Saturday, January 9, 2016

Detective Comics #19 - part 1

This issue starts with another Speed Saunders investigation, and this investigation starts off well with Speed getting a good lead to follow. Speed finds the guy who's been passing around the counterfeit money, but when he needs to find the guy printing the money Speed does what many a player of mine in the past would have done -- just wander around aimlessly and wait for me to throw them bigger clues. Here, Speed just happens to walk past a random building where he hears a printing press inside.

Inspector Kent of Scotland Yard is after a missing invisibility formula -- my first thought was that this would be a potion, but the formula seems to be instructions for working an invisibility machine that works for just 30 minutes. This deviates from the Invisibility spell, but that's okay for mad science devices.

Kent notices that a car is trailing him (keen senses/notice things check?).  He is rescued by a mysterious woman who seems suspiciously eager to help Kent.  Supporting cast members are meant to be actively recruited by the player, but Kent just shrugs and says stuff like "Sure, why not?" when she wants to go everywhere with him. This type of freebie character should not be considered supporting cast for purposes of awarding xp (which Heroes get when their players actively involve their SCMs in the scenario).

Larry Steele's new adventure starts at on an uncharted island "2000 miles due East off the coast of Brazil", which is odd because by the time you're 2,000 miles East of Brazil you're practically to Africa.

Another peculiarity -- Larry sprains his ankle in a plane crash! I'm not being facetious; specific injuries, or complications after being unconscious, are fairly rare in comic book stories. I really wanted a table of complications linked to being reduced to zero hit points in 2nd ed. Hideouts & Hoodlums, but now I'm not so sure.

There's also a really creepy backstory here about the mobsters on the island who kill a 14-year old girl's parents and keep per prisoner for the next 4 years, hoping Stockholm syndrome kicks in so she'll marry the boss mobster. More proof that you can go really dark and still be Golden Age-like.

Bart Regan and Sally of Spy are about to have the first wedding in comic book history when the service is interrupted by a new mission, and this one is...pretty silly. The all-important mission is that a woman is in town who is suspected of being a spy and Bart and Sally are the only ones who can prove she is. But...where is the time crunch here? Is the Chief secretly jealous and doesn't want Bart to have Sally?

Anyway, the lady spy has a mirrored compact she uses to powder her nose that can project invisible beams of wrecking things force, capable of smashing a brick wall (or equal to a Superhero able to wreck up to cars). This is the kind of compact super-science I expect to see Iron Man carrying in 2016 and seems oddly out of place in a Golden Age story. Of course, the item does have a drawback -- if you accidentally aim it towards your face, your face explodes (so, at least 3-18 damage as a weapon).

The Bruce Nelson story starts with a combat turn that does not go the way I normally handle combat. If one side has the drop on the other -- like the bad guy with a gun at Bruce's back -- or some other distinct advantage, I may ignore rolling for initiative. Here, Bruce somehow wins initiative despite his opponent having every advantage.

Bruce would have been killed if that coconut had not fallen on his attacker's head and knocked him out. Now, the skeptical reader might interpret this as an overly lenient Editor, but perhaps not. Perhaps the Editor had merely planned the environment in advance, considered there might be, oh, a 1 in 10 chance of a coconut falling and hitting someone on the head for, oh, 1-3 points of damage if anyone stood underneath those trees -- a sort of natural trap. Bruce's player was lucky enough that his opponent wound up under the trees first.

Once Bruce is in his plane again, we see the stunts Evasive Maneuvers, Increase Speed, and Wing Walking, and possibly a new stunt. Bruce draws attacks to himself to keep his friend descending by parachute from being attacked. Maybe it would be called Draw Fire?

We also see another complication from an injury, as Bruce loses the use of his arm that he was shot in.

(This issue can be read at Comic Book Archives)

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