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- Richard Launius created Nightmist and his nemesis purely as a fan thing, the >G crew saw his efforts and asked if he would like to co-design an expansion with them. The previous nemesis of Nightmist can be seen here
- Talking about Richard Launius:
- Co-designer of the Arkham Horror board game (both the original Chaosium version and the Fantasy Flight remake) and of Fate of the Elder Gods by Greater Than Games. He had made some fan decks of Nightmist and Realm of Discord that got reimagined/redesigned when made official decks, but GloomWeaver began as the villain Key Master (made of bones, gates to other realities, etc.) but for story reasons they needed to change stuff up.
- Talking about Richard Launius:
To Other Works
- Physically and conceptually, Gloomweaver is very similar to the Marvel villain Dormamu.
- In the flavor text of "Vast Following," Cult Leader Massey refers to Gloomweaver with the moniker "Dread." This is another reference to Dormamu, who frequently goes by that same moniker.
- The "Grimoire of Curses" is virtually identical to the Necronomicon Ex Mortis from the film Evil Dead. The Necronomicon made it's first appearance in the short story "The Hound" by HP Lovecraft, and became a popular McGuffin in many stories of the Cthulhu mythos and it's role playing/board game spin-offs. One of those board games was Arkham Horror by Richard Launius. Richard Launius is the creator of both Gloomweaver and Nightmist.
- The art on "Strength of the Grave" is evocative of Mike Mignolia, the artist/writer/creator of Hellboy.
Questions Answered on The Letters Page
- Notes from Letters Page Episode 13
- During the ARG leading up to the OblivAeon reveal we learn that the appearance of Spite Agent of Gloom was during a run of Dark Watch issues that cover the OblivAeon events - so, what were Spite and GloomWeaver's roles during the OblivAeon events? The issues of comics that are shown in the ARG are not the OblivAeon event proper, but are lead up to it. DW 13-18 are not during the OblivAeon event, so DW 17 being the appearance of Agent of Gloom is still in that run-up phase.
- Were villains other than Spite working with GloomWeaver, in particular, is the obelisk in the Skinwalker card art the same as Apostate's "Runes of Malediction"? Any further tie-ins to other major events in the comics (like OblivAeon)? No, GloomWeaver just used Spite and doesn't really make friends to the point of working with others (other than his cultists, who hardly count). Obelisk is just an obelisk. Repercussions: it was a major event that brought in a bunch of people, introduced Lifeline as a hero, lasting importance on Dr. Medico. Good way to prep for OblivAeon without being directly related to OblivAeon.
- Was GloomWeaver banished or destroyed? If banished, does whatever's left of Nightmist keep him from returning or would another hero or team need to step up. If destroyed, is that related to why Nightmist chose to become the gate? Neither, he's imprisoned in Dr. Medico's OblivAeon Shard. "That's probably not concerning and shouldn't be a problem for anyone." - Christopher
- Did GloomWeaver try to contact Spite after his skinwalker plot failed? No, since there's no more GloomWeaver free in the Realm of Discord to contact anybody. More in Future section here and in Spite's episode.
- What's up with Ophidia and the "familiar" keyword, since there's no mechanics supporting that keyword? Ophidia was the necromancer's familiar before he did the ritual to become GloomWeaver. Part of that ritual was that he had to be killed *by* his familiar, but even in the RoD he has his connection to Ophidia. That connection is what allows him to still influence things in the real world, even after Ophidia dies (and becomes a "ghost snake"). So, as an example, while Spite was stuck in his dead body for years, Ophidia is the entity in there with him feeding him GloomWeaver's power.
- Which hero is canonically the first to fight Gloomweaver and his cult? Cult first fought by Black Fist and Wraith - probably Wraith first. First to fight GloomWeaver and the cult were the Freedom Five plus Nightmist (who they brought in for that purpose).
- Is the Master related to all of this Gloomweaver stuff? Yes. The Master, Nightmist's trainer, is Xian Niu [spelling confirmed], a Cultist of GloomWeaver - he's around for a long time before readers find this out. He helped Massey acquire the relics, but still secretive - he's an agent for them, but keeps hands-off enough to remain apart from them. The ritual gone-wrong that gave Nightmist her power was noticed by GloomWeaver and he sent his top agent to deal with that and so the Master trains her up to increase her power, but he's also been siphoning off her power the whole time - the goal being to use that power all at once to overwrite reality with the Realm of Discord - not just letting him "break through" but making them the same place, which would essentially make him unbeatable. During the Skinwalker event, Nightmist and Harpy were off getting ready to do the Gate ritual she finds and taps into a big source of power she finds, the Master's "capacitor" that he'd been charging this whole time - she's able to tap into and use it so easily because it was already hers. She does this at a moment when he was working on the capacitor and he gets really messed up by the resulting magical explosion.
- What does Zhu Long know about GloomWeaver (and vice versa)? They know about each other, but neither really has anything that the other wants. They both kind of have cults, but aren't rivals.
- Who is Cult Leader Massey? He was a sorcerer, doing his own thing, but who then discovers this source of power but sees the high turn-over rate (ritual suicides and whatnot). He reorganizes things to make them run more efficiently (and to not be a sacrifice himself) with the expectation that GloomWeaver will give him power once he's brought through. This doesn't quite work out as the first thing that GloomWeaver does upon manifesting is to consume Massey's soul as a last bit of power gain as he comes through.
- What happens to the various cultists in the decks: dead, imprisoned, elsewhere? Mostly dead. The Cult doesn't leave many alternatives.
- GloomWeaver is a major nemesis for Nightmist, is she a major one for him? Have there been others through the ages? She's a thorn in his side, and she's been his primary barrier to entry lately, but there have been others in the past (hinted at last week). He's a slow, patient player. Things have been starting to coalesce over the last few centuries, she just happens to be the most capable to oppose him right now.
- Are GloomWeaver/Cult stories the general content of Tome of the Bizarre and how long has it been around? Reiterating the history given piecemeal above: Horror comic in the '40s and '50s before getting shut down by the CCA rules - it was mostly sorcerers and cultists doing "shocking" stuff. Then a second run in the modern age, the one generally cited in SotM content. It's a superhero book, but an anthology one that doesn't follow a specific hero, it just has mostly magic-related stuff going on.
- How did Joe Diamond run afoul of GloomWeaver? Joe had been a prior "thorn in GloomWeaver's side" much like his granddaughter would be later, foiling plots to bring him over. GloomWeaver eventually manages to trick him into performing a ritual nominally to lock GloomWeaver out forever, but really designed to recreate the necromancer's original one - pulling Joe into the Realm of Discord. The reason we generally see him with the glowing orb that is Joe's essence is because much of when we see him is specifically when he's opposing Nightmist and he brings it out to taunt her - it's not particularly important to him.
- Why does he hold onto Joe in the first place? He's a magically-powerful soul and it's better to let it accrue more power over time and slowly drain it. Also works as a possible bargaining chip with other magicians later. He's also just a jerk.
- How big is GloomWeaver, can he change size/appearance? In the Realm of Discord he can pretty much be whatever he wants (and has changed his "normal" appearance over the centuries. The Skinwalker form is about 8 feet tall, the Rotting God is about 30 feet tall. He has much less control in the real world, he can change size a little, but needs matter to do so.
- Why does he have a reptilian tail as Skinwalker, he doesn't in his old form? Every version of him has a big weird alligator tail.
- When Nightmists banishes foes, can GloomWeaver interact with them? She's not banishing things to the Realm of Discord or to the Void. She's banishing them outside of time and space; they are nowhere and nowhen.
- Did GloomWeaver have a hand in other big comic events? Every villain deck is a "major event". Gloomweaver's are his "first appearance" in FFA #6 (introduced him and Nightmist, reorganized the cult's status as a thing in the comics by giving it a focus), the big fight that came out of Fabric of Despair which represents his deck and normal character cards, and Skinwalker represented by the corresponding promo.
- With the Multiverse ended and realities blocked off from one another, does that mean that he can't cause problems anymore? He's not limited by the closing of realities as much as he is by being imprisoned currently. The deeper question here, though, is that the Realm of Discord isn't a different "reality" in the way implied by the "multiverse". It's a different dimension/realm/whatever of the same universe as the card-game-timeline (each reality has its own version of it).
- Can the Realm of Discord be accessed easily? How close is it to the Void or the place where Nightmist became a magical creature? The Realm of Discord is the "ethereal realm", sometimes you go there when you dream, etc. The "good for doing magic" places mentioned in the Nightmist episode (swamps, old cathedrals, abandoned insane asylums, etc.) are good places to cross over as the veil is thinner in such places. It's not particularly easy to get there, but certainly possible. Nightmist got her powers from the Void - they're the same place. The Void is its own thing and isn't really related to the RoD.
- "The Pouch of Bones" has flavor text attributed to Tony Taurus, who eventually becomes Heartbreaker - did GloomWeaver influence him into becoming a villain? Tony was driven to snap by many events. The encounter with GloomWeaver did not help, but there was no intention there.
- Whose bones are in the Pouch of Bones, why does GloomWeaver carry it, what do they do? His bones (the necromancer). They're preserved by the ritual that created him in the first place, protected by Ophidia. The Pouch was used specifically in the Skinwalker ritual to give him a new physical form - the first mortal form he had for tens of thousands of years. It's a necromantic relic - it doesn't really do anything itself, but it makes necromantic stuff happening near it more likely to work.