Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Action Comics #5 - part 1

That the early adventures of Superman took place in Siegel & Shuster's home town of Cleveland, Ohio is no secret, so it's strange that the dam Superman saves here is the "Valleyho" Dam when what's clearly meant is an Ohio Valley dam.

This installment features the first of many times Lois tries to trick Clark. It appears that she succeeds; Clark goes to the hospital fully expecting to find the news story there Lois told him about. And why not? He has no reason to suspect his own supporting cast has ulterior motives. Aren't they just around for offering him plot hooks? Typical of a novice player. And it's not like Hideouts & Hoodlums players go around, using mechanics like sense motive skill checks on everyone they meet.

The narrator says Superman reaches the dam at "the speed of light", but that is very clearly hyperbole. Superman appears to only be using the 1st-level power Outrun Train here -- or perhaps the 3rd-level power Race the Bullet, since the train had so much of a head start on him.

Displaying a 3rd-level power would not be the only time this story that Superman displays abilities that seem like they should be beyond his level with so few experience points to his name. He uses the high-level power Raise Bridge to save a train, and Divert River to save a town. He still has his limits, though, as he seems to have no power at his disposal that can buff him enough to stop the dam from bursting.

His power level also seems to go back down after this story. Perhaps his Editor kindly let him have some extra levels temporarily just to handle this scenario (they are called "Big Bang Levels" in Supplement V: Big Bang).

Superman wrecks a car to rescue Lois, a clear example of his wrecking things power.

The gag filler Coyote Canyon Bill shows Bill suffering damage from what appears to be the desert heat. I would not consider even the hottest desert capable of causing heat damage, though; more likely, the damage being inflicted on him is more likely from dehydration -- maybe 1d3 points of damage per 4 hour "rest" turn?

When "Chuck" Dawson ambushes his pursuers from behind a "clump of rocks", he has an advantage of at least a +2 bonus to hit -- +1 for being from behind and +1 for having a height advantage.  If he took a 1-minute turn to aim, he is at +3.

I've talked before about making it easier to survive falling damage into water, but this installment of "Chuck" Dawson specifies how far he can fall and take little or no damage -- 40'.

Pep Morgan's sports-themed installment, this time, is about sailboat racing. I'm not expecting this to come up often in H&H, but if it does, I've got some useful tips here, like there's a danger of capsizing if you try to start off too fast. There's also some actions that could be applied to any race, like "trying to squeeze through on the inside", or crashing other vessels, or lightening the load. I wonder, though, if I need separate game mechanics for each of these?

Phil the Floater is a short comic piece by "Alger" with his squat funny people. Phil is a thief -- not of the Mysteryman type, but just a common thief. His trick is diversion, swipe, and run -- a trick just about anyone could try and have a chance to succeed at. I would treat it the same as picking pockets, with...maybe a 2 in 6 chance of success?

The Adventures of Marco Polo picks up where it left off, with Marco and family being attacked by a large snake. This is a smart snake, too -- in addition to trying to bite and constrict, this one also can try to trip with its coils! I am not opposed to giving such extra attacks to exceptional encounters, but normally the trip attack would take the place of the bite or constriction attack.

One of the people attacked by the snake has a sprained leg that's still bothering him the next day. Non-Hero characters can suffer all kinds of complications from injuries, that can linger as long as the Editor needs them to -- even after magical healing!  Heroes should be exempt from lingering complications, unless the Hero and Editor agree it is useful to the story.

(This issue can be read at Comic Book Archives)

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