Thursday, May 26, 2016

Detective Comics #26

Slam Bradley and Shorty are lured into a scenario by lack of dough. It's hard to believe that any (by now) mid-level heroes could be poor, but I suppose it depends on how decadent a lifestyle Slam and Shorty live (or they give a lot to charity, to keep the good deed XP rolling in?).

They are captured by Pierre D'Orsay and his macabre group of death cult artists -- they paint pictures of you dying and let you pick the one you like best, then try to make it happen. If that one doesn't work, they go through all the rest (a nifty idea for a scenario!). First they try to hit Slam and Short with a car (save vs. science to dodge?), then bring them back to the studio at gunpoint and force them through a trapdoor. Next the room they are in is partially flooded (the solution is to ruin their paintings with silly poses). The room is then heated with powerful heat lamps to cook the heroes (the solution is to break the bulbs). The room is then refrigerated to freeze the heroes, filled with gas to choke them, the air is sucked out of the room to suffocate them, the walls move closer to squeeze them, and then they are finally allowed through a secret door -- into a room with a leopard!

That's a lot of traps. Now, what those traps are doing to the boys, game mechanics-wise, isn't as clear. Each trap might be doing 1-6 points of damage to the boys (with the cold trap doing the most damage), or maybe they are saving vs. science each time to avoid damage.

Bruce Nelson has a great idea for getting into someone's house, pretending to be from the electric company and needing to read the meter (which used to be indoors). Bruce is locked in a closet, but manages to break out after shouldering the door twice. To end a stalemate, Bruce shoots into the air to bring a police car so he can borrow the tear gas bombs out of their car (was/is it really standard issue for every police car to carry them?).

The Crimson Avenger is starting to slowly take a turn in a different direction. While never displaying unusual abilities before, The Crimson can now take a "superhuman leap" through a glass window -- even though it's not that uncommon for any Heroes to be able to leap through glass windows -- and the police don't bother to chase him because of how fast he is. Should it be a skill, or a stunt, for people to run faster?  Then, out of costume, Lee Travis is knocked out and tied up, but as soon as he comes too he just heaves and snaps his bonds. How strong is this guy supposed to be? Does he need a level in Superhero so he can wreck things?

Bart Regan, Spy, is menaced by a mad scientist with radio-controlled rockets. It sounds like it might have been cutting edge hi-tech in 1939, but it wasn't -- radio-controlled rockets had been around since WWI.  That's one of the nice things about tech in the Golden Age; a lot of military grade stuff never made it into civilian use after the Great War (except for planes; it seems everyone figured out uses for the planes), so a lot could be re-purposed and made to seem new.

And when I say Bart Regan was menaced, technically, what I mean is that landmark buildings in Washington, D.C. were menaced and Bart just had to deal with it. In my home campaign, set in 1941, I ran a scenario not too long ago based on a 1941 comic book story that had the Capitol Building bombed by a mad scientist, but Siegel and Shuster did it here first. This stuff has great shock value in a one-off story, but in actual campaign play -- how often do you really want landmark buildings getting destroyed? Will there be strong consequences (capital punishment for the saboteur)? Repercussions (government registration of all mad scientists)? These are things for the Editor to consider.

Bart and Sally try the windows to see if they find one unlocked (I think I've already talked about how I use a save vs. plot in my home campaigns when Heroes do this; if they save, they find an unlocked window).

Professor Barton is a sneaky guy. He slips Bart and Sally a note, pretending to be held prisoner, but he's really the bad guy and just wants to lure them into a trap (though it's unfortunately not an elaborate trap; they just get a gun pulled on them).

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