Monday, April 27, 2015

Funny Picture Stories #4 - pt. 1

Let's be honest -- Centaur might have never amounted to anything based on the issues I've reviewed so far here. But with Funny Picture Stories #4, here, we see the infusion of relevance with the arrival of Will Eisner.   The Brothers 3 will not stand the test of time as great literature, but we begin to see a cinematic elegance here that will become one of Eisner's trademarks.

 Here, in true Hideouts & Hoodlums tradition, we see how the Hero resolves an argument when the encounter reaction roll doesn't go in his favor!  We cannot say from here if Capt. Smith has surprise or not, but he definitely won initiative. How different this story might have gone had he gone last in the combat turn!

Here's some of that cinematic stuff I mentioned. With this, it gets hard to say how much we're looking at game mechanics being resolved vs. how much of it is simply flavor text. Should the Editor simply hand-wave all rolls to jump from horseback to the underside of a passing plane just because it looks so cool, or is this is a case of saving vs. science, coupled with a to-hit roll?

This is interesting -- the falling damage the Hero and the villainous sheik took seems to only be temporary subdual damage here, yet in H&H all falling damage is considered potentially lethal damage and heals slowly. Perhaps all reference to them being unconscious is merely more flavor text?  Then the contest here is only which of the fallen manages to get back up on his feet first, determined by a simple initiative roll.

And then there's Rocky Baird, a sort-of poor man's Captain Easy.  This guy even looks a little like Easy, though we'll find out in a page or two that this isn't Rocky.  But is he a SCM or another player-controlled Hero?

Note that hardly anyone in this deadly firefight is dodging for cover. Everyone seems to be counting on bad dice rolls!  Since our good guy is apparently dodging 12 attack rolls in this first turn, he is either extremely lucky, or is a player-controlled Hero getting his save vs. missile for each bullet.

We also get some idea here about how many bandits should be encountered together.

Okay, spoiler -- this is Rocky showing up in the plane. Rocky doesn't have the overwhelming advantage here he might appear to have.  As mentioned previously, there is the penalty to hit based on speed for vehicular combat, offset only barely by the +1 situational modifier he would gain for attacking from above. If the bandits had not failed their morale saves, he would still be a target to retaliatory shots fired (though he would have the benefit of both hard cover from the plane and his save vs. missiles for evading gunfire).

You can almost smell the testosterone as these two Heroes meet. That they intend to hurl themselves against an army of a thousand bandits might seem like suicide, but the coming pages will demonstrate how area effect weapons and morale rules work in the Heroes' favor.

The stats for grenades in H&H Supplement I: National say they are good over a 10' area of effect, but if thrown off a plane I would still make the Hero roll to hit the machine gun nest, considering how far off the mark the grenade bag could have landed. The players here would have been very lucky, considering the penalty to hit for the machine gunner is so great that the plane has been missed at least four times, and then the thrown grenade bag hits on the first try with much the same penalties.

Also, though I would treat the damage as cumulative for however many grenades are in the sack, I would not treat the area of effect as cumulative.

Though The Trophy Case no. 8 dealt with plane mishaps, it failed to cover what would happen in the event of a crash, and one's chance of survival.  Heroes tend to walk away from crashes fairly often, so I would be comfortable allowing them a save vs. science to take only 1d6 damage from a crash.

As this unnamed protagonist discovers, sometimes solving a mystery is just too hard, but hanging around waiting for wandering encounters to come by is a lot easier.

Now what to do about quicksand?  Most people by now know that quicksand doesn't really work this way, and yet should it not work in H&H like it does in the comic books?  In that case, any contact with quicksand might require a save vs. science to avoid being sucked down into it, even if motionless.  And if your players complain, show them this page!

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus)

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