Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Detective Comics #1 - pt. 1

After 107 posts, we're finally getting into material that most comic book fans of today would recognize, at least by name. Detective Comics #1!  Of course, there was no sign of Batman -- or any characters remotely like him -- back in that first issue.

Though most of the adventures in Detective Comics fit the theme of urban crime, there was also Bret Lawton, "ace international detective", but he was really more of an explorer than a detective (see the Explorer class in The Trophy Case v. 1 no. 2).

Here, Bret stumbles across a ruined Incan temple in Peru and, while we only see the outside of it, you can already tell that it would be a pretty cool hideout.  There's a small entrance, like a back door, at ground level. From the front, the temple seems disguised as a really tall mound. Only when the Incan on top descends around the back on some concealed stairs does he come to what looks more like a main entrance. The mound/temple doesn't look that big, but there could easily be 3-5 rooms between the lower back entrance and the higher main entrance, and who knows how many rooms underground...

Nelson (no first name in this issue) discovers that even a Chinese restaurant can serve as a hideout.  This page gives you some sense of the layout, as well as the trappings of a sinister-looking lair.

Hideouts & Hoodlums Book II: Mobsters and Trophies makes no mention of yellow peril hoodlums being of unusual size, though these huge Orientals do certainly look like they have 2 Hit Dice or better.

I'm not sure how this periscope works -- mirrors positioned in every room? -- but I do like the idea of a single sentry being able to watch the whole hideout for intruders.

Buck Marshall, Range Detective reminds us that tracking does not mean the Editor needs to tell the players exactly where the bad guys went; the Editor can choose to have clues found instead and let the players try to piece them together.

And here's another view of yellow peril hoodlums, not as fearsome foes, but comical nincompoops.

Slam Bradley's signature move, hitting one mobster with another, is visually appealing, but a possible rules cheat that should be addressed here.  In H&H, unarmed combat goes faster, with two attacks per turn (which is supposed to encourage unarmed combat).  However, one of the hoodlums was clearly holding a knife (though he's just now dropped it).  If any one combatant uses a regular weapon, it slows down the whole combat to single attacks per turn (exception: missile attacks with some weapons, or melee attacks if buffed by certain powers, but otherwise this is always true in melee).  So, without the knife, Slam could have picked up one hoodlum and hit the other, as two different attacks, in the same turn.  With the knife, he had to grapple the first hoodlum in one turn and hit the other one in the second turn.  Even then, the Editor might choose to rule that only one of the hoodlums takes damage from the attack.

Slam is a brand new Hero, but he's already picked up two useful tips for hideout-crawling -- 1) in case of traps, make someone else go first, and 2) pick up anything that looks useful you find lying around a hideout.  You never know when that sword might be a +1 Sword!

(Scans by me!)

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