Sunday, June 12, 2016

Adventure Comics #38

Yesterday, I was wondering if surprise should not offer more advantages game mechanics-wise. In "The Original Game" that inspires Hideouts & Hoodlums, the side that has surprise before combat not only gets a free turn to act, but goes first in the next turn of combat. I always thought that was inherently unfair, though, and everyone should have the chance to have the advantage of going first, each turn. But...I am seeing an awful lot of evidence in the comic books of surprise giving Heroes big advantages.

Take, for instance, Inspector Kent of Scotland Yard. In this issue, Kent charges through a secret door, sees the secret plans on the table, runs up, grabs the secret plans, and runs back out through the secret door before anyone can stop him. I don't think all of that should happen in just a surprise turn, but even if Kent has the initiative on the following turn, I'm surprised none of the spies at the table get free back attacks on him when he turns to run.

Tod Hunter has the spell Phantasmal Force/Silent Image cast at him, but sees through it (got a save vs. spells to disbelieve) because the bowmen firing arrows at him make no sound.  Without resolving this storyline, the wizard simply disappears and Tod leaves to go exploring elsewhere. He finds a wanted poster that mentions rape, the first time this subject is ever addressed in a comic book. At the end of the story Tod is shot -- and is never seen again!  Tod Hunter is not the first Hero to have his series canceled in comic book history, but he is the first one to apparently die in his last appearance.

District Attorney Steve Malone is handy in a scenario without being present; he tracks reports of fleeing armored truck robbers by radio, compares them on a map, and tries to predict where they are heading next. This could be a good puzzle for H&H players to try and solve (particularly if there is no wrong answer and the bad guys head where ever the players guess).

Captain Desmo's player might be calling shenanigans in this story -- Desmo and Gabby come across Tartar warriors raiding a village and drive them off. Before the warriors all leave, though, some of them somehow managed to get behind Desmo and snatch Marie, one of his new traveling companions. It's a plot device, clearly, but did not need to be. The Editor could have mapped out the scene, placed all the combatants and noncombatants on the map, and made it clear that Desmo had the double priorities of defending the villagers and his own supporting cast. Could Desmo keep from being outflanked?

Tom Brent is in trouble when he is captured by mobster Vic Gano, but Tom talks his way out of it, pretending to want to join Vic's operation, and thereby gets a new encounter reaction roll out of it, modified by Tom's Charisma.

Vic takes Tom to Vic's boss, or at least a swank apartment where a woman speaks to Vic through a wall. Now, Tom could probably follow up on any number of clues at this point, like finding out who owns that apartment, but Tom chooses instead to get invited to a swank party that night, figuring anyone with that swank an apartment would be invited to it. And turns out to be right!

Skip Schuyler is also captured, but in his case he's tied to a chair and whipped until he has scars on his face. Although rare in comics, maybe there is starting to be some evidence here that there should be a small chance of permanent scarring on Heroes.

Anchors Aweigh reminds us of another use for flashlights: sending Morse code messages to each other (and every Hero seems to know Morse code!).

(Summaries read at DC Wikia)

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