Podcasts/Episode I-53

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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 53

Original Source


An Editor's Note! Recorded on a Saturday?!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:23:41

Christopher just got back from a show, but recording still must happen!

There's a bunch of weirdness at the start with reading names from the Discord chat that have "honh honh honh" in them. It's a real inside cricket joke. And then people share their pet pictures, which we talk about — fantastic radio, I tell you.

Upcoming episodes!

  • Tuesday, April 5th: Episode #208: Creative Process: Æternus Connected Hero
  • Tuesday, April 12th: Episode #209: Writer's Room: An Omnitron-X story
  • Tuesday, April 19th: Editor’s Note #54
  • Tuesday, April 26th: Episode #210: Writer's Room: Neighborhood Watch

Don't forget, the Rook City Renegades Kickstarter is still live! Check it out!

Characters Mentioned



  • Have you bothered to choose team colors for the Rook City Renegades? And if so, what are they? Gray and blue. Mr. Fixer wears a Rook City Renegades hat.
  • Question that follows up on previous statements about how magic requires a cost and then more recent discussion of Atlantis and xxtz'Hulissh: we know that Blood Magic requires a sacrifice of life force, Alchemy requires exotic materials/rituals, and Discordian Magic results in unpredictability and chaos, but other forms don’t seem like they have obvious “costs”, so what would the following require:
    • Nature Magic: it starts with a base connection to Nature. You give up a part of yourself to make that connection and as long as you’re paying that ongoing “upkeep” to maintain the connection you can do it. Where Blood Magic has a very obvious “pay the cost, do the thing” transactional structure, some other types might have “do the thing, pay later [said ominously]” or this kind of "pay a little bit all the time" structure.
    • Void Magic: The cost can really vary on this one. The destruction of self. Your very spirit. The essence of who you are. Everything you hold dear. That first one, “Destruction of self” is the big one, and not in a Blood Magic sense, but more related to your personhood.
    • Host Magic: It’s weird. It’s definitely “magicy” in that the Host is innately magical, but nobody’s out there “casting Host magic spells”. The people manipulating Host stuff are more using some other magical means to tap into Host spirits who then are forced to do their “natural” things. They don’t really view “Host Magic” as a category of “doable” magic. This is more along the lines of capturing a magical creature. [Say, if you wanted to turn people to stone by capturing a (non-Sentinel Comics) Gorgon. You’re not doing Gorgon magic.]
    • Ancient Egyptian Underworld Magic: That’s pretty much straight up “Death Magic” and so the cost is going to be “Life force” in some way.
    • Biomancer Necromancy (Sarcomancy?): That’s a good distinction given that the flesh he works with is mainly alive rather than dead. This is just Alchemy. The thing he does with Alchemy is different than most alchemists, but it’s still Alchemy.
    • Atlantean “Pure”/Ancient Magic: It’s not without costs, but it’s hard to know what the costs would be now because nobody is doing it. It’ might be worth remembering that the Atlanteans basically ran their whole society on the stuff and it led to the end of their society. Adam thinks that this is likely an “inevitable destruction” - this stuff is too good to be true. Christopher thinks that we might also think of it as “mythological magic” - it’s this prior, lost thing that we no longer have a good idea of what the costs would have been.
  • Could I get a MCMUBON for the following characters (Magical Creature, Magic User, Both, or Neither)?
    • Scholar: By the time he’s “The Scholar” he’s Both. Prior to that he was a Magic User.
    • Voidsoul: Magical Creature.
    • Writhe: They think Neither. What he’s doing isn’t really magic in nature. He might be a Magical Creature, but if so it’s only accidentally. Magic happened to him from an external outlet.
    • Nixious the Chosen: User.
    • Kismet: User.
    • Ammit: Both! Strongly both.
    • Balarian: Adam says Creature, but Christopher thinks Neither. That’s just how they are. It’s not like they’re a denizen of the Realm of Discord which are general “magical creatures”, they’re their own thing(s) from their own place and are just how they are.
    • Madame Mittermeier: Both - similar to the Scholar.
    • Biomancer: Both. The fact that he’s actively animating his grafted flesh with magic means that he’s got to count as a magical creature too.
    • Zhu Long: Both.
    • The Operative/Dragonclaw: Originally neither. By the time she’s Dragonclaw she’s skirting the edge of Magical Creature, what with the glowing tattoos and whatnot. She’s not “doing magic” but she is innately magical. Adam tries to make a comparison to somebody who receives a magical “buff” from a magic user, but Christopher points out that she was dead and is now back - that’s not just a “buff”. For similar reasons for why DW Mr. Fixer is a magical creature but not a magic user, she qualifies. She even actively draws on what was done with her to then use the magic within her. This does prompt a question of whether everybody who’s been brought back from the dead is a magical creature. They think it really depends on the method used to bring you back. It’s also not necessarily permanent as Mantra is no longer a magical creature (“but what about the ki stuff he does?” “that’s just martial arts” [continue jokey back-and-forth about this as long as you desire]).
  • Magic calls upon power sources outside of yourself and we were recently told that the Mists of R’lyeh connect to a portion of Clarity - do all of NightMist’s “mist” effects draw on Clarity? Are all of her spells pulling from external realms? What was the original spell she was casting that connected her to Clarity drawing on? Her magical power is tied to other realms, but her spells aren’t necessarily. Some do, most don’t. NightMist is one of the most practiced mages we have in terms of going into various spell books, researching various “schools”, and doing magic in a way that is less annoying to Soothsayer Carmichael.
  • Since magic requires sacrifice and you said that you couldn’t build a robot for the explicit purpose of sacrificing it, does that mean that Idealist’s “mother’s” plan to create a blank-slate clone to sacrifice in order to bring back her “father” was doomed to failure? What would have happened if Mrs. Fischer’s plan had been completed without interference from the heroes? We’ll never know given that it was interrupted. Certainly it’s not the case that this blank slate clone becoming a complete person was related to this ritual not reaching its conclusion. The ritual would not have done what Mrs. Fischer intended, but it wouldn’t have done nothing - “it would have taken another cost, let’s say. Something would have been paid.” And something was, but things were interrupted so who’s to say how that relates to what would have happened. I’m sure it’s fine.
  • You said that Benjamin Garner wasn’t a Blood Mage because he wasn’t casting spells and things but previously you used a paint bucket analogy: the magical power is the bucket and different practitioners might just use different tools (music for Argent Adept, the Philosopher’s Stone for Scholar, etc.) to get the paint out of the bucket. If Benji is tapping into a source of Blood Magic wouldn’t that technically make him a Blood Mage who’s just using an innovative tool to get it out of the bucket? They still don’t think so. He’s a science-based villain and that’s the context in which his story is told. Sure, you can look at the output of his methods and see how they’re very similar to the output of what a Blood Mage might do, but “the method matters”. You could cast a lightning spell to charge up a battery, or you could just plug it into the wall - either way the battery gets charged.
  • A thought occurred to me when listening to the Harpy/Court of Blood episode and it got to the part about Blood Countess luring the townsfolk in with Blood Magic: was the Pied Piper a Blood Mage or a Virtuoso of the Void? Maybe a dark Virtuoso - like you could do a story where Franz Vogel was the Pied Piper (he’s already German so why not), just doing Blood Magic and Void Magic. [Note in editor’s note 49 a very similar question came up and at that time they thought that the Pied Piper was a Blood Mage who happened to use music as his means of doing magic rather than him being a Virtuoso. They are officially retconning that prior answer and making the Vogel thing canonical.]
  • Are there any hero’s that Biomancer has not at some point replaced with a flesh child? Lots, the majority of them (or… none of them).
  • Is Atlantean magic powerful enough to affect time, time travel and such? Yeah, probably.
  • I have a lingering OblivAeon question: since Singular Entities form new versions if the old one is destroyed (or maybe a new one manifests would be a better word) does that mean since Faultless was formerly Singular by the time of OblivAeon, does that mean Faultless has been replaced by that point, or does the process only kick off after Faultless’s death? The “mantle” would have passed back when Faultless became Faultless as it was no longer Singular at that time.
  • Will Pinion have her own book in the RPG era? They don’t think so - just Dark Watch.
  • In a question that is more plausible to answer, Adam why is there going to be so many arts in RCR where Spite is attacking Setback? They think it’s just the two… You can assume that any art where you can see Spite attacking some other hero that Setback is there, just off-panel.
  • When you first released Rook City (yea these many years ago), how much had you decided about the fate(s) of Thiago Diaz? Did you know then about Muerto? About the new Ra? Neither. Back when they first included him in the original Spite deck they did not know about Muerto or the new Ra (the Ra thing was before Muerto as well). Thiago was a result of some of the upper tiers of the Rook City Kickstarter where you could get your face in the game and a guy got his son (Thiago) in the game. They think the last time they got to talk to the real Thiago was 2018 or something and he was a lot older (real people aging in a much more reasonable manner than comic book characters). They just thought that the idea of this kid who looked up to the heroes like that was a compelling story and kept coming back to him.
  • You’ve mentioned in the past Ansel G. Moreau’s dedication to his fans. I’m curious - does he like them just because they like him? Is it his usual vain “oh yes, more attention please” thing or does he genuinely have some affection for them? How would he react to being stopped on the street or asked questions? It’s all about him. He’s very good with fan interactions and he loves how they love him. If he’s stopped on the street he’ll take some time and glad hand a bit, sign anything they like, etc. It’s all part of the adoration of him and fans having positive interaction stories to tell is a positive feedback loop.
  • Why did Soothsayer Carmichael decide to specialize in learning magic stuff despite being weapons-grade levels of muggle? It’s something that fascinates him and he wants to know more. Partially, the fact that it is inaccessible to him makes him more interested in it. They like the idea that his methodical approach is itself part of why he can’t do it - he’s overthinking and “scientifying” it, but they don’t know that for sure.
  • So, for those of us doing spreadsheeting, what’s the issue number for Akash'Thriya? We know she’s in 2002 now, but what month/book? May 2002, Tome of the Bizarre volume 3 #170.
  • Do you anticipate any villains having multiple Events/Critical Events? Yes.
  • Can we get title lists/numbers for Critical Events (since they don’t have that feature like Events do)? Well, you’ve trapped us since we said to ask this live on a previous occasion, but they don’t want to take the time to pull them up “live” here. They want to make that information available, though - it should be easy to do between the timeline and pricing guide in the History of Sentinel Comics book that they are still hopeful will come out this year.
  • Has Biomancer ever tried to replace someone with a fleshchild, and then found that the person was a fleshchild he’d forgotten about? They don’t think so. He’d be able to tell when he saw them.
  • That raises the questions, is Muerto a magical creature? “Yes, obviously. He’s a ghost.”
  • Adam, what are your chickens’ names [he mentioned in passing earlier that they were raising chickens now]? Oh, there’s a bunch of them, but they’re all named after witches except the rooster who’s Mr. Crowley [Crow-ley for the pun]. Let’s see… Madame Mim, Baba Yaga, stuff like that. Adam’s wife named them. Two are named after the witches in Practical Magic.
  • Will there be more arts of Absolute Zero being beaten up or or more arts of Setback being beaten up in DE? Probably AZ - he’s a more visible hero than Setback if nothing else. There’s also “a whole deck down the line that’s gonna do some bad stuff.”
  • What would happen if some other powerful Blood Mage were to undergo the same ritual that Blood Countess did to become a vampire? Would it even be possible for somebody to do so (e.g. maybe Blood Countess has kept tight control of necessary information/resources)? Has there ever been a story, Disparation or otherwise, where this has happened? If so, how did that work out for everybody involved? It’s possible, but very unlikely. She did destroy a lot of the original texts that she had that pointed her in this direction. They could see doing a Disparation where “Dracula” wins or something. Like, because there are a number of “Draculati” [thanks, Nerd, for the plural] in Sentinel Comics they could see some writer who wanted him to be important could have one that he positioned to have been the original and who did the ritual long before Bathory did (and in fact wrote the book that she used in the first place, etc.). The official stance is that Bathory is the original, but that could still be a story out there.
  • Was there ever a Disparation where Harpy accepted the offer to become a vampire? If so, did it end with Harpy attempting to overthrow the Blood Countess? Maybe. There is a “vampire reality” that Disparation covers at some point where all the power in the world is held by vampires.
  • Why does Blood Countess make the deal with Lifeline (we know why he made the deal)? Was it so that she could make him a lieutenant sometime in the future but Cosmic Contest threw a wrench in the plan since now he knows about her control over him? Just a means of removing him as a potential threat as he was an up-and-coming Blood Mage, so may as well ensure that he can’t move against her later (you’ve said that “unmaking” her would require a lot of atrocities, but we’re already aware of Tarogath’s willingness to do terrible things for what he sees as a necessary goal)? Some other unrevealed reason and we’re heading towards a “time will tell”? All of that. Some powerful creature walks in asking for power that will cost her nothing to grant and is all upside for her? Let’s make a deal! She knows the value of playing a long game.
  • Given that you said that vampires could get weather powers from drinking Maerynian blood, it stands to reason that it doesn’t have to be human/mammalian/terrestrial “blood” but whatever vital fluid the being in question possesses - this raises a question of how far this ability to gain powers goes. What beings can even be turned into a vampire?
    • Absolute Zero who isn’t even “alive” in a metabolic sense, but is in a metaphysical sense - while he might have blood, it’s not exactly liquid or really accessible to a vampire; what would happen if Blood Countess Bathory bit Absolute Zero? [the look of joy on Christopher’s face as the answer dawns on him is wonderful] Frostbite. There’s a Disparation story where AZ is a vampire and that’s the name he uses. He makes other icy vampires.
    • Magmarians have a vital liquid: magma! Would you call a Magmarian on the surface Lavarians? Could Bathory drink their magma (and would doing so instantly make her immune to the obvious drawback)? No, it’s not a drinkable liquid. The real trick here is that while the magma is a liquid inside of them, it’s not analogous to blood. Like, the AZ thing wouldn’t work in the canon reality, but you can have a Disparation issue where he works slightly differently so that you can have the story. Magmarians are more like bugs in that they’re just full of goo.
    • Akash’Bhuta/Thriya/Flora? At least in the latter case there’s the tree’s vascular system that transports water and nutrients around, right? Blood Countess biting a tree is a fun image, but no.
    • Aeon Girl - we don’t really know much about her biology? That’s because it doesn’t really exist. She’s just made of energy. They feel like the attempt to feed on Aeon Girl would destroy Blood Countess Bathory from the inside out.
    • Guise - he doesn’t seem to bleed when injured, but could Blood Countess find a way around that problem? Would it matter if it were pre- or post-Philosopher’s Stone? It almost has to matter if it’s pre- or post-Philosopher’s Stone. Adam brings up a good point that he’s basically just goo (like Magmarians) up until the Philosopher’s Stone, but merging with that restores his body somewhat. He has the transmutation stuff going on now, which does different things, but he was likely immune beforehand.
    • Ra (since he has blood she could likely get some power there, but could he be turned into a vampire)? Blake Washington Jr. likely could, but would the Staff of Ra override that? The story where Ra is still Ra but Blake Washington Jr. is a vampire sounds like a ton of fun.
    • Writhe - how much of the Shadow Cloak is a part of him? Does this change after OblivAeon? The Cloak is enough of a part of him that removing it could kill him (and we see that almost happen). Like, it’s not just a coating with the normal guy under it - we see lasers shooting straight through where his chest would be and he “blorps” around it. It’s probably possible before OblivAeon, but not after. It would be difficult for Blood Countess to find the “him” in there.
    • Dark Watch Mr. Fixer - obviously he’s dead already so no making him a vampire, but he’s got blood so could she feed on him and get some strength? Yes. They even think that she could make him a vampire, but it would take a bit more effort/expenditure of power on her part.
    • A Singular Entity? No. Beyond her scope (probably similar to the Aeon Girl situation).
    • A fleshchild? She probably could gain sustenance from it, but probably not power. It would also likely be along the lines of “I’m going to have some nice grape juice.” [takes a sip] “Oh… This is grape drink.”
    • GloomWeaver in one of his more organic forms? Like, the Rotting God… Yeah, she could probably get some eldritch power from that (but not change him into a vampire).
    • Man-Grove? No, he’s trees.
    • Re-Volt? Yes, shockingly. At least pre-RPG (not in the RPG).
    • Argentium? No. He’s all metal.
    • Radioactivist? Yeah, he’s still got most of his normal human physiology in there. It would be very bad for her and she’d likely have to spend time recovering from it.
    • Empyreon? Yes.
  • You said that Blood Countess is nigh-unstoppable with Zhu Long as the only real contender for taking her down - what about Singular Entities? They’re not likely to be interested in doing so.
  • What if Tachyon, Baron Blade, or some other tech person managed to make some kind of technobabble “null magic” device to make an area where magic just doesn’t work? Would Blood Countess just “blorp” into a puddle of blood? Would she just become a normal, killable human? If a tech-based solution is off the table, what if Argent Adept or somebody magics up a null-magic area? She wouldn’t just instantly “blorp” into a puddle of blood, but she’s a magical creature who is much older than she should be. An anti-magic field would cause her to quickly degrade and she might “blorp” if kept in there too long. It also wouldn’t be good blood, but like rotting corpse blood. Another note: it’s not necessarily that there are no ways to kill her, just that “we’ve tried all the normal anti-vampire things and those don’t work”. There are probably plenty of ways to kill her. Atomizing her would probably work.
  • Do you like so far how the Kickstarter is going in regards to putting out daily updates? Do you think you’ll do the same for the future ones? Or maybe cut back a little? He loves how the Kickstarter is going but it turns out that daily updates are a lot. Christopher does like the way that he’s doing it where he can post an update and then not have to stick around all day in the comments answering questions because there will be the Q&A section in the next day’s update. Maybe MWF or TuTh would be less stressful, but if he wanted to do a dedicated update for every deck this is how many he needed, so dialing back might not really be possible. It’s also just great for engagement to have something on the campaign every weekday. Other non-Sentinels Kickstarters are unlikely to have daily updates.
  • Will the RCR box include any tokens other than the 8-sided purple star and little hexagons shown in the image on the campaign page? The stars are “This target deals irreducible damage” tokens, the hexagons are additional 1 HP tokens (although the problem people have with running out as things are can likely be solved by not putting tokens on cards that are undamaged, only putting tokens on if they’re not at full). We are also getting a second Villain HP spinner and three additional Nemesis tokens. The second HP spinner makes sense for the Operative being in here. There will also be a second large number wheel in here - this is a “replacement” to fix the fit of the core box’s large spinner wheel.
  • If Nightmist was turned into a vampire, would she retain her mistiness or would it be overridden by the vampiness? She’d be BloodMist - she’d still have her mistiness, but it would be red.
  • Given that Harpy has a new nemesis icon in Rook City Renegades, will her nemesis be in the set, or is he/she/they/it/etc planned for a later set? Time will tell [said with a tone of voice that makes it abundantly clear that we can assume they’ll be in RCR]. Certainly there’s no stories we’ve told about that. We’ll see.
  • When does Abomination of Desolation start, seeing as our old date is incorrect? June 1994 and is a 4-issue limited series.
  • Who is the better long-term planner between Biomancer, Blood Countess Bathory, or Zhu Long? Zhu Long > Blood Countess > Biomancer. Biomancer’s been doing it longer than Bathory, but he doesn’t have to do as good of a job as she does. He’s not so much “planning” as “putting a lot of things into play” and seeing what happens. The joke about him doing his “just as planned” thing is a joke - it’s just him saying that whatever is happening is just as he expected to happen. Really it was just him wanting to see what would happen. Everything is a grand experiment for him. Zhu Long is a master of long-term planning, though. Blood Countess is good at foresight, but isn’t much of a machinator. She sees the implications of things down the line and can assess people’s actions/responses, but her long term goals aren’t as active as Zhu Long’s are.
  • Questions about the coolest character Frostbite. Would he continue being a hero or would the blood magic corrupt him? Would he be able to ditch his suit permanently? He could ditch his suit, but the Blood Magic would corrupt him. He might not be a full-on Villain (it’s probable, but not definite), but he’s walking around freezing the world around him.
  • Could a Ra vampire drink the magma of the Magmarinans? Ra could, but Ra doesn’t get turned into a vampire. Dr. Blake Washington Jr. does.
  • Who wins in a fight between Frostbite and Iron Legacy? Iron Legacy shatters him in one hit.
  • Is Zhu Long actually Apophis? Definitely not.
  • You’ve said that Zhu Long “doesn’t fear Mantra” - this prompts the question of who does he fear? OblivAeon? Wager Master? The Scholar? Writhe? There is one member of that list that would get his full attention and that’s the Scholar. When the Scholar ceased to be, Zhu Long would have felt that resonate. That mattered?
  • Biomancer, Count Barzakh, or Bathory are all “fleeing death” in some way - is Zhu Long likewise? He’s not really afraid of death. He doesn’t want it, but he’s not motivated to “make sure he lives forever” in the way that those three do. He just does. He knows that death could eventually claim him as it comes for us all eventually, but until that time he plans to continue doing his thing.
  • You’ve said that “turning into a dragon” is easy for Zhu Long [aside: it is], what’s hard for him? What are the things that his magics can either just barely do or not do at all? What does he want to be able to do, but can’t? Admitting he’s wrong. Loving unconditionally. Letting other people in. Hugging. Seriously though, there is a level of magic above his that he knows he can’t attain/is forever beyond his grasp and that bothers him. He doesn’t really have a bucket list. He’s very patient and has a better awareness of what is happening in the world than most.
  • Post-OblivAeon, are there any masters of Atlantis still around? Yes.
  • How many? Twelve. The mantle of the twelve masters who sealed away Atlantis and went their separate ways can and has been passed on.
  • Will the threat posed by xxtz’Hulissh draw any of them out? Probably.
  • Are any of them recognizable to fans of Sentinel Comics? If so, who are they? Yes, and nice try.
  • Are there twelve overarching types of magic that correspond to the twelve Atlanteans? Are the things we know about like Blood, Mist, Void, etc. one and the same with those types, or are they subgroups under the twelve somehow? No - the different Atlantean masters didn’t go out to pioneer the different groups we know about now. They were all masters of magics and the magic we have now are all descended from them, but it’s not a one-to-one thing.
  • In the Rook City Renegades video, we see Expatriette fighting a Goat-headed Demon! Is that Black Capra? Has the Goatataur returned in another story? That’s a different denizen of Æturnus.
  • RCR mechanics question: Zhu Long and True Form have an interesting interaction where destroying one Discovers the other, and playing one buries the other. In the order of operations, would the discovery bury the discoverer cancelling their destruction, or is the trigger of destruction overwriting the ability to be buried? Burying doesn’t count as Destroying. So, when Zhu Long is destroyed nothing interrupts that process and so the Zhu Long card will wind up in the Environment trash.
  • Has there been a conversation of if we are going to get nemesis marks in the environment (I am asking because of the lack of mark on Zhu Long)? Zhu Long will have the Mr. Fixer nemesis icon, it just wasn’t there for the card previews the other day.
  • Wait, does that mean that Zhu Long is now afraid of Guise? No.
  • Who is creepier Writhe, Frostbite, or Bloodmist? Writhe, probably. Then Frostbite. Straight-up vampires aren’t really “creepy” anymore.
  • If Vampires are undead, could you kill one as easily as Iron Legacy “shattering” Frostbite (is it tantamount to beheading)? Vampires are the sorts of creatures such that shattering them into thousands of shards would destroy them. They can imagine somebody trying to behead Blood Countess at some point and she just picks up her head and puts it back on.
  • What’s going on in Freedom Five Annual #8? The Multiverse recap said it was a Spite story, but considering it’s cited on The Law Hawk’s card & in the decks of three Freedom Five members (Legacy, Tachyon, Absolute Zero), and we see Wraith, Tempest, and Blade in his power suit on there, I have to assume the Spite stuff isn’t canon to this story, right? Baron Blade attacks Freedom Five HQ but it turns out to be a robot duplicate. There is no Spite stuff in that story and so if they said that previously, it’s one of the things that got retconned.