The Letters Page: Editor's Note 11
Yet another Editor's Note on all manner of things!
Run Time: 88:39
Topics of today's Editor's Note:
- Other podcasts that we have claimed to do
- Virtuosos of the Void nicknames
- Absolute Zero
- La Comodora
- La Paradoja Magnifica
- The canon of the Sentinel Comics RPG
- La Capitan
- Christopher and Adam's "personas"
- A Limerick
- Boba tea
- Chopping down doors
- The Host
- If you skipped the Fanatic and Apostate episodes after the warning at the start of those stories, you'll want to skip from the 42 minute mark until the 55 minute mark.
- Dark Watch
- RevoCorp & Revenant
- Caleb Greene
- Cosmic Contest
Here is a link to the PDF you can fill out with your guesses about how the Cosmic Contest goes. When you do, please e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also! Here's a link to the Legends of Sleepy Hollow Kickstarter. Worth checking out! We both like the game a bunch.
- November 7th: Spite
- November 14th: Urban Settings
- November 21st: Blood Magic
- November 28th: Biomancer
- November 30th: Editor's Note #12
The day after this Editor's Note goes live, we're recording the episode about Wager Master! So, get those Wager Master questions in now or forever hold your peace.
- Thanks to RPD234 for providing them with a list of all of the other podcasts they've mentioned that they do. They've got them all on a big whiteboard now for easy reference. Special shout out to the "How to murder a superhero" podcast and the idea that it could be something like Heartbreaker and Equity talking shop.
Virtuosos of the Void
- In the Gen Con Live episode you definitively linked Spirit Island with the Nexus of the Void, connecting two game IPs; was the Sentinels of the 9th (an expansion to the game Bottom of the 9th that features Sentinels characters) an actual in-comic baseball game? It's definitely canon. Sometimes they play just for fun, sometimes they play in a more organized way. There is a picture where you can see heroes playing baseball in SotM [I can't think of that off-hand, somewhere in the OblivAeon content maybe?] [Note from the future: It's in Champion Studios.]
- Where did the Virtuosos of the Void's alliterative names come from given that many wouldn't have been speaking English? It's mostly comic-book-logic - these are comics written in English for an English-speaking audience. They would have had nicknames in their native tongues which may or may not have been alliterative and may or may not have referenced their associated colors, but for the purpose of the Argent Adept story in Sentinel Comics they all get nicknames that did both in English.
- Meta note Feel free to ask additional questions about characters that they've already done a main episode for. They might wind up hanging on to a given character's questions until they have several that weren't covered in the past and then swinging back around to one or two of them again per Editor's Note.
- In the Absolute Zero episode, it was mentioned that he doesn't breathe and is "medically dead", so after the initial accident how was he discovered to not actually be dead and treated accordingly? There are a number of physical signs still present to clue people into his status - brain activity and involuntary nerve action (e.g. some body parts twitching occasionally, rapid-eye-movement), so even though his body was largely inert there was still something going on that warranted further study.
- What did Ryan look like before his accident? Is there card art somewhere that I've just missed? You can see his face in a few places (in Wager Master's deck, on his Termi-Nation variant), so not exactly what he looked like "before his accident", but pretty close (he had more hair, wasn't as gaunt, and, y'know, wasn't blue-gray). He was pretty nondescript prior to the accident (as were many characters in comics in the '60s).
- What is the book The Iceman Cometh about? It's a later story told, but it's an origin story mini-series. When he was introduced it was just "Here's a guy in a cold chamber/suit" kind of thing and it took a while for them to circle back around. So, a lot of the stuff talked about in the AZ episode was from this series rather than the handwavy brief version given at the time of his actual introduction.
- [Letter from a mechanical engineer/physics teacher - good stuff about heat gradients and whatnot starting around 12.5 minutes into the podcast.] General idea - "temperature" is a measure of how much thermal energy is in a given system and we categorize things with a lot of this energy as "hot" and less of it as "cold". Thermodynamics rules mean that thermal energy will flow from a place with more to a place with less to try to reach equilibrium, but since AZ's body temp has nearly no thermal energy, he's a big "magnet" for heat. When he opens an aperture in his suit, the air in the area closest to the opening will have its heat drawn towards him first, cooling that area which means that there's now a gradient between that air and the surrounding air, and this process just continues as long as the aperture is open, simulating a "blast" of cold. Simultaneously, the air will compress and any water vapor will solidify, creating the ice that his attacks cause. His self damage is caused because, as the thermal energy is drawn to him it heats him up - the analogy made is if a "normal" temperature hero started at 98.6 degrees, but went up a degree every time they used a power, until they hit 104 or 105 and passed out. There's a bit of a question in here about how AZ is able to shape the ice his powers generate or how he can target them, but this is kind of glossed over as C&A geek out over how good the overall letter was.
- For the "only two Hakas" thing, how does the existence of Eternal Haka or the X-Treme Prime Wardens Haka work? There's an "ever-expanding wave of Haka absorption" and there's going to be a point after the last time we see a Haka in the pages of Sentinel Comics that they're absorbed. For those that appear in the OblivAeon events, this is presumably shortly after their last appearance. After OblivAeon's defeated, timelines continue to split off from one another but any "new" Hakas that are generated by these splits are safe as there's no longer a mechanism for the "wave" to collapse them.
- When a Haka is absorbed from a timeline, do they just cease to exist or are they retroactively written out of reality so that they never existed? It's not retroactive (that would cause too many problems). Everything that they had accomplished to the point that the "wave" catches up to them has still occurred, they just pop out of existence (and everybody in that reality is very sad).
- Given that Haka's the strongest character in Sentinel Comics (except maybe OblivAeon?), in theory he should also be very fast; does this ever get shown in comics? He's definitely faster than a normal person would be proportional to his size, but he's not rocketing around like Tachyon (not even near that). His strength gives him the ability to reach low-superhuman speeds, but he lacks a "speedster" power set - Tachyon's fast not because of her muscles being so strong that she can propel herself but because her body's got the weird tachyon-particle thing going on. We do see him doing big jumps to get around quickly (see Parse's card "Between the Lines" for how he got up onto Akash'Bhuta's head).
- Haka and Scholar are both described as people who don't hog the limelight, so how do interactions between the two of them go? How would a fight involving both of them even start if they're both not asserting themselves? Would a conversation with them just be both complimenting the other while simultaneously downplaying their own achievements? They're both men of action. They don't let others take the limelight through some Midwestern "No, after you" polite-off, but by encouraging action by others and whatnot. Neither is going to stand back and let evil happen while waiting for somebody else to do something, this mentality is more of a "post-fight" behavior and not being self-aggrandizing. As for conversations, if somebody is excited to hear about stuff you've done, the last thing you'd want to do is to call it "boring" or "not worth talking about" as this kills the other person's enthusiasm and makes for a more awkward conversation - Haka won't make that mistake, but he'll keep things going with his own questions.
La Comodora and Her Ship
- What happens to the debris of La Paradoja Magnifica after it crashes into OblivAeon? All of the wreckage winds up outside of time and space with La Comodora herself.
- If there is any left, would it have weird chronal energy stuff like what Chrono-Ranger retains after OblivAeon? If there was any left, it'd have some effects since chronal energy is pretty much what it was made out of so, if you wanted to make an RPG character based around them having a splinter of the ship or something that'd be cool, but "canonically" there's none left (keeping in mind that that's just their perspective from where they're writing stuff - they've always wanted the sandbox of their games to be inclusive and you shouldn't think that you can't contradict them in your home games).
- Is there any message from La Comodora out there so that others can know her fate? There's a not specific message "that they know of", but if your character concept requires there to have been one, sure, go ahead.
- Does La Capitan have any form of love life? She's certainly had interactions with people throughout time, but she's not really a "main character" so none of it's really the kind of thing that's going to show up on the comics page. Now, if she had more of a Chrono-Ranger kind of position in the comics, then it's likely we'd have seen some of it, but as it stands it's just not important for the storytelling purposes involving her.
- Note on their "on-air" personas: they frequently act as if they're annoyed by something. They aren't. They're just having fun pretending to be upset. Even just in the regular presentation of the podcast (although more so in the questions section when there's "in character" stuff going on) they tend to skew to caricatures of themselves for effect - they're "playing" themselves.
- When La Capitan renounced her piratical ways and became La Comodora, was that a gradual change or was there a specific incident that prompted it? The main stuff was the interactions with other (generally younger) versions of herself when she could actually see the damage being done by her former recklessness. Ultimately, however, it's seeing the End of Time that's the catalyst for change.
- What does being "outside of time" actually mean (is it a pocket dimension, are there other beings there, can she interact with anything)? A lot of it would be telling. It's like a pocket dimension in some ways, without being an actual place. Like, if other "places" (normal reality, the block, etc.) are bubbles of spacetime, she's in the nowhere that the bubbles are floating in and can't enter any of the bubbles. There are future plans for her and much more in the way of explanation are spoilers.
- Is La Comodora stuck in the same place that Chrono-Ranger had been stuck after the Ambuscade fiasco? Yes, it's the same kind of "place", but we're now post-OblivAeon and the whole "can't move between timelines" problem prevents her from making a similar escape.
- Nobody can time travel without being effected by OblivAeon, but it sounds like Chrono-Ranger (the person who fell through time into The Final Wasteland in the first place) isn't the one actually performing the time travel, but CON is. Is CON just doing the same kind of pseudo-time travel like Omnitron-X or Visionary did or is it real time travel? Was CON effected by OblivAeon in some way? Point of order, time travel is only possible because of OblivAeon's actions, this is a fine distinction, but it doesn't require his direct intervention in your life specifically [start around 52:30 in the La Capitan episode for the question that probably prompted this] if you chop through a door with an axe, anybody who then later walks through that open door is only able to due to your actions, but you haven't done anything to them. It's not that OblivAeon did anything special to Jim or CON that he didn't do to Omni-X or Visionary, it's just that the act of shattering the timelines makes all the various traveling possible. It's just that via CON's power and experience and the innate connection of La Paradoja Magnifica to the timestream allows Jim/CON and Maria Helena to more finely control this travel, not just jumping from one "bubble" to another (which they can do as well), but to different times within them.
- On the card "Scion of the Storm" we see Chrono-Ranger and Progeny encounter each other - when did that happen? During the main Progeny event between Rook City and Megalopolis; this was actually fairly early in Chrono-Ranger's career (although not one that was shown in his early comics - it's just that when they had the Progeny event in progress they had him show up in his "earlier" look, retconning this in as an early bounty back in the "monster hunter" phase).
- [Really good, question here by SpectralTime that I'm not going to be able to get capture in its entirety succinctly - it starts pretty much right at 43 minutes in and is largely about problems with Fanatic's characterization and the statement that she's "not really a person", failings to address how her behavior slots into her stated Christian world view, how she seems to only really have a "human" connection to Ra and once he's dead she embraces the whole "Fanatic" thing, etc. - it comes down to:] Can we get more of the "Who" of Fanatic rather than the "What"? They cop to doing primarily the "what" since there was sooo much "what" there to get to. They were misstating things to say that she's "not a person" when it should be closer to "she's not a human being" and this is a matter of nature vs. nurture. Her whole conscious existence has been shaped by being brought up with and around humans, but, when we get down to it, she isn't just human and that actually means something. They see her reaction when Ra dies as a very human reaction - it's normal in grief to kind of shut down emotionally just to be able to get on with things. By Tactics, she's let this rage and grief kind of consume her. In the RPG we're right in the middle of her grieving process and is still dealing with it (sure, it's in a very "Fanatic" way, but the players can try to help her deal with it in a human way). They also were kind of misleading when they said that she has no "downtime", when it's more that she doesn't have any hobbies - she's always "on" in that she's always on her quest to help the innocent, but she can do that in a lot of ways other than fighting and those interactions with normal people contribute a lot to her "humanity".
- It seemed kind of contrived that all of her villains were connected to the Host, was this concept a later addition to the comic that was retconned in? They did mention (in the Apostate episode) that the Host was invented later to explain a variety of things that happened in her early comics (with later villains being created with it in mind). These are also mostly just a few major villains (and not even all of those considering that the Vampires are unrelated to the Host), while she's got plenty of issues where she's fighting other things from, say, the Realm of Discord or otherwise unrelated to it.
- Are there Host spirits that are tied more to concepts outside of human emotion, like natural phenomena (summer, winter, famine, etc.)? Not really for the ones suggested in the question, "famine" is closest, but even that's more likely to be "Loss" or "Hunger" - things that people that experience on a personal level. That is, when there is a famine, the people present experience Hunger. Of course, there might be a spirit of Gluttony or Hunger somewhere that's somehow causing the famine. Temperature isn't one.
- It's suggested that Fanatic's relics are powerful because she believes them to be, does that mean that, since she believes that Apostate is powerful, that he becomes more powerful than he already was? No, her belief about how powerful he is doesn't change how powerful he is (otherwise he'd be a pushover by the midpoint of their protracted story as she gets fed up with his ridiculous lies). So, how far does her belief extend, then? Her belief can change herself and physical items she's in contact with, she can't change other people with it.
- What languages does Apostate speak? The language of whomever he's speaking to.
- In the Mr. Fixer episode it was mentioned that he had never worked with Nightmist before the formation of Dark Watch, but in Plague Rat's episode it was mentioned that they'd all worked together in that fight - which is it? It would be a mistake to say that they had never worked together - it's more that they weren't "on a team" until Dark Watch.
- In the Vengeful Five episode, Proletariat's first appearance was listed as the Vengeance event, while his bio says that it's Justice Comics #58, which pre-dates even Baron Blade, so which is it? He didn't show up as the villain "Proletariat" until Vengeance, but his early appearance was him appearing as just a Soviet soldier, Aleksandr Tsarev. They go back and forth on what counts as a "first appearance" - as a character or as a hero/villain - and admit that they could have been more consistent on that.
- How did nobody connect Revenant to Revo-Corp until he was unmasked if the Revenant suit has the company logo on it? Literally nobody saw the logo on the suit. He wasn't a character who showed up a lot and doing a lot of major stuff where people would be getting a good look at it. Additionally, it's just the logo (not the company name) and that logo is on lots of stuff, but even then it's not so ubiquitous that everybody is going to recognize it right off as "the Revo-Corp logo".
- If Revenant didn't know the identities of Setback and Parse until after the company was sold to him after Vengeance, then what's the explanation from Vengeance #4 when he tells Parse that she's fired? More in Parse's episode, but part of the side story going on here is that Kim, having the ability to see connections and weaknesses now, is able to piece together that Revo-Corp is owned by Baron Blade and goes to the boss to show him and figure out what's going on. "That's ridiculous!" "But what about all this evidence?" "You shouldn't even have access to those files. I think it goes without saying that you're fired." The flavor text and art on "Segmentation Fault" don't coincide.
- Confusion about Caleb Greene's profession/practice: it was mentioned that he's a psychiatrist, which is an M.D. specializing in mental illnesses and is distinct from a psychologist who's more likely to be involved in counseling, which he's also mentioned as doing from a home office, so which is he? If the former, did he and Nick meet in undergrad or med school? They could have done a better job talking about him; he is a psychiatrist. He worked from an office practice but became well-known/successful enough that he started up a private practice that he operates from home. He can still prescribe meds and keeps up with all of the necessary medical stuff. They met at med school.
- Any story about Apostate's time as a Block guard (and whatever fast talking he did to convince somebody that he had a medical waiver to allow him to work shirtless and other hi-jinx)? Ha ha, very funny. He couldn't work shirtless because he needed to be incognito. Sure, he got up to some mild mischief, but that kind of low-level stuff was the extent of it because he needed to blend in. None of that would even have been on-page in the comics either because after he assumes the identity of that guard we don't see him until he reveals himself. There's no teasing or anything about what he's been up to.
- Since Apostate is granting awesome wings, hair, and abs to people, isn't he the real hero here? Isn't Fanatic just jealous that green doesn't look as good on her? Well, he's giving those things to corpses, so not so much. Would you want your dead relative's body to show up looking like him instead suddenly? Green really isn't Fanatic's color, true.
- "Hippocratic Oath" shows Expatriette and Chrono-Ranger glaring at each other while Dr. Medico intervenes in some way, what's going on here? This is from Cosmic Contest, a big crossover event with heroes fighting one another (Amanda and Jim being one such bout) and in the aftermath Nick's helping patch them up. Speaking of which...
- Cosmic Contest was a storyline fairly late in the Multiverse in the run-up to OblivAeon (roughly coinciding with the Skinwalker Gloomweaver event that's been used as a benchmark for these things as all the various storylines have to get wrapped up). Jansa vi Dero has snatched up a lot of powerful people from earth to make them fight one another. Publication-wise, this was just a shameless "everybody fights" thing, but there was some story stuff happening in there too and does some stage-setting for OblivAeon.
- They're doing an episode in December about Cosmic Contest, but in the meantime we're doing some brackets, Shmarch Shmadness-style. Download the PDF and either fill it out electronically (it should work as a form-fillable PDF), print it and fill it out manually and send in a scan or photo of it, or just email them a list of who you have winning each fight. Don't put this in the question-submission form - email it to them at email@example.com.
- There is a winner: if one person gets it 100% correct, it's them. If multiple people get it 100% correct, there's a drawing from among them. If nobody gets it 100% correct, the winner is whoever is closest. If there are multiple people equally close, then there's a drawing from that set. That winner will get an opportunity to be a character (in one way or another - there will be communication about this to work with you if you want your real name or online handle or whatever) in the RPG.
- Notable things to keep in mind for the brackets: Mainstay, Writhe, Idealist, and Dr. Medico are their Void Guard iterations. Omnitron is Omnitron-U. Dark Watch Harpy and Nightmist. It's Dark Visionary vs. Scholar of the Infinite. Best of Times Chrono-Ranger. Lifeline is still shoved into a villain bracket, even though he's kind of in the transition here, but think Lifeline rather than Deadline for what kind of stuff he does. Skinwalker Gloomweaver (not "Rotting God") is starting against Akash'Thriya (similar to Lifeline here). Agent of Gloom Spite.
- Nov. 7 - the long-awaited Spite episode.
- Nov. 14 - Urban Settings - the first of a series of Environment-centric episodes. What they're like, what happens there, etc. This one is about Megalopolis, Freedom Tower, Rook City, San Alonso (home of Champion Studios), the Maerynian Refuge, and Mordengrad.
- Nov. 21 - Blood Magic - This is, honestly, it's mostly going to be about Blood Countess Bathory and the Court of Blood, but also stuff about Bugbear, Hermetic, probably some Lifeline, etc. However, not...
- Nov. 28 - Biomancer - Who gets his own episode!
- Nov. 30 - Editor's Note #12