The Letters Page: Editor's Note 61
The penultimate Editor's Note of the year!
Run Time: 1:03:04
We're closing in on the end of the year, but we're not quite there yet! Another live show with lots of live attendees, and great questions all around! But first, the schedule:
- Tuesday, December 6th: Episode #233: Writers’ Room: The Scholar lets loose in a fight
- Tuesday, December 13th: Episode #234: Creative Process: Bunker Foes
- Tuesday, December 20th: Episode #235: Writers’ Room: Polar Express: Absolute Zero and Fright Train holiday story
- Tuesday, December 27th: Editor’s Note #62
Join us next week for the last Spooky Months episode: Episode #232 - Writers' Room: The Mocktriarch story! Whatever could that story be about?!
- If the original SotM game models the comics from the 1940s through the 2010s, the RPG models the soft-relaunch post-OblivAeon, and Sentinel Tactics the Vertex imprint, what does Definitive Edition model? Is there a “Definitive Freedom Five” book? “Essential Justice Comics”? “All-Star Legacy”? It’s a good question that runs into problems stemming from their lies. They did say that the original game paralleled the comics over those decades but they were wrong; Definitive Edition does. The Enhanced Edition era now models, let’s say… an early, somewhat amateurish animated adaptation of the Multiverse era (that’s why the art is more samey throughout). Definitive Edition is what it needs to be - they just didn’t know what was necessary for that conceit to work the first time around. They didn’t have the knowledge or skills to do that the first time around. Let’s also go to the step to say that the big, hardbound, fancy editions of the comics that get put out are called “Definitive Editions” in the Metaverse (equivalent to “Absolute Watchmen” or “Essential X-Men”).
- In the conflict resolution section of the previewed RCR rulebook you say that during Hero turns the order of effects in each phase are in the order of that Hero’s choosing - that’s awesome and makes things easier for players to determine how things are done. Does this override what was said in a previous episode regarding “static, then regular, then optional” effects’ order? Am I misunderstanding? There will be a section in the rulebook (which people won’t be getting this month and would take a Christmas miracle to get next month, but he’s hopeful [and not promising anything] about the month after that) that will state that “this section supersedes the section on page [whatever] of the core rules” and the core rules will be updated when they get around to needing a new print run as well. They wound up running into problems with the “static, regular, optional” framework, so choosing the order is just simpler.
- While looking through the DE core set I noticed that all heroes’ decks have cards citing their first appearance issue with two exceptions: Captain Cosmic and Tempest - are their earliest attributions (Conflux #2 for CC and Stranger in a Strange World #3 for Tempest, both issue #1 would be their first appearances) mistakes or are there reasons to do things this way? They are not mistakes. The quote on Conservation of Energy is from Infinitor rather than Captain Cosmic and so it couldn’t be in Conflux #1. They tried to work a first appearance attribution in when they could, but it wasn’t a priority for them. Same deal with SiaSW where the earliest quote is Legacy speaking to him. Part of it is that the Infinitor story is more central to Captain Cosmic’s story than his first appearance so they chose to emphasize that (and there are multiple examples in comics where the character’s first appearance isn’t really indicative of what the character is like). They think they did a better job with heroes in other sets, but there may be more examples like this.
- You’ve given a few contradictory explanations of the “double draw” rule: the rule book says that during the Draw Phase the Hero draws the top card of their deck and, if they didn’t play a card in their Play Phase or use a power during their Power Phase this turn they may draw an additional card; during a game play live stream you skipped your Play Phase (I believe due to the Self Destruct Sequence) and then elected to not use a power and then drew an additional card. You’ve said that if a Hero is given an off-turn Draw Phase (say, from an Incapacitated Ability) you don’t get to draw an additional card due to this rule, which is contradictory given that said Hero hadn’t played a card or used a power that turn - which is it? The answer is that during an out-of-turn Draw Phase, they don’t have a Play Phase or Power Phase. This doesn’t contradict the Self Destruct Sequence example because that Play phase still existed in the turn, it was just skipped. If you have a phase and either choose to or are required to skip it, the phases still existed for our purposes here. The main idea here is just that you only get the double-draw option on your turn and tried to write the rules to accommodate that intention, but they could have been more clear.
- Regarding the timing of “After” effects (like “After a card is played” or “after a power is used”), do the cards responding to such triggers have to be in play before the trigger is initiated? For example: if First appearance Ra uses his base power: “Ra deals 1 target 1 fire damage. Either salvage 1 Ongoing card or play 1 card.” to play Fiery Tornado which says (in part) “After you use any power, Ra deals 1 target 1 fire damage.” does the latter effect trigger due to the in-progress power use? It would trigger - you don’t check for “after” effects until the thing has totally resolved. Imagine that every power use had Start and End phases (where the Start phase is “start doing the power” and the End phase is “stop doing the power”). After triggers are only looking for the End phase of whatever they’re looking for. By the time that FA Ra’s power hits that imaginary End phase, Fiery Tornado is there looking for it and so it triggers.
- How about this situation: “Darken the Sky” causes the Mask of the Matriarch to enter play, but the Mask says that after a non-Fowl card is played you play the top card of the deck. Since DtS isn’t done being played until the Mask is in play, does that mean that the Mask will then play a card? Yup!
- Why is Alpha’s First Appearance variant Wolf-Woman #1, but Mr. Fixer’s is not from his Black Fist days? Do you have rules for picking an FA issue when the start point is less clear? So Expatriette is an easy example since we never saw that character in comics before the issue on her FA variant (i.e. we never saw her in a Citizen Dawn story prior to that). A difference between Alpha and Mr. Fixer is that Alpha did not really ever have a reboot. Sure, they renamed the book, but there’s continuity in the character from Wolf-Woman into the Alpha era. For Mr. Fixer there’s some fudging with the timeline and other stuff. They’ll go ahead and say now that of the two characters teased on the back of the RCR rulebook (for the next box), one of their First Appearance variants is not the literal issue that they first appeared in. Chrono-Ranger’s actual first appearance is Freedom Five Annual #10, but that was a very short cameo with no explanation. The FA variant will be his first full appearance as Chrono-Ranger (not his first appearance as Jim Brooks back in a Western comic) which is Tome of the Bizarre Volume 3 #1 (April ’88).
- Who is your favorite unnamed villain? They’re fans of [redacted] and [redacted].
- So, if Desert Eagle was sucked into some other dimension by Writhe, does that mean that the Desert Eagle in the RPG is a different guy? Nope, it’s the same guy. He’s just all messed up as a result. The RPG bio talks about it.
- Does Radioactivist have flesh? Does he have empathy? Does he like Unity? This is an in-joke from a recent Letters Page Discord session of Jackbox Games where they were playing Quiplash and Christopher mistook how the round worked. It was a category where you give three answers and Christopher put all three answers into one response instead of breaking them up. So the prompt of “What does it take to be human?” resulted in him saying “having flesh” (due to fleshchildren), “installing an empathy chip” (for Omnitron-X), and “befriending Unity”. If he had known that it would get lumped together he would have said “Install an empathy chip, befriend Unity, get destroyed by a crazy lady who talks to metal”. Anyway, this raised the question of Radioactivist since he’s not Unity’s friend and while he doesn’t have an empathy chip he has empathy, but they were unable to come to a satisfactory resolution to the question of whether he has “flesh”. They think he does, but it’s not “normal human flesh” anymore. Adam brings up that there are lots of types of flesh. Chicken, beef, fish, Radioactivist. Perfectly normal new category.
- What are the odds that we get a Covered Wagon Comics-era Jim Brooks variant? Very low, but not impossible. Part of it is that the old Western comics aren’t really in continuity with the supers stuff and Jim’s history is more of an Easter egg.
- What would you call a were-Balarian? How does lycanthropy affect Balarian? A were-Balarian would be a person who was bitten by and infected to become a Balarian (the “were” word element means “man”). A Balarian bit by a werewolf would grow hair and howl with its big mouth. Really, it’s a weird thing to consider. Where does this occur? If it’s in the Realm of Discord, even a person being bit by a werewolf has the rules thrown out the window.
- Which super-powered hero would Dawn most want to join the Citizens? Visionary. Legacy is an easy answer as a big “moral” victory as it would legitimize her position.
- For the Cosmic Omnitron Critical Event, the Start Phase says to activate Fabricate effects; Reactive Plating Subroutine says that “until the Villain Start Phase…” - would RPS activate, but then immediately expire since it turns on in the middle of a Start Phase? The intention is that it lasts a round, so it should probably be errataed to say “until the next Villain Start Phase”.
- If Citizen Dawn took over a country would she rename it? If so, what would she call it? They joke about “Sunlandia” or similar (trying to stay away from the Empire of the Sun.
- Have you contacted Santa to handle your shipping? He’s very busy. Even so, their shipping is too much of a mess for them to handle. Beyond that, the actual shipping is less of a problem and the bottleneck is the warehouse part - they need to contract out the elves.
- About the potential errata pack, we know about a few things in the core box and RCR, but what about the rest of the boxes? How often would you do errata packs? They’ll burn that bridge when they cross it. They’re certainly going to try to minimize their errors, but there’s always going to be some. Adam brings up the fact that he was recently reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to his kid and despite how long it’s been in print there was still a typo in it. When they know exactly what they’re doing with an errata pack they’ll announce it.
- On page 143 of the RPG, there are a few options for updating your hero. One is “Swap one Ability for another of the same kind (green/yellow/red) using the same Power Source and Archetype, use the same Power/Quality”; is your intent that they could not change their Red Zone Ability to one from another Power or Quality? If you have a Red ability that uses Telekinesis, the intent is that you’re swapping to another Red ability that uses Telekinesis. That said, this is an RPG - if you’ve got something that makes sense in the narrative of your game and your GM is okay with it, do whatever.
- Another option is to swap out a power for another power of the same die size and update all Abilities accordingly; does that include Red abilities that are typically chosen from a specific power category (like, if I change from Vitality to Telepathy, does that mean I’m now using Telepathy to heal when using Major Regeneration)? If you and your GM are happy and there’s a story reason for it to work, go for it. The reason to not is that there’s not a story reason to explain it - this sort of thing can result in interesting unique situations, but you should still do the legwork for why it works.
- We are also told that any of these options can be made “between collections” - does that mean that the player can change each of these details, or just one? Can they do so as many times as they like, or just once? Between collections you can make one change. Otherwise you’re basically majorly re-writing the hero which is what the whole next section is about.
- None of the options given allow a hero to swap an Ability from using a power to using a quality; is that intentional because otherwise it would be too powerful or something I’m not seeing? The Abilities are generally tuned to be based on a power or on a quality and they “work” differently as a result. That said - if you have a specific reason and your GM is cool with it, feel free to do it.
- Now that we’re starting to get teases for the Disparation DE set, I’d like to ask some questions:
- How many hero decks will there be? 6.
- How many villain decks? 9.
- How many environments? 5.
- Will there be any side decks? How many? Yes. More than 1.
- How many hero variants for Core/RCR heroes will there be? 15 for the core heroes. 0 for heroes who are in neither the core game nor Disparation.
- With the expected “standard” components of a DE box (1 event and 1 critical event per villain, several variants for Disparation heroes, the occasional extra card if a deck requires it like the Fey-Court and Organization having 2 character cards associated, etc.) - am I likely to be surprised by content in Disparation? Yes. You are likely to be surprised. There is a deck in this set that nobody really has any means to have guessed/expect its presence.
- Will there be a Cosmic Contest event/mode in Definitive Edition? Time will tell. They wouldn’t say definitively yes or no - it would require a significant development cycle and they don’t know the answer to that yet.
- [In episode 231 you had some trouble with math - specifically what is a curve that approaches a line called; that line is an asymptote, and the curve is a logarithmic curve.] Thanks! Asymptote was what Adam was trying to come up with. [Actually - a logarithmic curve isn’t asymptotic - you’re thinking of a logistic curve/function, logarithmic growth is not bounded, although is slower than a linear function with positive slope.]
- If a standard expansion is 6 heroes, 9 villains, and 5 environments, can we expect at least 2 non-standard ones? Yes.
- Speaking of Chrono-Ranger, does Time-Slinger still have his ronin outfit? He had a whole wardrobe in CON’s bunker. He no longer has access to that as Time-Slinger, unfortunately.
- Are in the art mines or the art yours? Mines.
- Was there a contradiction between the recent NightMist issue regarding the Seer in Magmaria vs. a previous incident mentioned regarding Virgil Miller that led to his death? The latter was in Arcane Tales vol. 2 #576 in December 2012. The NightMist story was in November ’97. The later story is a follow-up to the early one where the Seer tries to do Magmaria stuff again - it’s not the same plot, but just another “using Magmaria for power” thing 15 years later.
- Has Harpy ever been drawn as a cat girl? If so, which comic? Why would neko-Harpy have been included? They don’t think that ever happened in continuity.
- Why do Huginn and Muninn attack the Mocktriarch without the mask? Wouldn’t they recognize that it wasn’t their master immediately? Why do the other birds serve it? Huginn and Muninn attack for reasons they’ll get into next week.
- The RPG book says that the Seer was imprisoned in the Void? Who did it? When? When did he get out? It happens really late (after both Magmaria events). The rest of that sounds like a Writers’ Room.