Podcasts/Episode I-51

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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 51

Original Source


Last Editor's Note of the year!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 59:16

We start with some goofs and some holiday singing, and then we get to apologies and corrections! We had been previously calling someone by the wrong name — his actual name is "Trickline the Despoiler", not "Tripline". Whoops. Also, the bar name is "The Wretched Hive", not "Scum and Villainy". You all know this. We just make mistakes a lot? Sorry!

What's coming up for the first month of the new year?

  • Tuesday, January 4th: Start of year break!
  • Tuesday, January 11th: Episode #199 - Writers' Room: Guise and Scholar in SPACE!
  • Tuesday, January 18th: Editor’s Note #52
  • Tuesday, January 25th: Episode #200 - Writers' Room: An Unequivocally Feel-Good Issue

Can we pull it off? Time will tell!

This episode, we talk about:

  • OblivAeon
  • Singular Entities
  • People from other realities
  • Underworlds
  • The Devil
  • Apostate
  • Angels
  • Portals
  • Space
  • Holidays
  • Songs
  • and more!

See you next year!

Characters Mentioned



  • To lead off our “Lingering OblivAeon Questions” section: Surely Singular Entities have been in a group at some point (say, Wager Master throwing a birthday party) [Interjection from the guys to point out that they talked about WM’s birthday party and that nobody came], is OblivAeon the type to just hang out well after he’s welcome? Like, is he the type to not leave a party until specifically asked to do so? In short, does OblivAeon have a lingering problem? Not so much the “not leaving the party” sense, but the amount of time that elapsed between OblivAeon forming and hatching its plan to destroy everything everywhere and actually doing anything about it does imply something like this.
  • You said in the recent Singular Entities episode that when one of them is destroyed another Singular Entity will arise to take their spot - one assumes that when Oblivion and Archaeon were ceased to exist that OblivAeon took both their places (although with Entropy overriding Preservation), but now that OblivAeon is gone too does that mean that there’s a new OblivAeon somewhere or new Entities of Entropy and Preservation? What does all of this mean for the collective entropy of the Mist Storm Universe? There wouldn’t be a new OblivAeon somewhere, but there would be new Entities for Entropy and Preservation. They’d be out in the Multiverse since the “role” they fill wasn’t vacant until after Voss sealed away Universe 1. Part of the plot of Prime War involves new beings taking up those mantles. [I note that Jansa Vi Dero is the Prime Aspect of Preservation in what we know of things to this point.] The Mist Storm Universe consuming itself is tied into this stuff.
  • For the average human on Earth in the post-OblivAeon RPG timeline, how did ordinary life change once people were confronted with the reality of, say, cosmic space gods? Did religion, education, or politics change as a result? Were there support groups to help people cope with this “new” reality? The world was already aware of people with super powers and multiple alien invasions had happened prior to this. The “main” Voss invasion story in the ’80s was well known as both a large-scale alien invasion and the fact that super powered heroes fought the aliens. It’s important to keep in mind the meta reason for OblivAeon to have happened: to clean up the setting and act as a fresh start. Some of the more esoteric books would go into these sorts of questions, but there’s a time jump between the end of all of the extant comics as of OblivAeon and the relaunch the following May - a lot of these questions get handwaved to have been “resolved” in that gap and we hit the ground running in the new status quo. That being said, what we see regarding, say, religion runs the gamut from people who have a real crisis of faith in the face of entities like OblivAeon to others for whom the experience was just something to further solidify their faith. Different books also go into it to varying degrees. Sentinels of Freedom is meant to be your standard superhero fare - if not exactly “happy” all the time, it’s at least not meant to be a downer either. As such, it wouldn’t get into such topics much. Whereas Dark Watch would get into this more ground-level, personal reactions to things. Haka likely does too just in the process of her exploring this new world she would encounter people from here trying to make sense of this “new world”.
  • So Voss set up the sandwich bag cause he didn’t want to tangle with other Singular Entities, but being the failure that he is he screwed it up and two Singular Entities, Hul and a Wager Master, were already inside - was his grand plan doomed from the start since he already wouldn’t be the strongest thing in the sandwich bag? Yes, his plan was doomed. This wasn’t really his plan, though. The plan was to take the power from OblivAeon and then be the strongest thing in existence. He wasn’t aware that there were more things like him out there and so as soon as he succeeded in getting the power he had to call an audible to try to do something that he figured should work. It was “doomed” anyway because the amount of power he had to expend to do so had reduced him to a point where the heroes could rally and defeat him, but even if he had won that fight, then yeah, he’d still have to deal with Wager Master and Hul being around. There would still be a question of whether those two in particular would really give him much trouble. He wants to rule - Wager Master doesn’t and would likely be content playing around in the margins and who could even understand what Hul wants.
  • How old is Wager Master given that he has a birthday? Very old. He also doesn’t use Real numbers to keep track and they’re not sequential numbers in any case. There are other people who are way better at these “number” things, so we’ll leave it as an exercise for the listener - basically, whatever numbers don’t make sense.
  • What’s Inverse Space Santa like? Does he give bad kids suffering, and good kids mercy; or bad kids weaponry and good kids coupons for coffins? They can confidently say that it’s not something that comes up in the comics, but let’s play this out. Space Santa helps people out and brings them stuff they need around this “space holiday” time. The question is whether he takes things that people need or gives them something they don’t need (somebody says “I need that like I need a stick in the eye”, so Inversiverse Space Santa shows up and gives them both whatever that was and a stick in their eye). He has a list and he goes down the list delivering bespoke torments to people.
  • If the bag universe has few Singular Entities, but Singular Entities were part of the multiverse at its start, what effect on the universe does the absence of most Singular Entities have? That’s a good question - what would the lack of cosmic beings “pushing on” various concepts mean for a universe. Probably nothing and it won’t ever come up as it’s almost certainly not something that they’re working towards as a plot point of a long-term story line where they have payoffs planned way down the line or anything.
  • What is the relation between Chaos Witch Rose Griggs and Wager Master. One drawing the powers from chaos the other one being chaos? Wager Master probably knows that she exists and likes what she’s doing, but also likely thinks that she takes herself too seriously. Chaos should be wacky fun, right? Rose takes everything seriously.
  • The heroes could not have anticipated that Voss was going to use up so much of his stolen power, so how did him creating the “sandwich bag” make them adjust their plans? The plan was to siphon power off of him. They’d have still tried to do so, but if he hadn’t used up so much of the power they probably wouldn’t have succeeded.
  • NightMist banished both Voss and Bugbear “outside of time” which I took to mean Ur-Space. We also have heard recently that the mists of R’lyeh might be the outskirts of Clarity, which makes that association confusing. We also know that Bugbear was returned to where he was after Cosmic Contest. We’ve also heard that Ammit is going to use Bugbear in the RPG timeline by pulling him out of the Underworld (which we know isn’t Ur-Space)? How does this work? And the big question: is there any Ur-Space inside the sandwich bag? Did ObliviVoss push all the air out of the bag before he sealed it or did some get trapped inside? There is no Ur-Space inside the sandwich bag - the short answer here is that it is by definition “outside” of all realities. Only the most powerful beings can go there and no mortal can do so of their own volition. [That really is a short answer considering all of the different parts here, but I assume that means that wherever it was that NightMist sent people it wasn’t Ur-Space.]
  • How did Æternus react to the OblivAeon event? Was it even aware (you’d think that a sentient dimension bent on taking over other dimensions wouldn’t be too keen on somebody destroying everything)? Would it have actively worked against OblivAeon? It’s kind of restricted in ability to act in that it’s a Realm - it’s possible that any of its agents that were out in the world would have been tasked with preventing the destruction, but that’s kind of what everybody was up to anyway. Adam kind of thinks that Æternus’ level of sentience is kind of like the One Ring - there’s a will there and it has goals, but it’s not really an active thing that can do stuff on its own.
  • [Letter addendum: Kind of curious what an Æternus-fearing Mr. Jitters would be like.] He’s already got involvement from an unknowable demon fear god thing, so getting him mixed up in another thing might be overkill. That being said, it’s entirely likely that this old “demon” concept eventually gets revealed as being related to Æternus anyway like so many other things are.
  • Are all alternate dimensions so antithetical to human life? The trick is that the “dimension where humans can live comfortably” is this one. The other dimensions simply aren’t ones where humans can live comfortably. The Grey isn’t terribly antithetical to life - you go there and all of a sudden you don’t have any of the cares that you had in the regular world. That’s nice. Of course, you stop caring about anything which isn’t great, but that’s only horrifying from the outside. Once you’re there you don’t care. However, they think that there are “positive” alternate dimensions, but they’re treated kind of nebulously. For example, when Mr. Fixer died and was at peace, he was somewhere because in order to be experiencing peace he still has to exist somewhere. We the readers are simply never shown what that was. We are just never shown “the good afterlife”, but it’s implied to be there.
  • Between the American Folklore episode (and the bit where GloomWeaver took part in the Robert Johnson story) and the one on Underworlds that gave us Æternus, I had a few questions about “The Devil” as it relates to Sentinel Comics:
    • How often did a character that the writer at the time meant to be the actual Christian Devil from actual Christian Hell show up in Sentinel Comics? There are definitely stories where that happened. Especially in early decades before “continuity” mattered you’d get a wide variety of styles - sometimes he’s just a guy in a suit and others you get the red guy with a tail and pitchfork. Anyway, you get a bunch of them eventually get wrapped up into the Æternus stuff once that’s codified. Others would be “revealed” to have been Apostate illusions or similar. Any writer who really wanted to have their thing be the “real” devil is always retconned later - that sort of thing never sticks.
    • What Sentinel heroes actually fought what was meant to be, at the time, the “actual devil”? If the hypothetical Bingo card for this game has Fanatic in the free center square, what other four heroes get me a Bingo (I feel like Legacy, Scholar, Fanatic, NightMist, and [because you can get away with a lot in a humor book] Guise has a solid chance)? Those examples are good. NightMist is on-brand. “Guise goes to hell” sounds like a fun story. None of these stories would really have much staying power because, again, this sort of thing just doesn’t stick. Any eventually-related to Æternus “demons” who do stick around likely have those “classic” sounding demon names like Apostate’s “Bezaliel”.
    • Did any of the “and this week you get to be the king of Æternus” demons ever stick around for more than the story that introduced them? Some might for a little while, but the overall vibe of “this is just a part of what is going on with Æternus” winds up just lumping them all together eventually. As far as the will of Æternus itself, this kind of power struggle within the realm itself is just fine - more torment for somebody somewhere is all that’s important.
    • Do any heroes have Æternus as part of their origin/backstory/power source (other than that one that you started creating and then stopped because you were doing a Creative Process on places at the time)? Eh, maybe.
  • In the Underworlds episode you mentioned that the demons in Apostate’s deck came from Æternus, but way back in the pre-spreadsheet Apostate episode you said that none of them were “real” demons, but people who he’d transformed into demons using his Host powers - which is it? It’s an explanation retcon but not a story retcon. Apostate took some people and corrupted/tormented them into demons. The torment in question involved actually going to Æternus and the process linked them to that place. So, they were once men, but now it’s still correct to refer to them as “demons of Æternus” as well. The idea is that the more recent explanation was meant to flesh the story out more rather than replace the old one.
  • If Clarity drives mortals mad due to cosmic awareness, would Guise be immune to it due to already being kind of mad from a kind of cosmic awareness? Yeah, they love the idea of Guise having not having any problems there. We can wrap this up into the “Guise goes to hell” story that got mentioned earlier. Even better, let’s call it the “Divine Comedy
  • How familiar with the cosmology of Dungeons & Dragons are you (considering that your concept of The Grey is strikingly similar to D&D’s Gray Waste - another name for their version of Hades.)? It’s a coincidence. Christopher’s knowledge of D&D largely omits stuff like that because when he ran games he always made up his own cosmology stuff rather than using the provided ones.
  • You mentioned that the Angels that Fanatic encountered in early stories were later retconned into being from Clarity, but that raises the question of why they appeared in humanoid forms rather than the weirdness that Clarity beings exhibit - was that explained? Do they ever show their “true” forms? They go into creative process mode here: it could be that the ones that she encountered early on are retconned (in the process of doing the Clarity explanation) into having been “lost” in the same way that Fanatic’s Host spirit is lost. They didn’t know they were “of Clarity” and so manifested in the way that they did.
    • They also got a few questions that imply that Clarity is “Evil” or somehow about insanity and that’s not the case. The knowledge it brings makes men mad, but it’s not trying to do that. Neither Clarity itself nor the beings that come from there are inherently malicious - they’re not giving people knowledge for the purpose of making people insane. “We’re trying to help. Oh, no! We’ve helped too much.” They are neither benevolent nor malevolent.
  • Did Æternus ever try to take over the Egyptian underworld and, if so, how did Anubis stop it? They think that Anubis can trivially shut that down. Anubis is already a pretty powerful being, but in regards to that Underworld in particular he’s essentially all-powerful.
  • In many mythologies heaven and hell are opposed to one another, is there such a relationship between Clarity and Æternus? They’re at odds, but Clarity isn’t heaven. It was maybe intended to be one, but it’s not the “traditional heaven”. Any place that has been depicted as being “heaven” is later shown not to be. Once again, they intentionally don’t show the Good Place.
  • If they are at odds, would there be any reason for them to work together? What, if anything, would they come together to fight against? This is operating from the misconception that Clarity and Æternus are “opposites” or that there’s an equivalent “will” behind Clarity. Realms don’t tend to have that level of will, which is what makes Æternus unique and dangerous.
  • We know that Æternus is trying to expand/take over other realms and that the Void seeps into normal reality as well - does anything similar happen with The Grey or Clarity? No. Additionally, the methods of the first two differ. Æternus is trying to work its way in and take over places. The Void seeping in is just what happens.
  • Given what you told us about Æternus portals, Mittermeier’s carnival has to be one, right (it just makes too much sense for this mystical carnival that traps/torments people to be one)? Madame Mittermeier created the carnival and it operates as a kind of pocket dimension of its own, but it’s not a full Realm like Æternus or Clarity. It’s her thing and she isn’t an agent of anyone or anything else. It’s an Earthly magic place - the Block is kind of a similar thing that latches onto a reality, but the carnival is even less detached from “reality” than the Block is.
  • Is one of the “hell portals” in the Bermuda Triangle? If not, what’s the in-universe explanation for the Bermuda Triangle? If the Bermuda Triangle were a portal to one of these other dimensions it would be to The Grey. However, it is not that because in Sentinel Comics it is actually a portal to somewhere in deep space. Adam doesn’t remember them having talked about this - Christopher says they did, but not on the podcast.
  • What do you mean by the statement that Clarity is a “failed Realm”? Did somebody try to create it and it just didn’t work right? Did it work and then it just got corrupted somehow? Is it just really bad at its job? If it was created and/or corrupted, who did it? “Failed” here doesn’t necessarily mean that it was created, just that its gimmick doesn’t work right. Clarity’s gimmick is Enlightenment, but it doesn’t do that to a useful degree because it goes too far with it. They don’t think it was corrupted - just for whatever reason it’s set to 11 and shouldn’t be. As for “who created it”, we don’t know any more about that than we do about “who created the Realm of Discord” or “the Multiverse”. Things can exist without there being an individual responsible.
  • There are a bunch of different types of magic, but are they all tied to Talontus? Talontus is the Singular Entity of Magic and that would include all sub-types, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the source of all magic (in the same way that Wager Master isn’t the source of all Chaos).
  • Æternus is a sentient nightmare realm seeking to expand, lets call this peanut butter. Clarity is a realm of unknowable knowledge that drives you mad, lets call this chocolate. Would it be fair to say that Hul is a Reese’s Cup? Is this parallel intentional? Hul isn’t the combination of Clarity and Æternus, but something beyond them. Hul is much more powerful than they are. Clarity also isn’t a realm of “unknowable” knowledge, it’s just too much. It’s all too knowable. If we’re calling Æternus peanut butter and Clarity chocolate for whatever reasons, Hul is more like an oyster. or even just not food at all. It’s very far removed from whatever the other two are supposed to be.
  • If the Bermuda Triangle has a portal to space, does Amelia Earhart show up as a pioneering astronaut? Remember that thing that they talked about, but not on the podcast a few questions ago?
  • From the Payne Train: This isn’t so much as a question, as much as a feel-good. I introduced my two nephews (nine and six years old) to Sentinels of the Multiverse during Thanksgiving. We played two complete games, and they had a great time. A few days later, I was told that the older one loved the game so much that he couldn’t wait until Christmas to get a copy, and that he was wanted to go and buy a copy with his own money. They are just getting into board games, and it warms my heart that Sentinels of the Multiverse is their gateway into the wider world of board games. Thank you for everything that you’ve done, and I look forward to the stories you come up with. –That’s great! Can you maybe delay them a month or so until Definitive Edition is available?
  • After hearing the Holiday Plots episode I must ask: there wasn’t a Festivus comic (it seems like a good opportunity for Baron Blade to sit down with Legacy and air some grievances and then to engineer some sort of device to let him win the feats of strength)? Christopher to Adam: This is a pop-culture thing that I wouldn’t have been in on because he never watched the show, but isn’t Festivus entirely from Seinfeld? Yes, it’s a holiday that George’s dad invented. As such, Sentinel Comics wouldn’t use it. If they’re going to use a made up holiday they’d just make up their own. [I note that Festivus was a real “made up” holiday celebrated by the family of the writer of that Seinfeld episode.]
  • We also get a few versions of the SC version of the “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” song. Here’s one from the Lonely Sand Person.

Jingle bells, Fixer smells Setback broke a leg Expatriette hasn’t shown up yet and NightMist blew away.

  • The other, from Luna, notes that this song is way too old to be about Dark Watch, so adjusts it for the only team likely to be old enough.

Jingle bells, Bunker smells The Wraith snuck away Absolute Zero was no hero and the Plague Rat got away.

  • That’s great, but while Plague Rat has been around long enough to qualify, they’d have gone with something more “classic” Freedom Five. “The Baron” fits the meter. Glamour also works.