The King is Dead

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Regency/Gothic: Lord Byron

Lord Byron by Thomas Philipps
By request, I present the most infamous man in the Regency era -- George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron.

Byron was a complex person who remains difficult to interpret even centuries later.  Byron's father, John "Mad Jack" Byron, was a dissolute adventurer; the great-uncle from whom he inherited his baronetcy, William "the Wicked Lord" Byron, was an infamous duelist and madman.  This legacy of darkness and a childhood filled with abuse inculcated in Byron a belief in his own inherent evil -- and prompted him to a self-fulfilling prophecy of a life of sin.


During the Regency proper (1810 - 1820), Byron rises from obscurity to popular acclaim and then falls again into infamy.  He is in the Mediterranean until 1811 and may be encountered in Albania, Constantinople, Greece, Portugal, or Spain.  His time in England is brief; he rockets to fame on the basis of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" in 1812, gets into his disastrous affair with Lady Caroline Lamb, probably commits incest with his half-sister Augusta Leigh in 1813, enters his unfortunate marriage to Annabella Milbanke in 1815, and separates from his wife in 1816.  1816 is the "Year Without a Summer" and during that time he meets Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley; this meeting is chronicled in the films "Gothic," "Haunted Summer," and "Rowing With the Wind."  He moves on to Italy later in that year and for the rest of the decade may be encountered in Ravenna, Rome, and especially Venice. 

Lord Byron by Richard Westall

Lord Byron
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d8.
Skills: Boating d6, Fighting d6, Gambling d4, Intimidation d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Shooting d4, Streetwise d6, Swimming d10, Taunt d10.
Charisma: +6*  Pace: 4  Parry: 5  Sanity: 4  Toughness:6
Hindrances: Angst (Savage Worlds Horror Companion), Death Wish, Lame, Loyal, Poverty, Touched (Major, Savage Worlds Horror Companion).*
Edges: Attractive, Beast Master, Berserk,** Brave, Brawler, Charismatic, Noble, Strong Willed.
Special Abilities:
  • Poet: Byron may add his Charisma modifier to Common Knowledge rolls to compose poetry.
* After his exile, Byron gains the Outsider Hindrance but loses the Poverty Hindrance as he finally manages to rid himself of certain debts.  His Charisma is reduced to +4.  He will eventually move on to Greece to help in its battle for independence -- during which he gains Knowledge (Battle) d6 -- but that is outside the Regency proper.
* Byron's Berserk Edge also applies to social wounds; if afflicted with Anguish -- even if the result is only Shaken -- Byron must make a Smarts roll or go off on a vindictive tirade.  While berserk, Byron loses his +2 bonus to resist Tests of Will from Strong Willed but gains a +2 bonus to Vigor to resist Fatigue.

Throughout his life, Byron kept a menagerie of animals.  During the Regency period, this included "a fox, four monkeys, a parrot, five cats, an eagle, a crow, a crocodile, a falcon, five peacocks, two guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, three geese, a heron and a goat with a broken leg."  His most famous pet, however, was a Newfoundland dog named Boastwain for whom the poem "Epitaph to a Dog" was written; while Boatswain died of rabies in 1808, a GM may want to fudge history a bit and use the animal as Byron's Beast Master Edge "loyal animal" in her campaign. 
Smoky from Wikimedia Commons

Boatswain (Newfoundland Dog)

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d10, Swimming d6
Pace: 8  Parry: 5  Toughness: 6
Special Abilities:
  • Bite: Str+d4
  • Brawny: As the Edge of the same name; Newfoundlands are exceptionally strong, as befits their roll as water rescue dogs.  Newfoundlands also weigh 130-150 pounds and so do not have the -1 to Size of typical dogs.
  • Fleet-Footed: Roll a d10 when running instead of a d6.
  • Go for the Throat: Dogs instinctively go for an opponent's soft spots.  With a raise on its attack roll, it hits the target's most weakly armored location.
  • Loyal: As the Edge of the same name. 

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