To create a character for Inferno you will need to decide on a HOUSE, and your STATS. 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 Illuminati concerned with things Military, Scientific, Political and Magickal respectively.
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. Arian character archetypes might include James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Ace Rimmer, John Carter or virtually any square-jawed hero or emancipated heroine in literature.
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.)
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 Illuminati 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 fulfill a United Nations-style role in the field of European warfare.
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.
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 Steam Lords 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.
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.
House Gemini is akin to (and subsumes) the Freemasons in the unparalleled extent of their political influence in the senates, parliaments and organizations of the civilized world. Whilst their 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 their most successful members in recent years was Eugene Sue, a Parisian journalist who rose to be Europe's first media baron.
The Illuminati's official caretakers, House Libra are responsible for all matters of internal security. Each Illuminati 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 Illuminati 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 Illuminati.
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.
The Magickal College that became House Cancer specializes in the magick 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.
Longtime rivals of Cancer, the Enchanters of House Scorpio use magick in a more subtle, and (they claim) more useful way, investing objects and people with magickal 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.
The most ancient and enigmatic of the magickal colleges, House Pisces seem to regard both Cancer and Pisces as magickally adept children by comparison to those who have a true understanding of the Art. Their magick, 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.