Oxford University Role Playing Games Society
Inferno 1878 News
POWER STATIONS SWITCH TO FULL POWER
Our technology staff tell us that the Power Stations built last year near Moscow
and London are now switching to full power. Currently relatively few businesses
have signed up to this new breakthrough in power technology - many have said
they have been put off by last years disaster with the steam-powered
light-bulbs. However, this looks like it may be the way forward for cities of
NORSE GOD REVIVAL IN ICELAND
Several cults dedicated to worship of Norse gods have sprung up in Iceland
recently following the appearance of a man claiming to be the living incarnation
of Sigurd, a famous Norse hero, and his companion, known only as 'The Odinsson'.
AUSTRIA INVADES VENICE
The peaceful Republic of Venice has fallen to an unprovoked invasion from
Austria. The barbarous Hapsburg forces swarmed across the border and fell like
wolves on their unsuspecting neighbours, capturing Venice's navy, its main
strength, in harbour. Reports are that bloodshed was light, the Venetian Council
surrendering quickly, but the hearts of all Britons must go out to this
NEW LIGHTS FOR PARLIAMENT
To celebrate the completion of the new Power Station in Great Britain, the
Houses of Parliament has been presented a new lighting system, free of charge.
This spectacular device now hangs in the central of the Palace of Westminster,
and provides excellent illumination during the great debates that govern this
land. We are also told similar device has been given to the Tsar of Russia,
there to celebrate the construction of the Moscow power Plant.
DISTURBANCE OUTSIDE LONDON CLUB
Last New Year saw disgraceful disturbances outside London's Inferno Club, as a
drunken lout, apparently a guest of one of the members, went on a rampage
through the nearby streets.
TOP PSYCHOLOGIST REVEALS REALITY BEHIND 'FAIRY TRUTHS'
Top Parisian psychologist Theodore Flournoy has published his latest theory of
the mind. "Secrets of Eve" details many case studies, and how they lead to the
conclusion that our earliest memories are in fact 'fairy truths' which reveal
key details of the construction of our personalities.
>From the pages of "How do you do?" magazine:
LIZZI AN INTERNATIONAL HIT!
Our favourite Lovely Elizabeth Siddal has been seen all over the world this
year, being made welcome wherever she goes. America is the latest country to be
graced by our favourite model, where she is touring promoting new products
including a wonderful new brand of Vodka.
COLONEL SUCCEEDS! EXPLORER MANAGES ATLANTIS AT LAST
Colonel Mustard has announced that he has finally succeeded in his long term aim
of exploring the sunken continent of Atlantis. Once again turning to the
scientific skills of Dr Hugo Victor, who provided him with a clockwork
submarine, he travelled to the oceans bottom. We hear that the mission was not
without difficulty, as he once again encountered fearsome sea-creatures, and
other difficulties, but we look forward to hearing his results.
DUKE OF BARI DIES
Alfonso Celi, Duke of Bari, a prominent critic of the government of the new
Republic of Naples, was found dead in his villa yesterday morning. It appears he
died of heart failure. This can only be good news for President Garibaldi, to
whom the well-respected Duke was a major thorn in the flesh.
KEW GETS THE BLUES
Horticulturists were in a state of outrage when every rose in Kew Gardens was
found to have turned blue overnight. Expert opinion is that the introduction of
Ms Ariadne Digitalis' "abominable" vodka trees to the gardens has infected the
other plants with previously unimaginable blights. God did not give man the gift
of Nature for it to be meddled with - is Ms Digitalis a modern Eve, tempting man
to his destruction with her forbidden fruit?
MEDICI TOPPLED BY AUSTRIA
As the year unfolded it became clear that the Austrian capture of Venice was
only a prelude to their true aim, the seizure of Florence and the Grand Duchy of
Tuscany. Austrian troops met up with the Florentine rebels led by 'Diana' and
fell upon the Grand-Ducal troops, which had gathered in the Taggia Valley, north
of Florence - surely a grave tactical error, for they were cut to pieces by the
attackers. Eventually a cowed Grand Duke Lorenzo de'Medici agreed surrender
terms, and the Austrians marched on the city to take it unopposed. Austrian rule
now holds throughout the province of Tuscany, and the de'Medici themselves are
prisoners. But will the liberty-seeking peasantry find they have exchanged one
cruel master for a worse?
>From Times Editorial:
"...the recent preposterous suggestions that votes should be extended to women
beggar belief. That a woman like Elizabeth Siddal should be seen repeatedly
within the company of those representing these interests, shows more clearly
than anything else the idiocy of the suggestion that women have the intelligence
and sophistication required to make rational political decisions."
Letter to the Times:
Regarding your comments in your recent editorial.
Miss Elizabeth Siddal is a woman who has gained success and fame through
respectable pursuits available to, and appropriate to, a woman. She is a
charming hostess and a sought-after model whose image may soon only be second to
our dear Queen in recognisability with her promotion of various liquors. Her
parties have brought together different sections of the intelligentsia,
provoking cultural growth. Before I was employed to handle her business affairs,
I met Mr William Morris, the acclaimed designer, at one of her Paris soirees, an
encounter that may spawn some exciting collaborations.
Miss Siddal is an important figure who I am honoured to represent. May I
speculate that what you resent is not depravity, but femininity: that you
criticise her profession not because it is a destructive profession, but because
it is a woman's profession. Or do you not appreciate the distraction?
Herbert Beerbohm Tree
>From Times Editorial:
"We call upon the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to prosecute Mr Beerbohm
Tree for Treason: that he should think to compare the Jezebel Elizabeth Siddal
to our beloved Queen Victoria is the greatest disrespect we can imagine. That he
should further point out that this notoriety has been brought about by her
'association' with alcohol, apparently thinking that this makes his statements
acceptable displaces crass disrespect for the feelings of the noble subjects of
this great realm. We claim this is treason, and should be treated as such."
COLONEL SUGGESTS WORLD MAY BE ABOUT TO LEAP FORWARD
Colonel Mustard has published results of his latest archaeological expeditions
that suggest that at key points in the evolution of civilisation the technology
of a society leaps forward. He goes on to suggest that our own society could be
about to go through another period of rapid evolution.
THAMES FREEZES OVER - NEW ICE AGE?
The people of London may have enjoyed the freezing of the Thames this winter,
the first time it has happened since 1679, but the world's climatologists have
been scratching their heads over the succession of cold winters we have had to
endure for the past few years, which has not been limited to Britain. Can the
world's weather systems really have taken a turn for the worse?
REFUGEE CAMPS CREATED IN ITALY
We are told of great charitable works being performed on behalf of the needy in
Italy - refugee camps are being set up to take care of those displaced by the
ANTHEM TRANSPORT SOLD AFTER RECORD YEAR
One of Europe's greatest railway companies Anthem Transport has been sold off
piecemeal, after announcing record profits this year. Many investors have rushed
to get a part of this booming industry.
A NEW AID TO BUSINESSES
Our business staff report the creation of "Marketing Strategy Consulting", a
company aimed at giving advice to, and aiding, business increase their success.
These services will be available to all, for a fee, and should be a useful
service for businessmen.
Letter to 'Le Soir', the nearest thing France has to 'The Times':
It has come to my attention that the esteemed and talented young Marshal of
France, Joseph Joffre has for some time been secretly married to Princess
Annabella of Liechtenstein.
It is a sad world we live in in which two people so obviously in love are forced
to conceal their passion from the world.
I for one would wish them every happiness and hope that the climate will soon be
such that they no longer have to live under a cloud of subterfuge.
NEW SCIENCE AWARD ANNOUNCED
Two awards of L100,000 have been offered in a new competition. The first is to
be offered for innovative mathematical papers concerned with information theory,
the second, a strangely specialised field, the investigation of the properties
of Diadonic crystals.
A BAD HAIR DAY FOR TENNYSON
Lord Tennyson has been publicly disgraced in Parliament this year following a
strange incident. It appears that a new hair dye was applied to the Lord's head,
with disastrous effects. During a meeting of Parliament, while he was speaking
in support of votes for women, his hair turned from freshly dyed black to a
shocking purple hue, and seemed to lose all control, waving wildly about his
head. He claims that this was a terrorist attack, but that has not yet appeased
his Parliamentary associates.
FRENCH, BRITISH TROOPS REINFORCE POPE
In the light of the unrest throughout Italy, the Pope can be grateful that the
French and British governments have sent a number of troops to the Papal States.
No doubt they will be very handy should either the irreligious Garibaldi, to the
south, or the power-crazed Austrians, to the north, develop designs on the lands
of central Italy which fall under His Holiness's sway. Small detachments of
British troops, indeed, were assigned to guard notable architectural and
artistic treasures in the troubled areas of the peninsula. Rumours that this was
solely in order to take the best pieces for the British Museum have been
strongly denied by local commander Lord Elgin.
HOUDINI STORMS LONDON
The amazing Houdini has taken London by surprise with his stunning escapology
act, which has been performed all over London this year. Audiences have been
awed by his astounding feats. He will certainly be a performer to look out for
in future: promoter Beerbohm Tree has announced that Houdini will be touring the
country in the New Year.
FEARSOME PORTENT STRIKES FLORENCE - 'DAVID' DESTROYED
Michelangelo's 'David', the consummate masterpiece of Renaissance art which
above all else embodies Florence and its civic pride, was hidden away as news
reached the city of the de'Medici's defeat - presumably by concerned citizens
fearing the Austrian invaders would destroy it. But the townsfolk's horror was
palpable when the twelve-foot-high statue animated itself, burst out of its
packing-crate and started to march through the city, brushing aside all who
tried to bar its path! Even worse, shortly after the statue reached the city
limits it was struck by a bolt of lightning, issuing from an otherwise clear
sky, and shattered into a million smithereens! Opinion is unanimous as to the
interpretation of this portent - the Austrian occupation means the end of
Florence's centuries of independence and greatness.
LIBRARY THEFTS INVESTIGATED
Noted scholar Gottfried Dammerung has been investigating the recent series of
thefts from Europe's libraries. He observed that the locations of the thefts
were all accorded astrological significance by certain heretical sects, and by
scholarly study and drawing lots of lines on maps was able to trace the stash of
stolen books to a house frequented by a group of crazed ART-worshippers. The
grateful Bavarian government has awarded him the post of Private Academic
POET LAUREATE WRITES ON WAR
Alfred, Lord Tennyson has published an epic poem on the subject of Mars, Roman
god of warfare and strife, to follow his verse earlier this year on George
Eliot. Space does not permit the printing of the whole affair, but here are a
few extracts which give its flavour:
'The planet shone with flares of colour green,
The like of which can rarely have been seen...
Like Trojan heroes toiling on the strand,
Mars' devotees will war throughout the land...
But Hector died outside the Ilian wall,
And so must those who follow Mars all fall.'
WANTED: PIED PIPER
There has been a run on rats in Bavaria. After Munich's two pet-shops had sold
out of stock, demand was still high enough for local entrepreneurs to roam the
streets with nets and clubs attempting to secure supplies of this suddenly
Professor Hugo Victor announced the reinforcement of the clockwork
Victoriaport's sea defences this year, with a new system of storm walls that
will protect it from the weather's ravages.
'CHRIDGE' PROCEEDS APACE
The Channel Bridge's supporting piers have been extended eight miles into the
sea off Dover, and work has now also started on the French end. Doctor Peter
Tavener unveiled his plans for the bridge, which when complete will include
space for shops, and a large artificial island in mid-Channel.
Lorenzo de'Medici the younger, heir to Grand Duke Lorenzo 'The Avaricious', was
married early last year to Tuscan noble Lady Apollonia. The happy couple's
honeymoon, though, was cut short by the Austrian invasion of Italy.
BAVARIAN TAX-GATHERERS SCALPED
A team of tax-gatherers sent by the Bavarian government to the remote village of
Neu Schlafenbad were found scalped at the foot of the mountain on which the
village perches, their throats slit.
MERIDIAN MACEY-DARE SPEAKS IN FAVOUR OF VOTES FOR WOMEN IN REFORM CLUB
London's Reform Club heard a speech from Meridian Macey-Dare on the subject of
female suffrage. Although approval for her thesis was far from universal,
members agreed that Miss Macey-Dare had spoken well. 'If they were all like her,
I might think about it,' one elderly member was heard to mutter.
DEMONIC BEAST FLEES LONDON
Several people driving to London late last night were startled by some 'demonic
beast' seemingly fleeing the town. Eye-witnesses describe the beast as like a
tall human, with foot long metallic talons on its hands, ebony skin and fiery
red eyes. The speed at which the beast was travelling was incredible.
'VOTES FOR WOMEN' CALL AT SOCIAL EVENT
Female suffrage seems to be the political cause of the year, with a grand soiree
in London attended by Lord Tennyson (sporting his new crew-cut), Prime Minister
Mey and Elizabeth Siddal among others. When will this nine days' wonder be over?
CARDINAL WOWS THE FAITHFUL
Cardinal Gino Baggio demonstrated just why he is the most charismatic preacher
in Europe, with a tour of Catholic nations that lasted all through the summer.
Some religious commentators spoke disapprovingly of the plethora of booths
retailing devotional tat that surrounded each sermon, but 'Il Divino Codino'
riposted that people would only buy if they could afford it.
LONDON HAS NEW VIGILANTE - 'THE MOUSE' STRIKES AGAIN
Sketchy reports from Scotland Yard hint that 'The Mouse' has taken to a career
of crime-fighting - several criminals were delivered to the baffled constabulary
this year, with notes from the enigmatic hero of the streets around their necks.
RUSSIAN SAILORS MASSACRED
It appears that the crews of Russian ships moored outside Marseilles were
massacred as they slept last night. Sailors who survived the incident spoke of a
hideous red mist descending on the ship, and their companions being torn limb
from limb by a hideous red skinned beast, and left with their hearts stuffed in
MILAN MUSEUM ROBBED
The museum of the Duomo of Milan was burgled earlier this year, the villain
making off with a variety of antique weaponry.
REVOLT IN ITALY
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies erupted into rebellion this year, and the cause
soon became evident as a Spanish army landed in Brindisi. The combination of
capable Spanish generalship and the clever tactics of the local guerrillas
prevailed against the dispirited Royal troops, and at the end of August the
Republic of Naples was proclaimed under the leadership of President Garibaldi,
formerly known as 'Il Mosco Schiacciato', and his Revolutionary Council. The
humbled ex-King Federico has fled to the court of his second cousin Emperor
Franz Josef of Austria.
POPE SAVED BY MIRACLE CURE
Fears grew throughout the later part of the year about Pope Pius IX's health, as
he took to his sickbed and seemed to be gradually worsening. Vatican doctors
despaired, assigning the illness to an as yet unknown disease or toxin. It was
even thought that he would be unable to deliver his Christmas address, and
Cardinal Gino Baggio had been tentatively lined up to stand in. But on the 20th
of December the Pope called for a Europe-wide day of prayer for peace: many of
the devout faithful must have added in a line or two about His Holiness's own
health, for, miraculously enough, by evening he was well enough to leave his bed
for the first time in two months, and by two days he was completely well again.
Truly a Christmas gift for all of us.
The Balkans remain in turmoil despite the victory of the Greek uprising against
the beleaguered Turks: Austrian forces have moved into Serbia, ostensibly at the
request of the Serbian people, but suspicion has fallen on their motives since
the leader of the pro-Austrian Serbian faction was discovered to be taking large
bribes from the Turks for his actions.
MISSION TO JAPAN LOST
A large English deputation to the Japanese has disappeared without trace.
British diplomat Lady Julia Camberwick was shot dead in Whitehall by an unknown
assassin who somehow disintegrated the entire wall of the antechamber in which
she was waiting in order to get a clear shot at her. Sir Maunder McIrnan, with
whom she had been liaising, expressed his deep sadness at the tragic event.
DRINK AND BE MERRY
Mercosur Atlantico has brought the demure Ms Ariadne Digitalis' astonishing
botanical beverages to the markets of the world. "Vodka Total" is considerably
cheaper than any traditional alcoholic drink of comparable strength, and "Coca
Cepsi" is a thinly-disguised opium substitute on just the right side of the law.
Both products are sold in bottles modelled on the curvaceous shape of English
lovely Elizabeth Siddal, and her pouting face adorns every bottle-cap.
MOLTKE MISSES THE POINT
Senor de Moltke's Wedding of the Millennium appears to have hurt his pocket more
than he might have liked. Mercosur Atlantico's shipping division was declared
bankrupt this year and snapped up by an anonymous purchaser. This must come as
quite a blow to the expansive Argentinean after all the trouble he went to
setting up the transatlantic Titanic Project in recent years.
A Catholic Union has been founded to unite god-fearing Catholics in South
America, France, Spain and Italy. Regular collections are being made to send
missionaries to Africa and protect the interests of His Holiness the Pope.
Already the Union has successfully financed the transportation of French troops
to the Vatican to defend against godless anarchist factions.
MEY-BE YES, MEY-BE NO
Prime Minister Mey seems to have made an about-turn on the subject of Women's
Suffrage: when questioned in Parliament about his attendance of suffragette
"councils of war", he reminded the House of its noble monarch and the fact that
these were the 1870s and not the Dark Ages.
PIOTR KORENSKY WOOS RUSSIAN COURT
Following his introduction to court at the end of last year, Piotr Korensky has
risen swiftly in the Tsar's favour, with a seemingly endless supply of
scandalous gossip and tales.
MAGYARS GERMANIC? ANTHROPOLOGISTS SCOFF
The Germanic Alliance is becoming a force to be reckoned with as President Toldi
of Hungary became the latest signatory to the treaty. "Herr von Ardsberg is one
of the few truly great men it has been my pleasure to encounter," Toldi told
BAVARIA - TRAGEDY STRIKES
The curse of the Bavarian royal family struck again as Prince Friedrich's
partially senile great-uncle Leopold died under the wheels of a runaway brewer's
DUTCH CAP IT ALL
A new bogeyman has been found to scare naughty Prussian children into good
behaviour: the Crimson Tulip. This bloodthirsty terrorist is now wanted for
several grotesque crimes, including beheading the Prussian Governor of the
Netherlands and desecrating the grave of the greatest Prussian hero of all time,
General von Moltke. It is said that the Tulip will stop at nothing until Holland
is free once more, and a large bounty has been placed on his head by Baron
>From 'The Times' advertisement columns:
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TODAY?
Children falling behind at school? Household finances in a mess? Deep-freezer
contents uncatalogued? What you need is a SHERIDAN SUPER-COMPUTER, as used on
the Channel bridge project. One of these stupendous thinking machines, as
powerful as Verne Cannon, could be nestling snugly in your front parlour for as
little as eight hundred guineas. Move into the twentieth century before your
TRAINS HIT THE BUFFERS
Disaster struck for the Transbritannic Express as one of its high-speed trains
exploded, killing hundreds of passengers and shutting down the rail-link
indefinitely until major repairs can be effected. After the near-disaster at
Professor Victor's clockwork seaport last year, one wonders whether he has any
concept at all of acceptable safety standards. Is this headlong rush for
technological supremacy doing Britain any good whatsoever?
Just when it appeared that the French and the Russians could settle their
military differences amicably, Marshal Joffre showed his hand and revealed that
his talk of reparations had been a bluff to catch Karl Davchenko in his trap.
French and Spanish ships blockaded the Russians in whilst all the troops Joffre
could muster were recalled to besiege Marseilles. Against such odds, it is a
miracle that General Davchenko did keep his tactical head and penetrate the
French lines with one of his divisions, though only a fraction of his men
accompanied him at his weary homecoming to Russia weeks later. With large
numbers of Russian prisoners at his mercy, it seems that the ball is now very
much in Joffre's court!
STEAM KILLERS SMASHED
The Communist rebels of Russia have struck a blow for the people in a systematic
campaign to blow up the "evil" steam execution devices that are proving so
popular with the aristocracy. "Heads will be crushed for this," muttered one of
the Tsar's advisers darkly.
RUSSIAN NAVY BOOST
Rumour has it that the scientist Vlad Molotov has been commissioned to upgrade
the Russian fleets. It is whispered that the next target of Russian aggression
will not be the French but the Prussians.
I BET HE DRINKS VODKA TOTAL
After a brief recuperative holiday in Siberia, General Davchenko bounced back
into military action, leading a lightning strike against Constantinople, which
soon surrendered to the Russian brutality. Before returning to Russia, Davchenko
renamed the ancient city Karlsberg in his honour, promising that under Russian
rule it would be probably the best city in the world.
LIECHTENSTEIN ORPHANS THRIVE
Princess Annabella, well known for her patronage of worthy charities, has helped
set up a welfare system for the people of Liechtenstein, and has personally
funded two royal orphanages from her private allowance.
HOUDINI TO VISIT VIENNA
The great stage magician Harry Houdini's reputation is growing - Emperor Franz
Joseph of Austria has invited him to perform for the court in Vienna.
ANCIENT EGYPT COMES TO TOWN!
We have Princess Annabella and Colonel Mustard to thank for the superb
exhibition that is currently showing at the Crystal Palace. Colonel Mustard is
proud to present many of his greatest finds from his latest Egyptian
expeditions, and it is a show that is pulling in the crowds.
VERNE CANNONS REBUILT
The Verne Cannons have finally been restored to their former glory, thanks to
technical expert Augustus Egarts being contracted to decipher some of the more
difficult sections of the original blueprints.