Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lord Byron's (Eldritch) Clubfoot

Want to start an argument among a group of Romanticists?  Casually drop this query: "Byron had a club foot, didn't he?"  Suddenly, the room will be aflame with scholars each advancing their own theory as to what afflicted Byron's limb.  I've heard everything from infantile paralysis, dysplasia, and a persistent inflammation of the Achilles tendon--alongside the more widely talked of clubfoot deformation.

Despite of whatever his disability actually was, Byron was quite athletic and noted as a fantastic swimmer.  Actually, it might be more accurate to say that he was physically fit in spite of his medical condition; as John Galt noted, Byron would exercise "violently" perhaps to compensate for his emasculating limp.

But what if Byron's strange limb and notable swimming prowess had a far more disturbing link?  What if the same tainted blood that resulted in the dreadful "Innsmouth look" also flowed through Byron's veins?  Byron's scandalous relationship with his half-sister August Leigh seems almost natural in light of the inbreeding practiced in that horrid Massachusetts port.

Byron's deformity wasn't a clubfoot...it was a flipper.

Lord Byron, the Deep One Romantic (Wild Card)
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d10, Spirit d10, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Knowledge (literature) d10, Notice d8, Persuasion d10, Stealth d8, Swimming d12, Taunt d10
Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6 
Special Abilities
Aquatic: Pace 8
Poetry: As an action, Byron can recite poetry that causes a mild hypnotic state in those exposed to it for more than a single round. Anyone who fails a Spirit roll upon hearing the crooning suffers a –2 to all rolls for the duration of the scene. 
Low Light Vision: Byron ignores any penalties for Dim and Dark lighting
Spells: Perhaps all that business about occult powers and summoning spirits in Manfred wasn't just poetic license; at the GM's discretion Byron might know d6 spells and have the appropriate casting skill at d8.

(Katie gets credit for inspiring this take on the "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Byron.)


  1. Byron is a great character. He was of course one of the titular ghosts in Ghosts of Albion.
    He is really fun to play.

  2. I bet it was a tentacle of some sort.

  3. That's awesome! Did you get the Savage Worlds Horror Companion during the DrivethruRPG scavenger hunt? It has some sanity rules and related Edges and Hindrances I used in my own version of Savage Worlds Byron: http://wineandsavages.blogspot.com/2012/10/regencygothic-lord-byron.html.

    1. I actually had it in print before the scavenger hunt. One of the most useful books I've got right now!

  4. Hmmm... a good scenario for this one:

    Your part of a group of professors that meet together as some kind of literary or intellectual circle. Or your a single professor and the others are TA's. The current budget gives the poetry section of the literary department the lions share of the budget over Gothic literature. Its almost as if there is some kind of hypnotic power. As you follow a trail of disappearances of beautiful co-eds that took poetry it leads you to a dreadful port town. What foul abomination needs poetry professors to lure young ladies there?

    Obviously this the realistic portrayal of the sexy, dangerous life of being a Gothic lit professor, filled with intrigue, danger. Obviously a combination of Raymond Chandler's 'Marlowe' with H.P. Lovecraft's 'Armitage.'

    1. You have no idea how dangerous and sexy a life it is. Right now, I have a huge papercut.

      I like your scenario a lot!

  5. chicks dig it when dudes are all deep and stuff

  6. Awesome. And Shakespeare's plays weren't written by multiple play-writes, they were written by multiple fairies, summoned by a hack-poet whose dabblings in occultism were more successful than his literary output. Though fair of face and sprightly of figure, the "gifts" they demanded of him in exchange for their plays would make one your Innsmouth clergymen blush!

    1. Don't even get me started on Shakespeare

    2. Oh! Please do get started on Shakespeare!
      Your Byron piece above is just awesome.

    3. Oh, all right, I'll put in the queue!