The Letters Page: Interlude 8
Post-Gen Con Wrap-up and Retrospective
We are still exhausted from Gen Con, but let's talk about how that show went!
Run Time: 39:44
Christopher and Adam spend the first 7 minutes of the show just talking about how Gen Con went, especially the Letters Page Live panel. Spoilers: it went REALLY well.
Just before the 5 minute mark, Christopher forgets the name of the musical instrument he played at the Letters Page Live panel. It's the melodica, dummy.
The bulk of this interlude is getting to the questions that we brought to Gen Con to answer live, which are mostly general questions about both the world of Sentinel Comics and even this show.
Shortly after the 10 minute mark, we have a question for our producer Trevor! We had intended on asking this question live when Trevor was there in the room with us, but instead, he was kind enough to record an answer separately. But we cannot allow him to release all of our secrets!
On to the schedule of upcoming episodes!
- September 5th: Haka
- September 12th: Ambuscade/Stuntman
- September 14th: Interlude - Slaughterhouse Six
- September 19th: The Sentinels
- September 21st: Interlude - Void Guard
- September 26th: La Capitan/La Comodora
- September 28th: Interlude - Assorted Items of Interest
So much thrilling content on the way! And look at all those interludes!
As we mention in this interlude, we've already recorded the Haka episode, as Christopher is currently in Seattle for PAX Dev and PAX West, but all the other episodes on the schedule need your questions! Send us your questions!
- They talk about the costume contest that took place a few hours before the Letters Page recording. I can attest that there were some really amazing costumes this year. I know that Handelabra Games posted some pictures on their Facebook page already, but I'm hoping that we get more of the ones that Trevor took soon. Here's a group shot.
- Is Sentinel Comics still publishing books today? Are they popular? Are there movie or video game adaptations and would we eventually see cheesy Hollywood "reboot" versions of the characters in the games? Yes, they're still publishing (and indeed the publishing schedule they've talked about goes at least into the 2020s) and they're still popular. There are a series of fighting games and action-RPGs; pretty much name a game genre appropriate for superheroes and they've got them. As mentioned in the live panel, there have been live action movies and TV shows in there, but the most popular properties are animated shows and movies and because they're animated they're pretty accurate to the source materials already, so there's no need for "Hollywood" versions of them.
- Is there any chance that we might get an Interlude consisting of the content that Trevor cuts from the other episodes of the podcast? He could be persuaded to make something but... [Christopher and Adam break in to tell him that, no, he's not allowed to do so. Maybe a blooper reel or something, but by no means should all of that be made public.]
- Do PSA comics exist in the world of Sentinel Comics publishing? If so, what kind of messages? There's stuff like the early Plague Rat stories that are sending heavy-handed messages like "Don't do drugs" or "Don't play in the sewers", but those aren't really true PSA comics. They'd probably have ones that they'd partner with a store or something to, I dunno, have big sports stars alongside the heroes with messages like "Stay in school" or "Don't smoke" (meanwhile, there's a current issue of Expatriette's comic where she's chain-smoking on the cover or something - although it's kind of a big point of her character that she makes poor life choices). There certainly would have been these kinds of things, but the guys haven't really thought out specific examples ahead of time and these books would obviously have been out of continuity with the "real" comics (even if they were interstitial "stories" in the middle of an otherwise canonical book).
- [Compliments to Adam regarding Unity's Tactics-era costume design] What are Adam's favorite alternate costumes/identities he's come up with? A quick digression from Christopher occurs where they talk about how despite how much Adam hate's his early work as art, there's still a lot of *character* that comes across in it. Adam prefers the RPG design for Unity (and they both like her Termi-Nation look with the jacket). Prime Wardens Captain Cosmic is a good one. Christopher suggests Hunted Naturalist (Adam concurs), Fugue State Parse (definitely - bringing up a category of "Heroes that go from 'normal' clothes to having a superhero costume" are improvements). All of the Villain-turned-Heroes. The VotM characters with Adam specifically calling out Miss Information (with another aside contrasting changes with Biomancer whose design didn't change from his appearance in the base set - appropriate given his "man out of time" quality). <self promotion joke>The Hammer and Anvil VotM redesign where they're kind of "space versions" of themselves are great. I mean, how can you not love these guys?</self promotion joke> Adam thinks that most of the RPG designs are solid, which is fitting since if he didn't think so he could still change a lot of it.
- What kind of hero/villain/environment *wouldn't* exist in SotM? They wouldn't do any NC-17 characters as it has a strong Silver Age vibe - that it's a setting that's appropriate for kids (or at least not on the extreme adult end given the grim & gritty Rook City content and the horror stuff involving Gloomweaver and whatnot), but that adults can also get into. The strongest they'll go is a light PG-13 by today's rating standards. They wouldn't do a "living planet" environment (this seems to be a private joke as something they'd come around to whenever they had problems coming up with new environments - it'd be "too big" to work as a deck, there wouldn't be any cohesion to it, then they finally made one as a single card in the Enclave of the Endlings to get it out of their system). They talked about teleporting characters as ones not really fitting with the game they were making given that there's not a strong sense of location during play (I mean, they're in an Environment, but there's not really an emphasis on specific individual spacial locality within them). There was a Villain idea for a propagandist or newspaper publisher who's stirring stuff up, but it didn't really work mechanically - it was almost more of an environmental thing or it could work as a side villain somehow, but it just never came together. The RPG frees up a lot more narrative space for NPCs (even Environment targets are frequently either on the Hero or Villain side).
- When you said that the RPG story will be impacted by the players, what does that mean? Are there plans for organized-play events where player actions can influence later events? Survey's sent out to players? They plan on first releasing a bunch of content (the core materials, more player options, adventures, etc.), but then over time they want to eventually do organized-play events but also they want to work something up so that actions taken in earlier adventures can impact later adventures [I'm imagining something like branching paths written into adventures to allow GMs to tweak story points to account for their group's individual consequences in published scenarios]. This is all contingent on the RPG products actually selling well, though.
- You mention a lot about how busy you are, what's taking up your time? I don't know how much money SotM brings in, but do you have other jobs? Are you just in a lot of meetings about new projects? Why so time-consuming? Greater Than Games has 11 full-time employees and even how successful their games are, they're still paying salaries and benefits. The trick is that despite how popular SotM is, it's paying for upkeep costs for running the business rather than funding their lavish lifestyles. In terms of time, GTG can't afford to pay Christopher and Adam for the amount of time that they actually spend working/thinking about this stuff. Adam is drawing constantly (well, Friday is mostly podcast-related work so he gets a "break" for that) and Christopher is writing/designing games. Adam's also the art director for the company and so is coordinating work being done by others for their games that he's not drawing himself. They're just really busy, because they love this stuff. They also have families/personal lives to maintain. They try to carve out one night a week (generally Tuesdays - although it's been over a month at this point) for actually getting together to play games.