Monday, November 14, 2016

Mystery Men Comics #3 - pt. 2

The figure floating around in near-background-less panels here is Wing Turner, Air Detective. And if I seem too flip about the art, know that I am earnestly appreciative of the story details here. The pulling of the parachute cord to defeat an opponent and the intention of using the net to tangle the propeller are both good ideas -- and ones unsupported by any game mechanic in Hideouts & Hoodlums. But that's okay; when your player comes up with a clever way to win a fight quickly, sometimes you should just let it work without any dice rolls.

Maybe it's less okay when the Editor does this for himself, of course. Rather than working out ensnaring rules for non-human targets in every instance, one could just use a blanket save vs. plot or science (for the pilot, in this case).

Dan Garrett is revealed to be The Blue Beetle in this story. Here, the mysteryman punches a guy and knocks him back about 15'. And this isn't even a superhero. I have rules for pushing in combat in 2nd edition, but over time I may find my rules are too conservative as combat scenes gradually push this envelope.

This is Inspector Bancroft of Scotland Yard and this is at least the second time I've seen the "he can't talk because his tongue is cut out" cliche in comic books. gross as it is, and I hate to do it to even my own mobsters as Editor -- I have to admit, it's an awfully good way to keep the Heroes from being able to question your bad guys and find out too much.

Now, Bancroft could have easily gone back to Scotland Yard and tried to enlist 20-odd policemen armed with shotguns for this raid, but he decided to go back in, unarmed, with one beat cop with a billy club as back-up. The Editor here could have had a hideout prepared full of well-armed mobsters with flak jackets, sub-machine guns, grenades -- the works -- and just stuck to his guns and killed off Bancroft. It could have been a lesson in playing smart for the future, but it wouldn't have been very fun. So a smart Editor pairs down the occupants, and limits their weapons to swords and knives, just enough to keep it challenging.

 Secret Agent D-13 is a perfect example here of one of the special abilities of the spy class (found in TTC v. 2 no. 5) that doesn't port over well to any other classes -- the ability to requisition trophy items (the seaplanes, in this case).  I guess, though, that this could be the result of a really positive encounter reaction roll, when first being given a mission.

I don't know what's going on here. Why is the radio in the wireless room hooked up to a huge dynamo? It's a radio, not a mad scientist's lab. And why is this radio able to knock out power to the whole rest of the ship? Is there no fuse box? Sometimes an Editor can go too easy on the player(s).

One nice thing about having your Heroes under orders -- they can't just commandeer captured submarines and sail off in them, unless you want them to have the sub. In this case, D-13 has to chose between a motor launch and riding around in somebody else's destroyer.

Also, 12-inch cannons are hugely dangerous in the hands of a superhero with lifting powers, so be careful putting them out there.

This is Zanzibar the Magician. He found this opium den, not by spell, but by smell -- exploring rooftops until he detected the odor from the building below.

The bad guy looks too non-threatening to be a Fu Manchu villain and is probably a Master Criminal at best.

The spell Zanzibar uses on the blowgun dart -- Protection from Missiles, with the bubbles as flavor text?

Is the hatchet turned into a snake an illusion? The spell descriptions are not crystal clear on the subject, but I believe an illusion spell could kill. That, or this is some Polymorph Weapon spell (such as we've seen Zatara cast many times already). The spell on the sword is some time of Shatter spell. Sanchoo (an absolutely terrible attempt at a Chinese name) is polymorphed into something frightening, but I don't think it's the spell that terrifies the mobsters as much as a missed morale save after all these spells.

2nd edition will be talking about magic-users casting spells and how they can do it with their hands tied.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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