The Letters Page: Editor's Note 57
Another successful live show in the bag! Here's the audio.
Run Time: 1:16:37
Too much time spent on banter last time!
Here's the upcoming schedule:
- Tuesday, August 2nd: Episode #221: Creative Process: Nexus Primalus
- Tuesday, August 9th: No Episode! We’re at Gen Con!
- Tuesday, August 16th: Gen Con Live 2022
- Tuesday, August 23rd: Editor’s Note #58
- Tuesday, August 30th: Episode #222: Writers’ Room: Aminia Twain saves the Freedom Five
We start off by answering questions about OblivAeon... and then it
spirals downward continues fruitfully and interestingly from there!
Join us next week for Episode #220: Writers' Room: A minor villain gets a major triumph! Who can it be?! Time will tell...
- OblivAeon came about when Oblivion attacked and consumed Archaeon - what would have happened if Archaeon had consumed Oblivion? Would the resulting entity have had different powers/goals/methods? Would it still be called “OblivAeon”? Would it look the same? Well, this is kind of a difficult one to answer because this situation wouldn’t even have been something that could have shown up in Disparation, because we’re talking about Singular Entities. In a hypothetical exercise, however, there are two ways things could go. First, the combination of the two of them always results in OblivAeon regardless of the aggressor (although it’s worth noting that Archaeon wasn’t the type of being to attack/consume another in the first place). The second option would be to make something that’s somehow an “inverted OblivAeon” (ArchIon isn’t a bad name!).
- Given that OblivAeon can destroy universes by either causing them to be similar enough to overlap and mutually annihilate or by going there and just destroying it himself, since he needed Universe 1 to be destroyed, why did he choose the latter option instead of the former? The unsatisfying answer is because that’s the way to do it that results in an actual story. The subtext within the fiction is that OblivAeon had tried to do things the other way and then came to destroy Universe 1 directly out of frustration with this universe that just kept defying the odds and surviving things they weren’t supposed to. It’s become a crux point in his plans that this universe has to go (think cutting down a tree rather than trimming the branches) and since it’s not cooperating he has to come to deal with things personally.
- If I had an Eevee, what kind of stone would I need to evolve it into OblivAeon [the joke here being that the evolved versions of Eevee all end in -eon]? A Singular Stone (or maybe an Entropy Stone). [Follow-up from chat that gets read: “OblivAeon is totally one of the new weird evolution methods. Gotta level up with a prime number of experience gained hitting a prime level with Friendship at 0 to evolve.” This is exhausting, but also seems accurate.]
- Did the Il Alimento-verse exist in the Multiverse? Yes. All universes exist or existed in the Multiverse.
- If so, did OblivAeon destroy it? Yes. He crossed it over with the Beveryverse (the beverage universe) and they destroyed one another.
- How about the Versiverse (the universe where everyone speaks in verse)? He couldn’t destroy that one. He tried to cross it with the Prose-verse which was close, but the lack of meter kept them separate.
- You have said that OblivAeon is entropic in nature and that remnants of his power is fading away over time - Voss created the “sandwich bag” using that power, is it inherently going to collapse of its own accord eventually? Hypothetically, over billions or trillions of years it probably would collapse on its own. The power is entropic, but there’s still just so much power invested into it in the first place that it won’t break down quickly. It’s more likely that something else would interfere with it enough that it breaks down due to that meddling before it deteriorates to just collapse on its own.
- OblivAeon is Singular, but his Scions aren’t; given that they draw power from him, but (in theory) they will also be split and create duplicates when a timeline split occurs, how many splits would need to happen before the amount of power the multiplying Scions draw from him becomes a problem for him? Infinite. The amount of power that Scions draw from him is inconsequential.
- What would Nixious the Chosen do if he were to encounter an alternate-universe version of himself? He’d outwardly just acknowledge that he knows how the Multiverse works and so having another version of himself is no big deal. Inwardly he’d flip-flop between being very judgey regarding how that other Nixious is obviously not as good as him and having severe imposter syndrome about how maybe that other Nixious really is better than him. Lots of insecurity.
- How long did the OblivAeon crisis last in-setting? Hours? Days? Weeks? Variable due to time-dilation or other oddities? It certainly took at least days. It’s a war with multiple battles fought, even with things happening “all at once” in multiple locations. The heroes are shown regrouping and planning occasionally, but nobody really has time to rest and everybody is exhausted by the end. Somewhere between “a few days” and “a week”. There’s also room for, like, a whole team of alternate Dr. Medicos to be going around and trying to refresh people to just keep them on their feet until the crisis is over.
- You’ve said that simply destroying the Earth would cause Universe 1 to be “too different” from other timelines (as a reason for why OblivAeon didn’t just do that), considering that “dropping the moon onto the Earth” would likely destroy all of humanity and therefore also make things “too different”, would Luminary’s plan have actually succeeded in foiling (or at least delaying) Oblivaeon’s plans? It would delay things, but wouldn’t stop it entirely. “It would have worked” for certain definitions of “worked”.
- Are OblivAeon shards Singular? If a shard exists in a reality that then experiences a timeline split, does each reality get a copy of that shard or does a random one retain the shard while the other reality lacks it? If only one reality gets the shard, would all of the shards in a reality go to the same reality after a split or would each one get randomly distributed? If they can be duplicated, well, now we have potentially infinite OblivAeon shards and that can’t possibly be good, right? This is tricky. Yes, if they can be duplicated, that’s bad. But the alternative is to, say, have characters that have OblivAeon shards that could lose them at any given time just because a timeline split occurs and they lose the coin-flip. The latter option makes them think that OblivAeon shards aren’t Singular. If they were Singular, that would also limit their ability to tell stories involving them in, say, Disparation. The idea that these pieces of a Singular Entity that have been broken off might no longer be Singular themselves doesn’t offend them. You’re entirely right that this is bad since they are inherently damaging to the fabric of reality. It’s not necessarily bad from a writing point of view, though.
- Will the sentinels costume contest still be happening at Gen Con this year? Yes! [Saturday August 6th at 11 AM at booth 1321.]
- Since Adam expressed awareness of himbos a few episodes back, I must now request if we can hear the details of the officially determined list of himbos in the Sentinels universe for very important informational purposes. [Not a question.] Setback and Benchmark most-consistently. Legacy and Haka have been written that way, but they’re not consistently written that way. Stuntman maybe, but less likely than Legacy and Haka.
- Follow up after somebody posted this chart in chat: Hippo is a jock, Haka is a hunk. Stuntman and Legacy aren’t himbos. Stuntman might not even be on the chart - he can “do good” but he’s not “kind”. It might just be Setback and Benchmark. Somebody points out that Benchmark isn’t dumb, but Setback isn’t unintelligent either. Setback is more of a himbo than Benchmark, though.
- A second follow-up that nominates Mainstay as a himbo and he absolutely is. Probably more than Benchmark.
- Do you dread OblivAeon in DE will only cause more lingering OblivAeon questions? Or does that thought excite you since it still means the podcast is alive and well? They do not dread it. If they hated them that much, they’d just not read those questions. The “hate” here is a shtick.
- Had Voss not used up OblivAeon’s power to seal away Universe 1 (and thus ending his brief tenure as a Singular Entity), would he have become the new Singular Entity of Entropy? Does a Singular Entity’s power carry with it the intent of that entity? Would Voss have represented another concept entirely? Part of the reason Voss spends the power is that as soon as he took the power he started “bleeding” the power. He used it before he lost it. While Voss had the power he was Singular, but he was the Singular Entity of Rainek Kel’Voss rather than the Entity of some other concept. He was Singular, but that status wasn’t going to last very long (which was kind of paradoxical). He wasn’t the embodiment of a concept like most Singular Entities are.
- How much intentionality is there between how a Singular Entity interacts with their Aspect? Has there been an Entity that comes to dislike their Aspect and they try to work against it? Does the nature of being a Singular Entity necessarily drive them to act in accordance with their Aspect? Could there be a Singular Entity of Spicy Foods that is looking for a bland meal that just keeps having, say, a bottle of ghost chili powder knocked into the pan while it’s cooking? There’s kind of a chicken and the egg thing. Is Wager Master the Singular Entity of Chaos because he’s so chaotic, or is he chaotic because he’s the Singular Entity of Chaos? Both directions are accurate. If Talontus were to be destroyed, Soothsayer Carmichael could not become the new Singular Entity of Magic. He cares about it and knows about it, but both sides of the equation have to be true. From a storytelling perspective, these things exist to be the most archetypal things imaginable. It’s a fun thought experiment, though. Their will and Aspect are always in harmony.
- Are Singular Entities affected by the presence/absence of their Aspect? Could a Singular Entity enter/what would happen if they were to enter a universe where their Aspect was absent? Let’s say that there is a reality in which there is no magic. Talontus could still go there and magic would still not happen unless a Singular Entity were to “break the rules of that reality”. Talontus could just make magic happen there, but it’s not an automatic thing just due to its presence.
- Is Wager Master even a Villain? Sure, he’s clearly an Antagonist, but he’s capable of trying to be heroic (in the Inversiverse) and by helping out in the way that he did during OblivAeon he was more “heroic” than any other Singular Entity - isn’t he just creating Chaos so that Order can triumph? He shows awareness of the futility of his actions (by “helping” during OblivAeon by losing to the heroes) - how much of this is off-base? How Villainous is a Villain if the intention is not to win? They were with you through the first half of that. He doesn’t specifically care about hurting people. He’s also not specifically out to help people or to not hurt people. He’s out to create Chaos and hurting people tends to be a quick way to generate some of that. By his actions, he is more villainous than not. Humanity is so far beneath him as to be mere playthings. He doesn’t treat us in a way that comes even close to “ethical”. He’s constantly kicking over the anthill of the universe. Not because he “hates ants” but because he likes the chaos that ensues. He is not creating Chaos so that Order can triumph. He helps against OblivAeon because he wants Chaos, but Chaos can’t really exist if there’s no reality. He plays by the rules he sets, but it’s still just to further the goal of Chaos. It’s head-games. They’re not really sure he’s conscious of the paradox inherent to a Chaotic being adhering to rules.
- [Just a prediction to get it on the books] You’ve said that if the two post-OblivAeon Wager Masters were to meet, they’d both cease to exist (because two copies of a Singular Entity is weird). You have also said that Wager Master doens’t have to play by the rules he sets, he just chooses to. I have two predictions for how this will play out. The first: when (not if) the two meet there will be some acknowledgement that it’s impossible and they should both be destroyed (probably Tachyon being present to talk about it), but then the two Wager Masters will slyly look at the heroes and declare that they’re not playing by that rule. Then there are just two of them around for the heroes to deal with. The second: they’ll not be instantly destroyed, but will have a competition to see which one gets to stick around - likely taking the form of some kind of game at cosmic scales and possibly over eons of time.
- When a new Singular Entity arises, is it something like Marvel’s “Elders of the Universe” where some existing being (usually an alien) dedicated their lives to a concept so completely that they eventually become an immortal embodiment of the concept? No, that can happen, but more usually it’s just sort of a spontaneously-generated thing.
- Is there ever a story in which another hero witnesses Haka “dying”, and after he comes back has to reckon with the fact that wow, this guy really is immortal? Does a villain ever witness his apparent death? How does that go? There are definitely stories of Haka dying and coming back and various people having to deal with that and we see their reactions. There’s probably a “Death of Haka” story that was billed as being it for him this time, but we’d also just have long fights where, say, Haka gets run through with a sword or something and dies, but then the fight continues and he gets better. The first time somebody ever sees it happens generally gets commented on. By later Prime Wardens stories, they probably have at least one instance where they’re fighting alongside somebody who sees Haka die and they start to worry but the other PW members just tell them to “give him a minute”. There’s a wide range of how they want to play it depending on the tone of the comic in question.
- If Sentinel Comics were to get a Muppets adaptation 1) What story would you want adapted? 2) Who would be played by which Muppet? 3) Who would be played by the token humans in the cast? There are a lot of options for story. They think that Muppets work best for adapting classic literature (a Muppets Les Misérables with a token-human Javert would be great), so what’s the story that fits that idea best. Maybe Moonfall, but you kind of need a big cast to make the most of the Muppets thing. Oh, Vengeance? That could work. Let’s see. Kermit as Legacy, obviously. Baron Blade is a token human. Hmm… that kind of leaves Miss Piggy in a weird position. You could have her as Emily Parsons, but then that seems under-utilized. Okay, maybe have this adaptation come out in the 2010s and have Kermit and Miss Piggy be Bunker and Wraith. Have Legacy and Baron Blade be humans and (most of) the rest of the heroes and villains be Muppets. No, wait. Legacy is Sam Eagle. And you can have the Vengeful Five be Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. This is a really fun one to work through and they could spend way too much time on this.
- Chat comments that they bring up: Miss Piggy would make a great Citizen Dawn (and if so, have Statler and Waldorf as Hammer and Anvil). Fozzie isn’t bad as Legacy. Gonzo as Absolute Zero (you’d have the helmet with his nose sticking out). Baron Blade played by Tim Curry. Beaker as Tachyon. Swedish Chef as Biomancer. Rolf as Argent Adept. Somebody broke down the Electric Mayhem as the Vengeful Five: Janice as Friction, Floyd as Proletariat, Animal as Fright Train.
- Does Soothsayer Carmichael have powers in the Magic-verse or is he the one person who can’t do magic? Even in the Magic-verse he can’t do magic. They won’t go so far as to say that he never gets to use magic (especially since we have a story where he is able to use it, albeit briefly), but they think that having him use magic in the Magic-verse is less interesting than him not being able to use it there. There’s definitely room for a Soothsayer Carmichael who in his reality is a gifted mage - although even then he’s less interesting to tell a story about in that universe than he would be somehow visiting the main reality and interacting with himself and NightMist or whatever.
- With Legacy and Unity crafting a robotic offspring of Legacy, could this being (whom we’ll call Omnitron-L), after enough time, craft another version of itself, call it the next version, and have it become the next Legacy/Omnitron-L? Yes, if Unity built a robot that got adopted by Legacy and which counted as the next Legacy, if that robot were to go on to build another “offspring” that one would then count as well. It all depends on what the writer is wanting to do with the story and that tracks with how the Legacy stuff has been explained, so why not?
- We often hear Adam and Christopher say something like “Trevor can cut this” on the podcast, which means that Trevor didn’t cut it - how often does something get cut in such a situation? Adam has no idea since he doesn’t listen to the final cut. Christopher says that when they’re goofing around and say something like “Trevor will probably cut this”, Trevor actually cuts it about a quarter of the time. If they wind up discussing something that actually shouldn’t make it to air (spoilers or just not good radio or whatever) and say it seriously, he’ll cut it like 99% of the time. There’s been a low-single-digit number of times Christopher’s said that and then it wasn’t actually cut. Anybody who’s seen one of the live recordings, however, knows makes a lot of quality-of-life cuts like editing out silence as they scroll through chat or whatever. [Trevor cuts in his own audio to answer as well:] Everything Christopher said is correct. He’ll also sometimes cut things if he thinks they’re just going on too long, but if it makes him laugh it probably stays in.
- OblivAeon’s goal is to destroy everything, does he seek to destroy things so hard that he even destroys “nothingness”? He doesn’t destroy Ur-Space (which is about as close to “nothingness” as we have, I guess). The goal is for nothing to remain and what happens after that is a big ol’ question mark. The important thing is that he’s unsuccessful.
- How many “spare issues” do you have from the start of the comic book line through the end of OblivAeon? They know all of the issue numbers and what month they came out. It is possible that they could eventually fill every issue. It would take a very long time. We’re talking thousands of hours of work. Following a recent conversation they had, 1956 was the last year in which they had not yet set anything for SotM and there are only a few before then. By contrast, later on there are some years for which they have things every month - and that’s not counting stuff they’d invented but hadn’t made its way into the card game attributions. [For context from my end, I by necessity of only knowing the things they’ve said on-air, do not have complete information - my current tally of total issues before the post-OblivAeon relaunch is 9338 issues and I do not have any story content listed in 8630 of them. Less than 8% of issues have been discussed with us.]
- [Letter continues with a long plan to cover every issue with actual audio drama or something] That would be a crazy amount of work. They have a fair amount of story plotted, but they don’t have the actual story written. Given infinite money and interest, what they could do is continue to fill out the issues with the kinds of stuff they already have, but hand off those plots to dedicated script writers to actually flesh things out (after the writers had played several games of SotM and listened to the whole podcast to get up to speed). They would then go over the submitted scripts to edit and whatnot - they imagine that after getting to the “writing” stage the actual edits would probably mostly be in terms of making sure the character voices and story tone are coming through accurately. After a few rounds of that they figure that the script writers would get up to speed and require less hand-holding. Even so, this would be the full time job of everyone involved and would have to be incredibly profitable to be worth it. Or they can just keep doing what they’re doing. They imagine that they could likely do a Writers’ Room episode a week for the rest of their lives and not get through every issue.
- After the Mechanics of Definitive Edition episode, I’m actually mad about a rule you clarified: you said at that time that using the Accompany effect on the Argent Adept card “Alacritous Subdominant” would result in you putting the card back on top of the deck immediately and then using the power that it granted you. This flies in the face of the general game rule that card text that is not in play cannot affect the game - with that earlier ruling, you’re letting Alacritous Subdominant grant you a power use while the card is not in play. WHY!? [The letter goes on to make many good points about why this ruling is weird and that, while he knows he can play however he likes at his own table he’d like this to be “officially” reconsidered.] The problem here is the word “if” in the game text. “Accompany: You may use 1 power. If you do so, put this card on the top of your deck.” The current wording creates a weird timing situation. In future printings, they will change the wording here from “If” to “After” which makes the timing unambiguous. This will change things from the earlier statement so that the card won’t go to the top of the deck until after the related power use is done being resolved, but it also clears up this weird behavior.
- Additionally! Back in the previous Editor’s Note, somebody pointed out that the colors of the magical effects on some of Argent Adept’s cards did not match the associated Virtuoso whose instrument was being used. At the time they said that they thought things were right. They were wrong. A number of wires got crossed over the course of the months that went into making things. Adam has changed the relevant arts so that future printings will have the correct colors. Their goal is to also eventually print an “errata pack” for the game to fix these things for the people who care. There’s nothing that’s game-breaking, just a few minor rule-wording things [the ones I know are the above Alacritous Subdominant and changing Citizen Anvil’s “revive Citizen Hammer” effect to make use of the Summon term rather than the clunky "move into play"], a few minor issue attribution things [Arcane Cadence should quote VotV volume 3 instead of 2 and “Heart of Gold” should quote Cosmic Tales volume 2 instead of 1], and these art changes. They’re trying to be “Definitive”, but that doesn’t mean that small errors won’t crop up that they still need to fix (Spirit Island wasn’t “error free” until something like the 7th printing).
- Are there any stories/issues that you want to tell that are not spoilers that you are itching to tell but haven’t had a place to do so? Could you give us a hint as to where it is so we can submit it as a topic? What a delightful question. Well, there’s that one that comes up in the voting once a year and will some day make it in. There’s Fashion stuff. A Bunker villain. There’s not a spoiler-free way to answer this question. They do re-word submissions sometimes to make something close to what they want to talk about more on-point. Just keep submitting stuff. They love the quality of the ideas that come through.