The Letters Page: Editor's Note 43
Another Editor's Note, live from the internet!
Run Time: 1:32:44
Here's the upcoming schedule!
- Tuesday, July 7th: Episode #150 - Creative Process: July 4th Pet Special
- Tuesday, July 14th: Episode #151 - Writers' Room: Headhunter K.N.Y.F.E.
- Tuesday, July 21st: Editor’s Note #44
- Tuesday, July 28th: Episode #152 - Creative Process: Argent Adept's Supporting Cast
Have I gotten to the office to update the calendar yet? Well, if there's a calendar pictured below, then yes! Otherwise, no, I haven't done it yet. Which one is it? Only you can know!
In this episode, we cover a variety of topics, including:
- Lingering OblivAeon questions
- Metaphysical nonsense
- The recently announced Freedom Five game!
- Here's a trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BixbAt7-iE
- Here's a website: https://www.freedomfivegame.com/
- More info coming soon!
- RPG character questions
- The Telenovelaverse
- Ansel G. Moreau
- And more!
Catch you next time!
- Grand Warlord Voss
- Luminary/Baron Blade
- Absolute Zero
- Citizen Winter
- Nixious the Chosen
- Aeon Girl
- Wager Master
- Omnitron-X/Cosmic Omnitron
- Iron Legacy
- Citizen Dawn
- Young Legacy
- Plague Rat
- In Editor’s Note 36 they commented about somebody Tweeting about listening to the OblivAeon episodes in their car and yelling “What the heck is going on?” - they were curious to know what caused that particular reaction. This first letter is the response to that request: Voss shows up during the climactic battle with OblivAeon. This was expected. Then he absorbs OblivAeon’s power and becomes the new Big Bad. This was not expected. Another factor was how many times Luminary/Baron Blade appeared to switch sides during the battle.
- Tachyon’s backup plan for defeating Voss couldn’t have involved Akash'Flora given that the tree didn’t exist yet during the planning stages - so what was her plan for trapping Voss? Still likely some plan to siphon the power off of Voss, but the mechanism would have been different. Something like channeling it into space or into some other conduit. Possibly into one of the heroes or into another plane of existence (the Realm of Discord or the Void). Maybe into herself and then destroying herself (or just burning off the excess energy by running - which may or may not wind up killing her). There are a lot of options. If she was going to put it into another person it likely would have been Legacy, but the thought of “nobody can be trusted with this” would be a very strong deterrent to put it in anyone but herself with the express purpose of using it up or dying in the attempt. Akash'Flora just presented a very convenient option.
- When Voss took over as the main villain, how did everybody know to come fight him? Was that part of the plan that people were told about ahead of time? No, it was just kind of obvious that “this is where the fight is happening” and so anybody who’s been paying attention and notice it and show up. There’s also the meta reason that it’s the big fight, so everybody who needs to be there is there.
- Here’s an alternate cosmological model to the one presented in Editor’s Note 41: [like last time I’m just including the full text of the letter to avoid misrepresenting the points made by attempting to summarize them.]
Dear Rectorship Mana Dad,
Get resign from the Anagram Dimension!
I’m a bit behind because of that small round thing that’s happening, but I just listened to the 41st Editor’s Note and let me tell you- all this higher-dimension talk makes my artificial head spin. So allow me to present an entirely different cosmological model, one that uses MATH to explain the Multiverse, its destruction, the Realm of Discord, and Ur-Space. Uh, maybe just muse about this one amongst yourselves because it’s probably too long for radio.
But to do this, we need to settle some things about infinity. As any teenage girl can tell you, some infinities are bigger than others- specifically, the number of numbers is greater than the number of fractions or whole numbers. If an infinity is no greater than the number of fractions, it’s called “countable” and anything larger is “uncountable,” and is (probably) at least as big as all the numbers.
While we’re on the topic, the idea that all possible events occur infinitely, many unique universes may be naïve. There are infinitely many ways for Absolute Zero to NOT kiss Citizen Winter, so it’s entirely possible that my favorite ship never obtains in the Multiverse. Similarly, the set of all numbers greater than Kevin is empty, since it’s a nonsense question.
I’m going to assume that the number of universes is countable, since the process of their creation is very reminiscent of dividing numbers to make fractions.
Now, we know that OblivAeon was very particular about destroying Universe 1 specifically, and I’m going to take another stab as to why. I think that Universe 1’s name is no coincidence. As stated in my last theory, Universe 1 seems to be the most standard across the Multiverse. I think that the Multiverse forms an algebraic ring (like fractions), with “nothing” being the 0 and Universe 1 being the 1. What OblivAeon was trying to do was to set 1=0, which would cause the entire Multiverse to collapse into triviality. What Voss did, though, was arguably worse, since while OblivAeon’s plan preserved the algebraic structure of the Multiverse, Voss removed the 1 from the ring, creating an infinitely less-developed structure (a group) to be the new Multiverse. So, good luck fixing that, Prime Aspects!
So where does the Realm of Discord come in? Well, if we go back to the idea that not all situations exist in the algebraic structure of the Multiverse, then it stands to reason that if we assume that some of those situations DID exist, the Multiverse would be a lot bigger. This is the idea of complex numbers in math, and the same works for our Multiverse model. The Realm of Discord is a great fit for this element of ring theory, since it’s obviously a wacky place, albeit still maintaining some perpendicular resemblance to reality. Every universe directly corresponds to a Realm of Discord, but there could be Realms of Discord that don’t correspond to any universe!
And the Void is, then, the transcendental universes. The stuff that refuses to play by the rules of reality, exists as one cohesive mass around/within every universe, but can still be asymptotically approached by mere mortals hungry for power. If I’m correct in this model, there is far, far more Void than there is Multiverse. And most of the Void is incalculable garbage-space.
So where does Ur-Space come in? If we examine the Multiverse as an algebraic structure, Ur-Space is infinity. Beings from there have infinite power, but, again, can be asymptotically approached by mortal means.
Sorry if this got rambly or weird, I didn’t expect it to be this long. I hope I did a decent idea of explaining how the entire Multiverse is just math and “it makes perfect sense, you guys.”
- That's all pretty good. If falls short of accurately representing things, but all explanations do (although the food analogies are pretty great). A specific place where this one falls apart is the fact that "Universe 1" is a description of the universe made by the people living in it. It's the "first observable universe" from their point of view. It's not a description of its place in the structure of the Multiverse. It's become important due to how it's managed to resist reality-collapsing efforts in the past. It's held up in the face of so many of OblivAeon's plans that it's become a linchpin for a lot of further collapse, but that wasn't inherent to the reality.
- The existence of Sever prompts the question: what would be the “stereotypical” Scion of OblivAeon be like? How powerful would they be compared to, say, Nixious the Chosen? There is no such thing as a “stereotypical” Scion. They’re all over the place. If you take the ones that exist in the SotM expansion and figure out a baseline of difficulty/complexity/etc. to get an average of how powerful/dangerous they are, that’s about right. The answer is “pretty powerful and dangerous”, but they’re all unique. [A later comment in Discord jokes that Scions stereotypically like pasta. That’s true. They might not all like pasta, but the stereotype is that Scions do.]
- You’ve mentioned that it’s dangerous to keep OblivAeon Shards around; how dangerous are they? Very.
- Does having more Shards make the situation worse? Yes.
- Does the danger increase exponentially or linearly? Tempted to say exponentially.
- How dangerous would it be to, say, have 23 of them just sitting on a shelf somewhere? Their very being is destructive to reality by existing, so not great. And that’s not factoring in the background, subliminal call they put out to be used. If you walk by a shelf with one on it, you’d notice, but could likely resist picking it up. If there’s 23 there, you’re almost assured to want to grab them all.
- Are Scions attracted to Shards/can they sense them? Would they gain any actual benefit from gaining one? Any Scions left would probably feel a “call” from OblivAeon Shards - trying to fill an emptiness within themselves.
- [Letter is written in-character as OblivAeon and it makes a passing reference to most of his energy being in Aeon Girl] Do any singular entities mourn OblivAeon? First off, most of the OblivAeon energy left isn’t in Aeon Girl. There’s a significant bit there, there’s a lot more in Akash'Flora, but the vast majority of the energy was expended when Voss sealed off Universe 1 from the Multiverse. Voss is not a Singular Entity and so doesn’t make particularly efficient use of the energy when he had it. While OblivAeon existed, he was a infinitely-self-perpetuating source of that energy. Once he was defeated, that energy became a finite resource, and then Voss spent most of it to do the isolation trick before having the rest siphoned off into the tree. Aeon Girl was made from the only bit of energy siphoned off before OblivAeon was defeated and is the only animate/mobile/conscious entity that has any OblivAeon energy. Do any Singular Entities mourn him? No. He tried to destroy all of them and “existing” is something that Singular Entities like doing and are incredibly good at. Oblivion and Archaeon are missed, though. “The chessboard of Singular Entities is really messed up right now.”
- [Follow-up question from chat that comes up later in the recording:] Does that mean that Aeon Girl can die? I think there was some talk of her absorbing power from the cosmos, right? Yes, she can die, but not trivially. She’s going to come back from a lot. You couldn’t shoot her to death with bullets. You could incapacitate her, but she’d recover. While most of the threats she’s running up against with Daybreak are not really a threat, they can imagine that Myriad is capable of it, but he’d have to go out of his way to do so. Like, he could “kill” her during a battle and he thinks that’s the end of it. Then she recovers and he runs into her again and he decides to make a point of ending her - more demon bugs, more hell-dimension magic, etc. He’s got access to enough power to do it, but it’s a matter of application and effort in addition to him actually having the knowledge to make use of it/that he needs to. There’s probably a “death of Aeon Girl” fake-out issue in the first couple of years of Daybreak to establish her ability to recover like this. Most actual threats to her are more on the cosmic scale. Myriad’s not a cosmic level threat in part just because he’s incredibly small-minded (many many many small minds), but he has access to a ton of raw power.
- [Follow-up to the follow-up:] Does Aeon Girl know how hard it is for her to die? No.
- RPG Question: I’m working on a storyline for an RPG campaign and part of the lore/back story involves Singular Entities. I’m not going to ask for a definitive list, but instead ask about the known entities, both past and present and their roles in the Cosmos. As the Singular Entities and other beings take up the mantles of Prime Aspects do we see their roles better defined? Or is that element of the Prime War unique? In short. What entity would be in the role of Preservation in the Canon RPG time line? Chaos? Order? Glory? In the RPG timeline, they’re all absent (except for the backup copy of Wager Master). That was the whole reason that Voss locked the reality away from the Multiverse - so that he wouldn’t have to deal with their interference after he took over. He knew that no matter how powerful he got, he’d never be on their level and so just set things up so that he wouldn’t have to deal with them at all. They also don’t want to go through even the known list of them and their roles. Some of this is intentionally being cagey for future reveals.
- Any last words for Prime War? For those not in the know, Christopher posted this thread on the GTG forums about the Prime War tactical boardgame being cancelled. It’s incredibly sad for them (both for the story work they’d put into it, but also for everybody involved in the development process of the game itself), but the writing’s been on the wall for most of this year. They still look forward to working with the Lore Forge Games people again in the future if the opportunity arises [and LFG have their own post about things including the hope to make Print and Play versions of what they’d put together for the game available.] They still want to find a way to tell the stories they’d invented for the game regarding the Prime War event with the Prime Aspects doing their thing, but they don’t know what that will look like yet. They just know that the version of it as a tactical miniatures boardgame wasn’t shaping up to be viable as a salable product for all that they thought it was a fun game to play. There just isn’t a large enough market for it. They know some people will complain that they cancel Prime War but then go on to announce other projects, but that’s the way that this business works. There are other products that they’ve started, gotten as far along as this one did, and then canceled. We just weren’t told about them ahead of time. The complaints they’ve heard from people about transparency regarding the development process of this game has taught them to not talk about games until they’re farther along in the first place to avoid dashing everybody’s hopes when something they had announced doesn’t work out.
- Is it possible for any sentient creature to be selected for one of the Egyptian Relics? What about Fanatic? Could a regular animal (not one from the animalverse) be granted the power? A “regular animal” isn’t likely. Omnitron-X is more likely than a dog. It needs to be something thinking that the Avatar of the god can latch onto as being something that will embody its principles in some way. It’s not impossible, but it’s extraordinarily unlikely. Like, you could see Sobek wanting to empower a crocodile or something, but then it’d likely just grab Naturalist or just take a person and make them more like a crocodile than just empowering a crocodile directly. There might be some Egyptian deity that’s more like an animal than a person that might work as well. If you want to engineer a situation where this happens you might have a relic in danger of being destroyed, but there’s an animal nearby who could retrieve/save it. The desperation of that kind of situation could get it to lash out and grab an animal to bond with.
- Did you guys ever actually tell us your multiverse labeling/counting system, or will we only get that info in History of Sentinel Comics? They’ve said that it’s just numbers. Every universe they’ve described has a number, but they don’t really mean anything. It’s not something really for the History book as that’s a meta-level book and the numbering system is within the fiction of the setting. They could see the numbers being described more if they get to an alt-reality source book for the RPG. Other numbers could show up independently here and there as well, but only when applicable.
- In our world when did you actually come up with OblivAeon (as originally it sounded like you only had things planned out to Iron Legacy)? Metaverse-wise for Sentinel Comics when did OblivAeon become a thing the Editor’s wanted to do? How did they decide which events would be retconned to have occurred due to OblivAeon like Cosmic Omnitron? From day 0 they had Iron Legacy. Also from day 0 they had the idea for a massive cosmic entity that was the End of All Things, but they didn’t have a name yet. The plan was to build to Iron Legacy as that was a “reasonable” hope for a successful product, but they also wanted to lay down hints that there was the big cosmic thing as well. Those hints were subtle and they didn’t define much about it. They had OblivAeon specifically in mind by around the time they were putting together Infernal Relics. By then they knew they were getting to Iron Legacy and so wanted to start putting more detail in regarding the major cosmic thing and so had to define it. They still didn’t know they’d get there, but they needed to start planning for the chance that they did. Metaverse-wise was sometime in the late-’00s. They then spun their wheels on it for a while as they started setting the stage and the first “we are doing the thing” stuff happened in ’14. Which stuff got retconned as being related to OblivAeon was part of what those ~5 years of planning were for. Some of it was just tracking down weird cosmic things that never got explained properly prior to this point.
- [Follow-up] If you didn’t have the idea of OblivAeon worked out until Infernal Relics, why was Voss a Scion in the Wagner Mars Base deck? Environment cards didn’t have art in the First Edition and the Enhanced Edition was concurrent with IR.
- I think I know how you plan to puncture the sandwich baggie that surrounds universe 1; seeing as we know that there is a nigh infinitely powered super (evil) Guise trapped in a black hole pocket dimension who wants nothing more than breaking walls and causing chaos, I think Prime War Wager Master chaos team frees him and sets him loose, he then breaks the biggest wall there is! How close am I? Not close at all, sorry.
- Can Fanatic hide her wings, for example if she’s going undercover or off the clock? She can because one of the things she believes is that angels can make their wings not visible.
- Can Fanatic fly while hiding her wings? No.
- I saw something about a new Richard Launius Sentinel Comics game – a reskinning of an existing game, I think. Do you want to say anything about what it is and when it’s coming? It’s something they’ve been working on, kind of accidentally for a long time. It also kind of started as a reskin, but has developed its own quirks in the process to the point where it’s its own distinct thing (just sharing DNA with SotM and the original game, Defenders of the Realm). At Origins 2012 he approached them with a version of that game reskinned with Sentinel Comics characters. It was good, but they had so much stuff going on with Sentinel Comics on their own at the time that they didn’t want to mess with somebody else doing so (at the time they thought maybe “ever” but it turns out more just “not for a long time”). It was a huge honor that he was interested considering how much they liked a bunch of his other games (and he’s the guy who came up with the ideas for NightMist, GloomWeaver, and the Realm of Discord, although the final versions were much different from his original versions). He’s the kind of guy with a lot of ideas bouncing around at any given time, so he took the “no” in stride and probably comes back with other ideas every couple of years anyway. After a few rounds of that they said that they weren’t sure it would ever be their type of game. Still taking things in stride he took the idea to another company operating at about the same scale as GTG, Arcane Wonders, and pitched his “Defenders of the Realm-style game but with superheroes” idea there. The Arcane Wonders people then independently suggested that Sentinel Comics would be a fun existing IP to use for it. They then came around to ask if they could license the SC characters for a project. Lots of hemming/hawing and conversations about how control over the characters/story would work via a licensing deal. What finally came together was the decision to set it in the early ’00s rather than in the “present” of post-OblivAeon. Christopher doesn’t have to write nearly as much setting detail for that time period and so it didn’t add an inordinate amount to his workload. We already have details for what kinds of stories and characters are around and what the art style and overall tone are appropriate. Even so, everything needs to pass by Christopher for approval (or not), but they’ve been super easy to work with in this whole process. The artists they’ve pulled in to work on it are phenomenal (to the point where Adam’s getting a little insecure about it). The general vibe of the game is “taking care of Megalopolis” in a way that neither SotM nor Sentinel Tactics really have before. Lots of stuff going on all over the city for you to deal with rather than just stopping a single villainous plot that happens to be taking place there. In any event, the game is Freedom Five: A Sentinel Comics Board Game - you can see its Board Game Geek page, the official website for the game, and this announcement trailer.
- We’ve been told that there aren’t other pantheons besides the Egyptian ones that left artifacts like that, but could my RPG character be somebody similarly empowered by some alien artifact/gods? Sure - and there’s no reason you couldn’t make this race of extraterrestrial beings resemble the Greek gods or whatever if that’s what you want to go with.
- Another idea for a character is a heroic clone of Citizen Dawn created by the same shady government organization that did tests on Dawn as a child - how would Expatriette and Citizen Dawn react to such a character? They could see the researchers creating her and then keeping her locked up/regulated. They start thinking that Dawn would want to eliminate her, but then they have the idea that she didn’t know she was a clone at first. There’s just this person with powers. Dawn successfully recruits her and, seeing their similarity, takes her as her “spiritual” daughter. Only later she finds out about the cloning thing and wants her dead. Expat would worry about what such a person could become/how much of Dawn’s evil is due to her nature and so the clone would be prone to them as well. The story of the comics would likely be around this person overcoming such things, but Expat would be concerned nonetheless. It also depends on the age of the character - if you’re looking at a kid of like 11 and Expat knows that she’s a clone of her mother she might try to subvert all of those worries by training her up on her terms. That’s also likely not the best situation, but this is comics so “not the best” plans are just more opportunities for drama.
- In many episodes it’s stated/implied that Legacy can come off as hokey or predictable, is there any time in the main timeline when he does something unpredictable? How about letting loose as Iron Legacy does? We see him throw everything he can at OblivAeon while not compromising himself as a person. The Iron Legacy story itself was probably a reaction to writers trying to make him more edgy in the years preceding it (considering that he’s a goody goody and those characters tended to be less popular in the ’80s/’90s). People trying to give him more of an edge resulted in one writer saying “No. Just stop. Here’s what happens to this character when you do that.” The “death of legacy” thing during the Voss invasion where he got all angry and just charged in to blow up the cannon on the flagship (resulting in him being out for a while and Young Legacy stepping in) was likely part of this period. Yeah, he’s hokey and predictable, but what seems to surprise people is the depth of understanding of people that he has - times when he opens up and is vulnerable in discussing things. As brave and stalwart as he is, he’s also extremely compassionate/empathetic. It’s easy to lose track of that when he’s mainly presented as being this beacon of hope and inspiration. He’s lost his cool a few times when dealing with Baron Blade who got under his skin, but his own character growth has included the realization that the best way to get under Blade’s skin is to keep up the “hokey” attitude. Legacy knows what he’s doing. He’s not doing it ironically or inadvertently. He has made the conscious decision to be that guy as part of his status as a symbol for others. That also feeds into his decision to become Heritage. There are good times and bad times for all times, but we should look to the good ones and remember them and strive to be worthy of them (while not forgetting the bad). There’s value in both progress and tradition, but he’s trying to embody the value of tradition.
- Does Legacy make jokes? Is he aware of how straight-laced he comes across? Does he use self-deprecating humor? Not self-deprecating humor (except maybe in private with his daughter where he might joke at his own expense regarding his parenting), but he will joke. You get a lot of “dad jokes”.
- Any tender moments between him an Pauline? Yes.
- Between him and Expatriette? Yeah, this is where he does the opening up/vulnerable “Look, I get it. The world is scary and you’ve got to be mean, even to people you like because that’s how you survive. But here’s my perspective” stuff. The most surprising moments from Legacy are when he drops the Hero™ and just becomes human for a bit. “As good of a hero as he is, he’s an even better human.” “That’s what makes him such a good hero.”
- [Entertaining letter at about an hour and eighteen minutes in - the gist is that the Telenovela-verse must still be out there considering that we only hear of its destruction from a pair of people who tell us on multiple occasions that they’re liars, that they readily admit that they make up/don’t understand math/science, and have proven to tell blatant lies about important “deaths” in the past (i.e. Voss), so the Telenovela-verse is obviously still out there.] First off, they never said that Voss was dead. They made other, carefully worded statements about, e.g., there being no future for “Grand Warlord Voss” (true, he wasn’t a Grand Warlord anymore) and similar things, but they never said he was dead (that they can recall - if they ever did it would have had the “and then they died” tone that you should know how to read by now). For the main point: the Telenovela-verse is gone. We see it destroyed on page. They lie about things all the time, but when we see stuff happen on-page that’s that. [This also results in Christopher going into an entertaining diatribe about how the needling about the Telenovela-verse has only made him happier that they destroyed it. Good riddance. Should have destroyed it sooner (which would be quite the trick considering that they destroyed it moments after first establishing it as a thing). There was a time when he could have seen himself doing something else with the setting, but not if it’s going to constantly invite this level/kind of response.]
- That having been said, the letter has a “word from our sponsor” at the end which does amuse Chrstopher and he reads it - it’s an ad for the upcoming episode of the Sentinels telenovela and his reading of it is hilarious. Jump to 1:21:39
- [Letter from Ansel G. Moreau] What kinds of supporting cast/sidekicks did the Night Hunter (or other Ansel-headlined) films have? Maybe individual movies would have had them, but no consistent members. It even becomes a running gag that they don’t live through the movie they’re in - giving Ansel’s character more tragedy. By the time you get to Night Hunter 3 if you have somebody introduced in the first 10 minutes of the film you expect them to die.
- Does the Action Hero Stuntman version of him have any (on or off screen)? Yeah, you could easily have a “guy in the chair” character for him (called “the Producer”).
- Was there a catch phrase for his movies that just failed to catch on? Christopher likes “It’s night. Time to hunt.” You could put that on the poster. Then the sequel has “It’s night. Time to hunt again.” or “It’s night again. Still time to hunt.” Brian in the chat comes through with “Night Hunter 4: Daylight Slayings Time This time he hunts during the day.” We end this on a jokey bit when they consider the Telenovela-verse version of Stuntman/Ambuscade. Still French, but in Spanish? They land on him being Portuguese instead.
- Why do Thorathians put so much emphasis on their birth order in their names? It’s just a cultural thing. It likely got started a long time ago due to the focus on dualities and so they wanted to denote the order. We talk all the time about what being an oldest child or a middle child means/how it impacts behavior and outlook. They just put a slightly larger emphasis on that sort of thing and so it gets marked in their naming conventions.
- Are twins a big deal there? Yeah, they’d be revered. There’s probably even a special prefix for them, but they hadn’t considered that before and so don’t have one ready to state.
- Could the Plague Rat infection be a source for superpowers? In what ways would someone be able to splice in other DNA to get other Beast forms? Yeah, you could definitely do that. Like somebody isolated the Plague Rat infection and did something to stabilize it to remove some of the downsides. Then you could mix in something like a rhinoceros or warthog to name two completely random animals.