The Letters Page: Episode 43
This is our very first settings episode, in which we talk about environments and locations from the world of Sentinel Comics!
Run Time: 113:16
In today's episode, we cover Urban Settings such as:
- Freedom Tower
- Rook City
- Pike Industrial Complex
- San Alonso
- The Maerynian Refuge: Plavu'Col
We start off by doing a quick rundown of each of these locations, and then we get into your questions! The Q&A portion of the episode begins about seven minutes into the episode.
In the Megalopolis section, we answer a couple questions about banners seen in that fair city in the Sentinels of the Multiverse video game backgrounds. In answering the second of these questions right after the 32 minute mark, we reveal the truth about just what Funny Bunny means. Behold!
Then we go on for well over half an hour about a bit more Megalopolis stuff, and then on to Rook City questions.
Around the 72 minute mark, we move on to San Alonso, the Maerynian Refuge, and finally Mordengrad!
Thanks for all the great questions!
- Baron Blade
- Emily Parsons
- La Capitan
- Dana Bertrand
- The Freedom Five
- Citizen Dawn
- Michelle Hausmann
- Mr. Fixer
- Dr. Tremata
- Plague Rat
- Wager Master
- Ray Manta
- Miss Information
- Darius Zarn
- Early Sentinel Comics often took place in an urban setting, but it also wasn't clear where this was (there weren't landmarks to point out that this was Chicago, New York, or wherever) and eventually this city was established as a fictional one, but a lot of the details of exactly how this fictional world differed from the real one and what these places actually were weren't really fleshed out until later in the Silver Age by which point they gave an actual name to this main city: Megalopolis. A second Environment wholly contains another Environment in the second Freedom Five headquarters, Freedom Tower (the first HQ building was on an island outside of Megalopolis and was blown up by Baron Blade during the Vengeance event).
- "A few miles away" is another city, Rook City, which contains another Environment, Pike Industrial Complex (a bunch of details on these two settings are given in the Chairman episode, but we'll be getting some "follow up" here).
- On the west coast we have San Alonso, CA - home of the Environment Champion Studios.
- Out in the Atlantic Ocean, we have the Plavu'Col, The Maerynian Refuge (and some details on this will have to wait until we get to the Tempest episode).
- Finally, we have Mordengrad, home of Baron Blade.
- Why Megalopolis and Rook City for the settings for these superhero comics? Was there something there that caused heroes to "emerge" there or were they "drawn" there by something? These were just unnamed cities used as backdrops at first. The anonymous nature of them was a feature - "this could happen in your hometown". It's not even that there were two distinct cities initially, just a bunch of stories in an urban environment and, as stories were told over time, they decided to give specific identities to them (canonically deciding that disparate events were in the same cities in the process where before that wasn't necessarily the case). The shining, happy city that would just have an attack or invasion or something that the heroes had to stop became one and the gritty, crime-riddled one became another.
- If Emily Parsons is a senator from Connecticut, does that mean that Megalopolis is in Connecticut (or is Connecticut considering the population involved)? Yes, it's a major city in Connecticut - this means that the population of Connecticut in the Sentinel Comics setting is much higher than in real life and the city "takes up a considerable amount" of it [our Connecticut has a population of around 3.5 million - so take that and add a giant city to it, for comparison NYC itself has around 8.5 million people - additionally, while it didn't come up during the podcast, Adam revealed later that Rook City is in Pennsylvania].
- "Megalopolis" seems appropriate for a huge city, but what was it called when it was founded back in 1876 and when did it get the oversized name? It was founded as "New Colchester" - during industrialization it kind of burned down (wooden buildings + lots of coal fires = trouble waiting to happen), but there was relatively little loss of life. Given that the site was still a good one, they started over, but with the advantages of city planning and industrial know-how it sprung up quickly and became known as a city of progress, which contributed to its rapid growth to the behemoth it is now.
- In the video game we see a lot of billboards and other ads in the city - in particular is Cosmotíq's model a sneaky La Capitan cameo and what is a Solar Flightline? The model is Tachyon's wife, Dana Bertrand. Solar Flightline is a video game within the world of Sentinel Comics that's just being advertised - there's no further significance to it.
- For a hypothetical, average citizen of Megalopolis, what's the morning commute to work like? Public transit is pretty good/reliable, but generally packed even on good days (when there aren't incidents due to villain activity). There are things requiring hero/police involvement all the time, but ones that affect infrastructure are pretty rare. The local news definitely cares about the hero/villain stuff and reports on it. That's not just specific to Megalopolis either (while the Freedom Five's HQ being present does bring special attention here) - this is a world where heroes are needed all over the place and the media reports on it regardless of where it's going on. Regardless of whether you maintain a secret identity, the hero identity will have a level of celebrity about them (like, Maia Montgomery is a relatively low-key rich person that you may have heard of, but even with the Wraith rarely acting as a "public figure", everybody knows about her).
- How likely is our average citizen's day interrupted by villainous plots/in how much danger is she in? Does she consider moving? Probably in no more danger than being in any other major city - the presence of heroes offsets the increased threats and so it's kind of a wash. There are other benefits to being there - it's not quite science-fiction super city, but that's kind of the track its on with all the stuff going on there. It's not like your likelihood of being involved in a monorail crash is even as high as the chances that you'd get involved in a normal car accident on a daily basis - the former only really happens due to some kind of sabotage, whereas the latter is just a reality of having so many individuals driving at once.
- How often is our citizen likely to run into a hero? It's probably similar to living in a big city and encountering a celebrity going about their day. The heroes might be a little more visible (say, Legacy flying overhead). There are some celebrations and whatnot that certain heroes might be involved in, but they're not going to events for photo ops with the public.
- What's the citizen's favorite part of living in Megalopolis? Not living in Rook City? The regularity of how things work - good public transit, the city in general runs smoothly. There are a lot of surface-level comparisons to New York, but it's actually a much cleaner, brighter city in general.
- What has the city done to adapt to the fights that happen there? A big part of Megalopolis is the infrastructure and the wealth and prosperity of the city would draw attention from villains even if the FF weren't based there - it's just a high-value target. So, having the heroes there is itself a help. The police do a lot too, not only in keeping "normal" crime under control, but also helping out with villains (and doing a lot of crowd control to help keep people out of the danger). The city's status as a "target" has been taken into account in the planning, though. Sure, the monorail might be sabotaged, but it's designed to be a bit more robust than it might otherwise be in preparation for that inevitability. Lots of buildings and the electrical grid have redundancies in place to keep things going in the case of partial destruction. Early warning systems to notify everybody when something's happening. Lots of construction firms basically on-call to help with clean up and rebuilding.
- We know that the Organization and Court of Blood have been kept out of Megalopolis, but what other nefarious groups have tried to get a toe hold there? RevoCorp has a fair amount of dealings in the city.
- It sounds like street crime is almost nonexistent there, but is there a lot of white-collar crime? First off, there's still plenty of street crime in Megalopolis - it's not an idyllic paradise. It stuff like muggers, car thieves, and convenience store robbers think that they are beneath the notice of the heroes and so can get away with it (although Setback and Guise have stories dealing with street-level stuff and even the FF can run into it occasionally). We don't see this level of activity represented in the card game because the game is built around the major villain plots rather than the day-to-day stuff (although Tactics does have "thug" tokens to try to represent the low-level stuff). As for white-collar crime, yes there's a fair amount of it - although not typically something that heroes are involved with more than occasionally (like, there might be some ancillary white-collar stuff turn up during the main plot).
- How well does the Wraith make the transition to Megalopolis? She's certainly more used to how she does things in Rook City - operates mostly in the dark and the architecture and disrepair of the city provides more hiding places. She spends less time in Megalopolis - only really coming in when the team calls her (say in the Freedom Five book), and she winds up having to operate during the day more often in those cases.
- Does anyone trust the monorail considering how often it seems to go off the rails? It's really safe, honest. The Environment deck is simulating all of the potential for collateral damage that exists during major villain fights, and the prevalence of out-of-control monorails in the deck shouldn't be taken as an indication of overall reliability.
- Did the Police Backup survive their encounter with Citizen Dawn? One of them did... The police will help out in villain fights when they can, but it can be beyond their level of ability.
- The reporter on Paparazzi on the Scene shows up occasionally; does she have a name and/or are there stories involving her? Is she really a paparazza or a more "legitimate" reporter? Michelle Hausmann is a recurring side character. She does occasionally get in trouble and has to be saved, other times she's involved in doing investigatory things. At the time of that card she's a member of the paparazzi, getting footage of heroes and putting up sensationalist stories about them online, but later she becomes a more mainstream reporter for the Megalopolis Daily Post. Different writers had different takes on her and so she has inconsistent characterization with regards to her reporting and it's gone back and forth a bunch (champion of the truth vs. hack reporter), but by the "present" of the comics she's seen as a legitimate reporter and is seen as more helpful than harmful.
- In the video game we see a bunch of ads for Funny Bunny; what the heck is it? It's a chocolate company.
- How did Legacy get injured on the Freedom Tower card Training Simulator? In this instance, the simulator is just set to a really difficult setting and is working as intended. The blow that Legacy just took was from a 12-foot-tall Hippo simulation.
- On Mission Control, who's Legacy talking to considering he's greeting "new" members to the team, but they're in the second headquarters building? He's greeting Bunker, Tachyon, and Wraith as the members of the Freedom Four - the comic was from when they were setting up the Mission Control equipment in Freedom Tower and, as he was putting stuff in place, Legacy has a brief flashback to the original HQ and their first meeting in Mission Control there. The whole issue is kind of a "clip show" issue of him setting things up there.
- How in the world does Freedom Tower remain standing? Really innovative internal structural supports, underground counterbalances, lightweight titanium-alloy construction to keep the "arms" lighter to begin with and they don't keep heavy equipment or have big parties with people like Haka jumping around out in those sections. Also comics handwaving, but the idea is that this is a world with Tachyon and Baron Blade around - there are engineering feats possible here that wouldn't be possible in the real world.
- How many Freedom Towers have been built? The original FFHQ was destroyed by Baron Blade. Freedom Tower replaces it and, while there are villainous incursions occasionally, it remains standing until OblivAeon destroys it. In the Sentinel Comics Universe Freedom Plaza is then built to replace it instead. Freedom Tower is rebuilt in the Mist Storm Universe, though.
- Do the citizens like Freedom Tower? Does it bring value to the city? There are definitely people who think that it's an eyesore and/or that it draws villains, but in general having the Freedom Five operating out of the city is a net gain for the city (and the building kind of acts like a lightning rod for villain activity - they attack it rather than other parts of the city). The first few above-ground floors of the building are a public museum and the grounds around it are parks, so there's some value to the public in the building itself too. It's not taxpayer funded either.
- Ironclad Maintenance Bay (and Bunker's "Decommissioned Hardware") shows a bunch of different Bunker suits - are these from various specific stories or was Adam just having fun? Yes. When Adam draws one of these things for fun it will generally turn into a story and when they are coming up with a story he's often sketching as they go along, so both things happen, often in the process of the other happening. This is a big part of Christopher and Adam's whole dynamic going back decades. "Art is story."
- Freedom Tower's medical bots are a clear reference to Star Wars (Adam: "Whaaaat?") and the pink color indicates that Unity is a fan - are there other pop culture references that she's snuck in here and there? Yeah - especially in the original animated series where she'd frequently make bots that were designed after characters from other properties owned by the animation company. Unity is the blatant reference character (well, besides the other blatant reference character - he's breaking the fourth wall, she's just legitimately a fan of the things she's referring to).
- How to the residents of Rook City feel about living there? Some people are jaded and live with it, but most people are either profiting from the situation there or are trying to leave (but it's notoriously hard to up and move if you're in poverty). There is so much poverty and crime here that there isn't a real-life analogue in the US, but it's essentially run like a third world country. It's "comic book, over-the-top awful".
- In the transition to Broken City in the Mist Storm Universe, were most regular people killed by OblivAeon? Are there normal people trying to get by and what role does Renegade play? The vast majority of Rook City's population either died or managed to evacuate, although there are still some small number of regular citizens who either couldn't get out or stayed with loved ones who couldn't and now can't. Renegade is around, but he's mostly there to punish wrongdoing in his own messed up way - it's possible that some people see him as some kind of folk hero/urban legend as the rumor mill works, but you don't want to ever meet him.
- It seems like Rook City has way more wrong with it than could be engineered by one man (i.e. the Chairman), so is there something else going on to make it this way, say some dark magic underlying things? Kind of a combination of things. As mentioned up top, every dark and gritty story (including all of the Horror Comics) wound up being shoveled into Rook City and so there's a strong past of cult activity and monsters and whatnot in addition to the run-of-the-mill crime. There have been good people there, but not in any kind of position to turn things around, and the corruption hasn't been noted by the government to the point where they've sent in the national guard or something.
- Why does Mr. Fixer wear a hat supporting a team that he's got to know are full of drugged up cheaters? In his day, the Rook City Renegades was just a group of strapping young lads playing ball, none of this corruption you see these days. You also can't help where you're from and you've gotta support the team.
- It's said that Chairman Pike rules Rook City, how does that work? Do civic institutions answer to him or do they just stay out of his way? Nothing so easily tracked - civic institutions are run by people who've worked their ways up each organization over time and those people are, one way or another, in the pocket of Chairman Pike, but they might not even know that he's the one pulling their strings. There could be many layers of intermediaries, favors, and obligations involved between them.
- How far does Pike's authority run? Do even wealthy people have to worry about muggings? Does he have contacts with the feds to keep them out of his city? Pretty deep, but sometimes really subtle. The cops are largely in his pocket, though, so if they are investigating something that looks like it's probably tied to the Organization, it's likely to get "solved" really quickly ("oh, this dead body was obviously a suicide"). The most privileged citizens probably still live in fear since their positions of relative power give them a better overview of what's going on than your average person on the street and so know just how precarious their situations are since they couldn't keep that power if they're going to be crossing the Organization, although they're still kind of a caricature of rich people ("oh, muggings are a poor people problem"). Pike's probably got some feds involved considering how much obfuscation is necessary to keep them out.
- Are there any common, non-criminal citizens who identify with the Organization (yeah, they're crooks, but they're our crooks)? Are there even non-criminal citizens left? Yeah, there's still a majority of citizens who don't work for the Organization and it's not like anybody really thinks the Organization is a good thing to have around (too many local shops getting the shakedown). Even people who work for it don't necessarily like it, they just see it as preferable to being on the other end of its operations.
- Most people we see seem to have a generally positive opinion of heroes, but considering Pike's control over things in Rook City, are the general populace's opinions steered away from the heroes by the local media? The media there would be guiding public opinion to the conclusion that you can't trust police or vigilantes to keep you safe (with the conclusion being that you should go ahead and pay the protection racket guys in the Organization). There's outside media that he can't control, but they're not here, man, and they don't know what it's really like. ["If you see something, say nothing and drink to forget." is from Welcome to Night Vale, for anybody here who doesn't already know about that one.]
- Are there any comics that push the ridiculous levels of bleakness in Rook City over the line into self-parody? Certainly - especially considering that Setback was a Megalopolis character who winds up in Rook City with Expatriette. His mere presence is enough to shift things a bit. Guise's Gritty Reboot is all about this as well.
- What's the news like in the city where "Man Eaten by Rat Beast in Sewer" is little more than a footnote? What's the rent like there (probably cheap)? What's with the obstinately wealthy people who stick around; some kind of gated community to keep out the riffraff? Are there any good cops on the force or just Dr. Tremata? The local news is (at least partially) controlled by the Organization and is trying to keep the populace afraid and compliant. "Rat Beast" stories are tabloid headlines that nobody really believes - everybody knows about Plague Rat, but nobody believes it (except maybe when you're alone in a dark alley and hear something and then you wonder). Rent's cheap, but you've got various "fees" (and uncaring building supers/landlords). The wealthy areas are generally safe and typically kept that way due to some vested interest that Pike's got there. There aren't so much "gated communities" as there are penthouse apartments downtown in buildings with door guards. The "good cop" was Tony Taurus until the city ground him down.
- There's literal glowing green ooze in the sewers, sometimes bubbling up to the surface; how can the city's water treatment plant possibly deal with this? How safe is it to drink/how much can you drink safely? Do not drink the tap water in the city. Sure, there's a one-in-ten-million chance that drinking it might result in you getting powers, but that's just not worth it - you're more likely to get cancer and die from the mutations. The waste system there is terrible (and only backs up into the streets when something goes wrong - although that's not infrequent).
- It seems like Rook City became a named location in the comics sometime in the '70s and there's a bar there called the "Wretched Hive" - were the writers making a reference to a certain 1977 movie or were the filmmakers making a reference to the comics location? "Rook City" predates the movie, but the name of the bar is a later addition and was a direct reference to the movie.
- What's the timeline situation allowing Friction and Proletariat to both be in the bar on "Scum and Villainy"? It was during Vengeance. Expatriette used to drink there and it kind of has a reputation (regular citizens shouldn't go there, but it's kind of a "no fighting" place for bad guys to go and "not think about work"). Expat was breaking the code of the place by going there to fight. In theory, she could have just gone in and gotten a drink without problems (although probably some grumbling).
- Who's the Ambitious Racketeer and why didn't he wind up as part of the Chairman's deck? He's not part of the Organization - he's trying to stake his own claim. His name is Andrew. He's trying to do crime in a place where there's already a group with a monopoly on crime and this does not end well for him.
- How big of a character was Dr. Tremata (maybe falling by the wayside once Wraith gets access to Tachyon for science stuff)? Central to any stories? How was her relationship with Tony Taurus before the whole murder thing? She's a blood-spatter analyst who got involved during the Donovan murder cases and became Wraith's go-to contact with the police. The Organization wouldn't really mess with her - it'd be easier to either tamper with a scene before she got there or with her findings after she handed them in than to try to subvert her directly and this relative isolation from the corruption is why the Wraith is able to actually get information from her - she's not just clamming up because she's on the take. She does eventually get info on somebody that would allow people to catch him, and so he kills her (this would be Heartbreaker, formerly Tony Taurus). They weren't really characters that interacted with one another prior to that as he was a private investigator by then and would be talking to detectives more than forensics.
- Besides the giant mutated rats and cockroaches, are there any other crazy mutated things coming out of Pike Industrial? Are OSHA reps shot on sight? OSHA reps fall into a few categories: those who do basically nothing but get bribed and those who try to do a really thorough job and accidentally fall into a vat or something - nothing but top OSHA ratings for the company, though. The rats are the actual experiment subjects with the cockroaches just getting exposed to stuff incidentally. There's some birds involved too, but rats are cheap and if they need a larger test subject they just mutate the rat into something bigger.
- Who or what are the bodies in the Biomemetic Plasma Vats? Spite clones.
- How sick was Setback after eating that apple from the craft services table at Champion Studios? Really sick, he had to be rushed to the hospital, but he got better.
- What are some stories that will be referenced in the deck (besides the romance plot mentioned in the Wager Master episode)? There's a lot of opportunity for tongue-in-cheek storytelling. Ray Manta dressed up as a slasher-movie villain, heroes in car chases or using prop weapons, stuff like that. The story purpose of San Alonso is to lean heavily on the presence of a movie studio to bring in lots of weird stuff. Functionally, it's kind of like Madame Mittermeier's tendency to mess with things but without the magic - the location itself isn't a bad place (like MM's), but it's just being used by villains for whatever plot they've got going on.
- How much of Adam's artistry was involved in the image of Wager Master's butt we get on Love Interest (and is putting this mental image in all of our heads part of his work with the Cult of Gloom)? All of his artistry, everything he ever drew was building towards that drawing.
- Do any of the current cards available show events in San Alonso that we just weren't aware of? One of Miss Information's later plots, and therefore a lot of the art in her VotM deck, takes place in Champion Studios.
- Is there anything in San Alonso besides Champion Studios (a Sentinels theme park)? Not a Sentinels theme park, but others (including a Champion Studios one). It's a normal southern California city where people live and work, so it's got a lot of what you'd expect. Champion Studios isn't the only movie studio there.
- Why do the Maerynians use this kind of architecture? The buildings are made out of shell material (they're grown) and that informs the look/shape/feel of them. They design things for water/air flow and it's how they did things back home, so it's a cultural thing. The coral you can see on the coast is also grown as a defensive barrier.
- Who's Leviathan? Is that the person on PW Tempest's incap art? Yes, that's who that is. No story stuff for spoiler reasons.
- How are the remaining Maerynians able to set up their refuge and when did Tempest become aware of it; it doesn't seem like they want visitors? The whole deck is all about "leave us alone". They set up a hurricane around it to keep people out. Tempest is aware of it as he helped set it up. It was years between when they arrived and it was fully set up, though.
- How do most humans feel about Maerynians on their planet? Majority of people they interacted with at first were freaked out by these weird monster people. Two things helped the general acceptance of Maerynians: Tempest's actions as a hero and their refugee status (followed close on the heels of the Voss invasion of Earth to drive that point home - Sky-Scraper has more trouble integrating into human society).
- Do they have an ambassador to the UN? Not at first.
- Is the refuge counted as a sovereign nation? Yes.
- Do their weather-control powers interfere with other nearby nations? Nobody's really that close. They could affect others, but they don't.
- Is this now going to be their permanent home or would they relocate to another planet eventually? Earth is their home now, there aren't enough of them to inhabit a whole planet on their own. Maybe eventually, but not for a long time - their race has very slow population growth (more in Tempest's episode).
- Could they help combat global warming? They can maybe offset some immediate effects, but they can only control weather, not the overall climate and the damage done to cause these changes.
- Are there enough Maerynians left to sustain a population without hitting a genetic bottleneck? Yes. There are several hundred of them and they're different enough from humans that the current size of the population isn't as much of a problem for them as it would be for us.
- Does the refuge have wifi/has there been much cultural exchange between them and the rest of the world? They're an isolationist nation and set themselves up to not have any integration with the rest of the world. In the future they open up a bit, though.
- Have they invented any artificial intelligence? They have no robotics - even their technology is much more on the biotech end of things.
- What's the tourist bureau spiel for Mordengrad and what's day-to-day life like there? Factories that make Mordengrad strong, the hardworking people of Mordengrad, the talented inventors and machinists that make up the backbone of Mordengrad. There is no nation better than Mordengrad. Basic day-to-day life for people is mostly working in the factories (or children going to education internments). It's a small place, pretty much just the city itself and the surrounding area, but the people are very patriotic. Their leader is one of them who took them from producing things for others to making things for Mordengrad. They have their needs met if they work (there's not much in the way of "income" but they have shelter and people don't go hungry). Their lives aren't great, but they're better off than they were. Everybody's pretty well indoctrinated to the idea that Mordengrad is great.
- How big is Mordengrad and what's the population? Why did the USSR never claim it back and/or why didn't Blade take over more of Lithuania? Mordengrad wasn't retaken because Baron Blade is brilliant, dangerous, and really good at what he does. It's really hard to invade. After the first few attempts to retake it he offers to sell them weapons and that's enough to get them to back off. It's the city and the surrounding farmlands - it really does fit the idea of a city-state. It's got a decent-sized population for its size, though.
- Who runs Mordengrad as Baron Blade seems to be absent a lot while he's off trying to kill Legacy or whatever? He's got a cabinet of lieutenants who are all fiercely loyal to him and patriotic for Mordengrad. The membership rotates frequently, but there have been the occasional member who gets too ambitious and has to be eliminated as a lesson to the others.
- Has any other country invaded Mordengrad? Heroes or villains attacking due to its status as the home base of a mad science genius? Lithuania/USSR tried to take it back, as mentioned. USA never tried to invade. Many others have, none have succeeded. Villains have shown up there (and heroes show up to fight villains, including Baron Blade, but fomenting insurrection against him in Mordengrad isn't going to work).
- Does Mordengrad have a seat in the EU or the UN? No and no. Blade is waaaay too arrogant to accept rules from others.
- What's the political climate like when he's not around? Any attempted usurpation or uprising? When Blade's around, things go well. There's that one time after the mad bomber plot when he was in jail for years and they're all cut off from him. The lieutenants are doing their best and are typically doing a good job, but one guy gets ambitious and tries to institute some economic reforms (by, you know, creating an economy by creating a currency and paying the workers). Shortly thereafter he starts taxing people and making it so that you have to pay for the food and shelter that, up to this point, the government had just been providing to the workers. To recap, the political climate was initially one that was communist internally with Baron Blade using the output of the country capitalistically externally to make money that he used to then provide for the people (and make doomsday devices and everything, the point is that he's not skimping on the "taking care of his citizens" part). Darius Zarn, this economics guy, is basically turning this into an economical monarchy with everybody paying him. Then Blade returns and reverts everything while handing Darius off to the people to do with as they saw fit (spoiler, it doesn't turn out well for him).
- What do they do in Mordengrad for fun? While it's a technologically advanced place, it's regressive in terms of its use. There aren't televisions or internet access in people's homes, but you can go to the city square and listen to music. There are lots of festivals. This leans hard into the patriotism of the place. The people here aren't under many hardships beyond the fact that there's no freedom of lifestyle - you do your work for the glory of Mordengrad, but you're better off than a lot of poor people in other parts of the world.
- What would happen in Mordengrad if Baron Blade were to die (elections, run by a Blade-bot, etc.)? If he was really gone, it would be run by his lieutenants probably resulting in somebody taking over like what happened in the story above, only without Blade there to right the ship and it would probably eventually collapse and result in Lithuania taking over. Somebody could probably keep things running longer if they tried to do exactly the kinds of things that Blade did rather than subverting it for their own gain, but so much of that was tied into the cult of personality of Blade himself that even that's hard to keep running successfully.
- What would have happened to Blade if OblivAeon had done to Mordengrad what he'd done to Rook City? Rebuild? Personal breakdown? He'd be emotionally and financially/technologically ruined by it, but probably not the end of Baron Blade as he persists. He'd have less joy (as much as he ever has shown it he does have it). Maybe something for a Disparation story.
- Citing info from the Gen Con Live episode about the Latvian language being used in a Lithuanian area for cultural reasons, what's the overall makeup of the city/how many languages are spoken there? Baron Blade can speak Latvian, Lithuanian, and English. In Mordengrad, people speak Latvian and Lithuanian, but more commonly a pidgin of both that's kind of unique to Mordengrad, simply called Mordengradian.
- What's the meaning behind Mordengrad's colors and crest and why are the Blade Battalion outfits given green accents? The Battalion outfits are designed to look good with the crest on it rather than adhering to the strict color scheme of the crest itself. The purple is there because of the royal connotations. The crest has a tree, symbolizing the nation's growth. The Griffon Rampant is the nation's might. The sword is the military's strength and output. The Moon is there as Mordengrad is a light in the darkness (and has always been a fixation for Blade himself).
- Any tourist products/exports that you might find in the US or elsewhere abroad? Their primary output is military in nature, and Mordengrad's relationship with most nations is similar to the embargo situation between the USA and Cuba for a long time. There might be an expat Mordengradian who made it out and opens up a restaurant or a shop or something, but that would be about it.