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 Doctor 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:
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.
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]
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.
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...]
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.
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.
To play in Inferno, just send GBP 10.00 to cover your setup and first three turns. Further turns are GBP 3.00 each. Please make cheques payable to Undying King Games. You will receive a copy of the rules, huge wodges of background material, and advice on how to create a character.
Like all our games, Inferno can be played by post or by email, as you find convenient.
Ixion's Wheel | Pieces of Eight! | UNEXPLAINED