Friday, January 1, 2016

Action Comics #4 - part 1

For the entire length of 2015, I tracked the build-up of the Golden Age, from as far back as 1935, to September 1938. I have taken what I've learned from reading these comic books and sharing them with you, what I've learned that can make the RPG Hideouts & Hoodlums emulate Golden Age comics even better.  Now, here we are, returning on New Year's Day, for Year 2 of this project and a return to Action Comics.

Superman uses the power Outrun Train to reach the stalled auto before the train hits it, but why is Superman concerned that the driver will "kill us both"? Why would an invulnerable superhero say that? Because Invulnerability is a buffing power that Superman has either not prepared for today, or is too low in level and doesn't have yet.  Then Superman leaps away. That could be the power Leap I, but since Superman leaped so much in the early days, I just gave aliens that as a free ability.

What's really weird is that Superman just happens to pop into the train in exactly the right passenger car to overhear a plot hook. As Editor, your job will be to create the plot hooks, but not to pre-plan where the Heroes encounter the plot hooks. It's best just to have them spring up wherever the Heroes happen to be.

Superman makes a rare use of the Change Self power (with the flavor text of grease paint make-up to explain it).  Superman also shows a willingness to drug and kidnap people he needs out of the way to make his plans work. Non-Lawful behavior? It shows that H&H needs a flexible Alignment system that does not punish for deviation.

When Superman is getting punched and doesn't feel it, that's because his opponent is actually "missing" to hit Superman's Armor Class. The rest is only flavor text.

But did I miss an opportunity to introduce a new power -- something like "Untackleable"?  When Superman has four football players hanging off of him and keeps running, was that just lucky dice rolls from the grappling attacks? Perhaps a creative use of the power No Encumbrance to carry the four men on him and keep moving?

The pocket knife, snapping on Superman's tough skin, was my inspiration for the Super-Tough Skin power.

"Chuck" Dawson, in his story, demonstrates the cowboy stunt Summon Horse, while his opponent demonstrates Jump into Saddle. I don't know what I'm going to do with the Cowboy stunts in 2nd edition. Somehow fold them in with how skills will work? Make them available to everyone when they go to the Mythic West?

Chuck uses rope to rappel down a cliff. Although this would be a tough thing for me to do, I imagine this would be pretty easy for a Hero-type, and I wouldn't require a roll for it. Now, without rope, or if the cliff was wet...

Pep Morgan, in his feature, does a lot of swimming (he seems to move from sport to sport, monthly). First he does a rescue stunt in calm water and then another one in rapids later. Now, like the rock climbing mentioned above, the rescue in calm water probably needed no dice rolls. But swimming in rapids, fighting the current -- should that be something level-based, like a saving throw vs. science, or an un-graduated skill that everyone would have a 1 in 6, or 2 in 6, chance to perform?  For 2nd ed., I'm leaning towards the latter.

I don't often mention Alger's funny squat-figure people strips, but I found Bad Bill: the Menace of the Hills particularly amusing.  When the old guy says "Ain't you sorta jumpin' t' conclusions?" and Bill says "I allus jump t' conclusions!" -- I can just imagine Yosemite Sam saying something like that. Incidentally, the old man's bulletproof vest shows that armor might be appropriate for even a Western setting.

In The Adventures of Marco Polo, Marco and Niku survive a sandstorm by finding shelter. but does the shelter shield them entirely from the storm, or only give them a bonus modifier to saving throws vs. science? At issue is, how important is shelter in avoiding environmental damage?

Later, Marco and his Uncle Mafflo engage in some holiday swimming racing. Since it's not important to the story, I'd just compare Strength scores, higher score wins. If it was more important -- like money or prestige was riding on it -- I might add a random element by comparing Strength +1d6.

Then the Polos see lions attacked by a python. It's a big python -- I don't know if I'd call it a giant constrictor snake, but it doesn't seem to be normal size. Huge? Lions were statted right away in Book II: Mobsters & Trophies. Regular constrictor snakes were statted in Book II, but I don't think I ever went the large/huge/giant routine with them.

(You can read this issue at the Comic Book Archives)

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