Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Detective Comics #31

This month's Batman story starts with something remarkable. No, I don't mean that it's now "Batman" and not "Bat-Man" any longer. And I don't mean that Bruce Wayne now has a fiancee we've never met before. No, I mean we first see Batman at the top of a utility pole -- from which he hops down and lands safely. That's got to be a 20-25' jump? That's not something you can currently do, by the rules, in Hideouts & Hoodlums. Heck, I'm not sure I'd allow that as a stunt!

Batman still doesn't have a Batcave, but he does have a secret hangar located somewhere, containing a bat-themed autogyro. We also get the Batarang in this story. Luckily, I've already added boomerangs to the weapons list in 2nd edition.

We learn that Hungary is well known for its werewolves. I'll have to put that in the werewolf entry!

The Batgyro makes a transatlantic crossing, which is conceivably possible. The 1942 Sikorsky R-4 autogyro could go 9,000 miles, which is far more than the ocean voyage between New York and France.

When Batman encounters the Monk, Batman makes his save vs. spells to avoid being hypnotized, but is aware of what was being attempted on him.

The plot requires Batman to make some pretty bizarre decisions to get him all the way to France. He allows Julie to go to France in the first place, even though he's suspicious of the doctor who tells her to go. He leaves Julie alone on the cruise ship to France with the Monk. He follows the ship to the docks, but then somehow loses sight of Julie and has to search the city to find her again. There's a lot of room here for Batman's player to make a different decision and throw off the entire scenario. It would make more sense for most of this to be backstory and for the scenario to begin in Paris.

In Julie's room is a huge gorilla. No idea how Batman doesn't see it from the window, other than a good surprise roll by the Editor.

The Monk's deathtrap for Batman is a net that closes up around him, that the Monk can drop into a pit of snakes at his leisure.

In a separate trap, Batman encounters a "gigantic" gorilla, far larger than the huge gorilla we saw earlier. 15' tall? Easily escaping the gorilla with some leaping and climbing, Batman only has a single guard left to overcome before escaping.

Batman saves Julie from her abductors (more normal guys like the guard) with a sleeping gas pellet, like we've seen him use before.

Following the Batman feature, an educational filler page called "Crime Never Pays" talks about bloodhounds being able to follow a trail 135 miles. It would be nice to know if that was true.

Humor filler is drawn by Paul Gustavson -- of Centaur Comics fame -- in this issue.

Buck Marshall sneaks up on a cabin with some outlaws in it by deliberately missing some shots at game fowl to fool the outlaws into think he's no threat. I want to turn this idea around on my players some time -- have the bad guys pretend to be incompetent to fool the Heroes, then turn out to be really dangerous!

Bart Regan fights "cowardly thugs" in Spy. Now that could be an interesting combination of two stat types. Tough as a thug, but with a cowardly hoodlum's low morale?

The cowardly thugs have a bulletproof car. Trophy item!

Larry Steele solves a murder mystery with an unusual clue -- the murderer slips up and describes a man by the color of his clothes, then Larry learns that suspect is color blind.

Speed Saunders, now relegated to the middle of the magazine, has a murder with an unusual murder weapon -- a mammoth tusk! Speed mounts a methodical investigation at a circus, questioning the witnesses, searching their tents, and corroborating evidence off-site via telegram. I'm not sure about the stolen tusk though...would trying a stolen tusk to a real elephant's tusk really impale a man before it broke loose from its bonds? Path of least resistance seems like it would be the latter. And then, doing it to avoid blood on the elephant doesn't make much sense. If an elephant's real tusk is right next to the fake tusk doing the actual goring, I would still think it would get some blood on it. And how would the killer know the elephant would use that specific tusk and not the opposing tusk?

Speed gets whipped in the face with a real whip and has temporary scarring from it -- a rare complication for a Hero.

Bruce Nelson's scenario is a pretty interesting one too. The plot hooks he receives are all intentional bait to lure him away from home. The scenario is faked so a robber can get into Bruce's home while he's busy elsewhere and rob him of valuable evidence from another case. I could see myself using this in my current online H&H campaign, where there are major events going on in two locations -- but I would need to lay out clues in advance that there's something not kosher about one of the two sets of plot hooks.

Cosmo, Phantom of Disguise, is dealing with two trophy item/potions. One is a paralyzing drug. The other is "essence of intelligence" -- someone else's stolen intelligence, distilled into a potion you can drink, and then increases your own intelligence (+1-2 to INT for 1-4 weeks?).

Slam Bradley tries to rescue a photographer at the zoo who falls into a bear cage. Slam pushes the bear away, then grabs the photographer and runs. Shorty is menaced by a bear cub (1+1 HD?), judging from the size of it. Then they find a constrictor snake in their room and Slam has to shoot it. And lastly they have to fight a tiger in the zoo.

All of that is pretty cut and dry, as far as game mechanics go. But there's this weird scene where Slam is clubbed from behind, and he's not knocked out or even stunned senseless, but he's groggy enough that he can attack, seemingly at a penalty.

(Batman story read in Batman Archives vol. 1, the rest read at

No comments:

Post a Comment