Podcasts/Episode 220

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The Letters Page: Episode 220
Writers' Room: Southwest Sentinels #34

Southwest Sentinels 034.png

Original Source

Primary Topic

Intro

A Southwest Sentinels story? It's been so long!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:35:40

We're counting down the days until Gen Con, but we're not quite there yet! We reached out to the Letters Page Patreon contributors for some help narrowing down this topic, and we got a story we might not have told otherwise, which was a blast! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Get your questions in now about Nexus Primalus, as we're creatively processing that strange place this coming Friday for next week's episode!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • The prompt this week was “A Minor Villain Gets a Major Triumph” and they had a few things in mind and so they went to the members of the Patreon Discord channel to vote between them. The winner was Quetzalcoatl, a Southwest Sentinels foe. Since they already had stories in mind for the voting, they already know the basics of the setup and outcome, so we’ll cover those real quick before moving on to the creative portion of the episode for the middle.
  • So, in Southwest Sentinels we only have 36 issues to work with. Issue #35 starts with the team, quite bedraggled, working their way back to Fort Adamant where other stuff starts happening that then leads to the end of the book. Issue #33 ends with a reveal-shot coda showing that Quetzalcoatl is back. We haven’t seen him since his first appearance in issue #21 (which was also at the time presumed to be his last appearance since that issue ended with his apparent demise under a collapsing temple). In that first appearance he was basically just a “giant rage monster” but here in the coda it’s clear that he’s now going to be an intelligent foe rather than just out-of-control rage.
  • So that’s where we were in terms of “known stuff”. We should figure out “What does he want?” and part of that should include an answer to “How much of Dr. Luiz Cook is still in there?” - is Quetzalcoatl still interested in doing the stuff that Dr. Cook was doing? Adam is of the opinion that Cook is not “trapped” in there as a prisoner/passenger, this thing has merged with him. Okay, so the question is then whether an encounter with Dr. Medico would go along the lines of “I recognize you, would you like to join me in my [dark, twisted] medical experiments?” or “A part of who I was recognizes you, but that person is no more!”? They think the latter, the motives have changed from medical/science-based things to the mystical Feathered Serpent god stuff.
  • How do you feel about Quetzalcoatl having enough of a villain speech that the team realizes that Dr. Cook is still in there somewhere, but their attempts to “save” him is why they fail? As in, the team is preoccupied with somehow freeing Luiz and that preoccupation/“human weakness” is what allows Quetzalcoatl to triumph over them. To the point where they have defeated him and he pulls the old “oh, thank you, you’ve saved me Nick” thing to trick the heroes into stopping their attack long enough to turn the tables on them.
  • Do we need to know whether Dr. Cook is “savable”? Like, not “do the readers know?” but Christopher and Adam. Adam doesn’t think that he is. Christopher wants the story to strongly suggest that he is but leave things unresolved. That lets them keep a “did we make the right call?” question nagging at the heroes and there’s likely a big “do no harm” type of splash page for Dr. Medico at some point relevant to whether or not they still just treat this situation as “big monster” or whether they should try to help the “victim” involved.
  • This is also the team during their Fort Adamant days, so they’ve got the green costumes and are at their most “super hero” state due to the additional training they’ve been doing. This is the best they can be pre-Void Guard.
  • What does Quetzalcoatl want? He’s probably got some plot going on, so a linked but distinct question is “What does he want from the Southwest Sentinels?” because he goes out of his way to reveal himself to them rather than them just stumbling across whatever it is he’s up to. Maybe he’s using Medico as a power source or as a catalyst for whatever experiment he’s trying to do.
  • Adam suggests something like directing the energy that is Dr. Medico up into the sky to open a portal to the stars or similar. Christopher mentions that we know there’s an earlier Fort Adamant-era story where Baron Blade just straight up uses Medico as a battery, so not just doing that again is probably good. What if, while Dr. Cook is “trapped”, so is Quetzalcoatl? Like, he’s this extra-planar “deity” in the same kind of vein as the Egyptian characters are. He’s stuck here because he’s bonded to this mortal form and can’t just blip back into his home dimension or plane or whatever. His plan here is to just force open a portal between this dimension and his home dimension and just walk back. If that realm starts to encroach into this one afterwards, what does he care?
  • That is a fun late reveal. Say he shows up and basically presents as just a “I’m here to fight you!” kind of encounter, but he’s actually just setting up the dominoes so that Dr. Medico is in the wrong place at the wrong time and then we get the reveal of “this is what I was actually working towards, suckers!” closer to the end of the issue. Adam suggests that he’s a bit more clever than that - he attacks something nearby that he knows will draw the heroes’ attention. Maybe that’s specifically where the “reveal” from the previous issue comes in - they finish whatever they were doing in that story and then at the end the power plant across town gets attacked and when they investigate they find Quetzalcoatl as the cliffhanger. So, that means we start issue #34 with the big fight in the destroyed power plant.
  • The previous appearance had him as “big smashy rage monster” - do we still want that to be his thing or have him do something else now. How about “big smashy rage monster, who also uses magic”? Like, he’s got to harness his rage as he’s going about his “smashing stuff” routine and channel that into whatever magic thing he’s trying to do. That makes for an interesting team villain since he’s physically powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with Mainstay while also dealing with the “weird stuff” that Idealist and Writhe are throwing his way.
  • The fight happens and before too long the team has Quetzalcoatl on the ropes when he pulls the “you can save me” card that gives them enough pause that he’s able to make his escape. Adam thinks that if he’s trying to get Dr. Medico, this is actually a good time for him to wait for Nick to come to his aid and then do his magical escaping trick, taking his old friend with him.
  • From there we have a scene with just the remaining three heroes as they decide what to do next, then a scene with just Quetzalcoatl and Dr. Medico, then things converge again for the big showdown. They know that Quetzalcoatl “wins” here - we don’t wind up with the heroes returning to base battered but victorious, Quetzalcoatl beats them. We still need the connective tissue to get from the “Dr. Medico is abducted” to “Quetzalcoatl gets what he wants”. Since the first Quetzalcoatl story lacked the whole “from another plane of existence” angle, all of that backstory is likely delivered during the Quetzalcoatl and Medico scene as he’s setting up his plan. What isn’t apparent at until it’s time to actually do the thing is that Medico himself is the conduit for accomplishing this.
  • Some discussion of how the heroes follow/track/find Quetzalcoatl happens, but there’s also the question of “what do they do?” beyond that. Sure, they can track the two of them down, but then what’s their plan? They like the idea of the heroes arriving having figured something out by the time they get to where Quetzalcoatl has set things up. Adam also thinks we need more stakes-raising. So far the major problem with what’s going on is just the large amounts of collateral damage that the conflict has caused, so the major “failure” here at the end can also include an element of “they try to prevent large-scale damage again and fail”, so not only does Quetzalcoatl get what he wants but the heroes risk having public opinion sour on them as they’re just wrecking stuff without any success to show for it. That fits in with the “oversight” they are subject to as part of Fort Adamant. In RPG terms, this issue involves a lot of Major Twists.
  • Anyway, the “goal” may have been to open the portal to his home reality which could then encroach and take over the main reality. The Sentinels eventually stop this process (and save Dr. Medico), but not before Quetzalcoatl gets away and not before a lot of damage occurs due to that encroachment. Maybe Writhe, Idealist, and Mainstay don’t know where to find them, but the giant, crackling energy rift in the sky kind of gives them a clue.
  • Christopher picks a location for this all to go down, which is the southern end of the Coronado National Forest south of Tuscon, stretching down into Mexico. Christopher has an idea for what the result here is, but he’s saving that idea for later.
  • Back to Quetzalcoatl and Dr. Medico - Quetzalcoatl is doing “ritual preparation” stuff (painting things on the ground, stacking little cairns of stones, etc.). Hmm… actually, having the team see the beam of light into the sky earlier would undercut this scene. What we have is Quetzalcoatl and Dr. Medico disappear, but there’s still fires and whatnot with people in peril that the team is left having to deal with. They can’t immediately follow Nick because they’re dealing with problems that remain. Then we just transition from that situation over to the Quetzalcoatl ritual setup and then when he’s done the big energy thing is enough of an excuse for the remaining heroes to show up.
  • Regardless, the ritual planning is bit coincides with Quetzalcoatl basically boasting about his plan. He’s doing the typical villain monologue at Dr. Medico. The gist here is that he was a god to the Meso-Americans way back in the day (The Aztecs called me “Quetzalcoatl”, the Maya called me “Q’uq’umatz” - he basically gives his resume). That was great, but being here drains his power over time. Usually that wasn’t a problem because he could just jump back and forth. He’d come to Earth and “rule” for a while, then go home to recharge, then come back and take over again, etc. Once he figures things out here he’ll be able to start running things once again. It’ll be great.
  • Dr. Medico likely chimes in during all of this talking about the beneficent things Quetzalcoatl was supposed to represent and this tyrannical talk doesn’t sound right. The idea is that being joined to the “feeble mind of a mortal” after being dormant for so long has changed him (like, maybe it was as recent as the Spanish conquest or Saint Thomas showing up they saw this “pagan” thing and decided it had to go, so they sealed him away and now he’s quite cranky about the whole business). Yeah, they like him really being upset about worship of him being supplanted by worship of the god of that Thomas guy who trapped him so they make that the story. Sure, he used to be seen as a “good” god, but if you think about it the ego that goes along with that is pretty inflated to begin with, so throw in some grievances and here we are. Maybe at least the ritual worship that used to be directed at him was able to bring in power from his home realm so that he didn’t need to jump back and forth too, but now that he’s “forgotten” and not worshiped things are a problem.
  • He wants to open a portal to go back home so he can power up, but then just leave that portal open. This will be the new seat of his rule! Medico: “What, just the middle of this forest?” Quetzalcoatl: “You see a forest, I see a new temple.” Then he completes whatever it was he was working on and one of those Mesoamerican pyramids just emerges from the ground, knocking over trees and rocks and stuff in the process. This is the big ritual thing, so he’s been going around with this big staff while Medico is held down by glowing magic runes and when Quetzalcoatl completes this ritual he stabs Medico through the chest with the staff and it does the “big energy beam into the sky” thing.
  • They want this temple pyramid to be a real El Dorado, golden thing. Medico was just on the ground initially, but after this thing emerges from the ground he’s now up on the summit altar. The beam emerging from him up into the sky is the portal and we start to see things through it - lots of gold (as befitting the El Dorado connection) and bright colors. The forest they started in was fairly dark and drab, but the vibrancy from the other realm is spreading through it. They don’t imagine this being a “clean” process either - it’s not spreading out in a circle from the new temple, but is more like whisps, tendrils, or cracks between this realm and the other so it’s really haphazard - as an extreme example maybe a mountain is cut in half by this effect. A small animal like a little gray fox runs through an area where the changeover happens and now it’s some weird 6-legged colorful beast from the other side.
  • Then Idealist, Mainstay, and Writhe show up. Christopher suggests that when we last left them, Idealist being the one who really wanted to go after Nick immediately and was talked into staying back to help out the people in danger - she agrees of course, but we saw her using her powers to both help clear rubble but also trying to watch for where the others went. That way we’ve set them up for a quick arrival once the big energy beam happened - she was watching and saw it immediately. Adam thinks that’s not necessary detail - the big signal going up is enough of an “Oh, there they are” moment to get their attention and we don’t need to worry too much about travel times here. Idealist can fly them there so handwaving the actual transit time is fine and makes for a simpler situation. Christopher accepts this other than the transit method - part of the “transformation” scene includes a big tree that’s slowly turning gold as the other realm encroaches, but the other side casts a big shadow. Writhe just uses that to transport himself and the others. We don’t need the scene establishing that one of them is actively watching for something, but it also gets around the travel time without just handwaving it.
  • So, we get a big fight scene and Quetzalcoatl is more powerful. Not just bigger and stronger, but we see the more overt “magical” aspect getting ramped up as he gets power from his home realm. Plus, in keeping with the vibrancy from the other side maybe his clothing and headdress get more ornate. He looks more “godly” with each passing moment. Maybe he starts doing more “wind” stuff.
  • Writhe and Idealist are really the only ones who can do much here. Mainstay can run up to him, but just gets grabbed and tossed aside immediately. After that, he spends his time trying to get to/free Dr. Medico instead of fighting the big monster. This involves a humorous bit where the “steps” of the pyramid are too tall for him to just walk up and he has to jump up to grab each ledge to pull himself up.
  • Anyway, Writhe and Idealist vs. Quetzalcoatl. We’re at the height of these heroes’ pre-Void Guard abilities and so they’re doing some cool stuff, but given the foe they’re still on the ropes. Writhe tries to “blorp” Quetzalcoatl into the shadow realm and Quetzalcoatl just bursts forth, shining from the shadows (Writhe in response: “Ow.”). Both of the heroes here are in the “really scary if you think about it” category in terms of power and they’re going all-out against this guy, so having that guy be somebody who can take it is fun. They get some good shots in, but nothing is actually working.
  • When Mainstay gets to the top of the temple, what does he do? Is it just as easy as “he pulls the staff out and breaks it”? Hmm… Okay, how about the fight with Quetzalcoatl has a cool team-up move by our heroes where Idealist has made a big, amorphous blue energy “person” that Writhe covers in black shadow spikes. This seems like it’s going to be how the heroes win. Mainstay gets to the top and has to fight his way to Dr. Medico through the energies flowing around him and when he gets there he pulls the staff out of his friend. This results in a large pulse getting sent out through the energy column (like, instead of just the staff channeling the energy up, for a brief moment Medico’s whole body channels it up). The rift gets much bigger and the corresponding amount of power Quetzalcoatl gains from it makes him strong enough to just swat Idealist/Writhe’s creation away.
  • Quetzalcoatl then ascends the pyramid to taunt his old friend Nick (who isn’t long for the world due to having his energy drained by this whole process) a bit before making the cue to exit the scene. This isn’t the last the world will hear of him, but he “rides” the energy beam up into his home realm. So, we’re left with a situation where what Quetzalcoatl expects is that Dr. Medico will run out of energy and die. Why doesn’t he? We can have a teamwork move! Mainstay starts pounding on the altar in an attempt to break it. Idealist and Writhe, all bedraggled from the fight, come up as well. Idealist makes a bubble around Dr. Medico. Writhe tries to both make a “screen” to filter out the energy before it escapes and also makes a shadow wedge for Mainstay to hit in his attempts to break the altar. This ultimately succeeds, but they’re all absolutely wrecked and the villain escaped. The portal is closed, but the changes that were caused by the encroachment of the other realm remain rather than fading away. We’ve got this little chunk of Quetzalcoatl’s realm remaining in the world.
  • So there we go. It’s fun to get the backstory of Quetzalcoatl (as opposed to the backstory of Dr. Luiz Cook that we would have gotten back in Quetzalcoatl’s first appearance) and now we’ve got a chunk of Coronado National Forest that’s now Quetzalcoatl’s realm (complete with little feathered serpents and other oddities inhabiting it) and the gist is that now Quetzalcoatl can just cross back and forth whenever he wants now (or at least that once he’s recovered enough energy on the other side he can reopen the portal here and when he does that will be bad news). The next issue probably starts off right here with the heroes in this weird little forest area so we see a bit more of it before they head back to Fort Adamant.

Questions

  • Comics are rife with minor villains getting a power boost at some point to make them more of a threat - as such, do we ever get Gloom Globes Glenn, chosen of GloomWeaver? How about a Southwest Sentinels foe who gets an edgy remake for the Void Guard era? Any other examples come to mind (and Vertex doesn’t count so no Hippocalypse for you!)? The easy one is that Mr. Jitters got an edgy remake that stuck (going from kind of a “funny” fear-themed villain to a “scary” fear-themed villain). The Extremeverse has a fair number of such things, but probably gets disqualified for the same reasons as Vertex. The Entertainer got the opposite treatment, going from a circus-themed entertainer to a reality-TV-themed one. Everything in Alpha 2000 probably counts. Hexterminator [mentioned by name but not elaborated upon]. Ambuscade has his metal arm fused into his flesh. Chokepoint isn’t particularly more edgy than Choke, just a power boost. Radioactivist might have a one-off story where he gets serious and is scarier as a result (like, his radiation is a serious threat, but he’s a joke due to how much of a joke he is as a person). An edgy Revenant thing is possible - like they try to do something with an actual revenant but then quickly decide to never mention that again. Aminia Twain kind of gets a remake. The Operative gets a variety of remakes that are all edgy. Maniac Jack has quite the journey between that, getting merged with the character of Jonathan Donovan and then the whole Spite thing where he keeps coming back. Edgy Wager Master could be fun.
  • [Bloodsworn Professional Wrestling bit begins at 52:25] This Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday we’re having a lower-budget, minor villain match-up!
    • Zhu Long vs. Blood Countess Bathory to see who can traverse the other’s home base faster? [This starts with a conversation about how the letter positions these as “so minor they’re not even villain targets”, but these are two super powerful and quite important villains. The issue in how “minor” they appear in the game is down to vampires not really having big “take over the world” plots and Zhu Long’s big plot that should probably be stopped… is just unknown to the heroes. It’s something that hasn’t yet come to fruition in the Multiverse era and nobody really even knows its happening.] A race is probably won by Blood Countess. Zhu Long doesn’t seem like the type of person to rush. If this was a story in a comic they’d probably have Blood Countess zipping through the Temple with Zhu Long just taking his time, but then at the last moment goes all dragon-form and bursts up to wherever the “finish line” is and winning by a whisker. Or! we could have her zipping through the place, obviously going to win, and then when she gets to the finish line he’s already there waiting for her with all of the other Court members now wearing his disciples clothing. He’s the boss now. The main point here is that “doing the things that you would do in a race” obviously goes to Blood Countess, but Zhu Long still manages to win through some mysterious means because of course he does.
    • Gumbo vs. Equity: can Apex’s minion hunt down the assassin? Does Equity have some silver bullets for just such an occasion? Gumbo is wild enough to pose a threat if he got the drop on Equity, but once Equity has his stare power locked in that’s basically the end of it. Equity in a walk.
    • The Hippo vs. Mr. Jitters: while Mr. Jitters can probably easily scare the Hippo, can he do so and take advantage of that to defeat him without getting taken down by a wildly-flailing-from-fear Hippo? The Hippo likely wins this just because any back-hand, accidental blow from Hippo is a win for him since Mr. Jitters isn’t a physical threat at all. Like, Hippo can just be fleeing and run through a load-bearing part of the building such that it falls on Jitters.
    • Man-Grove vs. Green Grosser: they’ve got a marsh’s worth of greenery to make use of, which one comes out on top? Man-Grove - he’s more powerful, resilient, and mysterious than Green Grosser. Like, you can blow up chunks of him without seriously hurting him. Green Grosser couldn’t exercise control over Man-Grove’s form.
  • [Long letter from Brian Jewett about minor villains in SCRPG - starts at 1:00:25 or so] I recently ran an SCRPG game where the players were all minor villains who were given the opportunity to do a job for the government in exchange for a reduced sentence in a totally original plot never seen before. I thought I would share one triumph per player. No questions but I thought I’d share anyway, although I imagine that you don’t want to necessarily encourage “RPG reporting back” letters as a common thing. [That is accurate. They like them, but it’s definitely a “sometimes food” in terms of podcast content. You can send them in and they’ll read them (and they enjoy seeing what people do), but they’ll only make it to air on the podcast if they find them sufficiently interesting.]
    • One friend loves werewolves and when he found out there were canonical werewolf villains he ran with it (after the Apex update to the RCR Kickstarter he retroactively said that he was playing Timber). During the time they had to rob an Organization bank he acquired a nemesis in the form of a new Underboss: The Teller. This silver-coin-throwing/shotgunning guy kept showing up to hound them for the rest of the campaign until a final battle in Ur-Space finally let Timber get him.
    • Cueball needed to use his personal vehicle/tank, The Rack, to help the team break into a place, but when he returned to his hideout to get it he found the place had been taken over by the Hermit Crabs - a gang that makes use of B- and C-List villain’s bases/gimmicks shortly after the heroes put them away again. Cue-ball was able to defeat them, even using his own gadgets against him.
    • Is former F.I.L.T.E.R. agent Becky Blast a villain? Yes, that’s a silly question. She didn’t think so, but given the chance to blow stuff up for Uncle Sam (or anyone else) she wasn’t about to say “no”. In that Ur-Space arena mentioned earlier, she got a Title that gave her a bonus to attacks as long as at least one person on her team was included in the attack. She was more than willing for that person to be herself. She may have ended the encounter Out but her love of Chaos moved a certain blue imp’s heart and his finest team of doctorlings helped her out.
    • Another friend loves robots. A lot. As soon as the Terrorform became public knowledge they made a person-sized version made from left over parts after its destruction. During the last fight, he was the rock that the rest of the team relied on, getting out enough boosts to help the team overcome the team of five d10 lieutenants they were fighting.
    • Finally, the Adhesivist. So, they got into Ur-Space through some Gloom ritual powered by some titanic RevoCorp tech that Free Radical messed with that managed to pop a tiny hole in the sandwich bag, so now they’re stuck out in mist-filled Ur-Space, but after the fight Glenn manages to ice up the whole rat glue up the whole sorceress (or what is left of her, R.I.P. Faye) to get them back.
    • As the GM, my favorite moment for myself is that when they were dealing with Free Radical, they got to bring in past or future versions of characters that had been in previous games I’d run for these players. I love this system.
  • You’ve mentioned that Muerto’s first appearance was Justice Comics #741 - what issues would you cite as the first appearances of the other members of Daybreak? Muse is an interesting case since she has the first time she showed up as simply the “young Vanessa Long” (New Memories #4, October ’85 - NM #1-3 are the Visionary in her home reality before jumping to this one and #4-6 are her fighting through Cocoon’s facility to save the younger version of “herself”), then as the Dreamer (Nightmare World #1, July ’90), then as Muse is probably Daybreak #1. The ones that show up there first as their “hero” version are likely the ones that had establishing context given earlier. Muse has been around as a character since ’85. Thiago Diaz since July ’94 (Mystery Comics vol. 2 #250 - this surprises Christopher with how late it is; he thought Thiago was around since the ’80s but it makes sense that Thiago’s hopeful optimism was a response to how bad things had been in the ’80s) with Muerto in February 2017 in the issue cited above. They decide to put Headlong’s “technical first appearance” as a small thing in Arcane Tales vol. 2 #625 in January 2017. Windy Farrum is in Cosmic Tales vol. 2 #563 also January 2017. That leaves Rockstar, but they decide that she really does first show up in Daybreak #1 in May 2017.
  • Why did the NightMist/Mist Portal/OblivAeon energy weirdness that created Postal’s mail bag result in a portal only along her mail route? Could other locations be added to it (and in particular, is it really limited simply to locations that Postal herself knows well)? Can anybody use it or just Postal? What kind of “magic” is it? The bag is linked to Postal and it’s keyed into her mental map of the area, so if her postal route changed, so to could the possible destinations of the bag. There’s definitely room for character growth here and she may indeed be misinterpreting what the limits are. It’s certainly powered by “cosmic” magic, but the means by which it was imbued with that Cosmic power was via NightMist’s magic.
  • Where does the regeneration ability shown by Power Creep come from if it’s reduced to a small enough sample? Could it regrow from a single cell? Could multiple Power Creeps exist if multiple samples were separated and allowed to grow? If so, would they both be the same “individual”? Could they merge back into one entity? Is there a persistence of memory between all of them? Is this why Jansa left him behind, because after a split there are now multiple Vrektin individuals and he’s no longer an Endling? Even a single cell is always trying to eat/absorb stuff around it. Power Creep’s cellular nature is one of “matter in = growth”. He certainly could regrow from a single cell and yes, two chunks of Power Creep (if they survive) could grow into their own Power Creep (which also could merge together if they encountered one another). A merger between them would result in shared memories of the two individuals (not one overwriting the other, but they would also be separate sets of memories in the individuals until the merger happened). It’s worth noting, however, that Power Creep’s intellectual capacity is quite low to begin with. It doesn’t really have a “brain”, but has synaptic processes happening throughout its body and so any memories are more just impressions. It does get “smarter” as it grows and therefore has more body to do that “thinking”, but it also means that any time it’s reduced to a smaller body it loses those parts of its “mind” and memories. Jansa didn’t so much leave it behind as just not notice that it had escaped. She was kind of in a panic at the time (although panic from Jansa looks different than a human’s panic). She would have noticed if she hadn’t been in such a “hurry”.
  • *# During OblivAeon, Dark Watch loses one of its members. 2) In the RPG era Dark Watch is more of a neighborhood watch (not that one) organization (not that one either) that has room for recruits, such as player heroes. [They break in to stress that Dark Watch is more city-wide, and beyond, but yeah they look for more hands to help out.] 3) Alpha is a close friend and ally of Dark Watch who works with them frequently. 4) Alpha does not have a team of her own that we know of. In the RPG era, does Alpha join Dark Watch (immediately or plans for the future)? No. She’s counted as an ally and will help out if they need it and give her a call. She has her own big story thing that she’s dealing with that they haven’t talked about yet. Now, you might say how is “person who is around and willing to help when necessary” different from just being a member of the team? It just is, alright! Jeeze! Like, seriously, it really is basically her not wanting the label. Over time there are more members of the Dark Watch organization who are less involved with the team than she is. If you restrict it to meaning “is she a main cast member of the Dark Watch book?” it’s a more straightforward “no”. Christopher’s of an opinion that you can be a “member of Dark Watch” and still be kind of a disconnected “floater” member while Adam thinks that, if not “living at the headquarters” you at least need a pretty close tie to the general goings on - there’s some nuance there, but it doesn’t change the answer as it relates to Alpha. Like, there’s a difference between being “on the team called Dark Watch” (i.e. the major heroes we know and love already) and “being part of the larger Dark Watch organization”.
  • How many people in the Metaverse had an awakening because of Alpha? I dunno. Probably less than *Robin Hood( did in the real world (both in raw numbers and percentage of people exposed to the media in question) just since Robin Hood had “something for everyone” rather than just wolves. Let’s say “between 10 and 10,000”.
  • The Rook City Renegades rulebook was released a while ago now and it’s got some cool stuff in it, including a certain Carmen Sandiego-looking character on page 25 (near the Environmental Peril list) who is standing on a curved road surrounded by what appear to be psychically-controlled playing cards along with some painfully-contorted Aeon Men. I have some rapid-fire questions [which the guys will respond to only with yes or no].
    • Who the fleek is this? Yes.
    • Hero? Yes.
    • Villain? Yes.
    • Something else entirely? Yes.
    • Are they the Grimm person who’s speaking on Ghostly Images? No.
    • Do we know who they are? Yes.
    • If yes, will you say who they are? No.
    • If no, will you please say who they are? No.
    • Do they appear on any other RCR cards? Yes.
    • What are they doing to the Aeon Men? No.
    • Where is this even taking place? No.
    • What are the weird card things? Yes.
    • Is this person some kind of reality warper or do they have some other kinds of powers? No.
    • Assuming you’ve been vague this whole time [yes.] can you give us a name to use for the purpose of submitting questions about this person? No.
  • Okay that was fun, but they will give some details here: those aren’t playing cards - they’re in the Realm of Discord and it’s the weird energies there that are causing what’s going on. It’s not anything that character is doing. That character is able to withstand what’s going on. They have talked about this character on the podcast before. The look/outfit is also non-standard for the character due to the RoD weirdness.

Cover Discussion

  • Okay, so this is in December 2013. Is there any reason why this isn’t the thing Adam drew before with Dr. Medico in an hourglass? No. This is exactly that. Quetzalcoatl was revealed in the previous issue so it’s not a surprise. He has Dr. Medico in his clutches the whole time. It works. Just redo it as a cover. Do we want any words? Probably not. Maybe if there was a story name, but this isn’t a part of anything.