Monday, July 18, 2016

Adventure Comics #39

Barry O'Neill begins having post-Fang Gow adventures, though Count Guniff seems to be cut from the same mold. Indeed, when Guniff traps O'Neill and LeGrand in a water trap, Barry would have been within his rights to go "What, again?"

Two things worth pointing out from this story: one, it is one of the first time in comic books where the hero runs out of bullets; and, two, Guniff's second death trap for O'Neill and LeGrand is a much simpler affair -- he douses them with gasoline and is going to brings a match towards them. That's a pretty serious death trap -- serious enough that I'd probably have it do 1-10 points of damage per minute to heroes until they can somehow extinguish themselves (like a save vs. science to smother the flames by stop, drop, and rolling).

Cotton Carver continues exploring his Don Dixon-like lost world environment. One thing to notice is that the hideout/dungeon Cotton is exploring is taking him down quite a few levels, by stairs and slides, but his encounters are not getting significantly more challenging. He gets to a dead end where he cannot proceed without having a special stone with him that fits into an indentation in the wall -- a classic dungeon trick.

Cotton fights a half-cat, half-man called a Watcher. Watchers must be pretty tough; this thing takes multiple arrow hits without going down, and is probably at least 3 Hit Dice. They're also Lawful because, if you defeat one and leave it alive, it agrees to repay the life-debt by serving you (or maybe Cotton just had cat treats in his pocket).

The animated statue Cotton meets seems straight out of Dungeons & Dragons. I wonder if it's a living statue, a golem, or if I'm going to be disappointed next issue by it getting explained away as ventriloquism...

In Federal Men, we learn more about how reefer works in the comic book world. It's "the drug that causes the smoker to lose all moral restraint". So, if you smoke marijuana and fail a save vs. science, you become okay with killing others (just like most of my players) and don't have to save vs. plot before you can take a life.

Jack Woods (fresh over from More Fun Comics) faces a bandit and an unusual dilemma -- a victim who isn't glad he was saved. Soon he's confronted with another dilemma much like one I recently used in my Monday night campaign. The Hero is hired to deliver something under suspicious circumstances. Does the Hero do the job and go home, investigate the sender, or investigate the receiver? It's a nice scenario because the Hero is free to choose and shouldn't be railroaded into investigating one before the other.

Steve Malone finds a cuff link. This is important because a cuff link is never mentioned in a story unless it's a clue.  If your Editor so much as says "cuff", you'd better be ready to take notes.

Steve does a lot of searching. He finds the first cuff link searching by a gong (not where you'd normally expect to find one), but finds the second one searching a bedroom where you'd expect to find one (maybe at a +1 bonus then?). There is a secret compartment hidden in a model castle and, unless the Hero has reason to suspect it's there, the chance of finding it is the same as a secret door.

Tom Brent is sailing down a jungle river, seeing no natives, but they see him and track his boat's movement. Which might not bear mentioning, except that there seems to be a lot of natives and they evade being noticed for quite some time. Maybe natives need to have a better (3 in 6?) chance of surprise?

The Skip Schuyler story has him pitching for the Yankees during a special game for charity. Which might not bear mentioning, except that it's so rare for a real baseball team to be named, and real players (Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio) cameo. Of course, in your home campaigns, whether you go with real historical figures, characters obviously based on real historical figures (with similar names, like Jim DiMaggia?), or entirely fictional characters is entirely up to you.

In Anchors Aweigh, because the Editor clearly doesn't have a new plot for them lined up, Don and Red decide to go hunt up some experience points, literally, by hunting crocodiles off the Panama Canal. They meet a wandering encounter while hunting who turns out to be a mad engineer who makes bombs (I can't decide if that qualifies him to be a mad scientist (Book II), a madman (Supplement V), or even an anarchist (Supplement I). Once the encounter has been rolled up, the Editor has to think up an excuse for the engineer to be there, so he concocts a plot on the spot for foreign powers to have hired him to blow up the Canal.

(Summaries read at DC Wikia)


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