Tactics: The New Darkest Timeline? (Massive Letters Page spoilers in general ahoy)

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Jeysie
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Tactics: The New Darkest Timeline? (Massive Letters Page spoilers in general ahoy)

So the overall pattern people have noticed is that the Tactics timeline sucks, to put it plainly.

Heroes who are one with the Void:

  • Tachyon gets killed by Miss Info who is now Glamour.
  • Dr. Medico is killed because apparently having an OblivAeon shard in your body that's possessed by Gloomweaver who wants to get out is not conducive to one's long-term existence.
  • KNYFE is killed while fighting herselves in the Wagner Mars Base.
  • Visionary dies when her ongoingly failing body finally actually does so.

People who've been corrupted by OblivAeon shards:

  • Akash of the Many Names is not only no longer good-ish, but actually even worse than she was before, having gone from chaotically troublesome to just plain old hating and destroying everything and especially pesky redheaded musician types.
  • Gloomweaver is back again and powered by an OblivAeon shard. Granted, this being Gloomy, it's less "corrupted by the shard" and more "just plain old made even worse by the shard".

People who are actively seeking out OblivAeon shards to be corrupted by:

  • The Citizens of the Sun
  • Ambuscade and The Operative, with the help of Proletariat

People who are making bad non-Shard choices or suffering non-death bad ends in general:

  • Rook City gets majorly trashed into being Broken City.
  • The Chairman goes totally off the rails.
  • The Dark Watch has a general hard go of it, particularly with NightMist being gone.
  • Mundanes in general have decided they don't like all superhumans, even the heroic ones.
  • The Freedom Five have to strike out on their own as a result of said disliking of superhumans. This is especially hard on Legacy and Bunker who have always had strong ties to the US government in some way.
  • Tachyon was overtaxing her body even before Miss Info killed her.
  • Naturalist is turning into a weird animalistic Chimera that is losing complete control of his powers and connection to his humanity.
  • Chrono-Ranger's walking around as a part amnesiac who is assassinating anyone who seems to be too much of a bad guy.
  • Plague Rat is now basically walking death with fur.
  • Argent Adept's busy being a non-violent version of the Crimson Conductor insofar that he's gathering too much power to himself in a way that's likely to cut off the line of potential future Virtuosos yet again (and even seems to be potentially warping his own connection to the Void).

People actually making good/neutral choices or having good/neutral fates:

  • Mr. Fixer is at least back to his normal self even if Rook City isn't.
  • Baron Blade's decided to become less self-destructive and toned down his villainy to just being kind of an annoyance.
  • Deadline went back to the Enclave.
  • Most of the new Ennead is actually heroic or neutral, at least for the time being (it's possible the new Atum might change that).
  • Man-Grove was tamed somewhat by Vanessa Long and has become less of a danger.
  • On the one hand it's heavily implied that Thiago will travel the same difficult, cyclical road through personal struggle and eventual going out in a blaze of glory that happens to all people who become Ra. On the other hand this lets him live his dream of being a superhero and hanging out with other superheroes and it's not exactly worse than anyone who's Ra usually deals with.
  • The former main universe's Vanessa Long decides to stay away from the superhuman biz altogether and presumably just has a normal life with normal problems.

So this all poses a few things to ponder, I feel:

What possible fates, good or bad, await future heroes and villains?

Where is all this OblivAeon corruption and general unpleasantness leading? Will there be a big blowup, or lots of smaller character-centric blowups, what will those blowups look like, and where will it leave the timeline after everything hits the fan?


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

Edited by: Jeysie on Aug 16 2017 - 11:48am
PlatinumWarlock
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So, let's then look at the characters whom haven't been covered yet, and see who's on deck:

Fanatic:  Pretty sure she survives, especially after the tearful departure of Ra.  However, I can see her taking a hiatus, trying to figure out about her true nature.

Haka:  Well, he survived into the Final Wasteland, so I have a hard time seeing him dying.

Tempest:  Probably retired, leading his people in their Refuge.

The Scholar:  Pretty sure he's going to be dead in both timelines; he'll pass on the role of 'mentor' to the current heroes, especially in the RPG.

Parse:  Not sure about her.  Maybe she becomes more of an Oracle-like character, where she's more hands-off, focusing on logistics.

Idealist:  I wouldn't be surprised to see her taking the lead on an up-and-coming "Runaways" style team.

Medico:  Likely dead, following Gloomweaver possession and consuming an OblivAeon shard.

Mainstay:  No idea, but if Medico dies, I don't think he will.

Wraithe:  No idea here either.

Benchmark:  No idea, but I don't think they'd kill him off so quickly after introducing him.

Ambuscade/Stuntman:  I'd think that he'd be a candidate for dying, but we already know he survives into Tactics.  Possibly dead in the RPG?

La Capitan/Commodora:  Pretty sure the Black Spot is going to catch up to her.

Voss:  I'm willing to bet that he's the final Scion and dies during OblivAeon.

Spite:  Dead, but cloned and keeps coming back as pawns of Exemplar.

Apostate:  I'd wager that he's still around, somewhere; perhaps he's just banished by the end of the card game.

Miss Information:  Survives, and is now Glamour (confirmed, per Tachyon ep).

 

Did I miss anyone?

Jeysie
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Dr. Medico is indeed quite dead.

The cover to Prime War would suggest that the Prime Wardens keeps going in its usual configuration at least to begin with, while adding Sky-Scraper to their ranks. (Which I feel has interesting implications for her and Tempest's social interactions.) Captain Cosmic looks a lot angrier than he usually does (not that much of a surprise really considering what happened to Infinitor).


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

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Jeysie wrote:

Captain Cosmic looks a lot angrier than he usually does (not that much of a surprise really considering what happened to Infinitor).

Based on the opening text seen from the Handelabra stream it seems the XPW Captain Cosmic was already rather aggressive so there seems to be some precedence of a mean streak. 


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
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Tactics is really starting to feel like the nineties mentality of "grim and gritty", where everything needed to be darker and edgier because a couple of really good short run series did it and sold like hotcakes; then, the RPG timeline history is the reboot of that to normalize things when the comic writers realized, "Wait, this really sucks."

 

Wonder what the Sentinel Comics equivalent of Watchmen would be, or if the history of Sentinels Comics actually even has other studios like Darvel and MC within it.

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Benchmark's fate in this timeline isn't that terrible.   


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
Jeysie
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So to nobody's surprise we find out the Tactics timeline continues to be terrible, as RevoCorp is now run by Viktor of all people.

Though Benchmark probably falls under the "neutral" category; he retires as a hero but has a successful career doing acting to benefit charities.

Edit: Powerhound ninja'd me. :P


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

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With how powerful I think Benchmark was, I think it falls a little harder on the negative side. Sure, he doesn't get horribly maimed or anything (yet) but turning his back on superheroing is a big blow I think.

 

And man, Vyktor? Did not see that coming. And the types of things he probably did to the new CEO to break him that thoroughly. He's a nasty piece of work and I imagine the Revenant we'll see in Tactics is going to be a lot tougher and meaner than we've seen before.

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Chaosmancer wrote:

With how powerful I think Benchmark was, I think it falls a little harder on the negative side. Sure, he doesn't get horribly maimed or anything (yet) but turning his back on superheroing is a big blow I think. 

Considering he gets to continue on with a different life is better than the fates of some heroes who are killed off or die.   Since he was a short lived hero before OblivAeon it's harder to say what his loss means.  


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
Jeysie
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Maybe I misinterpreted things, but I felt like Benchmark's motive for becoming a hero was less an actual desire to be a hero and more a desire to make people happy, for which being a hero used to seem like the most obvious method to pursue. In the Tactics timeline it feels like heroing has become instead a matter of "making yourself miserable doing the right thing to save the world for people who probably won't appreciate it", which means heroing is no longer the best route for his actual eventual goal of making people happy (as opposed to saving/rescuing them).

But his acting does make people happy, even actually gets to help save/rescue people anyway with the charity aspect, and is less risky on the whole, so it doesn't seem like a bad choice to have made on his part.

So I kind of stuck him in the "neutral" category. No longer being a hero is a blow, but he doesn't seem to be otherwise hurting and is even thriving in his own niche, which is more than a lot of the Tactics characters can say.


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

Chaosmancer
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Jeysie wrote:

Maybe I misinterpreted things, but I felt like Benchmark's motive for becoming a hero was less an actual desire to be a hero and more a desire to make people happy, for which being a hero used to seem like the most obvious method to pursue. In the Tactics timeline it feels like heroing has become instead a matter of "making yourself miserable doing the right thing to save the world for people who probably won't appreciate it", which means heroing is no longer the best route for his actual eventual goal of making people happy (as opposed to saving/rescuing them).But his acting does make people happy, even actually gets to help save/rescue people anyway with the charity aspect, and is less risky on the whole, so it doesn't seem like a bad choice to have made on his part.So I kind of stuck him in the "neutral" category. No longer being a hero is a blow, but he doesn't seem to be otherwise hurting and is even thriving in his own niche, which is more than a lot of the Tactics characters can say.

 

Oh, I completely agree with you.

 

My comment was more on the line of the timeline as a whole rather than Benchmark's safety/happiness.

 

Kind of like if a story involved AZ getting "cured" so that he could live a normal life and he found a woman he loved and settled down with a family. I'm sure he would have a very happy rest of his life and would do very well, but for the heroes and the timeline, losing someone as powerful as Absolute Zero from the battlefield is a hefty blow that only leaves them weaker and stretched thinner.

 

The episode said that Benchmark saved Bunker and Tachyon in two seperate encounters, and took on the entire Slaughterhouse Six single-handedly. He's powerful, smart, and a good combatant in addition to being a charismatic guy who might help tip public opinion occassionally. It adds to the stress and pressure the rest of the heroes feel. The "New Standard" left, being a hero wasn't a path for an up and coming individual, and instead the old guard must increase their attempts to make a difference in the face of ever increasing opposition. I think it is incredibly telling that Legacy chooses not to step down in Tactics, there is no time to rest, to let up the fight, he can't afford to step back and let Pauline fight instead, they have to fight together.

Jeysie
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Ah, I see. I admit I was looking at it from a individual perspective; i.e. Benchmark himself has a pretty neutral or even somewhat good outcome on his own terms. Same as MainU!Vanessa Long, too; her not being a hero might be a loss to heroing, but she probably just got to live a normal life in return.

But yeah, the general theme seems to be that our bad-choice-making heroes do that not so much because they developed failings as people but because extreme circumstances called for extreme ideas. Tachyon was pushing herself beyond her limits because the F5's situation was that much more precarious and difficult. Argent did crazy and probably stupid things with his powers because he could barely handle Akash before and now she's even worse. Etc. So losing heroes who bow out just makes things that much more desperate.


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

Jeysie
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I love how in the Gen Con podcast Christopher and Adam confirm that the Tactics timeline came about precisely because the Sentinel Comics writers wanted to do something grim & gritty.


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

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Jeysie wrote:

I love how in the Gen Con podcast Christopher and Adam confirm that the Tactics timeline came about precisely because the Sentinel Comics writers wanted to do something grim & gritty.


Haven't they already said that? I'm pretty sure they mentioned it in one of the earliest episodes.

"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"
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Jeysie
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Arcanist Lupus wrote:
Jeysie wrote:
I love how in the Gen Con podcast Christopher and Adam confirm that the Tactics timeline came about precisely because the Sentinel Comics writers wanted to do something grim & gritty.

 

Haven't they already said that? I'm pretty sure they mentioned it in one of the earliest episodes.

It is possible; I still haven't gotten around to a few of the earliest episodes. (Also my audio retention is terrible versus my written retention so I'm likely to forget anything that didn't make it into WalkingTarget's summaries.)


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

Arcanist Lupus
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Where can I find these summaries? They sound really useful, but until they were mentioned in the episode I had no idea they existed.


"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"
- Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

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WalkingTarget posts them on the Reddit threads and then eventually puts them here https://sentinelswiki.com/index.php?title=Podcasts once you choose an episode click on quick notes. 


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
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Thanks!


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That is a super useful thing that I didn't know existed. Thank you very much for linking and thank you Walking Target for taking the time to do it

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So all the confusion over Haka and dimensional travel going on elsewhere in the forums makes me now wonder precisely what the Prime Wardens have been up to adventure-wise in the Tactics timeline (and how long) before Prime War and what precisely the Prime War involves.


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

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Sky-Scraper joins them from what we've seen so Haka's hiatus at least had them join forces with her.  


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
Jeysie
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You know, considering what happened when he destroyed the Bell, I find myself wondering what happened when Argent decided to tie the Virtuoso instruments to his personal songbook.


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."