Friday, May 6, 2016

Action Comics #10

Superman demonstrates wrecking things and the leaping power of the alien race (or the power Leap I -- more likely Leap II on the cover), despite being out of uniform, in this story. I have long felt a rule about superheroes needing to be in uniform to use their powers was important, to give players a game mechanic incentive to have their superheroes wear a uniform. But since there are examples this early of exceptions...maybe I need something else that offers the same incentive. Maybe the Superhero functions as if one level lower when out of uniform?

Chuck Dawson has pretty clever plan, where he captures a mobster, hands him an empty gun to hold, and then pretends to be the mobster's hostage, while secretly holding his own gun on him. I think I've seen that on TV.

Chuck is exploring a hideout with a peculiar trap; a section of floor that revolves and covers a pit. Which itself is not so unusual, but that the section of floor has a cot attached to it seems odd to me. What if the bad guys got tired and forgot which cot is trapped?

Zatara gets a hot plot hook at an explorers club -- a good 1930s-era place for upper class heroes to get their plot hooks at. He's handed a treasure map to the Tomb of Genghis Khan, in exchange for a portion of the profits. Which sounds like a great adventure, really.

The geography seems a little off to me, as Zatara passes through a jungle in Mongolia. I always try to do more research than that when running scenarios.  Zatara also, foolishly, likes to go to sleep outdoors without posting watches, even though he has a manservant with him who seems like he would serve exactly that purpose.

Zatara casts a spell on a group of horsemen pursuing him that has me a little puzzled. As I understand it, he utters "a spell that sends their rides galloping in the wrong direction."  But is that a Mass Charm spell? A Confusion spell? A new spell that would be called Misdirect Steeds?

He also casts a spell that summons a typhoon that Zatara then rides.  I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around that one -- but maybe what Zatara actually did was summon a water elemental that helped transport him?

Zatara casts a spell that turns warriors' weapons back on them. A spell version of the Bounce Back Blows power? Missile Reflection? Without being able to read the story, it's very hard sometimes to be sure what I'm reading about.

A genie -- or djinni as we call them in Hideouts & Hoodlums -- waits in Khan's Tomb with three tests. The first test Zatara passes by fashioning a stone bridge for himself (Stone Shape?). The second test he passes is walking through fire by wearing a coat of ice -- but I think the coat of ice is just "flavor text" for a Resist Fire spell.  The third test is to kill the djinn.  I suppose it's a fair spoiler to say that Zatara's arch-foe/femme fatale The Tigress is responsible for shooting the djinn when Zatara doesn't feel up to it. This not only sets a precedent for djinn being susceptible to bullets (unless they were magic bullets), but also a precedent for heroes and villains to team up to loot a hideout. This way, villains can claim loot that the heroes can't touch because of alignment restrictions and then still split it with the heroes later (unless the villains betray the heroes, of course!).

Finally, Zatara casts a spell that reduces the treasure fall enough to fit in one bag. The reverse of the Enlargement spell (that H&H already needs)?

(Superman story read from Superman Action Comics Archives vol. 1, the rest read in summary form here)

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