Friday, June 24, 2016

Detective Comics #25

This one is woefully out of order. I had skipped over it because the summary I'd read seemed so uninteresting. Now that I've read it myself, though, I found plenty worthy of comment.

Nailing down where the early Heroes are from isn't easy most of the time, but here Speed Saunders tells us he's from New York. He also tells us some useful tips for checking corpses: check the wrists to see if they had show signs of having been tied up, and -- of course -- check the ground to see if there's enough blood, or if the body was moved. And, of course, play every hunch. Even though the body seems to have been killed by a hammer blow to the head, Speed still asks for the stomach to be pumped -- just for, you know, whatev's -- and then by amazing coincidence finds the true source of death. It makes me curious about how a skill in Hideouts & Hoodlums shouldn't be "get sudden hunch" -- which would let the Editor feed clues to his players...

In Spy, Bart and Sally are the first Heroes to be given a plot hook by FDR himself! Speaking of amazing coincidences, Sally reaches into a spy's desk drawer, pulls out random papers, and they just happen to be detailed invasion plans. Now, maybe the Editor assigned something like a 1 in 6 (or even a 1 in 8!) chance of stumbling on just the right papers and Sally's player got lucky, or the Editor fudged events to ratchet up the stakes in the scenario.

In The Mysterious Doctor Fu Manchu, slime-covered walls prevent climbing from a trap. It's your standard flooding room trap with one extra twist -- there are beams just high enough for the Heroes to grab and try to pull themselves up, but concealed on the top of the beams are sword-blades. Although the characters believe they could sever fingers, we deal with more abstract injury in H&H; they probably do only 1-6 damage.

The Crimson Avenger carries two trophy items: a lineman's phone that he can plug into someone's else's phone jack and use, and the first gas gun used by a Hero in comics!

Bruce Nelson is said to have a curious ability: he can shoot "accurately while on the dead run".  Now, normally, one can make two moves in combat in H&H, or one move and an attack. This seems to be implying that Bruce can make a full move and still get an attack. So what's going on there? Should this be a skill everyone has, like a 1 in 6 chance to shoot while on a dead run? But skills don't affect combat, class and level (and to a limited extent, ability scores) affect combat. For running combats consistently, I'm inclined to ignore what Bruce just did, but I'll watch for more evidence...

Crooks often do dumb things in comic books that make them easy to find. Bruce homes in on a gang of robbers because all of their robberies are roughly equidistant from the same town the bad guys use as their base. Heroes should always remember to check maps and look for patterns -- though it should not fall to the Editor to spell out what the patterns are.

Slam Bradley & Shorty Morgan (really, Shorty) are attacked by a rattlesnake when they try attending college to better themselves. That Slam can't spell, but in another issue is revealed to be a self-taught magic-user, either shows that the strip had no sense of continuity, or that an education-related stat would be unnecessary in H&H.

Slam is good at division of labor; when a rock is thrown through their dorm window with a note tied to it, Slam leaves Shorty to read the notes, while Slam crashes through the window to chase the thrower. Smart players will make quick decisions like this, so that all the Heroes aren't trying to accomplish the same thing.

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