Thursday, February 18, 2016

Detective Comics #21

Speed Saunders can walk onto a crime scene, observe the body, and tell from the visual symptoms alone what poisons might have been administered to kill the person. He also just happens to know where to find a mobster's hideout, even though there were no clues in the story about where to find it. Detect Poison and/or Detect Hideout might need to be an abilities added to the Detective class -- if the Detective class ever makes it officially into Hideouts & Hoodlums (it's currently an optional class from The Trophy Case).

Cigarettes tainted with prussic acid is both a murder weapon and a death trap in this story.

The Crime Never Pays filler page talks about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Today, motor cars, fast patrol boats, airplanes, and motorcycles are used by the Mounties to aid the apprehending of criminals. There are more mounted police in automobiles than on horses." Funny, then, that whenever Mounties appear in the comic books, they usually are not using cars to get around...

Buck Marshall spends two days unconscious from going down to zero hit points.

In Spy, spies are shown to be better than average at picking locks.

In Crimson Avenger, grave robbing only warrants a $100 reward for information.

The Crimson's gas gun is shown affecting three beat cops at once.

In this story, Slam and Shorty burn quickly through $10,000 and find themselves needing to find fresh work. But that begs the question -- what did they spend it on? A dollar went a lot further in 1938, and 10,000 of them could buy quite a lot. If Slam was being played by a sensible player, he would be stocking up on healing pills with that money, but Slam seldom seems like he's being played by a smart player.

It reminds me of this one section of Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign, "Special Interests".  It broke expenditures into seven categories: wine, women, song, wealth, fame, religion, and hobbies. In this system, experience points for treasure were only awarded after being spent on one or more of these categories.  Hideouts & Hoodlums doesn't have that rule, and maybe doesn't need that rule, but the categories themselves are worth thinking about.

Wine:  Likely only the recourse of hard-knuckle Fighters, making your Hero a raging alcoholic not only gives him some pathos, but an excuse to do nothing useful during downtime.

Women: This doesn't have to be anything sordid. It could be a Hero bribing people to keep tabs on a femme fatale adversary, or a Superhero who has to hire people to serve as his alibis to fool his girlfriend, who doesn't know about his dual identities yet.

Song: Or partying, is the best way to rub shoulders with other members of your social class. It can be a great way to bring plot hooks to you, instead of going out and pursuing plot hooks.

Wealth: Or the generation of wealth, by investing. If players were interested in tracking this, it could be an annual rate of return equal to the Hero's Wisdom score.

Fame: Heroes generally don't, but could pursue licensing deals, court the press, or even stage events to increase their popularity. Maybe for every $1,000 spent, the Hero gets one +1 bonus to use on a future encounter reaction roll?

Religion: I'm not sure how to put a game mechanic bonus to donating to one's own church, or if that would even be appropriate. Most comic book Heroes are a pretty irreligious bunch.

Hobbies: Again, maybe not so useful for game mechanics purposes, but could be handy for role-playing purposes.

I'm not sure which, if any of these ideas, merit adding into 2nd edition.

Also, there's a trap, where Slam is supposed to fall into a pit lined with spikes. I'd like to keep additional damage for falling simple. If there are not too many spikes, maybe an additional d6 of damage. For a moderate amount of spikes, it could be an additional 2d6, and for a large amount of spikes, it could be 3d6.

(Read at Read Comics)

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