Monday, May 25, 2015

Funny Picture Stories #6

A good role-playing game has to be not only fun for the good players, but not overwhelming for the bad players.

Meet Terry Taylor of the U.S. Foreign Service. Terry has just climbed into the back of a car with a man only dressed like a diplomat, without asking for any papers, and had top secret documents stolen from him.  For his bumbling incompetence, you would think Terry would be fired on the spot, but this is a game and Terry's player is there to have fun, right?  So his Editor goes easy on him and let's Terry off without so much as a lecture from his boss (though, granted, this could be the result of a really high encounter reaction roll too).

So what's Terry's player to do next?  He's not very good at looking for clues, like finding out how many bright yellow American-made cars are registered in Shanghai, so he just has Terry wander around randomly, hoping to get lucky.  For this contingency, there is luckily wandering encounter rolls -- and an Editor generous enough to put the fake diplomat prominently on his random encounter table.

Does it make sense to shoot at the lamp instead of the man-sized target who's standing there, in short range of you?  The Editor should not normally play mobsters as if they were aware that Heroes get a save vs. missiles, even though that does, technically, make the lamp an easier target.

What shooting the lamp does is make what could have been a short combat more interesting, giving all combatants a whopping -4 penalty to hit in complete darkness (or -2 if the light is only dim).

You missed a couple pages, but Terry boarded a fighter plane and shot down the fleeing bad guys. He might have forgot that the goal of the scenario became getting combustible papers back safely, so causing a plane to burst into flames might not have been wise. Again, a charitable Editor might allow the Hero a save vs. plot to find the papers intact before the plane explodes.

Bob Steele MD. is an outer space adventure, but you wouldn't guess that from the ordinary-looking tiger Bob is fighting with an ordinary-looking knife.  The lesson here is that outer space can be as spectacular, or as mundane, as you want it to be.

We've seen this before, like in Don Dixon, but aliens are easy to construct by just statting an ordinary human and changing the skin color. Helmets and diapers are optional.

The balancing duel would require a save vs. science each combat turn to keep from falling. 

The octishark is an example of an old technique -- combine two ordinary animals to make a new animal that seems exotic or alien.  The octishark seems to have only two tentacles, but even that would make for a pretty fierce underwater animal, able to grasp and hold its prey while delivering vicious bites.

A rare use of the term "brigand" instead of "bandit".  Brigands are, in H&H terms, the same as bandits, only more Chaotic.

It's often less-than-satisfying to have the Editor just sum up a long-distance journey to the planned adventure as "You leave're there!" A handy trick is to roleplay out at least one stop on the trip, which serves to represent the trip as a whole -- in this case, the stay for the night in Titusville.  Of course, I try to make my stopovers more interesting than that when I'm running a game, but maybe that's just me.

Why is it important to collect money in H&H?  Because there will be times when you want both a seaplane and a speedboat, and you don't want to have to wait for your next paycheck.

Also note the unusual entrance to a hideout -- underwater cave.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)


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