The Letters Page: Episode 3
Run Time: 69:27
Oh, man. Some big reveals in this episode. Let's get to it!
Just before the seven-minute mark, Christopher mentions that we've said before that we're not going to turn this into a Star Wars podcast. Trevor has to edit at least a few minutes of Star Wars discussion out of almost every episode. We like Star Wars.
While discussing the "Trial of Baron Blade" story, we talk about the super-powered law blog, Law and the Multiverse. We recommend you check it out.
On Thursday, we'll post an Interlude episode about what episodes you can look forward to in February. Got questions for us? We welcome them! Ask them using our handy form!
- He's the "primary antagonist" of the setting, "pretty central to all of the events". Not the scariest or most dangerous, but is iconic and persistent. He was the first villain Christopher and Adam created and his appearance is pretty much the same in the game as in the first drawing.
- His father, Fyodor Ramonat, made weapons and whatnot for the Soviets in the Cold War (in response to USA's access to superheroes). Villains Iron Curtain and Proletariat were also part of this "arms race" (and is why Baron Blade knew about Proletariat when putting together the Vengeance Five). Armies of robots, walking tanks, war Zeppelins, shrink rays - Grandpa Legacy and some compatriots went in to stop Fyodor's creations from being used (as per Blade's bio in the game materials).
- Orphaned teenager in Mordengrad, he's charismatic and smarter than everybody else and builds a following. By his late teens he's essentially the ruler of Mordengrad. A Soviet general comes to see why they aren't putting out the weapons they're supposed to. Ivan talks back (very arrogantly) and the general's order to his men to shut him up is what resulted in Ivan's facial scar (from a bayonet the soldier struck him with) and the general gives the town a year to get things up to snuff.
- The factory outputs lots of good "super science" stuff that he comes up with (far beyond his father's work). The general comes back, is greeted well, is impressed by the turn-around, is shown to the leader of the town who reveals himself now as Baron Blade. The general and his men get atomized and Mordengrad is claimed as Blade's own territory.
- First main appearance in the comics (minions and whatnot show up earlier) was his conflict with Grandpa Legacy, killing him in revenge for his own father's death (see incap sides of Grandpa Legacy's hero character cards). He still needs to end the Legacy line entirely for his full revenge, however.
- The most brilliant/useful thing he ever came up with was the Regression Serum - simply being uncorked near Legacy will greatly weaken him (see Freedom Four Annual #1 - although in the comic Legacy starts to feel the effects even before it's uncorked). This was Blade's first appearance as a supervillain with "world altering" plans rather than personal stuff (seen in kind of a "propaganda comics" kind of thing - you know, eastern European scientist fighting the great American hero and getting trounced occasionally).
- The FFA #1 plot (drilling into the earth's core) kind of set the stage for Baron Blade's modus operandi of "really brilliant inventions that are a bad idea".
- Terralunar Impulsion Beam is set up in the Ruins of Atlantis. He's hoping that after the Pyrrhic victory of crashing the moon into the earth that he'll be OK down there and can then rule what's left, although that's less important than killing Legacy in the process. The machine itself is in a big domed room which collapses around Blade when he loses the fight. This is supposed to be a direct call-back to his father's death in the factory that collapsed in Mordengrad - that is, until he emerges in his battle suit (its first appearance - although it appears in many forms later, not always worn by him). When he loses that fight the suit explodes (causing his burn scars seen in Mad Bomber variant), taking out a wall, and the rush of water pulls him outside. The heroes assume him dead at this point.
- He washes up on the same shore near Megalopolis that Legacy had washed up on in FFA #1. He sneaks into the city, hiding in the sewers and warehouses. Keeps under the radar rather than building a following. He hides a bunch of bombs around the city, builds his hand-held death ray, and sets up another secret. The rationale of sending the video footage saying that he's set the bombs is to make the public aware that the heroes can't keep them safe even in their home city. The Freedom Five is busy, so instead they get Fanatic and other heroes who happen to be around to go fight him instead.
- It really frustrated him that the Freedom Five, who he's specifically baiting, ignore him. At the end of the fight he winds up going to Freedom Five HQ himself (not yet Freedom Tower, rather a stone building near the coast). His intention is to kill Legacy with the death ray while the other heroes are dealing with the bombs, but Absolute Zero dives in the way and takes the shot - one of the first times that AZ displays the selfless "hero" quality.
- Death ray operates by using the inherent movement of organic molecules to ignite said organic material. The suit took the brunt of the hit, but since AZ's body doesn't have any molecular movement (being at absolute zero) that it didn't really do anything to his body like it could have with Legacy. Blade is captured and put in prison for the first time (solitary confinement, maximum security, robotic guards to avoid his ability to trick them - although putting robots around Baron Blade is probably stupider than putting people around him). He fully expected that he'd wind up captured when he went to FF HQ.
- Had hidden a ceramic/undetectable gadget under his skin, so that he could communicate with the company that he'd set up while still on the outside. That company? Revo-Corp! See, if you get rid of the "orp" at the end, it's "cover" backwards as it's just a cover for his other machinations.
- He set up Revo-corp to reverse engineer the regression serum (to give himself or others powers rather than taking them away from others). 100% failure/fatality rate until the single successful test case, who then also escaped (Setback).
- To break out (probably the most impressive feat of anything he's done) he uses the robots there to guard him to create a robot duplicate of himself and fashion a robot disguise for himself while ostensibly on lockdown in a maximum security prison and just walks out. He then goes to Revo-Corp to oversee tests himself. Still failures, but he gets impatient and just cranks everything to 11 and undergoes the procedure himself. The robot left in the cell is eventually discovered and destroyed by Mr. Fixer (see Argent Adept's card Inspiring Supertonic).
- Powers gained: super strength, resilience, self-healing. No flight, requires frequent injections to maintain it or his body starts breaking down (and the injections are very taxing). Now we're up to Vengeance. From an art standpoint, his costume is supposed to be a perversion of Legacy's (minus the cape). Setback's is also meant to be derivative of Legacy's outfit. Fright Train is also part of the Regression Serum project and there are elements to his look that also tie into the theme. Blade's look at this point looks more like a superhero rather than his tech/scientist look that he had previously (lab coat, etc.).
- Vengeful Five plotlines involve the destruction of the original FF Headquarters and another fight in the new Freedom Tower. The Vengeance Five is around for a while before the "big" event where Blade starts pulling in more members of heroes' rogues galleries and is also when Blade builds Omni-blade (officially Omnitron III) out of the parts that Revo-Corp had.
- As part of the "Vengeance War", Legacy and Blade wind up fighting in the Realm of Discord and enter a Positive Energy Field where they can't actually hurt one another. They eventually just have a conversation there and Blade's various scars heal. His body stabilizes - the serum has left him a bit more buff than he had been, but it's otherwise out of his system. The conversation doesn't resolve very much between them, but probably plants the seeds that allow Luminary to become a thing later as he recognizes the futility of their recurring fight.
- Blade disappears from the public eye after the Vengeance War. Revo-Corp continues doing stuff, but it's not really under his direction. He largely already got what he wanted from them in terms of the serum. More Revo-Corp info in a podcast about them specifically.
- That's pretty much it for "Baron Blade's" plot in the SotM card game, but Ivan comes back during OblivAeon with the reaction of "You don't get to kill Legacy; only I get to kill Legacy," although that's "probably not his primary motivation."
- Luminary has a mechanical arm. He amputated his own arm to replace it with a "mostly nanotech" gizmo tied into his nervous system. He can turn it into a blade, electrify stuff with it, interface with devices. Derivative of his Flesh-Repair Nanites from his original villain deck. He also helps develop tech for other heroes (although generally with dangerous implications), notably Sky-Scraper (Extremist). He also pulls some old doomsday devices out of mothballs for the event.
- Some former-villain heroes for OblivAeon are clearly "here's a hero who used to be a villain". Luminary is not one of them, he's acting alongside the heroes against OblivAeon, but he's by no means a hero now. He's not really a central figure in the event (although with a few big hits) but gives up his life to save some heroes (notably Legacy). (See the incap side of the Luminary card, though, as he faked his death).
- Recruitment of minions: most are from Mordengrad who follow either due to being true-believers or are drafted. Blade Battalion card represents the grunts/conscripts, MDP environment goons with better gear or are working on stuff are the volunteers.
- Scar hi-jinks - cut scar from Soviet soldier as a teen, burns after his suit explodes in the Ruins of Atlantis fight, exacerbated by the serum that gave him powers, all removed by the Positive Energy Field. Tactics timeline he didn't get any new scars after that, but RPG timeline resulted in a new facial scar in the event of him faking his own death.
- Funds his Mobile Defense Platform and other stuff by selling weapons to whoever will buy them. After setting up Revo-Corp that earns him money too.
- Trial of Baron Blade comic issue: "Doomsday Device" plot just prior to start of SotM card game events. Team shows up to fight him, capture him, and takes him to court. He takes the stand claiming to be the victim: assaulted by these "heroes", had his equipment (for which he had all the proper permits and which he has schematics showing they were benign) destroyed, etc. The whole plot was to discredit the Freedom Five just before his Terralunar Impulsion Beam plot. It's a fun story that Christopher and Adam came up with that doesn't really fit in as an "event" to play in the game, but they've got the whole script and whatnot written out.
- Death of Legacy stuff: in "primary reality" of the game, nobody dies as both Parsons are injured due to the Iron Legacy fight and neither go on the mission that Blade had set as a trap for them on Mars. This plot happens at different times in different realities - in the "successful" ones it's more along the time of when the Terralunar Impulsion Beam plot happened in the primary reality.
- Revenant is the public-facing CEO of Revo-corp in a power suit - initially just a lackey of Blade, but takes more initiative after Blade loses interest.
- "Beacon" should be used strictly when talking about Felicia's role as a hero in the Tactics timeline - in the Iron Legacy reality she would have been using the Legacy name.
- On Luminary's incap side, what's in the casket? It's not important. Just note that the heroes present are genuinely saddened since, as far as they're concerned, he died a hero.
- Tactics timeline: back to his old tricks. Less of a giant threat - no longer has the same "world destruction", pure vengeance kind of goals. More just likes to be a thorn in the side of the heroes.
- RPG timeline: (apparently the best costume design that Adam's ever done) he sees the card game events as his path to Supervillain-hood and he has now "arrived". Much more of a presence in the world than in Tactics. You'll see his hand present in many more events even if he's not personally involved.