Oxford University Role Playing Games Society
Inferno 1879 News
'IL DIVINO CODINO' SLAMS PAGANS
Cardinal Gino Baggio used his latest European tour to strongly denounce the
recent surge in paganism among the northern states of Europe. He reminded those
seduced by the attractions of the old Norse faith that "the broad and easy path
leads to Hell, but the path to heaven is narrow and difficult", and that "a
deviation from the truth might result in God's loving discipline".
"PLAFOND" SPREADS ACROSS EUROPE
A new card game is becoming popular in the educated classes of Europe -
"Plafond" is an evolved form of Contract Whist, where players form into pairs,
and use a complex system of 'biding' before entering into the game proper. The
game's inventor, Mr Sterling Vanderbilt, has just published a book "Plafond
without Tears", which he hopes will explain the game to all, and spread its
MOLTKE RIDES AGAIN
Senor de Moltke has bounced back from his recent financial troubles to found a
new company, Mercosur WorldLink, which has already managed to regain control of
de Moltke's transatlantic Titanic project.
WHAT A CARD!
Klaum Krohne has released a collectible card game, 'Technology: The Gubbins'.
This involves laying cards down to power up different machines, such as
'whirligig' or 'pointless chugging banger' using 'smelly steamy blast' or
'hamster cages'. As well as ordinary packs players can also buy 'spare parts'
packs, which add extra strange cards which are more powerful. The game has been
highly successful among the slower-witted (and more spodly) members of society.
The Germanic Alliance appears to be fraying at the edges - a number of
nationalist rallies and scuffles between different ethnic groups have occurred
in its major capitals. With the military situation similarly deteriorating, can
even the charismatic Friedrich von Ardsburg hold his great vision of unity
PIE-OUS WELCOME FOR BAGGIO
In two disgraceful incidents during Cardinal Baggio's latest tour of Italy, he
was pelted with lemon meringue pie by unknown assailants. Nordic pagans are
suspected to have been responsible.
>From the editorial column of 'The Times:
...another illustration of the decadence attending the fast-approaching turn of
the century is the recent craze for games and other diversions. It is
instructive here to compare this year's two most popular games. Mr Sterling
Vanderbilt's 'Plafond' is a morally uplifting game in which virtue is rewarded,
vice punished, and reward is never disproportionate to merit. By stark contrast,
Mr Krohne's 'Technology: The Gubbins' panders to the worst aspects of human
behaviour, in that the more cards you buy, the stronger your deck is: thus, the
more money you have, the more likely you are to win. Is it any surprise that
'Plafond' has had its greatest success among the educated classes, while
'Technology: The Gubbins' has predominantly sold to those whose incomes are low
enough that they would surely better be saved, or spent on almost anything else?
AND A WHEELBARROW TO TAKE IT AWAY IN...
General Perez of Spain has organised a design competition for an automatic
machine gun, offering a small fortune in pesetas for the lucky winner.
MERCOSUR BREACHES BAMBOO CURTAIN
Juan Fernandez de Moltke has scored a notable coup for his company in the
Orient. Mercosur Atlantico, which already has substantial holdings in Hong Kong,
has been hired by the Emperor of China to counsel him in all important
decisions, represent China's interests abroad, oversee the progress of the
Chinese economy, and train and modernise the Chinese army - in return Mercosur
has been given a monopoly over railways, ports and foreign trade in and with
BAGGIO'S TURKISH DELIGHT
'Il Divino Codino' added Russia to his list of places to visit this year,
commending General Davchenko's "holy crusade" against the heathen Ottoman Turks.
In the presence of an eagerly-listening Tsar, he likened Davchenko's assault on
Constantinople to Joshua's destruction of the walls of Jericho, in an address
some more tolerant-minded Christians are calling "bigoted and inflammatory".
RUSSIAN POWS TAKE FRENCH LEAVE
A great Russian jailbreak was mounted in the French POW camps early this year -
weapons and sleep grenades were smuggled to the prisoners, who, under the
leadership of a bald, masked man in black with African tribal jewellery, easily
overpowered their captors before commandeering a train bound for Nice and there
some French fishing trawlers. Their stories of barbaric and inhuman treatment at
the hands of Marshal Joffre have shocked the people of Russia. One French guard
who survived the assault described the masked man emerging from the shadows and
incinerating his comrades in scorching bursts of flame. Could this be some new
form of Russian shock troop?
ASATRU IN ICELAND
Iceland is currently in the grip of religious fervour, as more and more people
turn back to the faith of their ancestors and rally to the temple of Odin in the
centre of Reykjavik. The mysterious 'Odinsson', seen as a prophet of the old
gods by many on the island, has reputedly performed miraculous healings
throughout the country and warned villagers of forthcoming disasters (such as
volcanic eruptions), much to the amazement of scientists. The cult is also
taking off in other Scandinavian nations, and even in Prussia.
TSAR HONOURS SCIENTISTS
Ariadne Digitalis has been made a Countess in Russia for her services to vodka
drinkers everywhere. Vlad Molotov has likewise been made Russia's first "Steam
Count" for his work on the Tsar's Navy.
'IL DIVINO CODINO' DISAPPEARS
Has Cardinal Gino Baggio's evangelical zeal finally got the better of him? He
declared a new mission to Japan and, undeterred by the disappearance of the
first batch of missionaries, followed them in -- only to vanish himself! Pope
Pius IX has declared himself "deeply grieved by the loss of this man of God".
ON WITH THEIR HEADS
The revolutionary movement is still active in Russia, and has successfully
liberated a number of political prisoners sentenced to death by one of the
Tsar's horrific execution machines.
FIRST SPAMC WON BY MYSTERIOUS FOREIGN DRIVER
London recently played host to the worlds first "Steam Powered AutoMotive
Conveyance's Racing Cup" - a race on a newly built track near London, using
specially created 'racing' steam-power vehicles. Many spectators turned up for
this dramatic event in which twenty competitors streaked around the streets at
speeds of up to forty miles an hour! Competition was fierce, with drivers vying
with all their skill and daring to be the first to complete the race. But at the
end of it the winner was Surg Flimson, a foreign driver on whom the organiser
seemed unable to provide many details. The winner collected the prize - the
"Simon London Total Vodka Challenge Cup" and a prize of two thousand guineas -
and then departed swiftly, refusing to speak to the gathered press.
RUSSIANS INVADE PRUSSIA
Towards the end of the campaign season a full military onslaught was launched
against Prussia by the massed Russian army. It is too early to say which way the
tide of battle between two such great war machines will swing.
EX CHINA SEMPER ALIQUID NOVI
A strange tale has reached us from Peking: the superstitious Orientals have
commenced the building of a shrine, to appease the fearful wrath of "the divine
Moltke", whose displeasure is as thunder from heaven and who can level the
mountains with a wave of his hand.
IN A FIELD OF HER OWN
Austrian botanist Ariadne Digitalis has been awarded the inaugural Ardsburg
Prize for Science, for her contributions to crop plants of the temperate zone.
She has also paid for Kew Gardens' roses, which were turned blue by her vodka
tree, to be replaced with new ones of more conventional hue.
Britain's doctors held a crisis meeting last night after the third death in two
weeks from an apparently new and lethal strain of the tuberculosis virus. Known
victims of the disease are noted academics Ronald Hanson Wilson and Roger
Scheer, and Professor James Taylor, head of the British Museum. Residents of
London should be particularly wary of coughing fits, white ropey phlegm, and
bright red blood on the pillow.
DUTCH CHEESED OFF
The Dutch TLO (Tulip Liberation Organisation), heartened by assistance from the
French, have vowed to continue their guerrilla war against Prussia despite the
capture of their beloved leader.
'WOMEN'S STRIKE' CALLED FOR
Is there no end to the idiocies of the so-called 'women's movement'? The latest
lunacy is an anonymous call for a 'women's strike'. As if the proud nation of
Britain would grind to a halt without its waitresses, chambermaids, and
"ATLANTIS REDISCOVERED" - EXHIBITION HUGE SUCCESS
Top British Explorer Colonel Mustard once again secured himself as the hero of
every school-boy, when he announced another successful mission to Atlantis, and
then put on a show of some of the artefacts recovered. This is the first time
members of the general public have seen artefacts from the lost continent, and
wherever the exhibition has been staged queues have stretched for hundreds of
yards, as all have wished to view what secrets the Colonel has discovered. His
bravery and persistence seem to have no limit, as was apparent when he revealed
some of the difficulties of his expeditions - most terrifying of all were his
descriptions of his battles with fearsome sea monsters! We now wait to see what
scholars can tell us about the history of this once great civilisation - who
knows what we may be able to learn from it?
The Crimson Tulip has been betrayed to the Prussian authorities for a
substantial reward by a collaborator. As he was dragged away the Tulip vowed
that Holland would never surrender to the oppressive Prussian dogs, that Von
Moltke was a pig and he wished he'd not left anything of his grave, and that
soon his people would be free. The media in Europe have largely latched onto the
Tulip as a heroic figure, and several moving tributes to the man have already
MOLTKE BRANCHES OUT
Senor de Moltke has announced the building of the Peking-Berlin railway via
Moscow and Warsaw. The press statement was as follows: "The way we travel will
be revolutionised in a couple of years. Once the great Chridge and the
Berlin-Peking railway are completed, one can travel around the world in less
than eighty days, without ever changing trains. One travels from London over the
Chridge to Li Moltke port, where the entire train can be shipped to San
Francisco, from there on to New York, sailing Titanic class to Victoria port,
and on the TransBritanniaLine back to London."
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS?
After the success of this summer's inaugural motor-race around London's streets,
the public are calling for a series of such contests to be held last year,
particularly given the exciting and close nature of the result. Promoter
Beerbohm Tree was optimistic: he is in negotiation with the civic authorities of
a number of other European capitals, but given the troubled state of affairs
among our Continental cousins, perhaps he might be better advised to keep the
races domestic in ambit.
ARDSBURG UNDER PRESSURE
The Dukes of Austria are demanding decisive action from Friedrich Von Ardsburg
to resolve the problems the Germanic Alliance has run into this year.
KORENSKY REWARDED BY TSAR
Piotr Korensky's growing favour in the Russian court was cemented last night by
the Tsar's announcement that he was to be given charge of the substantial estate
of the late Count Yorchickenz, increasing his current holdings to rival those of
some of the most prestigious court members.
Letter to 'The Times':
I must protest at the tone taken by your last editorial on the subject of Miss
Siddal. I assure you that I meant no disrespect to Her Majesty the Queen, may
God preserve her: your newspaper's compositors saw fit to introduce
punctuational errors which changed the sense of my original letter. All I meant
was that Miss Siddal's image was almost as widespread as that of Her Majesty.
Herbert Beerbohm Tree
WAR IN THE LOWER CLASSES - POLICE CONCERNED
London has this year seen an increase in violence amongst 'fallen women' who
frequent houses of ill repute. Scotland Yard has reported an increase in violent
incidents, which, they believe, have resulted from some new criminal mind
attempting to 'take over' this sordid industry. Prime Minister Mey has called
for a crack down on these corrupt individuals whose presence is a cause of
disgust and concern for all right-thinking individuals.
PRUSSIANS ON THEIR MARX
Bolshevik activity has been reported on the upsurge again in Prussia. Perhaps
they consider the time ripe to exploit the people's discontent at the failure of
the Germanic Alliance to save them from Russian aggression.
MOLTKE DROMES ON... AND ON...
MA Entertainment has built two racing dromes near London and Moscow, after the
design of the Colosseum in Rome (Circus Maximus surely? -ed.) The Queen Victoria
racing week in London and the Helmut von Moltke Memorial racing week in Moscow
were both great successes.
IBSEN'S LATEST: SLIT-YOUR-WRISTS THEATRE
Theatrical promoter Beerbohm Tree proudly presented the Danish bard's new play,
'A Doll's House'. Critics have universally panned this miserable dirge-fest --
even the heroine's name, Nora, is depressing. One theory is that Ibsen's fears
of crazed Nordic pagans has affected his writing adversely.
A new twist to the gladiatorial combats so popular in Russia in recent years:
the champions of the arena dress in the traditional costumes of their motherland
and face villains wearing the national costumes of various European nations to
the cheers and boos of the crowd.
HOUDINI WOWS VIENNA WITH DEATH-DEFYING STUNT
At Houdini's recent performance in Vienna, an audience including Emperor Franz
Josef had its heart in its mouth - the great entertainer had been securely
lashed into a milk churn filled with water, and had surely been without air for
longer than was humanly possible. Had the trick gone horribly wrong? But no, all
was smiles as he revealed his escape. Is there nothing this man cannot do?
CHRIDGE STILL INCOMPLETE
The noblest engineering project of the century, the great Channel bridge, still
stands incomplete. Both ends are ready, but there is a four-mile gap in the
middle. Neither designer Dr Peter Tavener nor his assistant Sir James Bedford
have been prepared to comment on the reasons for the delay. Nonetheless, the two
scientists were jointly awarded the inaugural Ardsburg Prize for Peace this
'VELVET CHANCELLOR' PILES IT ON
Baron Brodenbach has issued a statement that the Austro-Prussian Alliance still
has a great future; but that the Austrians must come to the assistance of the
Prussians against military threats if they wish to prove themselves.
SIBERIAN LABOUR CAMPS SET UP
We hear from Russia that the Tsar has set up new prison labour camps in the
great wastes of Siberia. It seems he is concerned by the increasing lawlessness
of some sections of his population, and hopes that the harsh conditions of these
camps will act as a suitable deterrent for those of a criminal inclination.
"Siberian forced labour camps work!" said a spokesman.
A good year for education as Senor de Moltke announced the institution of the
Moltke University in Rome, dedicated to producing the elite that will lead the
human race into the 20th century and beyond. At the same time in Austria,
Friedrich von Ardsburg unveiled plans to introduce universal education and
social welfare in Austria, with the aim of 95% literacy by the end of the
PEOPLE'S COUNCIL TAKES OVER IN FLORENCE
The Austrian occupying force has handed over civil authority in the former Grand
Duchy of Tuscany to a People's Council. Notable members include Ariadne di
Triora, Arachne d'Asti and Giacomo Donavelli. All former de'Medici troops have
sworn an oath of allegiance to this new body, which has started well by
instituting a progressive programme of social reform: the Grand Dukes taxed
their subjects repressively, and it has proved possible to channel these funds
into a number of good works throughout the province.
VON ARDSBURG WASHES WHITEST
Friedrich von Ardsburg has been universally lauded for his dedication to helping
the common people of Europe this year. His commitment to education, welfare,
combating crime and public health, all of which are enshrined in the Ardsburg
Social Justice Project's charter, demonstrate him to be the most enlightened
politician seen in Europe in living memory.
FLOURNOY CAUSES ANOTHER STIR
After the publication of his controversial thesis "The Secrets of Eve" last
year, Theodore Flournoy has followed it up this year with "Who Are We?" a book
which claims to explain the origin of our very personalities. Much discussion in
fashionable society has been caused by the section on "How to tell what your
friend's personalities are" - some claiming that it provides extremely valuable
insights into understanding those they are close to, while others declare it to
be "utter balderdash".
MAGYARS GO OFF HALF-COCKED
The Hungarian government has confiscated all arms factories on their territory
in order to prevent foreign sabotage of their economy.
The front page of the August 2nd edition of Le Soir was given over entirely to
the heartwarming story of the romance between Princess Annabella of
Liechtenstein and the dashing Marshal Joffre, superseding even the early reports
of war between Russia and Prussia. The edition was distributed free to the
public by the generosity of the beautiful Princess.
FRENCH CAPTURE MILAN
In a lightning strike, the French army under Marshal Joffre stormed into
Piedmont and conquered the Grand Duchy of Milan, after two swift but bloody
battles. In a move which surprised many commentators, Princess Annabella of
Liechtenstein has been named Governor of the conquered lands, which are now the
French province of Piedmont & Haute-Savoie.
UNEASY THE HEAD THAT WEARS ONE
It appears that the threat to the Austrian economy will be averted by the
introduction of a stable new currency, the Austrian Crown. Other nations will
have the option of joining the currency next year.
GRAND DUCHESS ANASTASIA BRINGS COMFORT TO SERFS
The Tsar's daughter the Grand Duchess Anastasia has this year begun to show
considerable interest in her own people. Previously only noted for her long
holidays from court, this year she has been busy setting up charitable
hospitals, public health initiatives, and schools. The Tsar is said to be very
pleased with her work, and is said to have lent his full support to her
projects. She was also believed to be responsible for an initiative distributing
food in areas struck by crop failure. The Grand Duchess has thus earned herself
popularity with the serfs of this country, whose belief had been increasingly
that the nobles cared little whether they lived or died.
HIS ELEVEN BROTHERS WANT ONE TOO
Friedrich von Ardsburg has adopted some fancy new robes of yellow, red and blue
as his official uniform, to match his colourful personality.
HOLLAND HIGH WATER
The French finally came to the aid of their Dutch allies this year when a night
landing in Wilhelmsland allowed Marshal Joffre's forces to liberate a
significant amount of territory from the Prussian garrisons, despite a technical
fault which developed with the French Verne guns in the course of the assault.
DEATH IN VENICE
France followed up its Piedmont campaign of the spring with a move into Venice,
taking advantage of Austrian disarray in the Balkans. The occupying Austrian
forces pulled back to the city in the face of French numerical superiority, but
then disaster struck -- a freak waterspout rushed up the Adriatic and deluged
citizens and defenders alike, also destroying the Austrian (formerly Venetian)
fleet, which was laid up behind the Lido. In the confusion the French attacked,
and were able to gain the surrender of some four thousand Austrian troops.
Scientists are baffled as to what weather conditions could have prompted this
LORENZO 'THE YOUNGER' RENOUNCES PATRIMONY
Lorenzo 'the younger' de'Medici, son of the deposed Grand Duke of Tuscany, has
announced that on inheriting the title he will renounce all rights to rulership
in favour of the new Florentine People's Council. His family's isolation and
lack of support is believed to have driven him into a depressed and remorseful
state. In response, his father Grand Duke Lorenzo 'the Avaricious' disinherited
him, naming his sister Catherine de'Medici as heir in his place.
MATHEN EXPRESS ANNOUNCE TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY-LINE
Construction is already underway on a single railway line to connect Moscow to
Vladivostok across the vast wastes of Siberia. We are told that work is
progressing quickly, but this mammoth task will still take many months to
complete. It is thought that it will run alongside de Moltke's Berlin-Peking
railway for several thousand miles of its length.
GENERAL ELECTION CALLED
Prime Minister Mey is currently well up in the polls after a hugely successful
and well-financed pre-election campaign. A general election has been announced
for the summer of next year.
GARIBALDI ALLOWS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
President Garibaldi has announced that toleration of all faiths is to be allowed
throughout the Republic of Naples, a popular move that may perhaps be ascribed
to Spanish influence. He has recognized the Florentine People's Council, and has
criticised French aggression in northern Italy.
ARDSBURG PEAKS TOO SOON?
A Council of States was held in Switzerland at the behest of Friedrich von
Ardsburg, in an attempt to bond together the nations of Europe and eventually
the world for the sake of working together towards peace and prosperity. The
reception to this initiative has so far been lukewarm despite von Ardsburg's
A crackdown on unethical labour conditions in Britain has resulted in a number
of offending companies being heavily fined and lambasted by the press. "We
should all take a leaf from the exemplary record of companies such as Mercosur
Atlantico," said the head of the Board of Enquiry.
MISS SARAJEVO? HE WILL
The Serbs have risen up against Austrian tyranny with the backing of English
troops after Duke Ferdinand ordered the public hangings of a large number of
COUNCIL CALLS FOR ITALIAN FEDERATION
Giacomo Donavelli, representative of the Florentine People's Council, has called
for all five provinces of Italy to join together in a federation of states. This
suggestion has met with some favour from President Garibaldi of Naples, but he
stipulated that all foreign troops would have to withdraw from Italian soil
before such a solution would be practicable. The Pope has not made any comment.
ONE UP TO THE OARMASTERS
An annual boat race has been instituted in Great Britain as a gentlemanly
alternative to the Bohemian noisiness of cars. The Queen and her consort were
present at the first race, from the Isle of Wight to the pillars of the Chridge
and back again, and appeared to enjoy themselves hugely.
FLORENCE LOSES ITS MARBLES
The Florentine People's Council has issued a stiff communique to Her Majesty's
Government asking for the return of those art treasures Lord Elgin and his
troops 'took protection of' during the Austrian invasion. It also announced that
the 'David' destroyed by lightning was a fake, the real one having been hidden
away: this ties in poorly with a simultaneous announcement that a replacement
statue on a new theme was to be commissioned. Finally, Giacomo Donavelli,
speaking for the Council, declared a public holiday throughout Tuscany to
celebrate the end of de'Medici rule, and announced the commission of a huge
portrait of the entire Council.
TRUE BLUE, BABY, I LOVE YOU
The blue roses of Kew have become an expensive fashion accessory since the
radiant Ms Siddal chose to wear one in her hair while handing out the prizes at
the boat race.
NEW PRIZE FOR TENNYSON
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, has been awarded the inaugural Ardsburg Prize for
Literature for his versifications. The noble Laureate was active this year,
publishing poetry on the themes of industry, societal change, and Ancient Egypt.