Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Detective Comics #10

Oops!  I had started to review this issue one day, got distracted from the project, and picked up on the next comic book in order. Now I'll have to go back and look again at #10 before doing #11...

How's this for starting with a bang?  Larry Steele is in a shootout, with some interesting things going on here. First, Larry manages to shoot a gun out of someone's hand, which is not supported by the game mechanics for "ordinary" Fighters. So what's going on there? The Editor might be:

A. Using stunts (Disarming Shot), but allowing Fighters to use them.
B. realizing that the gangster is at zero hp, but is using flavor text to shake things up; instead of saying the gangster drops, or something like that, the gangster has been removed from the fight by the loss of his gun (and, perhaps, will drop on the following turn).
C. remembering that The Trophy Case v. 1 no. 5 included optional rules for disarming during unarmed melee combat; the Editor is simply allowing those rules to stand in missile combat as well.
D. implementing a house rule of his own -- perhaps on a natural 20, the player can choose a special result from a hit in combat.

There are some other game mechanics possibly at play here. The obvious one is "misses his mark in the darkness", which could well be because of the hide in shadows ability for humans (the "-2 to be hit in dim light" rule), though it could also be just a situational modifier (since I am 95% sure I'm ditching the hide in shadows bonus in 2nd edition, for reasons shared elsewhere on this blog).

The other possible mechanic here is "driving Larry back," and this could be another example of covering fire, a new rule I just brought up yesterday. Only, then I was talking about covering fire making it too dangerous to move through an area, and this page suggests it would actually drive you back out of an area, which may be too powerful.

Also worth mentioning are the words associated with the bad guys. I've always treated "gangsters" as hoodlums, not knowing how I would stat gangsters differently. Any thoughts out there? "Thug", though, is an extra-tough hoodlum that was statted in Book II: Mobsters & Trophies.

Now, this page of Larry Steele brings up a good point about cars. Cars of the 1930s were things of beauty, and some of my favorite cars of all time, but one thing they were not was aerodynamic. That's why, when the mobsters' car is described as "streamlined", you know it's going to win this chase scene. So, "streamlined car" should be its own type of trophy item, which will always win in a race or chase (all other things being equal) against a regular 1930s/1940s-style car.

Cosmo is in India this issue, acting more like an explorer than a mystery man with a penchant for disguise. This is why Heroes need to travel -- because they aren't likely to find temples carved out of the tops of mountains in their home towns. The temple is a great idea for a hideout, but disappoints here, as the interior seems to be only two rooms big.

Note the wild dogs; I would use either the stats for watchdogs or wolves (both in Book II).

There's that disarming shot again! It's so cliche, maybe everyone should be able to do it?

This was probably Cosmo's most exciting adventure ever, so it's too bad it was wrapped up in just six rushed pages. It's hard to say what happens at the end that lets the villains all conveniently escape. Was that a flare bomb of some kind that blinded everyone long enough for the bad guys to pick up the mummy and flee to a secret door with it? Or maybe some sort of Dimension Door Grenade?

Bruce Nelson serials tend to be really talky, but here's an action page where Bruce grabs a knife thrown at him and throws it back. This should be possible in H&H, probably as a new stunt called Catch Missile Weapons, if Fighters are allowed to use stunts.

Bruce Nelson gives us evidence of two shots per turn, as allowed with automatic weapons in the core rules (and slower missile weapons at higher levels).

This month's installment of Spy shows us that anarchists are good at picking locks, and should get a really good bonus to morale saves, if they have to roll at all.

Buck Marshall, Range Detective, has some good advice on searching for secret things. Rolling a d6 and hoping for luck is one thing, but looking for specific things, like checking to see if the embers in a fire are still warm, will tell you information that requires no roll.

Now, Buck's advice about bolting the door behind you, so you're not disturbed while you're searching, may or may not appeal to players. Some players welcome the chance of wandering encounters while exploring as a ready source for more XP.

Slam Bradley, this month, teaches us that hi-tech weapons don't need to be found just with mad scientists. Here, a crooked boxing manager has an electric raygun, perfect for making murders look like accidental deaths (though taken from a murdered mad scientist, behind the scenes).

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Archives)

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