theoretically possible for somebody to be naturally talented in music but still be tone deaf, but it's probably fair to say that every Virtuoso so far has had perfect pitch. It's unclear how AA could lose his musical abilities (if somebody magically did something to his mind it's likely that the Void would somehow fix it). During that period, however, he'd retain the knowledge even if he'd be temporarily unable to use it. Even if he was deafened, he'd still be able to use his abilities (look at Beethoven as an example) and probably even use the Void somehow to get around that problem (like Mr. Fixer getting around being blind).
    • How long was the Multiverse without a Virtuoso? How many instruments have been destroyed? It's been a few hundred years (and it's not just a destruction of an instrument that caused the gap in Virtuosos). Many have been destroyed. Probably more than are still extant given that up until the gap there was at least one created per generation going back into prehistory.
    • "Dark Dynamics" Adept has a dal segno symbol on his chest - is there significance to this (re: its use in music notation to mark where to repeat a portion of the music)? He's also clutching a rose so hard his hand bleeds - is this tied to blood magic? It's not a rose, it's the Crimson Conductor's baton and, yes, it's tied to blood magic. The symbol is the insignia that the Crimson Conductor used, although it's interesting that he's also kind of repeating the sorts of things that the Crimson Conductor did.
    • The Instruments are obviously important, old, and powerful, but why aren't they "Relics"? Why was Xu's bell specifically that was used to destroy one of Voss's ships? They aren't "Relics" in the game-keyword sense because they aren't imbued with power in such a way as to pass that power on to somebody - they work that way for Virtuosos specifically, and wouldn't mean anything to anybody else. Relics also have a degree of "invulnerability" that the instruments don't really have. The bell just happened to be the one he picked, no larger significance. It's a very good thing that he didn't destroy his pipes that way - destroying the bell disrupted the connection between the bell and the Void-form of Xu, leaving it as a husk of what it once was. If he'd destroyed the pipes it would have killed him.
    • How is AA able to keep all of the instruments with him and ready to use? He keeps them in the Void and summons them when he needs them.
    • Are there Virtuoso instruments that the comics writers created that we just don't see in the game? Are there some that remain hidden even after the end of the Multiverse and does that affect his abilities? There are some that haven't been recovered, some have been destroyed, the end of the Multiverse has no effect on his abilities. There are some the writers made that we haven't seen yet - they'll mention some in the Future section.
    • Compared to the Scholar, he doesn't seem like a mentor person (big agreement there) - but he's worked with Nightmist, helped exorcise Dark Visionary, and helped the Naturalist get a hang of his powers; are there other heroes he's helped? What did he do with Tachyon and Mr. Fixer in "Alacritous Subdominant" and "Inspiring Supertonic"? The two major things he's done to help other heroes are the Naturalist and Dark Visionary events. He's speeding Tachyon up and making Fixer's punch do more damage - pretty straightforward augmentation stuff. He makes people better at the stuff they do.
    • Who's the kid on "Rhapsody of Vigor"? The first (very early, not very refined) version of Idealist.
    • Why does AA transform Naturalist into other animals instead of back to a human? From a functional standpoint, the story is supposed to sound like a fable. Story-wise, he realizes that he needs to do things this way to not kill Naturalist - he speeds the process along, but he can't just undo it.
    • Does AA wind up working alongside Akash'Thriya (and Naturalist)? Not really - the other two work together more, but the three of them do all go to the Nexus of the Void together. They're wary of each other, but when they do work together it works well.
    • How does AA feel about Naturalist awakening/helping to evolve Akash? Apprehension at first with a chance to grow into something more.
    • What's the giant egg on "Instrumental Conjuration"? It's the Nether Egg in the Realm of Discord. Laid by the Nether Fiend. We see Portal Fiends in the deck and they can open portals to move around within the RoD. The Nether Fiend is the most ancient of them (and much bigger/more powerful, so much so that it's ignored humans running around). The egg is going to hatch a being capable of opening portals between the RoD and physical world (which is bad). He can't destroy it (and even if he did it would bring down the wrath of all of the Portal Fiends on humans), but he can make it so it never hatches. He has to summon all of his instruments to do this.
    • What happened to him in MMFFCC? How did the Prime Wardens find him again? He fell through the bizarre swirling thing there that was known to swallow people. This let the other Prime Wardens trace him to this pocket dimension to rescue not only him, but other people who had been lost there. All things considered this was a good things because 1. finding/helping more people and 2. if somebody's going to fall into a weird pocket dimension thing, AA is a good candidate for being able to handle it.
    • Has Anthony Drake ever put out an album? A mix tape? A YouTube channel? Not really - he likely put down some backup vocals that got used at some point prior to becoming a Virtuoso, but that's all likely in his past since he's rather more busy with other stuff now. He'd probably like to be able to do more stuff now that he's a better musician, but he's just too busy.
    • [Stuff about how, as somebody who likes playing D&D Bards, it's nice to see a Bard superhero and, even more, one that people actually like it when you play him in-game] What kind of music does he like? Do he and Absolute Zero or Writhe ever talk about music? Does he even have fun anymore? He likes Jazz a lot. He likes a lot of things, but by no means everything (not really a "modern pop" guy). He likes hearing stuff that he hasn't heard before - even if he ultimately decides that something isn't for him, he's still always open to hearing new music. He might not even be aware of AZ and Writhe's interest in music - their interest is likely very different from his. They like to do stuff like relax while listening to a record - processing and enjoying it - while he lives music. They're also not likely to seek out a conversation with him about it - it'd be intimidating to talk to him about it. It'd be like trying to talk to a world-class conductor about what they do or something - it's not really easy to talk about things at their level.
    • Does Anthony's first name have anything to do with a certain creator's brother who sings about people reading letters to us? Yes. Christopher's brother Anthony is a professional artist and so that was an obvious go-to option.
    • What is the significance to his more practical/simple costume in tactics? Yet another segue...