Character Background: Hansom Dan

Character concept for a ‘steampunk super-hero’ game my group’s decided to start. Because what the world is looking for is a super-powered, Victorian cabbie / male prostitute. Well, they are under-represented.

Danny Owen grew up in the streets, scrapping and scraping to survive. As his shoulders broadened and his square jaw began to sport whiskers, he learned that a certain type of gentleman would pay a pretty quid for some time alone with a street tough, if the street tough didn’t mind what the church said about their time together. Since the church hadn’t cared much for him, Danny decided he preferred the gents who did. It beat fighting over scraps with the rest of the street rats.

Occasionally, grateful patrons were inclined to do more than shell out some money for Danny’s services. One of his regulars, nervous about his reputation, set Danny up with a Hansom cab, giving himself an excuse for calling upon the rough-but-not-so-you-mind young man when he was in need of an “excursion.” That it gave Danny himself a cover story accounting for his earnings with the police was a side-effect his patron didn’t really bother considering, but of which Danny took full advantage.

It was in this way that Danny acquired the nickname “Hansom Dan,” earning a fair reputation among those gentlemen on his route who enjoyed the kind of ride Danny offered.

Doctor Stern asking Danny inside to collect his fare after driving him across town, then, wasn’t unusual for the young man. And if the brandy smelled off, you didn’t ruin a good night’s pay by offending some gentrified fool’s pride with criticism, so he slugged it back.

The rest is still a haze of muddled images. He remembers glass beakers and tubes, bubbling with liquids in bright colors. Remembers a cold table, straps holding him down. Mostly, he remembers pain.

When he came to his senses, Danny found himself naked and bruised in a dark basement. He wasn’t alone: he awoke in the middle of a pile of at least four other men of about his age, all of them naked as he was. At first he thought it had been just another drunken party by an overzealous lordly type, but then he shoved aside the first bloke and saw his vacant, dead eyes. He was in a pile of corpses.

Danny panicked, trying to shove the bodies off of himself. As his left hand burned its way through the flesh of one dead man’s shoulder, he grew no calmer. He stumbled into the next room, where a gruff bloke was shoving yet another body into an oversized furnace. Danny grabbed the man by the face to keep him quiet, intending to interrogate him and learn what madness he’d stumbled into, but as Danny’s right hand made contact with the other’s face, the man’s eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped to the ground, unconscious.

The confused and frightened cabbie made his way upstairs, to the room of glass and colors and cold tables he vaguely remembered. There he confronted Stern, who was himself quite amazed that Hansom Dan was alive. All his previous alchemical experiments, you see, had failed, and when Danny fell into the same deathly silence as Stern’s other patients, he’d set his assistant to removing him with the other failures of the night.

Danny, still not quite sure what was happening, related the horrors of his two encounters below, and the alchemist nearly squealed with delight. “Caustics from the sinister, anesthetics from the dexter. Marvelous!” he blathered on, kissing Hansom Dan in celebration.

This was his mistake, for though Hansom Dan had been oft-told he had a skillful mouth, the alchemist now discovered his experiments had given Danny even more. The doctor found himself completely enthralled, a condition of which Hansom Dan took full advantage. He regained his clothing, his funds, and sent the doctor to confess his murderous acts to the bobby on the corner while Danny himself drove off into the night.

As with his first career, Danny quickly learned the means of controlling his newfound … skills, though he usually sports gloves just to be safe. This is nothing out of character for a Hansom cab driver, and his other clients enjoyed him as an exotic to begin with, and so generally don’t mind.

Besides, if they grow too suspicious, a kiss from Hansom Dan can always set them aright.

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