Sunday, July 15, 2012

Slap Gone Missing and the Best of Crazy A. Crocket

Good old Slap Bookleather seems to be taking a break from blogging for a while, the reason which will become evident when I eventually get around to writing Part 5 of Who Put a Cowboy in My Dungeons and Dragons Game? In the mean time, let me leave you with a couple of quotes from my favorite character in Boomtown, the Facebook western game.  Crazy A. Crockett is one of the villains, with the look of Davy Crockett mixed with the attitude of Mike Fink.  He says the craziest shit when you fight, for example:

Yer face or yer ass, what’s the difference?

How’s that whoopass tasting?

I’m about to open up a can of whoopass!

Happy trails to me!

Here I go, laughing and scratching!  Say Goodnight!

That first line gives me the willies.  He may be talking about where he's going to open up the can of whoopass.  He may be talking romance.  Maybe "Whoopass" is his name for his long gun?

Some of the lines are in the very fun promotional video below, although weirdly Mr. Crockett himself doesn't make an appearance.  

Hmm... maybe Crazy A Crockett would make a good druid in my next D&D game?  Via con Dios!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Colt's Revolving Rifle; or, the Viagra of Longarms

I’ve been surprised recently at how often the Colt Revolving Rifle pops up in fiction.  One appears in the hands of former mountain man Jim Beckwourth in Robert F. Jones’ Deadville, another in Mike Long’s No Good Like It Is, and in the movie Barquero, and finally as one of the better guns in the Facebook game Boomtown.  I’m surprised because it is one of the worst guns ever invented.

Colt’s Revolving rifle worked like a big revolver, but with a long barrel and a stock.  It was made in the days before cartridges, so each chamber was loaded with powder and shot, with a percussion cap nested on the back of the chamber.  Pull the trigger, drop the hammer, and BANG!, your shot was away.

The problem was that sometimes your shot would ignite stray powder, and all of the chambers would fire at once.  That is, down the front of the gun and into the arm that you are using to hold up the barrel.  This kind of misfire was so notorious that the rifle went from being one of the most sought after longarms of the Civil War to one of the most despised.  Officers eventually asked their soldiers to load only one chamber at a time, defeating the purpose of the weapon entirely.  One regiment was completely outfitted in 1863 with Colt Revolving Rifles at the cost of $42 per weapon; they sold them two years later for 44 cents each.

Why do these weapons keep popping up in fiction?  Because they look cool, and whole notion of a rapid fire longarm in the 1850’s and in the Civil War gives western writers substantial wood.  Much like a Viagra commercial, however, it is fake wood, and doesn’t last much past a couple of bangs.