Saturday, December 8, 2018

Thrilling Comics #1 - pt. 2

Returning to Dr. Strange's debut adventure (already in progress), we find Strange has activated either the Imperviousness or the Invulnerability power. He grapples two men at once, which he could do if he has activated Multi-Attack.

Here, we also get a great example of how the power Raise Car can be used offensively, by tossing it and its occupants over a cliff.

It really looks like the "mysterious figure" is also grappling two opponents at the same time, even though there is no further evidence that this guy is a superhero.
What appears to have happened is that a wandering good man (1st level superhero) just happened to come by and see a chance to do a good deed. Of course, what makes this much more interesting is that Togo is a third-party agent, ingratiating himself into the supporting cast in order to spy on them.

Which reminds me that, non-Heroes should have the option of waving the Supporting Cast recruitment roll and volunteering to become SCMs, if it makes sense for them to do so.
Strange says the address and stamp are on the letter, but I suspect what he meant is that they are on the envelope. A stamped envelope is a great clue to find at the scene of a crime.

Not to put too big a spoiler out there, but Strange should be suspicious that a police commissioner has enough free time for long ocean voyages...

Not buffed with Different Physical Structure (to boost his saves), Strange easily falls victim to the sleeping poison in his food.

The shark could be a random wandering encounter, but as often as sharks seem to show up every time in this situation, I think we have to assume that the Editor just likes to have this happen.

Superheroes shouldn't be able to "tear apart" living things (that sounds like wrecking things), but it is also possible that the shark just ran out of hit points while being grappled.

The plane swooping down at just that moment, immediately after a shark encounter, is unlikely a wandering encounter. One does not normally roll for wandering encounters during combat turns unless there are lots of mobsters in that area. This event just screams Editor intervention. Perhaps Strange legitimately made his SCM roll for Parker, at least.

By now, Strange's player should be expecting that everyone he encounters was planned out by the Editor -- and some Editors do prefer to work that way.

Strange fails an encounter reaction check, but a bribe gets him a new encounter reaction check from one of them.
Okay, punching planes out of the sky does look pretty cool...but it is pretty hard to believe that any pilot would intentionally fly that close to another plane. Maybe we need a new power called Extend Melee Range? Or, this could be the power Wreck at Range (since he is wrecking the planes), and the punching is only flavor text.
Stationary rayguns have enormous range, as is demonstrated in entries of the 2nd edition Basic book.

Being hit by a vehicle normally does (ahem) a boatload of damage, see the Basic book for examples of ramming damage.

Although the encounter with the huge constrictor snake seems to come directly after landing, Strange's Invulnerability power might still be active then, which would negate any suspense from this encounter.
Strange uses Flurry of Blows vs. the giant crocodiles. It seems like Strange has an awful lot of power slots available to him, but there may be some time compression in the telling of this story, as I hinted at about the previous page. He may be swimming towards the island on the say after fighting the serpent.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)


  1. Aw, man: poor Jabberjaw! :) I haven't read too many entries yet, but I do seem to notice a lot of "brevet" Levels being handed out to Superhero types; do you often read Superhero first appearances that wouldn't require the liberal dispension of such?

    1. That's a good question. The superhero class is written to emulate the first year's worth of Superman stories (minus the flood story, where his power level jumps to where it won't get back to again until late 1939). But it is a real issue with these early superheroes that, instead of trying to make better *characters*, everyone tried to make the strongest superhero.

    2. So, the question every RPG with superheroes face is, how do you compensate for ridiculously powerful superheroes in a way that balances things out? I think brevet ranks can solve this. You want to play a Dr. Strange-level superhero, while everyone else is at Dick Tracy strength? Okay, but you won't get to enjoy the benefits of leveling up for about two years of real time, while everyone else's Heroes are leveling.

    3. I see what you're saying, I just feel that since a lot of these heroes were pretty powerful when they debuted, then fans of this genre might understandably want to play characters that are similarly powerful from the outset, since that's what they're used to seeing from the books? I mean, Dick Tracy didn't share story-space with Wonder Man and his like, after all. Also, I would think some players would feel like they were being forced to play "catch up" for two years to the player who got all the brevet ranks, etc. This is probably why I'm not a game designer :)

    4. From a game designer stand point, and when your system involves leveling, then you can't start too high because it leaves you less room to go upwards. When I'm working with players on their 1st-level superheroes, I try to impress on them that 1st level is for their origin stories.