Sunday, May 14, 2017

Marvel Mystery Comics #2 - pt. 2

So, we left off with The Human Torch chasing racketeers who have been trying to fix auto races. Though this story probably started in New York City, he follows the racketeers to "Auson City", which I can only guess stands for Austin. The Torch seems to run all the way there, perhaps using an Outrun Train power.

When The Torch reaches the race track, he uses a power faster than Outrun Train to pass the race cars. In 2nd edition, there is a 2nd level power for outrunning called Outrun Plane.

Somehow, The Torch throws the villain's race car out of control just by grabbing onto the back of it. I'm not sure how that works, physics-wise. Yes, in a set of chase mechanics, there should be a way to try and force a complication on your opponent, and I'll work on that. But in this scene, it would have made more sense if the villain was instead plowing through the fence in an effort to shake the Human Torch off.

While pursuing the villain's henchmen, the Torch accidentally sets a building on fire. It's a plot convenience, allowing the bad guys to get away while the Torch saves people he himself put in danger. But how to deal with that in terms of game mechanics? I do not want powers to come with built-in disadvantages where they can get out of control. If I ever took away the limited resource aspect of powers, then this might make a good game balance mechanic, but I would rather keep H&H a limited resource management game.

What's even harder to explain is the Human Torch's new ability to talk to flame and tell it what to do. Except to say that this is -- as goofy as it is -- simply flavor text for the 3rd level power Control Fire (debuted in Supplement I: National, retained in 2nd edition).

What should be the final battle with Blackie comes in a steel mill, where Blackie and his men don asbestos suits (in H&H since Book II) and train fire hoses on him. The high pressure of the hoses is able to push the Torch into their next trap. Second edition has rules for pushing an opponent, but those rules are for melee. However, I could see making exceptions for that, based on circumstances. 

When The Torch escapes the trap, he flings a ball of flame that lands in front of the fleeing men and it forces them back, the heat being too much for their suits to protect them. This looks a lot like Wall of Fire, which would be a 5th level power (it's currently a 5th level spell, though).  This means The Human Torch is a superhero of at least 8th level. That's a lot of brevet ranks!

We see Wreck at Range in use again, and this time we have a precedent for wrecking being able to wreck something very small and specific -- in this case, the visor of Blackie's suit. 

And, again, we see the Torch's wrecking things power being out of his control, as he starts to bring down another building around him. Maybe this can be explained away, though, as the Torch being only one month old and not in full control of his powers yet. Presumedly, an android Hero under a player's control is going to be "older" and have more control over his powers.

Blackie's car has a smokescreen ejector (also found in the game since Book II).

The patrol car the Torch hitches a ride on has a top speed of 110 MPH.  The Torch runs faster than that, meaning he's using at least the 2nd level power Race the Plane. The duration seems to end when he reaches the airport, though, as he can't keep up with the airplane taking off at that point.

Again, the Torch uses the Wall of Fire power to surround the bad guys for what, this time, finally turns out to be the final showdown with Blackie. Blackie uses his car as a weapon, trying to ram the Torch with it. The transportation trophy section of 2nd edition will say a lot more about ramming damage for cars. The Torch uses the Dig power to dig a deep trench to stop the car. He certainly doesn't need to, since he can just wreck/melt the car, but I guess he still had one 4th-level power slot left unused and decided to burn it before the scenario ended.

Whew! That's enough about the Human Torch. The next story features The Angel. While the first Angel story seemed to take place in New York City, this one is definitely in Hong Kong. The main character is the plot hook character, Jane Framan of the Smithsonian Institute, sent to report on the Lost Temple of Alano (a very un-Asian-sounding name). 

We also encounter the word "gruely" to describe a scruffy, disheveled man -- the only time I've ever seen this word.

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