Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wonderworld Comics #3 - pt. 2

While most heroes are running around stopping hoodlums, Yarko the Great is double-teamed by Death and the Devil. least something claiming to be The Devil. So far, its only power seems to be summoning Beppo.

Death is an imposing character, one of my favorite villains from the Golden Age. By the 1970s, Marvel Comics will be full of metaphysical characters like this, but for 1939 this is really different. When Death manifests in mortal form, he is killable (though I'd still be pretty charitable with the Hit Dice), but also kills at will with a gaze attack.

So let's look at what Yarko has to counter that with. He casts something that seems to be a more powerful version of Mirror Images (it can conjure up to a dozen illusory images of the caster). Maybe Mirror Images should be bumped up to a 3rd level spell for this. Yarko can cast a Wall of Force -- 5th level spell!

Stopping a Magic-User by blindfolding him seems consistent for how the class normally works -- it's usually the hands and mouth that have to be stopped, but this seems a reasonably close limitation.

I'm not entirely sure what to make out of Yarko's first spell. Create Water seems a little weak for what it's being used to do here. Maybe this is what Dispel Magic looks like, when used on magic fire? The Devil goes bye-bye -- without having done anything other than tell his hoodlums what to do -- thanks to Yarko's Dispel Evil spell. I still don't put much stock in that being the actual Devil -- more likely an incubus or yaksha (the two weakest demon types I statted in Book III: Better Quality).

But what is that? Did Yarko just use wrecking things to pull himself free from the wall? No Magic-User spell duplicates that (yet). Either I need to consider a new spell, or I need to give Yarko a level in Superhero!

Death is tough enough that even Yarko doesn't want to take him on!

I've used that panel before of Yarko walking on water to illustrate the Ring of Water Walking. There is still no spell for Hideouts & Hoodlums for water walking -- just the ring. I guess I have time to think about that again now.

The next spell Yarko casts is either some Mass Levitate or Mass Telekinesis spell - neither existing in H&H as of yet.

Looks like Yarko's Mass Telekinesis spell has a long duration, and has been coupled with a Hold Person spell to keep their traps shut. Then, just to show off, Yarko casts Passwall -- his third 5th level spell? That would make Yarko at least 11th level -- or, he has a new spell called Passdoor (a weaker version of Passwall), or he never actually entered the room and sent in an illusion of himself instead (we've seen him do that once already in this adventure), or this is flavor text for the Knock spell.

This is Shorty Shortcake, a surprisingly useful source to mine for ideas. This installment reminds us that, if the Heroes over-rely on calling in the cavalry and trying to always overpower/outnumber the bad guys, then the Editor has to do the same for the bad guys. This escalation of forces might convince the players that they're better off taking their chances with a small, stealthy force.

This is from Dr. Fung (and his sidekick Dan). Dan is pretty unlucky with his dice rolls there, shooting six shots at a fleeing mystery assailant and missing every time, even though he has a bonus for attacking from behind, and is only penalized for cover at the last shot.

It may seem too cliche to have the bad guy drop a note that explains everything the Heroes need to know, but that doesn't mean it isn't appropriate to use it!

Just like the ol' "constrictor snake coming through the window" trick is fair game!

There seems to be a good amount of precedent for the Snake Charm spell in comic books, but since it has such limited utility, I'm planning to just replace it with a more generic Charm Animal spell.

This is K-51: Spies at War. Mad science devices are seldom portable, but take up a whole lab or much of a lab. This mad science device is a variant on the death ray, in that it kills at a distance with projected sound. This page doesn't give us a good idea of the device's maximum range, but it seems to be in miles.

When you're not a superhero, your wrecking things options are somewhat more limited. Sure, you can bust open a locked door as a skill check, or count on your limited chance of non-superhero wrecking (most things have good saves), or you can just choose an action -- like throwing a rifle into a transformer -- and leave it up to the Editor to decide what happens.

It's a tricky call for the Editor to make. It could end the scenario prematurely to blow up the lab. It could be a total party kill if the explosion does too much damage to the Heroes!  Or it could be anti-climactic if nothing happens at all. With so many options to consider, it might be best to leave it to a 50/50 chance...or, put the ball back in the player's court by saying "Save vs. plot -- if you succeed, the transformer blows!"

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus)

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