The Letters Page: Editor's Note 29
We're gonna answer so many questions!
Run Time: 1:21:16
We do a lot of goofing around before we get to the schedule, but here's the schedule!
- Tuesday, May 7th: Episode #109 - Development Hell: cancelled stories
- Tuesday, May 14th: Episode #110 - The Death (And Return) of Anthony Drake
- Tuesday, May 21st: Editor’s Note #30
- Tuesday, May 28th: Episode #111 - Magic in the Multiverse
And [here's what our calendar looks like](https://ssl-static.libsyn.com/p/assets/a/7/a/3/a7a357919c932217/2019-04-22_16.40.20.jpg):
You may note that the recording for Editor's Note #30 is happening on Wednesday the 15th instead of the following Friday. Adam is out of town the rest of that week, so we have to do the recording earlier than usual. Our Patreon supporters can watch/join in live!
Finally, we get to your questions starting around 11 minutes in.
We talk about such exciting things as:
- The OblivAeon Event (it's back!)
- Bugs vs. Insects vs. Other?
- Shear Force
- Pool Shark
- SCRPG Starter Kit
- Extremeverse Presidents
- Upcoming topics
Thanks to all of our listeners and Patreon supporters for making what we do possible!
Until next time, heroes!
- Absolute Zero
- Young Legacy
- Captain Cosmic
- The Vandals
- Order of the Simple Machine
- Baron Blade
- Miss Information
- Slaughter-House Six
- Fright Train
- Shear Force
- Pool Shark
- [Before even getting to the May schedule they do birthday songs - so tune in to 5:23 for the song(s).]
- I heard a rumor that the OblivAeon animated movie changed his motivations from destroying all life to only half; if that happened, which heroes would have survived and which would have been turned to dust? Well, his goal is destroying all realities, not just life. So, would such a movie be that he destroys 50% of all realities? Would he succeed, but a sequel walks that back? If they don't walk it back, they could certainly pick some characters that nobody would miss or be mad about them killing off, like NightMist, Scholar, and Ra. If they do walk it back you'd probably kill off the Freedom Five except for Wraith and Absolute Zero (because of course AZ gets to stick around). Or maybe you keep around the old guard like Legacy and Wraith. It's tempting to kill off Legacy, though, so maybe you kill him but keep Felicia around. Or even better, kill her off and keep him around to see what he does in response. Hmm... getting to which realities - Animal-verse stays, Extremeverse goes, Inversiverse stays, Telenovelaverse goes, etc.
- Who would the Freedom Two-and-a-half, Prime Wardens, and Dark Watch recruit to replace lost members? There'd more likely be some cobbled-together mega group of whoever was still around. Either that or you'd do a "Final Five" made of two members of the FF, two of PW, and one from DW (suggested as Expatriette fighting to get Setback back). Ooo... you'd think that his luck would have been good in such a dire situation, so it not saving him is an unexpected twist, but maybe that's really what winds up enabling the "walking back" of the destruction in the end somehow.
- Ok, so if you want to use this list for a setup for an OblivAeon game, though, here's what they come up with for survivors: Wraith, Legacy, Expat, Fanatic (fitting to keep her around after what happened to Ra), and Captain Cosmic for your starting team. [They also suggest that both Christopher and Adam would get dusted, leaving Paul and Maggie behind.]
- Cult of Gloom wants to know: Does OblivAeon worry that since the universe came into existence once, that even if he succeeds in destroying all realities that another might come into existence again later? OblivAeon doesn't have any fears or dreads. He has a dread purpose, but part of his downfall is that he lacked the idea that he could possibly fail. Fear and their stalwart response to fear is what lets the heroes pull out the win. So, no, Cult of Gloom, you can't harvest the despair of OblivAeon himself.
- Do the demon bugs that make up Myriad share a common evolutionary ancestor to the more mundane bugs of Earth or is the similarity a case of something like convergent evolution? Some demon bugs got into Earth a long time ago and bred with the local organisms and all bugs today are descendants from that time. [They also mention "Zeus and the Cow" here, which is a reference to .] They don't share an ancestor as one of them is the ancestor and demon bugs are just demon bugs. Earth bugs have lost the "infernal" aspect over time as there isn't enough infernal energy around in general for them to have maintained it.
- Does Myriad have control over insects in particular, or arthropods in general (so including things like arachnids or centipedes, etc.)? It's "bugs" in a colloquial sense, so generally things that have exoskeletons (with some discussion on the limits on that way of defining it as there are aliens with exoskeletons that wouldn't be controlled, then they get into the weeds on whether his power over them is specific to Earth-based "bugs"). So, ticks, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, pill-bugs (and possibly other crustaceans - if only somebody had asked about them), are fair game.
- Could the bug-demon decide to leave Edgar Black and join up with somebody else (given your description that Spite with this power would be terrifying)? This prompts them to consider what would happen to Edgar himself. If something happened such that the demon entity left him/was torn from him it's likely that his mind would remain fragmented across all of the bugs that made up his body at the time, but he'd no longer have control of them/couldn't use them to form a body. The entity has bonded with him, but could theoretically leave him. If it bonded with somebody else they'd likely become a new Myriad.
- Could Myriad control crustaceans and other ocean-bugs [and there we go for follow up to the earlier question]? How about alien bugs like a gene-bound Psi-Weaver or whatever kinds of darkness spiders likely inhabit the Void? Yes to the sea-bugs like lobsters and whatnot. Alien "bugs" are also possible, but note that gene-bound Psi-Weavers weren't bugs to begin with, they're just Piune brains put into insectoid cybernetics. Other "insectoid" aliens like Korrupton (from the Enclave of the Endlings) share certain features with bugs, but aren't "bugs" themselves. Void spiders? Probably not - Void stuff is so dissimilar to anything else that he likely wouldn't be able to directly control it like he does other bugs (he might be able to rig something up that would let him kind of puppet it around, but that's not the same thing).
- The "Urban Infestation" story indicates that Myriad can have bugs detach from his "body" and then spy on people - how much control does he have on them and what range does he have? What information can he get from that and does he need to have contact with the bug in order to retrieve it? If that bug were to die, does he notice? Can he replace bugs that are part of his body that get destroyed? There is a range limit on direct control, but he can also give a bug a "mission" that it would follow through on beyond that range and he would need to reincorporate that bug to get the info. That range is still pretty considerable, though (less than "dozens of miles"). They imagine the specific bug in the story would have been put there to spy on them long-term and that he'll reclaim it later to learn what it finds out. They try to describe what the fall-off rate for control would be and Adam throws out "Bézier Curve" with the acknowledgement that this might be entirely the wrong kind of curve for what he means [more stuff to correct them on in the next Editors Note, I guess] - at the extreme limit of his power he could draw bugs closer, but not "control" them directly otherwise until they close the distance. Yes he can replace bugs that were part of him (it's not like there's a set of specific bugs that are "him" - they come and go all the time), he might notice when one dies (it depends on how far away it was at the time).
- [A misreading of part of the question results in the idea of the Vague Ghoul, so if it ever becomes a thing, this was the origin point at about 31 minutes in.] The various new-for-the-RPG villains (Myriad, Perestroika, the Vandals, Helfyre) all seem to have pretty vague goals and just show up and wreck stuff (we haven't seen what the Order of the Simple Machine will be like yet), while the established villains (Baron Blade, Miss Information, Biomancer, Chairman, Apostate, GloomWeaver) seem to be biding their time, likely working on some more specific plot before revealing it (other than the Slaughterhouse Six and the Ermine/Fright Train duo) - is this an intentional dichotomy? That you/the writers weren't ready for the old villains to show up again and had to come up with "villain of the month" stories to stall? It's kind of just the way thing worked out, but there was some degree of "stalling" as the big name villains are still around, but have taken a few steps back for the moment. So they shine the spotlight on the new (or newly-upgraded) foes. They're introducing these villains for an RPG and, due to that, they need the nature of the villains to be a bit more plug-and-play - something you can slot into the story you want to tell with them. Sure they have distinct goals, but that can take the back seat in terms of just being "flavor" for the type of story you're telling when you choose to use them rather than inventing a new villain. As a result, this will probably be as disparate an array of villains as you're likely to see in one place.
- Why didn't Hedgelord join the Sentinels of Freedom? He didn't "apply" anywhere as he showed up and wanted to "fight plants" which proved largely unnecessary in this reality. While he's subsequently trying to figure out what to do in life, the first hero type person he interacts with happens to be Guise, so that's who he winds up working with.
- In episode 102, how did you miss The Troweler as Shear Force's stealth infiltrator? Who's to say that we did?
- Wouldn't it be a neat idea if the accident that resulted in Pool Shark not being able to swim anymore was a lost limb and he winds up incorporating a billiard bridge into his prosthetic? That's almost too cool. The Extremeverse version of him probably has something like that (with various extraneous things like lasers and stuff), but the idea with Pool Shark is that he's a normal guy who is extraordinarily good at this one thing. They don't want to incorporate mechanical upgrades to him beyond the special chalks that he uses. Everything else is just skill.
- What is Pool Shark's opinions on snooker? It's a fool's game. 21 balls? Get out of here.
- Do Guise's new "teammates" ignore his meta-delusions or have those more or less gone away since OblivAeon? Could you get a super-therapist onto the team somehow? He still has the delusions (and with the other realities being cut off, they're even more of a delusion than ever). That's just Guise, he talks to nobody as if there was an audience sometimes. A super therapist would likely not think it worth their time - Guise is kind of a lost cause and not really interested in therapy in the first place, which is kind of important to the process.
- With the various "create a thing live" episodes in mind, are the things invented at the time done being developed ore are you just putting stuff off to the side until the appropriate book is being worked on? They get things into shape, but they leave things open so that they can add to or tweak details up until they're ready to go "live".
- In the Day in the Life Unity episode, we got some interesting detail on the Freedom Five - they're usually shown as relatively egalitarian, but their interactions with Unity and her bots sheds some new light on things. For example, it seems odd that Legacy doesn't treat Mr. Chomps as well as he would some random person's pet or child's favorite toy - does familiarity just wear down his patience? Part of Unity's role as intern was to highlight that, while the Freedom Five are these leaders and exemplars, they're not perfect. Unity was less of a priority for them than other stuff they had to do. Not to say that they did a bad job with Unity, just not as good a job as they could have done. Nobody really regards her bots as "toys" or "pets", but even if he were to take the time to play with a child or something that's very distinct from when he's fighting a villain, which is no time for toys at all. That's particularly an issue when the person with the "toys" is ostensibly a colleague rather than somebody he's trying to save.
- I [Lynkfox] love the Unity deck, but this episode turned me off of her as a character where she seems rather one-dimensional and childish - is there a meta reason for her characterization playing more like 5 than 19? They strongly disagree with the 5-year-old assessment. The only thing they can think of that prompts that reading of her is talking to her bots to work through the stuff she's dealing with. She doesn't view her bots as pets or toys, they're tools and people (as an extension of herself). Talking to her bots is something like talking to herself or as a craftsman might talk to his tools. She's just externalizing her internal monologue as she has a tangible extension of herself that's a separate physical thing present with her. Her immature demeanor comes across as something that's a response to the trauma of her youth - she's choosing to react to the tragedy of her life by meeting it head-on with optimism and cheerfulness, which is at least in part a shield for herself.
- [Lynkfox writes in again after finishing the episode to point out that the stuff involving her mom changes his thoughts on Unity's backstory a bit.]
- While Unity is shown shutting things down in preparation of observing Shabbat, what would she do if the world was in peril on a Friday night/Saturday? Does she have to do some kind of penance or is "saving people" an accepted justification? Yeah, the "preservation of life" is generally a good reason. That being said, Unity more than many others is aware that there are other heroes around and she's not putting people in danger by default by taking the day off in general.
- What are the immediate functional limits to her powers (given that in the card game she can get all of her golems into play provided there are raw materials around - unlike NightMist or Lifeline she doesn't need to internalize a cost by taking damage)? Just how big of a bot (or a bot army) can she make given enough metal? Something much bigger than the T. Rex bot would start to run into structural integrity issues. It's also going to take more of her mental energy to maintain something that big and complicated, let alone while also maintaining more normal-sized ones. She can probably keep dozens of palm-sized ones running at once, but she generally likes to make stuff that's in the "small dog" to "Bunker suit" size range.
- What does Unity do for Passover Seder? Does she have a community/synagogue that she's a part of? She does have a specific synagogue that she goes to, but she's not really good at regular attendance. She's distracted and young. She'll do stuff like the Passover meal with people there, typically. She did do a Seder with friends once to kind of show the other non-Jewish heroes what her traditions were.
- Do Wraith and Unity observe things together? Does Unity have opinions on Wraith's lack of observance? Are Citizen Dawn and Expatriette Jewish (based on their surname)? Unity doesn't really mind Wraith's lack of observance. They do their own things, and that's fine, although Unity may have asked her if she was doing anything for a holiday or something ("No." [beat] "Oh, okay."] Dawn and Expat have a traditionally Jewish last name, but it's so far removed from their lifestyle that it's more just a quirk of ancestry than anything related to their behavior.
- Would it be easier for Unity to make a T. Rex bot again having done so once? Probably not frequently. She had to pull out all the stops for OblivAeon, but just getting the materials for it would be prohibitive.
- [RPG Starter Kit story:] After the events in Russia, Wraith and Bunker flew to Insula Primalis and run into the cybernetic Allosaurus. Bunker leaps into the jaws of the beast to save Tempest, and then just kind of leaves the suit there (going into Out of Suit Mode) as a kind of muzzle. As the scene continues, with fighting other dinosaurs and whatnot, the volcano eruption and subsequent river of lava winds up taking out the Allosaurus and the Bunker suit. Unfortuantely, Tyler Vance had also stashed the Voidheart Sliver and the Russian OblivAeon shard in the suit. So, with the jungle spirits and whatnot that are involved, the lava forms into a kind of golem that proceeds to plant the Voidheart in the right place and then takes up station protecting it, having used the OblivAeon shard and ambient Void energy to become a permanent sentry which we'll call ObsidAeon! Is this a valid eventuality given what we know about the forces involved (setting aside the "Your table, your canon" rule)? The one concern they have is that you had a GM-controlled being be the one to plant the sliver rather than that choice being one made by the players. They would have suggested instead that you have ObsidAeon communicate to the players what needs to happen with the sliver and still leave the choice to them. Anyway, they think that what happened is awesome! Why wouldn't it work like that? OblivAeon shards pretty much do whatever the story needs them to do, but with weird costs and twists. That's just kind of "comic book magic" in general, not just OblivAeon stuff.
- At the end of the Extremeverse episode it was mentioned that instead of Roosevelt, a certain mountainside monument had president Mustaine on it - while that's plenty XTREME in itself, how was Roosevelt honored/what did he accomplish in the Extremeverse considering his exploits here in the real world were plenty extreme already? You're onto something there. That's the thing - Teddy Roosevelt isn't all that different in the Extremeverse because of how XTREME he already is here. How do you go over-the-top on somebody already so over-the-top? Given that, sharing a monument with other presidents is unfitting. So, a short distance away from Mt. Rushmore is Black Elk Peak, the highest mountain in the US east of the Rocky Mountains. The whole thing has been carved into a statue depicting Teddy chokeslamming a bear (an actual event in the Extremeverse, and possibly the real one, although it was possibly an exhibition match).
- This might be weird, but what are your shirt sizes? That is weird. Right now, Christopher wears a medium t-shirt and Adam wears large (but his goal is to get down to a medium). Christopher doesn't frequently wear t-shirts, though.
- In the FFA #1 issue that we can read on the website, is Legacy really reading a Highlights children's magazine in Tachyon's waiting room? Yes.
- Are there any Sentinels projects that wound up in development hell in the meta-verse? Yes, see the upcoming episode for May 7th on that (and get your more-specific questions in before recording on May 3rd).
- What is Tachyon's top speed? Could she match speeds with her namesake? How about Biomancer's copy of her? Flesh-child Tachyon can't go as fast as Tachyon, but is still fast enough that anybody other than Tachyon would have trouble telling the difference. Her top speed has not been reached. Trying to do so would most likely kill her [they mentioned early on that anybody without the scientific testing mentality that she has would likely have burned themselves out almost immediately upon discovering their new power]. It's even possible that she doesn't have a top speed - but much like the unobservable tachyon particle, this remains theoretical. We know that she's made it to at least mach 8 on foot [over 5900 mph]. Can she go faster than the speed of light? Yes, but not for very long (of course, at that speed, how long would she need to do so?). She's never pulled any time-travel shenanigans with it, though. [I would point out that going faster than light already implies breaking causality in relativistic terms, but I'm not quite enough of an expert to want to write in with exactly how for the next editors note.]