Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Fun #7

Actually, this entry is a cheat.  I have nothing to say about More Fun #7, as I don't have access to it -- but I did find some content from its predecessor, New Fun #6, yesterday, online, here.  And, since I had skipped over #6 when I passed through October 1935 days ago, I thought it only fitting to talk about it here.

More Fun #6 is notable, of course, for the debut of Dr. Occult, the Ghost Detective.  The page reproduced at that link is interesting because we not only get the first vampire created for comics, but we see Dr. Occult clearly turning it with a magic symbol.  As I mentioned before, undead turning is finally making its long-needed comeback in the next edition of Hideouts & Hoodlums.  In fact, this is a perfect example of undead turning; the first time, Dr. Occult's player makes his undead turning roll, but the second time he fails.  What seems arbitrary looking on the printed page looks more like game mechanics at work behind the scenes.

But there is another issue here too, and one not so easily solved.  If Dr. Occult is a new Hero, he should be a 1st-level Magic-User. And yet here he is, turning a 7 Hit Die vampire as if he was at least a mid-level Hero.  There are a total of five explanations for this I can come up with.  They are:
  1. Dr. Occult has more XP and levels than we would assume for a Hero we are seeing for the first time.  This is the easiest, but most arbitrary and least satisfying of the explanations.  
  2. Dr. Occult has extra levels.  The concept of "brevet ranks" came up in The Trophy Case v. 2 no. 7.  This way, Dr. Occult could still be starting out at 0 XP, but with more Hero levels.
  3. Dr. Occult is holding a magic trophy -- a Magic Symbol +3, perhaps, that allows someone to turn undead as if three levels higher (Editors should not be encouraged to drop such powerful trophies into the hands of starting Heroes, of course).
  4. Vampires are weaker, or at least more easily turned, in H&H than in the game it emulates.
  5. The most radical explanation would be making undead turning work completely different. Instead of becoming progressively harder by type of undead, it becomes a flat random chance to turn any type of undead, regardless of type or level.  This neatly solves the problem of this page of Dr. Occult from a game mechanic perspective, but eliminating the "by level" improvement component takes away a reward for leveling in the game.
So, which of those would you choose?  Or do you have another idea?  Leave me a comment.

7/15/2017 update: Two and a half years later, I've finally found a scan of More Fun #7 at Comic Book Plus (though maybe it's been here for ages and I just overlooked it).

In it, we see Sandra of the Service going a little trigger happy, trying to shoot her way out of the Gavonian embassy. This is early evidence that the Fighter class should be exempt from one of my favorite rules -- the save vs. plot to shoot someone in cold blood.

Brad Hardy battles the Black Magician, who can Polymorph Self into a giant constrictor snake, or cast a Wall of Fire spell.

Don Drake on the Planet Saro borrows a page from the Kraken myth, replacing the Kraken with a more generic dragon-like sea beast.

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