Podcasts/Episode I-19

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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 19

Original Source

Intro

Another Editor's Note full of delightful things!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:15:55

Here's the schedule for July!

  • Tuesday, July 3rd: Dark Watch Issues #1-6
  • Thursday, July 5th: Christopher & Adam Give Legal Advice
  • Tuesday, July 10th: Captain Cosmic's Galactic Encyclopedia
  • Tuesday, July 17th: Shipping: Love in the Multiverse
  • Tuesday, July 24th: Greatest Legacy Radio Play
  • Thursday, July 26th: Editor's Note #20

And a photo of the calendar on our wall!

We go to your questions after 11 minutes in.

Topics of this Editor's Note:

  • Moral grey areas
  • The Host
  • Power sources
  • Magic
  • The Void
  • Fan-fiction
  • Inverse Universe characters
  • Swipping
  • The Extremeverse
  • Storn
  • Disparation Stories
  • Singular Entities
  • Wager Master
  • Fashion
  • Fan favorites
  • Visionary vs The Dreamer
  • Old art vs new art
  • Servants of OblivAeon
  • Branching realities
  • True power

Thanks for listening, everyone!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Schedule

  • Friday, June 29th: Recording Dark Watch and Legal Advice
  • Monday, July 2nd: Recording Captain Cosmic, Trevor starts as a full-time GTG employee
  • Tuesday, July 3rd: Dark Watch Issues #1-6
  • Thursday, July 5th: Christopher & Adam Give Legal Advice (obligatory "neither of them are lawyers, don't use as actual legal advice" disclaimer)
  • Monday, July 9th: Recording Shipping
  • Tuesday, July 10th: Captain Cosmic's Galactic Encyclopedia
  • Monday, July 16th: Recording Radio Play (Questions won't be done in-character, ask about Golden Age stuff)
  • Tuesday, July 17th: Shipping: Love in the Multiverse
  • Wednesday, July 18th: Recording EN #20
  • Tuesday, July 24th: Greatest Legacy Radio Play
  • Thursday, July 26th: Editor's Note #20
  • Tuesday, July 31st: None, taking a break
  • Friday, August 5th: Recording Live at Gen Con
  • Tuesday, August 7th: None, taking a break

Questions

Fanatic spoilers for anybody still avoiding them

  • We now know that Fanatic can reach out and pull somebody back into normal reality from other realms if she believes that she should be able to, could she pull a member of the Host out too (citing the fact that she "pinned" Apostate in reality so that he couldn't return to the host even after Scholar undid a part of it? Could she return to the Host if she believed that she could? She could not return to the Host because she's no longer just a Host spirit - if the inhabiting spirit would be unshackled from the body at this point it would cease to be her.
  • Could OblivAeon, Wager Master, or anybody return her to the Host/pull Host spirits out of their natural plane of existence? Did the Idolater summon a Host spirit or just trap one already present? Idolater just grabbed one already present in the world as part of their normal activity. Sufficiently powerful beings (like Singular Entities) theoretically could (despite them being mostly Cosmic in nature and the realm in question is more on the Magic side of things, although "Extra-Planar/Dimensional" is wrapped up in there too), but the ones we know about are unlikely to do so as it's not really their focus. There's also probably some hypothetical ritual that could do this thing, but a major stumbling block towards achieving that is the fact that the vast majority of reality's population is even aware of the existence of this thing in the first place (Idolater and the Seer make use of this stuff, but aren't sufficiently aware of the actual nature of things). Apostate is about the only character who is aware of it, but he's not terribly likely to be honest about it.
  • Do Host spirits actually leave their home plane when interacting with people or is it usually just them sending their "magic" out into the world? They have to leave their home plane and enter into a reality in order to interact with that reality. To be clear on a point from way back when they first started talking about this stuff, Host spirits don't change or direct people's emotions, they just enhance that emotion - it's less of a case of "possessing" the person and more a flowing through them as they experience it.
  • From the Superpower Sources episode, it sounds like the Power Source is mostly a player choice and is dependent more on what you want to emphasize about your character, is that right? Absolutely. There's lots of different ways you can build a character - they went through all of the SotM heroes to see how you could model them in the system and all of them had at least 2 Power Sources that could work, many with 3 or 4.
  • So, if I was modeling the Harpy and wanted to emphasize her use of the Mask, I'd choose "Relic" or an alien character who's reliant on his advanced technology rather than his alien biology I could choose "Tech Upgrades"? Yup.
  • Can you change your character's Power Source later (say, after she's had more experience changing the Harpy from "Relic" to "Mystical" to represent her being less dependent on the Mask)? Nailed it. There three kinds of character advancement in the game. The first are Hero Points that are used for session-to-session advancement in terms of bonuses. The second are the Collected Trades which are a kind of story-arc-to-story-arc advancement. And the last is to, between story arcs, walk back the character creation process to change things. Generally this last is mild changes, but you have the option to, basically, start the whole process over from the beginning (although you can keep your Collected Trades and whatnot). You don't even necessarily have to remain the same person. Like, if the history of Sentinel Comics was an RPG campaign, it's possible that the Legacy player decides eventually to retire Paul VIII and bring in his daughter as the replacement - setting up Felicia as the new Legacy gets to keep the Collected Trades of the Legacy story. They are planning on doing Organized Play events with the SCRPG wherein they will institute "caps" on the number of Collected Trades that may be used to create parity between characters who have been in use for varying lengths of time - like, if the limit is 3, then a character with a big pile of Trades can use up to three of them in the Issue while a new character who only has 1 can use that 1 up to 3 times. [Adam also references this bit at the end as an example of characters with disparate power levels teaming up.]
  • What's Discordian Magic like (I imagine that it's mostly an unpredictable source, like sometimes you'd be trying to throw a fireball and wind up with just a blast of confetti, is that an accurate assessment)? It's definitely a "chaos-based" magic, but probably not that unpredictable. If you're familiar enough with it to be doing something like creating a fireball, the unpredictable nature is more likely to manifest in terms of things like it being stronger, weaker, a different color, or in a different direction than expected. The idea of "spells" isn't uniform across the different types of magic, though. NightMist definitely casts spells which are things that one can learn from books. Harpy is in the process of learning spells of this sort, but she's also got more innate magical things that she can do. Argent Adept doesn't do anything that could really be called spells, he just creates magical effects through his music in an improvisational way rather than a pre-written "spell". Taken as a whole of the magic done in Sentinel Comics, the kind done through "spells" is probably in the minority (although not necessarily by a lot).
  • Since Ra, Anubis, and the Ennead were all killed during OblivAeon, but we know that there's a new Anubis, does that mean that other people could gain power through finding the other relics as well? Absolutely. If they ever introduce a "canonical" character using the same relic as your character there are plenty of story things you could do to explain it (alternate versions, the relic was split somehow, etc.) or just straight up ignore their version and use your own.
  • What exactly is Void Magic capable of (AA boosts his allies or hinder his enemies, but can also do stuff like ripping Grand Warlord Voss's spaceship in half, Visionary can create portals to the Void in the PRG Starter Kit)? Is it possible to have Void relics (say, rather than having a natural attunement to the Void personally)? It's capable of just about anything, but is "super super super dangerous to the user" unless there are precautions in place to protect the user. The Virtuosos' instruments are their method of keeping a buffer between the Void and themselves. "Void Magic is like the primal essence of ur-magic" - that's why the Virtuosos do magic the way they do instead of spells; they're pulling threads of magical energy together and weaving them into the effect desired because it's got to be handled on such a basic, primal level rather than the higher-order intellectualizing that "spells" imply. The Visionary example is a few things - by the end of the OblivAeon stuff she's had a lot more interactions with Argent Adept and has learned more about it for one. Another is story-centric. At the point in the story where she opens a portal to the Void, she's doing so in a location where the Void is trying to spill over into reality so the connection is easier to make in the first place. As for relics, yeah that's totally doable (although the suggestion for building a character who uses a Void relic would be to incorporate something into the build to represent the danger inherent in using Void power).
  • Have the heroes ever interacted with a creature of Blood Magic that they thought was an enemy at first, but wound up as a friend? Lifeline, kind of (he was an enemy and became something in the vicinity of "friend", although that might be pushing it). Blood Magic is pretty evil, generally (Lifeline being the best counter-example available, although he approached it in kind of a different way up until his interaction with Blood Countess Bathory which got him into the more expected variety). While it's probably possible to have a character who's involved with Blood Magic without being evil, they don't have any examples handy as they didn't make one. Lifeline was the subversion of expectations (a "hero" using Blood Magic?!?). There's also the "blood nuns" in the Inverted Universe, but they're still creepy despite doing good stuff with it.
  • We know that we have the evil Legacy of Destruction in the Inverted Universe and that Iron Legacy went bad after the death of his daughter; are there any realities where a Legacy of Destruction went good for some reason [writer also mentions wanting more people to do Sentinels fanfic, to which they point out there's a whole subforum on the GTG site about it]? No. Legacy of Destruction is the weird offshoot universe where Legacy was evil and Iron Legacy was the weird offshoot reality where the normal good Legacy falls, there isn't a canonical version of the evil Legacy who turns good. If you want to fanfic it up, though, go ahead.
  • Is the Inverted Univere's White Wraith Maia Montgomery? If so, do we know anything about her origin or her supporting cast? We don't know much about her story beyond what was in the Inverted Universe episode (and do don't know about her parents, Sara Scott, or Eduardo López). It is Maia Montgomery and she's been cursed by these bandages she picked up somewhere into being this undead thing.
  • How about Friction's and Proletariat's opposites? They do show up in other Inverted Universe stories, but the writers didn't make them part of the Founding Five just due to how they wanted the team to work and which characters would be best suited for that.
  • In the Alternate Realities episode, it was mentioned that the Inverted Universe's "Rook City" was named such after the chess piece, but the Inverted Universe episode itself didn't mention that - is this just an unofficial nickname of Overbrook City in that reality? It's a case of multiple writers having multiple interpretations of how to approach the inverse of Rook City and there being enough creative "space" to justify it - Overbrook City, where Luminary wakes up after her first encounter with the Fearsome Five, being a nice quiet town (pleasant instead of nasty) where the other Rook City is about law and order (lawful instead of criminal).
  • How did anybody figure out that Jack "Peacemaker" Donovan needs to breathe ammonia now? Lots of testing (including having him in a medically-induced coma while they figured it out). Much like the White Wraith story, we don't actually get much in the way of explanation for this stuff. "And then the doctors figured it out" is kind of the actual story because this is a brief backstory thrown in so we can get on with the plot.
  • What names do the Inverted Scholar and Biomancer go by? Their own. We just have these short, one-off stories about them and they don't have superhero/villain names.
  • While we know of people like Harpy and Akash'Bhuta whose swap between hero and villain was also inverted, what of Ambuscade who seems to just be Stuntman? Did his inverted counterpart not have a villainous turn at all? If there is an evil Stuntman, he's not shown in comics. The Inverted Universe story involving Stuntman also preceded his transition to a hero in the main continuity, so at that point there wasn't a hero turn to play around with.
  • Do the other characters see Blank as a white space as well or as something like a shimmery outline until/unless he makes eye-contact and so goes completely invisible? When phasing through objects, could he walk down a hallway in the wall in order to hide? Would passing through, say, a person be more taxing than passing through inanimate objects? Visually, it would be more like having after-images after looking at a bight light and looking away (it's just depicted on the page as a blank space - it's not like they're intentionally printing white space, they simply print nothing where he is and it's just whatever the color of the comic book paper is normally). Phasing does take some effort, so he's not likely to do it for extended trips. It's possible to pass through a person, but it takes even more effort than usual (and puts a strain on the other person too, in some situations it could be used as a means of incapacitating somebody).
  • If Dawn is a good person in the Inverted Universe, why does Expat still go bad? Youthful rebellion. Good!Dawn didn't put in the amount of grounding that Paul and Emily Parsons did in the main timeline.
  • Why does everyone in Extremeverse Rook City want Pete? The Fixer wants his chi. The MistFeathers can feel that there's something magical/mystical about the kid and so want him for that power. The Expatriettes are just a territorial gang. It's implied that RevoCorp wants him as a specific test subject.
  • Who is cloning Expatriette? Underground, black market cloning labs (a good source of menial labor).
  • Is the original Expatriette a third MistFeather (citing how it'd fit in with making glowing white birds show up around her gunfire)? No, but good one.
  • Why isn't Xtreme Unity in the Freedom Five story considering a world of scrap metal seems well-suited for her? They just wanted to keep it focused on the core Freedom Five characters and she wasn't there. It's possible she'd be overpowered in that setting. It's definitely the case where there's just so much already going on in that story that there isn't really room.
  • Is Mordengrad in North America in the Xtremeverse or did the FF operate in eastern Europe or what? It's not stated where it is, but having The Wasteland be in eastern Europe so as to have Mordengrad in the same geographical area makes sense. The Wasteland is what it is and the people there don't know anything else.
  • Where is Felicia in all of this? Legacy does have a stained and torn photo of her on the dash of the car (it's a photo of a man, woman, and child, but the picture is torn across where the man's face would be - presumably it's a photo of him but he can't stand to see himself in this context that he doesn't get to have anymore).
  • Sad to see Vernon and Tyler go, but would the team eventually meet up with a giant of a man who betrays his position in Baron Blade's organization to help liberate Mordengrad? You're on the right track. If they had continued down that line they probably could have engineered such an event.
  • The third member of the Freedom Riders was a biker in a red and black outfit on a red and white bike and whose tactics involved more making a mess of things and didn't seem to take any special care for her ice-shooting compatriot; is this actually Krystal Lee taking up the role of Tachyon after Meredith Stinson's death? That's a cool story. We don't know - the biker never takes the helmet off, so who's to say if it's even one of those two people in the first place?
  • Why does the flag on Legacy's Road Runner have two stars blacked out? Alaska fell to the ice demons (Canada is also virtually overrun by the things). Florida had a super villain blow up big chunks of it and it's mostly sunk into the ocean.
  • Are there any Inverted or Xtreme characters you won't take requests for? OblivAeon, or any Singular Entity really (the only one who ever shows up in those stories is Wager Master, who plays by the rules of the conceit in those stories). They've gotten questions about Fashion, but she's such a minor side-character that having her show up in those stories would be weird too - there has to be enough context of the "normal" version before you can play around with Inverted or Xtreme versions of a character (when she does show up in alternate reality stories it's usually as just an Easter Egg for readers).
  • So, with how Expatriette's parentage worked out in the main timeline, it seems unlikely that Dawn and Pain would have gotten together, so does Expat have a different father in the Inverted Universe and wouldn't have powers? Does Citizen Dusk come from another reality entirely? Because the Dawn/Pain/Gain thing wouldn't have happened, Expat would have a different dad, but that doesn't preclude her having powers. There are other realities where Expat has powers (stories involve both good and evil versions of a powered Expatriette). There's not a "Duskverse" where the only change is that Expat got powers and is the main part of the story.
  • Do we know what political party Emily Parsons is a member of? Any controversial positions taken? Any serious political challengers in elections? It's a comic-book cop-out with her being part of the "Party for Progress" rather than a stated affiliation with a party by name. Anything that might be considered (and treated in-comic) as a controversial position is generally only showing up there after that topic has already pretty much been "resolved" outside of comics. She's never used to push a writer's agenda (for one thing, the Parsons family is mostly kept out of things like that, for another if you're going to have a character pushing a new position, you have one of the heroes do it, not the senator who would be seen as a member of the establishment).
  • RPG character ideas - Do Host spirits exist for: Greed, Superiority, or Arrogance? All of those are legitimate.
  • Members of the Patreon Discord chat: what are your favorite deck to play, favorite character's story, favorite villain to fight, and favorite villain's story? [The answers for these are given later after giving the chat time to respond, from 1:07:10 through 1:09:00 - one thing I note is that somebody wants Proletariat to make a Heel-Face Turn and the guys say "That will never ever happen, ever" which makes me suspicious (also the person who said that responded "You monster, stop playing with my emotions" to which Christopher replies "No").]
  • Given the nemeses game mechanics and the fact that the Dreamer's deck can turn bonus damage coming from a hero into a liability while Visionary takes extra damage in return, how well do you think the nemesis interactions model the Dreamer/Visionary situation in the story? Mechanically, the Visionary is still helpful to have on the team due to how well her deck control and other, non-damage stuff can benefit the team. The damage boost is also thematically appropriate in that, while some heroes might get away with hurting Vanessa a little bit, Visionary wants to do no damage, and the nemesis bonus works as an additional deterrent to the player and Vis is less able to defend against her. Story-wise, Visionary is also in the Dreamer's mind a bit, doing something akin to surgery during the whole thing (plus we're into Dark Visionary territory - there's just a lot of balls in the air for her in this situation and she has to be extra careful).
  • What is happening on the image used for the Superpower Sources episode (looks something like Guise doing a Magical Girl Transformation which seems like something he'd do, secure in his masculinity)? Not gonna tell you. It's art from the OblivAeon set, so you'll find out when that arrives. Guise is secure in his Guise-ulinity no matter what, though.
  • Ambuscade's art seemed to typically focus on him and his gear with his surroundings fairly generic while Stuntman's art seems to have a lot more detail going on both in surroundings and what's going on around him; why the change in style/focus? They could go into long hand-wavy explanations, but the real answer is simply that Adam is better at art now. What rationale in-setting is that Ambuscade is a straightforward "I'm going to hunt the heroes" kind of comic book villain character, but by the Stuntman era he's explicitly doing action movie hero stuff. Discounting the artistic skills involved, Adam still managed to evoke the style of character/story necessary for either deck.
  • Are you guys servants of OblivAeon or not [this is a pretty fun letter about how since they listen to the podcast well after when they come out, comments they could make like "OblivAeon shipments should start arriving tomorrow" references a different "tomorrow" for C&A vs. the audience and possibly creating branch points for new realities as a result - since they could do this more often, does that mean they're minimizing new realities to help OblivAeon have less work to do destroying them]? Hey now, they say stuff like "recording this Friday" all the time without specifying exactly which Friday that's in reference to. The truth is that they're above OblivAeon. Sure, he's this multidimentional entity but they created him (and get rid of him). Maybe they've been too free with their power, though. Now that they've told us all about OblivAeon, they can't so easily wipe him out of existence as now he's in all of our minds.