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News 1886

COLONEL LEADS DIG ON MARS

The noted British explorer and archaeologist has turned his attention away from Mother Earth, and now probes the mysteries of Mars. It seems the Colonel feels he has solved most of the really major mysteries of this planet (uncovering the stories of Atlantis, and the Terrans' previous life on this world): he now intends to solve whatever mysteries exist on the great red planet. We have no doubt that if any man can work out the history of our cousins from another world, the Colonel will be able to -- and we look forward to the exhibition that presents his finds.

EARTH DRIFTING NEARER SUN -- IT'S OFFICIAL

Scientists have now reached a consensus that this year's startlingly high temperatures have been caused by a major shift in the Earth's orbit -- it is now spiralling inwards towards the Sun. "As to what may have caused this orbital anomaly, we are at a loss," admitted Dr Alex Patterson, chairman of the Royal Society's Disaster sub-committee. `As is generally known, most of the world's leading gravitational scientists died in mysterious circumstances around ten or twelve years ago, and our knowledge in this field is still sadly lacking.'

NEW VENEREAL DISEASE IDENTIFIED

Dr Philip Howard has published evidence of a new sexually-transmitted disease, known as fungal libido obstructional phenonemon, or FLOP for short. This disease is particularly menacing as it causes birth defects in sufferers, and is often misdiagnosed.

TRAGEDY IN ROME AS DISEASE SNATCHES POPE

Pope Pius X, who served as Christ's vicar on Earth for just four short years, has been snatched away by a mysterious sickness. This energetic, enthusiastic man, famed for his missionary work and utterly dedicated to the promulgation of the Faith, was still in the prime of life, and it seems a cruel trick for Fate to play. His legacy will always be with us, though -- he will ever be remembered as the Pope who brought the Orthodox sects back under Mother Church's wing. Vatican tipsters are already suggesting that young Cardinal Albertini, who led the ecumenical negotiations last year, may be favourite to succeed.

ELIZABETH SIDDAL APPOINTED TO CRICKET SELECTING BOARD

We are disturbed to report another bizarre career change for Miss Siddal the 'model' and 'personality'. She has now become active in the selection of our country's cricket team. Exactly what qualifications or experience does she have that would make her appropriate for this position? It is important to our nation that we succeed in what is, in truth, our own game. Thus the inclusion of a woman -- a woman of such dubious morals as Miss Siddal -- is alarming. Whatever are the MCC thinking of putting this woman in such an important position? We hope there will be an explanation.

MAN OF CLOCKWORK TAKES THE RED ROUBLE

Noted British technologist Dr Hugo Victor has resigned his post at Cambridge and taken up a position at a Russian university, we learn, after vandals destroyed his laboratory last New Year. What a sad indictment of modern-day Britain, that a great scientist is forced to leave the country to avoid such indignities! If we do not soon put our house in order, we may soon find ourselves the victim of a `brain drain' which may severely weaken our position in the world of science.

BACK IN BLACK

The patron saint of Russian forces, Cawrdav, the bloody angel of retribution who seems have dwindled in popularity over recent months has returned to Russia to renew the morale of troops there. Appearing in St Cawrdav's Cathedral as a flickering green glow covered the outside of the building, the angel spoke to the Russian soldiers and lifted their spirits.

DESECRATION OF ALBERT'S GRAVE -- MADWOMAN SEEN DANCING

We are sad to report the depths to which some people stoop in these painful and desperate times. We have been informed that the other evening a woman was seen performing a barbarous and foreign looking dance upon the grave of the recently departed Prince Albert. What this deranged woman would have been thinking of, or what she could have hoped to achieve -- other than offending an entire nation -- we cannot imagine.

COMMONS FREES AFRICA, LORDS SAYS WAIT

One of the more remarkable pieces of legislation passed by the House of Commons this summer was Sir Walter Biscuit's Private Member's Bill to remove Britain's possessions in Africa from Imperial rule. In a quiet house the Bill was passed, but it was held up in the House of Lords as peers sought safeguards on human rights and on trade with Britain in these soon-to-be-independent nations. Whether the Bill will gain Royal Assent is another matter, though: will her Majesty lightly accede to the loss of such a large chunk of her territories, sensible though many think it?

NEW POPE ELECTED, PRAISES PREDECESSOR, CONDEMNS TYLER

In a result that surprised all but the best-informed, Cardinal Sebastiano Rossi was elected Pope at the first ballot. A studious man and former Vatican librarian, little known outside Rome, he contrasts strongly with he high public profile of his predecessor. He took the name of Paul VI, after the seventeenth-century Paul V who so much enlarged the Church's temporal power. He was fulsome in praising the late Pius X, but suggested that this holy man's mind must have been under strain from the illness which was soon to befall him when he endorsed the heretic charlatan Jonathan Tyler as a true prophet: Tyler was clearly one of those the Bible warned against as 'false Christs'. His Holiness then pronounced Tyler anathema throughout Christian lands, meaning it was any devout Catholic's duty, and no sin, to slay him.

HEATWAVE 'A SERIOUS MENACE'

Last year's hot weather was seen as a pleasant change after the prolonged wintry conditions we laboured under for so long, but now it seems the pendulum has swung the other way. This year has been so intensely hot that droughts, forest fires and the like have caused serious problems throughout Europe, and the fear is that many African countries will suffer severe famine as their crops die for lack of water. Another disturbing development is that global sea levels have risen appreciably, presumably because of melting of ice-caps -- this is why parts of London were so troubled with floods this summer. In The Netherlands the problem has been even worse, and there is a danger that if seas rise any higher the dyke system will fail altogether and the whole country will disappear under water -- a new Atlantis. Why this heat has not burnt off the persistent black fog, though, is anybody's guess.

JOCK AYE THE NOO TWO!

Freed from the tyrannical reign of English politicians in Westminster, Scotland appears to be on the verge of a new and fulfilling future. Many promising young politicians from the area have taken up the challenge of heralding in this new age, and people seem keen to return to their roots, restoring Scotland's place as a sacred and proud country.

AIR'AI MAKE FURTHER GAINS

The Air'ai cult has made further sizeable gains in Africa, conquering the former French colonies of Morocco and Senegal, the Spanish Sahara, and the former Prussian colony of Sud-West Afrika, now known as Namibia. Africa is now divided rather untidily between the Air'ai and Britain -- no other power has any territory remaining on the continent at all.

WORLD REVULSION AS PRINCE ALBERT BODY 'STOLEN'

Indignity piles on indignity for the late Prince Albert. His grave was found opened, and his corpse missing from inside. We have no idea who could have been responsible for this desecration but fear for the future of the kingdom. Certainly Prince Albert was badly misguided in his later years, but to disturb his grave smacks of anarchy and barbarism of the highest order.

DONAVELLI A DEITY -- IT'S OFFICIAL

At a touching ceremony in Tripoli this year former Florentine statesman Giacomo Donavelli was announced by the Air'ai gods to be one of their number, Gian'ai, the son of the great god Mazdr'ai. It was noted that flowers sprang up in Gian'ai's footprints, although admittedly they were rather brown and wilted.

DROUGHT, FAMINE STALK AFRICA -- CAN AIR'AI HELP?

The Air'ai worshippers of Africa, beset by the appalling climate change, turned in huge numbers to their new god Aqu'ai to provide life-giving water. At last count he had signally failed to come up with the goods, and it may be that unless he can do so before too long there will be an anti-Air'ai backlash.

POPE MEETS PROTECTOR, AGREES TRUCE

The new Pope has met with Tallow Directrix, representative of the Protector cult so popular in France, and has agreed that there should be peace between the two faiths, as the Protector says nothing against Christianity and is active in fighting the demons which beset Europe. Protectorism now has the same tolerated status as do Islam, Buddhism and others. His Holiness also declared that he gave no credence to the persistent rumours that Directrix had poisoned his predecessor Pius X.

HUBRIS CRACKS DOWN

Gerhard `The Butcher' Hubris has shown his true colours, rescinding last year's promise of equal rights for al South Africans, and instead installing a brutal regime of racial intolerance known as `apartheid'. He has also outlawed practice of the Air'ai faith: any who wish to retain it must leave the province. It is thought that many of the Zulu and Xhosa population will take up this suggestion.

INTRUDER ABUSES QUEEN'S DOGS

Another attack on the Royal Family this year, as an unknown intruder broke into the palace, and tied together the tails of the Queen's corgis. What motivated the sick anarchist behind this attack we fear to imagine.

REFUGEES POUR INTO NAMIBIA

The new Air'ai province of Namibia is already dealing with a refugee crisis of gigantic proportions, as worshippers flee the intolerance of the new South African regime. This is putting a considerable strain on the resources of this poor and desert land, and it is hoped that the Air'ai can swiftly redistribute these poor unfortunates to more fertile provinces.

'AMBROSIA' LATEST STREET DRUG MENACE

After it looked as though London was recovering from its addiction to the evil drug Substance D, a new problem has arisen -- an even more addictive drug, called Ambrosia. Furthermore, the devil-inspired peddlers of this vile toxin have hiked their prices as more people have become hooked on their talons, leading to a rise in petty crime as desperate addicts seek money for their next 'fix'.

NEW GOVERNOR APPOINTED IN SOUTH AFRICA

The Dutch crown has appointed Ruud Boogers as Governor of the semi-autonomous state of South Africa. He has already shown himself to be cut from the same die as Butcher Hubris, with a firm grip on the natives.

RED PLANET BOOM

The new holiday resort and flourishing colony on Mars have become increasingly popular in recent months as people flee the dreary black mist that shrouds our native planet. Surprisingly, despite the huge distance between Earth and Mars, journeys seem to be almost instantaneous.

MINES PRODUCTION SHORTFALL PUZZLES EXPERTS

The gold and diamond mines of South Africa have proved to be much less productive under the new Dutch regime. `It's bizarre -- I'll swear we're pulling just as much material out of the ground, but there's never any left in the stores!' said mine foreman Jost Intiem.

MARY MAGDALEN MAKES APPEARANCES

A number of reports have been heard of Mary Magdalen appearing in churches in England. It is said that on a number of occasions she has been seen 'stepping out of' pictures or windows depicting her. What exactly these manifestations represent is unclear, but the Magdalen was seen to making blessing motions towards those who have seen her, and, strangely, also towards certain houses of ill repute in the seedier parts of our great capital.

JAPANESE INVEST IN BRITAIN

After several major purchases this year, the majority of British manufacturing production capacity is now in Japanese hands, including the whole of the coal, steel and gas industries. A government spokesman pours scorn on fears that Britain was losing its birthright to a race of inscrutable foreigners: `The Japanese like Britain and so are bringing their factories here. They are doing this because Britain is Great!' Considerable improvements in efficiency and quality have already been seen, and the introduction of Japanese working practices have notably improved the lot of the working man. Benefits include workers and directors alike wearing the same overalls, daily singing of the company song, callisthenics routines, and on Friday dressing as your favourite animal.

>From 'Namely' magazine: COR! COP A LOAD OF THESE!

We've gathered together some of the best of the Lizzie Siddal jokes that have become so popular in London this year. Q: What does Lizzie put behind her ears to make herself seem attractive? A: Her legs. Q: Why does Lizzie wear knickers? A: To keep her ankles warm. Q: What's the difference between Lizzie and a Rottweiler? A: Lizzie's the one wearing makeup. [etc, etc, ad nauseam]

DUTCH FOLLOW JAPANESE LEAD

Another foreign power is busy backing Britain, The Netherlands. Dutch farming interests have been buying farmland and food processing plants throughout the south-east of England this year.

THE CLOCK STRUCK

Last night, at midnight, a terrible calamity struck London. Big Ben, one of the oldest and best known landmarks in the city, struck thirteen times and then collapsed into a crumpled heap of rubble. The huge clock-tower literally shook itself apart. As yet no-one has been able to determine the cause. Our reporter was on the scene in moments, and managed to bring you these exclusive pictures [showing big heap of rubble, surprised onlookers, London bobby on bicycle, etc].

LSD -- IT'S THE NEW MONEY!

Professor Archibald Sheridan has proposed the introduction of new forgery-proof banknotes using the latest in technology, so that Britain can lead the world in money as well as everything else (except cricket). They would feature both Her Majesty and the Prime Minister, with leading scientists on the back. The Times heartily recommends that the government take up this brilliant man's suggestion without delay!

WHOREHOUSES 'HOLY' CLAIMS MAD ACADEMIC

Dr Ed Lite, an academic specialising in mythology and theology, has made an extraordinary claim -- that brothels may, in some way, be considered 'holy'. "It is quite clear that in several ancient cultures holy brothels existed, where carnal acts were considered an act of worship. Looked at in this light the recent manifestations of Mary Magdalen are clear -- she 'blesses' the brothels because she sees them as inherently holy; the girls who work there are effectively her priestesses." We are glad to report that even in these strange times Dr Lite's claims have been met with condemnation amongst academia -- Prof Lee Limp said "This is an outrageous claim -- the Magdalen is a Christian figure representing turning away from vice and sin, not indulging in it." We can only agree with the Professor's words -- we must stand firm with the Church and turn our back on vice.

EUROPEAN DRAMA TOURS JAPAN

In a cultural exchange visit, impresario Beerbohm Tree took two European touring companies to the mystic East this year, performing a set of classics in English and in translation. `They certainly clapped politely enough,' reported a pleased Beerbohm Tree.

ENGLAND THRASHED BY REDS: SIDDAL BLAMED

Depressing news from the Moon, where the England cricket team was beaten by an innings and 120 runs by the quadrangular tournament's surprise stars, Russia. "I didn't know the Russkies had it in 'em!" exclaimed a shell-shocked W G Grace, dismissed for a duck in the second innings by a mesmerising googly from Peter `Prince' Kropotkin. Popular opinion is firmly blaming our defeat on the bizarre decision to allow Elizabeth Siddal on the selection committee -- could the party finally be over for this former media darling, against whom the mood of Londoners seems decisively to have swung?

FLOP FILM STRIKES FEAR INTO THE LICENTIOUS HEART

A new film has been released warning of the dangers of FLOP, the sexually-transmitted disease described by Dr Philip Howard earlier this year. It has been playing in theatres up and down the country, and provides a salutary admonition for those who would indulge in promiscuity and unbridled sin.

TRASHY TABLOIDS SOARAWAY SUCCESS

The increased popularity of certain tabloid papers throughout Europe in recent months echoes a worrying trend in today's society. The papers seem consistently filled with shocking world exclusives and sensational interviews, and as the world around us grows ever stranger, perhaps more mundane issues fail to capture public attention. How these papers are obtaining such popular coverage remains unclear, but it is rumoured that new management may be behind the changes.

LAUNCH OF THE SCIENCE CORPORATION ACADEMIES

A new innovation in scientific education -- the Science Corporation Academies are searching out children who show early signs of an aptitude for the sciences. Those talented enough to be considered for the programme are offered scholarships at one of the academies, involving full bed and board, and a rigorous course of education stretching over several years. This innovation will ensure that our children will grow up to be world-leading scientists, and that the future of scientific innovation is bright!

`MARS DUST' CONDEMNED IN AMERICA

Secretary of State Warren Peace has spoken out against the `Mars Dust' sweet which has so gripped American youth. `I'm concerned that children are wasting larger and larger amounts of their pocket-money on this tooth-rotting candy. The prices just seem to keep rising!' Mars Dust was the top-selling sweet in the USA this year, and the few Europeans who have been fortunate enough to try it describe it as `very more-ish'.

RUSSIANS TRIUMPH IN LUNAR CRICKET SERIES

Cricket has a new team of champions, the Russians. Coached by reclusive Polish genius ex-Count Vlad Molotov, their skills were only matched by their admirable sense of fair play and sportsmanship, and their capacity for vast quantities of tea. Australia came second, while England had the dubious consolation of avoiding the wooden spoon -- that went firmly to the Terran team, who proved absolutely clueless and unable to master even the rudiments of the game, although good sportsbeings and very willing to try.

HOUSE OF MEDICI GOES TO MARS

The London boutique House of Medici has a new line, in fashions for the discerning Terran. Robes, jewellery and accessories have been selling well to our tentacled friends on their home planet and in the USA.

NEW 'ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM' COMES TO FACTORIES

Our science staff tell us of a marvellous innovation to improve the lot of the working man -- referred to as 'Net-Tech', it appears to be some kind of in-factory entertainment system. The idea is that working men are connected up to the system, and then spend their days being fully entertained while they get on with their work. It seems that this technology is still in development and is only being used in two factories to date, but we believe the plan is to spread it soon. Good to hear that our boffins have the best interests of the working classes in mind, and will ensure they enjoy their work as much possible!

WANTED -- MUSICIANS

Lady Apollonia offers exciting new opportunity for musical groups and individuals -- all types and tastes welcome to apply.

CEREBINGO -- NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR BRAINS

Interest in the new pastime of CereBingo has been great up and down the land, and the company's halls are filled to capacity every gaming night. Are 'punters' really happy to be deprived of large chunks of brain tissue? "What does it matter -- I never use it anyway!" called one 'loser' as CereBingo staff escorted him away.

GHOST TRAIN -- IT'S WAR

The British Government is at last acting decisively against the Ghost Train menace, it appears. Abductions have slowed considerably this year.

MERCHANTS OF VENUS

Following their huge success in establishing Mars as a thriving colony and holiday resort, MarsTours seems keen to branch out to other nearby planets. The first transport route to Venus has recently been established, and strange tales of the planet are already beginning to circulate. Venus Connection, an offshoot of the MarsTours corporation, has been established to deal with this new discovery.

GHOST TRAIN IN FRANCE

The Ghost Train struck heavily in France this year, with over a million people abducted by its sinister rolling-stock. Where is the Protector when his people need him?

>From How Do You Do? magazine: COMMIE A GO-GO -- A PRE-RAPH PARTY FOR RUSSKIES

Lovely Lizzie has finally given those poor Russians something to smile about -- a massive party! Yes, Lizzie Siddal has brought the pre-Raphaelite party road-show to the blighted country of Russia. We hear the party was a wonder, and although it took a little while for those chilly Russians to warm up, they soon got into the swing of the Pre-Raphaelite ways, with parties all night. However, we do hear a worrying rumour that Lizzie herself has lost some of her partying ways - friends say she hasn't been seen drinking or dropping anything all year... how odd! Tell us Lizzie, surely you haven't lost the nerve to go out on a limb the way you used to?

CROWDS MOURN, LAUREATE EMIGRATES

Crowds of thousands, dressed in black, gathered at Southampton Docks this January to bid farewell to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, as he started his lonely journey into self-imposed exile. Still walking with a limp, his face harrowed with the marks of grief, the tall, bearded Laureate looked to neither side as he stiffly ascended the gangplank. Last December's brutal murder of his wife and destruction of his home, which he himself barely survived, plunged the nation into mourning, and the thoughts of all of us will be with this gentle spirit, friend to the common man, as he travels to his mystery destination. May God speed him back to us!

USA HAS GHOST TRAIN TOO

Our transatlantic cousins have not been immune to the ghost train menace that has plagued Europe so grievously in recent years. American sources revealed that Ghost Trains there have spirited away more than three million people, to their presumed deaths.

BUT DO THEY PLAY CRICKET?

Following investigation by the Venus Connection cooperation, Venus has been proclaimed an independent monarchy, under the rulership of Mr J Hammond.

FAREWELL TO FLORENCE

Tuscan troops defended their homes bravely, but Florence was overwhelmed and devastated by the Mongol horde as it swept down Italy, and its population massacred. Nothing more than blackened ruins remains of the world's finest treasure-house, the glories of the Renaissance all gone to ash on the breeze, together with millions of innocent people.

>From How Do You Do? magazine: LIZZIE RETURNS TO AMERICA

The luscious Lizzie Siddal has returned to America after years away -- taken her new Gothique look to the new world, and touring with the wonderful new House of Medici jewellery range. She has certainly put to rest the idea that she is getting too old for modelling, as she is looking as young and lovely as ever. She really wowed our poor American cousins!

MONGOLS BESIEGE ROME, DEMAND POPE'S BLESSING

The Mongol horde has encamped outside Rome, and its leader Tamerlane Khan has demanded that the Pope recognise him as being Prester John, legendary Christian ruler of medieval times, and that he crown Charles Piontkovsky as Holy Roman Emperor. In the meantime, the Mongols and their friendly demons are devastating the Roman countryside.

TENNYSON SLAMS CEREBINGO

The Poet Laureate may be abroad, at an unknown location, recovering from the shock of his wife's death, but his pen is not still: this year his London publishers issued a poem attacking the new CereBingo game, suggesting that while promising rich rewards, the company plans to take away the most important thing to man -- his mind, and as such it is the equivalent of selling your soul.

HOUDINI ESCAPES TO VICTORY

Harry Houdini, world-renowned magician, has been elected as head of the Magic Circle in recognition of his amazing talents and contribution to the art. His performances continue to excite and amaze audiences around Europe with their daring and originality.

POPE GIVES IN TO MONGOLS

The Pope called for Godís forgiveness as he agreed to accede to Tamerlane's demands, in the hope of sparing further bloodshed. In a poorly-attended ceremony he crowned Piontkovsky as Emperor Charles VIII, and welcomed the Khan as Prester John. All of the upper part of Italy was assimilated into the Holy Roman Empire, leaving independent only Garibaldi's Republic of Naples -- and that only by virtue of not having been attacked yet.

TSAR REAPPEARS TO DENOUNCE ALEXEI IV

The mystery of what exactly happened to the Tsar of Russia following the revolution was at least partially answered this year. Rumours had circulated that he had been assassinated during the revolution, but it seems he has been eking out some kind of existence in exile. However, this year he broke his silence on the ongoing difficulties of Russia, when he spoke about Alexei IV. He denounced him as an impostor, claiming that he was of absolutely no connection to the Imperial line, and was entirely without royal blood. The Tsar, who still has considerable popular support in some areas of Russia, may well have seriously damaged Alexei's chances of ever taking the Imperial throne. Why the Tsar has not himself attempted to retake his rightful place at the head of this once-great country is a mystery to which there is still no solution.

RUMOURS OF THE PINK CAMPION SPREAD

It seems that if there are still aristocrats within the Russian bloc who wish to escape the ravages of the revolution, or of the invading army of 'White Russia', then they have somewhere to turn. An organisation seems to be in existence for moving such nobles out of Russia and setting them up with new lives elsewhere. The only name ever associated with this 'underground railway' for nobles is the 'Pink Campion'. Where it originated from, or who is involved with it, is a closely guarded secret.

ARSE CRACKS MOON HOLES

The French scientific academy, ARSE, has developed a digging machine specially adapted to Lunar conditions.

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