Friday, October 30, 2015

More Fun Comics #31 - pt. 1

This month's Dr. Occult adventure has him investigating a mine being worked by zombies. The concept of zombies being "exploited" as unpaid labor is glossed over and the plot winds up being an invasion theme (the mine tunnels will come up under the city, eventually). Zombies are said to have "unbreakable" grappling holds, but turn inert when the Magic-User who raised them dies.

Dr. Occult also casts a spell that causes a cave-in. Stone Shape...?

Buzz Brown (yet another Terry and the Pirates rip-off) reminds us that you don't have to know Morse Code for it to be useful -- just hearing something that sounds like Morse Code tells you that someone intelligent is tapping on the other side of a wall.

I'm skeptical about using a blow torch to open a hole in a wall, but I don't know...maybe on board a ship the walls would be thin enough.

There is no game mechanic for determining when women faint, it has to be flavor text whenever it would not affect combat. Likewise, "restoratives" like smelling salts don't link to any game mechanic, and are certainly useless for rousing someone who is truly unconscious (zero hit points).

Similarly, there is no game mechanic to determine when you would accidentally sneeze and give yourself away while hiding. There are rules for determining surprise and, if you don't have surprise, the Editor might as well say a sneeze is what gave them away.

Russell "Alger" Cole did a lot of filler material like this in the early comics. I had once tried to develop a similar style of art, years before even encountering an Alger story. I haven't found an excuse to include him to date, as his pages tend to be stationary figures talking to each other, but this page is really different, as it shows men rock climbing.

The Hideouts & Hoodlums rules don't talk about climbing much, assigning it only to the Mysteryman class as something special they can do. And yet, with enough rope, tools, and a guide, surely anyone could try it? I might allow it with a saving throw vs. science if a Hero was using rope, with a +1 bonus for having help.

This page shows the consequences of missing said saving throw -- falling! Actually, it appears that a snapped rope is responsible for the falling, but since the wrecking things rule doesn't really apply here, then no game mechanic is directly tied to the rope; the failed saving throw is simply explained by the rope snapping.

I tended to be conservative with area of effect for weapons like grenades in Supplement I: National, but here we see a grenade thrown through a window into a room, and passerbys outside are still hurt by it. I'm not sure, though, if the area of effect needs to be revised upwards, or if the Editor needs to adjust on a case-by-case situation (clearly the big glass window plays a large part in the passerbys being hurt).

Incidentally, the convertible is called a touring car on the next page. It was a common term for a car in the times, but is a term that seemed rarely used in comic books.

Now this situation is different -- there's no way that a surprise roll should determine if someone wakes up from their sleep or not. I might allow a save vs. plot (for Heroes, maybe villains -- I'd be very hesitant to allow this ordinary characters) to wake up in time to get a surprise roll.

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus)

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