Thursday, November 17, 2016

Smash Comics #3 - pt. 1

This is Eisner's Black Ace again, but the real issue here is the poor bloke who gets his head dashed in when a torpedo rolls into him and knocks his head back against the wall. As drawn, it doesn't seem like the torpedo could have hit him for enough impact for doing damage, let alone lethal damage. Hideouts & Hoodlums already has built-in precedents for Heroes operating under different rules from non-Heroes (like the save vs. missiles). In keeping with this, the Editor has a lot of leeway for fudging rules against non-Heroes.

Here, Black Ace is called on by the scenario to face a difficult moral dilemma -- try to save everyone and probably fail, or leave some to die and ensure that he can save some of them? As Heroes grow more powerful through the course of the game and have more resources available to them, it becomes more difficult to lead them into a situation like that. Still, if you can set them up for it, a dilemma like this is the sort of challenge that never gets easier, no matter what level the Heroes are.

This page brings up a particular issue with morale. Black Ace feels he's identified one lynchpin person in the crowd who risks breaking the morale of all the other sailors and decides to take him out to stop that from happening. Is Black Ace just imagining this, or does morale really need to work differently than all-or-nothing on each side? An Editor could account for this by rolling individual morale saves for everyone involved.

And lastly, from this story, we're reminded that an important goal for many scenarios set pre-war can be to prevent the war from happening. U.S. involvement was not a given as of 1939 -- in fact, the majority of citizens were against getting involved.

This is Chic Carter. Here we get another example of flavor text wounds on a non-Hero, as there's no reason Valerie's bullet wound should need her to be rushed to the hospital, unless the Editor set up such a condition to add a time limit to the scenario.

I'm not sure how I would handle the overloading of the plane. On one hand, I kind of want that to be in the pilot's hands and make him roll a skill check. On the other hand, maybe everyone involved should just roll a save vs. plot to stay alive. A combination of the two would have the pilot rolling the skill check and the passengers on the wings making saves vs. plot (or maybe science, to avoid wind shear).

One might say that Wall-E borrowed a page from Abdul the Arab here, who borrows into the sand to avoid harm. Now, the tent itself essentially made Abdul invisible, giving his opponents a -4 modifier to hit. But this isn't just another penalty modify to stack on, this is removing Abdul from the direct line of fire. Editors will have to make their own calls for when the situation calls for eliminating the chance to hit altogether. For instance, without the tent obscuring Abdul's actions, all that sand would have amounted to little more than soft cover.

One could make a case that it wasn't Abdul who won the day here, but the British captain who sent in Abdul's back-up. It's also implied that the British have the stronger steel formula now, giving them the military advantage the Arabs had tried to get. Abdul certainly turns on his own people a lot.

Also worth noting is that formulas could be considered treasure -- something with monetary value, but little value as a trophy -- to a Hero.

We've already established that climbing is really easy in comic books, and apes are natural climbers -- two factors that make it really questionable that the ape happens to slip and fall in this page of Captain Cook of Scotland Yard.

Again, I question the use of madman as a mobster type, as Professor Dwyer really seems to just be a mad doctor here. Mad doctors get an entry separate from mad scientists in 2nd edition and will have a skill in brain transplants.

There's also passing reference to two trophy items here -- an electro magnet that can guide planes off-course, and an incandescent (as opposed to fluorescent?) death ray that seems to focus on killing vegetation.

Invisible Hood is dealing with mobsters with a submarine. The submarine is an advanced model with greater speed and able to attain greater depths -- a Submarine +2, if you will.

Realistically, the mobsters don't want to spend all their time on a cramped submarine, which is why their true hideout is the schooner. The schooner appears to be an ordinary trophy-transport item.

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus)

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