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Monday Mashup #18: Into Thin Air

Our mashup for the first of December (did you remember to say “rabbit” three times?) is Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. It’s all about man versus nature, with themes of ecological awareness and man competing with man as side dishes. Great book, even if there’s controversy about what exactly happened up there.

I’m gonna transplant the story of a bunch of men trying to get up Everest into Gamma World — the D20 edition, if it matters. I think there’s enough there to support an entire campaign arc. Since I live in New England, I’ll make the challenge Mount Washington, which is not exactly as hard to climb as Everest. On the other hand, the winds up there are somewhat fiercer than anywhere else on the planet.

So there’s some kind of device up there which is highly desirable. Let’s make it an oracular AI, in the fine tradition of post-apocalypse RPGs. The thing needs a lot of power, though, and it runs on wind power only now that the power lines are gone. There’s only enough wind to power it at the very height of the storms, however. And you can’t get the powered doors to operate unless the oracle is awake and says it’s OK.

The upshot of all this is that if you can get up Mount Washington during the fiercest storms, you can get a few hours with a very very smart AI. It’s worth the effort, and there are more than a few groups which make the attempt on a regular basis. There’s no mystery associated with the summit, you just have to be a very good climber. The world record wind (231 miles per hour) was recorded in 1934, so you don’t need superb technology, either. Should be possible for Gamma Worlders.

The PCs are probably from some distance. Maybe Midwesterners, who’ve been sent by their community to seek the Oracle. That way you’ve got the whole story of the journey to tell as well. Once they get to the Mountain, they have to figure out what’s going on. The more experienced climbers aren’t necessarily likely to spill the beans to a bunch of rank amateur outsiders.


  1. Bryant at Population: One, has a gaming meme he calls Mashup, wherein he offers some piece of popular media —

  2. This week, Bryant’s half of the Mashup is Into Thin Air, a book about the deadly 1996 climbing season on…

  3. One of the bad things about losing a swath of my archives is that I don’t have categories for things like the Monday Mashup. I’ll probably convert this in time once that is straightened out. And I know I am…

  4. Bryant supplied this Monday Mashup topic several weeks ago. I’m catching up now and will start by tackling Into Thin Air. Of course, all I know…

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