Infernum was a roleplaying game released by Mongoose Publishing taking place in a Hell inspired by equal parts Dante's Inferno and Doom, where the players took the roles of demon, hell-snared human, damned soul or fallen angel in a struggle to survive and prosper in the Byzantine anarchy that is Hell. The game ran on the basic "D20 Engine" built from Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, but with distinct mechanics.
When Lucifer and his rebellious angels were defeated, God threw them down into Hell, an abandoned prototype of Earth, where they hit with such force that they dug an enormous crater 2400 miles deep. As Hell was a world devoid of time, they burned there for a timeless aeon until Lucifer managed to cut open the dimensional walls between Hell and Earth and allowed Time to flow into Hell, bringing with it the possibility of Change. The First Fallen were free, and plotted their revenge, coupling with the Spawn - twisted prototypes of earthly life - in debased and incestuous manners to ultimately produce an army of half-angel, half-spawn monsters, twisted aberrations that hungered for the very essence of the soul to preserve their misbegotten existence: the first demons.
But the First Fallen were cruel and abusive parents, and underestimated the cunning of their progeny, who realized that they would be destroyed once the First Fallen reclaimed Heaven. They manipulated their creators into a civil war, and then turned on them whilst they were distracted, slaying or scattering the First Fallen and claiming Hell for themselves. Free of their commanders, the demons turned on each other, seeking greater power for themselves, ultimately founding their own civilisation built on the struggle for personal gain and the torturing of damned mortal souls to provide the vital soul-stuff - Iliaster - needed to sustain their bodies and fuel their magitek.
The year is 766 After Fall. It is five hundred and sixty five years since the last of the First Fallen was slain, and Hell is in turmoil once again. The Tenth House, House Lictat, has arisen after three hundred and sixty seven years to claim the position held by the destroyed Ninth House, House Jelac. The Free Cities Heresy, a rebellion against the very laws of the Infernum, has arisen and claimed multiple cities across Hell, forcing the other eight Houses to accept House Lictat in order to focus their attention on this new threat. The Hellgouts are swallowing larger and larger groups of mortals. Fallen angels are plummetting into the Pit more frequently then ever before. This year marks ninety eight years since the Knights of the Harrowing plunged their mountain-fortress of Outremer into Hell to lead a crusade against demonkind. The possibilities for the brave, the cunning, and the lucky are infinite.
The First Fallen crafted nine distinct breed of demon by the time they were finished, each with its own distinctive base-form and abilities.
Beasts are twisted, animal-like demons with a penchant for sorcery.
Deceivers are the "average joes" of demonkind, although since the founding of the Infernum, they have gained a particular aptitude for enticing mortals into damning their souls to Hell.
Fiends are a flying warrior-breed, intended to battle angels on their own terms.
Hulks are the dedicated warrior-breed, enormous and blocky masses of armored skin and muscle capable of crushing whatever stands in their way.
Imps are small, weak but cunning little demons, mostly used as spies and couriers.
Malcubi were the doom of the First Fallen, for they were created to be pleasure toys and courtesans to the former Archangels.
Slavers are the quartermasters of Hell, excelling in the acts of torture needed to wring iliaster from doomed souls.
Stalkers are a breed of demonic scouts subsequently turned to harvesters for the souls that regularly fall from the skies of Hell.
The Nine Houses
The Houses are the building blocks of Hellish society; vast feudal nation-clans each of whom is led by one of the mightiest demons in Hell, an archfiend and contender for the title of the King of Hell. Demons do exist outside of these nine Houses, but such groups are small and socially weak, and functionally mirror the Houses in every way that matters.
House Astyanath is the House of Pain, a House enamored with suffering and torment to a level even other demons cringe at.
House Carthenay is the House of Coin, the greedy and miserly House who keeps the financial aspects of demonic society running through their position as the Bankers of Hell.
House Glabretch is the House of Disease, outcast and shunned by all other Houses, who find their love of filth and decay to be utterly disgusting.
House Haimon is the House of Death, a grim and stoic House fascinated by the mechanics of death, making them Hell's most prominent necromancers and the only house to employ damned souls as a mainstay of their army.
House Jelac is the Lost House, destroyed to the last during a great civil war centuries ago.
House Lictat is the Tenth House, a rabble of minor demon clans that united together for mutual protection and who have claimed House Jelac's former holdings for their own.
House Oblurott is the House of Gluttony, populated by demons who have allowed the novel luxury of eating physical food to become an obsession.
House Riethii is the House of Desire, home to the largest population of malcubi and seductive deceivers in the Pit, trained spies and manipulators often overlooked by the other Houses due to their reputation as decadent fops.
House Sturrach is the House of War, a grim and brutal House dedicated to honing their military might, still yearning for the day when they will bring Hell to heel and can then swarm forth to conquer Earth and Heaven alike.
House Zethu is the House of Progress, the masters of sorcery and science.
The Church of the Morningstar
The whole of Hell is illuminated not by a natural sun, but by an artificial sun that is generated from an arcane engine-complex at the heart of Pandemonium, rising from the bottom of the Pit to the top and then sinking down to the bottom again over a 48 hour period. The Church of the Morningstar is a political body that exists separately from the Houses, using its position as the individuals who maintain the Morningstar's workings to exert political power, stylizing themselves as a church for their own reasons.
The Free Cities Heresy
Hated and feared by the establishment, the Free City Heretics are cities that have magically become "dead zones" in the traditional chain of Covenants - magically enforced pledges that were the foundation of demon society. They preach the ultimate of Hellish heresies; the notion of equality and acceptance, of understanding between all demon breeds, and even with mortals and damned souls.
Circles of Hell
The Pit is a 2400 mile deep crater basically divided into nine bands of terrain that roughly equate to countries. We start with Emptiness, the rim of barren ash wastes around the mouth of the crater. Next comes the eternally storm-wracked mountains of Tempest. The mudflats and swamps of Tears comes between Tempest and the volcanic badlands and slagheaps of Toil. After that, one passes through the battlefields of Slaughter to the urbanized nightmare of Industry. For the final stretch, you go down through the demonic "paradise" of Delight, through passes in the volcanic mountains of Malebolge, and finish in Pandemonium, the city of chaos on the crater's floor. Yes, you are walking on the walls of a roughly conical crater for the seven intermediate Circles between the outside and the crater floor. Gravity works differently in the Pit.
- Dante's Inferno
- Paradise Lost
- The various comics of Alan Moore (most prominently Promethia, Swamp Thing, From Hell, and Hellblazer)
- Neil Gaiman's Sandman
- Mike Carey's Lucifer
- Conan the Barbarian
- China Miéville's Perdido Street Station
- Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy
- Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
- Event Horizon
Rather than try to wrestle with level adjustments, Infernum makes use of a unique system where race - Demon, Mortal, Fallen Angel - is functionally treated as a class. The demonic breeds are the closest things to "standard" races in Infernum, and Damned Soul is a kind of template that can be applied to Mortals who get killed, but all rely on their racial class to advance in power.
There is a ridiculously huge array of powers that a demon, or a corrupted mortal/angel, can pick up, which are handled as the Mutations powers.
This is a sort of "evil experience points"; being in certain places or doing certain things causes you to gain "corruption points", which ultimately turn into "sin levels". The higher your Sin Level, the more mutations you gain, but the more vulnerable you become to certain Sorceries, as you're literally becoming more like a demon.
Rather than the standard magic system, Infernum uses a kind of ritual magic called Sorcery. It's a skill-based system which is almost based around non-combat related utility magics, as well as the rites to conjure, bind and ward off demons.