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Inferno - Finis

Albert De Bonvoisin

Prussia: Albert needed Prussia (Krupp and Kline) but wanted Wilhelmsland at the same time. He therefore helped Von Seyffert and friends to overcome Brodenbach (we killed him in a fake murder attempt at the Kaiser) and this resulted in (with support of Niels Graaf) Wilhelmsland for one of his puppets. Together with the Afrikaanse Companie and expeditions to gain easy money (failed) that was the geopolitical part of the game for my character.

Infiltration: In the second turn, Albert tried to infiltrate the Vatican and stumbled upon a Gemini stronghold run by the Pope. Gemini were our enemies so I tried to dig deeper. For the record: I infiltrated and steered the London anarchists, the European socialist movements, but was less successful in the UK civil service (a rather sinister cult serving the Holy Grail... ra ra.)

Atlantis: The same day when getting the name of my Mo12 (which was not printed on my first turn due to an error) I was watching a TV documentary about that same woman, which went on and on about Atlantis and Mu. So in an attempt to win her favour, Albert combined the intellect of continental Europe (what money can do) and had them sift through all the known books and documents about Atlantis. Much to my surprise (little did I know) it really existed in this game. My wise men could pinpoint it on the map, but as there were no subs around, they told me that it could not be visited. No subs around? What about Comte's Kraken which was just ready for a test. Albert bought himself a ticket and made the test-ride to visit Atlantis, accompanied by Wells and Giffard. We were repelled by possessed fish... Albert spread the word and numerous visits have been made after that first one. But the first one was the most satisfying...

Meteors: The meteors struck my attention from the start. To have them investigated I encouraged Giffard to start a base in Mexico. The meteors were located in the US, and we could not buy or steal them. Why not? Investigation (another sex-scandal and bribery) revealed the highly secretive Roswell Military base and the Gemini tentacles trying to hide their allies the Martians. Several years of planning resulted in the capture of a Green ambassador and a spacecraft which was worthless to humans. Albert spread the word and many characters stood in line to speak to her (it was a she). Funny because earlier on, when trying to be innovative (yes, again, little did I know) I did spread the "end is near" messages and rumours about strange green men coming from Mars who actually made the press that year.

Schreck: I linked the meteors with Dr. Schreck's warning in the rulebook, so urgently I raised a secret group (Eureka) to deal with the danger (the Greens) that were attacking Earth. Much to my surprise, not the Green but Schreck was the real danger. Learning his plans from the Doctor, I raised the Continental Boy Scouts (gain of Sinister) and had them search for the secret lab of Dr. Schreck. Schreck was neutralized, but not before he could drag Mars closer to Earth. When news items appeared about the viruses that moved from Earth to Mars, it was easy to see the demons do the same...

The demons: Very early in the game, Giffard, Kara-George and me, investigated the mail system in the Times building. Albert bought himself into the tech-support company for the typesetting machines, so that George and Giffard could have free entrance. Giffard was hired to find scientific ways to deal with magic, Kara-George was a friend. The Times machine was a small prism-bound demon that did nothing but type the messages from sender to receiver. But it was a demon, so that made me very suspicious. Upon further investigation the machine exploded, and Benson warned us not to play with the tools, at that year's meeting. Later on, using the same firm, Kara-George infiltrated a spy demon into the mail system, and we could read all the messages that moved past the demon. Unfortunately this destroyed the clockwork of the system so messages became chewed up or were delivered to the wrong people. And much to my surprise two more spy demons were in there already... The three of us also used the Club's toilets to swap small demons bound in diamonds, junk no longer needed by Kara-George, but helpful for Giffard's research. Giffard was about to fall for the dark side...

Business: Giffard and Stone started production for de Bonvoisin, but Hamilton tried to steal away both of them, by forging patents of the MATAV and downright take-over. Albert in return bought himself into the companies of both Hamilton and Armstrong, linking his financial fate with theirs. Later on we produced StoneVision together but that proved to be demon-infested and had to be scrapped. Albert used the crisis with Prussia and Bavaria to gain the Swiss banks and to plant a puppet in the Byzantine government who was funding Byzantium with Aquarian money.

Sinister: easy to gain: control of the masses through the Olympics, numerous newspapers, the HTML-agency, the scouts, the Academy and obeying Blavatsky...

Friends: Albert had all kinds of friends. Either by sponsoring them or by sharing info or resources.

Angelique Valiente, aka Monique Sue

Angelique came to the club with dreams of power and wealth. All she had were her circle of assassins so when Eugene Sue died she moved quickly on his territory, she lied etc entirely in her own self interest but when she was invited, as Monique Sue, to join Gemini, the temptation was too great. Wielding both Aquarian and Gemini power worked very well indeed. This aided her rise to power through seduction of Ministers but Napoleon III remained a barrier. She acquired more newspapers and power before she started playing the dangerous game of drawing the Pope out into a trap. The Pope had suddenly changed, making wild demands and threatening her in a distinctly medieval way. The evidence was gathered and finally the case put to the Club. The tumultuous results and damage to Gemini was a delight.

By the end, especially after the devastation in France, she was changed, wanting the best for her French people and still driving for a Europe at peace. Maybe we got there.

Autumn and Percy - A normal story of everyday folk.

The fire crackles merrily in the grate, casting warm shadows across the sitting-room of the small London town house. The room is simple but well appointed and has obviously seen a lot of use in recent years, only a few strange objects point towards the unusual nature of the occupants. At the back of the room a large collection of dusty books lies scattered on a sturdy-looking desk; mixed in with the books are a number of strange metal plates which have some kind of unusual writing on them. In the middle of the room, just before the fire, is an ancient looking casket, adorned with elaborate scroll work and ancient writings. Its golden surface gleams strangely in the firelight and perched atop it rather incongruously is a tea tray.

Saint Percy Blakely folds the paper with a snort, his firm features beginning to show signs of his advancing years, though perhaps not as much as they should. "I see your new painting exhibition is doing very well, Miss Siddal" he comments, glancing across at the beautiful woman opposite. Elizabeth Siddal smiles as she sips her Earl Grey, "I found being a disembodied spirit stuck in someone's hair gave me plenty of time to think", her voice tails off as her eyes grow distant, Percy leans over and grasps her hand comfortingly. Sitting near the fire Autumn Kincaid smiles gently at her two friends, her eyes seeming to shift colour slightly; but perhaps it is only the flickering light from the fire. On her lap a small child stares in wonder at her long red hair, which seems to move as though stirred by a breeze and evades the grasp of the youngster's small hands. Elizabeth puts down her cup on the Ark of the Covenant and looks intently from Percy to Autumn, "So let me get this right, you two are members of a secret club that effectively runs Europe? How did you get together?".

Autumn leans back in her chair, effectively handing the conversation to Percy. "It happened many years ago, I was poking around the cellars of the British Library (I've always had a weakness for books, you know) when I came across signs of occult activity. I knew little about the subject, so I called in an expert! Autumn and I dealt with the problem in our, ahem, own unique ways, and after this we found our skills complemented each others' very well. Years ago we hunted the Slasher through the foggy London streets only to discover it was a Demon Lord, later we hunted it with many other members of the Inferno Club - what a disaster! The demon escaped and Autumn was forced to kill Mathers, a leader of one of the Club 'Houses', and then there was the elephant... As our abilities grew so did the danger, small petty people who would sell out the entire human race for scraps of power from demons' tables continued summoning the entities, we were forced to take on other identities. I became Sir Parsifal and recovered the lost Ark of the Covenant, Autumn became Lilith Fair. Soon after this we managed to contact the angelic host and began summoning them on a regular basis; nice chaps really, though not very lively conversationalists. With their help we had great success in banishing demons, the Slasher (at last), the Kraken (a great underwater beast guarding the sunken city of Atlantis - sorry, it's a long story) and the Anti-Christ to name but a few."

At this point Autumn leans forward and continues the story, "When the Greens returned to Earth we had a new set of problems: they armed many members of the Inferno with biological devices that could harm my kind, and House Gemini were their primary puppets. Many of my race were for killing all of Gemini, but the Martians would just have changed their tools. Percy and I kidnapped the old Archbishop and I impersonated him for a time, but he is a very slow-witted and evil man and did not take the hint. Luckily for him events became so hectic that I didn't find the time to discipline him again. Even when I killed their leader, the Pope, it didn't turn them from their mad path, now they reap the rewards of their folly, languishing in jail. There are only two deaths I regret: Elizabeth and I were forced to kill Edward Carter for consorting with demons, and then von Leman (the King of Bavaria) was killed for the crime."

Autumn sighs, remembering painful events, and reaching under her chair pulls out the Holy Sword of the Archangel Michael. With a firm hand she pushes several crumpets down its length and sets the sword in the fire. "Near the end of the affair I was kidnapped by the Doktor when I went to help his wife, but managed to escape and abducted his wife in turn. After I repaired her body I gave it your old likeness and, as you know, installed your spirit in it. His wife's spirit is now safe here." As she says this Autumn pats the strange necklace at her throat.

Elizabeth leans forward in her chair, "I meant to ask how you escaped the Doktor's clutches."

Autumn smiles and Percy chuckles, tamping down his pipe with what looks like a burned human finger bone and lighting it as he leans back in his chair. "Autumn is quite capable of looking after herself; long ago she altered her body to be much faster and stronger than any human could ever be, she can move so fast as to be invisible to the human eye and her body is immune to all but the most aggressive physical assault. Let's face it, if having an elephant dropped on her didn't do the job, nothing will. Add to this the fact that she can change her physical appearance to resemble anyone she likes, there aren't many places from which she can't escape. Ahhh, what a strange time it's been!"

Baroness Charity Wells

Following the settlement of the Martian conflict, the famous investigator married Guiliano d'Aventine in a flurry of publicity. Those that attended recount with awe how, as she and the groom were about to cut the cake, she whipped off her skirt and produced a pair of huge knives to do the job.

After the honeymoon she announced her plans to retire from public life and raise a brood of little d'Aventines. The announcement warmed the hearts of villains everywhere and also, it seemed, of the vigilante, Sabre, who made frequent appearances from then on.

Towards the end of her life the Baroness grew increasingly confused, telling tales of Atlantis, demons and mad scientists to anyone who would listen. Her memoirs, sadly, bear little relation to reality.

Bishop Albrecht von Bifrostbrücke of the South Seas

His ecclesiastical career blighted by the Gemini influence over the Vatican, Albrecht devoted himself to magical research and the service of House Pisces, with remarkable efficacy: his understanding of spiritual magic was swiftly gained and allowed the creation of the nam-shub. A conscientious man, he never flinched from attacking demons, and developed some very clever techniques for defeating Martian anti-Piscean defences: he also killed the Norse god Loki, for no very apparent reason.

Brother Simon

Br. Simon was a deranged ex-monk who started a cult, which he called The Approach to God. He used his Cancerian powers with rather too much initial enthusiasm. He was responsible for the Lambeth Palace black-magic scandal, which helped block the Heresy Bill, but the entity he used proved too powerful for him and broke loose. He developed group magic (independently of Peter Darkenford) partly in order to send it away again. He is looking forward to the continued growth of his cult, which he hopes will keep him in the style to which he has become accustomed.

Captain Jonathon Hazelmere

Jonathon was a brave, decent man, of modest birth, who had gained the respect of his men in the Navy through his skill, fairness and consideration of the needs of his men. Disliked by the Admiralty, disgraced by his one major defeat, his future in the Navy was curtailed. Having tied up the loose ends by rescuing those of his men that had been captured, he went onto serve heroically in the war against France while at the same time setting up the Courier business which not only kept him supported on leaving the Navy but also revealed to him the presence of the TickTockMen and allowed him to track them to their French base and subsequent battle.

Meanwhile his presence in the plot was marginal at best. Despite knowing that Leman had foully murdered Erbelicht he did nothing initially until he also observed Edward Carter's death. Assuming - incorrectly! - that this was Leman's doing he spread the information to various parties and was not displeased when the murderer was dealt with... by somebody. It was Hazelmere who passed information on Sir Derek Ross's underhand dealings with the British colonies to the press. Serves him right, the rotter.

Otherwise the good Captain was a sucker for any cause that seemed right, whether that be the killing of demons or at the end the defence of Earth from both the Iscariot and the Martians. Meanwhile, having courted and married Eleanor Courtney, the main focus of his efforts involved keeping the mother-in-law happy. This stressful situation was not finally resolved until he was granted a peerage by the PM... slightly ironic as things turned out in the end, actually.

Basically he had no idea what was going on most of the time, which was entirely in character.

Lord Hazelmere will endeavour to settle down now with his family and try and live a quiet life. But will the call of justice and adventure be too strong?

Motivations: His heart, his sense of justice and a dash of patriotism.

Biggest failure: Not coming forward with the evidence on Leman early enough.

Biggest success: Getting the damn peerage!

Who did he trust: All of Aries. De Bonvoisin. Von Essen. Colonel Maguire. Fielding. Southville (until he got Iscarioted).

The untrustworthy lot: All the mages! Happily most of the time they seemed to be fighting themselves...

Caspar Augustus Fielding

Fielding, a member of House Libra, began his career in the Inferno Club by devoting his energies to hunting down the murderer that later became known as the Slasher. Being almost completely ignorant of the ways of the supernatural, he took a while to catch on that it was a Demon Lord! He also attempted to track down the killer of Elizabeth Siddal, but that case also frustrated him. Then he (surprisingly) became Voice of Libra and found politics (sort of). He ordered a Libran assassin to Demolish Morgan Leman for the murder of Edward Carter (of which it turns out he was innocent), he orchestrated the trial of the Pope (which nearly worked, except for the defendant's murder) and he (wrongly) accused Dame Elizabeth of...er, papalcide. Oh, and then Derothshire mind-controlled him for a few years, which prevented him from doing anything about the Iscariot, until the moment of his death!

Catherine Mendel, Countess of Worcester

Catherine used mental magic to insinuate herself into the social life of press barons. Married one, and routinely attended parties of the others. Used her influence to spread pro-women's rights propaganda through the press. Helped with the TickTockMen. Extended her media empire by buying cinema patents when she discovered the truth about Stone Waves (which was before everyone else did). Brainwashed MPs & Lords into scrapping the Heresy Bill (dumping the resulting taint into peaceful protests), and brainwashed Marshal Lawe, the Queen and most of the Civil Service into helping restore democracy after the Martian War.

Charles Darwin

Condemned by many, misunderstood by most, Mr Darwin's researches into the origin and development of life struck hammer-blows at the foundations of placid Victorian society, and created the intellectual climate necessary for the new Utopia his House so fondly desired. He was the first to trace the troubled history and prehistory of human, Green and Atlantean relations, and his studies of TickTockMen, animals, humans and difference engines threw invaluable light on the question of body / soul duality. Late in his life he became obsessed with the idea that humans were no more than glorified machines, and went rather mad.

Colonel Lord William Maguire

In a world gone insane the Colonel battled hard to keep a sense of what was 'good'; for the Inferno Club, his beloved Great Britain, and himself... in that order. Whilst having the greatest respect for the technical skills of his Taurean colleagues, Dr Bang and Henri von Giffard, the latter's defection from Great Britain to Prussia and subsequent power-hungry (to the Colonel's eyes) joining of House Scorpio ensured him a permanent place at the top of the Colonel's "Black List". Whilst never making a move directly against von Giffard he did his best to counteract or surpass the Prussian's work. In the race to the Moon and Mars his prime motivation was to "beat von Giffard to it". His main regret was that he did not coax von Giffard into launching an EXPLODE in anger - as he had installed a secret network of EXPLODE-D(estroyer) satellites above Prussian territory, equipped with top-of-the-range sensors and Martian heat-ray technology. He would have loved to see the look on the traitor's face when his rockets fell burning out of the sky, in front of his Prussian overlords.

Comte Henri 'Napol' Bertrand

Comte Bertrand was an odd mix of a man, obsessively secretive yet at the same time an avid publicity seeker. His mastery of steam technology was unmatched, and the baffling array of machines of war he successively unveiled cowed battlefields all over Europe and Mars. Closely identified with democratic political interests, he aided the revolution in Florence, and later became an Italian senator. He devoted huge resources to the exploration and exploitation of space, and set up a gigantic secret (supposedly) base on the Moon; to where he swept the beauty of the age, Princess Arabella of Liechtenstein, after a protracted wooing looked in danger of frustration. For reasons that have never been adequately explored, he intermittently showered the Earth with a red dust made from dried seaweed.

Count Manfred Friedrich 'Fritzy' von Essen

A man utterly dedicated to one thing, furthering the aims and ambitions of his Fatherland. He started as Prussia's spymaster, but rose to be supreme commander of all this mighty realm's armed forces and its policies, simultaneously expanding the Empire by conquering Austria, and setting up a puppet Tsarist regime in Russia. Not a mouse squeaked in Prussia without him knowing it, so able were his internal security arrangements, and his external spy network was also considerable. He secretly backed the Aryanist movement, expelled French interest from Prussia, and at the last moved into overt control when he discovered that his cousin the Kaiser had been replaced by a TickTockMan.

Don Esteban Rodrigo Diaz di Vivar

Don Rodrigo, as he was more conveniently known, was an implacable opponent of tyranny in every form; although, being something of an innocent in the ways of politics, he generally relied on others to point him in the right direction. His exploits as the original Masked Man helped overthrow the de'Medici in Florence, and he then helped Garibaldi free Southern Italy. Turning his attentions to more recherché villains, he rescued La Donna's daughter from the Papal clutches, and was instrumental in the despatching of Doktor Schreck, Count Dracula, Baron von Poelzig and Sir Derek Ross. Apart from a brief period when using a sword possessed by the renownedly useless demon Braggadocio, he was by some distance the finest swordsman this world contained.

Dr Sir William S Bang

Scientist of genius, Dr Bang spent most of the game developing bigger and better explosive systems, and was instrumental in most of the cooperative scientific efforts. He showed true heroism in the fight against the vampiric menace, even contracting the plague in his efforts. He ploughed investment back into his local community, and was much loved in the North. Differences with Mr von Giffard led him to leave House Taurus, and he was forthright in condemning the divisive House system.

Edward Carter

Carter was behind the Robin Goodfellow crime spree: using a scheme so cunning it would take a master detective or a mage to find out who was behind them (spot the obvious flaw). Kept any stolen magical items he found and used the rest to finance collecting 'failed' Pisceans from asylums in order to make his own brain-washed army of mages. Was framed for Eberlicht's murder, found out the real criminal was Leman with magic but had no external proof. Tried scaring Leman into confessing, but was killed by his fellow Pisceans for making a deal with a demon lord to reduce his taint in exchange for annual sacrifices.

Elizabeth DuQuesne-Black

Adored by her bully of a father, Elizabeth grew up with a contempt for the human race, and was delighted to learn she wasn't a member of it.

Upon joining the Inferno Club, she set out to seduce her way to power, but found her Piscean duties an increasing distraction. After the murder of her fiancé, by magical means, she concentrated upon them entirely.

After over a decade of resolving crises created by Infernals, she came to regard the Inferno Club experiment as a total failure upon the part of 0001, the Atlantean computer. With her Mo12 Ambrose frequently missing, and having had to execute Edward Carter as a traitor, she became a driven and autocratic figure, even within her own House.

With the destruction of Earth imminent. and her original body destroyed, she was introduced to Jim Dawson by Albert de Bonvoisin.

Able to detect a common thread in his research into the Atlantean language and the skills of her friend Bishop von Bifrostbrucke, she devised the nam-shub. This spiritual / informational virus reprogrammed the minds of all non-Atlanteans, making them inaccessible to spiritual entities, resolving matters at a stroke. She had prepared a list of executions to round matters off, when the Atlanteans arrived.

Emperor Constantine, aka George Petrovich

A long time ago George Petrovich organized the Slasher Hunt: it was his intention to rip the streets of London from this terrible demon and in the meantime to clean the name of his House as belonging to the 'evil' side. He never thought about controlling this demon, otherwise he would have done the summoning in uttermost secrecy, don't you think?

And when the operation almost succeeded then the arrogant Pisceans Elisabeth and Autumn Kincaid intervened, effectively freeing the Slasher Demon and even killing my Teacher (Mathers, the former Mo12 of House Scorpio).

From then on George swore an oath to destroy House Pisces, and especially the leading Pisceans, to revenge his Teacher who made him what he was - not a young Macedonian bandit any more, but someone with REAL power, even founding his own empire in the long term. But he knew that the Pisces were very powerful, so he realised that he had to be patient, very patient.

To enlarge his power he contacted the greatest inventor of all time, von Giffard. If this renowned member of House Taurus would aid him in investigating the basics of Magic then...

Fortescue Smyth-Carruthers

The archbish was never a complex character, and had only one long-term goal through the game - that was the (initial conception), protection, promotion and eventual accession of his son Good King Georgie. Aside from this he tried to broadly follow the initial Gemini brief, ie. squids goods Pisceans bad.

His disaffection with the rest of the Club and eventual alignment with the Martian invaders was in part an OOC reaction to the sanctimonious "we must unite to save the world" claptrap on the notice board, and in character alienation with the Vizier who had both forfeited the trust of House Gemini in confidential correspondence and failed to act vigorously after the murder of His Holiness.

As regards some notable actions, the Heresy Bill was an idle aside. It only came to life with the strength of the reaction to it. House Gemini had no advance notice of the coup in England, and decided to back Sir Derek's fait accompli for a laugh as we knew the game was coming to an end.

Most frustrating element was the apparent invulnerability of the magical characters. He always felt threatened on this front and unable to fight back, but this may just be because I failed to discover the appropriate way to do it despite a number of efforts, esp against Lilith.

Generalissimo His Reverence Professor Sir (etc etc etc) James Moriarty, RSVP, PBAB

The Professor started the game quietly as a mild-mannered Napoleon of crime, co-founding the infamous Steampunk Mafia and opening the Gentlemen's Club to cater for the outré desires of the wealthy. A slight contretemps with the law led to him lowering his profile at the same time as he rose in the Church, using his control of the Pathfinders to great effect. He founded a colony in Accra, which he painstakingly built up into a prosperous, powerful utopian state. Adventuring up the Volta in search of King Solomon's Mines, he had a humbling encounter with crimelady The Duchess, whose organization he had defeated in Paris. Joining the British civil war as a rogue element, he became a victim of the Iscariot after bombarding the Brighton seafront.

Giuliano d'Aventine

Giuliano d'Aventine was an industrialist and Anglophile who at first wanted to bring British-style liberal politics to a united Italy, and then, after his successful implementation of more enlightened policies in Slovenia, which had been liberated from the Austrians, moved to a more radical position, which led to his participation in the international Equity movement.

His main triumphs were all obvious. The overall successful war against the French, which was instrumental in uniting different elements of the Italian polity and in gaining territory for the Milanese, as well as bringing more Italophones under Italian rule. The Slovenian vote for union with Venice was the next major step, and then the actual unification of Italy, accomplished in tandem with La Donna. He mostly left internal Italian politics to La Donna after that, apart from a few military initiatives (notably the improvement of the Italian navy, which had been somewhat woeful earlier), and focused on the larger European picture, founding Equity International. At the end of the game, he took command of the International Defence Force in the face of the Green Menace.

James Derothshire

This sturdy man of Libra was one of the leaders of the infamous Steampunk Mafia, and although he never stole the Mona Lisa, he did take it from Auberon Wylde and hide it at Sunil Laing's home, alerting the police. He magically mind-controlled Mr Fielding into choosing him as Libran super-assassin, which came in handy after he had freed and become the first to be possessed by The Iscariot: he killed and took the place of Number Se7en, Mo12 for Libra, as well as killing the previous super-assassin Lance Carruthers, and freed Sarah Wylde from captivity. His married life, to the former Gloria Munday (aka Jean Requin, aka The Shark), was initially tempestuous, but after he had tricked his wife into also being possessed by The Iscariot, they were reconciled rather touchingly.

Jim Dawson

I wanted to find the truth of magic, to understand it as a scientist. So much has happened on my journey: much more than I can put into words. But after all the marvels I have witnessed, and the wonderful truths I have seen, I have perhaps learned most importantly the wisdom of gracious humility. A friend told me once that if I had all that I needed I was rich indeed: though the world may forget Jim Dawson, when I rest at peace with my family, I think that I must be the luckiest man in the whole world.

Julianne Fulbright, aka Mistress Kali

Such a genteel lady, Miss Julianne Fulbright. A social butterfly busy only with her writing, most especially her poetry. Right?

Well, one might be forgiven for wondering why, if this was an accurate description, she was a member of House Gemini, known as the house of politicians. I will thank you to keep the other names by which we might be known to yourself.

Of course Julianne was not just a poet. Her main interest was the brothel - the Unlaced Bodice. A high-class affair, the Bodice caters to the wealthy and refined. It also served as a useful way of gathering information about its patrons, past, present and future, saved against the day when it might become useful in fighting her House's enemies, or indeed the Club's enemies... one never knows.

As well as the Unlaced Bodice, Julianne ran a business empire of some note, supplying and marketing the "Happiness Regained" line of products. Viagra, anyone?

Her proudest moment was beating that popinjay Kipling to the Poet Laureate post, where she remains to this day (though currently writing "The Ballad of Holloway Jail").

King Morgan of Bavaria

Starting off as a mild-mannered sociopathic anarchist bomber, Morgan Leman slaughtered his way to the Bavarian throne, killing two kings and a queen as well as the head of the Khiron Commission. All looked rosy, as he was popular in the country, had built a fine army and had successfully conquered Switzerland, fighting off an assassination attempt on the way and (at Nice, in the Franco-Milanese war) pioneering the demon-inspired battlefield atrocities that were to become so popular: but he had reckoned without the implacable forces of natural justice, and in the end he was Demolished on the Inquisitor's instructions for one of the crimes he hadn't actually committed, namely the murder of Mr Carter.

Klaus Von Poelzig

The Baron was obsessed with reviving his dead wife, Swanhilde. The shock of her loss overwhelmed his sanity, and he created a new body for her, wooing and killing beautiful women for their organs.

Even after Swanhilde's successful resurrection, he found that his victims' ghosts were tormenting her. Klaus concluded that God was deliberately opposing him. Now quite mad, he decided to kill the Almighty using the 'Anti-God' machine, previously Dawson's Difference Engine. He also prepared to release numerous plagues upon mankind, to weaken the spiritual energy of the hostile ghosts.

Fortunately he was killed before this could be done.

La Donna (Carlotta di Bicci)

Who is she? Probably best described as une femme fatale with a chequered past. My main ambition was to unite the Italian regions into a single nation, with of course myself in control! To this end I allied with d'Aventine, brought about a bloodless and popular revolution in Tuscany, and supported Garibaldi in the south; although I had to remove him from power once he'd outlived his usefulness. During these events I made an enemy of the Pope, and the cowardly dastard kidnapped my innocent daughter, whose existence I had kept secret. I got her back, with the help of Pisces, but imagine my surprise when I discovered she had fallen in love with an alien being and was pregnant!!! The country united and I controlled the main party. I then set about investing heavily in the Italian economy, the film / TV industry, tourism, food exports, health and education services and founded the Poseidon Institute. Meanwhile I set about trying to strengthen relations between Humans and Greens and trying to reconcile the Greens to the Pisceans. Diplomatic relations were destroyed by the possession of the Sixes and Sevens by demons and invasion was immanent! I prepared Italy for war and set up the International Defence Network.

Lady Alicia Douglas-Maxwell

Alicia Douglas-Maxwell joined the Inferno Club in 1875, aged 23, headstrong, unmarried and rich - the only sister of the young Earl of Teviotdale. A prior interest in the occult led her to House Cancer, specialising in surveillance work as she tried to make sense of the web of activity in the Inferno Club and outside. One of her watching entities stumbled upon the Infernal mail machine and monitored it for two years until the entity was destroyed. In 1883 Alicia used her skills to help defeat the Iscariot. Soon magic was gone but she did not mourn its passing.

Lady Athena Chelmsford, née Greendale

Her main aim was to encourage women to realize their potential, which she did by training and employing women, setting up Minerva groups to help women find out more about their options and to encourage them to become involved in things they would never have thought about if they were stuck at home all day. Working this way, directly with the women, seemed to make more difference than trying to convince men through politics or published articles. Befriended Gloria Derothshire / M. Requin, but soon found out she/he was completely mad. Always had suspicions about Laing, never able to find anything out. Used Minerva groups to help the House as well as herself.

Lord Alexander Hamilton

(Memo to the Virgoan Steering committee outlining the success of reform in Liverpool, Manchester and Newton.)

A plan to take over the country would normally have required an evil genius. Mine required a benevolent one. We made people content, happy and obedient - and they thanked us for this. To control where they worked we gave them jobs, to control the drugs they took we gave them free healthcare. To control their thoughts we gave them newspapers, entertainment and education. To control what they ate we gave them free freezers and bought farms.

Our control has made them happy, fulfilled and prosperous. The nation has voted, and favours extending this arrangement to Britain within this Parliament - and the rest of the Empire within ten years. Once the Equity Party supports our brand of reform we shall have Europe by the end of the century.

Lord Darius Winterbourne, aka Nathaniel Newton

A late entrant in the Inferno Club's hallowed roll, he devoted himself to the quest for the Spear of Longinus which pierced Christ's side, accompanied always by his loyal tribe of Alaskan Inuit psychotics, the Orca. Armed with extensive research, advice and huge quantities of weaponry, he proceeded to stumble, bimble and loudly crash his way through Europe in none-too-hot pursuit, in the process stealing the mistress of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. After a series of bizarre and tragic failures he finally fell over the Spear, and reunited it (with help) with the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant, woke Arthur Pendragon, became a Knight Templar, and a Knight of the Table Round (all in a day's work) - but recently Darius seems to have vanished from the face of the Earth... to be continued.

Lord William Tiberius Armstrong

This Virgoan was devoted to the folk of the North-East, and left no stone unturned in providing for their welfare and safety - the civil defences he put in place were unmatched anywhere in Europe. He built not one but two gigantic undersea cities, and even had a royal heir stashed away in one of them for emergency use. His many ingenious war machines will live after him, but perhaps his most enduring legacy to Britain, nay, the world, will be the sport of football.

Mrs Aramintha Savage (Voice of Scorpio, Hypnotist, Demonologist, Headmistress)

Significant Stats: Trust 9, Ruth 1.

Major Achievements: Establishment of a popular school for misfit children. This was a front for her project to prove to an unbelieving world that humans and demons could live and work together. All of the human children were conditioned to accept demons (with various useful abilities) as their friends, and were then permanently 'merged' with them. Also developing (with a little help!) the Ritual used to capture and defeat the Iscariot.

Also guilty of: Various Pro-Demon propaganda. Using demon-enhanced children to form a successful football team. Attempted sabotage of Dame Elizabeth DuQuesne-Black's wedding to the then Prime Minister (Nothing personal, just House politics.) Delivering small gremlins to thousands of children on Xmas Eve 1881.

Niels Graaf, Magister Militum

Niels was a bit straightforward and far from the plot. He started as a Dutch rebel against Prussian rule, and faced down overwhelming odds and several powerful opponents in managing to gain limited autonomy for the Netherlands under King Leopold. He then travelled to the Balkans to help in the founding of the Byzantine Empire, and is especially proud of his attack versus Constantinople - as well as his Roswell raid, to capture a Martian ambassador and her spaceship from the US government. He will be best remembered for his power to motivate and inspire troops, and his many fine and moving speeches.

Peter Darkenford

Mr Darkenford started off as an investigator of supernatural events, but rapidly turned to the exploitation of the magical powers House Cancer granted him. He developed early a technique for channelling worship to increase his spiritual strength, and developed an extensive secret cult across Europe for the purpose. Marrying into the royal families of both France and Spain seemed a recipe for direct political power, although the bloody and eventually unsuccessful French civil war cast a shadow on this strategy. He worked hard to unite the warring Houses, especially once he had achieved membership of the Twelve: he succeeded in allying Houses Cancer and Scorpio, but his efforts were regarded with suspicion by most other Members.

Sidney Weaver

Sidney Weaver was an amalgam of two historical characters: Sidney Webb and George Bernard Shaw. Webb was a civil servant who founded the London School of Economics with his wife Beatrice, he (but not she you'll notice!) is mentioned at http://www.lse.ac.uk/clubs/singsoc/page_lse.htm. Shaw (GBS) was an 'Irish exile' and was a prolific journalist and arts critic before making his name as a writer of Socialist novels. He is remembered primarily as the writer of plays, most notably Pygmalion. More information can be found at http://members.aol.com/tehart/index.html.

Webb and Shaw were close friends, they met via the Fabian Society which was, in many ways, a far less successful version of Inferno's Equity Party.

Weaver was a character who would combine Shaw's poverty and writing ability with Webb's political and academic conviction. Obviously Weaver was not afraid of party politics like his two predecessors. His plays were puns on Shaw's plays Arms and the Man and Man and Superman, the plots were cannibalized out of my own notebooks.

Originally I wanted Weaver to be an uncompromising campaigner for the rights of the poor and the oppressed (of which he was one). However as a character he became frustrated at the fact that coming from the 'wrong' background there was little opportunity for him to advance himself, and he conceived a desperate desire to be Prime Minister to show the rest of Britain's elite what a true British man could do. The coup brought him back to his senses and despite the fact that he ended up in Lord Hamilton's shadow he had realized that the only way for the common man to rise is en masse rather than through a couple of meteoric individuals.

E-mail trouble and work pressures prevented me from really communicating with people until the end of the game (where the monthly deadlines helped work around any e-mail problems). This may have made me more enigmatic and mysterious than I meant to be. A particular apology to the Gemini cabal, I occasionally received garbled e-mails from you but could not respond. I really wanted the character to be seen to be as honest and transparent as he actually was...

Sir Derek Ross

To detail this man's many iniquities would stretch credulity, but he showed his colours early when he had Disraeli killed to spark war between Britain and France. He killed his way to the post of Foreign Secretary, but his defrauding of the public purse was exposed and he was forced to flee the country, setting up a secret base in South-East Asia. From here he meddled destructively in every warzone, becoming a vampire and unleashing a plague of these foul leeches on the unhappy Vietnamese, and attempting to murder Mr Fielding in revenge for the Demolition of King Morgan. His triumph was to stage a successful coup in Britain, and he was (uniquely) successful in throwing off The Iscariot's attempt to possess him.

Sunil Laing

Sunil's goals altered dramatically. He initially wanted equality for women and to be adored as a cult figure by females worldwide. He progressed to campaigning for the Club to sever all links with 0001 and finished trying to provide humanity with control over its own destiny. His achievements large and small throughout the game were: Founded and funded the Equity movement; Instigated the Eureka group that strove to uncover the game plot; Was first in advocating disowning 0001; Was first in joining more than one house; Swapped the MATAV plans at the Patent Office; Forged the biblical texts and fabricated the notion of The Saviour's sister; Freed Loki and possessed Thor's stolen hammer Mjolnir.

The Honourable Auberon Wylde, Master of Obfuscation

The original thief of the Mona Lisa, Wylde was unfortunate enough to be possessed by an entity he knew as The Man Who Isn't There, in fact the Slasher demon: he carried out the great majority of the Slasher killings. After being exorcised of it by Miss Kincaid, he returned to his researches: he was obsessed with the Indian Rope Trick and while trying to duplicate it managed to create a mirror to another dimension. Unfortunately, the dimension in question was the demon plane, but his travels there resulted in his writing some very interesting books, which in turn enabled him to find his sister Sarah, who had disappeared as a child.

The Secret History of Mr Gaboon

Ferdinand Lancelot Gaboon's great dream was to turn the entire world into a circus, with him as the Ringleader. Sadly this never materialised, as by the second turn he'd realised he was completely out of his depth, in the wrong House and hamstrung by a player with Focus 1. Still, he had a fine old time doing nothing in particular; investigating this, exploring that, inventing the other. The Khiron Commission furnished the Diabolometer for detecting demons, sadly unreliable with his low Uptake. His one bid to rule the world foundered with the Green's defeat - his surgically-enhanced limb count would have made him Martian ruler!

William Stone

There were many things I was involved with and produced, this is a list of the most notable ones.

The Steam Tractor was very popular with landowners, as was the Steam-powered Belt-Conveyor with industrialists: the loss of employment meant I was burnt in effigy by most workers, something I have learned to live with.

The Belt-Conveyor transport from London to Bournemouth was very popular with the rich, but due to the high cost of running it, I couldn't extend it to the less well off.

The Stone Amplification Tubes were a great success, they were used to effect in the Great Slasher Hunt and they improved industry immensely: the workers didn't like it because their employers could boss them around, more effigies being burned.

The OISR was next (Office of Information Storage and Retrieval), this proved initially popular but certain Members of the Inferno Club got involved and I was forced to put it on a back-burner.

I got involved in the Space Race and developed an air-recycling facility and a space-suit. These worked fine and no more work needed on those.

The Science Fairs proved were popular, the public loved seeing how all the gizmos worked and I think education benefited from my annual show. The damned Christians kept showing up though and discrediting my good friend Charles Darwin.

Oh dear, now we come to Stone Waves, I discovered sound can could be transmitted from one box to another needing no cables, as an exited scientist I didn't care how it all worked, so very soon, Vision boxes, Stoneaphones and radio boxes all were thrust onto the public. A year later I was told that I was putting a demon in everyone home, oops, effigies everywhere.

To make amends for this I developed a special anaesthetic delivery system, this helped bring back some credibility that I had lost over Stone Waves.

Last year, I invented the Stone Puzzle Cube, the idea was to be so addictive that no-one would ever want to work again, unfortunately the public weren't interested in something so complicated, but their bosses with time on their hands soon took up the invention and industries were grinding to a halt, effigies again (sigh).

Stonestock was my farewell gift to society, an annual party in a park for all to enjoy, I thought it would be a great idea to give everyone a good time after all the business with civil war, aliens etc, no effigies to be seen, fantastic.

William Tamworth-Smith

This former soldier, an extremely wealthy man and a generous donor to causes of freedom, was Garibaldi's most valuable aide in the liberation of Southern Italy, and he also took part in the doomed Dutch guerrilla struggle: his Army experience made him a master of small-group tactics. He was also a renowned explorer, being the earliest to map the dread city of G'harne and to recover the mysterious Star-Metal. Vigilante work in the East End, in the time of the Slasher, gave him a taste for law enforcement: as a long-time campaigner for the Conservatives it was only natural that he should eventually take his seat in Parliament, rising to the rank of Home Secretary under the second Southville administration. He fought the possessed Martians on their home soil, and slew his predecessor James Derothshire as The Iscariot's powers faded.

Zappatore Talpa

The rarely-seen Mr Talpa spent most of his time in his mole machine, a wondrous device for tunnelling through the ground. He discovered that the Earth is hollow, and that a race of friendly pygmies live on its inner surface: wisely, he told no-one else of this, instead choosing to settle there and rule them as a benign dictator. On one of his rare forays towards the surface, gathering samples of Star-Metal, he accidentally freed The Iscariot from the prison that had been made for it in G'harne.

Conclusion

That, then, was Inferno, a heady mix of heroism and villainy, the inspiring and the bathetic, anecdotes and memories, bad puns and worse hamming. Thanks to everyone who took part, for making it all possible!