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
(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
' 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
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
(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
. 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?