Friday, March 30, 2018

Fight Comics #1 - pt. 1

The first issue from the third title by Fiction House starts with George Tuska's Shark Brodie. Here we see some nautical transportation we don't see every comic -- a sloop and an outrigger. That the sloop is described as a "swift" sloop may suggest that it is a special trophy item and not just an ordinary sloop one might be able to buy.

This looks pretty good for early Tuska and makes me wonder if he didn't have help from a better inker...
Here we see a schooner.

There's some interesting details here that I'm going to guess are accurate about pearl diving, like the circle of weighted netting.

I think I've talked before about underwater clams -- traps or mobster-types? -- and am still leaning towards trap, rather than something that needs statting for combat.

But, come on, Nanka's been down there for 20 minutes already, and now you're wondering what happened to him? Ten minutes is good for a pearl diver. In fact, I'm thinking of extending how long Heroes can hold their breath underwater, from 1 turn to 1 turn per 2 points of Constitution (rounded down).

That actually is a pretty good idea -- if your main hideout is a less maneuverable boat like an old schooner, it would make sense to have more maneuverable motorboats patrolling around it.

I'm not crazy about the idea of letting Heroes make homemade grenades with gunpowder and pineapples; I think I would make them half as effective as real grenades.

I would also be inclined to say that, if you're using explosive weaponry like grenades, you should not be able to take your opponents by surprise afterwards -- though that is exactly what Shark manages to do on the next page (before getting captured).

If you're confused how Shark got captured, but still has a flare gun on him that wasn't confiscated, don't worry -- so I am, and I read the page I skipped sharing. I've talked before about letting players request a save vs. plot to keep a weapon unconfiscated on them when captured, but I was thinking of small things, like a knife in the boot. Here, they not only let him keep his flare gun, but his ammo belt as well. That would require some major penalties (-5?) to that plot save!

Now, I would be okay with allowing forcing a locked door as an expert skill check, but this door gets absolutely shattered, and Shark definitely doesn't seem like he's got superhero-level strength. So it's a good thing that I have non-superhero wrecking things rules (different in both editions; I prefer the newer, more streamlined mechanic) that account for this.

Hmm. Shark seems to be an amazingly good fighter for a guy who seems like he's been around only long enough to be level 1 still. Those are two lucky disarming hits in a row (disarming of a non-gun being tricky because your target has to be hit and miss a save vs. science). And what's this talk about "limitless strength?" Hyperbole? Is this the Editor telling us he's not using fatigue rules? Or is Shark a superhero after all...?

If Shark is a superhero, then he's a fighter/superhero, as demonstrated here by how he has no compunctions against using firearms (like all fighters in 2nd edition).

Alternate histories that have Germany winning WWII are a dime a dozen, but this unusual set-up from The Spy Fighter takes place in a 1997 where the smaller nations of the world have all been gobbled up into three competing superpowers representing Russia, the U.S., and China/Mongolia. I wonder if the board game Risk was based on this...

(Scans courtesy of Comic Book Plus.)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Daring Mystery Comics #1 - pt. 3

Picking up where I left off with Monako.  Monako falls through a pit trap (and apparently not a deep one) while following the trail of footsteps, though it does raise the question of how no one before him triggered the pit trap. Traps should, out of fairness, apply equally to everyone.

Monako casts Mirror Image to fool the mobsters waiting at the bottom of the pit trap, then attacks them with what appeared to be a new spell that I think I would call Flying Fists. It would make a pair of fists appear in the air and both attack for the caster, per turn, allowing the caster to continue to do other activities. I would probably make this a 4th level spell.

Despite how powerful Monako is (he must be at least 8th level?), when a steel cage drops over him, he appears to be powerless.

Monako and Josie's brother are put in a deathtrap where they are strapped to a table and a razor-shape axe swings lower towards them.  Monako, who has apparently been biding his time all this time -- despite the fact he just watched Josie's brother getting whipped -- now casts another new spell to get them out of the deathtrap.  The spell appears to be Speak with Weapons -- the caster can talk to the weapon and convince it to serve him, and empowers the weapon to float through the air and attack or cut things on its own. This has got to be a 5th level spell.

I've seen stories before where the villain has a back-up hideout, but this is the first story where the a hideout is on a tugboat. I guess it's more of a "hide in plain sight" plan rather than a "get away at top speed" plan.

Muro sets up a very unusual deathtrap for Josie. She's tied to a chair with a keg of gasoline next to her and a lit fuse on the keg. Okay, that part makes sense...but it's a two-hour fuse. Is Muro that unsure about going through with this? And the fuse doesn't even look that long -- how on Earth does it take a whole two hours to burn?

At her brother's lab, Monako casts a series of protective spells on the canister holding the secret explosive powder. One is a Magic Mouth spell that makes the canister appear to speak. Two is an odd one -- it seems to be Heat Metal, making the canister too hot to hold, but that seems like an awfully dangerous thing to do to a canister holding an explosive powder in it. So...the heat must be illusory heat? A low-level illusion spell like Phantasmal Image can't do that...maybe a higher level one, though.  And then the third spell is a Phantasmal Image of Monako himself.

I don't have a lot to say about Phantom of the Underworld...except what a jerk he is. He takes the place of a doctor in order to infiltrate a mob looking to recruit the doctor -- all well and good -- but then he allows himself to get captured and lets the newspapers report that the doctor turned criminal, ruining the man's reputation.

The "Phantom" -- though he's actually called "Doc" Denton all through the story -- has a solution he can give people that makes them temporarily blind. Then, after blinding the mobsters, he simply pretends to have a gun and gets them all to fail their morale saves.

Lastly, Barney Mullen, Sea Rover, has an unusual sea journey, starting in Lisbon and ending in Rotterdam to deliver some gold. At this time, The Netherlands were still neutral in the war. Barney has to deal with German cruisers that try and stop his steamship, French officials who try to con him out of his gold, and a mutinous crew (though, c'mon, guys; this is a "you knew the job was dangerous when you took it" situation...).

One of the cruisers is evaded thanks to thick fog, which should add a high modifier to evasion rolls.

(Read at Marvel Unlimited.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Daring Mystery Comics #1 - pt. 2

Still on John Steele, Soldier of Fortune, the second feature in this title.

There is a delayed reaction from John shooting the bomber that's been dropping bombs at him -- a delayed explosion that crashes the plane. This seems to back up my initial notion that damage to vehicles should cause complications instead of hit points of damage.

When John completes the scenario of delivering the agent to the general, all he gets is thanks. A Hideouts & Hoodlums player would probably appreciate getting some kind of tangible reward instead.

The next feature is The Texas Kid, Robin Hood of the Range. Again, without preamble or set-up, our Hero plunges into action when he catches raiders in the act of burning down a ranch. Instead of statting raiders, I think I would just make them outlaws (chaotic cowboys).  The outlaw/raiders have to make their morale checks in the first turn of combat, before even taking damage, after the Texas Kid goes first.

When The Texas Kid needs to get into the burning building fast, he makes his horse Spot wreck the door down with its hooves. If we assume horses should have a chance of wrecking things (which seems plausible, given their size and mass), then The Texas Kid could order his mount to use its special skill with a skill check of his own, or burn a stunt for it. this point, I wonder if I even need a Cowboy class and couldn't just use the Mysteryman class.

The rancher from the burning building is one of those dying plot hook characters who you can't revive in time before he reveals too much plot information.

Before riding away, The Texas Kid just happens to spot something. I've always held that searching needs to be an active skill use and not incidental, but sometimes the comic books contradict me. Generally, I feel it's not good for the game to make it too easy to find things, but this should be up to the individual Editor...and my skills section should specify that.

To look for trouble in town, The Texas Kid wears the hat one of the outlaws lost.  It turns out to be a very fast way to get a hostile reaction from the outlaws when they spot him in town. In the ensuing confrontation, The Texas Kid disarms one of the three outlaws, but instead of pushing his luck against the other two, he escapes out the window so he can observe what they do next, and have them lead him to the stolen loot from the ranches. As I observed just recently on another story, an equally valid tactic would have been to capture all three men and force them to reveal the loot.

At the outlaws' hideout, The Texas Kid douses the lights, get the advantage of surprise -- and uses it to steal the loot back, again putting off a three-to-one battle. If The Texas Kid is 1st level, this makes complete sense. Instead, he rides to the ranch they planned to hit next and raises some help. Now, luring the outlaws into an ambush of angry ranchers would have been an acceptable ending, but the author throws one more wrinkle in the plot when our Hero somehow deduces the identity of the outlaws' ringleader on just a hunch. Now, instead of beating up the bad guys when they arrive at the ranch, the rancher gives them his money so the Texas Kid can follow them, get caught, and have them confess when the ringleader shows up in an overly complex sting operation.

Next up is Monako, Prince of Magic.  The story begins with a very implausible spell -- Monako saves a woman from a hit-and-run driver by making a bridge magically appear underneath her. It seems like nothing short of a Wish spell could create a bridge and lift her up on top of it in the second it would take for the car to hit her. Maybe he was already casting Levitate and the Editor allowed a lot of flavor text.

While spell range tends to be huge for other comic book magicians, Monako can seemingly do nothing when the hit-and-run car drives too far away, despite the fact that he saw the passenger and recognized it as his old nemesis, Mr. Muro.

The woman rescued, Josie, is both already a Supporting Cast Member, but doubles for this story as a plot hook character. She needs Monako to save her brother from kidnappers.

Mr. Muro uses two thugs (a mobster type we haven't seen in awhile) for the abduction. Monako pays his taxi driver the princely sum of $50 to "follow that car."

Monako casts a spell he calls Vision -- it would be a new spell, like an improved Phantasmal Force, but it is intelligent, can communicate, can travel pretty far distances, and the caster can see the Vision and its immediate environs by concentrating. The Vision cannot pass through thick metals, like a heavy steel door. This might be a new 4th level spell.

Monako casts Reduce Person on himself (and carries a small rope ladder he can use while shrunk). He casts a spell that seems to be the high-level Find the Path -- though maybe he just used the tracking skill and pretended he was casting a spell.

(Read at Marvel Unlimited.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Daring Mystery Comics #1 - pt. 1

Timely's second anthology title begins with Simon and Kirby's Fiery Mask. Jack Castle (itself a pretty good hero name) is a physician, not a police forensics mortician, but is still called on by Police Captain Benson to examine a strange corpse. Perhaps Jack is from a small town with too small a police department to have its own mortician. Although that's not likely either, since there are high-rises at least nine stories high in his town.

Suddenly, a green light comes from nowhere, animates the corpse into a talking zombie, and paralyzes Castle. Only Benson makes his saving throw and shoots the zombie, killing it in one shot (but it can still monolog before it expires).

And so begins Jack's scenario -- he's given a list of places where bums and tramps like this zombie were last seen and told to check them out for clues (the police must be too busy).  His list of stops include a gambling den and a bar -- good locations for adventures, but Simon and Kirby have something bigger in mind, so those leads turn up nothing.

Luckily, Jack thinks to check for high electricity usage in the waterfront area, where all the missing people were from. He's guessed correctly that the green light came from a raygun and one that was run from conventional electrical power. It's a handy method of tracking down mad scientists, and not the last time we'll see it used in comics. What is extra ballsy on Jack's part is that, when someone answers the door at the hideout, he pretends to be from the power company and asks to come in to read the meter. A good Editor should at least give him a save vs. plot to see if the man opening the door falls for such a clever ploy.

That the doorman happens to be a zombie seems a delightful touch, recalling to my mind the balrog butler in Tegel Manor.

We get told, rather than see, a lot of details about the hideout Jack is led into. The ramshackle house on the surface is perfectly ordinary, but through a secret door in the kitchen is a set of stairs -- no, not a set, a "winding maze of stairs" suggesting that the stairs branch off in all directions at various landings. One of our first multi-level hideouts! The deeper levels are cave-like, with rows of zombies waiting in upright coffins. Some rooms are truly cavernous, with space enough for giant vultures to fly around. Giant vulture stats debuted in Supplement I: National, but these buzzards are much larger and probably at least 4 Hit Dice.

As if sometimes the case in comics, these zombies are the result of scientific experiments. There is at least one woman present who hasn't been changed yet because she needs more "treatments" (and gives Jack an opportunity to earn xp for rescues!).

Somehow, Jack leaps to the conclusion that the master criminal behind this uses hypnosis. Maybe he's trying to disbelieve all this as an illusion?  Hideouts & Hoodlums needs clear-cut rules for disbelieving illusions (probably tucked into the description of one or more illusion spells).

The Master seems to be a giant free-willed zombie, appearing to be about 14' tall. That might put him at 10 Hit Dice.  The Master may also be a mind reader, because he seems to immediately know who Jack is. Curiously, the Master's monolog makes it seem like he's always been this height instead of it being the result of some experiment of his. Perhaps he's Marvel's first mutant?

Up to this point, this has all been origin story for Jack, with him earning XP as a Fighter. When The Master's raygun explodes, it transforms Jack into a Superhero. His costume seems to just be having a ripped shirt.  He punches out The Master with one blow, suggesting he has enough brevet ranks to already have the Super Punch power. His ability to melt chains with a touch is just wrecking things with flavor text added. He uses a Leap power, but it isn't clear which level of Leap he's using (it could be as simple as Leap I).  Blowing away the giant vultures with his breath...that seems like it must be the power Gust of Wind, but the Editor has either added some extra kick to it or has created a higher-level version of that power (Greater Gust of Wind?).

The next feature in this issue is John Steele, Soldier of Fortune. It opens in the heat of battle – though where and between which warring nations we don’t yet know!  John rushes into a building for cover and finds an enemy soldier about to shoot a woman, so he disarms the soldier with a disarming shot from his gun, then drops it so he can punch the guy a few times. The last punch serves as a pushing attack instead, sending his opponent reeling across the room. But he must have split his damage between pushing distance and real damage, because the hit still knocks his foe out.

Rescuing the woman turns out to have been a good deal, because she was a plot hook character – with a secret mission (which she promptly tells John Steele all about).

To complete the mission, John has to get this unnamed lady across enemy lines. To accomplish that, John comes up with the bold plan of stealing a tank. Luckily, John manages to gain surprise on the tank crew of a passing tank. Also luckily, it’s a small WWI-era tank, so it’s too small to have a rear-facing machine gun mounted on it anyway. They get pretty far in the tank, but a grenade takes it out. Now…I’m wondering if explosive weapons should have a wrecking things chance?

John has grenades of his own, but it isn’t clear if he started with them or found them in the tank and took them as trophy weapons.

That a motorcycle with a passenger seat just happens to drive past just as John needs fresh transportation for them both seems too coincidental for a random encounter. And, indeed, it seems the encounter was planned to lure John and the female agent into a trap. Players could be forgiven, though, for thinking this was a lazy giveaway from an Editor who just wanted to keep his story moving.

Suddenly finding himself in a trench with enemy soldiers again, John passes the chance to shoot with a gun in favor of fisticuffs. Why? Since the soldiers don’t have drawn weapons either, John gets two attacks with his fists, doubling his chance of hitting. He also knows how easy it is to disarm shooters in H&H.

(Issue read at Marvel Unlimited.)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Jungle Comics #1 - pt. 4

When Wambi's elephant can't solve all his problems for him, he has to recruit a whole army to help. But at least he gets a reward in the end for alerting them. He may have got little or none of the XP from the fights he avoids, but at least his reward XP is all his. There are surprisingly few examples of rewards being given in golden age comics so far, so it was good to see this one. And now Wambi has a silver sword he can fight werewolves with!

This whole comic book was pretty racist, but White Hunters of the African Safari takes it up to 11. If you can muscle through it, there's some things worth pointing out here.

First, a rare example of lighting conditions affecting missile fire (or at least Slim thinks it will have an effect).

The girl in the background is going to be offering running commentary on what she feels are each of the white hunters' best attributes. Here she comments on his Charisma. 

Here she comments on how brave Buck is. That's a hard thing to quantify for hero characters, because they aren't subject to morale saves like non-hero characters are. But what really interests me is how "Rex is so manly." There is no game mechanic for manliness -- and yet, it would make a lot of golden age sense if there was. Now I just need to give more thought to what a manliness attribute would be like and what it would give you a bonus for.

Also of interest here is a rare instance of camping for the night and setting up watches -- staples in fantasy games, but a rare sighting in comics.

The wandering encounter with crocodiles is surprisingly glossed over as nothing. What level are these guys?

This is Simba, King of the Beasts, which is funny because of the Lion King connection. It's not a bad story -- maybe even the best from this issue -- but I call your attention to this page because of how experience gives Simba the ability to avoid damage. I think that's one of the best explanations I've ever seen for how hit points work; they are not a quantification of toughness, but a measure of one's ability to avoid getting hurt.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Jungle Comics #1 - pt. 3

This is what happens when you make your subjects wax their chests and go around shirtless all day instead of explaining to them how electrodes work.

After running Hideouts & Hoodlums for a long time now, I've noticed that using a d6 for mobster hit points, instead of the d8 I used to be accustomed to using when running AD&D, really makes a difference in finishing fights faster. And, while I sometimes regret when a fight ends faster when my sense of drama tells me it should have ran longer, pages like this with their "killed in one shot" fights remind me that stretched-out battles have little place in H&H.

I'm guessing the secret formula in the ring is for the longevity potions. But if they were such a bad idea, why is she sharing it...?

What? Okay, Dale, we get that you're not getting along with the locals, but maybe you can sit down and discuss your differences with them, look for common ground. Wait, what are you doing with that torch, Dale? Why are you -- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DALE, YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO KILL ALL OF THEM!!

I think Jon Dale's player just saw this whole scenario as a quick XP grab.

That fortress looks real tiny, but I like the 3-D layout, with its multiple levels. Make those skeletons undead and you've got a cool adventure locale from that one picture!

If H&H had more outdoor survival rules, there would probably be something about a 1 in 6 chance of mishap while fording rivers.

It would be highly unusual for that to happen in H&H, where the slavers get a surprise attack, but then are still unseen afterwards. For the sake of fairness, anyone who attacks is visible to retaliatory attacks in combat.

Slavers, incidentally, are going to be a mobster type in the AH&H Mobster Manual.

It's worth noting that Terry never actually finds the secret entrance. Instead he just stumbles on a pit trap that happens to lead into the secret underground tunnel.

The snake might be a set or a wandering encounter in the tunnel. Wrapping it in a shirt might be a bit of a stretch for the grappling rules and is more of an entangling attack, like dropping a net on someone. I think the real stretch, though, is that he held it in his shirt all that time until the slavers showed up, hours later?

Lots of things to cover on this page. First, the slavers are working with thugs, apparently.

It might make sense to give a morale bonus if the bad guys outnumber the good guys (say, +2 for 3 to 1 odds?). I don't like to include a lot of formulas for modifiers in the rules, leaving it to the Editor to decide on what the situation warrants.

Cover sure comes in handy.

We solved the mystery of how all those soldiers kept dying -- they died of boredom, having to play Solitaire with only five cards.

I guess the trap door was a secret door from the top side, since you can't find a secret door without looking for it. Even a concealed door you would figure a guard would have stumbled across eventually.

I call shenanigans on that rock attack, and not on a rock rolling down a slope being an effective weapon. I question why the three thugs would be running up the slope in such tight formation that the rock could hit all three of them. It would have made more sense to spread out and try to flank him, even before figuring out what he planned to do with that rock.

This is Sabu -- I mean, Wambi the Jungle Boy, who is an Indian boy, in Africa? It's a confusing mash-up (on the previous page we had gold miners panning for gold in a stream in Africa -- was that ever a thing in Africa?).

The clearest thing is that I'd never allow a low-level hero to have an elephant as supporting cast. Because they can trample all over an entire village.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Jungle Comics #1 - pt. 2

We return to check on Tabu today. We see him perform some tree climbing so uncanny that I hesitate to say that could even be done in Hideouts & Hoodlums as an expert-level skill; that is more likely the power Wall-Crawling in action.

Jungle Torment might be a magic-user spell in the making here. For the duration, up to 7 targets cannot rest and must make morale saves each turn. Seems like a good 1st level spell to soften up opponents.

Still going easy on them at first, Tabu decides to use Gust of Wind on their torches. Then he starts to get serious and lets loose with Insect Plague, a 4th level spell. Insect Plague hasn't made its way into any H&H product yet, but you can bet it'll be in the AH&H Heroes Handbook whenever I'm done with that. It will do continuous damage to whoever is caught in the swarm, so either these explorers have really good hit points or they escape from the swarm pretty quickly.

Since that pool of slime looks like green slime, I'm very tempted to include green slime now in the AH&H Mobster Manual (now in progress!).

It's unclear if this tiger is huge, in the sense that it has extra Hit Dice, or it just looks huge to someone when it's advancing menacingly on you in the wild (I'd probably think it was huge too!). Apes and tigers have both already been statted for H&H.

It's harder to say what's going on here, since we can't see where these paralyzing thorns are coming from. Is there some monstrous form of plant life that should fire paralyzing thorns? Or should this be a new spell? Or are the thorns simply flavor text for a Mass Paralysis spell? I'm leaning towards the first option, simply because there is not a lot of plant life you can fight in H&H compared to animals and people.

I'm going to have to call shenanigans here. Yes, I'm all for making Gust of Wind a more useful spell (and feel I did more to increase its effectiveness in H&H already), making it strong enough to bend over trees so that they can knock over people seems like it would be way too powerful, almost on par with an Earthquake spell (which, frankly, is where I thought Fletcher was going with that at the bottom of the last page).

Oh, it's not green slime after all! They climb out unharmed.

I cheated and used that illustration of the giant snakes as a hydra in Supplement I: National, but I'm pretty sure that's meant to be two giant snakes.The next page reveals that they are constrictor snakes.

Here we see evidence that the Leap powers allow for safe downward movement, though a controlled leap is different from a fall and I'm not sure if I'd allow this to protect heroes from falling damage (I've gone both ways in game play).

Tabu, still just showing off, demonstrates Polymorph Self and Transmute Mud to Rock (the latter spell has not debuted in H&H yet.) The jungle tree-vine was statted in Supplement I: National (I believe), based on this very picture.

I'll have to review my stats and make sure I gave the tree-vine the ability to stretch out its vines before entangling.

Tabu levels up!

So many animals in old comics are killed in one shot that it's refreshing to see an elephant just take the hit and keep moving.

I don't think any game mechanics are behind this accidental entangling; more likely, this is set-up for the scenario instead of part of the scenario.

Here's more evidence that Jon Dale's player isn't in control of his actions yet -- just what is the rationale for climbing to the top of the plateau? In his shape, after being dragged, you would think he would choose the easier journey of going around it.

This is the second story in the same comic about a hidden land of secret white people in Africa. I'm guessing the authors were inspired by the Prester John legend, although it might be just good old-fashioned racism.

600 years would put these Norsemen as coming from the 15th century, which is really late for Thor-worshipping Norsemen. Of course, maybe this is not the first generation of them isolated in Africa, which may explain how they got their own religion wrong and think Thor takes human sacrifices.

Still no idea how a Norsewoman manages to go by the name of Camilla.

Potions of longevity belong in H&H. But if it's that volatile, how is it safe to drink...?

Daily sacrifices? These people make the Mayans seem mild-mannered.

The reference to electrodes tells us that these Norsemen have had enough contact with the outside world to at least catch them up to 19th century science. They probably also heard that modern society doesn't approve of human sacrifice, but just didn't care.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Jungle Comics #1 - pt. 1

At long last we begin January 1940! With this "brand new" title from Fiction House!

Kaanga is a Tarzan clone with a few wrinkles thrown in. Note that he's not adopted by apes (Tarzan), nor by natives (Sheena), but by something that doesn't quite look like either...

First edition Hideouts & Hoodlums had an explorer class for heroes like Kaanga, but there's really little reason not to use the fighter class for him, so far.

Also note that Kaanga only needs "a few weeks" to learn English, so picking up new languages is something heroes can do on their downtime.

Kaanga's strength and leaping abilities almost put him in superhero contention. And yet...both editions of H&H have had rules for non-supeheroes to wreck things, and greater than normal leaping could also be a mysteryman stunt.

Here we learn that it was ape people Kaanga was adopted by. Ape people are statted already in 2nd edition, and this shows that they occur in numbers of up to 13.

I am not sure what to make of this backstory. White Panther and his father are the last of their tribe in the jungle...but they are whiter than whitebread, and the father looks weirdly Odin-like.

I like the unusual Macguffin of magical healing stones.

If you thought those ape men were racist, wait until you see these cannibals.

White Panther is clearly a superhero (or maybe a speedster from 1st edition!). He activates Race the Train to outrun the natives, and it is interesting that he uses his power only as a distraction instead of trying to use it to fight anyone.

It's unclear from panel to panel if White Panther is a naked albino or wearing skintight white clothes from head to toe. He also seems to have a magnetic disc on his belt that holds his dagger in place, which is pretty cool.

Apparently it wasn't hard to find the healing stones at all; you just had to keep wandering the jungle and the cave/mine is like a random encounter. Although the mine must have already been played out, someone was careless and left some healing stones just lying around.

Here's a reason not to carry guns in cave complexes -- gunshots apparently have a chance to cause cave-ins! Cave-ins are pretty brutal, delivering fatal damage for those who miss their saves vs. science, and tearing the clothes of even those who make their saves.

We can tell White Panther is low-level because he avoids combat whenever he can. He also doesn't know much about the fauna of Africa, since he calls that crocodile an alligator.

There are three crocodiles on the next page, so we know crocodiles can be encountered in groups of up to 3.

If we weren't sure if Kaanga was a superhero or not, there's no confusion where Fletcher Hank's Tabu is concerned. Tabu's magical sixth sense is the source of his powers, which include Outrun Train, Wall-Climbing (a 2nd ed. power), and ...well, moving silently is usually a stunt.

Here we see Tabu has access to the powers Leap I, Fly I, and some kind of super-swimming power (though maybe Outrun Train can cover this territory). He also demonstrates tracking, which was the primary skill of the explorer class. Maybe Tabu is an explorer/superhero character.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Famous Funnies #65 - pt. 2

Morse code is a handy way to send messages to Heroes, but as a non-traditional language it is not necessarily something Editors will let all Heroes know. Translating Morse code could be a basic skill check.

The "sounds phony" clue is a tricky thing to impart in game play. Is my player going to know I know it's not the Navy Secret Service, is he going to assume I didn't know and just got it wrong, or is it going to go right over his head? I've talked about this before on the blog, and there's really no easy solution to this other than to talk to the player out-of-character and explain that this was a clue or hint.

This is the flipside of the issue I just talked about -- what to do if the player is the one testing your knowledge while in-character? Did he just trick the mobster into admitting he was a phony just because I didn't know that thing about West Point? Again, this will require out-of-character discussion about what the player is trying to find out.

The gunshot through the window is evidence of how difficult it is to shoot the correct target in melee, though I do suspect that it did not really matter for these bad guys' plans which one of them was shot.

Dickie Dare features a partial map of the interior of a steamer ship. Looks accurate enough to me!

This deathtrap sounds pretty brutal -- scalding water shot through a firehose seems like it would do 1-6 points of damage. It's not a lot, but because a hose has an area of effect (let's say it's a ray 10' wide at its base), the pirates don't have to roll to attack with it.

A "steam cock" is an actual thing, by the way; it's part of the boiler.

No one is dying too fast from this steam, but I have a couple of possible explanations for that. One, the Heroes in the room, at least, should get saves vs. missiles (or maybe science) for half-damage. Two, the pirates might have started their trap too early, before the water was hot enough to do more than a few points of damage.

That ape looks pretty intense. Note the value of a captive ape. They're almost too valuable to give Heroes a chance of capturing one!

All I'm going to say here is that is some pretty fancy shooting, to spray bullets from a sub-machine gun and only hit his hand, for a disarming shot.

Here's an interesting page! For starters, Dickie and friends have a problem that no players ever have because of player knowledge -- knowing which of them was shot in the dark. To do this in-game, the Editor would need to keep information from everyone -- even the player who was shot, in order to make sure the others do not know.

Being a non-Hero, Kit can bleed to death from being injured (strict hp rules only apply to Heroes).

There was recently a kerfuffle in my home campaign, where one of the Heroes gave a semi-automatic to his 12-year old sidekick. Here we have Dickie, arguably even younger, hauling a sub-machine gun.

I'm sharing this because I'm amused by the fact that Oaky has been sleeping under a tree, and his supporting cast has been out doing much more exciting stuff without him. When your players' SCMs come back after being away from the campaign for a bit, make sure they have interesting stories to tell.

Seaweed Sam surprises me again with more Hideouts & Hoodlums-relevant content. Here, in this land of giants, we see that giants (and, really, any mobster class we want) can also be magic-users. This giant magic-user is at least 7th level if that is a regular Polymorph Other spell. The Polymorph Other spell is not supposed to be able to turn you into any animal smaller than a bird, but bear in mind that the scale is way off in any panel with giants in it, and that butterfly is really quite large.

Not sure, but I probably won't be statting large butterflies, unless I find much bigger and more dangerous examples.
Big Chief Wahoo's feat here could have been accomplished with one of two powers -- either Improved Missile Weapon, with the heavy lifting hand-waved, or more likely Raise Car, since the distance thrown itself looks pretty normal and the lifting is the only really impressive part.

We also learn how much it cost to shoot that much of a movie.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)