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Monday Mashup #4: Neuromancer

What can I say? I thought everyone had read the Narnia books.

OK, another Mashup. Rules are here. Your media item of the day is Neuromancer: think ever-speeding pace of change, think future shock, think new types of intelligence. Go.

The Aielwood has been home to elves for generations, which for elven kind is long indeed. For the entire length of its existence, it has been ruled by the Children of Aielvar, descendants of the wise half-dragon half-elven queen who bound the fractious tribes of the Aielwood to her. It is peaceful, except for the occasional incursion of the dwarven barbarians, and even those are almost ritual in nature.

Well, perhaps not so ritual to the dwarves, who are reported to be slowly dying in their mountain fastness, but the elves do not care about them.

There are ruins beneath the loamy topsoil of the Aielwood. These ruins are breached only by brave young elves, and only very recently. The first breach was the most exciting thing to happen in elven society for a thousand years. Inside, there were monsters, and treasures, and rare artworks of surpassing beauty. As is the elven way, the art was considered the most valuable, with the thrill of the danger posed by the monsters a close second. Treasure is for dwarves.

The PCs are young elves, ruin-delvers, strutting proud in the nature-formed avenues of the wood with alien gewgaws brought back from the ruins tied in their hair. All is bright joy and sudden danger and the thrill of an extended life risked.

And then, and then…

And then there is a rumor that a warped child has been born to the Children of Aielvar. There is a rumor, only whispered in the corners of the Aielwood, that the oracles have said he will die in threescore and ten years. And there is a rumor that he, unlike any other elf ever known, can create new art.

These rumors are a fire, and the well-arranged formulae of society are its fuel. When perfection is damaged from within, the surface reflects the center. A shadowy figure — perhaps even a dwarf, or worse, a monstrous fullblood dragon out of legend — wishes to hire the PCs to retrieve the child.

“You will save your kind. And redeem mine.”


  1. Now that you’ve polluted my Neuromancer headspace with elves, you’ll probably end up with a bad Shadowrun clone. I think i’m gonna have to leave this one untouched.

  2. Heh. Avoiding Shadowrun was the challenge that intrigued me.

  3. Argh. Sorry about the double-ping.

  4. And the double-post. 😛

  5. No worries. It’s my fault for having a lame database server, and I’ve done it to you often enough.

  6. t.rev t.rev

    _In Nomine_, or some kind of homebrew. Late 14th century, maybe. The mortals are starting, just starting, to rediscover pure reason. Eventually, this could lead to…clear knowledge. Empiricism. SCIENCE. The mundane effects won’t be noticeable for centuries, but the higher realms are in chaos, as the *existence of the potential* of it all rips screaming through the cosmos, creating laws and unmaking truths the angels have relied on for eons. Future shock comes to heaven.

    Some of the angels want to find a way to turn back the clock, some just want to get by, some want to take control. Read _The War Hound and the World’s Pain_. Lucifer as Prometheus as patron saint of hackers. God as Total Information Awareness.

  7. Rob Rob

    I read Narnia and I liked your mashup. I was just avoiding unnecessary typing last week due to RSI. I like this one too: especially the ruin-delvers, dungeon as cyberspace. You just need a fantasy simile for that famous opening line “The sky above the Aielwood was the color of …”

    You can go the steampunk route and drop a computer revolution into any number of historical timeframes. I’m sure Ken Hite has bounced a column or two out of that topic. 18th C “Difference Loom”? Guptan India Neuromancer? Bronze Age Neuromancer? I wonder how far back in time you could push it. Cavepunk? Neanderthals versus Cro-Magnon and the discovery of fire? I guess it’s not really Neuromancer per se, but…

  8. Ginger has turned me onto the Monday Mashup, a gaming meme invented by Bryant over at Population One….

  9. whoo! this reminds me of “Nine-squared Patternmancers in Amber”.


  10. I can see an oddly poignant GURPS Ice Age campaign around this theme; the future, approaching too quickly.

    Come to think of it, it occurs to me that My Life With Master is basically about the aspects of Neuromancer I’ve chosen to highlight.

  11. t.rev t.rev

    A quickie: China, during the Warring States period. A group of proto-Taoist naturalist/sages, together with some geomancer/alchemists, develop a fantastically successful divination practice parallelling what we would call nonlinear systems theory. Their forecasts are made using complicated vessels of porcelain and bronze in which colored oils flow on water currents; these vessels function essentially as simulators. They can predict the weather, peasant revolts, the outcomes of battles…and can adjust them as quietly and subtly as a butterfly flapping its wings.

  12. Population: One: Monday Mashup #4: Neuromancer. Let’s put this in a non-standard game system. How about the excellent Dreamwalker system/setting

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