Podcasts/Episode I-17

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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 17

Original Source

Intro

Another live-recorded Editor's Note!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:09:14

I'd recommend listening to the podcast over watching the video, as the audio quality is MUCH better, and Trevor does a great job with editing and producing. But here's the video!

Upcoming Schedule:

  • Tuesday, May 1st: Legacy Supplemental
  • Thursday, May 3rd: Food Extrasode
  • Tuesday, May 8th: Disparation: Freedom Five
  • Tuesday, May 15th: Behind the Scenes Storytelling
  • Tuesday, May 22nd: Disparation: Inverted Universe
  • Thursday, May 24nd: Editor's Note #18
  • Tuesday, May 29th: Story-arc: Sunrise

Get your Legacy and Food Extrasode questions in now!

Topics we talk about today:

  • Music
  • Tabletop RPG Classes
  • Progeny
  • The Animated Series
  • Teaching
  • Cultists
  • Unfavorites
  • Sentinels of Freedom video game
  • Paul
  • A bunch o' environments
  • And more!

At the end, we talk about our outtakes post, which we posted to the Patreon yesterday! Go check it out. Marvel at our mistakes!

You're all great!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, May 1st: Legacy Supplemental
  • Thursday, May 3rd: Food Extrasode
  • Tuesday, May 8th: Disparation: Freedom Five
  • Tuesday, May 15th: Behind the Scenes Storytelling (how Christopher and Adam go about making a story - Patreon Discord chat will be used for improv-style prompts as necessary as they create a new, canonical Sentinel Comics story)
  • Tuesday, May 22nd: Disparation: Inverted Universe
  • Thursday, May 24nd: Editor's Note #18
  • Tuesday, May 29th: Story-arc: Sunrise (in addition to the Sunrise arc itself, some extra information giving its context and some backstory of notable Citizens)

Questions

  • If the Freedom Five were to play a D&D-style RPG, which character classes would each choose to play? Would Baron Blade make a good GM? Blade could be a good GM, but probably not for the Freedom Five (they imagine a scenario where that game is kind of straightforward and boring since the game itself is just a plot to kill them - dice covered in contact poison or something). Some would play to type, some wouldn't. Tachyon would probably play a caster of some sort, like a Wizard, as there's more to keep track of and she'd want to do that bookkeeping. Legacy would either be a Cleric or a Paladin. Bunker would probably be something like the 4th Edition D&D Warlord class, if available. Wraith would probably specifically go against type and not play a Rogue, but would still drift into that play style anyway (maybe a high-DEX Fighter, a Hexblade, or something). Absolute Zero Adam starts in with "something simple" like a Fighter, but Christopher comes in with the idea of him being a spoken-word Bard - like a medium-to-low CHA Bard. It's not really likely that any of them would play this sort of game in the first place, though, as it's a big organizational and time commitment. Having a general poker night where whoever's available shows up and plays would be easier to manage.
  • Why the name "Progeny" (in-comics, in-publishing meta-verse, and in real life)? C&A used that word because it was "the offspring of something terrible" (which is really all it is), but they'd only really hinted a little as to what that thing could be at the time they introduced Progeny in the game. That's the same reason the writers had as well - introducing it as this known thing with this name already to cement the idea before going back later to cover how the characters found out about it and what it is called (gathering info from aliens who'd encountered similar things and they called it "the progeny of something far worse").
  • Progeny seems to shift its elemental forms pretty much on a whim, but in Cosmic Contest, after it absorbed solar energy Citizen Dawn was still able to take it down - was there some limitation in Progeny's ability to swap element types or is this due to Dawn being able to absorb multiple energy types and just powering through? This is much more down to how Dawn works than anything - Dawn can absorb light and many forms of energy/power give off light as a side product if nothing else. Progeny doesn't absorb elements around it as much as draw power from them to charge up (and manifests qualities of that power source as a result). The fact that this was a solar-powered Progeny at this stage was good for Dawn.
  • Progeny's head detaching and flying off into space: cool or silly? The only way to finally prove this once and for all would be to see the art of this happening and seeing if it's cool or not. It's simultaneously awesome and not awesome at this point and neither of them needs to win this argument.
  • How does K.N.Y.F.E. find Progeny's head in the vastness of space? It's got a specific energy signature and the F.I.L.T.E.R. tech that she stole has the capacity to track that sort of thing (when she's not close enough for visual tracking). Sometimes she'll follow the trail too slowly and only show up after it's already charged up, wrecked up the place, and left - giving her more story types as she helps deal with that fallout (helping to rebuild or to evacuate for example).
  • A lot of major events were left out of the Animated Series (e.g. Voss), were they going for big events up front, or was the intent smaller stories that then build to bigger ones if they got around to more seasons? Did the series actually get to OblivAeon? Beyond? That's a lot more future stuff - if/when they get to episodes on the later phases of the SCAU. They don't want to get into many specifics, but there was no Voss event in the show as we've been told of it to this point because that happens later. The first season of The Freedom Five was to establish things and then build out a little to show that there's more stuff going on out there (like members of Dark Watch and Prime Wardens) so that they exist and can be used again later, but also showing that while the show is informed in a lot of ways by the comics and the events that occurred there, it's not beholden to it and can go its own way in the details.
  • In the episode that introduced Expatriette, there was a montage of other characters: two of those mentioned were obvious (green suit/turns into a Rhino = Naturalist, woman with energy blades and power armor = K.N.Y.F.E.), but who was the steampunk-armor/gadgets lady? Will we ever get an episode about her? That would be Fashion! She was there as a super-mild cameo. They didn't know if they were ever going to use her for anything in the show, but figured if nothing else they could throw her in there as an Easter Egg for the fans. Whether we ever get an episode about her is up to the audience.
  • In the "Baptism by Fire" episode we are introduced to a reckless, angry, fire-guy Ra; by the end of the episode the Freedom Five seem to take ownership of the Staff of Ra to keep this dangerous fire-guy out of the picture, but in a few subsequent episodes (Wager Master's episode and again in the Vengeance arc) Ra seems to be there again without any explanation having been given for how he got the Staff back (let alone becoming a hero), so what's the story there? What's going on is that the Animated Series has storytelling going on in the background - the summaries we've been given didn't leave anything out on this topic, it's just kind of assumed that over time he's had further character development (to the point where he's present in the Freedom Five base when Wager Master is messing with people and is a full-on hero by Vengeance). Outside of the show, Ra is one of the comics' most famous characters so even people who are watching the show without being comics readers have a pretty good chance of knowing that he's a hero in the comics anyway and the writers can lean on that sort of thing in the show to get people on board with the arc from out-of-control -> around to help out -> hero without having to make it explicit.
  • What kind of voice did the creators use for Gloomweaver? Kind of a mix between a deep, guttural growl and a whisper (which takes some audio editing effects to achieve [they do some examples on how to get there starting around 26:20]).
  • Were any cultists unique/recurring characters, or just nameless mooks in cloaks? They (along with whatever zombies and demonic monsters present in the episode) were all pretty generic. They weren't building anything up here for the Cult other than its existence, this was about Gloomweaver and the other stuff is incidental to him. They could see there being a later episode about the Cult, though.
  • In the Disparation Dark Watch episode, we learn that Lucky Strike still has his luck powers (due to a run-in with Zhu Long rather than a young Gabrielle Adhin), but how does that curse explain his random spikes of good luck? Does he even still get them or does he have to manufacture his own luck through his martial arts discipline (or is it something like how Kismet's powers involve the universe balancing things out)? Zhu Long curses him to be unlucky, but Sifu Walker sees how he kind of acts as a sponge for this bad luck and he can harness that to make the world a better place around him, but it takes a lot of training before he can start using this as Lucky Strike (there is a little bit of the snap-back effect like the opposite of Kismet as well, though). The discipline thing also comes in by him accounting for his bad luck - in any situation, what's the worst thing that could happen and how can I use that eventuality?
  • Why was the lock on the school hideout of the Citizens of Night unlocked? That's part of that snap-back effect - they got lucky. Lucky Strike's power really is more of an inverted Kismet than like Setback's. Kismet has an intentional change in luck that will eventually cause fallout, while LS has a constant amount of unluck happening to him that eventually resets in the form of something lucky happening for him [where it seems to me that Setback's lucky events are less tied to how unlucky he's been to that point and a need for a balance and more just on how severe the stakes are - based on the initial curse from Gabrielle].
  • Lucky Strike wears (what looks like) Mr. Fixer's hat - in other situations if we see a time when the hat isn't on Mr. Fixer's head it means he's dead, does that mean that Sifu Walker is dead at this point or does that rule of thumb not apply in this reality (like, this could just be another (C)Rook City Renegades hat, right)? The "hat rule" doesn't necessarily apply in Disparation stories. Lucky Strike's hat wasn't Sifu Walker's, it's just his own. Sifu Walker doesn't wear a baseball cap in this reality.
  • Was there any outcry in the publishing meta-verse about having a character named after a cigarette brand? There were certainly some complaints, but the conversation in the Sentinel Comics bullpen were similar to the real one that C&A had regarding him. There is no way they could have a "main" character (like one with a deck in the game) named "Lucky Strike" but it's so perfect for this weird Setback/Mr. Fixer hybrid guy. Given that they were using this character for a few books in this offshoot title, they figured whatever small amount of blowback they got because of it would be below the threshold where it would be a problem for them (and this turned out to be true) and life would go on.
  • How does Wraith get around (i.e. is there a Wraith-mobile)? If I wanted to make one out of Lego bricks, are there any details you can provide for how to go about it? She doesn't have a specific "mobile", although we do know of both a helicopter, a jet, and a motorcycle, but none of them are used "in battle" or anything. When she's on patrol she's mostly swinging around with the grappling hook - being as quiet/invisible as possible. This brings up a conversation they had recently about RPG materials - when Wraith is in the shadows, she's not hiding, she's stalking.
    • In response to a comment [assuming from the GTG Origin Story episode] about organizing a big project, here's a programmer's motto: "a week of programming will save you an hour of planning".
    • In that episode Christopher mentioned a possible career in teaching that the game and subsequent company disrupted, but the letter writer thinks Christopher might like to know that they actually use SotM as a teaching aid in game design, introducing different game concepts as well as cooperative games in general.
  • Has there been a story of a former/redeemed Cultist? There have been stories that follow specific ones (which is where we get names/traits for certain of them), there's an early Nightmist story that deals with a neighborhood kid starting to get involved with it and her derailing that. All of the Cult of Gloom stories end in tragedy for the Cult - that's kind of built into how the Cult operates that bad things will happen to the members.
  • We know you don't have any favorite character, but who's your least favorite character? Thinking in terms of "I don't like them as a person" (rather than "I don't like their story/mechanics"), Adam's is Cyst (Spite's awful too, but Cyst beats him out). Christopher mentions Dr. Demikahv, Highbrow, and Biomancer in there too - they're all exactly what they should be for the story, but they're terrible and/or gross (they mention that the term "fleshchildren" is actually probably grosser in itself than the actual fleshchildren are). They were disappointed with how Greazer was working out as they were developing him as a gladiator and didn't include him until they had gotten to where he was more interesting. They're good at editing as they go to avoid this sort of disappointment with the final iteration. Some of the mini-nemeses are a bit underdeveloped (the Hippo is really surface-level but they've added some depth over time), but that's to be expected for minor/side-characters, honestly. Another way to look at this is to consider if they're "mean" to characters because they're unfavored characters, but how mean they are to Absolute Zero, Guise, and Setback all have story reasons and isn't because they hate the characters. Then there are little pet-projects they've got that just never seem to reach the light of day (like the Adhesivist who's been around a long time). When it comes down to it, they can't answer the actual question for the same reason they can't answer who their favorite is.
  • [The next letter ends with a note of excitement about the upcoming Sentinels of Freedom video game, but their response starts with a tangent about it]: They've wanted, for a long time, to have a tactical RPG and when an opportunity for one came along they jumped at it.
  • Who is Paul and how has he shaped the Sentinel Comics stuff? Does he appear as a Citizen of the Sun too or been to any Cult of Gloom potlucks? Will he ever read letters to us? The three people who have shaped Sentinel Comics products the most are Christopher Badell, Adam Rebotarro, and Paul Bender. [Paul speaks! First coming in at 46:31.] The story stuff is mostly Christopher and Adam and Paul's main influence on it was "making the company happen" (admittedly a huge part of what has made "Sentinel Comics" a thing that we can all talk about) so other people could see the story. He did help write some flavor text in the core set of SotM, maybe into Rook City, but as things have gone on he's had less to do with that aspect of it. For the RPG he's doing a lot in the editing and playtesting, but again, not really the story side. He did come up with the name "Sentinels of the Multiverse", though. C&A hadn't bothered naming this thing beyond "our superhero game" when it was just something they made for themselves and Paul was the one who came up with the final name for the product once they got to that stage. He's not a Citizen, but he's associated with Omnitron in that the Aldred in Aldred Industries is an old pseudonym of Paul's. He doesn't like being outside and so skips the Cult potlucks [user Cult_of_Gloom mentions in the Discord chat that some meetings are in abandoned churches or warehouses - next time one of those happens let him know, and apparently he favors gin & tonic over IPAs].
  • Who was the Wagner in Wagner Mars Base? Jane Wagner was mentioned in the Cosmic Settings episode (note: Paul pronounced the name "wag-ner" instead of "vahg-ner" because the real-life inspiration for the name comes from Jodie Wagner, and her name uses the Anglicized pronunciation).
  • Who's to blame for ruining Atlantis? Kind of discussed in the Environments of Power episode - the Atlanteans ruined it themselves for good reasons.
  • What crime caused the big gunfight in Silver Gulch? The Hayes boys are criminals and that's the reason the crime of a gunfight itself between them and the sheriff - there wasn't like a bank robbery or other specific incident that went wrong and started it.
  • Did OblivAeon cause the Time Cataclysm? Yes, although that's a retcon to explain the shattering of timelines and resulting weirdness that was already in place before the comics writers had the idea for OblivAeon.
  • Why is the Void not a deck? Because not a lot of conflicts take place there. As a general rule it's not someplace that people go to - so few things happen there and such a deck wouldn't be different enough from other stuff they were doing to warrant it (think somewhere in the intersection of the Realm of Discord, Nexus of the Void, and Time Cataclysm decks for what it'd be like).
  • What's somebody's first day in the Block like? Prisoner: they take away all of your stuff during processing and give you the jumpsuits, but you also have a wristband that they use to direct you to the new inmate area before you get assigned to a cell and to monitor you for powers (in case they need to adjust some nullification settings), so your first day is spent with a lot of waiting around. Employees: it's kind of starting any other job, you come through the portal and then a metal detector and a magical items detector, just go to your desk - standard stuff. There's a 2-week orientation process for new employees (with a lot of compliance/regulatory tests - they have to complete these things, but aren't actually super-helpful in day-to-day).
  • How has OSHA not shut down Pike Industrial Complex? Bribes.
  • Why are there no clowns in Madame Mittermeier's Fantastical Festival of Conundrums and Curiosities? Because there are limits to how creepy even Madame Mittermeier will go. Alternately, they go one better than clowns - there is plenty of clown imagery there, and other stuff that imply clowns should be there (and even hear them), but they aren't so you're constantly on alert for them.
  • Favorite/least favorite environment? Adam's go-to environment is Insula Primalis. Paul's is Enclave of the Endlings. Christopher likes all of the OblivAeon ones that we haven't gotten to see yet, but otherwise Rook City (this might be a joke).
  • Paul, who's more handsome Citizen Hammer or Anvil? They're equally handsome.
  • Which villain has conquered the most territory? Grand Warlord Voss for taking over multiple planets or Gloomweaver for the entire Realm of Discord? In terms of "territory" probably Voss because that's a tough concept to even consider for the RoD. The Realm of Discord is probably more impressive of a conquering feat than taking over one planet, but what Voss did is significantly more than that. A lot of people throughout the galaxy quake at the name of Voss, while that's not the case for Gloomweaver (although the latter is, strictly speaking, more powerful individually - definitely in the RoD, probably most cases even outside of it; Voss may have a shot if GW is bound to a specific form, like Skinwalker without having the Rotting God thing going on already). It's worth noting that Gloomweaver has so much power that he's rarely forced to be clever with it and has a bunch of situational limitations and blind spots due to his ego; Voss is egotistical too, but is self-aware enough about it and is brilliant to the point that it could make up for a lot of the difference there.