Monday, August 1, 2016

Feature Comics #22

I think the closest thing we've ever had to an adventure story in Lena Pry is this extended sequence about rednecks pretending to be ghosts. There's not much to the story and I've only shared it with you once before. This time, I only bring it up because of the pumpkin masks they wear. Traditionally, bugbears had pumpkin heads (before they were redesigned as evil Wookies for Dungeons & Dragons). This is, sadly, as close as we're likely to get to seeing bugbears in a Golden Age comic book.

This is Rance Keane, cowboy and...trapmaker? You don't see Heroes rigging traps often (outside of Scooby Doo) so I hadn't included it as a skill. Still, this is a pretty simple tripwire and anyone who can tie a knot should be able to set this up. I would hand wave any game mechanic to determine if this works or not.

The tactic of trying to trick the bad guy into confessing by pretending he's haunted does need some game mechanics applied to it. It's a complicated trick so I'd use two saves -- a morale save first and, if that fails, a save vs. plot to fall for the thinking he's haunted part.

If Batu is supporting cast and not being played by a player, then this scene gains extra suspense. Batu has a loyalty score that serves as his morale save target number in situations like this. Lucky for Black X, the Editor is consistently rolling high on those loyalty checks!

Again, we're faced with the conundrum of what do about spell ranges. In comic books, they seem to stretch for miles. In practical game terms, it's best to keep them restricted to line of sight or less. My options seem to be compromise -- expand ranges, but keep them in the realm of playability, or maybe a new mechanic, like exploding dice for spell range? (i.e., 3d6 x 10 in feet, with each 6 meaning an additional roll?)

Another use for reading the old comic books that I may not have mentioned before is learning the lingo of how people spoke back then. "Pipe the dude" is a way of saying "Check out that fancy guy" that I never would have thought to use, while talking in-character.

Black X uses smart tactics, bottle-necking his opponents in a doorway so they have to come at him one at a time.

Incidentally, I see little evidence of Will Eisner's hand on this one. Must have been a rush job he had to farm out to his studio.

We return to the Clock, the most verbose hero in comics. But notice how he has "little trouble opening the safe."  Does that mean that, at the Clock's level in Mysteryman, he should have a very high chance of opening locks? Or does it mean he just rolled particularly well?

This is from Ned Brant. The return of the goat jokes (this is #24 now, I think...).

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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