Monday, January 5, 2015

New Fun #2 - part 1

We're still back in March 1935 and this is the second issue of New Fun, the first comic book anthology of original stories from National, the company that what would become DC Comics.  This is a big issue with a lot of firsts for us to consider, so it's going to rate more than one day's post.

Last post, we were introduced to Jane Arden, a strong heroine character from the comic strips (reprinted in Famous Funnies).  But the first heroine character written for comic books was Sandra of the Secret Service.  And this could well be the first "knockout blow to the back of the head" written for comic books.  Soon a cliche of the genre, I knew going into writing Hideouts & Hoodlums that I would have to account for this. That's why, for example, Superheroes can only temporarily buff themselves to be bulletproof or invulnerable, because eventually they need to be vulnerable to a hoodlum getting lucky with the butt of his gun and the back of the Hero's head after all his bullets were wasted shooting at the Hero's chest.  The next edition of H&H is going to have an optional head attack rule that will further take this into account.

Based on this page, I considered allowing Spies to be able to slip away from encounters when no one is looking. For now, though, I'm prepared to stat this bad guy as a Mysteryman, using his Move Silently ability to slip away.  The Mysteryman class was an optional class that debuted in Supplement I, but will be a core class in the next edition.

There are no fumble rules in H&H.  The Editor is, however, given considerable power of narrative leeway.  What this means is, the Editor of the game should describe a miss any way he wants or, in a case such as this, having a Yellow Peril Hoodlum trip over a rug when he meant to be braining Barry O'Neill.

Knocking the hoodlum out the window is a bit trickier. This could just be flavor text from the Editor (it does move the story forward), but the next edition will have an optional rule for pushing an opponent back in melee.

Supporting Cast Members are as important in a game of H&H as they are in any story. A police chief is a handy contact for any Hero to have, if not a risky one for a starting Hero (since there is always the chance of a hostile reaction). Here, Barry clearly gets access to a patrol boat through his SCM (Supporting Cast Member).

Motorboats are valuable trophies, worth a lot of Experience Points to a first-level Hero, but not as valuable as a Magic Crystal of History.

The mother of all magic items, the Magic Crystal lets two kids travel through up to 6,000 years in time just by staring into it.  Like a TARDIS (before there was such a thing as a TARDIS), the users don't seem to have much control over where the crystal takes them. An ambitious Editor could build a whole time-hopping campaign around possession of a Magic Crystal of History, but it would need to have a limited number of charges or limited in some other way (like once per day, or once per week) to keep it manageable.  Or maybe it would only function for half-pints?  Child protagonists are so common in the comics of this time that a half-pint character race was introduced in The Trophy Case v. 2 no. 4.

Wing Brady is our first Hero of the aviator genre. The Aviator class was an option introduced in The Trophy Case v. 1 no. 6 & 7. Wing is shown here using the Deadstick stunt, one of 12 1st level stunts they can perform.  He has an awful lot of Dervishes to fight (2 Hit Dice, no less!), which is probably why his Editor allowed him to have a machine gun.

As common a sight as machine guns (particularly Tommy guns) are in comic books, it would be tempting to just put them on the starting equipment list and let them do the same damage as every other weapon. In the interests of maintaining some degree of realism, though, I decided to treat them as trophies (keeping them out of the hands of beginning Heroes), and letting them do significantly more harm to more people than even handguns.

Heroes don't start the games with planes either, though Aviators start off with the ability to fly. My write-up for the class was, admittedly, not detailed on what this means. It means that the Aviator is supposed to be able to find some means of aerial conveyance when he needs it -- a conveniently abandoned plane, perhaps a hi-tech rocket pack if indoors -- with the understanding that he won't get to keep it after using it. A trophy plane, legitimately found (and earned; all trophies have to be earned), the Aviator Hero gets to keep.

Wing has someone who can repair the plane with him, which means his Supporting Cast Member is either a level 3+ Aviator or a level 1+ Scientist (the Scientist class coming from Supplement III: Better Quality).

Now, the scheme where Wing dangles from a flying plane to grab a man off a horse demonstrates that Wing is nuts more than it demonstrates the use of a stunt (stunts, as a game mechanic, debuted with the Cowboy character class in Supplement III, but will play a big role in the next edition of H&H).  Game mechanic-wise, he's simply being lowered into melee range so he gets a chance to roll to hit with a grapple attack.

(scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus)

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