Ada Byron

The first clacker and the Industrial Radical Party's poster girl for progress.

Description:

The Right Honourable Lady Ada King, the Countess of Lovelace

Female Smart Hero 6/Personality 4/Field Scientist 2 CR 12
Medium-size humanoid (middle-aged human)
Init -1; Senses Listen +4, Spot +4
Languages English
Def 17, touch 17, flat-footed 14 (-1 Dex, +4 Int, +4 class)
hp 44 (HD 6d6-6 plus 4d6-4 plus 2d8-2)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +8
Spd 30 ft.; Space 5 ft; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +6/+1; Grap +5
Melee attack +5 (1d3, unarmed) or (1d6, sap)
Ranged attack +6 (2d4, double derringer)
Abilities Str 8, Dex 10, Con 8, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 17
SQ unlimited access, royalty, smart defense, scientific improvisation
AL Order, Self; Rep +10; AP 10
Occupation: Aristocrat [class skill: Diplomacy]
Feats: Gearhead1, Renown, Builder, Educated [Knowledge (current events) and Knowledge (physical sciences)], Educated [Knowledge (civics) and Knowledge (technology)], Studious, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Alertness, Meticulous, Iron Will, Simple Weapons Proficiency
Skills: Bluff +8, Computer Use1 +27, Craft (electronic) +21, Craft (mechanical) +21, Decipher Script +21, Diplomacy +16, Forgery +17, Knowledge (civics) +17, Knowledge (current events) +15, Knowledge (physical sciences) +19, Knowledge (technology) +21, Perform2 (keyboards) +7, Repair +18, Research +27, Search +8
Talents (Smart Hero): Savant (Research), Savant (Computer Use), Savant (Craft [electronic])
Possessions: Double Derringer, stacks of Babbage cards, various tomes of obscure knowledge, fine clothing and various personal items

Unlimited Access
Lady Byron can gain access pretty much anywhere the lady pleases. Whenever she would normally make a Diplomacy or Bluff check to smooth-talk (or trick) her way in to a private party or invitation-only event, Lady Byron adds +4 to her check.

Bonus Class Skill
Lady Byron knows a little something about topics that seem unrelated to her public life. She has gained Computer Use[1] as a class skill.

Royalty
Her activities in the public eye generate extra income, providing a Wealth bonus of +4.

Smart Defense
Using her brains as well, Lady Byron adds her Intelligence bonus and her Dexterity bonus to her Defense. Any situation that would deny her the Dexterity bonus to Defense also denies the Intelligence bonus.

Scientific Improvisation
Lady Byron can improvise solutions using common objects and her scientific know-how. See pg. 176 of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game for more information.

1 NOTE: Ada Byron is trained in the Computer Use skill, such as it is. Also, she is allowed the Gearhead feat. Only special NPCs have this training, and it is still forbidden to PCs.

2 GM Caveat: Though it was a cross-class skill, I waived the final 2 ranks in Perform for her to qualify for the Personality advanced class. The math isn’t just “fuzzy”, it’s downright blurry.

Bio:

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (b. 10 December 1815. Current age 56.), born Augusta Ada Byron, is the only legitimate child of Prime Minister Lord Byron. She is widely known simply as Ada Lovelace.

A powerful figure, she is a vocal supporter of her father’s Industrial Radical Party and a proponent of advanced technologies, especially the Babbage Engines for which she is known as something of a clacker. Though she does not hold any official political office herself, she has substantial influence among those who do.

Early years

Lovelace, born 10 December 1815, is the only child of the poet Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Byron, and many of those who knew Byron, expected that the baby would be “the glorious boy”, and there was some disappointment at the contrary news. She was named after Byron’s half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and was called “Ada” by Byron himself.

On 16 January 1816, Annabella, at Byron’s behest, left for her parents home at Kirkby Mallory taking one-month-old Ada with her. Although English law gave fathers full custody of their children in cases of separation, Byron made no attempt to claim his parental rights. On 21 April, Byron signed the Deed of Separation, although very reluctantly, and left England for good a few days later.

Lovelace was often ill; this dated from her early childhood. At eight she experienced headaches that obscured her vision. Later in 1824, her father returned from fighting in Greece, but he did not have a strong relationship with his daughter, as her mother was the only significant parental figure in her life.

In June 1829, she was paralyzed after a bout of the measles. She was subjected to continuous bed rest for nearly a year, which may have extended her period of disability. By 1831 she was able to walk with crutches. Throughout her illnesses, Lovelace continued her education. From 1832, when she was seventeen, her remarkable mathematical abilities began to emerge.

Lovelace never met her younger half-sister, Allegra Byron, daughter of Lord Byron and Claire Clairmont, who died at the age of five in 1822. Lovelace did have some contact with Elizabeth Medora Leigh, the daughter of Byron’s half-sister Augusta Leigh. However, Augusta purposely avoided Lovelace as much as possible when she was soon introduced at Court. By 1834, Lovelace was a regular at Court and started attending various events. She danced often and was able to charm many people and was described by most people as being dainty. However, John Hobhouse, Lord Byron’s friend, was the exception and he described her as “a large, coarse-skinned young woman but with something of my friend’s features, particularly the mouth”. This description followed their meeting on 24 February 1834 in which Lovelace made it clear to Hobhouse that she did not like him, which was probably the influence of her mother that taught her to dislike all of her father’s friends; this impression of each other was not to last, and they later would become friends.

Lovelace’s interest in mathematics dominated her life even after her marriage. Her obsession with rooting out any of the insanity of which she accused Lord Byron was one of the reasons that her mother taught Lovelace mathematics at an early age. Lovelace was privately home schooled in mathematics and science by William Frend, William King and Mary Somerville. One of her later tutors was Augustus De Morgan.

Career

On 8 July 1835 she married William King, 8th Baron King, later 1st Earl of Lovelace in 1838. Her full title for most of her married life was “The Right Honourable the Countess of Lovelace”. Their residence was a large estate at Ockham Park, Surrey, along with another estate and a home in London. They had three children; Byron born 12 May 1836, Anne Isabella (called Annabella, later Lady Anne Blunt) born 22 September 1837 and Ralph Gordon born 2 July 1839. Immediately after the birth of Annabella, Lovelace experienced “a tedious and suffering illness which took months to cure”.

She knew Mary Somerville, noted researcher and scientific author of the 19th century, who introduced her in turn to Charles Babbage on 5 June 1833. Other acquaintances were Sir David Brewster, Charles Wheatstone, Charles Dickens and Michael Faraday.

In 1841, Lovelace and Medora were told by Lovelace’s mother that Byron was Medora Leigh’s father. Lovelace, 27 February 1841, wrote to her mother: “I am not in the least astonished. In fact you merely confirm what I have for years and years felt scarcely a doubt about, but should have considered it most improper in me to hint to you that I in any way suspected”. However, Lovelace did not blame the incestuous relationship on Byron, but instead on Augusta Leigh: “I fear she is more inherently wicked than he ever was”. This did not stop Lovelace’s mother from attempting to destroy her daughter’s image of her father, but instead drove her to attacking Byron’s image with greater intensity.

Charles Babbage

Lovelace met and corresponded with Charles Babbage on many occasions, including socially and in relation to Babbage’s Difference Engine and subsequent Analytical Engine. Their relationship was not of a romantic nature, though Babbage was impressed by Lovelace’s intellect and writing skills. He called her “The Enchantress of Numbers”. In 1843 he wrote of her:

Forget this world and all its troubles and if
possible its multitudinous Charlatans — every thing
in short but the Enchantress of Numbers.

During a nine-month period in 1842–43, Lovelace translated Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of notes. The notes are longer than the memoir itself and include (Section G) in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world’s first computer program. Biographers debate the extent of her original contributions, with some holding that the programs were written by Babbage himself. Babbage wrote the following on the subject, in his Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1846):

I then suggested that she add some notes to Menabrea’s memoir, an idea which was immediately adopted. We discussed together the various illustrations that might be introduced: I suggested several but the selection was entirely her own. So also was the algebraic working out of the different problems, except, indeed, that relating to the numbers of Bernoulli, which I had offered to do to save Lady Lovelace the trouble. This she sent back to me for an amendment, having detected a grave mistake which I had made in the process.

The level of impact of Lovelace on Babbage’s engines is the subject of debate. The debate is difficult to resolve due to Charles Babbage’s tendency not to acknowledge (either verbally or in writing) the influence of other people in his work. Lovelace was certainly one of the few people who fully understood Babbage’s ideas and created a program for the Analytical Engine.

With her political influence (and funding) the Analytical Engine was built, and her program was able to calculate a sequence of [[Bernoulli]] numbers that astonished even Babbage. Based on this work, Lovelace is now widely credited with being the first computer programmer (or “clacker“). Lovelace’s prose also acknowledged some possibilities of the machine which Babbage never published, such as speculating that “the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent”.

Health

Ada Lovelace was struck ill again at the age of 36, in the fall of 1852. She was cured due to some fast thinking by her physicians. She has two sons and a daughter, Lady Anne Blunt, famous in her own right as a traveler in the [[Middle East]] and a breeder of Arabian horses, co-founder of the Crabbet Arabian Stud.

Character

Those who have met her, acknowledge Lady Lovelace’s past reputation for drinking, gambling and scandal, but she has spent the last decades of her life living the life of a proper lady, though no one could accuse her of leading a dull life.

Titles and styles

  • 10 December 1815 – 8 July 1835: The Honourable Ada Augusta Byron
  • 8 July 1835 – 1838: The Right Honourable the Lady King
  • 1838 – 27 November 1852: The Right Honourable the Countess of Lovelace

Ada Byron

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