The Letters Page: Episode 5
Run Time: 86:41
As a note, today's episode is about a pretty terrible person. She's a villain, and not really a sympathetic one. Just so you know.
Because of the impressive number of questions you all asked about Citizen Dawn, today's episode features a slightly shorter character overview segment, followed by a much longer Q&A section. Great work everyone - keep those questions coming!
The character we're talking about this week is the mother of the character we talked about last week, so there's a lot of information you'll want in this episode. If you missed last week's episode, go check it out! Then come back. No rush - we'll wait.
We mention that Citizens Hammer and Anvil are the best. They are. True fact.
Next week, we talk about Setback! We're recording that episode on Thursday, February 16th - a day earlier than usual - so get your questions in by Thursday morning!
- Over 50 questions received for the Citizen Dawn episode. The plan for this one is to do less of a "all the story stuff first" and then move on to the Q&A part of the podcast and instead intersperse the questions into the appropriate part of the story. This is likely to be a more common format as the podcasts progress.
- This is a super dark episode. There might be feel-good stuff in a villain episode with Omnitron.
- Dawn grew up in Manitoba. Very pale, but never got sunburned. Very stand-offish, was "the weird kid" and didn't have many childhood friends. Hung out in the library a lot ("books are better than people"). Read lots of non-fiction, but not exclusively.
- Other kids wanted to prank her in the library (jump out to scare her, knock her books over - kids aren't good at quality pranks). When they startle her, she explodes with the energy she's been unconsciously absorbing her whole life - killing all of the other kids and taking out a chunk of the library building.
- Psych evaluation following the mysterious death of her classmates, etc: she wasn't "reliving" the event, but seemed more broken up over the loss of the books than the death of other people. Winds up sent to a mental ward for further evaluation. While she's there, some group of researchers had heard about her situation and come to collect her from the psych ward - cover story given to her parents that she died after falling into a coma.
- She's now just a test subject, undergoing experiments to test the limits of her powers rather than being treated like the mid-teens kid that she is; kept in a dark sleeping tube most of the time, putting her under sun lamps during testing. After weeks of this and overhearing plans to move her to a more intense facility she decides to escape. She discovers that she can actively draw power from the lamps rather than relying on just passive absorption of radiant energy around her. Powering up lets her blast a hole in the ceiling and fly away, into the Canadian wilderness and farther north.
- During this flight, after leaving the main landmass behind she finds Insula Primalis. Lots of interesting stuff, but no people (which she sees as a good thing). She carves her home into the side of the volcano with her power.
- When other people show up to explore the island, she drives them off. She rarely has to kill people, but her presence develops a reputation. The rumors draw other powered people who go there specifically to meet her. She drives them away at first too, but she eventually softens on her isolation stance as she hears their stories that mirror her own, eventually changing to active recruiting. Along with this comes a change from mere isolationism to plans for domination and they start attacks on the outside world.
- Initial attacks either to protect or free powered individuals until they have sufficient numbers to make more direct actions. Early minor comics appearances/teasers in last pages of another book, breaking out "villains" that had just been defeated by heroes.
- First main comics appearance: crashes a Megalopolis city council meeting while other Citizens are wrecking the town (possibly non-canonical Citizens mentioned as examples of low-powered Citizens: Citizen Moist, Citizens Peanut, Butter, and Jelly roughing up some meter maids). She demands $5,000,000 in gold bricks with the threat of killing a council member every 30 minutes that her demands aren't met. She winds up killing 2 members (off-panel or otherwise bloodlessly, in the day of the CCA) before the trucks arrive. The Heroes are all busy dealing with the chaos being caused by the other Citizens. Once the gold arrives, she gives a short lecture/villain monologue about how she's got powers and if they, the city council, had powers they could have done something to stop her. She then kills the remaining members of the council, blows up the trucks full of gold, and she and the Citizens head back to Insula Primalis.
- Follow up comics story is the retaliatory strike against them. This is the event where Dawn's game-mechanics flip-side occurs and the initial hero encounters with the various hazards of the Insula Primalis Environment. Heroes are getting the upper hand, defeating Citizens, etc. and this is when she opens herself up as a conduit for the energy of the sun (also mentioned that she already seems "powered up" since her last appearance - hint that they'll discuss later). The fight moves up to the volcano's caldera - fight with other Citizens continue, but she's just hanging out over the lava, absorbing more energy from it and continuing to blast the heroes. Her drawing power from the volcano destabilizes it, eventually causing the eruption. Heroes retreat/escape, assuming that nobody left could have survived.
- Expatriette's first appearance in comics is around this time, but it's not known at first that she's related to Dawn. Art note that Expat's shirt is the inverse of the Citizens emblem and some people thought this was significant ("Was she one of them?), but was mostly conjecture ("Surely they're all dead").
- Citizens of the Sun gone for a while, sudden reappearance attacking Megalopolis in force. Not there to make a statement like last time, but to raze the place to the ground and plant the flag on the rubble. Dawn is taken down, eventually, by a Mind Spike from Visionary. That's the turning point in the fight, demoralizing the Citizens ("What's to keep the bald chick from brain-lasering all of us?") as well as removing any buff that Dawn had provided. Retreat to Insula Primalis.
- Next major action is the fight when Expatriette leads the fight back to Insula Primalis (see Episode 4), but that was after another gap in time. Anvil and Hammer (the coolest, charmingest, handsomset, awesomest Citizens around) escaped - Anvil has a long-distance teleport ability (slow, not Nightcrawler-style flipping around). The decision was made to split the Citizens up rather than keep them all in one huge, ultra-maximum-security place. Hammer and Anvil break Dawn out and, eventually, they set up shop in a Mobile Defense Platform. Dawn mostly stays there with H&A going on more breakout schemes or other "strike team" actions (this is their role in their VotM incarnation).
Questions About Dawn
- How does Dawn feel towards Expat as the latter's story goes on? Prior to Expat's escape: Embarrassed by her "normal" daughter. She doesn't have a motherly bone in her body. Saw her not so much as a daughter as an expectation of great potential.
- After escape/murder of Citizen Gate: Traitor. Dead to her. Good riddance.
- Around the initial Freedom Five/Megalopolis scenario: Annoyed, outwardly indifferent. Represents her "only failure".
- After the defeat at Insula Primalis: Resentment. Not only a failure, but now also humiliation. "Sure you beat us, but you cheated."
- After OblivAeon: Tricky. No more love, probably more respect. Still full of contempt. Very few redeeming qualities for Dawn, but less hate hate.
- How does she feel about the non-lethal ammo? doesn't care.
- About the relationship with Setback? doesn't care (if she even knows about it).
- Does she care if Expat has a child? Probably not, unless it had powers in which case yes, would probably feel need to take the kid.
- Dawn weaker at night (or on planet with a different sun or something)? She gets power from any light.
- Adam's upside-down Citizens logo is due to a production error.
- Her opinions on Baron Blade? No powers, but he fits the M.O. of "better than other people," including stuff involving the various serums, so what's up? They're not allies. She was skeptical of his ability to do anything as a villain because "no powers" and he's obviously gonna get stopped. After he gets powers she approached him to let him become a Citizen, but he's not playing second fiddle (the "discussion" between them at around 39:40 is pretty funny). She expressed interest in getting the reversed serum from him to allow her to create more Citizens, but he's not letting other people get powered minions. Later they go ask for an MDP, let them take an old decommissioned one.
- Thoughts on Legacy? Traitor. Doesn't understand why he protects non-powered people.
- Thoughts about Tachyon or other people who gained powers later? Any powered person is good to go. Plenty of Citizens gained power later in life. Technology to give you the power doesn't count, though.
- Do she and Ra ever have a "Sun-off"? See "Drawn to the Flame" in Ra's deck. She's powered by the sun and other light sources; he's the god of the sun and the sun's "chief export is fire and that's what he's into". She's doing stuff with light and energy, he's doing stuff with fire and burning
- Any heroes powerful enough to shut down Dawn, one-on-one every time? None. Some have a chance: Legacy, Fanatic, Haka, "characters who are good at taking a beating" can "go toe-to-toe" but would have trouble taking her down. By the end of the SotM story, Expatriette has the skills - training and experience fighting powered people and specifically her mom. K.N.Y.F.E. gets shut down hard. Guise can probably "survive indefinitely" but he's not going to do anything to her but annoy her.
- Resources to build the Citadel? Just carves the base out of the mountain with her power. Later she has access to other Citizens with utility-based powers. Card game Citizens are the fighters, but don't represent the full group by any means.
- Any actors to play Dawn? "Absolutely Robin Wright - specifically citing House of Cards (there's an episode where she's wearing a high-necked red outfit - I don't know what episode that would be).
Questions About Citizens
- Do Citizens get along? Outside of their themed groups? Any that don't get along? Truth and Dare are brothers who don't get along (Dare hates Truth). Assault and Battery are buds. Seasons get along OK. Overall, basically a nation more than family.
- Does Dawn have any favorites? Hammer and Anvil are her number 1 guys (and can count on their blind loyalty), but she doesn't really care about any more than others. They are a bit unnerving to the other Citizens to the extent of their devotion. Anvil is always watching and judging, Hammer more likely to lash out at infractions. (All joking aside about how awesome they are, they're terrible people).
- How are the names chosen? Some pick their own. Some Dawn assigns. Some non-themed just pick something (Gate didn't have a partner), not likely to have a group until high-ranking. Titles are changeable - if Summer died there could be a new Summer assigned.
- Is it OK to feel bad about harming Citizen Spring? She's nice, but kind of got an abused thing going on regarding the other Seasons.
- How many citizens are there? We getting a full laundry-list in the RPG? Around 100 adults, some more children.
- Are Truth and Dare different people (one coming into play destroys the other). Why did Absolution break? Truth and Dare don't get along, that's why one leaves when the other enters play. Truth's shield, under certain circumstances is 100% unbreakable. It's manifested as part of his will and you have to shake him to break his shield.
- How do Citizens feel about being raised from the dead? Any limit? Two ways this happens in "Return with the Dawn" (SotM vs. Tactics). First is "puppetry" - she's directly animating them. Actual raising from the dead is not something she can normally do, leaves her out of commission for a long time - doesn't even want to do it often. The Citizens do not like it - it's never a pleasant experience in Sentinels when people come back from the dead (although Spite is into unpleasant experiences).
Questions About Pain
- Who is Expat's father? As already mentioned in Episode 4, Citizen Pain, killed by Dawn. Not still alive. Not involved in any major game story arcs (as he's mostly in the backstory stuff).
- Was there a Citizen Gain? What's their deal? Pain and Gain were minor villains (using different names) in one issue of some comic (part of the recruitment wave mentioned earlier). Pain's name is Richard Pensley (I'm guessing the spelling), Gain's is Linda Pensley (his wife). Pain's power could activate/deactivate nerve endings in a target at range. Gain is a power amplifier - can boost other powered people (passive by being nearby, but she could also focus it).
- What's the history of Dawn and Pain's relationship? Dawn impressed by Pain's power. Makes a proposition under the logic that their child would obviously be super powerful. Pain was not into this and Gain is super not into it. Dawn basically says it's not a request - Pain will be the father or you both die, so he agrees. Dawn furious at the lack of power in their offspring and it's obviously not her fault, so she kills Pain. Gain tries to kill Dawn by "blowing out her power" by amplifying it too much, which apparently has worked on others before. Dawn is not impressed and just kills Gain. This super-charge doesn't ever really go away, though. This is what allowed her to do the "merged with the power of the sun" thing.
- Why stop at one child? Inwardly afraid that the failure is her fault. Currently has a scapegoat in Pain.
- Dawn do anything special for Valentines day? No! They don't celebrate "normal" holidays. Founding of the Citadel is Dawn's Day, though. Christopher should write a Citizens of the Sun Anthem.
- What's Dawn up to during OblivAeon event? Expat goes in solo and unarmed to ask for help (see Episode 4). Dawn is at first ready to shun her, similar to her initial isolation on Insula Primalis. She sends Expat off, but Dawn does show up during fight with the Scions. Pulls out a helpful "Devastating Aurora" type thing, then disappears after the final battle.
- Tactics: Dawn is back and doing stuff right at the beginning as a "primary antagonist" but has been gone for years prior. When she and Citizens show up they're collecting OblivAeon shards. Only has power to raise Pain from the dead because of both the Gain power boost and the OblivAeon shards giving her an additional boost. Now she's consolidating power in her own person rather than in a large army.
- RPG: Suspiciously absent. She's not going to appear in either the core rules or the villain compendium. "Probably some reason for that." Some Citizens might be tooling around, but not as Citizens any more.
- Results of the "standard die" survey: "Roll a die" - 62.2% = d6, 36.7% = d20, 1.1% = some other die. "Roll dice" - 75.6% = d6, 17.8% = d20, 6.7% = some other dice.