The Alternates Episode #38 Recap - “Null and Void”

Here’s a recap of the latest session of my Sentinels RPG campaign “The Alternates”! As per usual, there’s a narrative recap (written as if it was in-metaverse) and then I go over the actual running of the game, and any lessons I learned as the GM.

If you’re lost, you can catch up with the previous Game Recaps! There’s a lot of them, but they’re all in this forum!

The Premise of Our Game: In the meta-verse (where Sentinel comics is a published comic book multimedia empire), there is a premium cable animated television series (in a style similar to “Into the Spider-Verse”), which itself is based on a comic series called “The Alternates.” This RPG campaign represents that show, with each game session (ideally) representing one hour-long Episode of the show. The recap below is written in-metaverse as if it was an article on a popular website that posts recaps of episodes.

Player Characters/Protagonists:

  • Cytoblast: Dr. Douglas Hemlocke can control plants, including transforming himself into a plant form, all thanks to his mystical knowledge and his ancient magical staff.
  • Dr. Comet: Possessed by a demon that travelled to earth inside a comet, Dr. Diana Aster can magically control fire and ice, though her powers often go often out of control when her emotions flare up.
  • Jersey Devil: A barely human cryptid of mysterious origins, “Mr. Leeds” is both man and monster, able to teleport by way of a parallel dimension.
  • Kid Radical: A highly skilled autodidact with a strict code of behavior, Kid Radical has a superhuman ability for following trends and learning new skills, although it often seems like he can’t quite connect with modern society.
  • Quasar Kid: A superhero teen from the far future, Quasar Kid has a cosmic metabolism, super strength, and the power of flight, but he hasn’t yet adjusted to being in “the past.”

Recurring allied NPCs/Supporting characters:

  • Starshadow: A retired intergalactic adventurer, Starshadow possesses mighty cosmic powers that he is reluctant to wield.
  • Bouncer: An invulnerable action movie star, Bouncer is also super-strong and capable of mighty leaps (hence the name “Bouncer”). Affected by traumatic stress during the Oblivaeon Crisis, Bouncer spends less time “in the field” but remains an auxilliary member of the team.

A Very Quick Story Synopsis: In an alternate timeline where Baron Blade was killed decades earlier (causing countless changes to the world of Sentinel Comics), the heroes of the Multiverse are almost all killed in the “Oblivaeon Crisis.” The few remaining heroes, especially the Alternates, are left to deal with the villains and interstellar threats that still endanger the Earth!

I’ve also done some very amateur sketches for the game! You can see them in this Google Photos album.

And now, an imaginary recap of an imaginary episode of an imaginary television show about an imaginary superhero team!


After a stunning betrayal by the newly-returned Void Guard last episode, the Alternates are forced to track down their fellow heroes to confront them for absconding with the dangerous and powerful Element Oh-Zero! But lots of twists and turns await them in this episode, so read on for my Recap of Episode #38!

Episode Recap

The cold open starts with the Void Guard waving and smiling at cheering fans mere hours after their arrival back on Earth. In a large auditorium set aside for the event, the heroes pose as the press flashes pictures. Finally, the four heroes duck behind a curtain to head behind the stage.

As the Void Guard enter a room backstage and close the door, we hear a familiar voice speak from off-screen. “Excellent job, Void Guard. And I already have another job for you!”

The voice belongs to none other than Dr. Vitruvius! He sits behind a desk in the room, still wearing a lab coat, easily recognizable from his wild gray hair and thick mustache.

“Yes, Dr. Vitruvius,” says Dr. Medico. “How can we be of service?” asks Mainstay. Rather than be alarmed by the villain’s presence, the Void Guard are positively servile!

“I need you to go engage the Alternates and ask them for help retrieving that sample of Element Oh-Zero we have our eye on,” the doctor replies.

“The Alternates?” asks the Idealist. “Why would we want to involve them?”

“It’s all a part of my plan,” says Dr. Vitruvius with a smile.

“Well, that’s good enough for us,” says Writhe. “Just give us the details!”

The opening theme begins.


Meanwhile, the Alternates leap into action! Dr. Comet adjusts the tracking device to follow the deposit of Element Oh-Zero which the Void Guard ran off with. The Alternates load into the Alternajet and take off. Quasar Kid seems especially angry about the betrayal, and he stands near the rear exit and scowls.

Once Dr. Comet’s device is recalibrated, she triangulates the direction in which the Void Guard are traveling, and the Alternates give chase. A short time later, she tells the team that the Void Guard’s own ship has stopped - in the mountains of Mordengrad!

Kid Radical immediately calls the direct line for The Luminary, the new leader of Mordengrad (who has been seen throughout the last two Seasons), and discusses the matter with her. The Luminary gives the Alternates leave to purse the Void Guard into Mordengrad, and tells them she will send the Luminous Legion to intercept as well.

The Alternates finally arrive in the snowy mountains of Mordengrad, at what appears to be a secret mountain base. (It’s the same base which we saw at the end of Season 2’s finale.) The Void Guard’s ship has landed outside of a large hangar bay set into the side of the mountain, and the Void Guard themselves have exited.

“Traitors!” Quasar Kid shouts as he flies from the still-hovering Alternajet to attack the Void Guard. Before the remaining Alternates can even leave the jet, Quasar Kid engages Mainstay in hand-to-hand combat. The two spar at punches, until Quasar Kid lands a mighty right hook into Mainstay’s midsection. Strangely, there is a loud “crunch” when the punch connects.

Cytoblast, who is still getting used to the change in his powers, tries to turn into his plant monster form, but only succeeds in turning his skin to a bark-like consistency while his limbs turn to spindly branches. (He looks kind of disgusting, really.) Still, he proves more resilient and stronger in this form.

The doors of the hangar begin to close, so Kid Radical asks Jersey Devil to “secure the doors.” He does so by going inside the hangar and closing the doors. When he teleports back out, Kid Radical yells for him to open the doors. “That’s not what we meant by ‘Secure the doors!’” Dr. Comet shouts.

While the Void Guard use their powers during the fight, they don’t prove to be especially effective. (It’s worth noting that these “Void Guard” show no signs of having any Oblivaeon shards like the mainstream-timeline analogues. They’re slightly more experienced versions of the Southwest Sentinels, but not nearly as powerful as the main timeline’s Void Guard.) The Alternates make short work of them, and the Void Guard don’t offer much resistance.

Finally, Dr Vitruvius walks out of the hangar door, striding proudly toward the Alternates. “You have defeated the Void Guard,” he says. The Alternates turn to face the doctor. “I suppose it’s time you learned the truth.”

Dr. Vitruvius reaches up to his face and pulls at his chin, revealing that his face is actually a very intricate rubbery mask. Beneath the mask, the Alternates recognize the familiar face of Baron Blade!

“It is I, Baron Blade!” says the Baron.

“Booooo!” Kid Radical shouts.

Baron Blade laughs - not his typical diabolical cackle, but rather with a guffaw. As the Alternates prepare to strike, he holds his hand up to suggest they wait.

“No, I’m kidding,” the Baron says. “It’s not Baron Blade at all.” Slowly, the face of Baron Blade melts and reforms into the face of Biomancer, whose eyes begin to glow.

“It is I, Biomancer!” he says. “I thank you for all your assistance with my plans,” he says. “Now I’m afraid it’s time for me to go!”

“Not so fast!” shouts Quasar Kid, who blasts Biomancer with his full power. However, the body of Biomancer simply melts, leaving behind a waxy goop and a metal skeleton. At the same time, the unconscious forms of the Void Guard also melt, leaving the same goop and more mechanical skeletons.


The Luminary arrives at the hangar as the Alternates search the premises. Kid Radical discovers paperwork about Highwire (revealing his background, which we saw last season). Dr. Comet digs into the computers, noting that she found a journal entry from Dr. Vitruvius which read, “I discovered that Solution 203 cures cancer. Utterly useless.”

The team also finds information about Atomic Dawn - specifically that “Dr. Vitruvius” obtained a sample of Citizen Dawn’s DNA and spliced it into the experimental subject who eventually became Atomic Dawn. Apparently, Dr. Vitruvius was trying to make his own Citizen Dawn, though it’s not clear what he wanted to do with her.

The Alternates tell Luminary about the additional “Baron Blade” and Dr. Vitruvius’s true identity. There’s a conversation that follows about all the things that have happened, going back to the Vengeful Seven and how many of them are connected to Biomancer, and how Biomancer may have been influencing events. But none can say for sure how involved Biomancer has been, nor what his goals could have been.

The credits finally roll over “Here Comes Your Man” by The Pixies.

Final Thoughts

Well, that was a twist! This episode seemed to surprise a lot of fans, although I’m not sure there was really a lot of foreshadowing about Biomancer being behind it all. Still, Dr. Vitruvius was a suspicious character, so it’s not really surprising that he was not who he seemed to be. But who guessed it was Biomancer? I didn’t.

But there’s a bigger mystery remaining, to me! Why did Biomancer duplicate the Void Guard? In this timeline, the Southwest Sentinels disappeared several years ago, and they never became known as “The Void Guard” in this universe. We can assume that Biomancer chose the “Void Guard” because they could pose as heroes and earn the trust of the Alternates, since all the other heroes of the world are dead, basically.

However, almost as soon as the Alternates meet the Void Guard, the Void Guard betray them! What’s Biomancer’s game here? I suppose the writers could always chalk it up to Biomancer’s “inscrutable long game,” but I hope there’s a better reason here.

This episode also doesn’t update us on the Chronoclash situation, focusing entirely on the Alternates’ trip to Mordengrad and their fight with the Void Guard. I guess we’ll have to wait until next episode to find out what’s happening there!

Speaking of which… be sure to check back next week for a Recap of Episode #39, titled “A Nest of Vipers.”

Thanks for reading!

Eddie Jaczerkowski is a staff writer who loves comic books and writes about television.


Running the Game

I will never get tired of introducing fake Barons Blade. I mean, my players will probably get tired of it, so I’ll stop doing it, but I would personally never get tired of it. It’s important to know your players’ limits.

The new forums make posting these a bit easier - I use a Google Doc to write the Recaps, then paste them in here. There’s still some reformatting as far as I can tell, but it’s okay because it gives me a chance to proof-read the Recap. However, there’s a lot of nicer features and the editor is a bit better. And there seems to be an auto-save thing, so my computer hopefully can’t eat whole posts anymore (it’s done so thrice).

Uhm… anyway, this two-episode arc was just a neat little sidestep to tie up some loose ends from last season. That whole plotline was really about the various “backup” Barons Blade, not about Biomancer’s secret plans in the guise of Dr. Vitruvius, and the good “Doctor” was not supposed to be his own big story, so I always intended to reveal this in a much smaller way, and this fun two-episode romp turned out perfectly (in my humble opinion).

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!


fans always say “If there’s not at least one fake Baron Blade per season, it’s not The Alternates”!


Ah, Jersey Devil, always being mischievous.*

What‽ Baron Blade‽ But how‽ Wait, it’s Biomancer‽

I am impressed. You had that Dr. Vitruvius masquerade going on for quite some time. Wait, but, did Dr. Vitruvius ever really exist? Even back before Project Whatever-It-Was-Called? Or was it Biomancer the whole time?

This timeline’s Biomancer seems to have a bigger sense of humor than Universe 1’s.

Yeah, Solution 203 was definitely a waste of time.

Hmm, so, how many fake Barons does this make now?

I wonder, will Biomancer just disappear after this? Or will he do more this Season? This Season does already seem to have several other villains: Chronoclash, Gloomweaver and his Cult, and maybe Asteraxxal and Flame-Tor.

*Is that, in fact, his mechanical Personality? If not, would you mind sharing what it actually is is? Or for that matter, any other mechanical bits of The Alternates? I, for one, enjoy your recaps and would find it interesting.

The slow realization that Dr. Vitruvius had to be Biomancer, right around when the fight started. :smiley: I feel so chuffed to have figured it out.

Wow, that means he’s been behind literally everything! This is mind-blowing.

Jersey Devil is Tragic, Extradimensional, Transporter, and Alluring, with Principles of Speed and Great Power. The Alluring part was based on his spooky mysteriousness and being a cryptid. (Also Jersey Devil’s background is suuuper tragic, but no one on these forums knows about it because Mistergone still hasn’t finished rewriting the ComiCon recap)

The Personality part of character creation does seem like it really should be something you should be able to change, but it has relatively so little mechanical effect I can’t imagine that if you offered the chance to change it with hero points many people would do it. The character changes with roleplay, and then you just forget about that part of the character sheet.


Who’s been messing up everything? IT’S BEEN BARON BLADE ALL ALONG!

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Quasar Kid is Anachronistic, Cosmos, Close Quarters Combat, and Impulsive, with Principles of Time Traveler and The Team. The writers who changed the Freedom Legion comic into the Galactic Freedom Initiative were leaning heavily on 90s tropes, and an impulsive teen brawler fit that perfectly.

The illustration on p104 of the RPG is damned close to Quasar Kid’s look. Change the hair to purple dreadlocks and give him the skin tone of the bystander holding the phone, and it’s pretty much perfect.

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Yeah, he should really get on that. ; )

Ah, missed the mechanical question from a while ago.

Kid Radical is Performer / Training / Wild Card / Impulsive

Principles are currently Youth and Clockwork (were originally Youth and Honor)

“Impulsive” became kinda off-brand as I figured out during play how much of a stickler for rules he is and more so when I started emphasizing the “perfect memory, careful planner” thing. If I ever rework the character more significantly beyond some of the ability swaps I’ve done, that’d probably change