The Letters Page: Live From Gen Con!
We had a very fun Gen Con this year!
Run Time: 1:28:49
We talk about all manner of things, enjoy a very different musical guest than ever before, and are entirely serious the entire time! (One of those things might not be true. Hard to say.)
And here's a Trevor's eye view of the room before we started while people were still coming in.
There were a lot of people this year! Good thing Gen Con gave us a bigger room than ever before. Let's pack even more in next year!
Between now and then, join us next week on our Patreon for a live recording of this month's Editor's Note!
- Void Guard
- Wager Master
- Mr. Fixer
- Zhu Long
- The Dreamer
- Iron Legacy
- Grand Warlord Voss
- La Comodora
- Dr. Medico
- Both Hakas
- Baron Blade
- Absolute Zero
- Argent Adept
- Blood Countess Bathory
- Greazer Clutch
- Iron Curtain
- Borr the Unstable
Note: since neither Anthony Badell or Jean-Marc Giffin were present this year, music for this episode was performed live by everyone present in the form of kazoos that they handed out. We start with the SotM theme at the top of the episode, but also have the Questions song at about 3:50 [which prompts a new goal that Adam has to get Jenn to rap in front of a microphone at some point], then a mystery song at 4:45 (see if you would have recognized it to join in from the opening notes), the Jeopardy theme at around 1:05:30, and the outro at around 1:27:20 (plus occasional flourishes here and there throughout).
- [Andy starts off strong with a birthday notice, so we need to get another. His request is “Birthday” by the Beatles.]
- Why do Void Guard’s OblivAeon shards still work after OblivAeon was destroyed? The short answer is that we’re going to learn a lot more about this when the Void Guard book comes out down the line, but we’ll get into a bit more here too. The Shards retain power and it’s not like they were just a conduit drawing power from OblivAeon, although now that OblivAeon is no more they do become… “unstable” and more dangerous than they already were. Also, people who gained powers initially due to exposure to a Shard still have those powers, so Proletariat doesn’t need continual access to a Shard to keep his powers. People who are wielding a Shard for a power boost may be incentivized to get rid of it somehow, though (what with the whole “going mad”, “becoming evil”, and “ripping holes in reality” thing).
- Follow-up to the recent Writer’s Room: Does the fact that Universe 1 is cut off from the Multiverse/most Singular Entities like Wellspring mean that the Legacy powers will stop manifesting as Wellspring can no longer influence events there? This is a very theoretical question, but they feel like Felicia’s potential future child would still develop powers. While Wellspring can’t act here anymore, he’s also kind of a “set it and forget it” kind of guy. Once he got the ball rolling it’s self-sustaining and doesn’t require his direct intervention anymore. Wager Master is a more hands-on Entity.
- Do business advertise in-universe that heroes used/liked their service? Like, would there be a place that has a sign up that it’s “Sky-Scraper’s Favorite Restaurant” or that “Legacy can’t live without it”? [Note that Al Kemmy was cosplaying as Baron Blade and held up a remote control with an ominous red button at this point.] Yeah, that sort of thing would happen. By the time we get to the “modern” era heroes had become public figures to the point where you’d get this sort of thing. That’s not to say that every hero would have the same kind of attention - “Expatriette’s favorite taco stand… to shoot up” wouldn’t be a thing, but you might get stuff like people preserving bullet holes from a battle. “Legacy at here once” is very likely, “Legacy can’t live without…” or explicit endorsements on his part are not.
- [Ansel G. Moreau in-character once again starts off at about 14:46 - he starts off with a “Well, actually…” about the layman-friendly version of the three laws of thermodynamics given by somebody back in one of the Science episodes - I had already adjusted them to match what Ansel says here in that summary, though.] What prompted the writers to create that greatest of heroes, Stuntman? Ambuscade was a fan-favorite and that kind of caused a slow transition to being kind of an anti-hero. He also wound up being “accidentally hilarious” - not in a “writers making fun of him” way, but he was just a very quippy character (along with things like him just peacing out when he recognized that the situation was too much for him to handle - that was hilarious). So, with the fan opinion of him where he was, they decided to lean into it - they did the funny story about his face to undercut the seriousness of his backstory, they did the whole Mars thing to set up the transition, and we got the Disparation story about Action Hero Stuntman. The gimmick with Glamour being responsible for a lot of stuff “he” did also helps distance the real Ansel from stuff that had been going on.
- Since “favorite hero” questions are boring, who is your least favorite or who do you think you could have done better with? Story-wise, they’d change nothing. Even “bad” stories are generally because they’re slotting stuff into a framework of “real” comics history and the kinds of things that happen there. Mechanically, Adam thinks that Bunker could use some work (although very minor) [so possibly something that gets updated in the Definitive Edition?]. They agree that they disagree with anybody who thinks that Mr. Fixer is bad, because he’s awesome.
- Are you considering any kind of character generator app/website/program for the RPG? They considered having the form-fillable PDF have stuff loaded into it, but it made things kind of unwieldy. They are still looking into other options, but nothing concrete yet. They have talked to the Underbite Games people about being able to export a hero you create in the Sentinels of Freedom video game as an RPG character, but again there is nothing confirmed on that front.
- Did Sentinel Comics ever wind up in a situation like Shmarvel where they went bankrupt and sold adaptation rights to their characters to stay afloat? If so, did they ever get them back? They definitely ran out of money a few times which would then result in fairly major changes in the company. There’s going to be stuff about that in the History of Sentinel Comics book, but they don’t have all of the details on-hand because that book is largely being written by other people and they don’t want to get those details (like which heroes’ rights got sold off when) wrong.
- Over the years, “Sentinel Comics” has crossed over with a number of other game properties (Nexus of the Void with Spirit Island, Lazer Ryderz is canon in the Meta-verse, Bottom of the 9th is just canon with the Sentinels of the Ninth expansion and its occurrence in the Champion Studios deck, etc.) - just how many things are roped in with it at this point? It’s tricky due to chaining things they crossed over with to other things that that game crossed over with. In particular, Galactic Strike Force included a reference to Vognild Prime and had promo cards that crossed over with a few Penny Arcade properties and from Penny Arcade you connect to basically infinite other games [in much the same way that you can say that over 400 television shows are part of a dream of a boy with Autism named Tommy Westphall]. They kind of stopped trying to keep tabs on this back in 2012, but you’re free to try to figure it out.
- [Following the episode sponsored by the Wyrm Superior, he’s gone and registered wyrmsuperior.com, which currently just redirects to a page with a very ’90s “site under construction” gif] He reached out to Zhu Long who then wiped out the rest of his stock (making him the Wyrm Sponsor instead of the Wyrm Superior now), what other dragons are out there for him to reach out to? There are lazer dragons (which are another connection point between SC and GSF now). There were probably fantasy-style dragons that came up in some kind of time travel story to King Arthur times or something. Dragons were real in Sentinel Comics at some point, but Zhu Long has pretty much cornered the market in terms of named characters that are just around. [Humorous aside about using time travel to go back to find a dragon to sponsor - Adam cannot legally advocate for time travel, but Christopher says go for it).
- When Omnitron-X uses his Rocket Punch, does the arm rocket back to him or does his Electro-Deployment Unit construct a new one? Are there just a bunch of Omnitron arms scattered around? Both have happened - it’s more common that it comes back. [The joke is that there are 2 out there in the world.]
- Looking at the Scholar and Lifeline he’s been trying to come up with how ley-lines work: they both have a lot of card draw, so does ley-line magic represent a source of power that you draw from and the trick is how you discharge/use it (Scholar being more deliberate and has more measured control that means he can keep a lot of things going at once but can run out of resources vs Lifeline’s reckless drawing on things that winds up, say, setting himself on fire)? You’re pretty on-point. Ley-lines are by their nature connected to vast sources of power and, as a result, you’re basically tapping into a conduit to infinite power. However, this comes with a cost, which is why Scholar is the right guy for the job. Having the Philosopher’s Stone lets him moderate stuff by a fair margin, which is something that Lifeline doesn’t have available for his use [check out who winds up with Hermetic’s Bloodstone, though].
- If there was a crossover between Sentinel Comics and Homebrewers, which characters would be involved and what would their specialties be? Scholar, who’d dabble with a lot of stuff - pretty pedestrian fare, but made with love. Setback has never attempted to brew beer, but he’s spilled things into a barrel in his garage and forgot about it and has wound up with some pretty decent stuff. Guise makes hoppy, sour IPA-porter-stouts with weird stuff like kimchi. Trevor thinks that Legacy bought a kit at Target or something and wound up with an American Pale Ale, just to give this hobby a try.
- With the 2020 election coming up, how many seats does Biomancer expect to control afterwards? Man, you are onto something that they’ve already thought about, written, and gotten through layout. That’s going to be something that we get more information about really soon, so all they’ll say now is “not zero” and he’s pretty confident.
- Do you have a favorite character from the Earth-Prime universe? Favorite mechanics you added? Christopher’s is Lantern Jack, Adam likes Omega. For mechanics Christopher brings up that Johnny Rocket was difficult because he was just exactly the same person as Tachyon, minus “Science”, so making him feel/play different was a fun challenge. Tachyon’s deck was the fastest [heh] in terms of time it took to develop. Like, they had the plan, they wrote it down, they tested it and changed like a 2 to a 3 somewhere and were basically done.
- What is the standard handwave for faster-than-light travel in the comics (stargates, hyperspace, “Einstein was wrong”)? Mostly fold-space (kind of like a localized wormhole/stargate - you open a portal to where you’re going) stuff. Sometimes people run into inexplicable “shortcuts”, but they don’t think that anybody has done hyperspace or actual faster-than-light travel.
- I feel that, of the heroes, Visionary’s personality is the most vague/obscure: what’s her day off like? They get that. For like 80% of her time in the Multiverse era it’s not her because of Dark Visionary. Even when it is her, however, she’s not really a “day off” kind of person. She had a job - she was on a clock from the moment she showed up to get the young Vanessa Long back to her parents [and OblivAeon happens shortly after evicting Dark Visionary.] We’ll get to know her better in the RPG, where she’ll also have to learn to relax a bit.
- Follow-up: So she’s not much of a conversationalist? No. No, no. For one thing, she can just read your mind and isn’t shy about doing so in the bluntest way possible. She’s this psychic soldier from a dystopian alternate universe and that mentality comes through. Everybody always has surface thoughts that she can just grab, but if she needs more from you she’ll just go “What do you think about [x]? Right, got it.” because just by prompting you to think about the topic at hand she’ll be able to get what she needs from you. She’s off-putting to say the least and has a lot to learn about being, y’know, just somebody you can talk to.
- Why did the writers take the Southwest Sentinels, the property that was meant to be an easy introduction to comics that didn’t require much in terms of keeping up with the rest of the continuity, and turn it into the very-complicated-and-connected-to-the-continuity Void Guard? The SS title was popular when it started, but became less so as it went on. The people who were fans either dropped out of reading comics altogether or started getting invested in the greater continuity anyway, so they leaned into this latter crowd. Another reason is the OblivAeon event itself - it was going to be a line-wide crossover event so you can’t really have it make sense in the SS book if it had remained disconnected from everything else. For any of those remaining fans of just the Southwest Sentinels it’s also a way to try to convince them to transition over into being more wide readers. This wasn’t always completely successful - some people who were fans of the Sentinels were turned off by the changes and people unfamiliar with them wondered who these deus ex machina characters who showed up out of nowhere with a bunch of power were, although this latter bit was largely overcome by the time OblivAeon actually happened and people liked them.
- Outside of specific exceptions like Wraith or K.N.Y.F.E. who went the “training and equipment” route, most of the heroes/villains got power and then became heroes/villains rather than seeking out the power ahead of time, so what’s going on there (narrative purpose, coincidence, etc.)? It’s related to the whole “power corrupts” or “with power comes responsibility” thing, depending on which side of the hero/villain coin you’re on. If you’re in that world where there are these superpowered people running around, it’s a very rare individual who thinks “yeah, I could do that” on their own (and some that do are wrong). As a result, it’s typically the case that you get powers first and then get involved. An exception to that to point out is Thiago who wanted to be a hero when he grew up. Another is K.N.Y.F.E. who was already involved in the world adjacent to superheroes for years before getting powers, and even that didn’t change her behavior until she learned what F.I.L.T.E.R. was really up to.
- What were the most emotionally difficult character deaths to write/pictures to draw? Iron Legacy story is the big one. While leading up to OblivAeon they knew that there were going to be some rough things coming, they knew that with Iron Legacy as well and there are some things that stick out. Christopher has a strong memory of writing the Kickstarter update that told the story and thinking about who Legacy was and how his daughter’s death affected him (and the world). It wrote it up on a sunny afternoon, did an edit pass, and posted it. He then sat there looking at his computer screen a while before realizing that he was just done for the day. For Adam, the actual death of Felicia panel isn’t that hard as it’s just a shock panel. What gets to him is the art from “Galvanized” where Legacy’s throwing the ring into her grave, which is just chilling and the art from “Former Allies” specifically because first he had to draw the happy barbecue photo picture, and then he had to break it. Christopher also brings up the two versions of Scholar of the Infinite’s incapacitated art - the one from the collectors packs where he’s actually pushing the stone into Guise is kind of a good farewell, but the one on the original card where Guise is melting and Scholar is realizing that he’s fading away is kind of rough. [Al Kemmy - back for this question - also brings up the Death of Ra images with Fanatic cradling his body] Oh yeah, that’s another “good” example. Thanks for that.
- You talk about how Tempest spends a lot of time in the Ruins of Atlantis and how he uses artifacts from there - is there some actual connection between him and Atlantis (or between the Atlanteans and Maerynians)? Not specifically, no. He goes there a lot because in a lot of ways it reminds him of his home planet. He also goes there to be alone (being a rare person to be able to breathe underwater) until the Prime Wardens set up a base there. He spends time among the ruins as a way to center himself. He’s kind of a mopey, melancholy guy in case you couldn’t tell.
- So, if all of OblivAeon’s power got sucked into the tree… [They guys cut in here quickly to point out that first Voss took in all of OblivAeon’s power and used a lot of it in his sealing-away of this reality thing, and then the remainder got sucked into the tree, but continue:] what would happen if the tree were destroyed or somebody sucked that power out of the tree? That would be bad. Like, super bad. One of the immediate effects would be seen because Megalopolis’ entire power grid is hooked into that now that would go beyond mere blackouts. Removing the tree would affect everybody in the city in negative ways. Good thing that nobody tries to do that very thing in the first few months of post-OblivAeon title resets (he said with a good amount of irony due to it being a plot point in the RPG Starter Kit).
- It’s a fair assumption that Ansel speaks French, Helena Maria speaks 16th Century Spanish, and Dr. Medico likely also speaks Spanish, but what other characters speak languages other than English? Anybody speak Esperanto? Parse knows Esperanto but doesn’t speak it. Fanatic speaks Spanish. Ra speaks ancient Egyptian. Haka speaks all sorts of stuff, not just Maori. Tachyon’s probably got a handful. Unity would speak Hebrew. Proletariat and others speak Russian. [Audience calls out Tempest] No, it’s weird but he only speaks English. [Laughter] Baron Blade speaks Mordengradian. K.N.Y.F.E. speaks Scottish. Naturalist probably speaks a few African languages. [Suggestion of Kismet.] Probably not, actually. She’d have grown up around people speaking other languages, but without actually picking it up herself. As a real-world example, Adam’s wife is Puerto Rican, but while she can understand some Spanish she doesn’t speak it fluently. Idealist is probably in a similar situation since Medico isn’t really speaking Spanish around the house. Visionary is likely that way too with Chinese (although with the whole “just uses telepathy to sidestep the language issue entirely” thing). [Somebody suggests Lifeline.] Lifeline only speaks Esperanto. [More laughter]
- We know Writhe and Baron Blade go about their science in different ways, but is there a story (possibly in Disparation) where they have to try to work together, possibly not getting anywhere due to constant back-stabbing each other or otherwise competing? It would have to be Disparation as they weren’t given many opportunities - they weren’t contemporaries for very long before OblivAeon and Writhe wasn’t even a villain at first until “whoops” he was for an issue and then he was a hero. There isn’t a story about this in particular, but it is a fun thought experiment. In a “science off” they’d have to give it to Baron Blade - he’s better at science than just about anyone to begin with and he’s myopic enough in terms of consequences that he’d go that extra mile just to win. He does what he wants without thinking about how he could apply his genius for others.
- [At 58:25 we get a story from somebody whose “bonus son” (which I assume is a way to say step-son without any negative connotations that people might have for that term, although I don’t have any with it) used SotM to propose to his girlfriend, now wife, using a custom card. They get a photo-op with C&A after the recording.]
- So, while Aztec beliefs were kinda dark, but Quetzalcoatl was seen as one of the more benevolent gods, so why would a villain choose to identify himself as such? The meta-verse reason is “because Quetzalcoatl is the one people have heard of”. Story-internally, because he didn’t think of himself as a villain when he was doing what he was doing - he thought he was doing good stuff and it’s only the overreaching he did in that pursuit that tipped him over into villainy. That moment of realization doesn’t happen until he gets confronted by Dr. Medico. There’s also a pretty wide gamut of research done by writers between “all of the research” and “I’ve heard of that” followed by winging the details. C&A are in the former camp themselves, but part of how that comes out in practice is that they create meta-verse people who fall in the latter camp.
- Were there any “next generation” stories? Yeah, there were Disparation stories about the established characters’ children or whatnot and what they were doing. There isn’t a team within the main line of comics [I assume they mean stuff like Teen Titans or New Mutants as real-world examples] because that sort of idea is already kind of baked into the setting because of Legacy and the Parsons family. That being said, they have actually put a fair amount of thought into what a Sentinels 3000 type book would look like, but it just didn’t fit right with the SotM content. Maybe a future sourcebook for the RPG.
- If you have the same birthday as Christopher, are you required to sing to him on your birthday? Yes.
- Can we know any more detail about heroes (other than Arataki) from alternate realities who were trapped in Universe 1 when OblivAeon was destroyed? Omni-Unity stuck around since she thought she could make this reality better. Hedgelord is still around. [Christopher and Adam confer quietly for a time around 1:05:30 - after a few seconds Trevor, and then the crowd, starts up the Jeopardy theme on the kazoo] Unfortunately, they don’t come up with any more to tell us about right now. However, a lot of the cool mash-up characters we know about from the Mission Deck are destined to show up in Disparation-related stories and Prime War is all about those kinds of stories. That’s not to say that no other heroes got trapped in the RPG setting, but any details have to wait for later.
- As a disillusioned military veteran who enjoys seeing military blunders in comics, we saw what went down with the whole Fort Adamant thing, but given the whole influx of powers here as we get going with the RPG [all of the new PCs and whatnot], surely the military isn’t going to just sit back with a “well, we tried it once and it didn’t work out” mentality, right? Yeah, they’re not going to just sit this one out. We saw that the Vertex Universe was heading towards that in a big way, but it’s a very cynical way to look at things and they ultimately wanted to take the setting in a more positive direction for the RPG so it’s not so front-and-center, but it will be present. Just not as high tension between the military and superpowered people.
- Going back to the part where you talked about how fast Tachyon’s deck came together, were there any surprises that you thought would be easy and then blew up in your face? Absolute Zero was one - the original version was just a boring ice-version of what Ra’s deck was like. Just bland. Argent Adept, Naturalist, and Sky-Scraper don’t really qualify because they knew going in that those would be weird. After the core set they had a pretty good handle on who would be difficult before they actually started the design phase. They thought that OblivAeon would be difficult, but it wound up being even more-so than they expected (part of that was feature-bloat from the Kickstarter).
- Other than Setback, who are the best and worst cooks? Legacy’s great at barbecues. Sky-Scraper was terrible, but she worked in a few restaurants and is pretty decent now. Haka’s very good. Guise probably isn’t great, but thinks he’s a much better cook than he is [Christopher: “He thinks he’s a much better blank than he is.”]. [Somebody calls out “Biomancer” for worst.] Or best depending on how you think of it. Fanatic probably doesn’t really cook much with the whole asceticism thing. Baron Blade has probably never cooked in his life. Ra just burns everything. Blood Countess Bathory just isn’t a very good cook [shout from the crowd “everything tastes like pennies” which is just great]. They’ve mentioned in the past that Tempest makes stuff similar to how it would have been back home, but that just makes it weird for humans. Greazer is really awful. Some good gags about Expat’s spartan fare - lots of MREs, just opening a can of beans, a joke about her shooting a bunch and then cooking something on the hot barrel of her gun. Captain Cosmic is good, which might be surprising.
- [Second birthday notice: suggested bands are Queen and Pearl Jam - we’ll get to the song at the end] A beauty of the game is how it’s simple, but allows for complexity in the interactions - were there any aspects where you were overthinking it and just made it work by simplifying it? They try to build “taking a step back” into their process. Like, they’ll do a big general approach pass of the new thing on Friday and then come back Monday with fresh eyes. There have been times that they’ve recorded The Letters Page on Mondays because they did a lot of episode prep for their Friday recording and then decide to take some time to think about/revisit it instead. There have been many occasions where they’ll get to talking about a story and get stuck on something like a villain motivation where it’s just gotten too complicated and so they simplify down to “what do they want and what do they do to get it”. The “4th biggest diamond in the world” bit from the recent Writer’s Room episode is a perfect example that we got to see happen “live”.
- To Adam: as an artist, where do you get inspiration? Lots of different comics artists, but everything really. He advises every artist to get on Pinterest and use it as a reference board. Adam has a browser extension that connects into it so that anywhere he is on the internet he can click on an image and pin it to one of his boards. “Men, Women, Monsters, Machine, Environments” and so on, just anything that’s interesting that you might want to use for something, pin it. [Follow up on character appearance in particular] The characters look like what they need to look like for their story/background more than being a specific amalgam of people/pictures he’s pinned. [Another follow-up in terms of occult symbolism in the game art, like with NightMist.] They try to keep occult imagery in the game generic rather than calling on specific real examples. They’re not going to put that stuff in because they don’t know the symbolism involved.
- In the Vertex episode, we hear that part of why it’s so bad is because of the destruction of the Nexus of the Void, but in the OblivAeon episode the timing has that occur after the timeline split at Rook City, so how was the Nexus destroyed in the Vertex timeline? When the timeline split and OblivAeon was not in this one anymore, the Scions that were around were no longer focused and caused problems, one of which culminated in a cataclysm involving the Nexus and the origin of the Mist Storm (which ultimately consumed the Nexus as it does other landforms over time - it just started there).
- Setback and Expatriette’s kid: Backfire? Not bad.
- There were a lot of Easter Eggs in the game, especially early on; are there going to continue to be such things in the RPG and do you have any favorites? Yes they plan on including that sort of thing. They try to let the work be its own thing, but they still happen. Favorites… Adam likes the Dragon Ball references [which is mainly Tempest as far as I know]. Christopher’s favorite isn’t quite the same thing as what this question is about, but he loves the dumb joke he put in Wraith’s deck (“Suture Self” - suit yourself). Adam mentions that there’s a really well-hidden Gravity Falls reference in there somewhere. [There’s a recent reddit post about just this thing, though, so it’s been found.]
- Who can drink K.N.Y.F.E. under the table? Haka [zero hesitation there]. That might be it, Paige and really put it away. Christopher suggests Wager Master, but Adam counters that he’s a surprising lightweight - like half-a-beer. Somebody in the crowd suggests Iron Curtain, which gets a solid “run for her money” contender. Not the Scholar and not Sky-Scraper [this last one with a tone suggesting that Portja couldn’t even come close]. Suggestion of Proletariat gets a response that he’d make a mistake and would get really, really drunk really fast.
- Any doomsday devices of note that aren’t in any of Ivan’s decks (including Mordengrad)? Yes, there’s the stuff involving drilling into the core of the Earth that appeared in FFA #1. All of the devices in the Luminary and Mordengrad decks are smaller versions of other devices and you can kind of extrapolate from there.
- Stuntman vs. Borr the Unstable - if Dr. Medico had been around for the event, could the energy patch that Stuntman used have held long enough for Medico to intervene and heal him? The patch was not up to this task regardless. If Dr. Medico had been there he definitely could have made a difference in Ansel’s final fate, but it would have taken something on that level to have done so.
- Can you at least name a few more members of Tempest’s new group, G.L.O.B.A.L.? Sure, Wall and Kitsune. There are a lot more, though.
- Finish off with birthday songs - Trevor jokes around with the crowd briefly starting in about an hour and twenty-four minutes in while C&A talk about songs. An early favorite character for him was AZ, but he’s not sure he’s still his favorite. A problem for the songs is that neither of them know the Beatles song well enough to sing it off-the-cuff here. The compromise is that the two of them are going to sing a Queen song and a Pearl Jam song respectively while Andy sings the Beatles song himself. This prompts another problem in that Andy doesn’t know it well enough either. It’s also determined that everybody in the crowd has to sing (or kazoo) a different song too. This beautiful cacophony starts at 1:25:56. [I do hear somebody singing the Beatles song in there though.]