Monday, 9 October 2017

The Battle of Königsseig & a couple of black powder House Rules

The Battle of Königsseig 
& a couple of black powder House Rules

One of the (many) key events in the background for Castle Falkenstein is the Bavarian. Austro-Hungarian & other German allied states  victory over the Prussians at the Battle of


If you were ever wondering what the Battle looked like before the arrival of the Prussian Landfortresses and their consequent destruction by the Bavarian Aerocorvettes., take a look at this great video clip:

This video clip of the 150th anniversary reenactment comes from the Königgrätz 1866 Facebook page  

Of course, in our world the Prussians won and that weakened the Austro-Hungarian Empire still further and led to the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership.

As most of my players are Victorian period re-enactors (We started playing live action Falkenstein in 1996 and then began historical Victorian events as a spinoff from that in 2000), a few things we know from using actual period firearms have made their way into our House Rules.

The first thing is that all 1870s firearms still make use of black powder i.e. gunpowder. We have allowed smokeless powder for special circumstances (e.g. snipers) but this is treated as a new Chemical Formulation.  What difference does this make?

The standard British Army rifle from 1866 to 1875 was the Snider-Enfield conversion. A muzzle-loading rifle retro-fitted with a side-hinged breechblock  breech-loading system.

The standard British Army rifle from 1875 to 1889 was the Martini-Henry. Still using black powder in brass cartridges.

As can be seen in the above video, when large volleys or cannons fire, there is a considerable reduction in visibility due to smoke. This is especially noticeable when using breech-loading rifles as unlike the old muzzle loaders which only fired 2-3 times a minute,  breech-loaders can easily fire 10-12 rounds in the same time producing far more smoke. Obviously the length the smoke cloud lasts depends on weather factors such as wind and rain.

Whilst most Falkenstein Adventure Entertainments do not involve large battles, even pistols produce puffs of smoke.

With an ordinary pistol, this is not a great problem but a black powder firing reciprocator pistol fired indoors will mask the target and firer from each other. In game terms, this will make shooting or spotting through the smoke one level more difficult.

Black powder weapons always make smoke, so a shooter’s position can be spotted after they have fired and even if there is a slight wind, and experienced soldier will be able to deduce the firers location by watching the smoke.  Also black powder guns give off far more flash that smokeless powder weapons, making them easier to spot in low light or darkness. So our House Rules make spotting a shooter on level easier.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

‘Steamtech’: Herr Jakob Rosenberg's Chloroform Gun.


Herr Jakob Rosenberg's
Chloroform Gun.

Herr Rosenberg's Pacifistic mind was Greatly Troubled by the Suffering caused by the Machinery of Modern Warfare. Despite his peaceful ideals, the worldly-wise inventor doubted that mankind would easily give up combat as a means of resolving its differences. This led him to work on developing an alternate form of weaponry that might Reduce the Suffering of the Common Soldiery.

The Chloroform Gun was designed to render your opponent unconscious allowing you to disarm him & take him prisoner rather than kill or maim him. Its short range and slow loading actually makes this gun useless in Military Combat. It is, however, suitable for other uses. The Homburg Police force are known to be trialling the weapon as a means of apprehending Violent Criminals.

Cost:  144 Florins (12c)
Size: Small [ 5 wounds].
Description: A hand held brass cylinder with a nozzle
Operation Time: A few minutes
Controlled by: A small lever

Host’s information.
The Chloroform Gun has an effective range of 30 feet and a maximum range of 50 feet. It has a ten shot gas cylinder. This takes 30 seconds to replace with a new one when empty.

If fired into a strong wind the range is halved and the level of difficulty to hit is increased by one. If fired in a strong crosswind the difficulty to hit is increased by two. 

The user must wear a protective mask or suffer the effects of the gas on a fumble.

If a target is hit, draw a card & consult the table below:

Highest of Physique or
Unaffected if card drawn is:
Groggy for 5 minutes (treat as wounded)
Unconscious for this time if failed
King, Queen
20 minutes
Queen, Jack
18 minutes
Ace, King, Queen
Jack, Ten
16 minutes
Ace or Face card
Ten, Nine
12 minutes
Ace, Face card or ten
Nine, Eight
10 minutes
Ace, Face card, ten or nine
Eight, Seven
8 minutes
NOTE: if a Joker is drawn the character has been MORTALLY WOUNDED - draw another card & if it is a Spade the character has PERISHED! (Chloroform is Poisonous in large doses)