Friday, March 6, 2015

More Fun Comics #13

September 1936 brings us more of Sandra of the Secret Service, just now starting her second adventure after 12 2-3 page installments. To say Sandra is a master of disguise may seem a bit of a misnomer, and yet people in comic books seem to be frighteningly easy to fool by the simplest of disguises. But, only for Heroes; not just anyone is so good at disguise.

Sandra is likely a member of the Spy character class, introduced in The Trophy Case v. 2 no . 5, which has disguise as a class function right from the start. This will become tricky in the next edition, which I had not intended to include the Spy class in. Will that make Sandra a Mysteryman, then, using a Disguise Stunt?  Time will tell.

Medieval period pieces are not going to receive much coverage on this blog; there are LOTS of other RPGs that deal specifically with medieval re-enactment (or swords & sorcery-fantasy equivalents). This page of Ivanhoe does, however, address the mystery of the crossbow.

The mystery is -- where are they? Crossbows are not that rare in real life; they're still used in hunting to this day. But you'll be hard-pressed to find one in the comics. Why is that? Are they just somehow hard to draw? Note how the text describes the archers on the battlements as using crossbows, but those are obviously regular short bows in use in the artwork. Is it just because the act of pulling back a bow string looks more active than holding a stationary crossbow close to the shoulder? Until this mystery is resolved, I plan on taking the crossbow off the starting equipment list for Hideouts & Hoodlums.

The Crazy Meter still runs high on Don Drake on the Planet Saro, and that's good news for informing a campy sci-fi H&H campaign.  Here, we sort of learn about the contents of the Zetrurian queen's gold flagon. It doesn't spell out for us just how this potion "vanquishes" the monster, but it's clearly dead on the next page. Perhaps it's a powerful contact poison.

Poison, in H&H, does a lot of different things depending on the type, with most poisonous animals each having their own set of mechanics (and what goes wrong if a save vs. poison is missed).  Some poisons only weaken, some render a person comatose for a random length of time, while others are of the save or die variety (with onset time varying).

Now this is curious -- is the poisonous cloud an after-effect of the contact poison, or of killing the land monster? It seems like the queen would be crazy to intentionally give Don a weapon that would endanger her own people, so I have to say this is what happens to land monsters after they die. The poison vapor does not seem to be of the save or die variety, since everyone is just walking to shelter instead of running.

This issue's installment of Dr. Occult introduces the idea of a lycanthropy potion that can be injected into someone via a syringe.
This page of Pirate Gold shows a) pirates (statted in Book II: Mobsters & Trophies) and b) situational modifiers to hit, such as while backstabbing (which would be a +2 bonus to hit).  If the pirate was also a Mysteryman, this could be a Signature Move and do additional damage.

This page of Sandy Kean and the Radio-Squad features a gangster (treat as a bloodthirsty hoodlum, first introduced in The Trophy Case v. 2 no. 6, but then retroactively added to the next edition of Book II: Mobsters & Trophies), a sub-machine gun (treated as a trophy weapon), and a car and motorcycle (motorcycles were originally treated as transport trophies, but were retroactively added to the starting equipment list in Book I: Men & Supermen).

The death in the last panel is awfully hard to figure out, probably because of some slipshod artwork from future Superman creator, Joe Shuster. If the momentum of the car threw the hoodlum into the pole, then the hoodlum's body should be on the other side of the pole.

Regardless, this is an awfully tricky situation to duplicate with game mechanics. How do you give someone a chance of throwing someone off of the running board of your car hard enough to injure or kill them?  The vehicular combat rules in Book III: Underworld and Metropolis Adventures are for assigning damage based on speed if you hit someone with a car. Perhaps this attack would do half that damage, if the passenger on the running board failed a save vs. science?

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus)

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