Saturday, June 8, 2019

Top-Notch Comics #3 - pt. 2

We'll continue today with  Dick Storm - and, yes, I still think that's funny.

Speaking of names...considering how important Kang the Conqueror is going to be for Marvel Comics in 24 years, it's interesting to see the first use of "K'ang" in a comic book.

Dick tries to trick/bluff K'ang, but K'ang isn't buying it; K'ang may have made a save vs. plot here, which I think is a more appropriate mechanic than a skill check to persuade someone. Of course, the Editor can always disregard mechanics and rule on persuasion based on role-playing skill.

Six-to-one odds is too great for Dick.
It's an unusual variant on the "get the guard to rush into your cell strategy," choking the woman in the cell with you, and there's a certain amount of extra danger here if the guard doesn't fall for it soon enough.

Dick is also really trusting of this woman who just happened to be in the same cell with him. If it was me, I would worry that she was a plant, put in there to pump me for information.
Moving on, this is Bob Phantom (another character who's name I often make fun of).

There's an unusual quality to this story where Bob doesn't seem to be an actual character in it, but is just turning up, Phantom Stranger-like, and warning the bad guys about the decisions they are making.

And he's clearly using the spell Poof! to do it.
It really looks like Bob is catching the bullet in his mouth, but the caption tells me he is blowing the bullet back. That seems too powerful for Gust of Wind. It's more likely the power Turn Gun on Bad Guy, but that's a 4th level spell, and we only need to use that if there was really a good chance of the mobster being hit by it. Or, this could just be flavor text explaining how the bullet missed Bob at such short range.
Walls of fire are very hard to get through. Just passing through fire is going to do damage, which should vary based on the size and intensity of the fire. At the low end is jumping through a campfire, which would do maybe 1 point of damage. At the high end is the magic-user spell Wall of Fire which does...well, I don't have my books handy, but I believe it's a lot of damage. Walking through a line of burning kerosene would likely do 1-8 points of damage. Walking through the inferno of a burning oil field, that seems like it would be more like the spell.

Bikini cut, Bob? Really?

Speaking of intensity, starting a cyclone is pretty intense. The weight of a shack is way beyond the lift capacity of a Telekinesis spell, so that's not what Bob is using. Maybe

Control Weather? Or we need a new power or spell for Create Cyclone.

Now we're moving on to our next feature, Stacey Knight, M. D. Here we see the benefit of keeping a sedative and syringe with you.

It seems a lot less risky a tactic than jumping out a third story window to grapple someone below you. For one thing, I wouldn't even allow the jumping and the grappling on the same turn; you can jump and try to land on the mobster to half your falling damage (and give him full damage) and then on the following turn begin grappling.

I would also not combine attacks with wrecking; you can hit the mobster with the gun or you can try to break the gun, but not both at the same time.

Now, the main reason I would not allow these things is that, in a group setting, you need to leave things for the other players to do. If this was solo play, I might be more lenient on combining effects.

I'm including this page of Wings Johnson of the Air Patrol because I want to remind players to always know where the exits are, and be prepared to use non-traditional exits. And, a note to Editors, include more things like laundry chutes in your game. Vertical transportation keeps your players thinking in three dimensions.
The 2nd edition basic book has suggestions for ramming damage with different vehicle types, and both editions of Hideouts & Hoodlums have rules for wrecking things. But what about when you want to ram a conning tower with your plane to wreck it? A good rule of thumb is that, for every 10 points of damage the vehicle ramming can do (not necessarily what you roll for damage), assign 1 level in superhero for wrecking.

It seems really implausible that your nemesis just happens to be on the first submarine you crash into in that entire theater of war, but if you want to get your story moving along sometimes...
I'm not going to bother talking about the "knock out the guard and steal his uniform" tactic again, but returning to the same building you just escaped from to hide is certainly an interesting tactic.

I have a feeling that, despite how poor Wings thinks his German is, that he would understand whatever the commandant tells him to do.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

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