Thursday, February 25, 2016

Action Comics #7

The Superhero power Raise Elephant comes from this issue's story of Superman joining the circus.

Superman's adversary, Derek Niles, faints from fright when Superman confronts him. Maybe this should be a failed morale save result.

Though this story of Superman rescuing a circus from bankruptcy is iconic, it gives us little to consider about game mechanics...except perhaps the curious incident of Clark Kent pulling off Curly's clothes as a prank in the last panel. This is going to be a disturbingly frequent stunt from the Flash two years from now, so it seems like the same power is in play here -- a 4th level power called Invisibly Fast.

Chuck Dawson, urging his horse Blacky to go faster, seems to be an example of the Cowboy stunt Increase Speed.

Virginia tells her dad that she believes Chuck can be trusted, even though there is mixed evidence to support this. Perhaps Chuck just got a lucky encounter reaction result...but I'm wondering if there should be Father's Daughter as a Lawful version of the Vamp mobster. The father's daughter would be able to detect good and heal wounds at least as well as a Hero with a first aid kit.

Chuck creates a diversion to move some gunmen away from the cabin so he can escape. The Editor could simply wing how long a diversion lasts, roll 1d4 and have it last that many minutes (combat turns), or make the bad guys save vs. plot each combat turn to realize they were hoodwinked.

In The Adventures of Marco Polo, Marco runs into two medieval versions of drunken hoodlums. The bandits are armed with whips and plan to use flaming oil. Hideouts & Hoodlums might need a rule about how much damage burning oil does when crossed, or when it's thrown as a grenade-like weapon.

So far, we have yet to see a story where a Hero gets amnesia, but here in Scoop Scanlon we see a hoodlum suffer temporary amnesia after a car crash. This would be an appropriate complication, then, when non-Heroes are reduced to zero hit points.

Tex Thompson is in jail, believed to be his doppelganger, Captain Diablo. A guard comes into Tex's cell with a gun trained on him, but because the guard doesn't have surprise Tex gets to roll initiative against him normally and manages a disarming kick before the gun can be fired.

Bob Daley is able to tell it's Tex and not Capt. Diablo, so SCMs at least have a good chance of seeing through the deception of doppelgangers. Also, we learn that doppelgangers do not match the fingerprints of their lookalikes.

In the Zatara story, Zatara and Tong are on a boat to South Africa. For a man with access to teleport spells, Zatara sure likes slow forms of travel. One of the Tigress' henchmen, Harold Faomes, is a slick hoodlum who comes up with an interesting strategy against Zatara. Knowing he can't possibly win in a fight with Zatara, he tries to blemish Zatara's reputation by convincing Zatara to play cards with him, but then loudly and publicly accusing him of cheating. Zatara clears his name, but lets Faomes get away, which of course works to the story's advantage later.

Faomes' real goal was to hire the local natives to attack a diamond mine. Zatara thwarts the attack by making himself look like their leader (either by illusion or polymorph isn't clear). Zatara learns that the Zulu attack was just a diversion, though, and Faomes has already stolen a bunch of diamonds and escaped. Faomes has been sighted heading north into Bantu territory, so Zatara and Tong follow. They are somehow captured by the Zulu, escape, and finally capture Faomes, only to learn that Faomes and Tigress pulled a rather clever trick on them -- Faomes was a second diversion, having already passed the diamonds off to Tigress, who is fleeing South Africa even now.

Somehow, Zatara gets back to Capetown fast enough to spot Tigress' plane leaving (Teleport, finally?). He uses some spell to force the plane to land (Telekinesis?), and Tigress is finally arrested for the first time.

(Superman story read in Action Comics Archives vol. 1, select Tex Thompson pages read at the Babbling about DC Comics blog, the rest based on notes found at DC Wikia)

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