Friday, March 10, 2017

Mystery Men Comics #5 - pt. 2

Billy Bounce The Kid Detective is not a superhero, so when he exhibits superpowers here, it must be from the potion he drank and not simply flavor text for how he got his powers.

Billy wrecks the door as a door -- the fact that it is made of steel does not make it harder to wreck (though if there were two or more qualifiers -- like it was solid steel and extra-thick, then I might bump it up to the machines category). The fact that Billy is able to walk right through it means that he rolled really, really well for wrecking and this is reflected in the flavor text.

Having the strength of 50 men would let Billy lift 5,000-10,000 lbs. -- but it's telling that he determines this measure not by lifting things (relegated to temporary use Raise powers in H&H), but by his capacity for wrecking things.

The duration of the potion would have lasted longer in rest or exploration turns, but when Billy moves to combat turns switch to short combat turns (1 minute in 1st edition and 30 seconds in 2nd edition), which burns through turn-based durations quickly. It also affords for more dramatic scenes like this, when powers fade out in mid-combat.

Minya Konka is a real place, and gives us a better idea of where in China Richard Kendall fights Chen Chang.

The drug Chen Chang gives to the tigers seems an awful lot of like a Potion of Animal Control/Friendship.

If the villain recites the address to where he'll be hiding in front of witnesses, he's either trying to lure someone into a trap or he's really stupid.

Richard has a fickle Editor here, penalizing him one moment for not watching how River Lily opened the secret door she escaped through, and then gifting him with an easy escape from the tiger and a lucky run-in with Chen Chang. The Editor might have been justified about the secret door, for Richard was clearly distracted and should probably not get to automatically notice things under these circumstances.

If Richard's player asked for a save vs. plot to make the wardrobe fall on top of the tiger, then the Editor was just tossing in a bonus freebie for it shattering the window.

It seems unlikely in this instance that Chen Chang is a wandering encounter, as hardly any time has passed since the last encounter. It's more like they were getting close to the end of their playing session, so the Editor forced a showdown.

Unbelievably, Richard falls for a perspective trick and runs into a wall ala Wile E. Coyote. I can't believe that anyone would do that in a serious adventure story, unless there was actually some kind of illusion spell masking the wall.

This is the first story to use a race around the world as its plot. The first aerial circumnavigation of the globe was in 1924 and, true to this story, the route does require stops in Alaska, Russia, and London. Bear in mind that, though it's possible to make the trip in 23 days with today's planes, the first trip took over five months. So, for a 1939 campaign, the race might be the whole campaign.

The narrator calls these robbers, but by their weapon choice (knives), I wonder if they wouldn't be better statted as bandits...?

I'm not sure I get this -- because Wing was behind, he missed the polar head winds? But if the winds had slowed Basil down, then Wing would have caught up to him and been caught in the same winds...unless Wing had time to go around the winds? More likely, Wing pulled ahead thanks to one or more skill checks, and this was some of the flavor text that explained it.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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