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Author Topic: Historical Lacepunk weapons (to play EotD / IHMN in the 18th C.?)  (Read 16474 times)
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Age: 73
Location: Lyon, France
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« on: January 09, 2014, 12:24:39 PM »

Some of them actually built in the early 19th C., but nothing in their design and realization involves a technological innovation, a musket manufacturer with a little more imagination / creativity could have 'invented' them late in the 17th C. Of course there were probably good reasons why they did not became widespread in our 'real' History, but Fantasy-Horror / Sci-Fi gaming requires a 'willing suspension of disbelief': none of these weapon is as.... weird as, say, VSF bipedal war walkers!

The best known is probably the Puckle 'machine gun' (1718); very 'advanced' with its pre-loaded cartridges and its removable cylinder (à la 1858 Remington -memories of 'Pale Rider') allowing a sustained high rate of fire: the cylinder swap takes barely 10 seconds. Possible improvements: a rifled barrel (with a breech-loader the gain in accuracy and range is not 'paid' by a slower reloading); also maybe a better mechanism to distribute priming powder as in later revolvers. A cylinder weighting much less than several barrels the Puckle was indeed more 'advanced' than the Billinghurst Requa and Ripley (nicknamed Elen?) of the ACW.
The Puckle was too bulky and heavy to be an individual weapon (though, since VSF miniature soldiers can merrily carry a Gatling and ignore its recoil...). A lighter 'handgun' version of the Puckle would look quite like a Remington, but heavier and more cumbersome. Thus the hand crank of the 'machine gun' would be replaced with a lever under the barrel for additional grip (as in many SMG); the rotation of the cylinder, as with the lighter 'revolvers' below, coupled Colt-fashion with the cocking action. It would be the Lace Wars equivalent of the Thompson, while historical early revolvers such as the Stopler (built in 1597) and the Collier, their barrels rifled, would be the Uzi of the time.

A fascinating shoulder weapon is Joseph Belton of Philadelphia's "new improved gun", a flintlock using cartridges promised to be able to "deliver 20 shots in under 5 seconds… by once pulling tricker, or at two or three different times, by little more than cocking & priming the same lock two or three different times.". Unfortunately neither detailed description nor material relic survived. Was it more 'real' than the mysterious Oruktor Amphibolos? A very 'Lacepunk' contraption, this one!

More than a century earlier the Kalthoff repeating muskets were actually built and some even saw war action. A few were preserved and could be studied: The Kalthoff had two magazines, one for powder and one for balls (some had a third for priming powder): A single forward-and-back motion on the trigger guard powered a mechanism that deposited a ball and load of powder in the breech (a small carrier took the powder from the magazine to the breech, so there was no risk of an accidental ignition in the reserve) and cocked the gun, so within one or two seconds, it was ready to fire again. Only their exorbitant price and relative delicateness prevented them from reaching widespread use.

Muskets / rifles are between MG and SMG. As for pre-loaded cartridges, a breech-loading musket using such was built for Philip V of Spain in the early 18th C.(above): such ammunition (almost a breech insert, largely preventing accidental 'chain fire) potentially leads to a rifle with a higher rate of fire than the Ferguson rifle. Of course with breech loaders not only the barrel may be rifled without diminishing the rate of fire, but the bullet may be pointed, with a conical hollow at its base like the Nessier and expanding like the dumdum Mark IV.

Less efficient maybe, but costing less 'points' when arming a game character, the Ferguson itself and the breech-loading musket designed by Maurice de Saxe could be the weapons of the 'basic Lacepunk grunt'.
There's also the Ballard Rifle design. Breech loading with a metallic cartridge, but instead of a percussion cap there's a hole in the back of the case that the primer fires through to touch off the main load. Reportedly very accurate, and there's no real reason it couldn't have been made long, long -even a century or more- before the 1860s.

Practically silent, producing neither flame nor smoke, the (repeating!) Girandoni air rifle 'Windbüchse' is the ambushers / assassins weapon -and it can, well, not 'fire' but shoot 20+ times in quick succession without reloading, so can provide a continuous covering 'fire' from a hidden position. The Lewis & Clarke Expedition carried a reservoir air gun of similar design.

For support weapons, History offers us the 7-barrelled Nock gun and the grenade-throwing blunderbuss / hand mortar. It was not uncommon for users of the Nock gun to be wounded by the recoil of the 7 barrels fired together; now, if the bundle of barrels is rotated by hand to bring them successively in the firing position (as with some 'advanced' organ guns) while a mechanism gives out the priming power to the barrel moving into place (as with some revolvers above) to prevent 'chain fire', the 7 shots can be fired in 8 - 10 seconds with a tolerable recoil (and probably a better efficiency). If kept a mouth-loader it would require a lot of reloading time, but if improved to a breech-loader (specially if using cartridges / breech inserts like the Puckle / Philip V's musket above) it would fully become the 18th C. equivalent of a modern LMG -the type that heroes fire at the waist in movies.

And in a Lacepunk universe the secret of Greek Fire would not be forgotten, appearing in hand-held siphons or incendiary grenades.

And -now without historical precedent, but...- what about 'pneumatic' Leyden jars- / Greek fire grenades-throwers? (Or even dynamite bombs: it would not have be impossible for an empirical 18th C. chemist to discover how to produce small quantities of nitroglycerine -and to survive. Nobel's idea to stabilize the temperamental oil by impregnating a kind of clay was not *that* far-fetched, though other media could have be tried: wood dust, flour, even fine gunpowder since the aim was to prepare a high explosive; or perhaps powdered pig feces as in the medieval Chinese 'shit bomb' ['bombe à étrons' in French] to spice the explosion with a 'vomiting gas' effect?). Historically the US Navy used *huge* pneumatic cannons shooting (NOT 'firing'!) dynamite-filled shells in the late 19th C.

Lacepunk (1) adventures being set some 130 years before steampunk / VSF ones, 'progressive' technologies are far less advanced. While in such 'alternate' mid-18th C. steam-powered contraptions would be definitively more 'working' than historical Fardier and Pyroscaphe (using the equivalent of the Watts double acting engine?), they would still be rare prototypes. 'Advanced' weapons would basically have the efficiency of historical Victorian ones: Colt revolver, Winchester rifle, Chassepot military rifle... Being still rare and extremely expensive they are reserved to major Lacepulp / Lacepunk 'characters' and maybe given to -at most- a few selected 'followers'.

With such weapons your Lace Wars characters / Horror - Pulp adventurers can well enter an Empire of the Dead / In Her Majesty Name (or Chaos in Carpathia or Strange Aeons) campaign. There is no lack of possibilities for factions / companies. These rules being 'Victorian' the only difficulty would be to balance the lower average rate of fire with regard to hand-to-hand combat: dropping drastically the 'point cost' of gunpowder weapons in order to field more miniatures to face those cultists (2) / drug-crazed fanatical ninja monks, Deep Ones, ghouls, vampires, werewolves and zombies?

Conversions should not be too difficult, e.g. giving the cylinder of a cheap plastic cow-boy's revolver to the original pistol of the figurine; and / or for an 'unusual' look using an Assault Group Renaissance weapon or a Freebooter 'weird' pistol or shoulder weapon.

1:  'Lace' from the Lace Wars. Some use Clockworkpunk but the term is far less specific: clockworks are known since the Middle-Ages, several of Da Vinci's designs were to be clockwork-powered; clockworkpunk thus is probably more appropriate for Late Medieval / Renaissance SF.

2: The Gypsies came from India; in their tongue their Patron Saint Saint Sarah 'the Black' is called Sara e Kali: what about a secret Assassin / Thugee cult among them?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 02:00:09 PM by abdul666lw » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 06:45:06 PM »

As for body armor worn with civilian clothes or military uniforms, it was not unknown in the 18th C., even for men on foot.

In 1733 the 'French' candidate to the Polish throne, Stanisław Leszczyński, crossed secretly (mostly hostile) Germany and reached safely Warsaw masquerading as an inoffensive merchant's employee, while a look-alike tried openly to reach Dantzig by sea (and was prevented from landing by the Russian Navy). A nice manoeuvre / trick of the French not yet even officiously created Secret du Roi, but the point relevant here is that the look-alike, fearing assassins, constantly wore a kind of brigandine / armored doublet under his clothes.

During sieges military miners wore a full cuirass and helmet - in France as late as 1870 (the 'cuirasse et pot-en-tête' is still the badge of French military engineers). French regulations still in force during the WAS and SYW required infantry officers leading 'pickets' of their men working at trenches to wear such armor. 18th C. types were quite elaborated:

and (the breastplate reaching down to the waist) offered a better protection of the groin than the German WWI experimental armor:

Some VSF miniatures wear such armor, but -worn above the waistcoat but under the coat, like the breastplate of heavy cavalry- it could as well be given to 18th C. characters (such as this one, for instance).
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 02:02:33 PM by abdul666lw » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2014, 09:23:46 AM »

Since some 'skirmish' rules such as IHMN allow for a single light gun, an European adaptation of 'Oriental' rockets launchers

or a very 'advanced' organ gun

would provide an interestingly 'ultra-modern' alternative to amusettes, 'Rostaings' and 'Swedish' light pieces.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/m-uj_t--tEE&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/m-uj_t--tEE&rel=1</a>

Moving to heavy weapon systems a (barely!) possible steam tank (self-propelled artillery) could be built with a single caronade mounted on a 'reversed' (with the steam engine -and the steering axle?- at the rear) Cugnot Fardier:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ab5UVdxHPcY&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/Ab5UVdxHPcY&rel=1</a>
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/2ul8RHwBpM4&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/2ul8RHwBpM4&rel=1</a>
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/L4A5ZNjisRM&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/L4A5ZNjisRM&rel=1</a>
<a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/xfuwyt" target="_blank">http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/xfuwyt</a>

Thus, something along the lines of this (clockwork-powered?) 18th C. design:

For the crew to reload without dismounting (possibly on the move) the gun (unless breech-loaded, which would be quite 'optimistic' for a heavy artillery piece at the time) has to be shorter barreled: as it happens the Chevalier de Folard designed a light very short artillery piece decades before the first caronade was cast:

As for 'armor' even with a much more efficient steam engine such 'steam tank' would at most be protected by double pavisas of hardened buff skin (which according to Maurice de Saxe are enough to stop musket bullets); with a lid as in warships gun ports at the front.
And, yes, a Puckle 'machine gun' would be a perfectly fitting secondary weapon!

Honestly, while the steam engine would be used to move the 'tank' in battle / on the tabletop (at infantry in line speed), for long distance displacements the 'self propelled' gun would better use animal traction: oxen drink less and are far easier to feed than a primitive steam engine!

Historically a 19th C. British design:

was a failure: even even after the armor was removed

for the weak steam engine to move the contraption the guns had to be dismounted, leaving the whole useless as a combat vehicle.
Besides the guns as figured are much too large (the Warhammer 40,000 syndrome?), so much the more as they are mouth-loading caronades.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 02:19:08 PM by abdul666lw » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2014, 05:49:00 PM »

Posted on the relevant board of this forum some ideas about 3 IHMN companies inspired from French movies, in their Lacepunk and Steampunk incarnations:

- The Fraternity of  John the Presbyter (from 'Brotherhood of the Wolf', with a twist: Kali-worshiping assassins among the gypsies associated with the 'Brotherhood'),

- The Sons / Blood of the Martyrs (from 'Crimsom Rivers II', spiced up with details from 'Hellsing Ultimate'),

- The Eugenist Circle of the Thousand Daughters (from 'The Crimsom rivers', a kind of Bene Gesserit secondarily building bioconstructs).

- As a bonus, the Bennet Circle vs The Plague Bearers.

- 3 more added on O3.18: Les Diables du Gévaudan, The Hive / The Children of the Lady-in-the-earth & Les Chasse-Diableries.

Note that according to their ethos these diverse companies / factions will vary in their attitude toward 'modern' weapons: 'traditionalists' such as the Priory of Sion and the Templars are likely to shun them, 'modernists' such as the Free Masons or 'Lacepunk' by their very nature' such as the 18th C. ancestors of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Torchwood will probably favor them, for instance using 'galvanic' weapons, throwing Leyden jars rather than holy water at 'supernatural' creatures.

Give (VSF) Wrath of Kings Herald of Blood a tricorne (Wargames Factory WSS plastics are a great source of conversion bits)

and she'll make a great 18th C. / Lacepunk adventuress wielding a short range 'thunderbolt thrower'.

Of course they can equally be factions for EotD, bands for Chaos in Carpathia...
This 'witch hunting' using Chaos in Carpathia show that 19th C. rules can give a very good game in a 18th C. setting.

Regarding IHMN this company of pirates:

already faced Atlantians and a native Death Cult: great AAR and spectacular eye-candy! I hope next time they'll land in a new 'Mysterious / Skull Island' they'll face a company of Tékumeli priestesses and amazons backed by an armored Ahoggya for the 'muscle'!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 10:48:57 PM by abdul666lw » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 01:53:34 AM »

AWESOME!  Shocked

Thank you very much for sharing!

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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 02:43:51 PM »


Again, history is stranger than most fiction in those first items you posted.  

I think the reliability of the heavy self-propelled units and the massed formation effecting weapons should be very unpredictable in games to reflect that just because it works doesn't mean the designer truly understands why/how it does in depth...  not to mention reload times should be substantial (like the blunderbuss in IHMN.)

Mystical powers (and the other "magic like" powers in games) certainly is a matter of flavor (or flavour depending on one's origins) in games.



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