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.)

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