Sunday, November 20, 2016

Star Ranger Funnies v. 2 #5

This is from Red Man of the Rockies. I'd wager this is the only time this character ever appeared anywhere, but he's a curious figure in comic book history. Like Big Chief Wahoo, this strip seems to be treating an Indian like a superhero just by virtue of him being an Indian -- but done in a serious adventure mood, more like Superman.

Actually, whether this particular Red Man is a fighter, mysteryman, or superhero, is the first subject of this post. Check out this first example, of Red Man being able to throw a tomahawk through a glass window and still hit its intended target. I would rule right away that a fighter couldn't do that, as a thrown tomahawk would lose too much energy in breaking the glass. Maybe Red Man could do that by burning a stunt, if he was a mysteryman. As a superhero, the Editor could ask him to wreck the glass as if it was a door in the same turn as the attack roll for the hatchet, needing both rolls to succeed for this to work.

We've looked at lots of panels like this first one before and asked the same question: is this a fighter's "combat machine" ability, or a superhero using the power Multi-Attack? If the former, then Red Man is at least a lieutenant (4th level fighter). If the latter, he's at least a great man (2nd level superhero -- or a good man, 1st level, in 2nd edition, as I'm going to let them get powers right away now).

I'm pretty sure I've already talked about taking a shot for someone else too. I'm still torn on how that mechanic should work -- if you're providing cover for the other target, or just automatically transferring the hit.

So what to make of this? Did Red Man heal him with a magic spell? Is the remedy some kind of trophy item (we never actually see how he did it)? Or did Red Man just let him get lots of rest, heal normally, and then try to take credit for it?

And what to make of that hearing hoofbeats the white man can't hear? One of them made his surprise roll and the other didn't? Red Man is using the Super-Senses power?

And how about this leaping? My first thought was, oh, this must be Leap I -- he's a superhero! But the gap also looks like it's maybe no more than 20', and that's doable for an athlete with a running start. I would require a fighter or mysteryman to make a skill check (used to be a save vs. science here) or misjudge the gap and miss, while a mysteryman could burn a stunt to automatically make the jump.

And that shooting through the rope and a man in the back with the same bullet? That's definitely an example of burning a stunt for the mysteryman class. So where does that leave us? Maybe he's a good man/charade man (1st level superhero/2nd level mysteryman -- and, yes, I do plan on using level titles more often in 2nd edition).

This is Lee Trent. I was impressed by the tactic of lassoing the chimney and then scaling up the wall by rope -- a tactic that you don't have to be a cowboy to use.  The hole in the roof offers an unconventional means of entry into the hideout; Editors should always be prepared for unconventional entry. And, lastly, hiding out in the rafters should (and probably did) give Lee a good bonus to his surprise roll.

The Ermine is back. I believe I made a case, the last time, that The Ermine was an explorer (the optional class from The Trophy Case v. 1 no. 2), but here it's quite clear that The Ermine is supposed to be a superhero (though a low-level one, since doors are still giving him trouble).

The Ermine easily chases off two full-grown bears. While it might seem he did it too easily, bears and other animals don't necessarily have a reason to attack a human, unless some magic, hi-tech, or simply hunger was coercing them. So under normal circumstances, I might always give animals an encounter check and/or a morale save to see what they do.

This feature is Kid Centaur and, unlike Speed Centaur, everyone is a centaur in this strip -- which would make for a pretty weird H&H campaign.

No, I'm more interested in the trap here, where something metal on the ground that the Heroes would be tempted to pick up is secretly electrified.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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