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The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars is now available!

The original publication of Canal Priests Of Mars cut slightly over a third of author Marcus L. Rowland's manuscript to fit GDW's adventure format. The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars restores the cut material, features all new artwork by Paul Daly, and adds many useful player handouts. Enjoy the "author's cut" of a classic Space 1889 adventure, or experience it for the first time!

See our Buy It! page for more information!

Old news is still available on the News Page.

'Tisn't Just Virtue That Protects A Lady!

Arming the Adventuress

by J. Ruth Dempsey

"On August 8, 1840, after scalping their way across south Texas, Buffalo Hump and his 500 Comanche Warriors galloped into Linnville, a port on Lavaca Bay. One of their first victims was Major Watts, the customs collector. Turning to the attractive Mrs. Watts, several warriors tore off her dress, then tackled her corset. After a lengthy struggle with its multiple hooks and crisscrossed laces, the men abandoned the assault, but not Mrs. Watts. With her in tow, they advanced on the town's center. It was empty. The residents had seized the opportunity to flee in their boats to the middle of Lavaca Bay while the Comanches were fighting their losing battle with the corset.

"After looting a warehouse and setting fire to houses, the Indians turned to their last piece of business in town. Tying the still-corseted Mrs. Watts to a tree, they administered the coup de grace an arrow shot into her chest and left her for dead.

"When the Texas Rangers following in Buffalo Hump's tracks found Mrs. Watts on August 9, she was not dead, only sunburned. The arrow had struck a tough whalebone stay, thus losing so much force that the injury to Mrs. Watts was minor. No one could doubt that this corset was made of the right stuff."

"The Secret Weapon of Mrs. Watts," Time-Life Books Library of Curious and Unusual Facts: A World of Luck, 1991, pp. 84-5.

I have nothing but the highest respect for the Space: 1889 sourcebook, yet, I confess to being a tad disappointed in the list of various weaponry and armaments. While providing sufficient choices and statistics for the manly adventurer, the book fails to mention and provide statistics for two purely "feminine" articles: the hatpin and the corset.

Hatpins From 1897 Sears Catalog

From the 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog

The Hatpin

The hatpin at this time could be a very effective weapon, ranging in length from 9 to 15 inches of solid steel with a razor-sharp point. It was designed to penetrate the various layers of ribbons, cloth, straw, feathers, flowers and whatnots that composed the hat and anchor the construction to the Victorian lady's "bun" or "Gibson girl" hairstyle. Usually 3 to 4 were used to keep the hat in place. In a sticky situation, a lady would sacrifice her dignity and her hat to utilize the pin as a stabbing weapon. The most famous example of this is the woman known as "Typhoid Mary:" upon her arrest she used her hatpin to hold off three policemen until her subdual.

Using the hatpin falls under Close Combat (edged weapon) in Space: 1889, Fencing in Call of Cthulhu. Damage is 1 for the former system, 1d4 for the latter (impale is possible). Base price is 5p, more for ornate or decorated versions.

Corset Pics

From the 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog

The Corset

While much can be said against the corset as an article of bodily torture, there is a great deal to be said for its armor value. The corset consisted of vertical "stays" of either steel or whalebone sandwiched between layers of light-weight sail canvas, covered with either cotton (the "maid's corset"), silk, or satin (the "Aristocrat's corset"). Metal hooks secured the corset's inner layer while the outer layer was laced with sturdy twine. The corset hooked and laced either in the front or the back; servant-class women tended to wear the front-lace corset because they could get into it faster, while "milady" used her maid to lace her up the back.

True, the corset decreases the wearer's ability to move quickly, but no more so than your basic chain mail shirt. Besides, "Ladies never hurry." As to the effectiveness of its armor value (not to mention its nuisance factor), see the extract printed at the beginning of this article.

Treat the corset as armor factor 1 against hand weapons and arrows only for Space: 1889. Prices start at around £1 for a front-lace cotton model, with elaborate satin back-lace models going for £30 and up.

More Corset Pics

From the 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog

Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:49:56 EDT

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