Gangster Gats: James “Mad Bomber” Belcastro, Vampire Hunter?

I recently came upon an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune entitled “Seize 12 in Bomb Factory” (01-AUG-1929). The article recounted the “breaking up” on 31-JUL-1929 of the so-called “Belcastro Gang” in Chicago, Illinois. Its capo James “Mad Bomber” Belcastro was a member of the Gas Fillers and Owners’ Association, one of the many union rackets then in operation. In reality, he was not the boss of an independent criminal gang but a member of Al “Scarface” Capone’s Outfit. He and his men produced and sold homemade bombs. Explosives were used with alarming regularity in the 1920s in Chicago for black mail, disrupting the political process including in the “Pineapple Primary” of 1927, and outright attacks on competitors. Belcastro emerged unscathed of the raids in 1929, was shot and wounded in 1931, but lived on until 1945. He had been arrested more than 150 times but had never been convicted … Read More

Shopping Spree: Bannerman (1927)

Few are the sights that Gotham has to offer

Of greater interest and instructive aid,

Than the rare contents of this famous coffer

From all the earth’s ransacked corners here displayed.

Francis Bannerman Sons Military Goods Catalogue (1927)

 

Between 1865 and 1959, Francis Bannerman Military Goods ‒ from 1918, Francis Bannerman Sons Military Goods ‒ was probably the largest and certainly the most important military surplus store in the entire USA. From 1905, it had its primary outlet at 501 Broadway in New York, New York (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 5; GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 2, p. 24; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 25).

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A Night at the Opera: Ronin

Vincent: Under the bridge, by the river, how did you know it was an ambush?
Sam: When ever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That is the first thing they teach you.

Ronin (1998)

 

I have discussed John Frankenheimer’s Ronin (1998) in a previous post, dissecting a scene using GURPS. This time I look at how the same scene would play out using Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game. The latter is based on the Basic RolePlaying rules engine also used by Call of Cthulhu, but differs in many details. Watch just the scene here (the action starts at 1:56).

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Weapons in Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition

Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, has made a lot of detail changes to the weapons available to investigators. Focusing on my particular interests and insights, I went through the Keeper Rulebook to check what works and what does not.

Many of the mistakes were already present in the Call of Cthulhu, Fifth Edition, and Call of Cthulhu, Sixth Edition, but it would have been a good opportunity to deal with them. Others are unique to the new edition.

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Investigator Weapons: Mauser T.-Gew.18

This rifle was first captured during the battle of Hamel on July 4. It had only just been issued to certain divisions; other divisions were equipped with it later on … It was too conspicuous and too slow a weapon to be really effective against tanks, though it could easily penetrate them at several hundred yards range.

‒ John Fuller, Tanks in the Great War, 1914-1918 (1920)

 

The Tankabwehrgewehr 18 (“antitank rifle model 1918”) or Tankgewehr 18 ‒ both designations have been observed in official material ‒ is the first purpose-designed antitank weapon produced anywhere. The T.-Gew.18 appears in the last year of the Great War to combat the Allied tanks on the Western Front. Intended as a stop-gap measure until the MAN-Maxim T.u.F.-M.G.18 antitank/antiaircraft machine gun reaches production ‒ which it never does ‒ it is a single-shot bolt-action design produced by the Mauser-Werke of Oberndorf, Germany.

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High-Tech: The Mummy

Did I miss something? Are we going into battle?

‒ “Evie” Carnahan, The Mummy (1999)

 

Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy (1999) is one of my favourite pulp fiction movies. It combines a great story with lovable characters, mummy-hunting, and lots of period equipment. Professional treasure hunter Richard “Rick” O’Connell alias “Ricochet” O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is so adept at monster-hunting that he carries a dedicated kit bag stuffed with weapons with him around (GURPS Loadouts: Monster Hunters, pp. 8-9). Let’s take a look at what he has in there.

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Book Review: The Cthulhu Wars

Kenneth Hite & Kennon Bauman, Osprey Publishing, 2016

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The Cthulhu Wars ‒ The United States’ Battles Against the Mythos is an awesome book by H.P. Lovecraft grognard Kenneth Hite, author of relevant works like GURPS Horror (2011), GURPS WWII: Weird War II (2003), and Trail of Cthulhu (2007), and his co-author Kennon Bauman. This is not a game supplement, however, but an alternate history book in Osprey’s Dark History series. Following Hite’s earlier effort in that line, The Nazi Occult (2013), the book is written as if its subject matter were real and both authors were actual Mythos investigators; in a clear Lovecraft spoof, Hite is even presumed dead after a fire gutted his library … Read More