INFERNO The Greatest Story never Told 1 Preamble Inferno is the newest game from Undying King Games, the people who breathe new life into postal gaming. It's a radical and innovative design combining the best features of role-playing and competitive power-gaming, in which you play a member of a secret club dedicated to manipulating and controlling the world. Read on to find out more! Inferno's setting is best described as 'steampunk' - an alternative 19th Century, in which steam-powered dreadnoughts plough the seas for the mighty British Empire, great Babbage Engines penetrate the calculus of society, earnest mages ponder their eldritch tomes long into the night to work mighty magics, generals fling their troops into desperate headlong charges, adventuresses and confidential agents sway the crowned heads of Europe, and The Times records all in letters of thunder. Think of the atmosphere as a cross between The Difference Engine, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Man Who Would Be King, and the Illuminatus! trilogy... and loads of other stuff too. Across this realm of romance and wonder strut the player characters. In Inferno, player characters are members of the Inferno Club, the shadowy group that secretly controls the Earth's nations and institutions. They must vie with each other to rise in its ranks, increasing their personal power and prestige, be they politicians, financiers, sorcerers, spies, scholars, generals, rulers, scientists, entertainers... the possibilities are endless. Inferno is a game for 60 players, and it runs to fortnightly deadlines. Each turn, which lasts a year of game time, you have to decide one major and three minor actions for your character to attempt: these actions must be expressible as a simple order, such as 'conquer the Ottoman Empire', 'seduce Prince Albert', 'invent the velocipede', 'foment rebellion in Florence', 'launch new newspaper', 'crash Rothschild's Bank', 'develop spell to protect from psychic attack', 'investigate House Aquarius'. You can add as much extra detail in the form of plans, resources you want to use, role-playing extras and so on as you wish, and these will be factored into the overall assessment of the level of success you achieve - together, of course, with the effects of other characters who may be trying to help or hinder you. You can play a figure from history - such as Prince Albert, General Helmut von Moltke, model Elizabeth Siddal, impresario Herbert Beerbohm Tree - or a character from fiction, such as dilettante Gideon Stargrave, explorer Professor Challenger, mad scientist Dr Moreau - or a character you invent yourself to fit into the Inferno setting in precisely the way you desire. Some will be playing Inferno for the enjoyment of creating and playing a character, and interacting with the world and with the other PCs, but others will be playing to win, and for them we have victory criteria. Each turn, all the characters will be ranked according to their power and influence in the world at large, their rank within the Inferno Club, their credibility in the eyes of the other members, and, most elusively of all, their Victory Points - a calculated measure based upon combinations of the other ratings and also on their character's interaction with the Grand Plot - for the game will not last forever. Vast, mysterious events are afoot which will change the shape of the world, and the members of the Inferno Club, as the world's secret masters, will ignore them at their peril. Each turn you will get a textual report on your own actions, plus a report of the Club's annual meeting and the events thereat, including any information other PCs have chosen to pass on to you. Furthermore you will receive a summary of the year's top stories in the Times newspaper, that great organ of knowledge: these will often serve to alert you to the noteworthy doings of your fellow-members. The game will last around 25 - 30 fortnightly turns, so about a year's gaming. It holds 60 players only: we don't plan to take on any more players once it's started. The startup pack, including rules, background and your first 3 turns, costs 10.00 - further turns after that are just 3.00 each for what will quite frankly be pages and pages of stuff - which some players will spend hours poring through and assimilating, others will skim for the most entertaining and relevant passages. It's up to you. Like all our games, Inferno can be played by post or by email, as you find convenient. Undying King Games 57 London Road IPSWICH IP1 2HF United Kingdom http://www.ukg.co.uk info@ukg.co.uk (01865) 203632 You can join the Inferno mailing list (for signed-up players only) at: http://www.onelist.com/subscribe/Inferno or, if you have email but no Web access, we can subscribe you manually if you ask us. 2 Acknowledgements The original Inferno game was designed by Matthew Marcus, and ably GMed by him, Sarah Keogh, Tony Short and Warlock, later joined by Mo Holkar. This PBM version of the game was designed and is GMed by Mo Holkar, with help from all of the above plus Martin Lloyd, who showed how it could be done. Thanks especially to Dominic Camus for his wonderful artwork which graces this rulebook's front cover, and to the original players, who contributed so much to realizing the Inferno world and who designed so many wonderful characters and incidents. Too many of them to list here, but you know who you are! Also, of course, to the Oxford University Role-Playing Games Society, which first hosted the game. 3 General Introduction The winter of 1865, and storm clouds gather over Europe. The constant struggle between the great national powers, whether carried out on the field of battle, or in the far colonies, or by espionage and plot, or in the field of scientific endeavour, fills the daily broadsheets. But wiser opinion may suspect that the great, stately dance of powers conceals a sharper interplay. Philosophers have theorized that the great advances in technology, wealth and authority over one's surroundings that the 19th Century have seen have only been possible thanks to this ceaseless conflict - almost as though the world's swords were being sharpened by cutting against each other. If such fears are true, what manner of management might this shadowplay demand? Who might the puppetmasters be, pulling the strings to set all Europe dancing? It is December 1865, and you have just received an invitation, the acceptance of which might hold the answers to these questions - and which might hold unguessable benefits for you personally, in the shape of gains both material and intangible. But with these gains will doubtless come risks... Every character in Inferno has as the game starts just received an invitation to join the Inferno Club, a body located in London, meeting annually, about whose antecedents, purposes, membership, hierarchy and administration they know nothing beyond what is contained in the letter. The first turn will consist of this introductory meeting, during which they will get to know a little about the Club, their chosen House, their fellow members, and the privileges and duties of membership. From that point on their futures will be inextricably bound up with those of the Inferno Club and their fellow members: it is a case of once in, never out. Each year the Club will meet again, on New Year's Eve, and members will be encouraged to report on their doings during the previous years, establish friendly contacts with each other, and where possible cooperate to help extend the Club's influence over wider and yet wider aspects of world governance. Members are not so crude-minded to imagine that it is only the rulers of countries who can exercise such influence. A widely-read novelist might have more power in his pen than the mightiest of generals does in all his armies, when it comes to shaping the popular will. Thus it is that the twelve Houses seek to complement each other and combine their capabilities in a synergistic fashion. Of course, no gathering of humanity is without its black sheep, and no doubt there will be those members who seek, rather than cooperating with their fellows, to do them down and to profit at their expense. If they are wise they will keep such antisocial practices secret from the rest of the Club, and particularly from House Libra: but a little healthy competition could well be thought to be within the spirit of the organization. Particularly if you don't get caught. There will, no doubt, also be those who seek to pierce the veils of secrecy that surround the Inferno Club itself, and to penetrate through to learn more of its history and its aims. Such activity may be considered impertinent, and meet with dire punishment from on high. Or it may be considered to be showing initiative, and meet with reward and seniority. Who can say? Attempting to guess the minds of the unknown is always a risky business. A final note The Inferno world is large and complex - please explore it as your whims take you. Just because something has not been mentioned in a turn report doesn't mean it doesn't exist - if you are interested in it, go out and find it. The GM will always make sure something interesting happens as a result... Also, never take anything for granted. Nothing in the game is an unchangeable given: everything has evolving plot associated with it, with which you can interact. Do not assume that any in-game object is 'the GMs' and hence untouchable. 4 Invitation to Join the Inferno Club This message is received by all characters from an unknown source, with no trace of the method of delivery apparent. Dear ________, You are hereby cordially invited to attend a meeting of the Inferno Club, to be held at the Club's premises in Wilson Gardens, London, on the evening of 31st December, 1865. It is my earnest hope that there you will meet with a number of other stimulating and active persons such as yourself, the better, through your fellowship, to advance the aims of each of you individually and of the Inferno Club as a whole. You have been selected to become a member of the Club because of the achievement and / or potential you display: I am confident that by selection has not been in error, and that you will do us all great credit in the years to come. I must ask you to respect the incognitos of those members present who wish to preserve them, as they will yours should you wish it: and to refrain from seeking to bring a guest. Inferno Club meetings are strictly members-only affairs, which guests may only attend through application to the relevant Club authorities. You are further invited to apply for membership to one of the twelve Houses of the Inferno Club, brief descriptions of which are enclosed. Should you find it difficult to say which house will suit you best, I shall be happy to assign you to one of them based on my knowledge of your experience, temperament and proclivities - which, you may be assured, is encyclopedic. I hope that you will be able to join with me on 31st December in wishing the Inferno Club, its members, and Europe as a whole a very happy and prosperous New Year. Yours faithfully, 0001 Note on locale The Inferno Club is based in London, and is concerned primarily with matters European. This is simply because Europe rules the world at the moment, at least in its own eyes. If there are branches of the Club in other continents, your characters do not know of them. It is of the London cell that you will be members. Therefore it is obviously essential that your character should be able to attend the annual meetings in London: either by residence in Europe or by the freedom to make time-consuming ocean voyages when wished, probable necessitating independent means or complaisant employers. Note that this does not mean that 'the plot' is all happening in Europe: far from it, the plot is happening all over the world, as you will find out. But at the start of the game, for historic reasons, the Inferno Club has a completely Euro-centric viewpoint. 5 Practicalities Inferno is a mixed-moderated game, meaning that parts of the processing of turns is done by a computer program, parts by a human. This design allows the optimum combination of efficiency (and hence price) with flexibility (and hence enjoyment). Because of this design, though, you have to accept a bit more structure and restriction on what your character can do than you would find in a purely human-moderated game; and you will find that to do well you have to put in a bit more creativity and imagination than you would expect from a pure computer-mod. Each turn you must decide on one Major Project and up to three Minor Projects which your character is going to attempt during the game year between the Inferno Club meetings. The Major Project is likely to be the most complicated, or important, action of the year. It will (unless you specify otherwise) be the first action your character undertakes at the beginning of the year. Each Project should be expressed in a simple task-object structure: for example, 'invade Turkey', 'seduce Prince Albert', 'launch a new newspaper', 'develop a magical poison', 'research heavier-than-air flight', 'thwart Doktor Schreck', etc. Alongside this simple structure, you can go into as much additional detail as you like. You should say what resources you wish to use (if non-standard), from which other characters you expect to get help, details of any specific cunning plan you wish to use - basically, anything which you think might impinge on your chances of success. For the Major Project, write as much detail as you feel you need - include plans, back-up plans, alternative plans, descriptions of precisely how you want to go about things and anything else you feel is relevant. For the Minor Projects, we expect a lot less detail: these should be much simpler actions that do not need a great deal of specification or contingency. If you try to have Minor Projects which are too complicated and should really be Major, you will reduce your chances of success. This is particularly the case if your character has a low Focus. If you try to do too much in a year, you will run out of time and one or more of your Projects will be ignored. This is particularly the case if your character has a low Uptake. Note: it may be the case that your character will actually spend longer working through a Minor Plan than the Major. The distinction is how much detail you put on your turn-sheet, not how much time your character spends on it. A good example would be if a character was intending to break someone out of a prison - a Minor Project might be 'spend a month travelling around the country finding out all I can about the prison' where the Major Project might be a loving and detailed description of exactly how the raid was to progress. The character might spend only a couple of hours working through the Major Project, but it is the action that requires the detailed planning, and back-up plans, so it should be the Major Project. (this also demonstrates that in some circumstances a Minor Project will be acted out before a Major Project). If, at the end of your turn sheet, you wish to add a few additional notes about what your character gets up to, you may do so - but these must be only a few sentences, no more. Extra stuff that amuses the GM but makes for no extra work (eg. technical drawings of inventions, journal or diary entries, etc.) is, of course, always welcome. Here are some example actions: Major project Kurtly Baneford of House Capricorn - scientist and trainee Master Criminal - has been working for several years to perfect his steam-powered 'spider machine'. This year he believes he will be able to complete it and take it out for a test drive. TEST DRIVE SPIDER MACHINE As it seems that the 'Steam Powered Tarantula Fighting and Exploration Machine' (patent pending) is close to completion, I will spend the first few months of the year in the laboratory completing the construction, and putting it through various tests to make sure I am fully competent in the piloting of the device. I will also fit it with the newly constructed 'Acid Discharge Fangs' (see Minor Project). Then, it's time to take it on the Road! As my laboratory is deep in the Alps, I imagine no local people will be about when the mighty doors of the laboratory swing open and the Tarantula first steps into the daylight. This is all to the good, as I wish it to make an Impression on a major town, not some backwater. Thus, I will drive (pilot? ride?) the glorious contraption to the nearest town. Ideally it will be dusk when I arrive, at which point I will switch on its great eye-placed searchlights, and illuminate the ground twenty feet beneath its swaying head. Then I shall advance it at all speed towards the town hall. The locals may be a little distressed by all of this, but if they make too much of a fuss - getting together into a group with Violent Intent - I'll fire off some webbing at them, and hopefully glue them to the street. When I reach the Town Hall I'll use the Tarantula's speakers to announce to the crowd that I'm now the ruler of this town, and that to demonstrate my mastery I will now destroy their feeble place of government - then fire off the acid fangs and melt the Hall. Next, progress to the Bank, demolish it using the fearsome might of the Tarantula's legs, and winch the main safe aboard. If I run into any serious opposition I'll fire off the belly-mounted cannons, and hope that does for them. But if I get into serious trouble I'll run rather than fight - then return next year with a machine Bigger, Better, and altogether more Fearsome! [Evil laugh echoes off into the night] Minor project Stephen Lauren of House Gemini feels his political position is being jeopardized by the repeated attacks on his countrymen by a fearsome and diabolic machine. CAPTURE SPIDER MACHINE These giant spider attacks have got to be stopped! I'm sure there's an Illuminati member behind them, but none of the scientific bastards will admit to it... no matter. I want to use my government influence to form an anti-spider task-force, including military and scientific advisors (I've got help and advice from a couple of fellow cell members). I want a military unit on constant stand-by to take this machine down when it next appears. Also get some scientific bods to do a projection of where it is most likely to strike next, and to come up with some idea where its base might be. Hopefully we will be able to track it to its source and find everyone involved. I want it destroyed. If it is taken down I will be on the scene within hours to give statements to news reporters explaining how I personally over-saw the initiative to capture it, how we will show no mercy to the perpetrators of these terrible crimes, etc etc. Generally take as much credit as possible. [GM Note: These examples are, of course, far from typical. Illuminati members never work to undermine each others plans. Well, hardly ever...] More practicalities The game is run to deadlines, which means that all players must have their orders with us by the date and time specified. Any orders which are late will be ignored. You will appreciate that this stringency is necessary, because we have to turn round turns for sixty or so players within the space of no more than a couple of days, so that the results can be back with you in time to give you plenty of planning and plotting space before the next deadline, which will be exactly a fortnight later. Note that you must maintain your account in credit: you must pay for each turn before receiving its results. Players who allow their accounts to fall to zero will not receive further turn results until they have put some more money in. In the dangerous world of Inferno, player characters can and almost certainly will die. This may be because of the action of rival players, or of inimical NPC forces, or simply because the character in question bit off more than he or she could chew. The Belief system allows a certain chance of surviving situations which would be fatal to mundane folk, but rash players will eventually use up all their Belief, and then they will die. If your character dies, you will be offered the choice of starting another one, or the refund of your remaining credit. 6 Character Creation Creating a character in Inferno is a pretty straightforward process. * The first thing to do is to read through these rules, and all the background material, so as to get a feel for what the game world is like and how it works. * You then need a Concept - an idea for what sort of character yours is going to be, and where in the world they are going to fit. * Next decide on set of Stats - again, this is dead simple, and they should flow fairly freely from your character concept. * Lastly you can choose a House to which you want to belong, from the twelve listed. If you prefer, you need not select a House yourself: you can ask the Inferno Club authorities to assign you to the one they think you would suit best. Then, fill in the Character Creation form, adding a physical description of your character, a background and thoughts about his or her circumstances, make a copy of it, and send it off to us! What could be more straightforward...? Note on gender Although Inferno the game is not sexist in any way, the society which it depicts is extremely so, by modern standards. The Inferno Club itself is a pure meritocracy, making no distinction in its Charter between male and female members - anyone who is able to gain influence over the outside world is worthy of its praise. But, the world of the 1860s being the place it is, the routes to success open to male and to female characters are rather different. For a woman to command a regular army, for example, is absolutely unheard of. She might be able to rise to authority over a band of rebellious peasants, or other irregulars, but even there her sex would make command more difficult than it would be for a man. Similarly, women will find it difficult to progress in the governments of the great nations: there are no female MPs in the British House of Commons, indeed women do not even have the vote there, nor do they in any of the world's democracies. A woman seeking to gain political influence must use different methods - lobbying, social pressure, financial pressure, 'feminine wiles' - usually operating behind the scenes. The fields of science and of magical scholarship, whose practitioners are more likely to pay heed to a mind's products than the shape of body in which it is packaged, are more level playing-fields. Here women will find more opportunity and more recognition, although again if they attempt to invade the masculinist power structures - the universities, departments of government, and research academies - they will find themselves disadvantaged if they stick to conventional means of advancement. Perhaps the one profession where women have a distinct advantage [no, not that one - ed.] is the role which might broadly be called Adventuress. A sufficiently brave, capable and ingenious woman, prepared to make full use of all the gifts with which Nature has endowed her, will find that the existing power structures are packed with foolish, vain men waiting to be taken advantage of. Such a character might find a home in almost any House. 7 The Twelve Houses To create a character for Inferno you will need to decide on a House. There are twelve main Houses, each of which is identified with one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. These are further subdivided into the four elements, Fire, Earth, Air and Water, which correspond to the branches of the Inferno Club concerned with things Military, Scientific, Political and Magical respectively. Note that strictly this set of descriptions contains more information than your characters would have at the very start of the game: but they will find it out immediately on appearing at the first Inferno Club meeting, and it makes character creation a lot easier. Note also that if you wish the GM (in the persona of the Inferno Club hierarchy) will assign you to the most appropriate House for you, if you feel you have insufficient information to decide between them. Placing your trust in your superiors in this way is a sure route to favour and indulgence. Fire (Military) Aries (Adventurers) "Take that , you confounded blackguard!" House Aries is descended from the ancient organization of the Knights Templar, and has a reputation for fundamental decency and the righting of wrongs wherever they may occur. Its members tend to be individual operators well able to handle themselves in a scrap. Ariean character archetypes might include James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Ace Rimmer, John Carter or virtually any square-jawed hero or emancipated heroine in literature. Leo (Generals) "Excellent - the enemy has fallen right into my trap!" House Leo specializes in manpower, and while this does not necessarily mean military personnel, conquering generals the like of Ulysses Grant and Helmut von Moltke are sterling examples of the House. Their sway over large numbers of absolutely loyal followers guarantees them the ability to exert significant influence over the face of European politics. (Normally by giving it a black eye or two.) Sagittarius (Warmongers) "So - the ravens are gathering now. All the pieces are coming together..." The shadowy House Sagittarius has recently been the centre of a scandal with far-reaching implications. Their ostensible purpose of manipulating and controlling international warfare for the benefit of the Inferno Club was proved to be concealing agendas of an unsavoury nature and became the subject of a large-scale House Libra investigation. Until the true nature of Sagittarius has been defined it may be wiser to place more trust in their less secretive offshoot, the Khiron Commission, who seek to fulfil a United-Nations-style role in the field of European warfare. Earth (Scientific) Taurus (Gadgeteers) "Hmm. Most ingenious. But surely it should include a cocktail cabinet?" House Taurus specializes in the field of scientific invention, and includes amongst its ranks such luminaries as Jules Verne and Thomas Edison. The repository of scientific knowledge at their disposal is second to none and they are at the forefront in the development of new ideas in this exciting age of steampunk discovery. Taureans tend to be less single-minded in their dedication to a single branch of science than their Capricorn cousins, but their increased versatility more than makes up for this. Virgo (Technocrats) "Our calculations indicate that the Index of Human Productivity has risen 3 points this year, thanks to our new workhouses!" Dedicated to creating a better world by bringing scientific application to bear on the masses and improving the quality of life thereby, House Virgo has a well-developed hierarchy headed by Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, well-known pioneers in the field of Analytical Engineering. They are known to have a certain amount of political and financial backing in the form of the influential Nouveau Wealth Order of England, and as the most worldly of the scientific Houses are the most likely to find a foot in the door of the European political scene. Capricorn (Pioneers) "Mad? Ha - fools may say so. But that is merely because they cannot comprehend the true majesty of my schemes..." Unlike Taurus, House Capricorn's members each devote themselves to one particular field at the expense of others, for instance Captain Nemo's submarine vessels or Doktor Schreck's electromagnetic researches. This often lends itself to military applications and it would be true to say that the grand scale of Capricorn ambitions has often manifested itself in enormous destructive potential. Certainly the House seems to recruit a breed of mad scientist on an entirely different plane to their merely eccentric Taurean brethren. Air (Political) Gemini (Politicians) "I'm afraid the Honourable Member will have to withdraw his amendment, if he does not wish certain items in my possession to fall into the hands of the public prints..." House Gemini is akin to (and subsumes) the Freemasons in the unparalleled extent of its political influence in the senates, parliaments and organizations of the civilized world. While its members do not have to take an active role in the political forum, their establishment contacts ensure them support in whatever they choose to turn their hand to. One of the most successful members in recent years was Eugene Sue, a Parisian journalist who rose to be Europe's first media baron. Libra (Arbiters) "You lie under threat of Infernal Retribution, unless you speak plainly now!" The Inferno Club's official caretakers, House Libra are responsible for all matters of internal security. Each Inferno Club cell must have a Libran Inquisitor responsible for investigating the activities of the other Houses, and House Libra generally has voting privileges and duties to uphold and interpret the word of the Charter, and to maintain the Prestige Calculation Engine. The massive bureaucratic machine that is House Libra has a great resistance to attempts to deprive it of its paternal control over the workings of the Inferno Club. Aquarius (Puppeteers) "Now then - what of Frankfurt. Ah, the bank has a branch there. Excellent..." Perhaps the greatest threat to Gemini's stranglehold over European politics, House Aquarius has come from nowhere and established itself as a major contender in the powerplay. Their substantial resources mean that they can buy into most affairs that interest them, and they have proved themselves the most viable financial backers for the impoverished scientific Houses. No-one quite knows the source of their influence, but Aquarius is undeniably a force to be watched in the years to come. Water (Magical) Cancer (Conjurers) "Back, fool, ere I summon powers to blast thee into a thousand atoms!" The Magical College that became House Cancer specializes in the magic of conjuration. Cancerian magicians are capable of drawing vast amounts of energy from beyond the veil and shaping it into almost inconceivably destructive shapes. Considered unsubtle by other mages, and somewhat shown up by House Scorpio's recent successes in cementing its power in Europe, no-one can deny that the raw power is at Cancer's disposal - what use they will put it to remains to be seen. Scorpio (Enchanters) "If consumed at night, it will render the drinker hopelessly enamoured of the first person he sees at morn - this I guarantee." Longtime rivals of Cancer, the Enchanters of House Scorpio use magic in a more subtle, and (they claim) more useful way, investing objects and people with magical energy to augment their function. Their dabblings in the political sphere have resulted in Scorpio control of both Bavaria and the newly independent Republic of Hungary. Certainly many Scorpio mages seem cultured and charismatic enough to go far as players in the political game. Pisces (Mages) "My child, you are as a blind man stumbling in the dust. Do not seek to question that which would destroy your weak mind with the knowledge." The most ancient and enigmatic of the magical colleges, House Pisces seem to regard both Cancer and Pisces as magically adept children by comparison to those who have a true understanding of the Art. Their magic, though perhaps not so spectacular in effect as that of other mages, is definitely potent, and does seem to operate on an entirely different set of principles, though of course the Hermetic Oath that all magicians must take before their instruction forbids the revelation of its true nature. Note that House Pisces is an unusual one in that those invited to join it may come from any walk of life, and may have no knowledge at all of their magical powers before the House brings them out into fruition. Pisceans often have a sense that they are somehow 'different' from ordinary folk, but no more than that. 8 Player Character Stats To generate an Inferno character, arrange the following nine stats ordinally from 9 (highest) to 1 (lowest). Physique Strength, health, stamina. If you intend to allow your body to be subjected to unnecessary physical stresses during the game it is worth having a high number here: as such, Physique is at a premium for Houses such as Aries and Scorpio. Because of the aesthetic standards of the day, a high Physique automatically entails outward physical attractiveness. Dexter Competence, manual dexterity, natural athletic ability. A high Dexter will allow you to react swiftly and decisively in situations where quick thinking and reactions are required. Scientists may find a high Dexter useful for operating their devices in tense situations and effecting emergency repairs, so Dextrous individuals are as advantaged in House Taurus as they would be in House Aries. Craft Skills. Craft can be subdivided into any number of abilities in which your character has spent some time training and specializing: for example, a Craft 4 character could have Fencing-2, Seduction-1, Disguise-1. Scientists and mages can spend Craft points to represent particular expertise in a branch of their field, eg. Rocketry or Alchemical Studies. Feel free to use your imagination: Craft can be used for anything that your character could conceivably have spent time working on in their career. Focus Concentration. Representing methodicality, Focus is the prime stat of mages due to their need for precise control over their rituals, but it is important to any character: actions performed by someone of low Focus tend to be slapdash and ill-considered. For example, a scientist with high Uptake but low Focus will produce brilliant inventions with a tendency to malfunction at the earliest opportunity, whilst a general leading his troops into battle with low Focus might fail to appreciate important strategic considerations until the last minute. Uptake Creativity. The prime stat for scientists, Uptake represents inventiveness and the speed with which you find solutions to problems - a high Uptake allows the successful realization of several projects in one year. Again this stat is generally useful to all characters, as it entails swiftness of planning, and as such the reliability with which you can get away with multiple or convoluted actions on your turnsheets. Belief Willpower. Each character should Believe in something specific which summarizes their primary aims and motivations. In situations where your Belief is involved, you can spend one or more of your points to achieve special success in that situation. For example, if your overriding goal was to overthrow the Tsar of Russia, expenditure of several Belief might allow you to fight your way through his crack personal guard to engage him in close combat. Players should be wary about committing Belief in this manner, however: since the stat entails drive and unwillingness to give up the ghost, characters who land themselves in life-threatening situations may survive only through the secret deduction of one or more Belief points at the discretion of the GMs. Trust Manipulation, charm and the ability to appear honest. Ability to inspire Trust is one of the chief weapons in the armoury of any politician, or indeed of anyone who wishes to interact significantly with NPCs or win the loyalty and friendship of others. Those with a low Trust score may be earn the animosity of normal God-fearing folk and be hounded out of their castle retreats by armies of torch-wielding peasants. Ruth Basic human decency, moral purity, cricketing ability. A character with a Ruth of 1 is almost totally Ruthless and diabolically inclined, whereas at the other end of the spectrum those with Ruth 9 have a near-palpable saintliness about them. Having a high Ruth does not necessarily forbid the commission of atrocities, but will entail delusional self-justification on a grand scale. Certain philosophers hold that theoretical dark forces potentially at large in the universe find it much easier to gain a foothold in the souls of the corruptible. Status Personal wealth, title, political sway in the world at large. The Inferno Club's stated goal is to help its members gain such influence in European society, and those who have already shown their worth in this area are rewarded with increased voting power in their Cell. Those with Status 9 have as much power as (or may even be one of) the crowned heads of Europe, while Status 1 makes you a penniless unknown at the start of the game. Sinister There is also a tenth stat, Sinister, which denotes rank within your own House. The member of each House with the highest Sinister acts as the spokesperson for that House in Inferno Club meetings, and Sinister characters are fully entitled to direct the actions of their House inferiors, as well as commanding the respect of those in other Houses. High levels of Sinister also mean almost total access to House resources, secrets and agendas, whereas a member of Sinister 1 is liable to be kept in the dark, sent on House errands and ordered to make the tea a lot. At the start of the game, all characters have Sinister 1: you will rise in Sinister by serving the precepts and obeying the wishes of your House. 9 Example Characters 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 Foulkes Concept: Frustrated Designer House: Taurus Age: 23 Residence: Godalming, Surrey 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. Stats: * Ruth 9 (quite sickeningly nice) * Physique 8 (very good-looking) * Craft 7 (clockwork and general materials science) * Uptake 6 (good at getting an overall grasp) * Trust 5 (reliable and likeable) * Dexter 4 (averagely nimble) * Status 3 (as a young woman, fairly lowly, although from decent family) * Belief 2 (not at all sure that she will realize her dreams) * Focus 1 (scatter-brained) Major Robert Devereux Concept: Ambitious Officer House: Leo Age: 25 Residence: London 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! Stats: * Trust 9 (men would follow him into the jaws of Hell) * Dexter 8 (a crack shot) * Ruth 7 (gifted opening batsman and left-arm spinner) * Uptake 6 (quickly grasps tactical situations) * Status 5 (recognized in society) * Focus 4 (has trouble concentrating on issues) * Physique 3 (slender and thin-faced, fanatical-looking) * Belief 2 (lacking in conviction) * Craft 1 (no useful skills) Grand Duke Lorenzo 'Il Avaro' de'Medici Concept: Manipulative Prince House: Pisces Age: 58 Residence: Florence, Italy 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. Stats: * Status 9 (immensely wealthy and respected) * Ruth 8 (a really honourable guy) * Belief 7 (convinced that Florence can be great once more) * Trust 6 (people usually trust him) * Uptake 5 (pretty good at planning etc) * Focus 4 (fairly good concentration) * Craft 3 (statecraft and banking skills) * Physique 2 (fat and unhealthy) * Dexter 1 (clumsy in the extreme) Arthur Trevelyan Concept: Populist Agitator House: Gemini Age: 36 Residence: Truro, Cornwall 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. Stats: * Belief 9 (utterly devoted to his ideal) * Trust 8 (extremely convincing) * Physique 7 (sturdy and handsome) * Status 6 (wealthy and well-respected) * Focus 5 (dedicated) * Craft 4 (rhetoric) * Uptake 3 (not a great planner) * Dexter 2 (clumsy) * Ruth 1 (completely ruthless) Typho Bantacrides Concept: Obsessive Alchemist House: Scorpio Age: 45 Residence: Salzburg, Austria 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. Stats: * Focus 9 (near-superhuman powers of concentration) * Craft 8 (ancient languages and alchemical techniques) * Uptake 7 (a capable planner) * Dexter 6 (delicate and precise) * Belief 5 (in the value of the Great Work and his role therein) * Ruth 4 (not a nice guy but not a complete git) * Status 3 (pretty lowly) * Trust 2 (people instinctively detest him) * Physique 1 (an utter weed) 10 Steampunk Science One of the most important things about the Inferno world is, of course, the technical innovations and inventions that are changing the face of society, and making everyone's life better. But what can and cannot be done? And what great innovations have the past few years seen? The essence of steampunk science is that Big is Best. None of your micro-technology here - the paying public like to see what they are getting for their guineas and florins. Creations must look impressive, as well as being magnificent - if this means that they must have vast spinning fly wheels, thousands of brass knobs and pipes, thundering pistons and choking clouds of steam and coal smoke - then so much the better. Tiny, subtle, inventions just don't get a look in. Even the scientists of House Taurus - taken from the world's greatest creators of gadgets - know the value of size in an invention: an adding machine may well be included into a wrist time-piece, but note also the interconnected boxes of workings hanging from the belt, the convenient power source in the inside pocket of the gentleman's jacket, and the steam pouring from his trouser-legs. In the Inferno world electricity has been abandoned as a useless scientific curiosity, which, although it may be included as a small part of a design, has no real use. The only exception to this is that telegraph wires appear to work using electricity - or at least that is the best explanation that anyone has come up with as to how they do work. But they work, so best not to worry too much about the exact whys and wherefores. As for civilian transportation, the Steam Train is the greatest means of mass transport (lines are being laid in most countries). Although steam cars are beginning to appear they remain mostly a 'fun' vehicle for the well-off young. Air-ships are being seen more and more, but are still very expensive, and relatively slow. Many steam cruisers plough the waves, and have now completely replaced sail boats. It should be understood that science in Inferno does not work as it does here. Almost anything can be achieved with technology - except those things that are easily achievable here. Don't bother messing with electricity, petrochemicals, or internal combustion engines - they just aren't going to work. But if you build it big, and build in a steam engine, you will find you can achieve almost anything. 11 Magic and Magicians One of the main ways in which the Inferno world differs from our own, of course, is that magic works in it. However, this is not as big an apparent difference as you might think. The world is not run by Gandalf-alikes striding round casting fireballs at everyone in sight. Inferno magic does not work at all like AD&D. Magic is extraordinarily difficult to learn and to practise, and is carried out exclusively behind the scenes. The vast majority of people do not believe that magic exists, or at least are as impervious to it as in our own world. Player characters who wish to join one of the three magical houses will at the start of the game have no true magical abilities at all. They will have to learn these abilities from the House. They may have dabbled, or sought to learn, or had an interest, in the past, but they will never have actually succeeded in anything which could be called an act of magic. And, as they will find on joining, the Houses are strongly insistent that the secrets of magic be kept secret, and as few people as possible - preferably, no-one outside the Inferno Club - be led to suspect that the character is a mage. In return for such discretion, the rewards of learning and power they promise are stupendous indeed. 12 The Charter of the Inferno Club Note that this page contains information which your characters do not strictly possess at the very start of the game. However, they will be given it immediately on arriving at their first Inferno Club meeting, and it's more interesting to let you have a chance of perusing it now. Rules of the Inferno Club I.I. Thou shalt not endanger the Inferno Club by informing, directly or by implication, outsiders of its existence or plans. I.II. Thou shalt not diminish the power of the Inferno Club by affecting the positive work of other members, nor by any other means. I.III. Thou shalt not change the Order of the Inferno Club without reference to the Twelve, followed by a majority vote. I.IV. Thou shalt not divulge secrets of the Inferno Club to outsiders, nor divulge confidential secrets of individual Houses to any person. I.VII. Thou shalt not disobey reasonable, direct orders of members in your House with a higher security clearance, nor reasonable, direct orders from members of House Libra with a higher security clearance. The wishes of others with a higher security clearance must be respected. I.IX. Thou shalt not kill any member without Infernal Retribution first being brought upon that person, nor shalt thou maim or otherwise injure the member physically or magically if this would disrupt his work for the Inferno Club (see section VI). This does not affect orders of Infernal Demolition. I.XII. Thou shalt not use violence, physical or magical, nor kill in the premises of the Inferno Club without permission from the Vizier or Inquisitor. I.XV. Thou shalt not abuse any influence over the lower tiers of the Inferno Club , except where this will lead to an increase in the power of the Illuminati as a whole (see also section III, the Lower Saluter). I.XIX. Disobeyance of these orders may result in punishment from House Libra, individual Members being expelled from the Inferno Club, or in the Charter being revoked. The Order of the Inferno Club II. Structure The Inferno Club is hierarchically structured, and it is expected that Members will try to improve their position within the Illuminati. The European Cell is one of the higher Cells in the Inferno Club. Above this is the Twelve. The Illuminati is divided into four Elements, which are in turn divided into twelve Houses, these corresponding to the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Each House has different resources and training available to it, depending on its nature. III. Elections Elections will be held every five years within this Cell to establish individual positions of authority. The number of votes given to each Member will be dependant on prestige based on calculations made by the House Libran analytical computation engine, using data from international newspapers, the international stock exchange, parliamentary voting patterns, telegraph wire communications, international banking credit ratings, military dispatches, etheric resonance patterns, academic publications, patents pending, and social ruminations. A positive vote of no confidence in a member with a position of authority will result in elections being called for that position. The positions available at Election are as follows: The Vizier This Member will coordinate annual meetings at the Inferno Club, and will chair any formal proceedings, such as votings. The Vizier is answerable only to the Inquisitor. The holder of this position will be given 4 votes. The Elemental This Member will oversee and represent their Element within the Cell, and will chair any formal proceedings for that Element. There will be one Elemental chosen from each Element. The holder of this position will be given 3 votes. The Outer Saluter This Member will act as a liaison with Outsiders, and is responsible for the club's security. The holder of this position will be given 2 votes. The Inner Saluter This Member will act as a liaison with other high Cells of the Inferno Club. The holder of this position will be given 2 votes. The Lower Saluter This Member will act as a liaison with the lower Cells of the Inferno Club. The holder of this position will be given 2 votes. The Inquisitor This Member will interrogate any Member within the Cell who has disobeyed the Charter, and any other Members in connection with this disobedience. This Member must be of House Libra. The holder of this position will be given 1 vote. The Counter This Member will ensure that any voting procedure is not tampered with, and will count the votes following any voting. This Member must be of House Libra. The Voice This Member will be the spokesperson for their House. This position will be given automatically to the Member in each House who holds the highest position within each House, and will change accordingly. The Vizier, Elementals, Saluters and Inquisitor will form the Council of this Cell. V. Votes A vote may be called by any member of the Council on any issue. A request for a vote can be made by a Voice to any member of the Council, or by individual petition to an Elemental if necessary. In the latter case the vote will be called at the discretion of the Elemental (see also section XII). A trial can be requested in the same way (see section VI). VI. Trials A trial may be called whenever there is evidence that a Member of the Cell has contravened any section of the Charter. If a trial is called, the member wishing to allege a crime against the Illuminati must present the evidence to the Inquisitor, and the defendant will be given an opportunity to prove that the evidence is false or to argue in his defence why he has not contravened the Charter as alleged. The Inquisitor will decide whether or not the Charter has been contravened. If a verdict of guilty is reached, then punishment will be decided as follows. VI.I. Punishment - The Inquisitor and the defendant will each choose an appropriate punishment, and these will be given to the Vizier to read to the assembled Members. The Members will vote as to which punishment should be received. The final decision of the Inquisitor must be obeyed. The choice of punishment may take any possible form, including death or worse if this is appropriate to the contravention in question. In extremis, an appeal can be brought to the Libran member of the Twelve (see section VI.III). VII. Infernal Retribution The only other recourses to punishment available are Infernal Retribution and Infernal Demolition (see section VIII for Infernal Demolition). This can be called in extremis by agreement of the Vizier and the Inquisitor where no specific breach of the Charter has occurred but where a Member nevertheless provides the Cell with continual problems. Infernal Retribution can only be dealt on a Member by a majority vote in closed session by the Council, with the Vizier voting last, after the other votes have been counted. If Infernal Retribution is dealt on a Member, their membership of the Inferno Club is instantly revoked, and all their rights to life are removed. They may subsequently be killed by any Member of the Cell. X. Security Clearance X.I. Gaining Security Clearance - Security clearance is dependant upon work done for your House within the Inferno Club. Acts which increase the power of your House or which please your House in other ways will be rewarded with stars. When five stars are obtained, an increase in security clearance will be given. If your House is displeased with your efforts, black marks will be issued. Five black marks being obtained will result in a demotion in security clearance. This grading will be decided each year by the appropriate member of the Twelve. X.II. Security Badges - Security clearance ranges from blank red at the lower end of the scale to full violet at the upper end of the scale. Badges showing security clearance must be worn at all times. Badges of lower Cells can be recognised by the lack of gold edge. XII. Voting Procedures Whenever a vote is required on any issue, the following procedure shall be followed. Each Member will approach the Vizier as they are called in order of prestige, and they will receive the correct number of votes. They will then proceed to the Counter's table, where votes may be placed in any combination into the two bags, which will each represent a choice of vote. At the end of the vote, the pieces will be counted and the result announced to the assembly (see also section V). XIII. Bureaucracy The Inferno Club has a complex network of administrators who can carry out various tasks, although these persons and companies will generally be unaware that they are working for the Inferno Club. Sensitive information should not be passed through this network. There is a secure internal postal service which can be utilised by all members to contact other members of the Inferno Club. Such mail can be given a certain security clearance on request. 13 Recent History of the Inferno World Great Britain Ruled by the great Victoria, Britain's is the largest Empire in the world. At home, technical innovation is thriving, bringing about increased power for the self-styled Nouveau Wealthy Order of innovative industrialists. Political power has alternated between Mr William Gladstone's Liberals and Mr Benjamin Disraeli's Conservatives: the foreign and domestic policies of the two parties are often difficult to distinguish. Truly radical politics has virtually no voice in the United Kingdom, despite the impassioned writings of Mr Karl Marx from his desk in the British Museum's Reading Room. France Currently ruled by the mighty Emperor Napoleon III, France has been quiet in recent years. It is a military power to be reckoned with, mostly thanks to the remarkable fortifications that defend its borders. The 'Maginot line' means that any potential aggressor would have to be very sure of himself before he took on this country - as Prussia found out, to its cost, a few years ago, when a misguided attack on France resulted in a swift counter and the bombardment of Berlin. Prussia The recent expansion of this country has been mostly due to the military genius of the late General von Moltke - it now rules many African colonies, much of what was once the Ottoman Empire, and has spread its influence over much of Europe (although at the expense of gaining several political enemies). Unfortunately, these foreign success not been matched at home, where the country has been in turmoil for many years - a Communist uprising caused a bloody civil war, whose wounds have yet to heal, and the death of the famous Bismarck left a political vacuum that saw General von Moltke and Baron Brodenbach vying for power. With the death of von Moltke, Brodenbach - the self-styled 'Velvet Chancellor' - is completely in power - but at what cost? The country is unstable, and without von Moltke's military genius the future looks uncertain. Wilhelmsland (formerly The Netherlands) Renamed after conquest by Prussia, Wilhelmsland remains an occupied country. However, the people are unhappy, and numerous revolts have broken out - previously violently crushed by the Prussian army. With Amsterdam recently having been burned 'to smoke out rebels', fuelling the people's feeling of humiliation and abuse, it seems that this country needs a leader prepared to step forward and take on the might of the Prussian occupiers. Bavaria This small, but significant, country has been recently troubled by political upheaval - King Ludwig III is a sickly man, and will be succeeded by his brother Prince Otto, who is mentally unstable. The fear now around Europe is that the ruling house will come under the influence of unscrupulous foreign interests who do not have the goodwill of Bavarians at heart. Hungary Previously ruled by the Austrian Empire, Hungary recently came alight with a peasant rebellion - led by the fanatical demagogue Miklos Toldi. Despite Austria's many attempts to crush the revolt, much of Hungary is still occupied by the rebels. However, the country's economy and infrastructure has been smashed by the recent wars, and with the death of the rebels' previous ally von Moltke, the future of the rebellion looks doubtful. Austria Recently humiliated on the battlefield by Prussia, and by the rebellion in Hungary, Austria has lost much pride. Its army is still large, but technologically out-dated. A change of direction is required if this country is to thrive in the future: or will the sleeping giant of Europe be allowed to continue to fester under the Hapsburgs' introspective self-indulgence? Russia Ruled by Tsar Alexander II, Russia has been a dormant force on the international scene for some years. The Tsar seems reluctant to commit himself militarily to any offensive actions, despite recent provocation by both France and Prussia. A recent peace treaty signed with France looks unlikely to last, and a number of military squabbles with Prussia are known to have irritated the Tsar. Italy Italy is a patchwork of principalities and city-states, most notable among them being the Papal States and the city of Florence, owned by the de' Medici family. If the Italian people could ever be persuaded to see themselves as one nation, they would be among the strongest and wealthiest powers in Europe. Spain Decadent and effete, the Spanish monarchy has ruled its people with a firm hand for many centuries, and the nation often gives the impression of still being stuck in the Middle Ages. Since losing its extensive colonies in South America, Spain has played little part on the European political stage. Sweden A large and currently peaceful power on the northern fringe of Europe, Sweden controls all of modern-day Norway and Finland, although it has historically warred with Russia over the latter territory. United States of America The infant nation across the Atlantic has been paid little attention by the powers of Europe in recent years, and indeed tensions between States and Federal government have kept its rulers self-absorbed. Is new President Abraham Lincoln the man to hold the Union together, and turn the USA into a true world power? Only time will tell. 14 Infernal Timeline Note: this timeline mixes what Britons of the time would be taught with other events the Inferno Club think of interest, and hence is unashamedly Anglocentric. Note also that Inferno's history overlaps with our own at some points, but differs from it at others. This game is not a historical simulation, or an exercise in alternate-history what-if, but a fantasy game set in a world that is similar to our own. We play very fast and loose with historical events, and encourage you to think in terms of doing likewise. In particular, try not to think of the game as set specifically in 1865, but rather as in a sort of idealized nineteenth century, combining persons, elements and themes which in our worlds happened at widely differing points in the century. Detailed research of the period is positively discouraged. BC 4004 - World created (probably): initially without form, and void. Dinosaurs born, get fat and die 3200 - Egypt united under Menes 2700 - Pyramids built at Giza 2100 - Trilithons erected at Stonehenge 2000 - Hammurabi rules Mesopotamia, codifies laws 1700 - Abraham active in founding Jewish settlements 1500 - Cretan civilization destroyed by volcanic eruption 1400 - Akhenaton changes Egyptian religion; Tutankhamen succeeds him and returns it 1300 - Children of Israel in captivity, led to Canaan by Moses 1200 - Troy falls to Mycenaean armies under Agamemnon 1000 - Solomon builds Great Temple in Jerusalem 753 - Foundation of Rome by Romulus and Remus 563 - The Buddha born 509 - Rome becomes a republic 479 - Battle of Plataea, Greeks finally defeat Persians 448 - Athenian Acropolis built 440 - Heraclitus teaches that all things are subject to change 431 - Empedocles's theory of the four humours 386 - Plato founds Academy 335 - Aristotle founds Lyceum 331 - Alexander conquers Persia 265 - Archimedes invents Archimedean Screw for raising water 216 - Hannibal defeats Romans at Cannae 210 - Great Wall of China started 165 - Revolt of Judas Maccabeus 54 - Julius Caesar's unsuccessful expedition to Britain 36 - Antony marries Cleopatra 27 - Augustus becomes Emperor of Rome AD - Jesus Christ born 33 - Crucifixion 40 - Claudius conquers the important bits of Britain 105 - Chinese eunuch invents paper 122 - Hadrian's Wall built 250 - Chinese invent gunpowder 312 - Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity 391 - Theodosius burns library of Alexandria 407 - Romans withdraw from Britain 449 - Angles and Saxons settle Britain, resisted by King Arthur 496 - King Clovis of the Franks converts to Christianity, founds Merovingian dynasty 529 - Benedictine order of monks founded 550 - Toltecs overrun the Yucatan 590 - Gregory the Great declares papal absolutism 597 - Augustine's mission to convert Britain 622 - Mohammed's Hejira (flight) from Mecca to Medina 700 - Beowulf written 778 - Chanson de Roland composed 793 - Vikings sack Lindisfarne 800 - Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor 809 - Haroun Al-Raschid, Caliph of Baghdad, dies 850 - Astrolabe invented 873 - Alfred the Great becomes King of Wessex, fights Danes 879 - Saints Cyril and Methodius invent Cyrillic alphabet 900 - Gunbjorn discovers Greenland 985 - First printed book, in Szechuan, the Tripitaka (Buddhist scriptures) 1000 - Polynesians reach New Zealand about now 1026 - Musical scale introduced by Guido d'Arezzo 1040 - Macbeth murders Duncan to become King of Scotland 1050 - Temple of the Warriors built at Chichen Itza, Mexico 1066 - Normans under William the Bastard conquer England 1099 - First Crusade results in foundation of Kingdom of Jerusalem 1118 - Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (the Knights Templar) founded 1135 - English civil war between forces of Steven of Blois and Empress Matilda, 'when Christ and his Saints slept' 1167 - Oxford University founded 1170 - Thomas Becket murdered on orders of Henry II 1177 - Khmer capital of Angkor Wat falls to Champa invaders 1215 - Magna Carta signed at Runnymede 1218 - Genghis Khan conquers Persia 1244 - Capture of Montsegur destroys Albigensian heresy 1253 - Nichiren founds his Buddhist sect 1271 - Marco Polo journeys to the Far East 1275 - Moses of Leon writes the Zohar, chief text of Cabbalism 1307 - Templars suppressed in France: Dante Alighieri writes Divine Comedy 1330 - William of Ockham invents 'Occam's Razor' 1345 - Aztecs build Tenochtitlan 1348 - Black Death rages throughout Europe 1374 - Dancing craze sweeps Aix-la-Chapelle 1380 - William Wycliffe translates the Bible into English 1391 - Geoffrey Chaucer writes The Canterbury Tales 1415 - Battle of Agincourt, English under Henry V defeat French most heroically 1429 - de'Medici rise to power in Florence: Joan of Arc has her visions 1440 - Gilles de Rais (de Retz) executed 1453 - Constantinople falls to Turks 1462 - Vlad the Impaler deposed 1478 - Isabelle of Castille launches Spanish Inquisition [bet you didn't expect that - ed.] 1480 - Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus 1482 - Portuguese discover bananas 1485 - Battle of Bosworth ends Wars of the Roses: Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur published 1492 - Columbus discovers New World (much to the surprise of its inhabitants) 1498 - Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper: Savonarola holds Bonfires of the Vanities 1511 - Raphael Sanzio's Sistine Madonna, Portrait of Julius II and School of Athens: Michelangelo Buonarroti's ceiling of the Sistine Chapel 1521 - Hernan Cortez defeats Aztecs and burns Tenochtitlan: Ferdinand Magellan's expedition circumnavigates the world 1528 - 'Paracelsus' (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) expelled from Basel 1534 - Henry VIII breaks with Rome, founds Church of England 1543 - Pope Paul III institutes Index of Forbidden Books: Nicolaus Copernicus suggests that the Earth revolves around the Sun 1552 - Nostradamus's Centuries 1556 - Ivan the Terrible conquers Astrakhan: Archbishop Thomas Cranmer burnt at the stake, in Oxford 1569 - Gerald Mercator's first map of the world 1582 - Gregorian calendar adopted 1587 - Virginia Dare born in Roanoke Island colony 1588 - English under Francis Drake defeat Spanish Armada: Christopher Marlowe's The Tragedy of Dr Faustus: Russian Orthodox Church founded 1603 - William Shakespeare's Hamlet: British East India Company's first expedition 1615 - Rosicrucian Manifesto published in Paris 1616 - Galileo Galilei arrested for heresy 1622 - Richelieu appointed Cardinal of France 1632 - Taj Mahal built 1638 - Nicolas Poussin's Les Bergers d'Arcadie 1642 - Pascal invents an adding machine: English Civil War starts 1651 - Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan 1654 - Queen Christina of Sweden abdicates, dresses as a man and journeys to Rome 1661 - Morin de Villefranche's Astrologia Gallica 1665 - Bubonic plague in London, swiftly followed by Great Fire: city is rebuilt by Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor and John Vanbrugh 1670 - Hindus rebel against Moghuls, Sivaji founds Maratha state: the pirate Henry Morgan is knighted and made Governor of Jamaica 1677 - Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovers spermatozoa 1682 - French capital moves to Versailles 1684 - The Thames freezes over at London; John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress 1688 - Glorious Revolution, powers of British monarch circumscribed 1692 - Leibnitz develops calculus: Massacre of Glencoe 1694 - Foundation of Bank of England 1697 - Peter the Great tours Holland, France and Britain incognito, works in a shipyard 1698 - Dom Pierre Perignon invents champagne 1704 - America's first regular newspaper published, in Boston 1707 - Most recent eruption of Mount Fuji to date 1709 - At Battle of Poltava, Peter the Great breaks the power of Sweden 1710 - First copyright law introduced, in England 1717 - First Grand Lodge of Freemasonry established in London 1718 - Blackbeard killed; first English banknotes introduced 1719 - Principality of Liechtenstein created 1720 - South Sea Bubble bursts, John Law's Mississippi Trading Company collapses 1722 - Easter Island discovered by Roggeveen: Peter the Great's Persian exppedition fails because of outbreak of ergotism 1726 - Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels 1729 - John and Charles Wesley begin Methodist movement, in Oxford 1732 - Swarm of grasshoppers devastates Japanese harvest 1736 - First successful appendectomy performed: John Harrison's chronometer accurately establishes longitude 1738 - Excavation of Herculaneum, Italy 1742 - Anders Celsius invents centigrade temperature scale 1745 - Jacobite Rising in Scotland under Bonnie Prince Charlie 1749 - Thomas Chippendale opens his workshop 1751 - Benjamin Franklin is killed flying a kite in a thunderstorm 1753 - British Museum and Library founded, on basis of Hans Sloane's collection left to the nation 1755 - Giovanni Casanova imprisoned in Venice for spying 1756 - Duc de Richelieu invents mayonnaise: Black Hole of Calcutta incident 1759 - French Canada falls to British forces under James Wolfe 1764 - James Otis denounces taxation without representation 1767 - Daniel Boone enters Kentucky: Lawrence Sterne's Tristram Shandy 1770 - James Cook claims Australia for Britain: Voltaire writes 'If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him' 1773 - Boston Tea Party: Pope Clement XIV dissolves Jesuit order 1774 - Johann von Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther 1776 - Declaration of Independence signed: Adam Weishaupt founds Illuminati in Ingolstadt, Bavaria: David Bushnell unsuccessfully pioneers the submarine: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations: Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1780 - Sebastien Erard invents the pianoforte: Jeremy Bentham's Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation 1781 - William Herschel discovers Uranus: battle of Yorktown leaves Americans victorious in War of Independence: Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason 1785 - Crossing of the Channel by hot-air balloon 1788 - Times newspaper founded: John Lempriere's Classical Dictionary 1789 - Storming of the Bastille, Paris 1791 - Marie Harel invents Camembert: Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man: James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson: Wolfgang Mozart's The Magic Flute: the Marquis de Sade's Justine 1792 - Denmark becomes first country to renounce slavery: Paris Commune seizes power, imprisons Louis XVI 1793 - Jean Paul Marat killed in his bath by Charlotte Corday: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette executed 1795 - Warren Hastings, former Governor-General of India, cleared of corruption charges: Napoleon Bonaparte appointed to command of French armies 1797 - Cigarettes invented, in Cuba 1798 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principles of Human Population 1799 - Humphrey Davy invents laughing gas 1802 - Madame Tussaud opens wax museum in London: Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata 1805 - At Battle of Trafalgar, British under Horatio Nelson smash French naval power 1807 - Aaron Burr acquitted of plotting to set up an independent state 1811 - Venexuela declares independence from Spain: Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility 1812 - Napoleon's Russian expedition devastated by winter conditions 1814 - British troops burn Washington 1815 - Battle of Waterloo finally destroys Napoleon: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Fairy Tales 1816 - Shaka Zulu succeeds his father 1818 - Holkar kingdom in central India conquered by British: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 1819 - Chocolate invented at Vevey, Switzerland: British soldiers kill Corn Law protesters at Peterloo: Walter Scott's Ivanhoe: John Keats's On a Grecian Urn: George Byron's Don Juan 1820 - Venus de Milo discovered: state of Liberia founded 1822 - Jean Champollion deciphers Rosetta Stone 1825 - Stockton-Darlington railway opens: Tsar Alexander I dies after eating poisoned mushrooms: John Nash completes Buckingham Palace, London 1829 - First sewing machine invented: bodysnatcher William Burke hanged in Edinburgh 1830 - Foundation of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by Joseph Smith: Alfred Tennyson's Poems, Chiefly Lyrical 1831 - Charles Darwin's voyage of the Beagle commences: Michael Faraday dies after inhaling chlorine gas 1833 - Britain claims Falkland Islands: Kaspar Hauser killed 1834 - Victoria succeeds to British throne 1835 - Houses of Parliament built: Dutch settlers in South Africa begin Great Trek inland 1836 - Mexicans capture the Alamo: Charles Dickens's Pickwick Papers 1837 - Samuel Morse devises code for telegraph transmission 1838 - In London, Chartists call for universal suffrage: Opium Wars triggered in China 1839 - Kirkpatrick MacMillan invents the bicycle: Charles Goodyear vulcanizes rubber: Belgian independence recognized by Dutch: Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher 1841 - James Baird discovers hypnosis; Rowland Hill launches Penny Post 1842 - First operation under general anaesthetic, in America: Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine built, receives generous funding from British government 1844 - Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers 1845 - Irish potato famine starts: Austen Henry Layard excavates Nimrud 1846 - Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense 1847 - Michael Bakunin expelled from Paris; Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights; Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's Communist Manifesto 1848 - Insurrections throughout Austrian Empire, Ferdinand abdicates and is succeeded by Franz Josef: John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy 1849 - Hungarian patriots under Lajos Kossuth declare independence, invaded by Russia and crushed 1850 - Richard Wagner's Lohengrin 1851 - Gold Rush in Australia: Great Exhibition opens in Crystal Palace, London 1852 - Napoleon III proclaims Second Empire in France: Roget's Thesaurus 1853 - US Commodore Perry's trade expedition to Japan disappears without trace 1854 - Bejamin Silliman demonstrates that petroleum cannot be fractionated: British and French defeat Russians in Crimea 1855 - David Livingstone discovers source of Nile: Alexander II succeeds to Russian throne 1856 - Remains of Neanderthal Man discovered 1857 - Giuseppe Garibaldi calls, from New York where he is working as a candle-maker, for Italian unity: Indian Mutiny against British rule 1858 - Ferdinand Carre invents the refrigerator: Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Mary Magdalene 1859 - Austrians conquer Piedmont from France, and Hungary from Russians: work starts on Suez Canal 1860 - Prussian colony in East Africa founded: Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White: Ludwig III succeeds to Bavarian throne: Piedmont restored to puppet status 1861 - Richard Gatling invents his gun: Kaiser Wilhelm succeeds to Prussian throne: George Eliot's Silas Marner: series of Communist uprisings in Prussia bloodily put down 1862 - British and Spanish troops withdraw from Mexico: Otto of Greece deposed, replaced by Danish prince George: Prussians under Bismarck attempt to invade France, easily repulsed 1863 - French conquer Mexico, Maximilian given throne: London Underground railway inaugurated: Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon: Prussian expedition to Turkey conquers most of Anatolia 1864 - Abraham Lincoln elected President of US to mounting tensions between states: British army under General Gordon helps Chinese put down rebellion: Miklos Toldi leads Hungarian rebellion against Austrian rule 1865 - William Booth founds Salvation Army: Prussians under von Moltke conquer Netherlands, renaming it Wilhemsland, King flees to London: for the current situation, see section 13 15 Ranking Characters There are several criteria for measuring success in Inferno. Which you will judge as the most important is up to you: here's a brief summary of each. * Sinister - the indicator of your seniority within your House. Means slightly different to members of different Houses, but in general you will gain Sinister from doing what your House wishes, forwarding its aims and so on. Some Houses are amenable to being sucked up to, others demand more concrete evidence of success. Everyone starts with the same Sinister, and gaining it faster than your Housemates has the added advantage that you gain authority over them - which they may or may not wish to respect, of course. * Status - the indicator of your social rank. Initial Status is one of the nine basic character stats: changing it is rather difficult, particularly in the entrenched societies of Western Europe. A character with low initial Status who manages to make his or her way up to the higher echelons of society has truly achieved something. * Influence - the indicator of your raw power in society at large. Includes positions of authority, the ear of the mighty, spending power and so on. It is assessed by the Libran Calculation Engines, which are claimed to be infallible and omniscient. Some characters will start the game with more Influence than others. Note that some of a character's Influence may be hidden to the world, and even to the members of the Inferno Club, but not necessarily to the Libran Calculation Engines. * Prestige - the indicator of the respect in which you are held by the Inferno Club in general. This too is assessed by the Libran Calculation Engines, and it is totally determined by the relative success or failure of your plans - taking into account their ambition. It is essentially a measure of how effective you are as an Inferno Club member. All four of these measures above are apparent within the game - that is, the characters are told them. Finally, though, there is a purely out-of-game measure, which you are told as a player but which has no meaning to your character: * Victory Points - this is what will determine who has won the game, when it finishes. Victory Points are allocated by a set of secret criteria related to the completion of plot - what this is all about will become apparent during the course of the game! 16 Current Events A few brief snippets of what is going on in the Inferno world this year: you may choose to read particualr significance into them or not, as you wish. LORD HARTLEY JARVIS SLAIN The only son of the Duke of Jarvis was murdered by an unknown assailant in June of this year. Persistent rumours that his death was the result of an affair of honour involving his sister, the Honourable Clarissa Jarvis, have been denied by the Duke's spokesman. The disappearance of Mersuavin Powers, recent heir to the title of Lord Crail, to Paris is thought to be coincidental. RUSSIANS, PRUSSIANS CLASH The town of Kernow on the Prussian-Russian border was the scene of a bloody skirmish this year when Brigadier Kropotnik clashed with local Prussian militia. Order was with difficulty restored only after the belligerent Brigadier had been felled by a lucky musket shot between the eyes. The increasing bloodthirstiness of the Russian people must be a source of great worry to their Prussian neighbours, especially given the instability of the current Tsar. Given his threatening behaviour towards France too in recent years, can he be mad enough to believe that he can take on the whole of Europe with the might of his armies? HUMAN-POWERED FLIGHT Dr Peter Tavener, the prominent Oxford scientist, has developed a human-powered device capable of flight. Based on the motive principle of the bicycle, the apparatus allows a single aviator to achieve height of several feet and speeds comparable to that of a cantering horse. PRESS BARON EUGENE SUE SLAIN The French-Bavarian press baron and industrialist Eugene Sue was found dead last Friday near the docksides of Marseilles. Mr. Sue was apparently kidnapped and bludgeoned to death with a piece of lead piping. It is not clear how his press empire, including the mighty Suddeutsche Zeitung and most Hungarian industry, will react. BRITISH DETECTIVE SOLVES THE CASE OF THE TEMPESTUOUS PARROT The famed British private investigator Meridian Macey-Dare yesterday announced the completion of her toughest case to date. Scotland Yard police officers were said to be 'baffled' as to how Miss Macey-Dare was able to piece together intricate clues that led to the arrest of Archibald Snee for the abduction of Lady Wimona Williks. Lady Wimona - freed from two weeks of captivity - said she was 'profoundly and deeply grateful' for the skill and daring of Miss Macey-Dare, who also rescued Lady Wimona from Snee's hide-out. PRE-RAPHAELITE BROTHERHOOD THROWS PARTY IN PARIS The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood - artistic and cultural movement - has been spreading its influence into France. The party was attended by many of the prime movers in the Bohemian society of the Left Bank, and was declared a great success by its hosts. CLOCKWORK SEAPORT Great Britain's spanking new seaport opened for business this December. Designed by noted technologist Professor Hugo Victor and powered entirely by clockwork, Victoriaport, located near Plymouth and readily accessible by rail, will allow Britain's merchant traders unrivalled deep-sea access. Eat your heart out Johnny foreigner! THE WORLD OF LETTERS Alfred Tennyson has been granted a life peerage for his services to poetic endeavour. The playwright Henrik Ibsen is gaining success throughout Europe for his modernization of the dramatic form, and Sarah Bernhardt's new Parisian theatre is proving most popular. Charles Dickens is also said to be 'fit as a fiddle' after the fitting of his steam pacemaker. METEOR SHOWER HITS AMERICA Reports have reached us of a freak meteor shower in America: sizeable meteorites were seen to crash to earth over a period of several days, across the nation. CIRCUSES BUT NO BREAD FOR RUSSIANS Proof of the growing decadence of the Russian Empire, if any were needed, is to be found in the legalisation of real gladiatorial combats as entertainment for the population. Will the Tsar fiddle as his nation burns? DR SCHRECK DIES IN FREAK METEOR SHOWER Renowned scientist Dr Schreck perished earlier this year in a freak meteor shower which utterly destroyed his laboratory complex. Readers will recall the good doctor coming to prominence when he rather wildly announced to the Prussian Congress of Deputies that the world was to end in sixteen years. 'His death may be seen as a merciful release,' one colleague who wished to remain anonymous commented. 16 Sending Us Your Character This is what we need from you: * Player name: * Player address: * Player email: All three of these will be passed on to the other players unless you specify otherwise. * Player telephone number: This will not be passed on to anyone else (unless you wish us to do so), just kept by us for emergency use. * Whether you plan to submit turns by post or by email: * Whether you would prefer to receive turn results by post or by email: We won't hold you to either of these two declarations, you can change your mind whenever you wish, but it helps us get an idea of numbers. * Character name: * Character concept: * House seeking to join: * Character age: * Character place of residence: * Character description: This should include things like appearance, background history, aims, likes and dislikes, contacts - anything that helps bring the character to life. Have a look at the examples. And you can always give us a call, or drop a line, if you want to discuss your ideas. Inferno is (c) Matthew Marcus 1996, Undying King Games 1998 ENDS