Here are some examples of how to construct a character for the Inferno game.
Remember that at the start of the game your character will have no knowledge whatsoever of the Inferno Club, or any suspicion of its existence.
You should feel free to put as much back-plot as you like into your character's background, bearing in mind that we may have to tweak it so that it fits in with the detailed history of the world. If we can we'll make use of interesting character back-plot during the game, but we don't promise that yours will get used.
Orianna is the daughter of wealthy landowners, who have since childhood been happy to indulge her passion for constructing useful gadgets. Even at the age of eight, her proud father was pleased to show guests the humane clockwork mousetrap she had devised. Now that she has reached adulthood, though, she has had to face the uncomfortable realization that her parents and elder brother are expecting her to put aside what they consider to be childish amusements, and find a good husband before settling down to a life of cosy domesticity.
Such a prospect fills Orianna with horror: she has no wish to be the mere wife of a country squire. Furthermore, she firmly believes that her inventions could well have commercial practicability, if she were able to put them into manufacture. She has applied for patents for her Autonomic Ladies' Shuttlecock Retriever and her Self-Motivated Grass Clipper, using her brother Simon's name, and these were received with some interest in the gadgeteer press: but if the readers were to know her true sex, she would no doubt find acceptance more difficult.
Although she sees her career and her inventions as her chief goal, and has no wish to simply be a brood mare, she does not want to end an old maid either. The man she will marry must accept her as an equal and be prepared to support her career, and must be intellectually at least her peer. Such a paragon seems unlikely to be found in the sleepy towns of the North Downs.
Ronald is an officer in the Grenadier Guards, which he joined on finishing his education, as had four generations of his family before him – his grandfather fought at Waterloo. He was rapidly depressed and frustrated, though, by the hidebound, traditional Army structure. Promotion is very much by means of dead men's shoes, and intelligent, capable officers have no real opportunity to prove themselves and rise to high command. He has argued that officers should be put through a rigorous training programme, at a special academy, rather than just buying their positions, but this suggestion has met with derision from the higher echelons and he fears that he may have damaged his chances of gaining a colonelcy.
Robert has served overseas with some distinction, in India and China, and has twice been decorated for gallantry under fire. The men he has commanded loved him dearly, and to now be back in Blighty cooling his heels around London is a poor substitute for the thrill of combat – he is not one for the bright lights of Soho, unlike most of his fellow-officers – the cloth-pated fools!
Lorenzo is the current ruler of the city of Florence and the provinces of Tuscany, Umbria and Marche, in a rarely-broken line of de'Medicis stretching back to the Middle Ages. Alas, the city is not the power in Europe that it was in those far-off, happy days: Italy as a whole is poor and backward compared with the nations of the north of Europe, so although Florence is the richest of the principalities which make it up, Lorenzo feels its shackles tightly about him.
The family these days owes its wealth to banking, as the province brings in little revenue. In this century newcomer bankers like the Rothschilds have proved something of a threat to the traditional mercantile banks, thanks to their command of good communications, and Lorenzo has spent a great deal of effort modernizing the Medici bank so that it can keep up.
Lorenzo would like to see himself as a diplomat, even a power-broker, on the European stage, but at the moment he finds it impossible even to get the Italian heads of state to talk to each other very often. He is certain that some sort of unification, or at least union, ought to be possible, but the human issues involved seem all but intractable.
Since childhood Lorenzo has been troubled by nagging voices, whispering away at the back of his mind, speaking to him just below the threshold of consciousness – it took him some time to realize that not all children had these. He is sure that he is 'different' in some important way, marked out for greatness not solely by his birth, and that he should be able to do more for his people than he has so far managed.
Arthur is a campaigner for Cornish independence, leader of the group 'Mebyon an Kernow' – the Sons of Cornwall. They believe that the county, its people ethnically distinct from the rest of England, should be allowed to secede as a principality, and appoint its own monarch. All residents not bearing proper Cornish names – which can easily be told, since they must contain the syllables 'pol', 'tre' or 'pen' - will have to pay an Immigrant Duty. All the historic revenues of the tin mines should be restored to Cornwall, as should the fishing take, and the inhabitants should be allowed to return to their ancestral occupations of smuggling and wrecking without fear of interdiction by the British Excise fleet.
Thus far Arthur has restricted his activities to fire-breathing talk at public meetings the length of the county, but in their secret conclaves the Mebyon speak darker words – whispering of burning the hayricks of incomer landlords, particularly those of the Duchy of Cornwall which is owned by the Prince of Wales. In his speeches Arthur repeatedly harks back to the Cornish rebellions of 1497 and 1686, as well as to the ancient tradition that the court of Camelot was in the county.
Typho has spent the entirety of his adult life, since his university years in Vienna, in the quest for the Philosopher's Stone, that treasure of the hermetic ancients that has the power of transmuting base matter into finest gold, along with other reputed properties such as providing eternal youth and curing bad breath (probably). He is aware that the search for the Stone is a metaphysical pilgrimage as well as a series of alchemical works, and that its finding will demand a reinvention of himself as the perfect hero – a transcendence he keenly anticipates, for at the moment he is a rather scruffy, grotesque individual with a hunched back and thinning, greasy grey hair hanging lankly around his pallid features.
To fund his researches, Typho undertakes commissions from time to time for the noble folks of the region, compiling love philtres, poisons and the like. He feels it is beneath him so to pander to man's beastly nature, and begrudges the time away from the Great Work, but needs must when the Devil drives. He has thus established a number of potentially useful contacts in the Austrian aristocracy.
To play in Inferno, just send GBP 10.00 to cover your setup and first three turns. Further turns are GBP 3.00 each. Please make cheques payable to Undying King Games. You will receive a copy of the rules, huge wodges of background material, and advice on how to create a character.
Like all our games, Inferno can be played by post or by email, as you find convenient.
Ixion's Wheel | Pieces of Eight! | UNEXPLAINED