Saturday, October 1, 2016

Detective Comics #30

The Batman comes back again this issue, and so does Dr. Death, for a rematch. The Batman still doesn't have a Batmobile per se, but drives a "high-powered auto". He is shown easily going over a "high" fence, but at 8', I think anyone more athletic than me could get over that and I wouldn't even ask a player to use up a stunt for that.

Batman uses a silk line for climbing, but without a grappling hook; he lassos a projection from the wall before scaling it. Using a rope to climb would be a situational modifier to a skill check (probably a +1).

The Batman carries a flashlight. He also has potions of sleep that, when their vials are shattered, release sleep gas in at least a 5' diameter. It doesn't last very long, though, as the Mikhail the Cossack wakes up after what seems like only 1 exploration turn.

He hears a "muffled footfall" and keeps from being surprised. I'll have to check to see if I gave mysterymen both a better chance to surprise and a lower chance to be surprised. He also hides in shadows as if using a skill (though thinking to use heavy drapes for cover should probably be a big situational modifier -- maybe +2?).

A flying tackle is really just a trip attack combined with movement, and isn't treated different mechanically (though Batman gets a +4 bonus for attacking with surprise from behind!).  The Batman then trades damage inflicted for distance to push Dr. Death's cossack out the window.

The Batman's kick to the neck that kills Mikhail isn't supported by the H&H game mechanics.

In Spy, Bart Regan jumps out of a car on a bridge and dives into the water. It looks like a suicidal plunge, but Bart lands safely, because it's water and this is a comic book. But bad guys wouldn't know about game mechanics, so they natural assume he died and drive off. Editors, always remember to be impartial when playing the bad guys and not to use knowledge they wouldn't have.

The mad scientist in this issue has built a mind control device he can use on politicians and secret service members. The device is small -- a box that can sit on a tabletop, with a delicate light bulb-like attachment on top -- but it must have a range of miles.

In a rare example of a Hero having a specific injury, Larry Steele is shot and needs his arm in a sling for the rest of his story.

There's a strange escalation of weaponry in Speed Saunder's mystery. The first murder is done with a 13th century antique crossbow, the second is done with an automatic, but then the killer produces a sub-machine gun when she attacks Speed.

Bruce Nelson's adventure starts with a subtler start than normal; a yellow peril hoodlum simply puts a gun in his back and warns him to scram (or "sclam") and there's no fight. Bruce knows this guy is probably in league with some criminals in the area (combining two cliches, this adventure takes place in both Chinatown and a waterfront). But Bruce isn't interested in going after small fish, so he leaves and pursues the lead he was already on. This is so refreshingly different from the play style I usually see in H&H.

It's also worth pointing out that only the Chinese bad guy talks in broken English; the Chinese good guys in the story (and there are two, not just a token one!) talk perfectly normal. Also, kudos to the author (Tom Hickey?) for being the first comic book writer ever to point out that tear gas isn't "very potent in the open air". I've already read so many stories where gas weapons work equally effective no matter where they're used.

The smugglers use speed boats to reach the waterfront from a freighter in this story.

Cosmo's adventure is the opposite of Speed's, in a way, as the threat level deescalates.  A man who looks like Cosmo is shot and killed by the bad guys, who early in the investigation are ready to murder him. But later on, when Cosmo actually knows who the main villain is, Cosmo is simply knocked out and left behind, an easy chance to kill him, or at least put him in a deathtrap, completely missed. It's a sign of an Editor going too easy on his player(s).

(Batman story read in Batman Archives vol. 1; most of the rest of this issue read at

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