Podcasts/Episode 204

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The Letters Page: Episode 204
Sentinels of the Multivese: Definitive Edition!

Original Source

Primary Topic

    Intro

    The Definitive Edition of Sentinels of the Multiverse!

    Show Notes:

    Run Time: 1:52:25

    The game is out! You have it in hand! (Or, if you don't, you COULD! Go get it!) Let's talk about it!

    This is a long episode, and it's mostly letters... from you! Which is what Christopher and Adam read! That's, like, what we do.

    Also, speaking of Definitive Edition: the first expansion for Sentinels of the Multiverse Definitive Edition is live as of 10 AM Central today! It's pretty thrilling! Get in on the action!

    Characters Mentioned

    Summary

    Overview

    • Definitive Edition has shipped! Everybody who backed the Kickstarter should have it by now. If you haven’t, email them at the contact[at]greaterthangames[dot]com address. At the time of recording it’s also on its way to distributors so hopefully it should be available in stores soon as well if not already. People who backed the KS wound up getting a pretty good deal; with the increased prices of things like paper and shipping over the last year, the game now retails for $69.95 - $10 more than they estimated a year ago.

    Questions

    • They had to cut down a lot of questions to make this episode a reasonable length. They might start having a “lingering OblivAeon questions”-style section for additional Definitive Edition questions in Editor’s Note episodes for a while to try to get through things. Christopher specifically cut most game mechanics/rules questions as that isn’t really the point of the Letters Page, but if people really want a DE Mechanics episode they can vote for it as Patreon supporters. Adam points out that as “the art guy” he’s not really going to have a lot to say regarding mechanics questions - although he can be the audience surrogate that Christopher explains things to.
    • [Starting with some of the mechanics questions anyway] Here’s a specific example to showcase a general question: when the S-83 Assault Drone is in Fabricate mode it will retaliate to attacks made on Devices - as a Device itself, if it is hit with enough damage to reduce it to 0 HP, does it still get to deal its retaliation damage before being destroyed? The specific wording of the relevant clause is important so here we go: “Until the Villain Start Phase, after any Device card is dealt damage by a Hero target, this card deals the attacker 2 melee damage.” Avoiding the question of what the order of operations is (i.e. whether destruction happens before any other triggered text) the important thing here is that it says “after any Device card is dealt damage”. Any time you see “after” in an instruction, you must completely resolve the preceding action before you do the thing. In this case, you check for 0 HP and therefore target destruction as part of the damage step. By the time the damage stuff is complete, the S-83 Assault Drone is not longer in play to trigger. This was an intentional choice of wording and they cleaned up a lot of what had been “whenever…” effects to now be “after…” effects in the hopes that it would clear up such timing questions.
    • You’ve cut down on a lot of the old text in a number of ways (+ and - instead of “increase” and “decrease”, the new terms like “summon”, etc.) - are there any cards in DE that you wouldn’t have been able to do in previous editions due to the amount of text necessary? Well, they had some quite wordy cards in the old days too - the original “Self Destruct Sequence” comes to mind. There are still some wordy cards in DE, but they tend to be edge cases where they’re trying to do something unique (thus defeating the purpose of the new terms) and so they have to spell things out. Additionally, all of Omnitron’s cards needing both Exterminate and Fabricate text does that to some extent and the various Phase markers take up real estate on the cards too - these in particular are so worth it though as they make it much clearer at a glance on what’s going on. [Additional thing they note here, the Phase markers are specific to the play area they’re in - if a hero plays a card with, say, an End Phase effect into somebody else’s play area, it’s that other hero’s End Phase where it goes off, not the “owner” of the card.]
      • The question that Christopher’s brain thought the above letter was asking was whether there were any new cards that can’t be replicated in the DE framework: not “impossible” per se, but there were a lot of examples of “reveal cards from your deck…” things that no longer fit easily into the game term categories - you could still just spell them out, but they’d be much more likely to change them into Discover or one of the other defined terms now as the variety of “getting stuff into play” wasn’t really the interesting thing. What’s interesting is what you do after things are in play, so let’s streamline that and make things less cutesy about it. Also, they removed the distinction between “play” and “put into play” - it was an interesting mechanical thing to play around with, but we can do better (mostly because “you can’t play cards” is not fun so most cases have been removed anyway).
    • Something I noticed was that cards in different decks now have additional things going on to distinguish them from one another (see the Legacy Ring and Wraith’s Utility Belt as an example); is this a conscious design decision and will it be a continued trend as we move forward with expansions? Can you get through all 6 boxes without duplicating a card? Possibly. They’re pretty confident that they can do it. Part of it is that everybody kind of got a power boost, which means fewer single-effect cards and more opportunities to make things unique.
    • We’ve seen a bunch of glorious ’90s-style art in DE - once we start seeing Extremeverse content how will we be able to distinguish it from the “actually just the ’90s” art? Time will tell with that. Adam will just have to go over the top. It’s also worth noting that ’90s art is meant to be what was cool in the ’90s from the perspective of people in the ’90s. Extremeverse stuff is what was cool in the ’90s as seen from a decade or two later. The art style will be more like the other contemporary stuff from the ’00s or ’10s, just with the fixation on bulging muscles and double swords and whatever (plus the issue attribution being in Disparation will be a clue).
    • On the Freedom Tower card “Ironclad Maintenance Bay” one of the Bunker suits seems to have strange markings and tentacles - is this a “magic” suit or is some monster up there stalking Tyler Vance? If it’s a magic suit, was it actually used in some issue or is it just an Easter Egg? Adam’s intention was that it was a magic suit. He’s sure that all of these suits were used in at least one issue. He tries to make any “Easter eggs” that are present in the art mean something (i.e. detail shots like this with a variety of suits are meant to be a call back to previous specialty suits that readers have a shot of recognizing).
    • Who’s is that on [card]?
      • Abduct and Interrogate: random goon or The Informant? Random goon.
      • Flashbang Projector: Crossword? Yeah.
      • Infrared Eyepiece: Zhu Long goons in particular? No, just Rook City goons that Adam was trying to give some unified gang symbolism to.
      • Piston Punch? Fright Train (there’s dissent as to whether it’s before his major augmentations or if he’s just had the cow-catcher knocked off before this panel).
      • Recharge Mode: Major Flay or a new villain entirely? That is a robot that is instructed to attack him. “It’s too soon to talk about that” [although my guess as to the name of this character on The Letters Page Discord was confirmed - astute listeners of the podcast since DE started arriving in backers’ hands could make the correct identification].
      • Accelerated Assault/Bank Heist in Progress: are these all Glamour henchmen? The Bank one is Glamour henchmen. Tachyon’s card has her attacking Citizens of the Sun. That’s at a time prior to the “unique” citizens’ creation and so are basically just uniformly-powered flunkies.
      • Hoarfire: Crystalloid Gremlins from Magmaria or one of Apostate’s demons? That’s a “real demon”. The place where they are was either meant to be “Hell” (later retconned to be Æternus) or was simply Æternus.
      • Ice Shield - is the young woman the same one that Bunker’s protecting in Megalopolis (Collateral Damage)? Is that Fashion? It’s not the same person - just the era the art is in makes for trends in outfits. It’s definitely not Fashion.
      • Null Point Calibration Unit: The Yeti? Yes.
      • Brainstorm and Destructive Response: Are these Celestial Executioners? If so, why are they red instead of green? Yes, they’re all executioners. They still have green parts to their look - things will change based on the era of art they’re being depicted in (both color and design). Different artists have different takes on things.
      • Hasty Augmentation: Who’s the kaiju-sized robot in the background? That’s a time will tell question.
      • Ignite: Rose Griggs? Yes.
      • Final Dive: Who’s the stone Spartan? That’s a ghost! It’s the Ghost of the First Christmas from the “Fanatic Christmas Carol” episode!
      • Vitality Conduit: who is the alien bug hunting Parse? That’s Korrupton.
      • Counterpoint Bulwark: Is Kismet the attacker? Yes.
      • Vernal Sonata: Is this the Arboretum Arcanum that the Prime Wardens are hanging out in? Yes. [What, no mention of the super-cool fact that he’s summoned the Arboretum as a refuge in the Egyptian Underworld!?]
      • The Crucible: Who’s in the background on the far left next to Visionary? Naturalist.
    • Adam, can you talk a bit about what you had to research in order to mimic the art styles of various eras (other than the color stuff you’ve discussed previously)? Do you find any particular eras harder to mimic than others? Do you mimic different artists from the same period? How do you keep it all straight? Do you ever start work on a ’50s piece but then find yourself putting ’70s faces on characters? The easy answer here is simply that he’s constantly researching. His job has kind of changed from “draw a bunch of cards” to “study a bunch of comics” for like ’90% of his day. He has to look at a lot of comics. What he thinks helps is now he’s doing specific artist homages rather than “situational” homages like he used to (i.e. he’s trying to match an artist’s look without copying a specific panel/cover in terms of composition). He looks at the way that a specific artist draws muscles or faces and try to replicate that. Almost every card makes use of that approach to some extent. He doesn’t ever run into that “accidentally putting a ’70s face in a ’50s comic” problem because he’s inundating himself with the art for whatever period he’s working on at the time. Another factor is the order he did things: when working on art for DE, they figure out what art is going to be on each card which includes determining which issue it was from. Then when he’s working, he sorts by date of the comic publication and works through them chronologically. He’s always working from oldest art to newest art and so is starting with the most limited tool set and “discovers” new techniques that he can use in the same order that they would have been available in the real world as well.
    • How does the storytelling collaboration between the two of you manifest itself in the art? Does Adam just go off by himself after the initial discussion and then come back with the final product or is Christopher involved in a way that the audience isn’t privy to? When they first posit the art for a card there’s a full discussion process. Christopher might suggest a thing that Adam will either agree with or have suggestions for how to alter it at which point it becomes a discussion. For 90% of the arts Adam will just go do that thing and it’s done. Another 5% of the time, Adam might come back with something like “that didn’t work out, can we…” and then it gets into another discussion. The last 5% Adam winds up doing something other than what they discussed and comes back with the complete art and his reasons for doing it this way. Some of those might require further tweaks and the rest they just run with it. Adam jumps in at this point and says that he’s better about asking if he can change things before going rogue with the art and so the percentages might have swung even more towards the “art as we’ve discussed” end now. At this point he’s got such a good idea of what the stories are that he often has a pretty good idea of what he can do while they’re in that initial discussion phase. He doesn’t need to change it. The original edition was often “[hero] fighting a villain” with him flying by the seat of his pants in terms of who he put in there. He no longer has that “put a generic villain in here” space as they know who the heroes are fighting in any given instance now. Even when the opponent in an art is “a generic thug”, they know that it was just some generic thug from the story. Christopher is very much involved in the process (probably more in the card art than the covers for Writers’ Room podcasts), but it’s typically all up-front before Adam starts drawing. Occasionally, after getting a much of art delivered he’ll ask Adam to go back and tweak things in some of them, but that works better for Adam’s process than sending incomplete arts for comment in the middle of the process (plus, this allows the art and writing/dev work to be done in parallel, which also saves time). Even then, most of the tweaks are slight color adjustments. Maybe 20 cards out of the core DE set needed to be tweaked. Rarely play testing requires a change to a deck after the art process starts, but often that winds up being “we need another card” rather than needing to throw out a completed art. Sometimes something they make up for the podcast winds up being perfect for a card and they need to change what is being depicted, but luckily so far that has only happened to cards where the art hadn’t been done yet.
    • How does Fanatic use her rosary Relic in the comics? It’s not really a combat thing, but mechanically it fits in with EE Prayer of Desperation. It’s something she uses in that kind of moment rather than as something to pull out during a fight, but like her other stuff it only has powers because she thinks it does (Adam: “A lot of magic feathers.” Christopher: “A lot of magic feathers. That’s why she has wings.”) The effects she gets out of it represent more of a centering/focusing of her powers.
    • What exactly is Captain Cosmic doing with Dynamic Siphon (it looks like he’s melding his golden energy with Argent Adept’s, boosting him somehow, but how does this effect look when applied to other heroes)? The idea is that he’s creating an energy/construct area such that when an enemy attacks, it triggers the construct to allow the affected hero to respond. It’s sort of like a capacitor that discharges in response to incoming “energy” (whether it’s kinetic or something else) - it’s not exactly providing protection, but it invigorates the person. Adam imagines that if it was applied to Legacy when he was gearing up to do a flying smash or something, it’d be a glowing field around him that would speed him up. Christopher suggests maybe for Legacy the look of the construct would be a big, more elaborate cape of golden energy. The effect is there to make the character better at being themselves. It’s abstracted a bit, but since the Reaction is that the hero may use a power the idea is that it “turns incoming damage into energy”.
    • Is Hippo the new villain version of Absolute Zero in terms of “character that gets shown being beat up”? Is AZ going to retain his title in that regard on the hero side? Hippo is a good “you can beat him up a lot” villain because he can take it - a lot of other villains if you throw them off the roof of a tall building there’s that “Did you just kill him?” thing to contend with. Hippo will be fine. He’s also just the consummate jobber in terms of his story roles, so he can show up a lot. AZ will still suffer, but now that the cast of characters is larger than it was originally they can spread that around some.
    • [Preamble mentions that “if this game was made from real comics I’d probably be annoyed that they just reused panels from existing comics but since that’s not the case, the effort is appreciated".] That’s kind of the effect they’re striving for. Adam thinks that if you’re doing this game using existing comics properties you either need to do all modern art so to give a cohesive look to things or do what they did here and lean into the rich history of comics that things can be pulled from and celebrated. The thing that they can all agree on is that every card in a deck shouldn’t just have the same art on it with only the game text and card title to distinguish them. That would be lazy and doesn’t actually communicate anything about what’s going on. Adam does note that unless you’ve already got an art person who wants to draw this stuff it’s very expensive and there’s at least one more explanation for why somebody might legitimately want to not do unique arts per card.
    • What’s the stylistic choice behind the one card that stuck out to me: Unity’s “Robot Reclamation”? It’s a specific artist homage. Not every art in the game is a specific homage in this way (most are more just trying to match up with an era than a single specific artist), but there are a number of such things in there where Adam was trying to give the impression of the art being done by a particular artist from the era in question. In this case, it was Skottie Young who was one of Adam’s favorites from the era.
    • Dana appears on Tachyon’s “Blinding Speed”; given that Tachyon didn’t get a solo title for a long time, how often was Dana around in Freedom Five comics? Semi-often. Regularly enough that most readers would have a solid idea of who she was and what her deal was. She might have been only slightly less recognizable to the average reader than Aminia Twain (who was the omnipresent Freedom Five supporting cast member) and probably on-par with modern readers’ familiarity with Emily Parsons.
      • Speaking of Aminia, man the readers must have been furious about the whole Miss Information thing and the fact that Sentinel Comics never brought back the original Aminia. If these were real comics and not something that Adam and Christopher have complete control over, that’s almost assuredly something that would have been done eventually (with the result of there being two Aminia Twains around - the good one and Miss Information).
    • How mad is Baron Blade that defeating him is on the same priority level as eating a hotdog (“Expedited Efficiency”)? Does Tachyon typically treat him with such casual disregard? You’re simply not realizing just how important eating a hotdog can be! Seriously, though, they don’t think that Baron Blade is aware that she’s eating a snack while “simultaneously” fighting, but he’d probably be pretty mad if he found out. His ego would not stand for it.
    • When was the first appearance of Tachyon’s H.U.D. Goggles (given that GUIs weren’t really a thing in general until the late ’70s/early ’80s)? The Science & Progress one-shot was in 1991, so we’re good there. She certainly wore goggles before that just because you need eye protection if you’re moving at speed. The idea of having “screens” built into the goggles probably didn’t show up until the ’80s. Adam doesn’t think that he drew specifically the H.U.D. Goggles on her in any earlier art, so putting the quote and citation for Science & Progress in this place of prominence, it’s quite likely that it was the first appearance of them. [I note that while a GUI for a computer was developed as mentioned, the idea of a Heads-up Display as it applied to military aircraft was around in WWII, with the first implementations being around as early as 1942. Granted, these things all relied on bulky cathode ray tube (or older) technology for decades rather than being something that could be worn like Tachyon’s goggles.]
    • What time period is Jacket Tachyon from (Hypersonic Dash)? As with most jackets, that would be a ’90s thing, like late ’80s/early ’90s in this case. [This specific cited issue is from 1990.] It’s probably Adam’s favorite costume for her that was very limited in terms of how long it was a look for her.
    • For Lightspeed Barrage do we get to find out how many times Tachyon hits him in the next 10 seconds? No.
    • What is Tachyon taking apart on Quick Insight (it looks Omnitron-esque)? It is Omnitron-esque; it’s about as Omnitron-esque as a thing can be!
    • Does Tachyon needs sleep (prompted by Research Grant)? Does she change clothes? She does both, but does both quickly. They imagine that she sleeps for 4-6 hours a night. There might be a story where she’s run absolutely ragged in a fight with a villain and goes on to sleep a whopping 8 hours afterwards. [Insert brief aside about how Tachyon is basically just Christopher. He might sleep 8 hours after getting back from a convention. He can go on long rock-climbing trips where he gets home absolutely exhausted physically and still just sleep for 4-5 hours, but the emotional exhaustion after a convention is what really gets him. It probably doesn’t help that during the convention he’ll typically sleep 2 hours, if at all.]
    • Does Sky-Scraper ever stop putting her foot in her mouth around Tempest (see: Alien Weather Patterns)? She’s not great at words in general. Sure, English is a second language for her (and a reminder here that rather than relying on translator devices she’s actually learning the language the hard way), but she’s not terribly good at words in Thorathian either. She’s not an idiot, but communications is just not a strong suit for her. Sky-Scraper likely doesn’t ever stop putting her foot in her mouth around Tempest, but Tempest might get better at dealing with it (plus, if she ever does, it would be in a time where she’s no longer known as Sky-Scraper).
    • On Chain Lightning, who besides Galactra is getting zapped? Were the Prime Wardens fighting a team of nemeses? That’s Borr the Butcher. It wasn’t necessarily a “team of nemeses” but it was at least a story involving “some space villains”.
    • What story is Displaced Ambassador depicting? Wasn’t Tempest’s first encounter with humans one involving F.I.L.T.E.R.? This is after his escape from F.I.L.T.E.R. - the ship here isn’t the same one shown on his First Appearance cover, but was meant to be a stolen F.I.L.T.E.R. ship (or another alien ship that they had captured) that he then crashed.
    • Was Tempest able to damage Omnitron with his Electrical Storm? Yeah. If you’re a big robot and get stuck in an electrical storm you’ll take a little damage. Say 1 per turn, to throw a figure out there.
    • Was Tempest really exerting himself to make Grievous Hail(storm) big enough to destroy space ships? Yeah. It certainly sells the idea better than the visual joke of a small ball of ice bouncing off of Voss’ head, now doesn’t it.
    • Have any human scientists tried to analyze coral grown by Maerynian Aquaculturalists? Is it different structurally or just bigger? Yeah, it’s got some differences - thus it can grow up out of the water and survive. Various scientists have taken a look and have basically concluded that the Maerynians are giving the coral an energy that allows them to evolve faster. It’s not just growing really big, but adapting to the new conditions.
    • Did Tempest have to be convinced to not go too extreme in the one-shot it appears in [Thorathian War - September 2013]? No, he’s plenty extreme here. He’s blowing up a tank with just the sound of thunder.
    • Was the concerning green glow on Expendable Power Bank intended to be nuclear? Let’s see, comic from ’84… Yeah, that’s probably supposed to be nuclear powered.
    • Does a Bunker suit typically get really hot on the inside, or was there some other situation for Lidar Intel that was making him sweat? The Bunker suit does get hot in there, but he’s just under a lot of pressure in that situation (which isn’t uncommon).
    • When did the Omnicannon first appear? Was it always powered by antimatter, or has that detail changed over time? The Omnicannon hasn’t always been part of his “standard loadout” and is a somewhat late addition from around the early ’90s (although other “big guns” likely predated it), but it was something that would show up on occasion after that. It probably was always powered by antimatter. Adam suggests that the first time it shows up was probably an improvised weapon. Like, Tyler figured in some situation that he could divert all of the suit’s power into an energy blast out of this thing and then after that had a “I want to do that again” moment and they worked out a way to make that happen and maybe that’s where the antimatter thing comes in. The card art/quote is from November ’97 for context. Okay, so the note that accompanies the card when Christopher looked that up mentions that this is the first appearance of the Omnicannon (Freedom Five #571) so this would be first time it shows up after that improvised version.
    • What plan is Bunker referring to on Recharge Mode? Was the enemy with the energy sword and whip an early Empyreon? It’s not Empyreon, but a robot (don’t worry about it) as was mentioned earlier. The “plan” is just to defeat the multitudinous foes arrayed before them. His job here is to shoot at a lot of targets and in order to do that he needs a lot of power.
    • I’m here for grizzled Bunker (see Tactical Command), but do we ever see Tyler grow a full beard? Probably not… if he were going to it would be “now” as beards on comics characters was pretty rare for a long time. [Also, the US Army doesn’t allow beards unless there are medical (e.g. skin conditions that make shaving impractical) or religious exemptions.] Time will tell if Freedom Academy instructor Tyler Vance will grow one. The Tactical Command card is from an “everyone has scruff” era of comics [the best I can say at the moment is between ’92 and ’95 given when other Freedom Five Annual issues with known dates occur].
    • How many different styles of “budda” did Adam experiment with before arriving at the final Turret Mode card? A lot. Something he finds interesting is that this is an example of a “color hold” where rather than making a color guide for, say, the blue background on Turret Mode’s art they would just tell the colorist what they wanted and count on them to just do it. [I think, in particular, how you can tell in this case is that the background field of buddas doesn’t have any black line work.]
    • Why did Bunker describe what it’s like to drive the Bunker suit on Upgrade Mode? Did the writers feel like they needed to tell the readers every once in a while how difficult it was to pilot? Yeah, every so often some writer would throw something like that in. There’s a fun story idea of somebody trying to steal a Bunker suit and just not being able to handle it. Tyler makes it look so easy.
    • [Opening praising the Bunker rework and that he’s now a favorite.] Thank you, we’re glad to hear that as he was definitely the one from the old core game that needed the rework. Tempest got one too, but less of necessity and more just being more specific to his shtick in the story.
    • How does Bunker’s military-grade armaments mesh with the relatively squeaky-clean profile of the Freedom Five? How did comics writers write around the disparity of what I’ll call the Wolverine Problem in that his primary means of attack aren’t really suited for non-lethal heroism? Was there a lot of shooting without many actual hits? Precise fire to knock weapons out of people’s hands without injury? Does he just shoot the crowd of mooks full of bullet holes which the story then just kind of brushes aside? Did later writers try to revamp his arsenal to make combat scenes involving him easier to write? Does he have any signature non/less-lethal weaponry? Really early on they’d just have him shooting and then they’ve “dealt with the bad guys” without depicting or really dwelling on it. The Wolverine strategy for writers is also to just match the threat with the hero - he doesn’t fight mooks that often. He’s not going to stop a normal bank robber by shooting him - just smacking him around a bit or grabbing him is sufficient. What’s useful is that if it’s our favorite jobber the Hippo, you can have Bunker shoot him and not really hurt him. Plus he’s good for blowing up devices or robots and big strong foes. In a fight against Baron Blade, you’ve got walking tanks or the Mobile Defense Platform, but you also likely get the occasional strongly-armored Blade Battalion guys who you can have Bunker shoot or Legacy punch without just killing them. Things vary by era as well - in more modern stuff you probably get actual explanations of him having “stun rounds” or something. They don’t think that the number of options he has on cards in his deck even comes close to the variety of weaponry he’s had at his disposal over the 60-odd years of his existence as a character and plenty of those would have likely been situational non-lethal options.
    • What about in other realities/media? Did Bunker have to use different weaponry to get around censorship of firearms in the ’90s animated show? How about the modern SCAU show? Yeah, the ’90s animated Bunker is almost exclusively using energy weapons.
    • [Letter notes the creepy, yandere ex-girlfriend vibes from Schema in AZ’s Desperate Deployment.] Yup.
    • Did AZ just punch out his suit (hardcore, yo)? Yeah! That’s a fun one.
    • Was there some snark in that encounter about him having to trash his own suit this time? Yeah.
    • [Lot’s of appreciation of stuff on deck backs like Nigel Lowsley or Joseph Parsons, or character details like Ryan Frost as a janitor and a cheeky reference on Captain Cosmic’s, etc. - hopes for Caleb on Dr. Medico’s deck - but it’s weird seeing Captain Cosmic without facial hair; he seems to be one of those guys who looks perpetually 12 without his beard.] Sure, but what about his mustache?!
    • [More appreciation for “heartwarming” art in decks, but a specific call out for Absolute Zero, Fanatic, and Argent Adept smiling given it had become something of a running gag in portions of the fandom that there were certain characters who never smiled.] Yeah, gotta pull on those heartstrings.
    • [Noting AZ’s creativity on things like Still Life - showing that while he’s a “take things seriously” kind of guy, he still has fun with the ridiculous situations he finds himself in.] Yeah.
    • [’70s dweeb Argent Adept gives me life. That hair! The dorky clothes! The fact that he’s doing ill-advised things with his magic from day one!] Yeah, you like those bell-bottoms?
    • Meanwhile, AA and CC are having a “stylishly-damaged clothing” competition. Those two get a lot of Mr. Fanservice treatment from artists, eh? Also, with AA’s thigh-high boots in his standard outfit is he just trolling everybody? Are there Metaverse jokes about how the asexual character is the one with the most “sexy” tropes layered onto him? Probably. There aren’t rules that asexual people can’t be sexy.
    • [While I already picked on Christopher for Alacritous Subdominant’s quote, but the art for Dynamic Siphon somehow makes it even slashier in context.] no comment beyond a few chuckles
    • What’s the context behind Fanatic’s comment about the vessel housing a spirit of Judgement on the Atlantean Font of Power? If you look at the art for that card note the color of the substance in the font and Fanatic’s eyes - Fanatic isn’t speaking here, it’s the Font speaking through her. Creepy stuff.
    • [[[Setback|Setback’s]] glorious mullet on Persistent Paparazzi has me ready for more cheesy ’90s Setback in Rook City Renegades!] You are not ready.
    • [It’s still amusing that AZ thinks that Megalopolis is the worst place he’s lived considering he’s also lived in Rook City. Sure, you’ve given a reason for it, but it’s still funny.] Adam actually thinks that he’s wrong, but yeah it’s a fun bit.
    • Good to see that Citizen Blood still has his top hat; any chance we could petition that Stygian gets it back? What’s the deal with him misquoting the Joker (“Would you care to cavort with a coven of corpses in the pale moonlight?”)? Hey now, he’s using alliteration to talk about the fact that he and his compatriots are dealing with a bunch of dead bodies at the moment in the story they’re in. As for the latter bit, everyone [heavy sarcasm] knows that “in the pale moonlight” originated in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. Point being… Not Joker but Dickens!
    • In Flash Forge, is that Schema attacking Unity? Yes.
    • On Counterpoint Bulwark, is this a story we’ve been told? Do we know this villain who’s cursed the Wraith and is trying to erase her on an ethereal level? Who is it? It’s Kismet, but they don’t think this is a story they’ve told before. It’s a late-’90s crossover story where Kismet is specifically targeting Wraith and a bunch of magic heroes help out. It’s not a major Kismet arc, which there are examples of, but more of just a “standard” crossover villain appearance.
    • On Inventive Preparation we have Argent Adept comforting Fanatic who’s wearing a track suit? A gambeson? What is that (it’s just weird seeing her in “boring” clothes)? That’s meant to be a monk’s robe, like with the rope belt and whatnot (although in this image the fold of the clothes hides that detail).
    • Speaking of Fanatic’s clothes, do you imagine her wearing a gambeson under her armor or is it more of a skin-tight bodysuit like most heroes? This really depends on the artist. Some are going to depict her as wearing something skin-tight like other hero costumes under the armor, some who are really into the details of armor stuff would put more detail into the armor itself and show it as being accurate to real armor (of course, canonically she’s supposed to be wearing it right regardless).
    • So, most of her DE art has her in relatively “normal” armor, but on Anoint Allies and Undaunted she’s edging into “bikini armor” territory - when was that costume from? How long did it last? Adam thought it was pretty clear that that’s the ’90s [’93 and ’95 respectively for those cards]. Anoint Allies might be the most ’90s card he drew. It’s so over the top.
    • What’s with the flowing red cape(?) that she wears around her waist? Some kind of “chastity screen”? An attempt at a skirt? hearty laughs at “chastity screen” Well, that’s what it is now! It was supposed to be like a tabard. Kind of - he didn’t want to hide the armor so you wind up with just the bottom half.
    • ON Wounding Buffer we see Guise in a conflict with Judge Mental - have you told us about that event before? If so, can you remind me which podcast episode that was likely to be in so I can refresh my memory? Judge Mental crosses over with Guise on multiple occasions, but none of them are big major events that they’ve talked about in particular.
    • AZ’s Cryo-Field Projector seems like a new gadget we haven’t seen before - when did he get it? How long does it last (hours, minutes, etc.)? It’s an art from ’05 and he gets it some time in the late ’90s or early ’00s. It’s an emergency device that he can plug his coolant tanks into and under ideal conditions it can last an hour. The level of coolant visible in the tank is a good narrative ticking clock.
    • The quote on Hoarfire (“Yeah, it’s too damn hot, but it’s a change of pace from being cold all the time. This’ll eventually kill me, but I’m not going alone!”) confuses me - isn’t he hot all the time when not in his cryosuit/chamber? Does he actually feel the cold? He feels cold all the time, but not in a “I need to get warmer” way - he’s always somewhat temperature-uncomfortable. As mentioned earlier, in this art he’s in “hell” and so is hot, but as mentioned elsewhere “fire gets weird” around him, so he can use that.
    • Who’s the villain in the foreground on Ball Lightning? Sergeant Steel. They don’t blame you for not recognizing him. This is probably both of their least favorite arts in the set. Adam’s been pretty up-front about not being a fan of Frank Quietly, but a lot of people are and he’s important enough for the era to warrant a style homage. His storytelling/composition/layout game is on point, they just don’t like his particular art style. There’s a problem with the era’s look in general as well - the way they were doing coloring at the time has a lot of flat color and just looks bland, so that compounds the problem
    • How often do you seek to do a reference when doing card art? He doesn’t do straight-up [swipes](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swipe_(comics)) anymore. He did back in EE, but it’s the aforementioned style homages now (and almost every card gets consideration on whether he’ll do one of these or just stick to a house style where a stable of artists are hired to specifically all draw like one another for a cohesive look across the brand). There are occasional composition things that they note as “a thing that was done a lot” so that they can make sure that it gets included somewhere, but that’s a trend thing more than a specific, unique cover/panel.
    • What happened to Mr. Chomps? Sure there’s a “Raptor Bot”, but where’s our cute Chomps? Did some artist get fired for this outrage? Is this an upgraded Raptor Bot for a particular story? Many different artists drew the Raptor Bot in different ways. Unity would continue to claim that they were all Mr. Chomps, but sometimes she’d make a cutesy one and other times a scarier one. It depends on the story, the artist, and Unity’s mood. It was a thing that Adam knew was going to be controversial. That’s a story from a main-line comic in ’99 and there’s no way to have him be cute in that era. If it were Robot Reclamation-era he could have been cute.
    • Can you explain the connection between the Captain Cosmic/Galactra entanglement art and the game effect on Heart of Gold? Okay, the game effect lets CC discard a number of cards, have a player draw as many cards, then CC can play that many Constructs. The idea is that he’s giving his energy to another hero (discard so they can draw) and then Constructs appear because that’s what happens when he uses his energy powers. Sure, you can use that selfishly, but if you have a true Heart of Gold you’re likely to let somebody else draw. The art/quote is from the issue where Galactra convinces him to help her take over a planet overthrow a tyrant to free “her” planet that we had a Writers’ Room about. The connection between story/game is that he gives of himself even when maybe he shouldn’t. It’s not necessarily an example of him using the “power” on the card in that story, but the thematic connection is there. He’s not that he’s being duped in particular, just that he’s very willing for self-sacrifice even if the person asking isn’t terribly trustworthy. “I can’t risk this being the time when she’s not lying” kind of thinking.
    • Can you tell the story behind Ritual Sanctum? Scholar’s quote seems to imply that something could go wrong, but the card has beneficial effects? Does something go wrong later? What we have here is a sanctum where a ritual can be done and the energy of the place is yearning to be used. You can give it power (i.e. do specific damage types) and it will give you power in return (draw cards and use a Power). That doesn’t sound like an arrangement that has ever backfired on anybody ever… Yes, this is obviously meant to be part of what eventually leads to the release of xxtz’Hulissh but that sounds like somebody else’s problem. In RPG terms, using this can give a major twist that just kind of hangs there in the background for a few issues before coming due. Also, note that the story this is from is really early [1959] and is meant to just be kind of ominous at that time and the xxtz’Hulissh story just goes back through various Atlantis plots to pick up the pieces of “all of the ominous things” that had happened there over the decades.
    • Why do some cards (in particular, cards in Freedom Tower) have quotes attributed to heroes by their given names and not their hero names? Is it just based on whether or not they’re in costume? Most of the time, yeah, the quote is a reference to who they are “being” at the time and if they’re in their civilian clothes rather than hero costume they get referred to by their real name.
    • Who is Gene-Doctor Kronz? Has he appeared in an episode that I just don’t remember? What’s his fate? He did feature recently in the Tachyon wedding issue Writers’ Room. He first showed up publicly in the Arcane Wonders Freedom Five board game Kickstarter. He’s one of Voss’ lieutenants like Tamar and Vyktor. Time will tell on what his fate is (although they’ll admit that he’s not dead). Surely he’s up to no good. He’s not a good guy. In particular, something Adam likes is that he game him a third arm (“What a degenerate! If you’re adding arms, why not add a pair?” - some Thorathians, probably).
    • [Sign off praising Adam for how good the game looks.] Thanks! He’ll take credit for the card art, but they can’t ignore that the game looks this good thanks to the fact that neither Christopher nor Adam were in charge of the layout. Rae and Darrell deserve all of the credit for the graphic design stuff.
    • If you’re playing in “campaign mode” with the Events, could you win an Event multiple times so that you can reuse the Collection in later fights? You can play Events as much as you want (hey, give that Advanced mode a try!) but you don’t need to. The idea is that once you’ve won that Event once, that Collection remains available to you for the rest of the “campaign”. The Collection Limit in an Event tells you how many prior Event cards you can bring in for that fight, so if you have a bunch you still have to make a choice before the game starts to get down to the limit and you can’t use the same card multiple times in an Event, but you have either earned the Collection or you haven’t.
    • [To wrap up the day, we have a letter from Wrex Steelskin regarding getting snowed in with his 60+ year old, non-board-game player parents with a copy of DE and getting them both really into it. Starts at around 1:39:45 in or thereabouts.] This is their favorite kind of review; parents/kids who don’t care. Some 30-something person who’s into comics and board games already is the easy sell. They really hoped that they could make a game that was simple enough for non-gamers to get into it, but complex enough that gamers would appreciate it too. They’ve learned a lot in the last decade+ but they think they finally got to that point with this iteration of SotM.